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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 03-16-2023


March 16, 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: Randy Plyler, a fishing guide out of Arkadelphia and a regular contributor to the AGFC’s Weekly Fishing Report, recently hauled in this 15.8-pound drum while fishing on Lake Ouachita, “the biggest drum I’ve ever caught. Had me excited for a minute,” he said. The qualification for drum in the AGFC’s Master Angler Program starts at 12 pounds, which puts Plyler in that category. The state record for drum is 45 pounds, 7 ounces caught in Lake Wilson in 2004.

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

For the most up-to-date lake level, visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s Lake Conway water level site.

(updated 2-23-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bream are still doing well; Bates is selling a lot of redworms and crickets. Catfish are “fairly decent.” Try nightcrawlers, trotline minnows, and they have goldfish and black goldfish in now. Crappie are still hit and miss, and the cold nights might have a lot to do with that. Water temperature earlier this week was at 51 degrees, and that’s a little cold for the crappie, they say. Therefore, the bite has been hit or miss, but they’re looking forward to a warming up next week.
Some male crappie are showing up on the flats getting ready to spawn. Try jigs, crappie minnows or the pink minnows.
Black bass right now are really good, they report, on a variety of baits: worms, jigs, crankbaits, Chatterbaits, poppers, and they’re beginning to sell topwater frogs.

The water is pretty good for fishing in terms of clarity with its usual Conway stain, and at least up until Thursday there had not been any gates open to stir up the water. Rain Thursday could change all that.


(updated 3-2-2023) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (501-758-4958) said some good activity has been reported near Palarm Creek with the water running. One angler had a good day catching a 4.4-pound largemouth and seven crappie, returning all those back to the water. So they are out there.


Little Red River

The Army Corps of Engineers reported the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 6,124 cfs (turbine) as of noon Thursday, beginning at 7 a.m.; the Corps ran water from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday of about that same amount. The tailwater was at 276.51 feet as of noon Thursday. Greers Ferry Lake is 8.1 feet above 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 3-16-2023) Mike Winkler of Little River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said Greers Ferry Lake is 8.1 feet above normal pool. The Army Corps of Engineers are on a pretty consistent generation schedule usually starting around 7 a.m. and running two units of generation until 7 p.m.

The bite has been good. Try fishing pink San Juan worms, or egg patterns underneath an indicator. Vary your depths depending on where you put in.

(updated 3-9-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the Little Red is still really blown out with the water being released from Greers Ferry Dam over the past few weeks, and more rain this week probably means more water moving through the dam. No reports.


(updated 3-9-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) has no new updates. He suggests anglers and boaters 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.

Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday at noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 470.19 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).


(updated 3-16-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry lake is at 470.19 feet and has been falling last couple of days but is fixing to start back up after rain today. It is 8.15 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet. As predicted, all species are in holding pattern; before all the cool down it looked like an early spawn and just a little cool, but as its looking now we will be two weeks late as cold weather is forecast for rest of month. “We shall see,” Tommy says.
Black bass are eating jerkbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits in guts or side of guts; the rest are out deeper and can be caught dragging something, and some are right up on shoreline.
Some crappie are as shallow as a couple of feet. Most are 10-40 feet, and jigs, minnows or crankbaits are catching them. Walleye are eating crankbaits, plastics on a jighead or live baits in a lot of different places all over lake and rivers. No report on bream. Catfish are eating around dying shad in lake and rivers. Hybrid and white bass are eating a lot of days away from the super stained water. They do not like it. Spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and small grubs are working in 10-50 feet.


(updated 3-2-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the fish are pushing toward the back of creeks, and most of the black bass reported caught have been hauled in from the middle to the backs of creeks this week. A red crankbait like a Rock Crawler would be good now, as well as a Wiggle Wart in a crawfish pattern. Anglers also have been throwing a green pumpkin jig and a peanut butter & jelly jig. Also, with a lot of water probably coming into the back of creeks from all the runoff, a white/chartreuse or white spinnerbait would be a good call.

For crappie, anglers have been catching lot of fish around the South Fork River and up around Choctaw. They’ve been catching them in about 10-15 foot of water.
The lake level is about 4 feet high and is probably coming up with this next rainfall, they note. Water clarity of the upper part of lake will be stained or muddy, while the lower part of lake will be clear.


Harris Brake Lake

(updated 3-9-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says fishing is mostly “no good” this week after all the rain. “It’s kind of slow right now.” Crappie are still biting but it’s difficult to catch them from the shoreline or dock. Out on the boats, anglers have caught some but not many.
However, white bass are really picking up and appear hungry and hunting for something to eat around the shoreline. Bream, too, are a little more active. Redworms are getting reactions from bream right by the dock. White bass are about 5-7 feet out from the shoreline and also going after the redworms.
The clarity is muddy to almost “yellow looking,” they report, and the level of the lake appears to be 2-3 feet deeper for some that at this usual time of the year. “People are fishing 5-foot deep for crappie.”


(updated 3-16-2023) Ken Winstead at Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011)had no new reports.


Lake Overcup

(updated 3-16-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-252-1437) had no fishing report this week. Check out the Lakeview Landing Hwy 95 Facebook page for water temperature and other updates.

Brewer Lake
(update 3-16-2023) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, had no new reports from the lake.


Lake Maumelle
(updated 3-16-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that white bass were by the west end bridge. They were unsure if the white bass had reached the creeks yet.


Arkansas River at Morrilton

As of Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 42.416 cfs, about half the flow of last week. The stage at Morrilton was fishing at 12.13 feet and falling (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 40,886 cfs.

Little Maumelle River

(updated 3-16-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water level is normal and the water is in “perfect shape” for fishing with clear conditions. Lower temperatures this week have not seemed to affect the fish. “They are close enough to be ready to spawn,” Ray said.
Crappie are doing well and being caught in 4-5 feet depth. Still working well on minnows and jigs. Black bass are doing real well, also, and they’re being caught in the same depth of water. Crankbaits and soft plastics such as lizards and worms are working best.

Catfish are doing real well, with a lot being caught on yo-yos baited with minnows. Not much to report on bream, he said.


Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 49,313 cfs.

Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)

On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 52,739 cfs. The elevation is 248.77 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was falling at 7.20 feet (flood stage is 25 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 56,498 cfs.

(updated 3-2-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says the river current is good for fishing, but the water is dirty/muddy in clarity. With warmer water temperatures, bass anglers should head toward the backwaters and fish shallower areas. They suggest using a chartreuse black back square bill. Also try a black/blue Chatterbait, while anglers also are having success using a black/blue jig. Just try to target any visible cover where black bass are pulling up to spawn.

The crappie have been on the backwater holes on the inside of jetties in 10 feet of water. Crappie anglers are catching them on orange/chartreuse jigs and red/chartreuse and solid chartreuse crappie jigs.

The water level of the river is a little higher than normal, but again the current is good now to take on the pool if you can handle the muddy water.


(updated 3-2-2023) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (501-758-4958) said the river is slow on catfish for now, while crappie are “fair to middlin’” on jigs or minnows. “In another two weeks, things will really be on.”

Catfish in the 10-pounds and up just aren’t consistent now. They appear very lethargic.
But some good days have happened lately with crappie, as one angler reported a limit of big 14- to-17-inch crappie caught in the pool. How long it took that angler to catch all those crappie was a question not answered, however.

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White River

(updated 3-16-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the next few weeks will bring lots of young anglers to the river – spring break and time to get outside! Nothing better than to see families enjoying the great outdoors in the beauty of The Natural State, fishing for, catching and often releasing a whole mess of trout. Mid-March kicks off the fishing season here in the Ozarks and adds a lot of energy and excitement to the air.
There will be more traffic on the river than during the colder winter months, but don’t expect real warm weather yet. This is the time for layering; the mornings start out very chilly, but the sun heats up by mid-afternoon and allows for fewer layers.
Bull Shoals Lake is at elevation of 666.63 feet msl – up about 5 feet in the last two weeks – but the increase has slowed. Generation over the past week has been heavy, averaging 14,000 cfs, about five units, making the rainbows a little skittish.

When water releases settle to a steady amount, the bite picks up. Keep your egg patterns handy, along with wriggling redworms. Drifting a bubblegum pink or white worm while letting the current move you downstream should stir some excitement. We’re seeing more action with sculpins for a healthy brown bite, but don’t leave the minnows at home yet. Lots of topwater action on the sunny days, with a tiny white and

pink jig-like streamer.

“Arkansas hospitality never fails to please so come on over and experience the Arkansas Ozarks. We’d love for you to include some trout fishing in your vacation plans, and Cotter is the Trout Capital of the U.S. of A. The fishing forecast: good to spectacular.”


(updated 3-16-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said that they are seeing river levels at Calico Rock at 11 feet, well above what is normal for this time of year. The recent rains have caused both Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake to rise above their respective conservation pool level. Since the lakes’ levels are higher, both dams have been generating a lot of water to include Norfork Lake opening 10 spillway gates. Until the lakes get closer to their conservation pool levels, I expect the river will remain high.

The high river level has made fishing difficult this week. Silver inline spinners with yellow Power Eggs with shrimp have been the most effective this week. We are also having success drift-fishing using shad. Because of the lakes dumping so much water, we are seeing a lot of shad around Calico Rock, which is unusual for us. The trout are gorging themselves on the shad.

With the deeper water we add an additional or larger sinker to the line to get the bait to the bottom. The deep water has made fishing the river with lures almost completely ineffective. Some people are reporting some success by moving into the creeks and fishing there. An added bonus of fishing in the creeks is the chance to catch a nice smallmouth bass. There was one trout stocking this week at the Calico Rock boat ramp.


(updated 3-16-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week they had a bit over a quarter of an inch or rainfall, colder temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 2.1 feet to rest at 7.6 feet above power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 28.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 2 feet to rest at 1.3 feet below power pool and 14.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 2.1 feet to rest at 5.4 feet above power pool or 4.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water and heavy flows. Norfork Lake rose 0.3 foot to rest at 5 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 21.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also has had no wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. We can expect higher flows and no wadable water.
Streamer season is still upon us. The brown trout that were spawning from November to February are now working their way back downstream. Anglers are now targeting them by banging the bank with big streamers on sink tip lines.

John added, “On the White, the hot spot has been White Hole. We have had higher flows that have fished well one day and poorly the next. The hot flies were Y2Ks, prince nymphs, zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), pheasant tails, copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan worms, gold ribbed hare’s ears and sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. My favorite has been a cerise San Juan worm with an orange egg dropper.”
John also offers details of his upcoming semi-annual fishing class: “Ten years ago my wife, Lori, and I held our first fly-fishing class at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home. During that time we have taught hundreds of students how to fly-fish. We have taught it twice a year, spring and fall, since 2013. We did take a couple of years off due to COVID-19. We taught both classes last year without a single problem after two years off due to the pandemic. We are gearing up for our spring class and we are excited about it. We both love to teach. That is our thing!
“This spring’s class will be held on the ASU-Mountain Home campus on Thursday, April 6, 13, 20 and 27 from 6-8 p.m. The classes are held in room 106 in Dryer Hall. All necessary equipment is furnished, although you are welcome to bring your own fly rod. There is a modest fee. Since half of the classes are set up to be fly-casting instruction, this part of the class is outside behind Dryer Hall. Our first class begins there, as do all of the other classes. However, in the case of inclement weather we will be inside.
“Lori is the best local casting instructor and always does the casting classes at the Sowbug Roundup. She is the lead instructor for our fly-fishing class. I assist her. Our goal is to teach every student the basic fly-fishing cast as well as the roll cast. At the end of the class, you will be able to cast well enough to fly-fish on your own. Special attention is given to students who have medical problems that make casting difficult.
“After the casting session, we move inside to do the classroom portion of the class. I draw on my 30-plus years of guiding fly-fishers to teach this. My emphasis is on keeping everything as simple as I possibly can while still teaching enough so that my students can easily fish on their own. Lori assists me in this process.
“We cover fly-fishing equipment. We let you know what you need and what you don’t need. We spend plenty of time on water safety and explain how, where and when to safely wade. We teach you how to tie the necessary fishing knots and to properly rig your fly rods. We then show four basic techniques to fish. We go on to fly selection and reading water.
“I am currently updating all of our handouts so that you won’t have to take a lot of notes and all the information will be easily available to you. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, go the ASU-Mountain Home’s website and register. We hope to see you there.”


Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 666.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). By midday Thursday the flow was 14,351 cfs and has ranged from that level to 16,642 cfs past two days; tailwater elevation was 457.24 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.12 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).


(updated 3-16-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Bull Shoals Lake level is 666 feet msl, or 7 feet above normal pool level. Water temperature is 50 degrees give or take. They have had dirty water and consistent temps in the upper 50s. Temperature and conditions over the next month will dictate your game plan and success.

White bass and walleye are prespawn spawn. If you’re bass fishing, fish the conditions. The shad are on the move again everywhere from the main lake to backs of the creeks. Look for bigger spreads shallower than 40 feet; gulls and loons can help. If they are over deep water, expect drum and walleyes. The ole McMinnow 2.8 Swimbait has been the deal for me. While some warmer creeks have a wave of fish up, they are mostly bucks, with an occasional big. With windy, dirty, cloudy, warm rainwater use a crank, Chatterbait, square bill, Rock Crawler, Wiggle Wart. Target the swing banks and cover water. When it’s sunny and flat water I’m slowly dragging Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin or a green pumpkin shaky head or Ned hed slow banging on the rocks ledges in 5-15 feet early, then focusing in 15-20 feet by midday.
We’re fishing outside spawning areas. The fish are in transition The shad bite video gaming isn’t over but you can beat the bank and run into a few; target the staging, early prespawn areas in the creeks. Swings and points. The crankbait bite is hit or miss, we seem to need wind, wind, wind and clouds. Parallel steeper ledges, 45-degree banks and transition banks and cover water. The Spro Rock Crawler has been better lately; try the reds on the steeper, clearer water. Go with a Wiggle Wart on mid, and use a Chick Magnet on the flat side in the stain. A jerkbait on breezy day bluff ends over steeper swings and points with shad nearby will fool a few. I’m not a rig guy but they are set up for that.

The smallmouth bass are definitely grouping up; if you can find them they are in packs! It’s about to get easy if we can get some warmer weather 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 midday Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 558.18 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 8,823 cfs, with constant generation in that range for several days.


(updated 3-16-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said Wednesday the lake level was 558.58 feet msl and had dropped 5 inches in the last 24 hours, with one generator and spillway gates open to an equivalent of 3½ generators total when Steve came in at 5:30 p.m. The surface water temperature was just over 53 degrees and the lake was clearing a bit even with the heavy release. The brown stuff is dropping out as it heads downstream and there is no muddy water or debris. The White River at Newport is 24.6 feet and has been kept at that level for several days. They are letting out as much water as they can and not flood anything out downstream.

The dropping water, heavy generation and cold fronts have not been helping fishing any. The best bite has been open water fishing for smaller stripers, 5-pound hybrids and spawned out white bass trolling live bait and umbrellas through shad in front of spawning banks down 10-25 feet. Spawned out walleye and white bass are biting under lights off docks after dark. Some crappie are on main lake shallow brush and partway in the backs of creeks on any wood. The best bite for them is near sunset until dark.
Overall, fishing is just fair at best but some nice fish are being caught every day. Go to and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog for a daily report.


(updated 3-16-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new reports. However, 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 3-16-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.3 foot to rest at 5 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 21.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also has had no wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. We can expect higher flows and no wadable water.
There has been no 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-head nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). John’s 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, and spring break may make the weekdays busy this month. 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 3-16-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing poorly. With cooler temperatures, the smallmouths have not been 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 1,125.82 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).

(updated 3-16-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake has risen around 1 foot last week and is now almost 5 feet above normal pool level. The biggest change besides the water level is the downward temperature drop that is putting a damper on the bite for the last few days. Stripers are starting to show and the ones that are, well, they are big. A few mid-30-pound fish were caught in the Prairie Creek and Horseshoe Bend areas. Spotted bass are doing well on points back in the major arms on jerkbaits and Alabama rigs. The walleye and white bass are moving into both of the main river arms. That should continue to get better once warmer water shows up.

Looks like this next week is going to be cold. Walleye were fairly good on trolled Flicker Shad last week, but as the water cooled almost 10 degrees it slowed that bite down. There are some white bass in the system and that should get better. Water color is clearing slowly. “Just hope for some warmer weather and the bite should fire up again! Good luck and stay safe on the water!”

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


(updated 3-16-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said Thursday the fish are active, though they conceded that could change any minute with the frigid temps expected to roll in this weekend (highs predicted in the 40s through Sunday).
Walleye are going full bore in the rivers and that run is on, they report. Anglers are fishing minnows or any kind of softer-style baits. The white bass are just starting and anglers are catching some nice ones. Go to the rivers for both of those species. The White River and War Eagle Creek are very active with white bass anglers.
“That’s as of now, it’s pretty good,” they say.

Crappie are in prespawn mode abut are being seen around cover and channel edges, and the fishing is pretty good for them as well.
No reports of stripers this week.
The water conditions are good, with water temperature getting into the low 50s.

They rate the overall fishing as good. “It’s take your choice. They aren’t spawning yet (whites and crappie) but the fish have been actively feeding, so we’ve had good reports. Everything is just now starting up here. It’s been a pretty good week. Walleye have been the big conversation piece, and the white bass. That’s just prespawn on the whites, they’re just on the front edge of what it will be. It’s a good time to fish. At least today.”
Beaver Lake is 4 feet or more elevated over normal pool.


Beaver Tailwater

(updated 3-9-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “Fishing has been great this week. The trout bite has picked up as well as the walleye and white bass. Trout are being caught using Pautzke Fire Bait, Fire Balls and Fire Worms (drifting). Fish with light terminal tackle, on bottom. Try to hit the deeper holes with the bait and Fire Balls. Drift the Fire Worms when the Corps of Engineers is flowing water.
“The walleye bite has continued to increase and temperatures are starting to climb. Most are getting caught on soft plastics with Fire Gel scent. Also trolling crankbaits scented with Fire Gel. Try to focus baits in the 8-10 feet range. The walleye are spread out, so you’ve got to cover water.
White bass have been hitting hard and soft swimbaits. As with the walleye, they are spread out.
“As a side note, with the increasing boat traffic, please try to be courteous to other boaters. If you are under power and approaching a standing boat, slow down and try to communicate with the standing boat to see which side to yield to. Remember, you are under power, the standing boat cannot maneuver as quickly as you.
“I hope you are able to get out and catch some fish. For daily fishing updates, follow my fishing Facebook page (
Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service). Have fun and stay safe.”


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 3-16-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said crappie are doing really well on jigs. Bream also are biting well; try redworms, which are available at the bait shop. Black bass are biting on craws and soft plastics, and there has also been some topwater action lately. The small lake is stained, and the temperature has been fluctuating with the changing air temps. The lake level is normal.



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Lake Charles

(updated 3-16-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said white and black crappie are hitting jigs (black, Monkey Milk, chartreuse/red and Bleeding Shad are the best colors now). They have moved in to the coves and shallow water. Minnows also will work.
Bream are good on crickets and jigs and are relating to the brush piles, stumps and rocky points. Bright colors in your jigs will work best.
Black bass are fair at best, and catfish and white bass weren’t reported.

Shelly says, “We have nightcrawlers, crickets, jigs and lures, and poles. Stop by and see us at the Visitors Center for all your tackle needs.”

The lake’s temperature still tends to lean toward the low 50s; it was 51.9 degrees on Monday. The level is high and the lake is its usual murky clarity.


Lake Poinsett

(updated 3-16-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reported Lake Poinsett’s crappie biting well on minnows and jigs. Bass are starting to bite on artificials off of the points. Bream are biting on worms and Bream Killers. Catfish are slow but biting in the early evenings on stink bait and live bait. Crappie and bass are catch-and-release at Lake Poinsett. Normal state limits on bream and catfish now.


Crown Lake

(updated 3-2-2023) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) has reopened for the fishing season and for the past three weeks they’ve started to see some activity, particularly out of the bass anglers. The bass being caught in good numbers are reported all healthy “and chunky.” They are using a variety of baits, but it tends to lean toward crankbaits or jigs. No bass are on top yet, but they are moving in to shallower areas. They’ve seen some crappie anglers out, but so far there have been no reports. “It’s probably too early.”
The water level is normal and the clarity is dingy.


Spring River

(updated 3-9-2023) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said the Spring is flowing at 560 cfs (well above the 350 cfs average), and water clarity has been poor depending on rain amounts through the week. Plenty of rain lately has the river up and murky at times. Always check our blog for latest fishing conditions on the Spring River. Our blog page is on the website linked above.

The catch has been good with sink tips or split shot to help get the fly down. Lots of bug hatches on the sunny days has made nymphing productive most days. Just takes a little more weight to get down. “A few browns have been caught lately but mainly good rainbows and smallmouth. Grandma’s brownies and cracklebacks have been hot for my guide trips with a sink tip or spit shot. And if no luck, go to a Y2K with a nymph dropper for the days they are not biting.”

The smallmouth have been hitting lately on deep slow presentations. Sink tips with snag free flies work well. Minnow and sculpins patterns are the fav, with crawfish patterns working well too some days. Got to get it down!

With river levels up, be safe wading; a wading staff can save a life. The Spring River has a very slick river bottom that is hard to wade normally, so be careful. With the public areas getting a lot of pressure, places like Riverside Resort that is open through the winter can offer better wading and less pressure. All of the campgrounds will open April 1, providing more accesses. And stocking will increase through March, getting ready for the summer season.

“Water has been up but that has not slowed us down from catching fish and having fun!”


(updated 3-16-2023) 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,” he says. 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 at 11.47 feet (flood stage is 15.0 feet. The Newport stage is steady 24.54 feet (flood stage is 26 feet). The stage at Augusta is steady at 32.29 feet, almost 6.3 feet above flood stage of 26.00 feet.

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Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)

On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam at Pine Bluff was 57,861 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is steady at 30.85 (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 50,674 cfs.

(updated 3-9-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports water temperatures in low 60s mostly with upper 60s in protected backwaters. Visibility is less than 6 inches in most places, with slightly better visibility in protected backwaters. Black bass are biting fairly well on small dark-colored jigs and soft plastics. Black bass are transitioning into traditional spawning areas but have not quite loaded into them yet. Check staging areas for now and anticipate more activity in spawning areas over the next few weeks.


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Millwood Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 260.91 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total hourly outflow at the dam is still very high; at midday it was 21,031 cfs, which is steady for the past few days, peaking at 23,810 cfs.

(updated 3-16-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Tuesday that Millwood Lake actually rose over the past few days from recent storms. Clarity is heavy stain to muddy in some locations with high river flow and current. Millwood on Tuesday was almost 25 inches above normal pool and rising from the recent thunderstorms. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 249 feet msl (almost 20 FEET above normal) and rising with gate discharge at the dam near 24,000 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday. Always 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 on Little River and Millwood Lake. Navigation conditions are HAZARDOUS with trees, grassmats, logs and much debris in rapid flow conditions. Continue to use extreme caution in Little River where river current may have moved or damaged river buoys!

Surface temps jumped this week and ranged 58-65 degrees depending on location and the time of day.

NOTE: The Millwood State Park MARINA has now REOPENED for 2023; hours: 6 a.m.-6p.m. every day. Camping/fishing supplies and FRESH MINNOWS ARE IN STOCK! The Millwood State Park IS OPEN for camping, and the State Park Office can be reached at 870-898-2800 for availability or additional information. USACE Campgrounds ARE OPEN for camping. Millwood Lake’s various USACE parks current status, information and reservations may be made by calling (877) 444-6777 or the Millwood Tri-Lakes office at (870) 898-3343.
Mike offered these latest fishing notes by species:

*Big, fat, prespawn female largemouths came out to play this past week. Some were found shallow and others in 3- to 4-foot flats with grass and reeds on spinnerbaits, swim jigs and Chatterbaits. Over the past couple weeks black bass have been randomly feeding along Little River and the oxbows, with a few warmer days over the past couple weeks being best days to make a run upriver. Flats next to deep creeks and secondary points with any fresh grass growth, new lily pad blooms and vegetation will coax a bite on a Chatterbait or square bill on warm and sunny days, mainly in the afternoon. A few chunky 2- and 3-pound male bass were most aggressive at midday into late afternoon over the past few weeks and those fish are randomly near and close to deeper creek channels. The best activity from mid day to mid afternoon has been random hits on Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover, Chatterbaits in Firecraw or black /blue and Rat-L-Traps in Red Chrome Crawfish, Millwood Magic or Toledo Gold. Custom-painted Bent Pole Little John Cranks in Millwood Magic and Rayburn Red, finessing through the new vegetation, have picked up a few males in the 2- to 3-pound class. The best water clarity, and reaction from chunky largemouths, has left the river and moved to the back of the oxbows like McGuire, Clear Lake and Horseshoe Lake where the clarity is somewhat better away from the current of Little River.
Floating trick worms like the Zoom Trick Worm, Barlow’s Salty Rat Tails and the Yum Dingers are beginning to get good reactions. Merthiolate, Watermelon Candy, Pumpkinseed Shad and South African Special colors all were randomly working in the back of Clear Lake, Horseshoe Lake and McGuire. Bass Assassin Shads in Pumpkinseed, Houdini and Chico’s Red Ear have been getting bit near cypress trees and fresh vegetation from a few prespawn female largemouths.

Big female largemouth have been starting to stage at creek mouths and on first vertical drops from the spawning flats to deeper water. Red Chrome Crawfish, Toledo Gold or Natural Crawfish in three-quarters ounce and 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps were picking up a few prespawn fish from 8-12 feet deep on vertical drops. A few big fish have also been found in shallow grass, reeds and vegetation.
Mud Lake clarity worsened over the past few days with increased current passing through there, but Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows along Little River have had the best water clarity and the most aggressive largemouth and spotted bass over the past few weeks. In the back of McGuire oxbow, we were throwing a custom-painted Little John Crankbait in Rayburn Red and a Bill Lewis SB-57 or MR-6 Crankbait in Strawberry Craw, Blood Craw or Red Glitter Craw and picking up a few random bites. One-Knocker Rat-L-Traps in Red Shad, Toledo Gold or Goldfire Craw picked up several chunky, fat male bass on cypress trees and knees in 7-8 feet of depth near flats adjacent to spawning locations, but the retrieve had to be slow and deliberate deflecting off wood, stumps and cypress knees. Expect to get hung up, but expect a big fat prespawn female to bust that 1-knocker any minute or the very next cast this time of year.
* White bass continue to bite well. We continue to find a few large schools along Little River, and the most and largest schools of white bass have been between Black’s Branch and Cemetery Slough. Those white bass were in large number and decent school sizes, ranging 2-3.5 pounds, and continue biting well on Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Hammered Spoons, Bomber Fat Free Shads, Little George Tail-Spinners, 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 current along Little River has increased again, but the schools of white bass continue migrating up Little River for their annual spawning run. Many different schools continue roaming Little River and were caught for several weeks from Cemetery Slough upward toward Wilton Landing. Tail-Spinners and Underspins with lead heads like the Little Georges, Little Cleo’s and Rocket Shads caught some 2-3 pound whites along Little River between Cemetery Slough over the past few weeks. We continue to expect to see greater numbers of large white bass schools running further upriver near Wilton Landing, Cossatot inflow ditch and Patterson Shoals for their annual spawning runs over the next week as the surface temps continue to climb in the mid-60 degree range now.

* Crappie have been chasing white bass the past couple of weeks, and we’ve had no reports. No reports on bream or catfish.


Lake Columbia

No reports.


Lake Erling
(updated 3-16-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) that the lake is at full pool (before any predicted rain had arrived Thursday) and “all of the fish seem to be biting.”
Anglers are catching a lot of crappie now, and lot of those crappie are in the 2-pounds-plus range. They’re being caught from the bank on out; the majority are being caught in the shallow flats in 6-12 feet of water. Bright-colored jigs are the way to go, and hand-tied jigs are doing the best, but quite a few crappie have been caught on minnows also.
The catfish seekers are catching a bunch of channels and blues on cut bait. Bass anglers aren’t letting on to what they’re using, but they appear to be bringing in a lot of bass as well. One regular angler had a five-bass stringer that weighed 20 pounds Wednesday.

“The cool snap didn’t even affect them a whole lot. The water is looking good, clear. We have no complaints on our end,” they report.


Lake Greeson Tailwater

For the most updated Narrows Dam generation schedule from SWEPCO, click here.


Lake Greeson

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 548.23 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).


No report.


DeGray Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.42 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).

(updated 3-16-2023) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) said this past Saturday there were a lot of bass caught by the young guns in the high school tournament held here. Lot of five-fish limits were caught, including an 8.01-pound largemouth bass weighed in.

Note this was before the major cold front that came through later that evening with very heavy rain, which caused the lake level to rise almost a foot overnight. This made fishing extremely tough on Sunday.
Bass can be caught on crankbaits as well as bladed jigs, jigs and shaky heads. Crappie are moving up and are grouping and can be caught on jigs, so watch your LiveScope for them. White bass are still running up the river and can be caught on lipless shad-colored baits as well as blade baits.
You want catch fish or even catch a trophy of a lifetime, now is the time to book your trip.


(updated 3-16-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said for all the lakes he fishes in the Hot Springs area – DeGray, Hamilton and Ouachita – the water is clearing up after all the rain events. Crappie are moving up into the brush piles. The females are full of roe and ready to lay. Check the northwest corners of coves for that warmer water and shallow spawning fish. Staging brush piles near that warmer water will just load up with more and more fish as springtime blooms. “We’ve been catching crappie on live bait 8-12 feet deep on brush piles in 16-24 feet of water.”

De Queen Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 441.75 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).

Dierks Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 543.60 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).

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White Oak Lake Area
No reports.


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Lake Atkins
(updated 3-16-2023) 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 3-16-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 54 degrees with stained conditions in the tailrace. Very heavy generation has been the norm for several weeks with both generators running huge amounts of water through the system. Flood gates remain open to aid in lowering Lake Ouachita out of flood pool. Little productive fishing has been seen in the tailrace under these adverse conditions and this scenario has continued since mid-January. Anglers should plan on staying off the water below Carpenter Dam until area lakes are safe to navigate and conditions return to normal. The public is urged to use extreme caution when visiting the Carpenter Dam use area during this time. Numerous rocks and shallow sandbars dot the area creating treacherous boating and wading. The weekly generation report is posted every Wednesday evening on the Entergy website under Hydro-Operations. Currently, all flood gates have been closed below Carpenter Dam, but this could change as heavy rainfall is possible this week. The trout stocking program has proceeded as scheduled, so big numbers of fish are in the tailrace and can be caught when safe conditions allow bank and boat fishermen to access the lake.


Lake Dardanelle

As of Thursday midday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 40,886 cfs. Elevation was 337.21 feet msl and the tailwater was at 288.25 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage had drop by almost half from last week, to 7.82 feet as of Thursday afternoon (flood stage is 32 feet).


No reports.


Lake Hamilton

(updated 3-16-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said for all the lakes he fishes in the Hot Springs area – DeGray, Hamilton and Ouachita – the water is clearing up after all the rain events. Crappie are moving up into the brush piles. The females are full of roe and ready to lay. Check the northwest corners of coves for that warmer water and shallow spawning fish. Staging brush piles near that warmer water will just load up with more and more fish as springtime blooms. “We’ve been catching crappie on live bait 8-12 feet deep on brush piles in 16-24 feet of water.”


(updated 3-2-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said that with the water warming up, black bass are moving toward the backs of the creeks or toward spawning flats. Target those 10-15 foot brush piles, and also the transitions areas where it goes from a little deeper water to a flat or channel swing. Anglers are mostly catching them on red Rat-L-Traps and green pumpkin Chatterbait. Also, anglers are flipping a jig around docks and around wood.

Crappie have been hanging around those 15-foot brush pile in the creeks, the guts of creeks and pockets. It’s best to throw a jig now, with Monkey Milk being a good color. With the stained water, also consider a white/chartreuse jig.


Lake Nimrod

As of 1 p.m. Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 19.4 feet high at 364.39 feet msl (normal pool: 343.71 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).


(updated 3-16-2023) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) had no new reports. Nimrod is some 20 feet above normal pool.


(updated 3-16-2023) Ken Winstead at Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) in Perryville had no report.


Lake Ouachita

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 578.35 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).

(updated 3-16-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. Rat-L-Traps, crawfish-colored square-bill crankbait or a PB&J jig were working best. Jerkbait and a Carolina rig are getting some action, too.

Walleye are still slow, but there are random reports of these fish being caught on jerkbaits. Stripers are good. An Alabama rig or live bait on main lake points or creek channel mouths on the rivers should be the best ways to find these. Crappie are good on small jigs or minnows. Try brush 20-35 feet deep.

It’s time to get your trotlines and jugs set for catfish. No reports on bream.
The water temperature is ranging 50-54 degrees. Clarity of the lake is stained. The lake level at midweek was 578.35 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.


(updated 3-16-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said for all the lakes he fishes in the Hot Springs area – DeGray, Hamilton and Ouachita – the water is clearing up after all the rain events. Crappie are moving up into the brush piles. The females are full of roe and ready to lay. Check the northwest corners of coves for that warmer water and shallow spawning fish. Staging brush piles near that warmer water will just load up with more and more fish as springtime blooms. “We’ve been catching crappie on live bait 8-12 feet deep on brush piles in 16-24 feet of water.”

Blue Mountain Lake

As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.48 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).

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White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge is steady 28.88 feet, or 2.88 above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.

Horseshoe Lake

(updated 3-9-2023) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said that with last week’s 6-plus inches of rain there, the lake came up and got muddy to stained in most areas. The surface temperature has continued to rise and was 60.5 degrees as of Sunday afternoon. More rain is forecasted for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. We shall see how the fish respond.
With the rising water and the rising temperatures one would think the crappie fishing would be on fire. The crappie are/were still deep and finicky. “Spider-riggers that I spoke to were struggling to catch fish. Longlining over a 4-hour period produced one fish for us.

“Livescope was the only tactic that we could find to consistently produce and that was at a slow rate. With the water having color to it, we swapped bait colors and caught our fish on an Oxbow Jig in the color Orange Crush (a jig I make).

The fish are still very pale, coming from an average of 18 feet deep. On a better note, after a while in the live well the colors come in and the males are getting darker.

“There was a bass tournament on Saturday (two tournaments, I think). I was coming out as they were weighing in. There were some really impressive fish released back into the lake. I didn’t see many with a five-fish limit but it looked as if most had two or three fish. Most folks I saw bass fishing were in the shallows.”
Still no reports as yet on bream or catfish.

Cook’s Lake

(update 3-16-2023) Wil Hafner, facility manager at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321), says the center is prepping the lake for fishing; they are just dealing now with high water from the White River. Cook’s will open for youth and mobility impaired and up to two guests as soon as the water recedes and allows access to the dock and ramp. Please note the change in phone number to the facility as well, listed above.

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



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