Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Dec. 1, 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: Regular Fishing Report contributor Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort on Norfork Lake welcomed four of his nephews to the lake during the Thanksgiving holiday, and they had a big time fishing. From left to right are Lane Floyd of Johns Island, South Carolina; Kenton Luff of Austin, Texas; and Cameron Luff and John Creighton from Spring, Texas. Read Lou’s report from Norfork under North Arkansas in the report below.
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 12-1-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said right now it’s all about the crappie. The crappie have been doing well on minnows and jigs that range from 1-inch to 2¼ or 2½. Best colors seems to be chartreuse and anything bright lime green and especially Monkey Milk. Depending on the area you’re fishing, crappie are biting anywhere from 2-4 feet in spots to 5-6 feet in others. Fish up the creeks – Gold and Caney creeks are doing well, Palarm has had some good reports, and the Highway 89 bridge is always a dependable spot to check.
Catfish are starting to bite on nightcrawlers, stink bait, shad, skipjack and chicken liver.
There have been very few reports on bass. Anglers stopping in at Bates have been buying worms for the bass to fish with a Trick Worm, U-tail worm or with swimbaits. Smallish bream are being caught on redworms and crickets.
Lake Conway has its normal muddy stain. At the dam the water looks like it has come up a little bit. With more rain on the way, the lake figures to get closer to normal, but it’s obvious it’s not as low now as it has been of late.
(updated 12-1-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (501-758-4958) said it’s all dependent on the weather. One of their customers reported catching two crappie one day this week in Gold Creek, while last we he caught a limit. “It’s all about catching the right pattern on these fronts.” Use minnows.
(updated 12-1-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) in Little Rock said anglers “are catching the heck out of crappie on Caney Creek and Gold Creek.” Regular minnows, pink minnows and the regular red and white tube jigs are working, as well as a hot lure that’s out, the ATX Wicked Shad. Try the color Dory.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of 8 a.m. Friday. Generation has only been 20 cfs since 9 a.m. with two hours of generation reaching 2,766 cfs. Greers Ferry Lake up slightly from last week .02 feet and is 8.1 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 12-1-2022) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said there is not much to report on as far as the generation schedule goes on the Little Red River. The Southwestern Power Administration has not been running much water at all, especially with the warmer weather we have been having along with Greers Ferry Lake being below power pool. “I’d expect the same till the weather gets colder and power demand goes up, SWPA will start to run water when cold weather sets in.
“The rainbow trout bite has been fair to good while we experience days without any water being generated. The fish are in the deep holes and deeper water near the moss beds or anywhere there’s current.
“We’ve been fishing either a pink, or peach San Juan worm, or I’ve been running egg patterns in peach, orange or apricot. Midges have also been producing. Try a double-nymph rig with an egg and midge dropper. Or any buggy pattern with a midge dropper.
“I haven’t seen any brown trout redds in or on the shoals like in years past, the low flows that we are having has, in my opinion, pushed the spawn back. Or they are spawning in the deeper water that holds gravel.
“Try fishing small streamer patterns or by stripping crackleback emergers on a 150 grain sink line. Or floating line this has been producing a few brown trout for me lately.”
(updated 11-25-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said the Little Red River continues to receive sporadic generation depending on air temperatures and need for hydropower from Greers Ferry Dam. This pattern provides wading opportunities on all sections of the river, but always check generation schedule and be aware of unexpected schedule changes. Midges, egg patterns, small pheasant tails and soft hackles are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, Lowell suggests pink, white and cotton-candy-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 Friday morning, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation rising at 453.99 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 12-1-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 453.98 feet msl, 8.06 feet below normal pool, and it has come up and went back down all in last week. Crappie are still chewing well in lots of areas of lake and rivers, 8-40 feet, jigs or minnows working well if you stay backed off from them. Black bass are thumping a bait well; various baits are working from topwater out to 60 feet, drag or throw a moving bait. No report on catfish. Bream are eating crawlers, crickets and moving baits in 10-25 feet. No report on walleye. Hybrid and white bass are eating a lot in right areas of lake and rivers, stay around shad, 20-60 feet, on spoons, inline spinners, and live bait. Be safe and enjoy.
(updated 12-1-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said they’re catching black bass throwing a rock crawler and A-rig around secondary points on the lower end for largemouth and smallmouth bass and hybrids mixed in (A-rig). Smallmouth are coming on a football jig and Carolina jig for the most part.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 11-25-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reports the valve is open, letting the lake drain some into the hunting area/Wildlife Management Area next to the lake. Water had been down anyway from the drought conditions. The clarity has improved though and was “fairly clear” by early last week.
Crappie have been biting off and on, with some good catches when the crappie turn on. Most of the anglers are catching them about 2 feet below the surface, though one other angler had some success just about a foot down. Fish should be moving to the deeper channels as the water drops. Live minnows and jigs are working best. Plastic worms might get a response from deep bass, but there were no reports on bass or any other species but crappie this week.
(updated 12-1-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said on Sunday the water level is getting closer to being at a normal level. The rain helped. The clarity is low. With all the birds moving in, they have pushed a lot of the fish to swim for cover – any cover they can find. Crappie fishing is good right now. Try fishing about 1 to 2 feet down using pink roseys. The bream and bass are biting on them also. The bream are also biting crickets and redworms. No report on catfish.
(updated 12-1-2022) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) off Arkansas Highway 9 said there was nothing new to report. “
It seems like nobody is getting out at this point.” The water level is about a foot low. Clarity is murky. No surface temperature reading was available.
(update 12-1-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, had no new reports.
(updated 12-1-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the water is getting really low. The boat ramps are getting “iffy.” They’ve been catching a lot of bass around rock piles and rock points with a football head jig.
Crappie are moving into the channel right now; the bite is starting to pick up well. They have had be best success throwing a Bobby Garland Monkey Milk jig with a Joker.
(updated 11-25-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that the lake is down 6 feet and dropping an inch a day as part of a 10-foot drawdown ordered by owner Central Arkansas Water to reduce the hydrilla in the water.
“We haven’t had many boats launching in the last few weeks, so the reports are limited,” they say.
Crappie have been fair to good and are being found in 20-25 feet all over structure.
Black bass are good. They’re being caught on Rat-L-Traps, crankbaits and jigs. Some are being caught shallow and others are biting off rocky points in 18-20 feet.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
As of Friday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 7.023 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is at 9.79 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 26,805 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 11-25-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says water is as clear as can be and at a normal level. Crappie are doing very well now, “biting real good,” Ray said. Try jigs in blue/white or red/green, or go with minnows. The fish are biting at about 5-5 feet.
Also, anglers are catching a lot of Kentucky bass these days. Crankbaits are the go-to lure for the spots.
Catfish are biting on liver and some cut bait.
(updated 11-25-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop at Crystal Hill (501-758-4958) said that crappie fishing is hit and miss. Try pink minnows or live minnows and see which one happens to be on that day.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Friday morning, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 7,302 cfs. The elevation is 265.23 feet msl and the tailwater is 249.24 feet msl.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Friday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 3,519 cfs, though there have been earlier generations in the past 24 hour of as much as 14,802 cfs.. The elevation is 249.22 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.14 feet (flood stage is 25 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 2,326 cfs, but earlier higher flows in the past 24 reached almost 15,700 cfs.
(updated 12-1-2022) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (501-758-4958) said white bass are running pretty well on the river. Anything that looks white that can imitate a shad is the way to go. Some of the fun stuff anglers can try are the larger Sabiki rigs, or white curly tail grubs. When searching out white bass, check the river flow, follow the birds, follow the fish.
Crappie are starting their fall move. They personally caught some in the backwater at 2 feet depth. For crappie go with minnows. “The other night, smaller minnows were not getting the bite but bigger were.” Try a size 5-6 crappie minnow or a size 10-12 bass minnow.
(updated 12-1-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says that for bass fishing is good on crankbaits and spinnerbaits running the jetties. The river is getting pretty clear, but the water flow is still flow.
(updated 12-1-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are being caught in the backwater in about 6-8 feet depth on pink minnows, particularly around White Oak Bayou and Willow Beach. Anglers are catching catfish below both the Murray and Terry dams on skipjack. Not much is happening with bream. Anglers are catching a few white bas below the dams on Rooster Tails and white Rat-L-Traps.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 12-1-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said that Clear Lake has been real good on crappie lately. Try pink minnows and fish them at 4-5 feet depth for the best response.
(updated 12-1-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said they have not heard anything of late from the lake. “Not a lot of people are going right now.”
The lake is closed to fishing until February while it serves as a rest area for migrating waterfowl through waterfowl season. Call 870-626-6899 for more information.
(updated 12-1-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said trout fishing the White River waters around Cotter in the Arkansas Ozarks as we go into December can be chilly, but cold weather fishing has lots of advantages, not the least of which is feeling like you’ve got the river to yourself. You might not see another angler for hours, but you’ll always see some rainbows and very likely a brown or two.
While Bull Shoals Lake is almost 4 feet below its desired elevation for the season (659 feet msl) currently sitting at 655.08 msl, we continue to see fairly sizable releases during the cold snaps, so don’t leave those heavier weights at home. Most the days are sitting at around minimum flow (600 cfs), but be careful while wading as the power demands have been bringing the river up to almost 5 units (15,000 cfs) at times. Have the Bull Shoals dam number handy or look at Army Corps of Engineers website to see current conditions that may have quickly changed.
Try adding some garlic scented egg patterns to your bait mix. Can’t find it? Just include some minced garlic in a jar or package of artificial bait (doesn’t even have to be egg patterns) and let it steep for a day or so. Remember, though, it is considered scented bait, not for use in a catch-and-release area. We’ve had some success this week with orange and brown flashy baits: maribou jigs, quarter-ounce during the higher water times, gold/orange Cleos, and Blue Foxes with an orange/red bell.
Sculpins are always a must for browns, but we’ve also seen some biting on river minnows this week.
When planning your winter fishing trip and checking the weather, study the nighttime lows as well as the daytime highs. Figure that your day will start at the lowest temperature from the night before, and it may even be several degrees colder on the water. Layer up and you’ll enjoy your trip a whole lot more. We’re looking forward to a healthy, safe Christmas season!
(updated 12-1-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said that through Monday the river remained clear with water depths averaging between 3-4 feet. On Tuesday we saw a jump to 6 feet along with muddy water through Wednesday. Late last week and early this week artificial lures such as spoons, Rooster Tails and Rapala Countdowns worked well as well as drift-fishing with Sunrise-colored Power Eggs with shrimp or corn. The river was fishable with the muddy water by either moving into the mouths of creeks where cleaner water can be found. If possible, tying up to a tree and using corn can produce fish. Hopefully over the next couple of days the water will clear up and fishing will improve.
(updated 12-1-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service reminds anglers that the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through Jan. 31, 2025, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period.
On the White, the hot spot has been the Narrows. “We have had higher flows that have been fished 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 cerise San Juan worm with an orange egg dropper.”
(updated 12-1-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service reminds anglers that the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period.
On the White, the hot spot has been the Narrows. “We have had higher flows that have been fished 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 cerise San Juan worm with an orange egg dropper.”
John also said, “Once again the Sowbug Roundup committee is feverishly preparing for next year’s Sowbug Roundup; it is scheduled for March 23-25 at the Baxter County Fairgrounds. This is arguably the best fly-tying show in the United States and one of the top fly-tying shows in the world. Next year’s show will feature over 150 fly-tyers, numerous vendors, free seminars and free fly-tying classes.
“I have been involved in the Sowbug Roundup since I moved to Cotter over 22 years ago. First, I was a program presenter, than a fly-tyer, then a vendor and now am a proud committee member. I still present programs, tie flies and serve as a vendor. My assignment is chairman of the fly-tying contest. I first started the contest here at the Baxter Bulletin in 2012 and moved it to the Sowbug Roundup in 2016 because I felt that, with all of those fly-tyers, it was a better venue. The idea is to identify the best tyers among us.
“If you are interested in competing in the contest, it is very easy. Rules have been kept to a minimum. The entrant must tie the fly submitted for judging. Each entry must include the name, address, phone number and email address along with two flies for each pattern submitted (they must be the exact same size, color, etc). You need to include the recipe for the fly, instructions on how to fish it and the category you wish to have it judged in. There are 10 categories: nymph, dry fly, wet fly, smallmouth bass, bass, warm water, salmon/steelhead, salt water and tenkara. In addition, there is a “best in show” award, which has been renamed the Tom Schmucker Award in his honor of the founder of the renowned local business, Wapsi, the largest purveyor of fly-tying materials in the world and a longtime supporter of the Sowbug Roundup.
“You may submit as many patterns for as many categories as you want. You can win a maximum of three categories (“best in show” is considered a category). All flies submitted will become the property of the contest and will not be returned. Any fly that contains insect parts (legs wings, etc.) will be eliminated from competition. “Commercially tied patterns will not be accepted. The decision of the judges is final. Committee members and judges are not eligible to participate in the contest.
“To participate, all you have to do is send your flies, recipes and fishing instructions to me, John Berry, at 408 Combs Ave., Cotter, AR 72626 by Friday Feb. 10. The winners will be announced on Friday March 24 at the Sowbug Roundup Shindig, which will be held at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church.
“This is a great place to show your skill. Please enter. I look forward to seeing your flies.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 654.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Tailwater is at 454.20 feet, and the flow was 8,395 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 910.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl). The dam is releasing 11,275 cfs as of 9 a.m. Friday.
(updated 12-1-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Tuesday that Bull Shoals lake level is 655 feet msl, about 4 feet below normal pool. The water temperature is 57 degrees; bundle up because the fishing is good. For the bank beaters, there are plenty of fish on the shoreline if there’s wind and clouds. Del is covering water where the wind hits square on the shoreline; best if it’s a point chunk or ledge rock, stay close to deep water. A SPRO Crawler, a Wiggle Wart or a Red Craw Stone Cold is recommended for clear water; square bill, spinnerbait or Chatterbait for the stained water. You’ll have keep moving to find them, but when you do there’s usually a few there.There are still some bushes and rock transitions close to deeper water.
There are always fish to be caught on a jig if the lake is flat. Target sunny points with brush at 25-35 feet. The offshore deep bite is better. Winter patterns are working. Shad are still spread out. Target bigger bait balls and shad becomes the structure. Look in the creeks and hollers at 45-65 feet. A single 2.8 white swimbait or jerkbait around those high swimming shad balls will work. If they are being finicky fish, try a Tater Shad over the side. Out in the middle are schooling fish, so use a Jewel Scope Spin Jigging Rap. Use a Jewel Scuba Spoon for those bottom dwellers.
Each day is different so fish the conditions.
Del regularly posts new YouTube videos. Visit his YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 552.25 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.25 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). The dam is releasing 3,104 cfs as of Friday morning. Wednesday night say a 4-hour release of about 3,100 cfs.
(updated 12-1-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 552.32 feet msl and has risen a third of an inch on Wednesday with one or less generators running for most of the day. It is up 5 inches since the 1½-inch rain last Saturday. It is 1.43 feet below the power pool of 553.75 feet msl and has been very stable for several weeks. The surface water temperature is 58 degrees and has also been stable. The water stained up after the rain but has cleared back up again already. The White River at Newport is 4.74 feet, indicating not much water is being let out anywhere. There has been no attempt at a lake drawdown so far this fall.
The best ways to catch fish on Norfork at this time is to chase open water fish on shad in the morning and drop a spoon right on their heads, spoon or jig main lake point brushpiles during the day and work the bank in the evening until dark. White bass and black bass are feeding on shad along with a few small stripers and hybrids. Kentucky bass and crappie are on brush ranging from 30 feet of water to 18 feet of water near the bottom.
Some black bass are feeding on and near the bank in the evening just before dark on soft plastics and some larger crappie are with them. Fishing is tough during the middle of the day and the best time to be out is at sunrise and again in the evening just before sunset.
Overall fishing is just fair but some nice ones are being caught every day. There are a lot of baitfish out there and not anything is doing without many meals.
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.
(updated 12-1-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Wednesday, “I went to a different part of the lake this morning and had a great time. I found lots of white bass, four keeper-size largemouth and two monster cats (a flathead and a blue) on a large flat. This is why I really enjoy vertical-jigging on flats in the fall; you never know what you are going to catch. At one time or another and sometimes in the same trip, I have caught every species in Norfork Lake fishing this method at this time of year.
Chad Bleeker took a photo of photo holding the two cats and he said, “Hold them out a little.” I think I was holding close to 50 pounds of fish and it was all I could do to just hold them up! The fish were in roughly 40 feet of water and absolutely stacked. I was vertical-jigging a three-quarter-ounce white with chartreuse back Binks Spoon. It was a cold, breezy morning, but once I started catching fish I warmed up in a hurry.”
The water temp was around 56-57 degrees and the lake level is 552.32 feet msl. The lake is still slightly stained. “Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
Lou posts nearly daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 11-25-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.7 foot to rest at 1.8 feet below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 28 feet below the top of flood pool. 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. However with the cold temperatures, also expect heavy generation during peak power demand.
There has been less wadable water on the Norfork in the morning. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Grasshoppers have produced fish, particularly when used in conjunction with a small nymph dropper (try a size 20 black zebra midge). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 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 11-26-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing poorly. With colder temperatures, the smallmouths are less active. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,115.51 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 221 cfs. The Corps released about 3,900 cfs between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Wednesday.
(updated 12-1-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-253-3474) reported Wednesday that Beaver Lake came up 1 foot or so this last week following much needed rain. Both the river arms came up fairly with a big push of real muddy water. This will move toward the mid-lake region and will slow down a pretty good bite for a few days. Water temps are in the upper 40s to mid 50s depending on where you are on the lake. Striper fishing was cranking up with a lot of 20-pound-plus fish boated last week. Areas to target are from Prairie Creek up to Point 12. Monte Ne area and Hickory Creek area holding fish, and with the mud coming into that region the fish will push north from Point 12 for the time being. Crappie are hanging in brush and structure anywhere from 7 feet to 20 feet and doing well on jigs and minnows.
Walleye pulled their disappearing act as they do this time of the year. Bass fishing hitting points and flats is good. Spotted bass seem to be in the best mood right now. Once the lake settles a bit, expect the bite to continue to get better. “I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! As for me, I am thankful for family and this beautiful state I live in and enjoy the endless outdoor opportunities it provides. Stay safe and get outside. Fishing is good and going to get better in coming weeks.”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 11-17-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said it’s quiet. The lake is normal level but our pressure very light. They are catching stripers on the upper end of the lake.
Temp is a great point for the stripers to be active, it’s getting to be in the high 50s. Anglers are using brooder minnows and a hodge-podge of trolling baits (cranks, and keep a topwater handy). Stripers are termed fair though at times it can be “pretty good.” They’re feeding on threadfin shad. Stripers are moving upstream, around Point 12. “They’re doing their normal winter thing,” Southtown reports. “People are catching fish, there is just not a lot of people out.”
Crappie fishing is “all right, just the pressure is light. But a few are catching fish.” Crappie are around brush and they’re pulling into cover anywhere to 7-8 feet down to 20 feet – wherever they find the cover, and along channel edges. |
Very little reports on black bass have come in. With the temperature moving into the 50s, black bass are moving into deeper areas. Some anglers are throwing crankbaits and spinnerbaits for them. Catfish also have gotten quiet.
“Anglers are tooling up for ducks and chasing deer,” they report.
The lake level is just a little below normal pool for mid-November and is clear. “The lake looks beautiful,” they report.
(updated 12-1-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said this week has been good on the tailwater; nothing drastically has changed since the last report. The Corps of Engineers still has been generating pretty much starting at 10 a.m., but that has not stopped the bite. In fact, it increases the bite in most cases. Most of our fish were caught using light terminal tackle, and Pautzke Fire Bait. When the sun moved higher in the sky, we would switch it over to quarter-ounce spoons and coat the spoons using Pautzke Fire Gel. Try letting the spoon sink a bit before retrieving, due to the water still being a little deep. The water levels are still low and continue to fall, seems like each day. If we can get some overcast or rainy days, the bite should pick up a lot!
“Like always, for additional information, please follow my Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for day-to-day updates. Stay warm, and catch some fish!”
(updated 12-1-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) had no report.
(updated 12-1-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) had no report.
(updated 12-1-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said yo-yo fishing for catfish is going nicely. Stink bait on the yo-yos is the go-to. Otherwise, the other fish seem to have moved into deeper water. No other reports. Clarity is turbid. The level is low now with water being used in the nearby Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA for waterfowl usage. Temperature of the water is 50.3 degrees.
Shelly says good fishing days based on moon times are expected Dec. 5-11. Best days for December, she added, are Dec. 20-26.
(updated 12-1-2022) 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.
Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) is closed for the winter and will reopen in February. They are taking reservations on their answering machine for spring.
(updated 12-1-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels have been at 300 cfs (350 cfs is average), and water clarity has been clear. The river has been low and clear for a while now. With the low and clear conditions, the trout can be very picky on the nice sunny days. Slowing the presentation down with a Hopper Dropper has worked well the last few weeks. A Y2K below the Hopper about 2-3 feet has been really hot. With White Lightning as a dropper can get you more bass plus trout. “We are getting hits on the Hopper and that is always a blast! On streamer days minnow patterns have worked best.”
“In the evenings, caddis hatches can offer dry fly action with elk hair caddis. Blue-wing olives are hatching most mornings with a little sun light. When seeing a good hatch on the river, I also watch for the baitfish feeding on the bugs. When that happens the trout can key in on the baitfish that are feeding on the bugs. There are a lot of baitfish in Spring River!”
Catching a few bass on lead-eye Woollies and small streamers. Got to work it slow or do a popper dropper with a white lightning as the dropper. This setup works really well during cold winter months when the bite slows down with the bass.
With low water conditions the wading has been easier, but always be careful, the river bottom of the Spring River is very slick and this is no time to go swimming!
Check out Mark’s blog for latest fishing conditions at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 11-25-2022) 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 Friday that the White River stage at Batesville was dropping at 7.97, more than 7 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was still low at 4.82 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta was steady at 15.76 feet, or about 10 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 12-1-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports. The water is low.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
On Friday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam at Pine Bluff was 8,819 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.23 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 9,725 cfs.
(updated 12-1-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report from the river.
(updated 12-1-2022) After a two-year project of rebuilding the lake habitat by the AGFC while the city of Monticello had the dam rebuilt, the water in Lake Monticello now covers about 470 acres. The acreage of water in Lake Monticello’s lakebed has only increased about 20 acres since May as a result of minimal rainfall. The water in Lake Monticello covers about 1,520 acres when it is at full pool. When the lake was first flooded, it took about five years for Lake Monticello to reach full pool, with two drought years during this period.
Fisheries District 5 staff in Monticello worked with AGFC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery staff to stock about 180,000 fathead minnows, 111,902 golden shiners, 78,840 bluegill and 82,056 redear sunfish into Lake Monticello during the month of October. The fish were placed in a hog trough on a trailer pulled by a UTV. The fish were then transported about 220 yards from the boat ramp to the water’s edge, where they were stocked. It took quite a few trips to stock all of the fish that were on the hatchery truck.
The AGFC plans on stocking threadfin shad this fall. Florida largemouth bass will be stocked during the summer of 2025. The aforementioned forage and bream species will be stocked again in the fall of 2025, along with black crappie.
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 260.45 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 7,056 cfs. Wednesday’s flow until 2 p.m., which the flow was increased, it had averaged 1,322 for more than a day.
(updated 12-1-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake was at 260.3 feet msl and rising, and recent rainfall jumped the lake elevation about 13 inches above normal pool. Clarity went south over this past week along Little River and oxbows due to recent thunderstorms. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 232 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam near 6,000 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.
Surface temps dropped this week, ranging in 49-53 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River worsened this week further up Little River with clarity ranging 3-5 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows is normal stain, visibility about 10-15 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. Numerous areas on Millwood Lake are fully choked with alligatorweed mats, and are inaccessible for navigation or fishing. The Corps is monitoring.
As for the fishing specifics:
* Black bass (largemouth and spotted bass) have been very good to excellent for several weeks, and continue actively chasing shad with 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 midday into late afternoon over the past couple weeks. Bass are hitting square-bill cranks, shad imitation custom painted Bent Pole Little John Cranks, Bandit Splatterback Cranks, Bill Lewis Millwood Magic Rat-L-Traps and chrome/blue back SpinTraps finessing through the pads. The best water clarity for chunky largemouth bass has left the river and moved to the back of the oxbows, where the clarity is much improved from Little River this week.
The numerous schools of juvenile, adolescent and adult-size classes of largemouth bass are still ganged up in many locations and chasing and blowing threadfin shad up and out of the water at surface feeding. Better aggressiveness returned again over the past couple weeks with cooler mornings, dropping water surface temps another couple degrees, and milder daytime temps during the heat of the day in back of Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows on flats near vertical structure and standing timber.
Shad continue seeking warmer water and moving deeper into creek channels over the past couple weeks, and black bass are following these large groups and shad schools. Creek mouth junctions and dumps into Little River have given up several schools of largemouth, Kentucky and white bass, too. These groups and different age classes of largemouth are most aggressively chasing threadfin shad all morning long into midday. 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 largemouths and spots 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 eager to bust a Rat-L-Trap or shad-colored square-bill crankbait.
The activity seems to improve again once the sun gets up over the tree line from 11 a.m. into most all afternoon in the oxbows.
* White bass returned to biting recently, 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 of Clear Lake and McGuire Lake oxbows, and have been caught on Millwood Magic SpinTraps and Magnum three-quarter-ounce Mag Traps, vertical-jigging spoons, and custom painted Little John Crankbaits, Bomber Fat Free Guppys, and Bandit 200 Crankbaits along Little River. Tail Spinner Trap Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome/black back and chrome/blue back caught some 2-3 pound whites in McGuire over the past 2-3 weeks.
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 for white bass from 8-12 feet deep near ledges and vertical structure, and we were catching whites randomly in the oxbows. Schooling whites have been noted in the back of McGuire in the standing timber at creek mouths, and on flats adjacent to deeper vertical structure 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.
* The crappie bite went south this week along with the water clarity along Little River from recent thunderstorms, more especially when they opened the gates up to 6,000 cfs this week.
* Cafish improved this week with the increase of current along Little River. Several guys we visited with running trotlines were having a good day using chicken livers, gizzards and King’s Punch Bait set 12-15 feet deep across the Little River.
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, 2025, at which time the 7,000-acre lake will be allowed to refill.
(updated 11-17-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported that anglers are catching limits of crappie, mainly on hand-tied jigs. Some are being caught on minnows. They are around 10-12 feet on timber.
“We have quite a few boats that put in this morning at the park. So you can tell the crappie are heating up by the amount of boats putting in,” they report.
Some anglers have been catching bass, but they aren’t revealing their baits now.
As for catfish, anglers are catching limits on pretty much any kind of bait.
Lake Erling clarity is clear. The mandated drawdown to tackle to giant salvinia problem has the lake down 4-4.5 feet, they report. As for clarity, “I can see my bait down 18 inches, so that’s pretty good,” they tell us. Water temperature Thursday morning was 65 degrees.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 538.83 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.02 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-17-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said he’s finding the same kind of conditions and fishing in the Hot Springs area lakes all the way to DeGray Lake. DeGray’s water temperature is tumbling to winter-time numbers. All species of fish are heading for the deep channels. Use a vertical presentation of jigs and spoons near 35-45 feet deep structure for crappie. Tipping your jig or spoon with a minnow or worm can reap the less aggressive crappie. Present your bait slow and methodical for the expected light bite. Line watching is a must. Stay safe. Cold water is even more dangerous … Fish ON.
De Queen Lake
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.47 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 525.54 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 11-17-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) said crappie have been doing pretty good on White Oak Lake. “We’ll see how the cold front will help us. Water levels are still low.” Crappie are running deeper in the daytime. Curtis says he believes they’re around 8-12 feet deep usually in the daytime but coming shallow. Use minnows and jigs. Bream are still biting well, he added. Lots of people are catching them on crickets. The main bass anglers at White Oak have switched over to crappie for this time of year.
(updated 11-17-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said anglers are catching some black bass (ranging 5-6 pounds) on Rat-L-Traps and spinnerbaits on the low end of the lake. They are also catching a lot of small crappie. Some crappie are 11-12 inches with an occasional 15-incher in the bucket. All are being hooked near the bottom of the lake. Jigs and minnows are working. Donald says he sells a lot of Bobby Garland Jigs there, especially Monkey Milk and Ice Outs. “Anything with chartreuse, the crappie are hitting on it. It’s crappie season now, and next week, with the deer hunters back out on the lake, it should be just about right.”
He’s heard no reports on bream or catfish on the lake. However, anglers are catching catfish on the Arkansas River, which is about 10 miles from Atkins. He’s had catfishers coming in buying worms and stink bait lately.
The lake is clear and is still low, about 4 feet below regular pool.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 12-1-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam has dropped to 48 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Mid-November marks the return of the fall trout stocking program, which has created a solid fishing environment for the public on Lake Catherine. The first stocking of rainbow trout of 1,400 fish is now in the lake. Trout are widely scattered from the bridge to the dam and being caught in the shoals by fly-fishermen casting micro-jigs in black and white under a strike indicator. Trout key in on the shad kill this time of year as freezing temperatures stun threadfin shad in Lake Hamilton and these baitfish are drawn through the turbines and scattered throughout the tailrace area. Flies that imitate injured shad will draw immediate strikes from hungry rainbows. Spin-fishermen using PowerBaits and lures that represent fleeing crayfish will also catch trout that are searching for prey. The next stocking will take place sometime in early December with numbers upward of 3,000 fish. Normally, it takes several days for the trout to become familiar with the new surroundings and settle into a regular feeding pattern. 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 is now complete with each lake drawn down 5 feet. Refilling will begin somewhere between March 1-8.
Currently the bite is very slow for rainbow trout due to the weekly cold fronts moving in and out of the area. Dramatic drops in temperature greatly affect the trout bite in a negative way. It can take days for a regular bite pattern to resume after a big drop in temperature so anglers need to be aware. 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. Remember to always wear a life jacket when on the water and follow all lake and park regulations when visiting the Carpenter Dam use area.
As of Friday at 9 a.m., the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 18,271 cfs. Elevation was 337.24 feet msl and the tailwater was at 286.15 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage is at 6.36 feet (flood stage is 32 feet).
No fishing reports.
(updated 11-17-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said he’s finding the same kind of conditions and fishing in the Hot Springs area lakes all the way to DeGray Lake. At Hamilton, which having a 5-foot drawdown for the winter, the water temperature is also falling to winter-time numbers. All species of fish are heading for the deep channels. Use a vertical presentation of jigs and spoons near 35-45 feet deep structure. Tipping your jig or spoon with a minnow or worm can reap the less aggressive. Present your bait slow and methodical for the expected light bite. Line watching is a must. Stay safe. Cold water is even more dangerous … Fish ON.
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 342.42 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-1-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) had no new reports.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was up about 3 feet from last week to 570.09 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-1-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. A Bama rig or a PB&J jig should get some good results. Stripers are good. A Bama rig or live bait on main lake points or creek channel mouths on the rivers should be the best spot to find these. Crappie are very good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush in 20-35 feet deep. No reports on bream, catfish or walleye. Lake temperature is steady in the 52-56 degree range. Water clarity is clearing. Lake level Wednesday was up to 570.10 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 11-17-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the water temp is definitely dropping to winter-time numbers. All species of fish are heading for the deep channels. Use a vertical presentation of jigs and spoons near 35-45 feet deep structure. Tipping your jig or spoon with a minnow or worm can reap the less aggressive fish. Present your bait slow and methodical for the expected light bite. Line watching is a must. Stay safe. Cold water is even more dangerous … Fish ON.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.37 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 Friday reported the Clarendon gauge is steady at 11.90 feet, more than 14 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
The lake is closed to fishing until spring as it serves as a rest area for migrating waterfowl. Call the center at 870-241-3373 for more information. For more information, please call the center at 870-241-3373.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.
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