Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
June 3, 2020
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for June 3, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: https://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: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are conducting herbicide applications to Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir over the next several months. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with water from the lake until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake, restricting access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hindering native wildlife and fish populations. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 6-3-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is its normal stain. Water level has returned to normal. Bream reports continue to be good. They’re biting redworms, crickets and Dynamax Jigs. Crappie are good. Anglers are having success with minnows, jigs, hand-tie jigs and Dynamax Jigs, with white/chartreuse colors working best. Black bass are good. Try spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, topwater lures, poppers, frogs and buzzbaits. Catfish are biting well on stinkbait, goldfish, bream and nightcrawlers.
Little Red River
(updated 6-3-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with one unit running round-the-clock. They are using Greers Ferry to regulate the electrical grid due to large releases at Bull Shoals and Table Rock on the White River. Due to heavy spring rains these lakes are at their maximum level and both generators and spillway gates are being used to lower these levels. “I was informed that this schedule would continue for several days, so it would be best to check the daily Southwestern Power Administration (swpa.gov) forecast before planning your trip,” Greg says.
“Wade fishing is not an option on the Little Red while we are on this schedule. Drift fishing with large nymphs, San Juan worms, and micro-jigs is the best option. Be aware of docks and obstacles while drifting since the current will be stronger than the last few mornings. Stay safe, and good fishing!”
(updated 5-27-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) says the Greers Ferry Lake level is still above seasonal pool. Recent rains have caused the Little Red River to be off-color occasionally. However, daily generation helps clear it up to fishable conditions. Generation pattern has been unpredictable recently, but most days see lower water providing wading opportunities especially in the mornings. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the 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. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends San Juan worms, caddis pupa, hare’s ear, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and white bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Be safe while enjoying the river.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 469.21 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 469.30 feet msl and on the rise. It is 6.76 feet above normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet msl. Crappie catching continues to be good in and around bushes and now out to pole timber and brushpiles, from super shallow out to 25 feet on jigs and minnows. Catfishing is good all over the lake and rivers, with the flathead spawn upon us; use cut and live bait for any application. Walleye are scattered with the new rise and not a lot of sun. When things level out they should get grouped up good right outside of bushes and even in some bushes, Grubs and crawlers are working best. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating at will all over lake and in the rivers on grubs, inline spinners and spoons. They’re found right in front of bushes out to 30 feet. Black bass are chewing well with shad spawns, and just plain eating after their spawns, on a variety of baits in a variety of places. Bream are doing well all over lake with limits coming in use crawlers, crickets, small inline spinners and crankbaits.
(updated 6-3-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the water is high and the clarity is clear. Bass are biting in the early mornings on Whopper Ploppers in white and ghost minnow colors. Caroline rigs are also working in 10-20 feet of water, and Gitzits are getting hit around trees. At night the bass are biting on black/purple spinnerbaits and plum apple Old Monster River Tail Worms.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-3-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the clarity is “pretty clear” and the water is back down to normal level. Bream are good. They’re biting both redworms and crickets. The crappie bite is good at 13-14 feet depth on minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair; no other details were provided. No reports on catfish.
IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ANGLERS: The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has issued an advisory for Overcup Lake until further notice. The temporary advisory is the result of a blue-green algae bloom. AGFC biologists said boating and fishing are allowed but urge visitors to avoid the algae when on the lake. Anglers are encouraged to wash and cook fish appropriately. The AGFC posted signs to alert visitors that swimming is not allowed on the lake until the algae bloom has dissipated or tests confirm that it is safe. The AGFC already prohibits swimming in Lake Overcup, but any incidental contact should be limited. Pets should be discouraged from swimming, wading or drinking the water. Any area of skin that has come into contact with algae should be washed with soap and water. If your pet does ingest lake water and becomes increasingly lethargic or vomiting, contact your veterinarian immediately. Some types of blue-green algae produce natural toxins or poisons. When these algae die and break down, toxins can be released into the water. The AGFC, in coordination with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, will continue monitoring the blue-green algae level. For more information on the advisory status on Lake Overcup call the AGFC Mayflower Regional Office at (877) 470-3309 weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Also, employees and contractors with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are conducting herbicide applications to Lake Overcup over the next several months. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with water from the lake up until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake, restricting access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hindering native wildlife and fish populations. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 5-20-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said Overcup’s water level is up 1 feet above normal, while surface temperature Tuesday was around 72 degrees. Clarity is off merely from the rain and wind. Black bass are doing well on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing also are doing well on jugs and trotlines baited with perch or big trotline minnows. Bream are slow, but they were doing well before the temperature change and the rain. Crappie are being caught on small minnows and jigs. Some crappie are being found in 3 feet of water and others in 6 feet depth. Johnny says, “Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop on Highway 9 for all your fishing needs.” Also, visit Johnny’s Facebook page (Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park) for the latest updates and photos.
(updated 6-3-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), said the lake is fairly clear and the surface water temperature is ranging 70-75 degrees. Water level is high. Bream reports are good. Crickets are working great, and David reports he has crickets in stock. Crappie are good. They are 12-20 feet deep in underwater brush. Use minnows. Black bass are good. They are found at 5-6 feet depth and are hitting on top of the water when it warms up during midday. They’re being caught using goldfish, David said – “a lot of people do not have bass minnows” –l and on jigs. Catfish are biting well on jugs and trotlines baited with goldfish.
(updated 6-3-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland had no report.
(updated 6-3-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers have been telling Lisa they’re catching catfish on fresh chicken livers, minnows, bait shrimp and stink baits. Bream are moving up shallow, biting crickets and redworms and brown Rock Hoppers. Bass are doing best in the morning on black salties and floating worms. Crappie fishing has seemed to pick up later in the evening with crappie minnows and pink ones, too. Also with the crappie nibbles.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 6-3-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been doing well on crickets and worms in both ponds. Crappie fishing has been better in the back pond but most have been small to medium sized. No. 6 crappie minnows are catching them in the last hour of daylight. Catfish have been biting slow to fair for customers using minnows, fresh chicken livers and bait shrimp. Bass are liking black salties, goldfish and live crawdads. And also red/ black core Trick Worms and watermelon /red Trick Worms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 6-3-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says bream fishing has been fast and fun for customers using crickets and redworms. Catfish have been biting minnows, worms and goldfish and black salties, and bream especially, on trotlines. Bass are biting minnows, small spinnerbaits and lizards and Rebel Crawdads. Crappie are biting fair on crappie minnows and Kalin’s Grubs.
(updated 6-3-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crickets and redworms have been catching some really nice bream. Look for beds in shallow water but don’t forget to fish around deep structure as well. We’ve seen some big ones come from deep water on Lake Norrell. Catfish have been biting fair at night on nightcrawlers, minnows, fresh chicken livers and live crawdads. Bass have been biting early in the mornings, late in the day and at night on buzzbaits, floating worms and black salties. Crappie have been fair on crappie minnows and Kalin’s Grubs.
(updated 6-3-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are biting crappie minnows and various colors of Bobby Garland and Kalin’s jigs and grubs. Cajun Cricket and Tennessee Shad are the hottest colors right now. Some really nice bream have been caught on crickets. Both bass and catfish are hitting live crawdads, goldfish and black salties.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 5-20-2020) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said he didn’t have a lot to report from the last couple of days as the river went on a high rise again. But earlier last week, a longtime customer and his wife stopped in after not haven’t been in the area in three years, the flow was around 60,000 cfs and they were catching catfish, particularly flatheads, using sandworms, Charlie reports. The customer then tried skipjack but didn’t fare as well. A week ago Monday, a father and son who also enjoy going after the catfish but hadn’t been out in the area in a while went out with skipjack, nightcrawlers and shrimp, “and everything they caught was on nightcrawlers,” Charlie said. “I don’t know if it’s because they (the Army Corps of Engineers) have been flushing the water through the river, but the water is muddy so worms are probably best.” That pair of anglers was fishing on top of jetties and throwing on both sides, pitching them over on the current side or the noncurrent side and catching fish on both sides in 4-5 feet depth, he said. Other than those reports, it’s been real spotty, he said. “You get back up in some of the creeks, like Point Remove Creek, get back in that when the water is not flowing and the fish are around the wood structure, they are catching largemouth bass on shallow-running crankbaits in various colors – chartreuse, orange with black – and spinnerbaits. They aren’t big, but they are 2-pounder range.” Also on the Petit Jean River when water flow isn’t too high on the river, anglers have been catching both bream and crappie on redworms. Crappie are also biting jigs in chartreuse/black or chartreuse with red heads and dark-colored skirts, he said.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 6-3-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water has clear up and is stable. Water level has dropped to normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie reports are fair. The good spring bite is pretty much over; crappie have spawned and have moved off the banks into deeper water. Black bass are good. Anglers report catching them early as well as late in the day. Go with a spinnerbait, worms or soft plastics. Catfishing is good using chicken liver, cut bait, prepared bate “or pretty much anything,” Ray said.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 6-3-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no new reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-3-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river continues to have a small craft advisory, is high and has a cloudy clarity. No reports.
(updated 6-3-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no report.
(updated 6-3-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-3-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
(update 6-3-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the lake clarity has a fair quality and the level is normal. Bream fishing has been excellent; use worms or crickets. Crappie reports are fair on minnows and jigs. No reports on black bass. Catfishing is good; use worms, hot dogs or nightcrawlers.
(update 5-27-2020) Wil Hafner, AGFC education specialist at Cook’s Lake off the White River, reports having made a few trips Peckerwood Lake recently. The bream are really starting to pick up and can be caught on redworms and crickets. Bass are biting frogs and jigs. The bream should really lock on to beds in the upcoming week with the next full moon being June 5.
(updated 6-3-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “We are experiencing very high water levels on the White River, the tailwater of Bull Shoals Dam, in north-central Arkansas. The three dammed lakes in our watershed (four when you include Norfork Lake) are at maximum capacity (at or very near the prescribed flood pool amount) and the Army Corps of Engineers has begun to reduce lake levels, releasing water through standard means and via the flood gates, over the spillways. Current releases are 27,000-plus cfs. To date, we haven’t heard of any adverse effects to homes, businesses or access points downstream from Bull Shoals Dam.
“The guides on our waterways have already adjusted to the high water, the trout will settle down in a day or two, and fishing continues. Bank fishers should keep a good supply of worms to thread up the shank of a No. 6 bronze Aberdeen hook and a few quarter-ounce spoons handy (red-gold or copper colored works best on these sunny days). Be prepared to cast and retrieve quickly. If possible keep your bait near the banks – the trout love to dine on the fresh food supply on a grassy bank or lawn. We suggest that boating be confined to the professionals while the water is this swift. The guides have successfully met and exceeded daily keep levels for their customers. Browns are surprising us by biting at worms, but mostly smaller sculpins and the elusive red-fin minnow. Be safe. Keep your life jacket on while on a boat. See you at the river.”
(updated 6-3-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reports that the spillways are open. Lots of rainbows were caught the past week, and there was a lot of water. Water clarity overall is fair with a lot of moss, they say. Overall fishing for trout was good.
(updated 6-3-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last week they had several rain events (combined for a bit over 2 inches), warmer temperatures and heavy winds. “This is the same thing that I wrote last week,” he said. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 5.2 feet to rest at 33.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 0.1 foot above the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 5.2 feet to rest at 14.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.1 of a foot above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 1.2 feet to rest at 8.4 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.1 foot below the top of flood pool. The White had moderate generation and limited wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.3 foot to rest at 22.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 0.7 foot below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had moderate flows and no wadable water. The lakes of the White River system are over or very near the top of flood pool. Expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (sizes 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a size 14 pheasant tail with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it).
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 694.72 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said fishing has been about the same for the past two weeks. The lake is “pretty clear,” he says, but the upper lake is really dirty. Bull Shoals is 31 feet high as of midafternoon Tuesday. Bream are fair; fish around the bluffs for the best activity with worms or crickets. A random crappie or two can be caught, Del says; minnows or jigs will work. Black bass are good on topwater baits such as Zara Spooks, as well as poppers. No reports on catfish, white bass or walleye. Visit Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for video with more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 579.11 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 5-20-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “Hoo-ray the Norfork Lake threadfin shad have finally started their spawn and the stripers and hybrids are feeding heavy. The bass are also feeding and with this week’s upcoming weather pattern we should see an explosion of fish activity. Get your swimbaits and Zara Spooks ready for a workout.
“We have been fishing from Crystal Cove to Big Creek and finding and catching limits. The fish are relating to bluffs and points near the bluffs and also big flats that drop off into the channel. If the south wind has been pounding a north point for a day or so, make sure you fish it. The fish are chasing the shad that has been blown into the point. With the high water the bait is now in the brush covered by water, the shad must spawn on objects. The fish will be feeding on the shad, so make sure you work the shoreline with your baits. Good places to look are Cranfield Island and points heading north, Crystal Cove, Diamond Bay, and the points heading south like Thumb Point. The walleye are biting on bottom bouncers with nightcrawlers. They are relating to the old shoreline in 18-24 feet off the points. The crappie are still deep and they are being caught trolling flicker shad over deep brushpiles.
(updated 6-3-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 5-27-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.3 foot to rest at 22.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 0.7 foot below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had moderate flows and no wadable water. The lakes of the White River system are over or very near the top of flood pool. Expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come. The Norfork is fishing better. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper. The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing very well. With the coronavirus pandemic there is little pressure. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and mop flies.
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 soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 6-3-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off-color. John’s favorite fly on these waters is a 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 Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,129.01 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is still high but stable for the last week. Water temps are in the 70s. “The biggest change is the thermocline is setting up,” he said. “This happens when the surface temps reach 80 or so. Locating the thermocline is important in that fish will suspend right where it starts. Right now it is starting to show at 30 feet as of today. Crappie are starting to be caught on Bandit 300s. I have been trolling them at 2 mph and catching some nice slab crappie. Look in creek arms like Piney and Nelsons Hollow. Point 12 is also holding fish. Walleye are fair and should get better. Stripers are still good; the only problem is bait has been hard to get lately. Look in mid-lake area. White bass are starting to school up and there has been some topwater in and around Rocky Branch. Catfish are good. Bream are good, also.”
(updated 6-3-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said stripers are biting in the early morning on topwater baits. Bream reports are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair; they report that fish are nearly finished spawning. Anglers are catching them trolling deep in the brush. Black bass are good. Use spinnerbaits during the day, but make sure to throw topwater lures in the early morning. Target the brush. Catfishing has been good, as they seem to be spawning around the rocks. Clarity is fairly clear, the water continues to be high.
(updated 6-3-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says that with all the water in the river, along with seven spillway gates being opened and 1 generator online at Beaver Lake dam, fishing has been quite tricky. However, if you could get out in a boat, you might be able to catch a few trout. “I have not caught any other species other than trout. Most were caught upstream from Bertrand Access, throwing various spoons and crankbaits. The trick was to get the bait down as far as possible. Where it is normally 6 feet, in some areas it was 20 feet. So using deep-diving crankbaits or letting the spoons fall was the key.
“No hot spot to report, as the fish were to spread out. As of (Monday), the gates have been closed and the river has already dropped a couple of feet in a few hours, so the bite should pick back up. We have some good weather ahead and it will be perfect to get out and fish. Have fun and stay safe.” For more information, contact Austin through his Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service).
War Eagle Creek/Beaver Lake Area
(updated 5-20-2020) Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) says smallmouth bass are biting excellent this week from Withrow State Park/Arkansas Highway 23 North bridge access to War Eagle Mill area on live worms or plastic worms. White bass are excellent below the mills to Beaver Lake, and there is great snagging from Mills Bridge for sucker and red horse. In Big Clifty arm and the Rambo area of Beaver Lake, Kentucky bass fishing is excellent in the clear-water portions and some white bass have been caught in the Hogs Scald area, along with excellent flathead catfishing using perch. Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting on Facebook for photos; call 479-530-3262 for guided trips and for free water access and parking.
(updated 6-3-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) has reopened. The lake is a little stained with a surface water temperature of 68 degrees. Lake level is normal. Bream are good using worms or crickets. Use minnows for the good crappie bite. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and wacky worms. Catfish reports are poor, as they are preparing to spawn.
Lake Fort Smith
(update 6-3-2020) Ralph F. Donnangelo, park superintendent, had no new reports.
(updated 6-3-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) has reopened. The lake is murky, but the rivers are starting to clear up so the lake should clear up soon, they say. Water level is high. Bream are good using worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits or worms. Catfishing is fair; it’s slow but should be about to turn on soon, they report.
(updated 6-3-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports the lake clarity is “a little dirty” and the water level is normal. Bream are good on red wigglers or crickets. Crappie reports have been poor. Black bass are excellent. Trick Worms on a drop-shot are working best. Catfish results have been good using chicken liver or nightcrawlers.
(updated 6-3-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the fishing is good all over, which corresponds with the rise in water temperature. Sunday’s water temperature early in the morning was 60 degrees. The lake has been at a high water level and murky for some time. Channel catfish are biting well off the shore. Dip bait worms and catfish dough are working well for the cats, along with blood bait and stink bait. Anglers appear to have good catches of bream, crappie and black bass as well, though no baits were specified.
(updated 6-3-2020) The lake at Lake Poinsett State Park has been undergoing a renovation with plans to refill it later this year and for fishing to resume at levels far better than in recent years, thanks to improved fish habitat and new underwater structures. The water control structure was also repaired.
(updated 5-27-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said rain has kept water levels up and water clarity poor. Water levels at the spring have been 560 cfs. Between rains the river clears up and the trout bite well. Y2K bugs and woolly buggers with a little extra weight to get deep have been producing well. Public areas have been busy. All of the campgrounds are open and can offer easier wading access. Jim Hinkle State Fish Hatchery has continued weekly stocking with some really nice rainbows. Saturdays have become busy with paddlers. Weekdays are the best times to fish the Spring during summer. For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 6-3-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is high and off-color. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is coming soon. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 6-3-2020) Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) had no reports.
(updated 6-3-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports.
(updated 5-27-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperatures are in the mid-70s. Visibility is up to 1 foot in protected backwaters and only inches on the main channel. Water levels have been fluctuating a bit and will probably continue to do so. When the water is up, focus on shallow-flooded vegetation with spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, swim jigs, square-billed crankbaits and/or frogs. Especially good areas will have both wind and shade. When the water is down, focus on the first substantial drop-off from the bank and look for brushpiles with square-billed and medium-diving crankbaits, Carolina rigs and finesse worms on shaky heads. Be on the lookout for schooling activity in the afternoon to early evening; white and hybrid bass have been aggressively schooling near some of the sandbars and drop-offs away from the bank. Fishing has been good all-around.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 6-3-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no reports.
(updated 6-3-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 6-3-2020) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 260.95 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, the lake has begun falling from a rapid 4-foot rise, and it’s at 24 inches above normal pool. Pool elevation was near 261.2 feet msl Tuesday with a discharge of about 23,500 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday was about 249 feet msl, falling with discharge. Check the most recent lake levels on the guide service’s website linked above, of the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Millwood State Park and Marina are open, and the state park is reopened to campers. Refer to the Covid-19 related information and camping reservation requirements at www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park. Continue to use extreme caution in Little River navigation this week where logs and floaters may be present. There is lots of debris in the river, including logs, limbs, grass mats and trees from recent flash floods and high current.
Surface temperatures are stable this week, ranging 70-80 degrees. Clarity in the oxbows is stained with about 5-12 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Several oxbows have heavy stain and muddy clarity. Little River is muddy, worse further upriver in locations near Cossatot inflow and Wilton, with increase of current and with random broken timber and debris. Clarity and visibility along the river is 2-3 inches.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: What a difference a week makes! With the rapid rise on the lake with all the recent thunderstorms and flash floods in the area, the largemouth bass have scattered into new flora areas they typically don’t have access to, and over the past week the bass are pushed back into the brush and grass and, in many locations, hard to reach. Buzzbaits, frogs and Bass Assassin Shads were seeing improved reactions until the muddy rise at the end of last week. Spinnerbaits are randomly working near lily pads and grass lines. Most largemouths are scattered and roaming in the oxbows of McGuire, Mud and Horseshoe lakes. From the state park and South Hickory, largemouths also are scattered into the freshly inundated woods, grass, bushes and woods. The bite has been tough over the past week, but with the lake now falling back to normal pool “we are beginning to see a little light at the end of the flooded tunnel,” Mike said.
Bass Assassin Shads, and soft plastic frogs are still getting good responses from 2-4 feet of depth around cypress trees, flooded buck brush, and bushes. Dead-sticking Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook near cover, grass and stumps, have been catching some decent 15-18-inch largemouths up to 5 pounds each. Best colors of Shad Assassins over the past few weeks continue to be the Salt-N-Pepper Silver Phantom, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse or Houdini colors. Bulky 10-inch Power Worms were getting fair responses over the past week and best colors have been the June bug, blue fleck, chartreuse pumpkin or solid black grape.
Spinnerbaits in Firetiger color for stained water, or Spot Remover if you can find clear water, and chatterbaits continue improving this week, too. Best chatterbait colors in the stained water clarity are Firetiger or black/blue. If you find any decent water clarity far away from muddy current of Little River, best colors were Millwood Mayhem Bream. Best depth zones to target over the past week in flooded bushes, alligator weeds and lily pads were from 1-4 feet depths, with 10-15 feet depths in close proximity.
White bass: They have become more scattered over the past week with the muddy current in Little River. Not much to report on white bass this week.
Crappie: The crappie continue biting well over the past week. Best bite has been early this week as crappie continue to remain shallow to spawn. Minnows and jigs have been working away from current and flow of Little River, in any clearer water sections of the oxbows and Millwood State Park, Okay Landing and Saratoga areas near cypress trees from 3-5 feet deep. The crappie responses continue to improve and hitting small jigs in chartreuse/white, chartreuse/blue, and black. Millwood State Park continues seeing good activity in the pockets and coves near cypress trees and grass from 4-6 feet of depth. Saratoga and Okay landing areas continue to be good areas, giving up some nice healthy 2-3-pound crappie over the past several weeks.
Catfish: Improved over the past week with increased current in Little River. Cut shad and buffalo, chicken livers, and Punch baits were working well for 2-4 pound Blues and Channel cats on trot lines from 8-12 feet deep and yo-yos hung from cypress trees.
Bream: Continue biting well on crickets and worms, from the bank around Millwood State Park, and the floating dock at Jack’s Isle, and Yarborough Landing, and in the oxbows upriver over the past couple weeks.
(updated 6-3-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyflishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 549.84 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2020) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.53 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says surface temp “was 77 when I came off the water (Tuesday). However, the crappie are hanging in there. We’ve caught nice slabs as shallow as 6 feet and as deep as 15 feet.”
(updated 6-3-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Summer is here. Rain has stopped for a moment. Water temperatures are in the mid-70s. Water level is 406.74 feet msl. They are pulling water frequently. There is a tremendous amount of debris floating from marking 35 upriver. Catfishing is really a big thing right now. Now that the water is dropping, trotlines are being used across small coves or parallel with bluff banks. Live bait is always the best. There has been very little surface activity for schooling fish. Pulling A-rigs or crankbaits like a ShadRap around river and creek channels is a method for catching white bass and hybrids when they are not surfacing. Bream can be found in almost any large brushpile; target 10-15 feet depth. Crappie fishing is probably the best report: The bigger crappie have started stacking up in brushpiles. Find brushpiles above the thermocline. The thermocline is around 20-22 feet. Fish close to the top of the brushpile. Fish piles in “run and gun” method. In other words, fish a pile, catch a few, run to the next pile and so on. Minnows or jigs work. I prefer minnows this time of year. Drop-shot piles that have the bottom out of the thermocline.
“Remember: Practice social distancing.”
De Queen Lake
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 449.82 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 548.51 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-3-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said that this week the water is so high and muddy, fishing has been curtailed. Last week, he reported both catfish and drum were good on nightcrawlers, despite the high, muddy water.
(updated 6-3-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
(updated 6-3-2020) Donald Ramirez, owner of Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) on the southeastern end of the lake, said that this week he has no anglers as the lake has been recently fertilized. The clarity is spotty – it is clear in some spots and cloudy in others. Water level is normal. Before this week, he had said crappie were fair on minnows and jigs, Black bass are fair. Catfish are fair using worms
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-3-2020) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park had no report.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-3-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita is falling but remains over 2 feet into flood, forcing all area dams to continue to run very heavy generation and open floodgates to eliminate the excess waters. Lakes Hamilton and Catherine are stabilized, but this heavy flow schedule will continue until Lake Ouachita is brought back down below flood level. This process will take several more weeks before lake conditions are safe enough to navigate. Lake Catherine had been at normal summertime pool with quality fishing time available for bank and boat fishermen alike. The majority of the year has already been lost to fishing due to the flooding in January and February, which also interfered with the crappie and walleye spawn. Conditions remain dangerous with extremely fast flows and muddy water the norm. Boaters and wade fishermen are urged to remain off the Carpenter Dam tailrace until water levels stabilize. Again, this process will take weeks with more recreation time lost due to the unsafe conditions. Anyone visiting the park area is cautioned to follow all rules and regulations.
(updated 6-3-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said they had a one evening storm move through the area last week and have since had sunshine and warm days. The weather forecast calls for isolated showers/storms Wednesday and Thursday followed by sunshine and above-average temperatures throughout the weekend. Rains and high river flow has kept the water clarity muddy. Surface temperature Tuesday was 74 degrees. As of Tuesday (May 26) the Corps of Engineers reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam has fallen to about 145,000 cfs. Heavy rains pushed the release at Ozark up to 205,000 cfs last week, reaching flood stage on Tuesday, May 19. The tailwater remained in flood stage until last Saturday. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam is reported about 148,000 cfs. Release at Dardanelle did not reach flood stage but had risen to near 200,000 cfs last Wednesday, May 20 and the tailwater level crested at 27 feet. The pool elevation here has remained steady at just above 337 feet msl.
As for fishing, Lake Dardanelle State Park continues to comply with state and federal recommendations and policies for social distancing to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Currently, our tournament fishing facility remains closed to reservations. The status of our facilities continues to be evaluated. Tournament participants are advised to contact their tournament event directors for details specific to their tournament. Be safe while on the river during high flows. Take advantage of nice weather or time to put a line the water!
(updated 5-27-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-aluminum, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at full pool and water temps in the low 70s throughout. Bass have been doing pretty well with the water temps being in this predator’s wheel house. Topwater baits such as Zoom Horny Toad in white or green watermelon work well all day but especially under docks in the middle of the day. “Big fish love shade, just like we do!” Other techniques that are on right now are the drop-shot rig, and Ned rig in green pumpkin worms. Power fishing is fun, but so is catching fish regularly!
Catfish are really hitting stride right now and can be easily caught just about anywhere but especially on the drop-off between feeding flats and deep water or current. Cheese and cut bait are the go-to on the bottom. Bream have been doing very well! Crickets, worms and the occasional marshmallow shed around 10-15 feet of water on some type of structure (including docks) are producing some quality-eating fish right now. “Be safe out there, everyone! Hamilton is a pleasure boater’s lake. Keep your head on a swivel and expect the irrational boater to come along. Good luck, and Go Greeson!”
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 370.29 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says Lake Nimrod is has cleared, and the water level that has been high for a while appears on its way down. Bream reports are good. Anglers report bream in 3-5 feet of water around the Garden Point area. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good, and reports have come in of them being caught at the original bank line of 345 feet msl (which at current level would be 8-12 feet depth). Use black/chartreuse and purple/chartreuse jigs, or minnows. Black bass are good, with the golden War Eagle Spinnerbait working best. Catfishing is good on trotlines baited with shad and running them deep to the bottom of the lake.
As of Tuesday night, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 580.07 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-27-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still good. Topwaters and jighead worms are producing good stringers. Walleye are still good. Jerkbaits and small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best right now. Stripers are good. These fish are being caught on topwater C-10 Redfins and live bait on the central part of the lake. Bream are excellent with crickets or PowerBait in 5-15 feet of water. Crappie are very good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are very good and being caught with trotline and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water surface temperature is ranging 70-75 degrees. The clarity is stained. Lake level is 581.58 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822 for more information.
(updated 6-3-2020) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said his caught 17 crappie Tuesday morning, all in the 10- to 13-inch size range. They turned 30 smaller ones loose. Fishing is slowing down for a few days due to the pressure and winds coming in. He says that on the weekends now it’s very hard to fish with all of the recreational activities going on at the lake. Ronnie suggests fishing early morning or during the week. He says that some of the recreation boats moving around will sink a fishing boat, so anglers should “be careful during the summer while fishing on the weekends.” Lake clarity is clear. Water level is high but is almost back to normal (only a couple of inches high, he said). Bream are good on worms and crickets. Fish around the lily pads, cypress trees and piers for bream. Target the cypress, the piers and the docks for crappie and use minnows or jigs. The bite is good. Black bass fishing is fair and catfishing is good. Check out Ronnie’s Facebook page for the latest information and recent photos of his and clients’ catches on the old Mississippi River oxbow not far from Hughes.
(updated 5-27-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says the lake is still not accessible, but “be sure to keep checking back in for when we reopen. Surely by the reopening, the fish will be more than ready to bite!”
Wil reports having made a few trips recently to Peckerwood Lake in Arkansas County. “The bream are really starting to pick up and can be caught on redworms and crickets. Bass are biting frogs and jigs. The bream should really lock on to beds in the coming weeks with the next full moon being June 5.”
White River/Clarendon Area
(updated 5-27-2020) Jim Harris, editor of the Fishing Report, found all manner of catfish biting live bait in oxbows off the river this past weekend. Channel cats, blues and the occasional flathead were biting black salties on trotlines in the shallows, and many were in spawning mode. We returned a flathead fat with eggs back to the water. Gar were hungry as well, taking a few of our black salties. We tried fishing for crappie near brush in the sloughs and just off main channels but got no bites. The water was high throughout the area, with heavy current at times, and muddy.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 6-3-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says that Bear Creek Lake has had high bass activity. Anglers are catching with jigs – generally black or dark in color. Anglers have also seen some bream activity fishing with live bait such as crickets from the bank and with more shallow water.
Meanwhile, Storm Creek Lake has also seen a rise in bass activity, though not as substantially reported as on Bear Creek. Anglers are reporting activity on lighter colored jigs.
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