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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 12-08-2022


Dec. 8, 2022

Jim Harris

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 AND LEFT:  Chris Hunter of Chicago caught a boatload of big fish at Bull Shoals Lake in recent days while fishing with guide Del Colvin. This walleye (above) was an armful. His catch also included a big striped bass (left) and some very large smallmouth bass, among his total haul. Del says the fishing is good at Bull Shoals even if you probably need to bundle up.

Quick links to regions:

Central Arkansas

North Arkansas

Northwest Arkansas

Northeast Arkansas

Southeast Arkansas

Southwest Arkansas

South-Central Arkansas

West-Central Arkansas

East Arkansas

Arkansas River and White River levels are available at:

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit:

For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:

Download the Fish Brain app and follow AGFC at:



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Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 12-8-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said crappie fishing is good but anglers are picking up a lot more smaller ones this week. They are not sure if it’s the weather or what is effective the change. For a while, they add, everything was going great, but more small ones have moved in and for anglers that means more throwbacks.
For several days now 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. Last week, depending on the area you were fishing, crappie were biting anywhere from 2-4 feet to 5-6 feet in others. This is always a good time to fish up in the creeks like Gold and Caney. Recently, Parlam had some good reports, and the Highway 89 bridge is always a dependable spot to check.
Catfish were biting recently on nightcrawlers, stink bait, shad, skipjack and chicken liver. Very few reports on bass of late. Smallish bream are being caught on redworms and crickets.

Lake Conway has its normal muddy stain and water is normal.

(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 2 p.m. Thursday. Generation has only been 20 cfs since early Wednesday morning. Greers Ferry Lake is 7.8 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 ( to see forecast generation schedule.

(updated 12-8-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said they are experiencing low water conditions on the Little Red. Water release/generation is sporadic with multiple days of zero water release. This pattern makes it challenging for boaters, but provides wading opportunities on all sections of the river. We are currently in spawning season for our brown trout, so be careful when wading to not step on the spawning beds that are made in loose gravel on shoals. Always check generation schedule and be aware of unexpected water release. Midges, egg patterns, small pheasant tails and soft hackles for fly fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing pink, white and cotton candy colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jig heads. 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 ( for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website ( to see forecasted 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.”

Greers Ferry Lake
As of Friday morning, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 454.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).

(updated 12-8-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 454.19 feet msl. It is 7.88 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet and it has come up and went back down all in the last week. Crappie are still chewing well in lots of areas of lake and rivers, 8-40 feet, with jigs and minnows working well if you stay backed off from them. Black bass are thumping a bait well; various baits working from topwater out to 60 feet. Drag or throw a moving bait. Catfish, no report. Bream are eating crawlers, crickets and moving baits in 10-25 feet. Walleye, no report. Hybrid and white bass are eating a lot in the right areas of lake and rivers; stay around shad, 20-60 feet, and use spoons, inline spinners or live bait. Be safe and enjoy.

(updated 12-8-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said they’ve caught bass out off the main lake points. They are catching them on Carolina rig, or on watermelon and chartreuse Baby Brush Hogs. They are also catching them in flooded timber on Alabama rigs.
The crappie are biting in good numbers as well on Greers. The best fishing is on brushpiles and submerged timber, using black and chartreuse-colored and Monkey Milk crappie jigs. Beaver Bottom baits have been a go-to there for the anglers this week.

Harris Brake Lake
(updated 12-8-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reports that despite the drizzle this week they’ve had anglers out every day. Some of the best fishing is coming from the shoreline, with anglers throwing from there and catching difference sizes of crappie, some as much as 15 inches in length. They’re using the usual crappie jigs, with Monkey Milk or Shiny Hiney being the popular colors.
The water at Harris Brake Lake is “getting lower and lower,” they report. Water from Harris Brake is used to help flood the AGFC’s greentree reservoirs nearby for waterfowl hunting, but the water control structure on the Lower GTR is broken and needing repair.
As a result of the lower water, the boat anglers are out in what is the deeper channel where they can fish 3-4 feet deep.
Water is clear, however, and you can see the shad and the bottom of the lake from the shoreline, they report.
They have not heard any reports on bass, bream or catfish, though an occasional striped bass can be caught.

Lake Overcup
(updated 12-8-2022) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said that even with the rainy conditions this week, she saw several anglers pulling nice-sized crappie from the lake.
The lake has been low of late. A lot of birds have been on the lake as well.
Pink rosy minnows have been the go-to bait for crappie, and they’ll also draw a bass or bream occasionally. 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.

Brewer Lake
(update 12-8-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, said the water level is about a foot above normal level but the lake is still accessible despite all the rain they’ve seen lately. The temperature, while not specific, “is down from normal temperature.” Crappie are biting at 6 feet over underwater brushpiles. “They like the live bait, the minnows, more than anything,” David said. David’s shop offers minnows as well as worms round-the-clock on the honor system, along with snacks and drinks in a cooler. You pay through a designated slot. “It’s old school,” he said.

He says catfish are still on the bottom, it seems. Jugs will attract them with goldfish being the key there. Stink bait will work for the cats if fishing on the bottom.
Bass are biting at daybreak and sunset, in the shallows. Use anything white or shad-like, such as spinnerbaits and “things of that nature,” he said.

You can also still pick up a bream on the shoreline fishing with redworms.

Lake Maumelle
(updated 12-8-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reports that water is down 6 feet. Crappie fishing is good at 8-20 feet. Bass are chasing shad and are scattered. You find a bite anywhere from 6-8 feet. Use Chatterbait or spinnerbaits. Find the birds, find the fish.
“We have lots of pelicans out here for the past week! Loons, ducks … all kinds of migrating birds,” they report.

(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.

Arkansas River at Morrilton
As of Tuesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 9,982 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is at 10.02 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 17,985 cfs.

Little Maumelle River
(updated 12-8-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the fishing and conditions are all pretty good still on the Little Maumelle. “We didn’t get enough rain to muddy up the water, it’s all clear and normal,” he said. The crappie are doing real well, with anglers finding them at 7-9 feet deep on jigs and minnows. The word on bass is that Kentucky bass (or spotted bass) are biting well up in the creeks on crankbaits. Catfish are still biting on liver with good reports. No reports on bream.

(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 Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 13,982 cfs. The elevation is 265.24 feet msl.

Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 3,137 cfs, though on Wednesday the flow was around 12,000 cfs all day. The elevation is 249.31 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.56 feet (flood stage is 25 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 3,133 cfs.

(updated 12-8-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says anglers fishing for bass the main river will probably want to back off of the jetties a little bit just because the flow is slow. Go parallel to the rock jetties with a deeper-diving jerk or Alabama rig running weightless (no jigheads). Also try orange and red lipless crankbaits.

(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) 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.

Peckerwood Lake
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.



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White River
(updated 12-8-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake is now more than 4 feet below its desired elevation for the season, sitting at 654.75 feet msl. Releases from Bull Shoals Dam have been relatively judicious, between 2-4 units during some portion of each day, then dropping to minimum flow during the night and early morning hours, based predominantly on power demand. Anglers have had an easier time navigating to the deeper holes, yet bank fishing hasn’t been negatively impacted to any great degree.
The best way to stay on top of the changing water levels is to use the Army Corps of Engineers website or the
water levels page on the Cotter Trout Dock website. Instructions are included to help make sense of some of the numbers.

“December turns our thoughts to Christmas and gift-giving. Add White River trout fishing to your wish list with a visit to the Arkansas Ozarks. These slower winter months (December through mid-February) are just the time to “own” the river; angler traffic is down and fish count is up. Plenty of rainbows and browns are willing to leave the comfort of their favorite hidey-holes when tempted with the right bait:
“Silver and silver/blue hammered spoons or spinners (especially the Vibrax Blue Foxes), floating Rapalas with orange bellies (the brook trout, BTR F5 is good), and white or ginger-colored jigs.
“The browns are spawning, so you need to be creative in what you throw and how you throw it. Sculpins will still attract a brown trout but it might take more patience than usual. The rainbows are eating up the sculpins, too, so upsize your bait to attract the browns. The weatherman promises very mild daytime temperatures for the next week, so pick up your rod and reel, get outside, and come join us on the river. We find lots of reasons for giving thanks for the greatest Gift of all! Merry Christmas!”

(updated 12-8-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the White River in Calico Rock continues to average between 3.5 and 6 feet. The dingy water from last week has cleared out. Fishing in the low water conditions has made fishing with copper or gold-colored quarter-ounce spoons and jerkbaits effective as the trout move up onto the gravel bars to feed. Drift-fishing with yellow, orange or sunrise-colored Power Eggs with a piece of shrimp or worm continues to be effective on both the gravel bars and deeper holes. Fishing with sculpins has been slow, but when the browns or rainbows bite, the trout have tended to be larger (16 inches or more). With the prediction of rain the next few days there is the potential we may see higher water levels and dingy water.

(updated 12-8-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had just a trace here in Cotter, cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.1 foot to rest at 4.1 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 0.2 foot to rest at 4.7 feet below power pool and 20.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 5.1 feet below power pool or 14.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had wadable water and moderate flows during periods of peak power demand. Norfork Lake remained steady at 1.5 feet below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had some wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now well below power pool. With the current lake levels, expect lower flows and more wadable water. However, when cold temperatures hit, also expect heavy generation during peak power demand.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park are 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 Rim Shoals. We have had some lower 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 passed along some tragic news to fans of area fly-fishing. “Dave Whitlock passed away at his home in Oklahoma (Nov. 24) while working on his boat. He was arguably the most influential man in fly-fishing and most of that occurred while he lived here (in the Cotter area). He was the first guy to write about our trout fishery. He is responsible for planting the brown trout in the White, North Fork and Little Red rivers, creating the best brown trout fishery in the United States and possibly the world. He also supervised the local Trout Unlimited Chapter in their planting of Bonneville Cutthroat trout on the White and Norfork Rivers.
“Dave was an influential fly-tyer whose patterns have become standards sold in just about every fly shop in the world. He was awarded the Buz Buzek Award (the highest award for fly-tying that Fly Fishing International bestows) 50 years ago. He was an early proponent of fly-fishing for bass.
“He was a prolific author writing several books and numerous articles on fly-fishing and fly-tying. One of my cherished possessions is an autographed copy of his “Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods.” This is a fly-fishing classic and should be required reading for all trout fishers. I have several others that he wrote and I have learned a lot from them. I just read an article that he wrote for the latest issue of Trout, the Trout Unlimited magazine. It was about fishing for large brown trout below Bull Shoals Dam. It brought back memories of me doing the same.
“Dave was an accomplished artist. All of his books and articles were lavishly illustrated by him. His work is popular with anglers and anyone that appreciates nature. When he autographed a book he took an entire page to write a few words and draw a trout taking a fly. It was something I have never seen equaled.
“Deep down, Dave was a teacher. His fly-fishing school was very successful and highly respected. I always attended his classes and seminars whenever I could. I always learned something.
“Dave lived in the area for years. We often fished the same water. Whenever I saw him on a stream I spoke and he was quite friendly. I would then walk off, sit down and watch him fish. He was a masterful caster and an incredible angler.
“One day I saw him at Rim Shoals with Flip Pallot filming an episode of the “Walker’s Cay Chronicles,” Flip’s fishing television show. They were fishing dry flies in a spot that I had never fished in the 20-plus years that I had fished Rim Shoals. They tore them up. I now fish there every time I wade Rim Shoals, unless someone has beaten me there. I call it Dave’s hole.
“Dave Whitlock was the real deal. He put our rivers on the map. He will be missed.”

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 654.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Flow on Thursday afternoon was 1,508 cfs, and tailwater elevation was 451.99 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 910.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).

(updated 12-8-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that the lake level was at 654 feet, or 4 feet or so below pool. Water temperature is 55 degrees. Bundle up, as the fishing is good now. For the bank beaters, there is plenty of fish on the shoreline if there’s wind and clouds. Make sure you are covering water where the wind hits square on the shore, and hopefully that’s on a point, a chunk or ledge rock. Stay close to deeper water. Del recommends a Spro Crawler, Wiggle Wart, Red Craw or Stone Cold in the clear water; square bill, spinnerbait or Chatterbait in the stain. You’ll have to keep moving to find them, but when you do there’s usually a few close.
There are always fish to be caught on a jig. If it’s flat water, fish the sunny points with brush in 25-35 feet. The offshore deep bite is better as winter patterns are working. Shad are still spread out. Target bigger bait balls and shad becomes the structure. Creeks hollers start in 70 feet. Look until 40 feet. Every day, every creek will be different. A single 2.8 white swimbait or jerkbait around those high swimming shad balls is a good choice. If they are being finicky, hang a Tater Shad over the side. With schooling fish, a Jewel Scope or 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.

Norfork Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 552.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.25 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Flow below the dam Thursday afternoon was 205 cfs.

(updated 12-8-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 552.21 feet msl as of Wednesday and has dropped a half-inch in the last 24 hours with about 5 hours of running one generator in the morning and four more in the afternoon. It is still 1.5 feet below the top of the power pool of 553.75 feet msl and the surface water temperature is just under 56 degrees. Both the level and temperature have been very stable this last week with no signs of any winter lake drawdown so far. The White River at Newport is 3.98 feet and very low. The main lake is pretty clear and you can see your lure down at least 6 feet and is especially clear near the shore.
Trollers are catching some open-water fish dragging umbrellas through schools of shad but they are mostly white bass. Others are dropping spoons on the same fish. It is good to see the white bass making a comeback. A few nicer crappie are biting live minnows and small spoons on main lake brush than last week, but it is still not what it should be. One or two fish can be caught on each brushpile with no big schools. The best bite is still in the evening and until dark when they come up to feed. Some bass are feeding on the shoreline just at the first drop-off on soft plastics also in the evening and others are with the white bass.
The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level but fishing is just fair and you have to work for what you get.
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to 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.

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 12-8-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake remained steady at 1.5 feet below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had some wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now well below power pool. With the current lake levels, expect lower flows and more wadable water. However, when cold temperatures hit, also expect heavy generation during peak power demand.
There has been 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). 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). John says his 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, he says.
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 12-8-2022) 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 much 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.


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Beaver Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,115.44 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 3,868 cfs for two hours dropping to 20 in the afternoon. The Corps released similar flow for two hours Wednesday afternoon and five hours in the early morning.

(updated 12-8-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-253-3474) reported Beaver Lake level is close to 6 feet below normal level. Fishing is fair to good throughout the lake. Biggest change is the mudline has pushed close to Hickory Creek Marina, although it has cleared up somewhat. Past Hickory the water has a good color to it.
Stripers are off and on. I have had many clients hook and land many stripers this last week in the mid-20-pound range. We have been following the mudlines on either river arms and doing well on trolled shad. White bass are starting to school up and are being caught on trolled jigs and white Rooster Tails. Look for boils and cast or troll through them.
“Also, this is spooning season. Any spoons that match the shad are working. When spooning use short 1-foot strokes when working your spoons. Too many people use long 3-foot strokes, and though that will work, a shorter pop will get more hits. We spoon for stripers the same way. When you pop your spoon up, follow it back down and that is usually where you will feel the hit.
Crappie are good and are located in brush at a depth of 8-10 feet. Jigs and minnows will work. Bass can be caught off same brush. We have caught some good spotted bass fishing jigs for crappie this last week, which tells me if you’re fishing for bass, look for structure in that same 10-foot range.
“We are expecting lots more rain this weekend. Be safe and watch for hazards while running your boats. Good luck and get out and enjoy this weather. It certainly could be worse!”

Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.

(updated 12-8-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said crappie fishing was doing very well up in the river arms through Wednesday but “we got a big rain and the creek got muddy,” and that slowed thing, they told us on Thursday morning. Water around those areas shot up several feet from all the rain, but they don’t expect it to last, and when the arms clear up the crappie should bite well again. Anglers and guides are using mostly minnows and a variety of little crappie plastic baits (they are selling mostly minnows). Crappie are being caught around brush all over the lake, at least before the rain hit and muddied up things.
The fishing pressure, however, is very low on the lake right now, they say. Anglers have other distractions outside of their regular customers and guides, normally for this time of year, but they say things this year are even lighter than usual.
Beaver Lake has had a recent series of bass tournaments, but that is also about to come to an end for the holiday season, they note. There have been nice strings of bass from the tournaments, with catches made on crankbaits, jigs and drop-shot. Anglers can still slip out and catch some bass, they note.
Water temperature is getting well into the 50s and making it tougher…
There have been no white bass reports. Striper fishing has been fair – “I wouldn’t call anything good right now,” they say. Stripers will want live bait as they are moving into the river arms “so they’re going to get muddy.”

Beaver Tailwater
(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!”

Lake Fayetteville
(updated 12-8-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) had no report. Fishing has been slow with just a handful of regulars on the water. The facility will be closed Dec. 23-Jan. 14.

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Lake Charles
(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.

Lake Poinsett
(updated 12-8-2022) 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.

Crown Lake
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.

Spring River
(updated 12-1-2022) Mark Crawford with (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

(updated 12-8-2022) 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. Canoe season is over. 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.

White River
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was on the rise 8.09, nearly a 1.5 feet up from Wednesday and about 7 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was still rising at 4.78 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta was steady at 15.28 feet, or about 10.7 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.

(updated 12-8-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports. The water is low.

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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 68 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 31.41 feet (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 504 cfs.

(updated 12-8-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report from the river.

Lake Monticello
(updated 12-8-2022) 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.


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Millwood Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.50 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 3,339 cfs, down from Wednesday’s high of 5,931 cfs.

(updated 12-8-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was 259.7 feet msl, or 7 inches above NCP and falling. Clarity went south over this past week along Little River and oxbows due to recent thunderstorms. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 234 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam near 7,500 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 were stable this week, ranging 48-55º degrees depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River worsened further up Little River with river clarity ranging 2-3 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows had normal stain, visibility was 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 inaccessible for navigation or fishing. The USACE are monitoring.

Mike had these specifics from fishing the past several days:
* The largemouth and spotted bass have almost finished up their schooling and surface-breaking activities over the past couple weeks, and were excellent for many weeks’ prior, actively chasing shad with aggressive feeding in Little River and the oxbows. With the recent thunderstorms, increase in lake pool and muddy current flow conditions, the river population has all but shut down on the surface-breaking activity. Flats next to deep creeks and secondary points with lily pad stands, which were clear, and a good target area a week ago, now have muddied up and most of the remaining living lily pads are all but gone. A few chunky 2- to 3-pound bass were the most aggressive at midday into late afternoon over the past several weeks “and those fish we are finding randomly in deeper creek channels still focused on following the threadfin shad to the backs of the creeks.”
The best bass activity shifted to later midday hitting square-bill cranks, shad imitation custom painted Bent Pole Little John cranks, Bandit Splatterback cranks, Millwood Magic Rat-L-Traps and chrome/blue back SpinTraps finessing through the pads. The best water clarity and reaction from chunky bass has left the river and moved to the back of the oxbows where the clarity is much improved from the current and muddy Little River over the past week from thunderstorms and inflow from Cossatot, Saline and Rolling Fork.

Before these thunderstorms, shad continued seeking warmer water and moving deeper into creek channels in search of continued warmer surface water temperatures, and the largemouth and Kentucky bass were following these large groups and shad schools almost all day. Horseshoe and McGuire oxbow along Little River had the best water clarity and the most aggressive largemouth and Kentucky (spotted) bass over the past week. Bass activity and action in the flats at White Cliffs nearly shut down with the muddy current along Little River. We were able to coax a few bites in back of McGuire throwing a custom-painted, shad-colored Little John crank and a Bill Lewis SB-57 or MR-6 crankbait in Millwood Magic and Tennessee Shad.
* White bass continue to follow the shad as well. We did find a few large schools of white bass late last week along Little River in the current above White Cliffs about 2 miles before getting to the mouth of McGuire oxbow. Those whites were in large number ranging from 2-3 pounds, and were biting well on Cordell Hammered Spoons, Bomber Tennessee Shad Crankbaits, Heddon Sonar Metal Blades and Rocket Shads. The spoons, Sonar Blades and Rocket Shads seemed to work better by vertical-jigging in the school, letting the blade/spoon drop into the depth zone BELOW the school, then ripping it up, and letting it fall back into the school.

The river was muddy and had fair amount of current, but the schools were very obvious on your electronics, and are migrating up and along Little River. Many different schools continue roaming Little River (and the oxbows of Horseshoe & McGuire Lake) and have been caught for several weeks on Millwood Magic SpinTraps (Tailspinners) and Magnum ¾-ounce Mag Traps, vertical-jigging spoons, and custom-painted Little John Crankbaits, Bomber Fat Free Guppy’s, and Bandit 200 Crankbaits along Little River. Tail Spinner Trap Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Chrome/Black back, Chrome/Blue back, caught some 2- to 3-pound whites in McGuire over the past month.
* The crappie bite went south late last week along with the water clarity, muddy from recent thunderstorms, along Little River, more especially when they opened the gates up another 7,500 cfs this week.
* Catfish continued to bite well this week with the increase of current along Little River. “Two guys we visited with along Little River were running trotlines and having good responses from high-fin blues and channel cats using King’s Punch Bait and catalpa worms set 15-17 feet deep across the Little River. With the increase of discharge at the Millwood Dam and the tailwater elevation up over 10 feet from last week at the spillway, we visited with numerous fishermen snagging and fishing at the spillway this week having good success with various species of catfish, along with snagging a few drum, gar and buffalo fishing from the rocks along the west side of the spillway.”
* No reports on bream.

Lake Columbia
(update 12-1-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-251-3831) reports that anglers passing through on the way to nearby Lake Columbia say crappie are doing well here. Use minnows or jigs.

Lake Erling
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 12-8-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported that the lake has reached the drawdown level of 5 feet and has leveled out. The gates have been closed and should remain at that level.
Crappie are biting very well. About everyone going out for crappie is catching limits, they report. Silver shiners and hand-tied jigs are the go-to baits. “We’re fishing at about 16 feet of water. Most of the fish are suspended in about 10 feet in the brush,” they tell us.
Also, anglers are catching a lot of catfish, which has been the story much of this year. These catfish, both channel and blue cats, are in the 3- to 5-pound range. They are using poles and stink bait.
No bass reports came in this week.

Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit for a daily update on fishing conditions.

Lake Greeson
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 538.96 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).

DeGray Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.31 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).

De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.52 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).

Dierks Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.36 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).


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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.


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Lake Atkins
(updated 12-8-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) had no new reports.

Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit

(updated 12-8-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 49 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 thru 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 in December was to add 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.
The bite is very slow now 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.

Lake Dardanelle
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 17,985 cfs. Elevation was 337.70 feet msl and the tailwater was at 286.79 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage is at 6.63 feet (flood stage is 32 feet).

Lake Hamilton
No reports.

Lake Nimrod
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 342.48 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).

(updated 12-8-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) had no new reports.

Lake Ouachita
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was up about 2 feet from last week to 570.29 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).

(updated 12-8-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still good. Alabama rig or a PB&J jig should get some good results. Stripers are very good. 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 still very good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 20-35 feet deep. No report on walleye, bream or catfish. Water temperature is 52-56 degrees. Clarity is stained. The lake level Thursday was 570.33 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

Blue Mountain Lake
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.45 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).

No reports.


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White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge is steady at 12.63 feet, more than 13.3 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.

Cook’s Lake
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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