Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Nov. 3, 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: Robert Halverson, who visits Arkansas several times a year from Florida to try out several of the state’s tailwaters, was throwing a streamer pattern recently called the Swim Coach and landed this dandy brown trout on a chilly morning on the Little Red River. Photo provided by Mike Winkler.
Quick links to regions:
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 11-3-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said crappie are on fire on jigs and minnows. Monkey Milk and white/chartreuse colors are very popular, but there’s really no color discrepancy among what the crappie will bite, as they are biting on everything.
Catfish are good on trotline minnows, shad, chicken liver and skipjack. Bass are good on jigs, spinnerbaits and anything that looks like bait fish. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. The lake is still low due to the area’s dry conditions, and it has the normal stain.
(updated 10-27-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) said crappie are good on minnows and jigs.
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 3,252 for 1 hour, between 9-10 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 11-3-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said the Southwestern Power Administration has been running very little water of lately at Greers Ferry Dam. “Nothing predictable as of now. The few days that we had a cold snap they ran water in the morning. I’d expect more of the same,” he said. “When it starts to get cold they will start running water for power demand and you’ll start to see an increase in the generation schedule.
“On the weekends they have not been running any water of lately on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.”
Always check the release feature on the USACE Little Rock app. The generation schedule is subject to change.
Mike says that on the Little Red, the best trout bite is after they run water and there’s some flow to the river. Fish the deep holes and oxygenated riffles. Midges, eggs and small nymphs have been producing. The streamer bite is also good when they run water. Small streamer patterns have been working well on a sink tip or intermediate sink line.
(updated 11-3-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout are good on an olive Maribou Jig just above and below the shoals. When they are running water at the dam, use a size 5 or size 7 Rapala Countdown in the brown trout color.
(updated 10-27-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River has been receiving sporadic generation. Expect this to continue with air temperature fluctuations and need 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 recommends pink and chartreuse-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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 454.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 11-3-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 454.24 feet msl and falling with some generation in the mornings and the evenings as well. It leveled out just a bit with recent rains, and the rain expected Friday should raise levels some. It is 7.8 feet below normal pool for this time of year.
The overall catch rate is great for all species now but part of lake has started to turn over so, with that said, stay away from turnover areas and fish other spots from the jungle. The west portion so for is starting to turn and anytime that happens it will be two weeks at least before bite improves again – good luck.
Crappie are coming in by the limits most days on jigs and minnows fished in 8-40 feet of water. Bream are eating crickets, crawlers and moving baits in super shallow water out to 25 feet. Still 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 and in pole timber are good locations – stay with shad and the fish will be close. Hybrid and white bass are pretty much doing the same as black bass – top to bottom from 25-45 feet deep with 43 feet being a kind of “magic depth” over the years for this time of year. Spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits, and topwater baits are recommended. Be safe on water and wear that life jacket.
(updated 11-3-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the lake is 8 feet low. Be careful of standing timber that would normally be covered. The water is clear.
Black bass are good. They are schooling early and late in the middle of pockets and creeks and are hitting clear Zara Spooks or Tail Spinners with swimbait on it and quarter-ounce chrome Rat-L-Traps. During the day, they’re biting Carolina rigs and football jigs in half-ounce sizes and peanut butter and jelly color. Shortly, Alabama rigs will be kicking off and will be really good to use for catching bass on Greers, they say.
Crappie are good in 15-20 feet of water on a natural color crappie jig or gray hair jig (eighth-ounce jig head).
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 11-3-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said crappie are good on minnows and Bobby Garland Jigs, and re moving to the shoreline in the early mornings and evenings. Black bass are good in deeper water (good sizes being caught). White bass being caught as well. Bream are slow. The water is low and a little muddy.
(updated 11-3-2022) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no reports.
(updated 11-3-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) had no updates.
(update 11-3-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, had no recent fishing reports.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
At noon Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 2,970 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 0 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 11-3-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says water is normal and clear. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good in 3 feet of water on plastics and crankbaits. Catfish are good on chicken liver.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 2,624 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 3,170 cfs. The elevation is 249.32 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.27 feet (flood stage is 23 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 3,104 cfs.
(updated 11-3-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says water is clear but stained in some areas and the water level is normal. Black bass are good on jetty points and sandbar drops on chrome/blue or chrome/black Rat-L-Traps and on bone-colored Spooks or Pop-Rs in the early mornings and late evenings. During the day, success can be had with bass throwing shaky heads off of jetties and finesse jigs in green pumpkin and orange colors slowly down the rocks.
Crappie are good in 10-15 feet depth on white/chartreuse and solid chartreuse crappie jigs around the jetties.
(updated 11-3-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good off the jetties in 8-10 feet depth on jigs. White bass are good below the dams on spoons. Catfish are good below Terry and Murray dams on cut skipjack.
(updated 10-27-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) says catfish are really good below the dam if you can get out into the flow; try skipjack for bait. In seven days, one man’s weight count for catfish that weighed over 15 pounds each was 375 total pounds of catfish caught.
White bass are running on Sabiki Rigs.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 11-3-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is low. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. No other catches reported.
(update 11-3-2022) Herman’s Landing (870-626-6899) is closed through January as the lake serves for resting the migrating waterfowl.
(updated 11-3-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “What a great week in the Arkansas Ozarks! The fall colors are not brilliant this autumn – you’ll see a pop of bright reds or orange once in a while – but come on over anyway, the fishing has been outstanding. Be prepared for cool mornings because we’re getting some fall temperatures (at last and then often only in the morning hours) but we still have some nice warm afternoons to enjoy. Releases from Bull Shoals Dam have been variable with minimum flows during the late evening and early morning, followed by a quick rise to almost three units (9,000 cfs) later in the morning. The lake at this writing is sitting at 654.74 feet msl and still dropping. This is over 5 feet below power pool for
this time of year.
The rainbows are loving the shrimp/orange PowerBait mashups. You might draw the attention of some browns (we have seen a fair number this week) with a sculpin, but never underestimate a frustrated brown if you tease him enough with a gold Cleo, an orange or mossy green jig or a peach/orange/yellow egg pattern fly. They are moving into their annual spawning grounds, too, so keep watch as they travel toward Rim Shoals and/or the dam. It will take a lot of time and varying baits to catch their attention at this time so remain patient, stay on the river and keep it fun. The holiday season is coming up and weekend getaways are being scheduled. Keep angling and we’ll see you on the river.
(updated 11-3-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had about an inch of rain in Cotter, cool temperatures and heavy winds (to include wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 foot to rest at 4.3 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 43 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.9 foot to rest at 8.4 feet below power pool and 22.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 4.3 feet below power pool or 13.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had wadable water. “On the White, the hot spot has been Buffalo 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 North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. 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, “There is always something new in fly fishing. That is what makes it so interesting. I remember 40 years ago when my brother, Dan, gave me my first Woolly Bugger. I asked, ‘How you fished it.’ He said, ‘It doesn’t matter.’ My life changed. Then 25 years ago on a trip to Montana I fished a two-fly rig. It rocked my world. Now I am looking at a new fly fishing technique: Euro nymphing.
“This has been coming on for the past few years. I have seen videos and read books on it, but never tried it. Then last week I was a participant in a Reel Recovery Retreat (which promotes the healing of cancer patients using fly-fishing). I was already a fly-fisher but am always eager to learn something new.
“One of the river buddies was Steve, a guide friend of mine, who happens to be the local expert in Euro nymphing. I asked him to work with me and introduce me to the technique. We used his gear and flies that were all first-class. He had an 11-foot rod with a special Euro fly line and a 25-foot leader. We kept things pretty simple and fished two flies. The flies were an egg and a mop fly, both tied on jig hooks. We also fished a normal nymph tied on a jig hook later. There was no additional weight and no strike indicator. There was a brightly colored section of the leader called a sighter. We fished one day on the North Fork River and one day on the White River.
“Steve had me flip the flies upstream. We fished the leader and not the fly line. The rod was pointed up to keep the flies on the bottom. We spent most of our time teaching me where to cast and how to get a good drift. I had plenty of bad habits from fly-fishing to overcome. I had trouble with the casting and sorely missed the strike indicator. I never sensed the take by watching the sighter. It was interesting to fish a tight line, and I eventually got to the point where I could feel the take. I learned a lot and was able to hook several and actually landed three.
“When I got home, I went out and bought a new 10-foot 3-weight fly rod, a 13-foot leader, a spool of sighter material, a Euro nymphing fly line and tippet rings (used to rig Euro nymph leaders). I already had a suitable reel, and Steve gave me a box of Euro flies all tied on jig hooks. I think I have everything I require.
“All I need now is a bit of time on a stream to put what I have learned to work. I look forward to it.”
(updated 10-27-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said Wednesday recent days have started with cool mornings and then warmed up to comfortable days. “We have seen varied generations from both Bull Shoals Dam and Norfork Dam. Late last week we saw the river levels up, but into the weekend the water got as low 2 feet. Starting Monday we saw higher water levels.
“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 above 3 feet.”
Since the last report there have been two trout stockings with a total of about 1,500 trout stocked at the Calico Rock boat ramp and another 1,500 at the Chessmond Ferry boat ramp.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 654.80 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 650 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 909.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 20 cfs.
(updated 11-3-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that the lake level is 654 feet, or about 4 feet below pool. Water temp is 64 degrees give or take.
Junk fishing with typical fall patterns. The cooler nights have the shad starting to ball up and moving out deeper 25-45 feet in the middle of hollows creeks. The main lake is clear. There are always a few shallow fish, try a Chatterbait square bill spinnerbait or flipping brush in the skinny stained water early. Use a buzzbait or Whopper Plopper covering water. There’s a few fish there, but it is hit or miss. Try a Rock Crawler on the windy channel swings points and ledges covering water and fish the windy side if you have any wind. Target bushes and rock transitions close to deeper water.
The deep jig bite is starting to get better as the sun gets up. Target steeper banks. For Del, he says, the deep bite is still the best at 35-45 feet. Drop-shot Damiki with a Tater Shad or Jewel Scope Shad and a jigging Rap Spoon or a Roboworm has been reliable with the low pressure post-front 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, 552.70 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.25 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam at noon Thursday was 204 cfs. Wednesday saw generation from 7 a.m. to midnight that of generation (5-9 p.m.) averaged 2,480 cfs.
(updated 11-3-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 552.82 feet msl as of Wednesday morning and has dropped three-quarters of an inch in the last 24 hours with about 8 hours of running three-quarters of a generator. They seem to like three-quarters of a generator and just vary the times they run it. There is not much effort to drop the area lake levels. The surface water temperature is around 66 degrees and has held steady with the warm weather in the main lake and warming quickly in the backs of the creeks. The runoff from last week’s rain has moved downriver and is now in the Blackburn’s Creek area, diminishing the water clarity, “but has either dropped out or not gotten to the area around Robinson Point where I have been fishing which is much clearer.
“The fish that I caught Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning were on brush, on and just to the inside of main lake points about 20 feet down. Several smallmouths are showing up on the inside of points just partway back in the creeks and some are in the 3- to 4-pound range. Walleye and crappie are together and black bass are together in different places.
“It has been very foggy in the early mornings making navigation difficult and dangerous, and does not burn off until about 10 a.m. It is not worth going out to get fish and endangering other people who also should not be out there. You may be able to navigate with GPS, but cannot see other boats that may be parked or running too fast.
“It has been nice not having wind, but it should pick back up with a low pressure moving in on Friday, bringing a good chance of rain. When that happens, fish windblown shoreline for bass until it rains you out.
“There are schooled temperate bass chasing shad from Mallard Point to Cranfield Island in the mornings in about 30 feet of water, and trollers are catching some white bass and 3- to 4-pound hybrids dragging umbrellas and crankbaits with weights clipped on the line in front of them to get them down and through shad.”
Overall fishing is just fair but improving and the lake is in excellent condition and at a good level. For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.
(updated 11-3-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at a foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.1 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 well 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 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 pheasant tail nymph size 14 and a ruby midge size 18. 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 11-3-2022) 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 1,115.91 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 ranged from 2,981 to 3,929 cfs from 7 a.m. to just past 11 a.m. There was a simnilar release on Wednesday.
(updated 11-3-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said the Beaver Lake level is dropping down to the 1,115-foot range, which is as low as it has been in some time. “What this means is that lots of hazards are starting to be in play. If you’re new to the area and not familiar with areas, please be careful. Fishing is fair and still sputtering a bit. If we could get some cooler weather and bring lake temps under 60 degrees, fishing would uptick.
Spotted bass are actually doing well on cranks and swimbaits. Look from Point 12 down to Horseshoe Bend for the best action. Stripers are on and off depending on the day. They are scattered from Rocky Branch up into the river arms. That bite also will see some great improvement as water continues to cool. Crappie are tough. You can catch them as they are in structure in and around 15 feet deep. Jigs and minnows will produce. Catfish are good.
“All in all the weather is great and the lake is beautiful this time of year. Always great to wet a line. Be safe and watch for hazards,” he said. Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 11-3-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said catfish are fair. Crappie are good around the brushpiles and are biting mainly minnows. Black bass are very slow right now and starting to school a little bit.
(updated 10-27-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “I wish I could say the river conditions improved with the last 3 inches of rain we had, but that is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, if you are a shore fisherman, you can find plenty of holes to pull nice fish. If you’re fishing from a boat, you are pretty much limited to Table Rock.
“The best response we have gotten this past week has been with Pautzke Fire worms and Fire baits. Fish the worms on a 1/16-ounce jighead on bottom, twitching it every now and then. The color of worm that has produced the best has been pink and white. If you are fishing with Fire bait, use light terminal tackle, also fished on the bottom. If you are shore fishing, look for deep holes from Spider Creek to Parkers bottom. Towards Holiday Island, we are still on the fall walleye bite. Try trolling crank baits and jigging live minnows. Once again, look for the deeper water. Let’s hope we get some more rain and the river levels improve. Hope you’re able to get out and catch some fish! “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 10-27-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said black bass are fair on plastics. Crappie are good on jigs. Bream are fair on redworms. Catfish are pretty slow. Water is stained but clearing up.
(updated 11-3-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said she heard reports of bass and crappie being caught this past week. Crappie were good on minnows and jigs. She wasn’t aware of the baits being used for bass, but said the bite was good. No reports on bream or catfish.|
Water level is normal and the clarity is usual murky. Water temperature continues to fall; Monday is was recorded as 60.9 degrees.
(updated 11-3-2022) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reported had nothing new to report from Lake Poinsett. Remember that bass and crappie are catch-and-release only as the lake’s sport fish build back up after Poinsett’s renovation work. Bream and catfish also abound.
(updated 11-3-2022) 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 11-3-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water level on the Spring River is fishable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. 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 on the rise and at 6.82 feet and about 8 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage is on the rise at 4.16 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta is up slightly to 14.48 feet, or about 11.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-3-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said Thursday that the White River is very low and they’ve heard no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam at Pine Bluff was 6,093 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.43 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 3,929 cfs.
(updated 11-3-2022) 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: 258.71 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 674 cfs, average for what has been released this week.
(updated 11-3-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake was about 6 inches below normal pool and on the rise. 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 672 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 webpage linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 64-67 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River is slightly clearer this week and further up Little River, with river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of the oxbows is normal stain, visibility is about 15-25 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.
Note: The Millwood State Park Marina has closed for the winter season. It will reopen March 1, 2023. The Millwood State Park IS OPEN for camping, and the State Park Office can be reached at 870-898-2800 for availability or additional information. Corps of Engineers Campgrounds are open for camping. Millwood Lake’s various USACE parks current status, information and reservations may be made by calling (877) 444-6777 or the Millwood Tri-Lakes office at 870) 898-3343.
Mike also had these updates from this week’s fishing:
* : With the unseasonably warm dog days of “summer” recently, the largemouth and spotted bass continue their randomly schooling on shad in the oxbows and along Little River, and have drastically improved over the past few days. Bass have been good and actively chasing shad over the past several 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 a good target area as well. Chunky 2-, 3- and 4-pound bass have been the most aggressive at midmorning and most all day long. Good bass activity continues happening throughout midday hitting square bill cranks, shad imitation custom painted Bent Pole Little John Crankbaits, Bandit Splatterback Crankbaits, Millwood Magic Rat-L-Traps, and chrome Johnson Weedless Spoons in the pads.
The 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. June bug, black or Pumpkinseed-colored Horny Toads and soft plastic frogs, fished 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 largemouths are still ganged up in many locations and feeding on threadfin shad. Better aggressiveness returned this week with milder daytime temps 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. 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 eager to bust a Rat-L-Trap or shad-colored square-bill Little John and Bill Lewis SB-57 crankbait. Hammered Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons were also connecting with these breaking and schooling fish.
* White bass returned to biting this week, “and we found a few groups of 2- to 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 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- to 3-pound whites in McGuire last week. Fat Free Shad Crankbaits in Citrus Shad color, Little Georges, Beetle Spins, Rooster Tails and Rocket Shads, and Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons also were working randomly this week in the oxbows from 12-16 feet deep near ledges and vertical structure. 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 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 recently.
* Crappie improved over the past week with more stable water temperatures and continue biting. Bee Lake, Mud Lake and the Little River have been holding good groups of nice size 2- to 2.25-pound black and white crappie willing to bite minnows over the past week, 12-17 feet deep in Bee Lake in planted brush and along Little 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 10-27-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday that crappie are back to biting well with limits being caught in the creeks on minnows and white/silver jigs. Catfish are excellent on any kind of bait. Black bass are good schooling in late afternoons on topwater lures.
Water is low (3 feet). Warning: Don’t run the boat lanes because you will get stuck.
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 537.41 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-3-2022) 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 397.97 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-3-2022) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) had no new reports.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 431.38 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 521.76 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 11-3-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) had no new reports.
(updated 11-3-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said Wednesday that there was a lot to report over the last couple of days. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs, but they are small in size. Black bass and hybrid bass are fair ranging 3-5 pounds. Water is low and relatively 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 11-3-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 60 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The months of September and October routinely offer angler’s little opportunity for fishing in Lake Catherine around Carpenter Dam with the rainbow trout season over and the majority of area fish species having completed their spawning cycles and returned to the main lake body. Mid-November marks the return of the AGFC’s fall trout stocking program, which will create a solid fishing environment for the public. The influx of healthy rainbow trout to the lake rejuvenates the tailrace to an earlier scenario of quality fishing.
The annual lake drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine began Tuesday, Nov. 1. A 5-foot drawdown is scheduled with each lake lowered 6 inches per day for 10 days. Refilling will begin somewhere between March 1-8, 2023, with the process expected to be completed by March 15. A 5-foot drawdown on Lake Catherine creates dangerous conditions for wade fisherman and boaters alike, so caution is advised when navigating the tailrace area.
Entergy will schedule daily generation from Carpenter Dam during this period, so the public is advised to read the Entergy Hydro website news for updates on lake conditions.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 0 cfs. Elevation was 337.38 feet msl and the tailwater was at 285.38 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.)
(updated 11-3-2022) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 11-3-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded, aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, had no new reports. Lake Hamilton’s 5-foot drawdown has begun.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 342.28 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-27-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday that crappie are a little slow on minnows fished over brushpiles in 5-7 feet depth. Anglers are catching a lot of catfish. Bass are good on War Eagle Spinnerbaits and crankbaits. They’re also catching a few bream, but not a lot. The water is clear and low with a surface temperature of about 69 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 10-20-2022) 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 10-27-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said crappie aren’t stacked up as they once were, but they’re still there. “We’ve been fishing minnows under corks 18-24 feet deep over brushpiles in 28-35 feet of water.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.34 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 11.47 feet, more than 14.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-3-2022) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Potlatch Cook’s Lake Nature Center (870-241-3373) said the lake is now closed to fishing while it serves waterfowl rest area. Cook’s Lake will reopen for fishing after waterfowl season. 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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