Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Oct. 20, 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.
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://join.fishbrain.com/agfc-page
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 10-20-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said crappie are starting to pick up on minnows and jigs around the Highway 89 bridge and in the Gold Creek area. Water, though, is really low.
Catfish are fair; try all the basic catfish baits. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Black bass are fair; no baits were specified.
(updated 10-20-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) said Highway 89 bridge and Gold Creek and Pierce Creek are good for crappie fishing. Use on minnows and jigs in 4-6 feet depth.
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 10-20-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River has been receiving sporadic generation this past week depending on hydropower need. Expect this to continue with air temperature fluctuations and need change for hydropower from Greers Ferry Dam. This pattern will provide some wading opportunities, but always check generation schedule and be aware of unexpected schedule changes. 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 10-20-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout are picking up with the cooler weather on one-sixteenth-ounce Rooster Tails above and below the shoals and eating size 5 Rapala ShadRaps in deeper pools, along with pink and white Trout Magnets and size 5 Rapala Countdowns in brown trout color.
(updated 10-20-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said, “Fall weather is here and the Southwestern Power Administration has been running a little bit of water early in the mornings with the colder temperatures we are experiencing. This was not projected or posted on the USACE Little Rock app, so always check the ‘Release’ feature on the app to see what they are running. Especially if you are Wade Fishing.
“We are having low flows on the river unless we get a cold snap and they release water for power demand.”
The best bite has been early in the morning and into the evening. Eggs, Midges, Soft hackles have been working well.
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 10-20-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is continuing to fall with some generation in mornings and evenings as well; it leveled out just a bit with recent rains and the rain expected should raise levels some. It is 7.48 feet below normal pool. The overall catch rate is great for all species now. Crappie are coming in by the limits most days on jigs and minnows in 8-40 feet of water. Bream are eating crickets, crawlers and moving baits from super shallow out to 25 feet. No reports on walleye. Black bass are eating on top to bottom super shallow out to 45 feet on a variety of baits and different ways to fish them – points, humps, bends, in pole timber. Stay with shad and fish will be close. Hybrid and white bass are pretty much doing the same as black – top to bottom from 25-45 feet deep with 43 being a kind of magic depth over the years for this time of year. Spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and topwater baits will work.
“Be safe on water and wear that life jacket,” Tommy urges.
(updated 10-20-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the lake is 6.5 feet low, but water has cleaned up quite a bit. Bass are good in the early morning on topwater (Zara Spooks in particular) in clear or bone color with feather treble hook on the back of it. The bass continue to bite well during the day on half-ounce peanut butter and jelly football jigs and spinnerbaits on windy banks. Crappie are good in 20 feet of water around standing timber on gray and white jigs or white and blue jigs, as well as drop-shotting minnows.
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 was 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 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.
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 10-20-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says water still is clear and normal. Crappie are biting a lot better; anglers are finding them at 4-5 feet depth. Bass fishing is about the same.
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 10-20-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says there is hardly any flow in the river, while the clarity is stained from the most recent rain. The river has normal water level. Bass are good. They are schooling around bait fish on chrome quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps around sandbars and quarter-ounce white buzzbaits early in the morning. During the day, fishing is good on finesse jigs in green pumpkin color on the jetties and Bandit 200 in white or black crankbaits.
Crappie are good on white/chartreuse or orange/chartreuse jigs behind jetties in the pools in 10-15 feet of water. Crappie are around any bait fish.
(updated 10-20-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said there had been no change in the fishing since last week. They hear that 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 10-20-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says white bass are good on small shad at the dam. Catfish are good on skipjack. Crappie are good on Caney Creek on minnows and jigs.
(update 10-20-2022) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-626-6899) said crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Catfish are good as well use the typical catfish baits. The water is extremely low with plenty of stumps showing.
(updated 10-20-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said trout fishing on the White River in the north-central Arkansas Ozarks continues to offer all-day action for anglers of all ages as one of the most productive trout streams in the country. Releases from the dam have been heavier these past two days than over the previous several weeks because of increased power demands due to colder temperatures. Bull Shoals Lake is below its power pool of 659 feet msl elevation, currently recorded at 655.59 feet msl. The average river flow is lower than one unit (1,000-2,000 cfs) but that is subject to change with the heavier demand.
The rainbow catch was abundant this past week – if you were dangling a worm. Nightcrawlers and red wigglers bested the bubblegum pink scented worm in this lower water; however, the XFactor white worm is coming into its own along with white, garlic-scented PowerBait. Lower water level also means finding the deeper holes and drifting over them if you’re looking for the browns. Anglers last week had less success with the shrimp/PowerBait combo than usual, but found that alternating shrimp and worms over the course of the day provided more action.
The annual spawn is fast approaching, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t hook a brown every day.
“You’ll enjoy your fishing adventures much more if you come prepared for Arkansas weather extremes. This week we experienced a couple mornings with temperatures below freezing and the afternoon sunshine bringing temperatures to the upper 50s, low 60s. Whatever the weather, we celebrate life here in The Natural State and always look forward to meeting fellow trout lovers.”
(updated 10-20-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said Wednesday that “the last couple of mornings Mother Nature has sent a friendly reminder winter is just around the corner.
“Although the temperatures have been cold, the fishing has been hot. Late last week through Monday we saw low water (2 feet) in the morning, slowly rising by midmorning to about 4 feet. The last couple of days we are seeing a little higher water in the morning cresting at about 6 feet before slowly dropping again.
“During times of low water, nickel and gold Colorado Spoons worked best. Rapala Countdowns (rainbow trout-colored) also worked well. Once the water reached 3.5 feet and higher, drift fishing with Power Eggs topped with shrimp worked well. In the last week there was one trout stocking of 1,000 or more 11- to 12-inch rainbows and an additional 1,000 or more 6- to 8-inch rainbows.
(updated 10-20-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had about a half-inch of rain, cooler temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.4 foot to rest at 3.2 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 39.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 6.9 feet below power pool and 20.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 4.9 feet below power pool or 13.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had some wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.6 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had more wadable water.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are now 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,” John reports. “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.”
John also said, “After four years of high water, we finally have all of our lakes Levels well below flood pool and are now comfortably in power pool. When this occurs, control over generation changes from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (during the Vietnam war I was a lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers) to the Southwestern Power Administration.
“When the Corps of Engineers is in control its only thought is to get rid of the water as quickly as it can. SWPA, however, is more interested in selling the power generated during hours of peak power demand. Hence we are getting increased generation on the White and Norfork during the afternoon hours when power demand is greatest with little or no generation in the morning when power demand is less.
The reality of low water has been a mixed bag. On the White, most of the low water has been around 1,500 cfs or the rough equivalent of a bit less than half of one full generator. Before minimum flow, low water was just 50 cfs. With minimum flow, low water is 700 cfs, a significant increase that is marginally wadable at best.
“The 1,500 cfs is way too much to wade and, worse, it is not enough to float particularly if you have a propeller driven motor. I have been fortunate enough to find a nice section of the White River where I can get a decent drift. Even better, it is loaded with trout. The problem is that I am very limited as to where I can go. It is too high to wade and not high enough to drift. I have already torn up one propeller navigating through it. I always carry a spare prop and the tools to install it.
“The Norfork has been a different story. There has been plenty of low water. With minimum flow at 200 cfs it is quite wadable. The problem is that SWPA has scheduled a brief flow of maybe half a generator, or about 1,500 cfs or more, for an hour halfway through the morning. This is too much to wade and you have to get out of the river and wait a few hours for the water to drop out.
“The other problem is an unreliable schedule. I was scheduled to take my clients on a wade trip on Tuesday this week. They went wade fishing on Monday and got surprised when the water came up two hours early. They requested that I take them out in the boat on the White because they were concerned about the schedule on the Norfork. We went out on the White and did well.
“We do have wadable water but you need to be very careful. It could be too much to wade and not enough to float.”
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 10-20-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that the lake level is down more than 3 feet (655 feet at last check). The water temperature has dropped to around 70 degrees. Junk fishing with typical fall patterns in ongoing. The cooler nights have the shad starting to ball up and moving out to deeper water. Turnover is still happening in the backs of creeks. There are always a few shallow fish, so try a Chatterbait square bill spinnerbait or flipping brush in the skinny stained water in the early morning. There’s a few fish there, but hit or miss. Try a rock crawler on the channel swings on points and ledges. 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 goes up. Target steeper banks.
‘For me, the deep bite is still the best. Drop shot Damiki with a tater shad spoon or a Robo-worm 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 10-20-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 552.93 feet msl and has dropped 1.5 inches in the last 24 hours with several hours of running three-quarters of a generator. The White River at Newport is 2.75 feet, which is very low, indicating not much is being released into the White or North Fork rivers. It was very windy most of the week with the powerful cold front but it is sunny and cool now (Wednesday) with lighter winds. Highs are to get near 70 tomorrow (Thursday) and near 80 for the weekend. The surface water temperature has dropped to right at or just under 70 degrees with the cold clear nights. The wind and white caps stirred up the water a bit but it is still pretty clear and you can see your lure down about 6-7 feet on the main lake. Several schools of shad have moved into the area around Mallard Point to Cranfield Island and some smaller hybrid stripers and white bass are chasing them. They start off shallow from 20-25 feet of water early and then go deeper as the sun rises. Spoons jigged vertically are best, but trollers dragging umbrellas are also catching a few. Some black bass are with them. It is either feast or famine for the crappie. They go from not biting for several hours and then start fast for about an hour.
“I have had the best luck about 4-5 p.m. casting a Bobby Garland Jig on a 1/16th-ounce white with red eye jighead past the brush from 18-30 feet of water and letting it sink into it for about 10-15 feet. Crappie are mostly biting on the drop. When they quit, they quit.”
Jug fishermen are catching some catfish partway back in the creeks on live bluegill and they are biting better as the moon wanes. New moon is Oct. 25.
Walleye are on main lake points and are shallower than last week. They have paired up and are roaming but not too far from brushpile to brushpile looking for bait fish. Both scuba divers and spooners are doing well on them. The numbers are not high, but they are good-sized, ranging 20-24 inches.
Overall fishing is just fair but it has its moments.
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.
(updated 10-20-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new report. Lou posts nearly daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 10-20-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.6 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. There has been more wadable water on the Norfork in the morning and it has fished a 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 eighteen 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, as most fish are lost at the net.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-20-2022) 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.
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 10-20-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake continues to drop to lower, “something we have not seen in a while. This really cold air should finish off the turnover and usher in some good fall fishing.”
Stripers are fair/good depending on the day. They are moving south away from the dam area and will start to set up shop from Prairie Creek up to the river arms. A great place to look is around Point 12 in the coming weeks.
All species are moving. Crappie are starting to move onto brush and structure in and around main lake channels. Look around 20 feet deep or less as the water drops through the 60s and eventually into the 50s. The crappie bite will really ramp up soon. Walleye are still and flats adjacent to deep water. This time of year they will move all over the place. Just move and trust electronics. Trolled cranks and jig and minnows work well. Catfish are still available for those chasing them. Small bass are located in the back of coves hitting topwater early and late. The major cold snap should really help the overall bite.
“Stay safe and enjoy this beautiful lake!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 10-20-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said bream are good on red worms and crickets. Crappie are hit and miss on jigs and minnows around brush piles. Bass are sporadic and in various depths on crankbaits, buzz baits and spinnerbaits. Stripers and walleye are fair on big brood minnows. No report on catfish. Water is normal, maybe slightly low and a normal color.
(updated 10-20-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said Tuesday that it’s the same story again this week: nothing has changed this week. “I don’t foreseeing it getting better until we get significant rain. Just like the last report, you have to find the deep water. I wish conditions would improve. Have a good one!
He noted last week also 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.
“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 10-20-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said black bass are good on topwater baits and plastics. Crappie are good on jigs. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Catfish are good on everything. 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 10-20-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) had no new reports.
(updated 10-20-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said the river is getting low, with 330 cfs at the Spring and with very clear water the conditions have been tough. The cold temps has the leaves falling and can be a bother in the river. Sometimes there are ants on the leaves that can cause some dry fly action.
For trout lately big Y2Ks on sunny days and on really tough days smaller nymphs can work well just off the bottom of the river. On the easy days an olive or brown Woolly cast downstream with a fast short strip back is so much fun watching the fish chase down the fly. About twice a week this happens. We’re catching a few browns.
Smallies have slowed with the cooler temps. The ultra-clear water makes the largemouth bite pick up. Low clear water will get them chasing minnows, and shad. Watch for them along back eddies and slow water.
“Canoe season is over, gotta be careful on the river with the cooler temps. The river is very slick and can get ya wet quick. Don’t mess around find a warm place and get dry,” he said.
Visit Mark’s blog on the springriverfliesandguides.com site for the latest river conditions and what’s working for the fish.
(updated 10-20-2022) 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 10-20-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said Wednesday that the White River is very low and no one is really fishing right now.
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 10-20-2022) 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 10-20-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was about 9.5 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 near 675 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. USE CAUTION IN NAVIGATION WITH POOL BELOW NORMAL CONSERVATION POOL!! STUMPS AND OBSTACLES ARE NEAR TO SURFACE!
Surface temps stable this week, ranging 65-70 degrees, depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River slightly dirtied up again this week further up Little River with river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows is heavy stain, visibility about 10-20 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 specifics on fishing this week:
*”Well, the cold frontal passages this week have hammered the largemouth bass on the head and slowed the bite to a crawl. There are a few still randomly schooling on shad in the oxbows and along Little River, but have slowed with the drop in water temps over the past few days. Prior to the sub-freezing cold front hitting Millwood this week, the bass were 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 before the front included 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 a good target area as well. Chunky 2- 3 and 4-pound bass have been the most aggressive at midmorning to most all day long. Good Bass activity and top water action were still happening early, hitting Spit’n Images, Chug Bugs, Pop R’s, Bass Assassin Shad or chrome Johnson Weedless Spoons in the pads.
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 color of Bass Assassin Shads have been Salt ’n’ Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Pumpkinseed, and 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 blow up from 2- to 4-pound largemouth bass.
The numerous schools of juvenile, adolescent and adult-size classes of largemouth bass are still ganged up in many locations, but the aggressiveness has subsided except during the heat of the day in back of Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows, near creek mouth junctions and dumps into Little River this week. 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 and 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 were continually chasing the 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. Bomber Fat Free Guppys and Fingerling’s Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad continue to be good color choices, working along deep creek channels and points reaching out into Little River and 8-12 feet deep creeks dump into Little River. The Little John custom painted square bills, Rat-L-Traps and MR-6 or SB-57 continue working with Millwood Magic, Sneaky Shad and Tennessee Shad colors drawing best reactions from chunky largemouths along the Little River points and creek dumps from the oxbows, and further up river near Cemetery Slough.
* The white bass disappeared this week, but prior to the cold front, we found a few groups of 2-3 pound whites/hybrids breaking on shad along Little River near Hurricane Creek, and the White Cliffs USACE campground 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 Guppy’s, and Bandit 200 crankbaits along Little River. Tail Spinner Trap Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Chrome/Black back, 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 about 8-10 feet deep near ledges and vertical structure, 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 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 White Bass 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 Largemouth Bass were connecting with rapid fire action with numerous double hook ups over the past week.
* Crappie improved over the past week or 10 days with cooler water temperatures and continue biting well this week. Bee Lake, Mud Lake and the Little River have been holding good groups of nice size 2-2.25lb Black and White Crappie willing to bite minnows over the past week, 10-15′ deep in Bee Lake in planted brush and in the river.
* No reports on bream or catfish this week.
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 10-20-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Wednesday that crappie have slowed down a little bit. The water is down 3 feet. Catfish are really good. Bass are trying to school all over the lake.
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).
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 10-20-2022) 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 haven’t regrouped yet since the lake had turned over last week. Should start getting better with the cooler weather moving in.”
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 10-20-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says crappie are good on minnows and Bobby Garland baits. A lot of white/striped bass are being caught. Water is 4 foot low but clear.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-20-2022) 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 10-22-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded, aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, had no new reports from Lake Hamilton
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 10-20-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday that bass are fair on crankbaits and 12 inch worms in the color Apple Candy in 3-5 feet of water. Crappie have slowed down, but are still 7-9 feet deep on Tennessee shad and minnows. Bream have significantly dropped off. Catfish are good on hot dogs using noodles 5-7 feet deep. The water is 68-69 degrees, at normal level and has good clarity.
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 10-20-2022) 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. Stripers are still very good. Live bait is working the best; try the central part of the lake for the best striper opportunities. Crappie are good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush in 20-35 feet depth. No reports on bream or catfish. Water temperature continues to fall; the latest cold front drove it down to 65-70 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level continues to fall as well and on Thursday was 567.83 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(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.
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 10-20-2022) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Potlatch Cook’s Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373) said the lake had no fishing activity to speak of this past week. Last week, Wil had mentioned, “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.
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