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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 01-05-2023


Jan. 5, 2023

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: Mike Casey Sr., a finance professor at the University of Central Arkansas, caught a few keeper crappie in Lake Conway on Dec. 20 with his colleague Tom Snyder. They were fishing with Bobby Garland Jigs. The weather was great, giving the pair a good day for canoeing down Gold Creek. Photo provided by Tom Snyder.

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 1-5-2023) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (501-758-4958) said anglers are headed to Gold Creek area for the best crappie bite. They’re fishing with both jigs and minnows and, at least last Saturday, they were bringing home limits of crappie.

(updated 12-22-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said crappie “are still going really good” in the creeks, namely Caney and Gold, and up in the cove. Anglers have been catching a little bit of crappie around the Highway 89, which is normally a hot spot too, but faster running water through the bridge this week has slowed the bite there some. Palarm Creek has been decent for crappie anglers as well. Minnows and jigs are always dependable for crappie. A couple of anglers who had been fishing for crappie also picked up some bream on redworms and crickets. Bass are still slow. The ones catching any are using small jigs, and Bates has been selling a black jig mostly.
Catfish are doing really well on nightcrawlers, goldfish shad, skipjack and chicken liver. Where the 89 bridge might have slowed on crappie, the increased current there with water moving out of the dam has picked up the crappie bite. You could even note anglers under the bridge during the rain earlier this week catching catfish off the bank. There is also lot of baitfish under the bridge as well and a spot for anglers to look if they need to collect some bait. The dam two days ago had three gates open moving water out of the lake. The level is not quite back to normal but it’s not the “bad low” it was a few weeks back from the drought, Bates reports. The clarity is the usual Lake Conway murky stain.

Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 20 cfs (turbine) as of noon Thursday. Generation reached 2,846 cfs between 7-8 p.m. Wednesday. Greers Ferry Lake is 1.8 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.

No reports.

Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday morning, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.21 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).

(updated 1-5-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is back up. It had been on steady slow rise for a while from 8 feet low, and since the rain it has come back up another 3.21 feet to leave us at this point only 1.88 feet below normal pool of 462.04 (at 460.16 feet msl). The water temperature is ranging 49-53 degrees. Bass fishing is good all over. Try to stay away from the most stained areas unless you want to fish in that type of water – try to stay in medium-stained and throw Wiggle Warts, traps, spinnerbaits, A-Rigs or drag a football head or hop a jig off that second drop. Deeper fish can be caught on a C-rig as well as a football head. And remember, this time of year some fish are right on the bank, also some topwater baits are working.
Crappie fishing is great all over, but remember they have moved with the water now – it’s a new puzzle, straight up and down or troll. Casting works, too. Live bait, crank baits, and jigs.
The river spawning walleye are on the move for sure but will eat big crankbaits trolled 15-40 feet. Lake walleye are best with jighead minnow fished straight up and down or down-riggers with big cranks down to 50 feet.
Hybrid and white bass will eat two or three times a day now, or sometimes all day – fish them at 40-80 feet in turns or off of turns in deeper guts. Use hair jigs, spoons, swimbaits, inline spinners or live bait for best results.
No reports on bream or catfish.

(updated 1-5-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the black bass have been pretty good here lately. They are mainly being caught on Alabama rigs on the brushpiles and in flooded timber. Crappie are biting as well on the brushpiles; try a small swimbait or crappie jig.

Harris Brake Lake
(updated 1-5-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water temperature was on the rise Thursday. The water level is higher than in was in the most recent report, now up 2 foot high. The clarity is muddy, “there is no real color,” they said. The crappie anglers are out early before sunrise and back at it after 4 p.m., catching good numbers of crappie and “decent-sized” ones. They report some crappie ranging 13-15 inches in length, with weights from 1.5 to 2 pounds. Use your favorite Bobby Garland Jig; the crappie at Harris Brake Lake seem to favor the Shiny Hiney or Crystal colors, but warning: there was a big run on Crystal at the bait shop, so you might want to look elsewhere for the time being. Use your jig with a one-sixteenth-ounce jighead. Also, anglers are using minnows. One boating angler, they report, hooked a crappie 15.5 inches in length and weighing almost 2 pounds.
But maybe the most excitement for one angler was landed a crappie tagged by the AGFC and worth $100, they say.
White bass are jumping around and fairly easy to catch now, they report, with the regular jigs working well for them, too. Crappie minnows appear to be good bait now for largemouth bass.
Some folks were trying a noodle to land some catfish in recent days to no avail. No other reports came in.

Lake Overcup
(updated 1-5-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-242-1437) said, “The water levels are higher than they have been since last spring, I believe. The rain has kicked up a lot of murky water. It’s throwing the fish off, but I believe by Friday the water temp will even out more and make for a better fishing day.
“Crappie are really liking the pink minnows. And if you’re jig fishing, then try white with red or black tips and chartreuse tails. Redworms for bream, and catfish haven’t made an appearance that I know of yet.
“Y’all remember to have your life jackets if not on your body at least by your side. The high water levels may be hiding stumps – if you’re trolling around, be careful. You can always call me (501-242-1437) and I will let you know what the fish are doing at that time. Also, you can check out the
Lakeview Landing Hwy 95 Facebook page for temperature and humidity updates.”

(updated 1-5-2023) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) off Arkansas Highway 9 said the water level is up by 1 foot and clarity is murky. Johnny was unsure on surface temperature. “Not anything to report, seems like nobody is getting out at the moment. Things should start turning around soon.”

Brewer Lake
(update 1-5-2023) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, had no new reports.

Lake Maumelle
(updated 1-5-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) had no new fishing reports. The lake level is down significantly as Central Arkansas Water lowers the lake to eliminate some of the hydrilla in the lake. Access in early December was reported as “iffy” from the ramps.

Arkansas River at Morrilton
As of Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 14,271 cfs. The stage at Morrilton is falling at 9.89 feet (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 0 cfs.

Little Maumelle River
(updated 1-5-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the fishing at midweek is “not really good right now” because of the early week rainfall. The water is at a normal level but is muddied up from the rain. “It’s starting to clear, though,” he said Thursday, “and in another day, it ought to be fishable.”
Before the major storm front Monday, crappie were biting very well, and Ray is hopeful that will be returning by the weekend. “They were biting as good as you could want before the rain hit.” Anglers were using jigs and minnows and catching crappie at about 8-9 feet, almost near the bottom.
Also, some anglers got hooks into several redear sunfish that were hanging on the bottom at 8-9 feet. Redworms were getting their attention.

Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 23,502 cfs.

Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 35,163 cfs. The elevation is 249.32 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was at 7.51 feet (flood stage is 25 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 0 cfs.

(updated 1-5-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says the river flowing about 38,000 cfs, and that’s pretty safe for anglers and boaters to be out on the Little Rock pool. The bass are starting to move onto the entries to the backwaters. Fish the rock piles with a jig, or throw a weightless Alabama rig along the jetties on the main channel. Also, red lipless crankbaits will work along the main channel or back in the dead grass. Crappie on the river have been pretty good lately, they report. They are piled up now on any structure – concentrations like brushpiles or rock piles. Anglers are catching crappie on one-sixteenth-ounce black and chartreuse crappie jigs.

(updated 1-5-2023) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (501-758-4958) said that mainly what they’ve heard is the catfish are biting off the Murray Lock and Dam by the hydroelectric plant area on skipjack. They’ve heard no other reports.

(updated 1-5-2023) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no new reports.

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 1-5-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Welcome 2023! White River anglers are greeting these mild January temperatures in shirtsleeves and sunscreen. Always come prepared for a change in the thermometer, though; the calendar still says this is winter. Bull Shoals Lake has risen about 3.5 feet over the last few weeks from the rain received during the holidays, so releases to the river have been steady and welcome, averaging around 2,500 cfs during that time period. The lake level is 656.83 feet msl, back down to 3 feet below power pool.
“This is the year to make fishing fun again. Shouldn’t be a lot of work; ought to be a time of relaxation and indulgence. Leave the performance standards at the car and enjoy every minute you can on the river.
“Traffic on the river has been light while we spend time with family around the Christmas tree. Expect a pretty consistent catch as anglers return slowly over the next week with the rainbows preferring shad imitators (start with most anything white) and peach-colored egg patterns. The brown trout spawn is nearing the finish line – many are returning to their home beds – and the bite is increasing as they’re looking to replace mass lost during spawn.
Rooster Tails, gold blades, orange bodies appeal to the browns as they continue moving back to their home bases. Fresh sculpins and minnows are a welcome treat. Happy new year!”

(updated 1-5-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said, “I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It was nice to get a few days in the 60- and 70-degree range. The recent rains have caused the river to rise to almost 7 feet and become very dingy. I expect the river will clear up over the weekend and river levels will drop back down to the 4- to 5-foot range.
“During these conditions the best bait has been Power Eggs with shrimp, worms or corn. There has been some success throwing Rapala Countdowns or similar lures. In the deeper holes in the river try throwing a deep-diving lure such as a Rapala Shad Rap. Being aware of the rise and fall of the river will increase your chances of catching fish if you can stay ahead of the rising water or move up river to where river conditions have stabilized.”

(updated 1-15-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had some rain, much warmer temperatures and moderate winds (including wind chill warnings). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.2 feet to rest at 2.2 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 38.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 2 feet to rest at 0.2 foot below power pool and 16.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 2.2 feet below power pool or 11.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water and has had more moderate flows during periods of peak power demand. Norfork Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water.
All of the lakes in the White River system are still at or below power pool. With cooler temperatures, expect higher flows and less wadable water and expect heavy generation during peak power demand.
The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park is 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 Rim Shoals,” he said. “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.”

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 656.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Flow on Thursday midday was 1,868 cfs, and tailwater elevation was 452.14 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).

(updated 1-5-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the Bull Shoals water level 656 feet msl, or about 2 feet below normal pool. The lake came up a little. Water temperature Thursday was 48 degrees, give or take. “Fishing is good. Shallow guys, there are plenty of fish on the bank. If there are wind and clouds, I’m covering water where the wind hits square on the bank – hopefully on a point, chunk rock, steep bank or ledge rock. I’m saying close to deeper water. A Spro Crawler, Wiggle Wart, Red Craw or green variations. You’ll have 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, try sunny points with brush or ledges 30-40 feet. The winter patterns are working. Offshore video gaming. Shad are still spread out; target bigger bait balls and shad becomes the structure. Creek hollers, 50-90 feet overall depth. Every day every creek will be different. Watching the loons and graph time pays off this time of year. Use a single 2.8 white swimbait or jerkbait or flutter spoon around those high swimming shad balls. It’s usually best early or late in the day when shad are up in the water column. If they are being finicky, hang a Tater Shad over the side. For schooling fish, use a Jewel Scope or spin a Jigging Rap. Jewel Scuba Spoon for the bottom dwellers. Lots of different species showing up out there in the middle of the lake. 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 553.63 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 midday was 3,061 cfs.

(updated 1-5-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 553.75 feet msl and is exactly at the top of the power pool. It has risen 1.25 inches in the last 24 hours with one generator running for one hour. The surface water temperature is 52 degrees and stable. The White River at Newport is 17 feet and leveling off after the rain Monday. “We received 1 inch here at Blackburn’s but they got more south and east of us.”
The water clarity is fair and you can see your lure down about 3 feet.
Crappie fishing is picking up with some very nice ones in the 13-14 inch range being caught mostly in the evening at sunset when they come up shallow to feed. Live minnows on slip floats, jigs and spoons are all working. They bite fast and then quit. White bass are good in the mornings in 53 feet of water near the bottom on spoons and smaller stripers are a little deeper but suspended a bit. Every once in a while a 10- to 12-pounder is being caught. Bass fishing also gets better in the evening near the shore and behind brush when they also move shallow to feed in the late evening. Fishing is slower in the middle of the day, but try spoons in the brush. A few walleye are being caught and they are scattered and getting full of eggs. White bass are also full of eggs with bloodlines and getting ready to spawn and are prespawn feeding.
The weather has been great and the lake is in excellent condition.
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.

(updated 1-5-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new reports, but Lou posts almost daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 1-5-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water.
All of the lakes in the White River system are still at or below power pool. With cooler temperatures, expect higher flows and less wadable water and expect heavy generation during peak power demand.
There has been more wadable water on the Norfork. 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.
Dry Run Creek has fished a bit better. 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.
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber-soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 1-5-2023) 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 1,118.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl). The release at the dam Thursday was 20 cfs. There was a 4-hour release of about 3,880 cfs on Wednesday morning.     

(updated 1-5-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-253-3474) said, “Happy New Year from Beaver Lake and Northwest Arkansas! Boy, it has been and up and down the last couple weeks on the weather front and the fishing that was just as erratic. First off, the lake has been on a slow rise. Water temps were in upper 30s in the river arms to lower to mid-40s elsewhere. As of Wednesday the water in the river arms was almost 51! Water clarity is stained from Point 12 up to the Monte Ne area. Then less stained from there to the dam.”
Striper fishing has been good, he reports. Horseshoe Bend was the area holding the most bait and fish. “Trolling brood minnows has been putting some nice fish in the boat. We have caught three over 30 pounds in the past week.
Crappie are good and I predict this next seven-day stretch will really get good. Look for brush in 15 feet or less as water is really warming well. Jigs and minnows will work. I have also been catching a lot of spotted bass on the same brush. So I would bet throwing A-rigs at near structures would work well.
“It will not be long until all species migrate to prespawn areas. Walleye should start and fishing for them will be on the uptick next month. The weather looks great next 7-10 days. Get out and enjoy this spring-like weather. Could be much worse, as we have already seen some epic and brutal cold already this year. Stay safe and good luck!”

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

(updated 1-5-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said temperatures have been up and down and anglers are fighting the wind, but they’re catching fish on Beaver. Black bass fishing has been decent, with the best baits being cranks, jerkbaits, A-rigs and jigs. Anglers are hauling in bass in various spots all over the lake, from up the river arms to the big end, and at different depths. Up the river all the way to the dam they are more likely using jigs or crankbaits; Rock Crawler or Wiggle Wart is a good call. Downlake the presentation is jerkbaits or the A-rig. A jigging spoon is getting some work, too.
Crappie anglers are going with live minnows or jigs with a maribou tail or a plastic skirt. They are catching some nice fish, with the best success throwing a bigger jig over brush rather than spider-rigging.

Striper fishing has been decent. They haven’t seen any really big fish come through, but they’re catching numbers of stripers anyway mostly on brooder minnows, though live shad will work great if you take the time to net some.
Striper fishing has been decent. Haven’t seen really big fish but on brooder minnows and live shad if you can net it.
Also, people have been catching a few catfish using pretty much the same bait as for stripers (bigger minnows) or dead (cut) bait like shad. It’s kind of been a surprise to the folks at Southtown, they report, but a lot of people have been catfishing at this time. They were having good success before the big freeze as Christmas arrived and the lake froze over, and now they’re back again for mostly nice blue cats.
Nothing to report on bluegill or white bass. The walleye ought to be starting up, they say, but so far they’ve heard no reports.
The water temp is now in the low 40s, the lake is down 2 feet even with recent rainfall, and it’s mostly clear.

Beaver Tailwater
(updated 1-5-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the water levels in the tailwater are slowly rising. With that, more fishing ground is being opened up to access by boat. The bite has waxed and waned, but overall it has been good. Most fish are being caught with Pautzke Fire Eggs and Fire Worms (drifting). Various dough baits have also produced nice numbers as well. Try looking for the deeper holes when they Army Corps of Engineers is not generating. This week’s hot spot has been just above Houseman Access.
“I hope you all had a good Holiday! Like always, for additional information, please follow my Facebook page (
Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for day-to-day updates.”

Lake Fayetteville
(updated 1-5-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) will reopen Jan. 14.


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Lake Charles
(updated 1-5-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) had no new reports.

Lake Poinsett
(updated 1-5-2023) 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. The daily limit for bream is now the same as it is statewide.

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 1-5-2023) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels have been getting low at 320 cfs, and water clarity has been heavily green tinted. “Perfect conditions over the last week. A few weeks ago the river was very clear, but recent rains helped stain the water. Always check our blog for current river conditions. The warm weather this week has storms in the forecast, heavy rain can change river conditions.” he said.
The brown trout are biting with this warm up lately, with streamers, nymph rigs, tight lining and, heck – the browns are even eating the Y2Ks. The AGFC is really working to get browns in the Spring River. One of our browns was caught on the world famous bead-head olive Woolly Bugger, and on the swing, no doubt! A few bigger rainbows were rolling up on the flies, but stocking size has been smaller lately. Caddis and mayflies are hatching heavily with some dry fly action, but really good nymphing during hatches.
A few smallmouth have been caught lately, but they are few and far between. “The smallie bite should pick up as it gets colder. My most productive smallie setup during winter is a white lightning below an indicator. It really slows the presentation down and seems to work.
“Crazy nice weather for winter! Get out and enjoy it while it lasts!”
Check out Mark’s blog for latest fishing conditions at

(updated 1-5-2023) 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 steady at 9.06, 6 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 16.76 feet (flood stage was 26.00 feet). The stage at Augusta at 28.12 and rising Thursday, 2.12 feet above flood stage of 26.00 feet.

(updated 1-5-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports.

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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 40,007 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is at 31.50 feet and falling (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 44,769 cfs.

(updated 1-5-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report from the river.

Lake Monticello
(updated 1-5-2023) 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 259.51 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total hourly outflow at the dam by midday was 5,080 cfs, about average since 2 p.m. Wednesday, when it was at about 3,500 cfs.

(updated 1-5-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Tuesday that Millwood Lake was at 259.4 feet msl, 3 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. Clarity went south over this past week, along Little River, and oxbows due to recent thunderstorms. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 228 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam near 3,500 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 the US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation.
Surface temps were stable this week, ranging 45-50 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 was normal stain, visibility ranged 5-10 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.
Use caution when launching boat trailers at Yarbrough Ramp on the east side of the ramp due to broken concrete. Also note that the Millwood State Park marina is closed for the winter season until March 1. The state park is open for camping, and Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds are open for camping.
Mike provided these fishing specifics from the past few weeks on Millwood:
* The largemouth bass and spotted bass have finished up their schooling and surface breaking activities over the past couple weeks, and they were excellent for many weeks prior and were 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 few weeks and we’re finding those fish 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 finessed through the pads. The best water clarity and reaction from chunky bass have left the river and shifted to the back of the oxbows where the clarity is somewhat better, away from the current and muddy Little River over the past week from thunderstorms and inflow from recent runoff.

Shad continue seeking warmer water and are moving deeper into creek channels, and the largemouth and Kentucky bass are following these large groups and shad schools. Several groups and different age classes of largemouth continue to follow schools of threadfin shad into the backs of creeks almost all day. Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows along Little River had the best water clarity and the most aggressive largemouth and Kentucky (spotted) bass in recent weeks. Bass activity and action in the flats at White Cliffs nearly shut down with the muddy current along Little River. In the back of McGuire oxbow last week we were throwing a custom painted, shad colored Little John Cranks and a Bill Lewis SB-57 or MR-6 Crankbait in Millwood Magic and Tennessee Shad and picking up a few random bites.
* White bass have continued to follow the shad as well. We did find a few large schools of white bass over the past few weeks along Little River in the current above White Cliffs about 2 miles before getting to the mouth of McGuire oxbow lake. Those White Bass were in large number, ranging 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 a fair amount of current, but the schools were very obvious on your electronics and migrating up and along Little River. Many different schools continue roaming Little River (and the oxbows of Horseshoe and McGuire Lake) and have been caught for several weeks on Millwood Magic SpinTraps (Tailspinners) and Magnum three-quarter-ounce Mag Traps, vertical-jigging spoons, and custom painted Little John Crankbaits, Bomber Fat Free Guppy 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 month.
* Crappie continue to be slow and random with no consistent bites the last couple weeks when the water clarity lake-wide went muddy from recent thunderstorms. Along Little River the visibility worsened when they opened the gates up 9,700 cfs.
* The catfish bite has been fairly good, especially with the increase of current along Little River. We visited with a couple catfish anglers up Little River over the past couple weeks who were running trotlines and having good responses from high-fin blues and channel cats using King’s Punch Bait and catalpa worms set 12-15 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 anglers snagging and fishing at the spillway last 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. We saw numerous folks fishing along the west side of the spillway again this week and having good results.
No reports on bream.

Lake Columbia
No reports.

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, 2023, at which time the 7,000-acre lake will be allowed to refill.

(updated 1-5-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported the storm fronts that came through in recent days dropped more than 7 inches of rainfall on the area. “Our lake is still rising,” they reported Thursday, “it’s going over the spillway. The clarity is dingy. Fishing was tough today. Nobody had limits but we still caught some good crappie.”
All the crappie on Thursday were biting on hand-tied jigs in white-silver-white. Anglers were fishing in 16 feet of water, with some of the bigger crappie being hooked at 14 foot depth.
Anglers who went out for catfish were having a really good day, though, bringing in limits of catfish (blues and channels). They are using dip bait, as well as minnows. The cats are right on the bottom.

No reports on bass.
Water temperature Thursday was 56 and expected to rise into the weekend.

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 544.60 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).

DeGray Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.29 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 438.05 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).

Dierks Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 530.30 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).


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White Oak Lake Area
(update 1-5-2023) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-251-3831) had no new reports


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Lake Atkins
(updated 1-5-2023) 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 1-5-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 43 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Heavy rains muddied both lakes Hamilton and Catherine in the past several days causing Entergy to run very heavy generation at all area dams to maintain the winter drawdown levels. Frigid temperatures last week caused Lake Catherine to drop into the 40s, which is extremely cold water in this part of the country. Mid-November marked the return of the fall trout stocking program, which has created a solid fishing environment for the public on Lake Catherine. The November and December stockings are in the lake and thriving in the nutrient-rich water. January marks the first big month of rainbow trout stocking with 9,300 fish scheduled for Lake Catherine. Trout now 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 searching for prey.
Quality fishing is now happening in the tailrace as conditions have stabilized and the game fish have resumed a more normal bite pattern. The influx of healthy rainbow trout to the lake rejuvenates the tailrace to an earlier scenario of quality fishing.
Both lakes Hamilton and Catherine are drawn down 5 feet for the winter, and refilling will begin around March 1-8, with the process completed by March 15.
It is important to note that 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. Also, 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 each week and 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 Thursday midday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 0 cfs. Elevation was 337.59 feet msl and the tailwater was at 285.19 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage is at 4.90 feet and falling (flood stage is 32 feet).

Lake Nimrod
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was at 345.73 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).

(updated 1-5-2023) 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 573.88 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).

(updated 1-5-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. Alabama rig or  a PB&J jig should get some good results. These fish have been moderately shallow, 10-15 feet staging on brush. Stripers are good. Bama rig or live bait on the main lake points or creek channel mouths on the rivers should be the best spots to find these. Try the south fork of the river between Twin Creeks and Tompkins Bend. Crappie are still good on small jigs and minnows. Try brush 20-25 feet deep. No reports on walleye, bream or catfish. Water temperature is ranging 48-52 degrees and the clarity is stained. Lake level is 573.95. 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 387.36 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 on the rise (1.30 feet in the past 24 hours from 1 9.m. Wednesday to 1 p.m. Thursday) at 23.27 feet, about 2.7 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.

Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.

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