Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Oct. 13, 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: One of guide Austin Kennedy’s clients, this one from Texas, enjoyed landing a 25-inch walleye in the Beaver Lake Dam tailwater recently. Photo provided by Austin Kennedy. See a fuler cropping below under Northwest Arkansas.
LEFT: Ben and Shawn (no last names available) from southwest Arkansas participated in a Father/Son Tag Team Bass Slinging Adventure with guide Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake recently and landed a prize.
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
Download the Fish Brain app and follow AGFC at: https://fishbrain.com/pages/GbHVNDc5/arkansas-game-and-fish-commission
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 10-13-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is still low from the drought conditions. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows, with best fishing in the early mornings. Catfish are good and eating shad under the 89 bridge and the Gold Creek area. Bass seem to be biting well for anglers, but no information on baits was passed along.
(updated 10-13-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) said crappie are good under the Highway 89 bridge on minnows.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Generation on Wednesday reached maximum flow of 5,807 with the heaviest of a 4-hour generation cycle coming at 5 p.m. Generation was 4 p.m. to past 7 p.m. Greers Ferry Lake is 7.1 feet below normal conservation pool. Check with the Army Corps of Engineers 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 10-13-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River is receiving 1-2 units of water release for 1-2 hours daily. This pattern will provide wading opportunities on the upper river in the mornings and on the lower river in the afternoons. Midges, small pheasant tails and soft hackles are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, Lowell suggests pink and white-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 forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 10-13-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said, “Well, it’s fall in the Ozarks and the temperatures are nice and comfortable. The Southwestern Power Administration has been running one unit of generation for two hours a day with some days bumping it up to two units of generation usually starting sometime late afternoon. It’s been subject to change, so always check the USACE Little Rock app before heading out on the river.”
The weekend generation schedule has been about the same. Expect low flows from here on out especially with Greers Ferry Lake being below pool.
The best bite has been early morning while there’s still some flow from the previous night’s generation schedule. And late evening the fish seem to be in any place with a little current; also the deeper holes along the moss beds.
Egg patterns, midges, small pheasant tails and San Juan worms have been working well.
(updated 10-6-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout fishing is “pretty good” on pink and white Trout Magnets above and below the shoals. Fishing is also good on brown trout-colored No. 3 Rapala Countdowns and 1/16-ounce olive Maribou Jig.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 454.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 10-13-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 454.93 feet mls as of this writing; it is 7.11 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet Mel and next few days is going to come down quite a bit more with generation in this hot weather, they are going to generate 6-8 hours a day. Very good time to be on the water to learn about the landscape in and around lake, take pictures or videos to help you remember spots try to later when it comes back up. Crappie are eating well on jigs, minnows, crankbaits, etc., from 8-45 feet. Walleye will eat crawlers and crankbaits 12-40 feet. Catfish are moving, feeding a lot all over lake and rivers on various baits. Bream are chasing moving baits and eating crickets and crawlers at various depths right on the bank out to 25 feet. Black bass are eating top to bottom on just about every bait made at present, out to 60 feet. Hybrid and white bass are eating top to bottom as well from 20-60 feet on metal and plastic baits; lots of fish being caught.
(updated 10-13-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said bass are good in 10-15 feet depth on deep-diving crankbaits and Alabama rigs. They are also good in shallow water, 2-5 feet deep, on square bills and topwater walking-style baits.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-13-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said crappie are good both in total catches and in size, on trotlines in early mornings on minnows (shiny honey color). Bass are good (up to 2 pounds) on the boats. Catfish are fair on trotlines. Bream are good but small, biting on redworms and crickets. The water is very low and you can see a lot of stumps, and also it’s very muddy.
(updated 10-13-2022) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) off Arkansas Highway 9 said the water level is about 2 feet low, probably the lowest in a long time. Clarity is good but a little dark. Surface temperature is 70-74 degrees, it is bouncing around.
Bream are being caught with redworms, just not many big ones. Bass are chasing the shad, late evening and early morning. Catfish are slow but should pick up. Crappie were starting, but have slowed down.
“It’s been slow but cooler weather should make it better. Really hasn’t been a lot of people fishing lately.”
(updated 10-6-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said the water level is low and muddy. Bass are biting early in the morning and some in the evening. Try using buzzbaits. Bream are up close to the shoreline and the boat docks and are still biting redworms and crickets. Catfish are best caught on jugs at night with goldfish. Crappie are 5-10 feet deep. Use small minnows or jigs.
(update 10-13-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, said water is about 1 foot low. Crappie are coming up a little more in 5-6 feet depth and biting on minnows for anglers trolling the channel or around the underwater brushpiles. Bream are good on the banks on redworms. Bass are good in the evenings in shallow water on size 12 bass minnows or white spinnerbaits. Catfish are on the bottom on nightcrawlers and goldfish.
(updated 11-11-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) says crappie are good here on minnows and jigs.
(updated 10-13-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that bass are good in 5-10 feet depth on mid-diving crankbaits and are biting shallow on spinnerbaits.
(updated 10-6-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that the lake has been turning over for over a week since the cold nights started. Fishing has been good especially for catfish and bream this week. Kentucky bass are still a good bite as well but are starting to slow. It’ll start slowing down after the lake finishes the turnover. Water temperature is in the upper 70s, ranging about 77-80 degrees most days.
Largemouth bass are fair. Reports this week of them starting to move toward the back of the creeks. Other reports of the bass being found on topwater still and shallow in and around the grass. Try using topwater lures likes Zara Spooks or Whopper Plopper, crankbait, Chatterbait and spinnerbaits. The good Kentucky bass bite is being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, while other anglers say they are finding them on brushpiles. Try using a Texas rig on brush or jigs. The spots are also being found mixed in with the largemouths.
White bass are slow; no reports this week. Crappie are fair. Reports of people catching them deep this week. They can be found in 25 feet of water. They seem to be biting best on small minnows and some jigs. Bream are good. Reports of bream being found a few reels off the bottom around 25 feet. Try using crickets and worms.
Catfish are great, Good reports of them being caught on trotlines this week. Chicken liver and crayfish are the go-to baits to use.
(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.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
At noon Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 7,017 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is at 9.46 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 7,576 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 10-13-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says water remains clear and normal. Anglers are finding crappie still at 2-3 feet deep and catching them on minnows and jigs. They’re catching a few bass, too. Everything is pretty much the same, he said.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 6,549 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 6,420 cfs. The elevation is 249.23 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.30 feet (flood stage is 23 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 3,349 cfs.
(updated 10-13-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says bass are good in backwaters on topwater walking-style baits, Whopper Ploppers and shad-colored square bills.
(updated 10-13-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good 10-12 feet deep on the river off the rock jetties on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in tuxedo color. Black bass are good on shaky head worms in 6-8 feet deep off sandbar drops in Little Rock pool. White bass are starting to move in around the dams and are being caught on silver spoons with white curly tail grubs. Bream are good on crickets and waxworms in backwaters in 6 feet depth.
(updated 10-13-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says crappie are hit and miss on the river. Catfish are good at night when the dam is flowing on skipjack (up to a 49-pound catfish being caught). Bream are good on redworms and crickets. White bass are chasing the shad.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 9-29-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said bream are good on crickets and redworms. The water is low. They heard no other reports.
(updated 10-13-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said autumn is here in full force in the Arkansas Ozarks with cool mornings and warmer afternoons calling anglers to the river. Water releases from the Bull Shoals Dam, the famous tailwaters of the White River, have been steady throughout each day for the last week: minimum flow during the morning followed by higher generation in the afternoon.
Rooster Tails with orange bodies and gold or orange speckled blades are producing good catches. If you’re not getting the desired result, turn to a dark colored skirt – mud brown, olive green or even black, depending on the area of the river you’re fishing. Any of a variety of spoons will bring some rainbows to your net – the Thomas Buoyant red/gold and silver/blue, one-sixth or quarter-ounce, or the brass and nickel/gold Colorados.
Success this week was also found using the smaller gold/black or rainbow trout floating Rapalas. If your favorite bait is worms, wait until later in the day when the afternoon releases are increasing the river level and keep your bait near the bank.
The browns have continued to move into spawning areas as their season gets underway, but quite a few still remain in their favorite spots on the gravel bars downriver. The favorite PowerBait color is slowly switching from yellow to orange as we move further into the spawn. The mornings are beautiful and chilly; bundle up and head on over to the White River for some great fishing.
“Wade fishers are able to find a sweet spot near the center of the river and boaters will need to stay in the narrow channel, so there will be competing needs. It’s breathtakingly beautiful these autumn days, so take care of one another, respect the resource and share the space. Hope to see you on the river this week. Fish Natural!”
(updated 10-13-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, says The fishing and the weather have been excellent. The leaves are changing colors. Spoons continue to be the go-to lure in the low water. Additionally, black jigs, rooster tails, lures with a spinner, and Rapala Countdowns have worked very well. Power eggs with shrimp, corn or worms continue to work well when the water rises. Since the weekend minimum flow from Bull Shoals Dam and limited generation from Norfork Dam has kept the river low with water at little more than 2+ feet in the morning and rising to 4 feet during the day. With this low water be careful when boating there are many rocks and snags now exposed or just under the water surface which can damage a boat or motor. There were not any trout stockings this week at the Calico Rock boat ramp.
(updated 10-13-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had no rain, cooler temperatures and brisk winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.9 foot to rest at 2.8 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 38.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 6.8 feet below power pool and 20.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.9 foot to rest at 3.5 feet below power pool or 13.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had some wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.5 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below power pool. With the current lake levels, expect lower flows and more wadable water.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. “We have had lower flows in the morning that have been fished very well. 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. My favorite has been a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper.”
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.
John also said, “A couple of weeks ago I had a three day guide trip with two brothers. They were both retired. One had been a physician and the other had been an engineer. One lived in Georgia and the other lived in Texas. Both were avid fly-fishers and had fished all over the United States. My problem with a three-day trip was to make it interesting. We had consistent flows of low water.
“The first day we had very low flows on the White, less than half a generator. Basically it was too much to wade and not enough to float. My wife, Lori, and I had fished it and done well at Rim Shoals. We fished from my river boat. The idea was to concentrate on the main channel where the trout were concentrated.
“I rigged their rods just like I had rigged for Lori and me. I tied on a size 14 flash back bead-head pheasant tail tied on a jig hook with a size 18 ruby midge dropper. I added a BB split shot and a strike indicator, then set the depth of the rig at about 4.5 feet. We launched my river boat and headed upstream carefully dodging rocks. We began catching trout immediately. We tore them up ending the day with over 60 trout coming to the net.
“The next day we decided to try something a little different. The Norfork was on the bottom. We drove over early and were on the water at 7 a.m. The water was due to be turned on at 2 p.m. and we wanted to get a full day in. We decided to eat lunch after fishing to maximize our fishing time. I rigged them up the same way we had fished the day before. We waded far up into the catch-and-release section. We were immediately into fish. The big difference from the previous day was that the fish were bigger and fought more fiercely. We were surprised that we had the spot all to ourselves all day. At 2:30 p.m., I expected the water to come up any minute. I convinced the guys to walk out. As we got to the access, the water began to rise. It was perfect timing. We had another 60-trout day.
“The last day, I was concerned. We had two great days of fishing. How long could I produce great fishing like that? The conditions were the same on the White as we had encountered on the first day. We began with the same rig and had the same results. The guys wanted to fish grasshoppers and we rigged up for that. We tried for a couple of hours and did not get a single take. No technique works every time. Despite this we still ended the day with 50 trout.
“It had been a great trip and the brothers are already planning their next. Life is good!”
(updated 5-5-2022) White River Trout Club (870-453-2424) says the river is high and muddy and they have had no reports lately.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 656.17 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at noon Thursday was 686 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 910.17 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 20 cfs.
(updated 10-13-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that the lake level is down more than 2 feet (656 feet at last check). The water temperature has dropped to around 73 degrees. Junk Fishing 101 has begun. We’re seeing typical fall patterns. The cooler nights have the shad starting to ball up. Turnover is still happening in the creeks. There are always a few shallow fish, so try a Chatterbait, square bill or spinnerbait in the skinny stained water early. There are a few fish there, but mostly small ones right now. Creeks up the lake seem to be further along and have shad further along and on the flats. Del suggests the early morning Plopper, buzz, or toad on channel swings, points and ledges covering water. Fish the windy side if you have any wind. Target bushes and rock transitions close to deeper water. The jig bite is starting to get better as the sun gets up. Target steeper banks and long points.
“For me, the deep bite has been best. Brushpiles are in play at 25-35 feet deep. Use a shaky head when the sun gets high. Move out toward the main lake and use a Jewel Football Jig in Bass Whacker or green-pumpkin blue. Keep the boat out around 40 feet.”
The drop-shot has been reliable with the pressure 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 553.22 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 206 cfs. Wednesday saw 4+ hours of generation (5-9 p.m.) averaging 2,480 cfs.
(updated 10-13-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 553.23 feet msl and was the same Wednesday as it was Tuesday with just a couple of hours of generation. It has taken 17 days to drop the last foot with no rain since Sept. 6. “We are getting a little rain on Wednesday but not nearly what we need. It is very dry. The lake remains in very good condition and is clearing from the top down after the turnover and you can see your lure down about 6-7 feet on the main lake and the creeks are also clearing after being very stained.”
Bass and crappie remain the best bite “but I did find some nice-sized walleye (Wednesday) on a main lake brush pile in 27 feet of water. They were right in the brush just a couple of feet off the bottom. It was windy on Tuesday and Wednesday and blew off a lot of fall foliage and also blew the baitfish from the north-facing creeks to the south-facing ones. Brushpiles on the northwest side of the entrance to creeks are holding fish at various depths from 18-30 feet and the windblown banks have some black bass on them and a lot of smaller Kentucky bass. More larger black bass are being caught than at this time last week. A few small temperate bass are being caught trolling, with most being hybrids in the 2-3 pound range. Bluegill are on top of brushpiles and under docks and biting crickets.
Scuba divers are having some of the best fishing all year and are on the big crappie and walleye. The surface water temperature was 75 degrees in the afternoon and 74 in the evening after sundown. Drop a spoon in the brush and use a crankbait and creature bait on the windblown banks.
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.
(updated 9-29-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Tuesday, “Norfork Lake has changed every day that I have been out. The surface temp is slowly dropping and the thermocline is dropping as well.
“I went to a flat where I had been fishing and doing quite well, but found that the fish have vacated this flat, no matter what depth I checked. After about 45 minutes of trolling and marking nothing, I headed northward. I found a large rounded point that was holding lots of fish. I landed a striped bass along with a couple mid-sized hybrids. Plenty of white bass were schooling in the same area. I found the fish in 42-45 feet of water on the bottom. My best bait today was the Tater Baits, Tater Shad in the white trash color. Previously, the spoon had been working the best, but today they only wanted this soft, shad-shaped bait with a chartreuse 3/8-ounce jighead. I found lots of bait from 35 feet out to 45 feet deep either on the bottom or suspended. There weren’t a lot of fish in the bait, but they will find it soon.
“Yesterday, I fished a log along a bluff line that was stacked with crappie and bluegill. I landed three nice crappie and several thumper gills. I was using the Tater Baits Small Fry in silver flash with a 1/16-ounce jighead. One of our guests landed a nice striped bass and a bunch of crappie several days ago.”
The surface water temp was around 78 degrees Tuesday morning and the lake level is dropping roughly an inch per day and currently sits at 553.95 feet msl. The lake is clear on the main lake and stained in the coves. “Have a great time fishing Norfork Lake.”
Lou posts nearly daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 10-13-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.5 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below power pool. With the current lake levels, expect lower flows and more wadable water.
There has been more wadable water on the Norfork in the morning and it has fished much better. 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). “My favorite rig has been a size 14 pheasant tail nymph and a size 18 ruby midge. The fishing is much better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.”
Dry Run Creek has fished poorly. 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. Carry a large net; most fish are lost at the net.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-13-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low but fishing well. With cooler temperatures, the smallmouths are more 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.
(updated 4-7-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) had no report.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,116.90 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). The release at the dam as of Thursday morning was 141 cfs. The Corps released about 3,800 cfs between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
(updated 10-13-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake continues to drop with the lack of rain lately. Lake level is at 1116.94 feet msl, which is around 5 feet below normal level. Water temps are in the lower 70s throughout the lake. Striper fishing has been fairly consistent the last couple of weeks. Fish can be found from Point 5 all the way to the islands at Prairie Creek. You just have to move until you find them as they are on the mouth south this time of year. Crappie are still scattered from brush in 15 feet of water to suspended in the almost-gone thermocline. Once the lake drops a bit more in surface temperature the crappie will load up on structure for the winter months. Walleye are still being caught on crawlers and trolled cranks. Look for points and humps adjacent to deep water. Catfish are still good, as are bream. Bass have been schooled up around the shad. Look in backs of major arms. Some really comfortable weather is on tap. Good luck and stay safe!
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 10-13-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said bass are all over the board – shallow, deep, on topwater, eating plastics. Fishing is in a transition phase. Crappie have been pretty good on minnows and jigs over brushpiles; a few still being caught trolling. Stripers are fair trolling live bait. Walleye are fair trolling deep crankbaits or bottom bouncers. Water is in the low 70s and clarity is good. Water level is low.
(updated 10-13-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said Tuesday that nothing has changed on the river just week. You just have to find the deep holes. Find the right ones and they will pay off.
He noted last week that the tailwater is extremely low. In fact, just mere inches in a lot of places up from Houseman Access. If you are fishing from the bank, you will have no problem reaching the deeper holes. If you are in a boat, good luck! If you are fortunate enough to get to some of the deeper water, try using light terminal tackle with Fire Eggs or Fire Bait. Adjust your leader accordingly for the feet of water you will be fishing. If the Corps of Engineers starts to generate, that will give you enough room to get a little further up by boat, but not much. Tuck in behind rock bars and structure to fish the slack water. If you want to avoid the real shallow stuff, up from Houseman Access – but once again, be careful and watch for obstructions. Try pitching some hard baits around the chunk rock and in the bends – you may get surprised with a smallmouth or walleye.
In the photo, one of Austin’s clients recently landed a nice 25-inch walleye in the tailwater.
“Remember to follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for additional information and frequent river updates. Hope you all are able to get out and catch some fish.”
(updated 10-13-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said crappie are OK on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on topwater and plastics. Catfish are good with the full moon on anything. Bream are okay on red worms.
Water is stained.
(updated 10-13-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing appears to be focused around bream and catfish, with nothing else reported or biting. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs, with best success for anglers fishing from the shore. Catfish are biting on blood bait and cut bait. Catfish are in deep water. No reports on crappie or bass.
The water took a big temperature drop earlier this week, with a 65.8-degree reading Monday. Water level has dropped to normal level and the clarity remains murky.
(updated 10-13-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reported Lake Poinsett is lower than normal pool due to lack of rain. Bream and catfish are biting well in deeper water on worms and catfish liver respectively. Bass and crappie are slower but still biting off of structure with some enticement.
(updated 10-13-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) had no new reports.
(updated 9-29-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said the Spring is flowing at 365 cfs, average flow, and water clarity has been clear. The river is low and clear. “We could use some rain but none is in forecast.”
Mark said, “The cooler temps have the trout hitting great chasing Woollies and nymphs. I have had a couple Euro nymphers with a YK2 and nymph wearing the trout out. Dry fly action can be had with caddis and blue-wing olives hatching daily. Just don’t be tricked by the fish rising to bugs in the shallows; they are usually really big shad.
“Catching the big shad on dries is a great way to get the best walleye bait! We’re starting to see some of the big rainbows starting to move around with the cool temps. The colder the weather the better for big trout on the spring.
“Smallies are still biting but have slowed some. The warm sunny days are the best for chasing the smallmouth. White Lightning has been my go-to for smallies this summer. Best technique was a big Hopper or popper with a White Lightning dropper. This almost always out-fished streamer techniques. On streamers, skull heads and lead-eye Woollies in olive and brown were hot. You need something heavy that gets down fast.
“The canoe hatch is over and the river is back to a beautiful trout dream stream. It should be April before we’re hearing the war drums of the canoe hatch again. Be safe out there! Wade safely and carry a wading staff.”
Check out Mark’s blog on the springriverfliesandguides.com site for the latest river conditions and what’s working for the fish.
(updated 10-13-2022) 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 Norfork rivers. 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 way down Thursday, at 4.96 feet and about 10 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage at its lowest point in quite some time, sitting 2.92 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta was down a foot from last week to 13.98 feet, or about 12 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 10-13-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said Thursday that anglers are not catching a lot on their portion of the White River.
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 2,641 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 30.92 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 4,102 cfs.
(updated 10-13-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report from the river.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 258.52 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 687 cfs, average for what has been released this week.
(updated 10-13-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake was about 8.5 inches below normal pool and falling. Clarity improved this week along Little River and oxbows. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 224 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam of about 775 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake. USE CAUTION IN NAVIGATION WITH POOL BELOW NORMAL CONSERVATION POOL! STUMPS AND OBSTACLES ARE NEAR THE SURFACE!
Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 68-72 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River slightly cleared up again this week; further up Little River the river clarity ranges 8-15 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.
* Largemouth and spotted bass continue randomly schooling on most areas of Millwood main lake body, Little River and the oxbows. Since last week’s report, the bass have been continuing their schooling activities lake-wide and and are active almost all day with the cooler water temps. Bass have been good and actively chasing shad over the past couple of weeks with excellent activity and aggressive feeding in Little River and the oxbows. Hot spots include creek mouths dumping/draining into Little River with lily pads and grass along primary points being key locations. Flats next to deep creeks and secondary points with lily pad stands are good target areas as well. Chunky 2- 3- and 4-pound bass have been the most aggressive at midmorning and most all day long. Good bass activity and topwater action are still happening early, hitting Spit’n Images, Chug Bugs, Pop R’s, Bass Assassin Shads or chrome Johnson Weedless Spoons in the pads.
These chunky largemouth bass, with an occasional 5-pounder blowup, are random and scattered horizontally along the edge of vegetation, lily pad stands near 4-6 feet deep flats with stumps tapering out into 9-12 feet of depth. Best reactions over the past several weeks are at daylight on a variety of topwaters. Best reactions have been in the clearer water in oxbows near deep drops. Bill Lewis Stuttersteps, Storm Chug Bugs, Shad Assassins, Heddon Spit’N Images and Cordell Crazy Shads all have been drawing good, random reactions on topwater at daybreak for several weeks now.
Johnson Chrome Spoons with a 3-inch curly tail Bass Assassin Curly Shad, or Bang Die Dapper trailer on back, soft plastic 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads and topwater soft plastic frogs have been drawing random good responses early in the morning in large lily pad clusters. Best colors of Bass Assassin Shads have been Salt n Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Pumpkinseed. They continue drawing good reactions with some JJ’s Magic chartreuse dye dip for a flash of color. Junebug, black or Pumpkinseed-colored Horny Toads and soft plastic frogs, in clearest water you can find in the oxbows, are working for a random blowup from 2- to 4-pound largemouth bass.
“We continue finding numerous schools of juvenile, adolescent, and adult size classes of Largemouth Bass ganged up in back of Mud Lake, Horseshoe, and McGuire oxbows, near creek mouth junctions and dumps into Little River this week also. These groups and different age classes of Largemouth are most aggressively chasing Threadfin shad all morning long into mid-day. Primary and secondary points along Little River, near the first and second entrance to Mud Lake, Hurricane Creek, Horseshoe, White Cliffs, all were holding decent schools of adult, adolescent, and juvenile class schools of Largemouth and Kentucky (Spotted) Bass over the past week. Good action was also noted in the flats at White Cliffs near the deeper section of the creeks with multiple schools blowing shad out of the water at the same time in numerous locations. These breaking fish were chasing and feeding on Shad, and were eager to bust a Rat-L-Trap or shad colored square-bill Little John and Bill Lewis SB-57 crankbait. It’s a great time to take a kid fishing!! Hammered Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons were also connecting with these breaking and schooling fish.”
Even after the sun gets up over the tree line after 9-10 a.m., schooling bass are continually chasing the threadfin shad and eagerly hitting medium-diving crankbaits like custom painted Little John Square Bills, Bill Lewis MR-6 or SB-57 Square Bill, and Bandit or Bomber Fat Free Guppys and Fingerlings Crankbaits working across 6-10 feet deep flats adjacent to 12-15 deep creek channel swings dumping into Little River.
* We found a few groups of 2- to 3-pound white bass and hybrid bass breaking on shad along Little River near Hurricane Creek and at the White Cliffs USACE campground area over this last week. Many continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and have been caught on vertical-jigging spoons and custom painted Little John Crankbaits, Bomber Fat Free Guppys and Bandit 200 Crankbaits along Little River. Tail Spinner Trap Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome/black back and chrome/blue back caught some 2-3 pound whites in McGuire last week. Fat Free Shad Crankbaits in Citrus Shad color, Little Georges, Beetle Spins, Rooster Tails, and Rocket Shads, Cordell or Kastmaster spoons also were working for white bass this week from 8-10 feet deep near ledges and vertical structure and randomly catching 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 the depths from 5-10 feet deep at random intervals over the past several weeks. Most of the white bass schools are still random and broken, although a few whites have been found schooling on large groups of threadfin shad up Little River near White Cliffs campground. Casting the Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons into the schooling whites and largemouths were connecting with rapid-fire action with numerous double hookups.
Creek channel mouths and flats along Little River that drain and dump into Little River, where little bit of current remains, are holding a few broken schools of white bass that hit on hammered Cordell Spoons with a white/chartreuse bucktail, 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 Fingerlings and Guppys in Citrus Shad and Tennessee Shad, or custom painted Little John Crankbaits were working over the past week across points extending into the oxbows and into Little River where the juvenile largemouth were feeding on shad.
* Crappie improved over the past week or 10 days with cooler water temperatures! Bee Lake, Mud Lake and Little River have been holding good groups of nice-sized 2-2.25 pound black and white crappie willing to bite minnows over the past week, 10-15 feet deep in Bee Lake in planted brush and in the river.
No reports on bream or catfish.
NOTICE: The American Gamebird Research Education and Development Foundation, under recommendation from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, is conducting a 5-foot drawdown of Lake Erling in Lafayette County to combat the spread of giant salvinia, a highly invasive aquatic plant species not native to the United States. Giant salvinia, a free-floating South American plant that has become a major threat to fisheries in the southern U.S., was first spotted on a small portion of Lake Erling in 2018. Since that time the AGFC and AGRED, the lake’s owner, have worked together to monitor and minimize potential spread of the invasive species through information campaigns. With the recent detection of the plant at nearby Mercer Bayou and the spread of the plant within Erling, AGRED worked with the AGFC to determine a plan that would help combat the aquatic nuisance species. The drawdown will remain in effect until March 1, 2023, at which time the 7,000-acre lake will be allowed to refill.
(updated 10-13-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Wednesday that crappie are really good out in the flats around 15 feet of water on minnows and gray blue/gray jigs. Bass are schooling a little bit around the lake with decent ones being caught. Catfish are really good on any live bait, all cut bait. Bream are really good on crickets.
Water is still dropping, down 2.5 feet below normal level.
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 538.64 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-5-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) had no report.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.26 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-13-2022) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) said not much has changed for Lake DeGray. I’ve spoken with several locals here that have gone to DeGray this last week. Several of them have told me that fishing has been extremely tough. Few of them have caught some crappie on jigs. Still some breaking action with a mix of blacks, hybrids and whites, but can’t really get them on much but a spoon or a small Rooster Tails. Fish just hasn’t regrouped yet since the lake had turned over last week. Should start getting better with the cooler weather moving in.
(updated 7-21-2022) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina
(updated 5-5-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) had no report
(updated 2-24-2022) Angler Charles Abernathy
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 430.26 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 521.82 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 10-13-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) says crappie are hitting a little bit in midwater on minnows and jigs. The water is low.
(updated 10-13-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says black bass and crappie are good on Bobby Garland Jigs in pink and white. The water is very low but clear.
(updated 5-12-2022) Slycked Back Fishing LLC, producer of the world’s toughest and Arkansas-built fishing products in Hot Springs, had no report.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-13-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, had no new reports.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 7,476 cfs. Elevation was 337.79 feet msl and the tailwater was at 286.23 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.)
(updated 3-10-2022) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 9-22-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded, aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs reports Lake Hamilton at normal pool with surface temps in the mid- to low 80s in all areas except the river channel. Water visibility is 10 feet or more. And summer continues – black bass, especially spotted Bass, are stacking up on main lake points and deeper flats. Shade or cover is vital with the ongoing heat and lake of cool water. The depth of 12-23 feet has had good numbers of “spots” that are very willing to take a drop-shot worm in seedless green or watermelon seed. Downsize your leaders to a 4- to 6-pound because of the water clarity. “When we finally get the water cooler, these fish will switch to a diet of 100% baitfish, but that has not happened yet.
“We searched for largemouth but were unable to locate an obvious pattern, but did have some nice fish follow a Zoom Horny Toad out from under docks in the river channel.”
Bream are thick in 10-15 feet of water in shaded areas. Crickets or live worms can fill a bucket in a hurry with some pan-sized fish that are hungry and aggressive. Crappie have been spotted suspended over brushtops in 20-30 feet of water but are extremely finicky eaters. Live minnows and 2-pound line are the best bet. “We didn’t target walleye or hybrids this week. Good luck and Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 342.05 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-6-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday that a variety of sport fish are fair in shallow water 3-5 feet deep. Black bass are fair on worms and shad-colored buzzbaits. Crappie are fair on minnows. Water is about 78 degrees.
Catfish are fair running trotlines with minnows and cut bait. Bream are good on redworms and crickets.
Water is about 78 degrees.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 567.91 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-13-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the crappie are still biting really well on live bait fished 15-24 feet deep over brushpiles. Fall has come early this year. Water temp is hovering around the 72-degree mark.
(updated 10-6-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. Topwater baits and drop-shot with a finesse bait seem to be working the best. No walleye reported. A three-quarter-ounce CC Spoon vertically jigged near structure should produce some of these fish, and a nightcrawler fished on a drop-shot or bottom bouncer will work, too. Stripers are still very good. Live bait is working the best on the eastern part of the lake. Bream are slow on crickets or worms in 15-25 feet depth on structure. Crappie are good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush in 20-30 feet depth. No reports on catfish. Water temperature has falling to 74-78 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 568.63 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 384.00 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 continues falling to 11.87 feet, more than 14 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 10-13-2022) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Potlatch Cook’s Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373) said the amount of anglers and the amount of success has really declined. “The lake is the lowest I have seen it. Fishing will continue through October then the lake will close as a waterfowl rest area,” he said.
Cook’s Lake is open up until late October 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.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.
AGFC Commissioner Meeting Notice
Dec. 4, 2023
Northeast Arkansas efforts highlighted at AGFC meeting
Nov. 30, 2023
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