Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
April 13, 2023
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: Taylor Goodman sent us this photo of his wife and the monster rainbow trout she caught on Saturday on the Norfork tailwater. The Goodmans didn’t have official scales on hand and the fish was ready to return to the water, so they got no weight. But the fish was 30-plus inches in length with a girth of about 20 inches, allowing them to estimate this fish at about 18 pounds.
Quick links to regions:
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Download the Fish Brain app and follow AGFC at: https://join.fishbrain.com/agfc-page
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
For the most up-to-date lake level, visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s Lake Conway water level site.
(updated 4-13-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the fishing “is on, man!” All the sought-for species are moving in shallow and biting very well. Bream, they report, appear to be bedding up really well. The lake is its normal stained and the level may be a little high, but the anglers are still catching the fish shallow. The water temperature is in the mid- to high 60s. Crappie are on the banks and are biting minnows, jigs “and pretty much everything.” The bream are active on crickets and redworms. Black bass are shallow, moving closer to the bank, and going out their usual targets: spinnerbaits, topwater lures (they say frogs are really beginning to work), creature baits, worms, buzzbaits. Catfish are eating small bream, goldfish, nightcrawlers, stink bait, dough bait and trotline minnows.
“It is spot on now,” they conclude.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reported the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 9,810 cfs (turbine) as of noon Thursday, with round-the-clock release that has ranged 7,400-9,800 cfs for at least two days. The tailwater was at 279.15 feet as of noon Thursday. Greers Ferry Lake is 11.4 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 (swpa.gov) to see forecast generation schedule.
(updated 4-13-2023) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said Greer’s Ferry Lake is 11.8 feet above power pool. The Army Corps of Engineers have been running two units around the clock round-the-clock with two floodgates open.
“I’d say the generation schedule should remain the same till we get another batch of rain. The Army Corps of Engineers will more than likely dial the generation schedule back to let the creeks and rivers drain, then turn it back to what they’re currently running to let the lake get to power pool.”
Always check the USACE Little Rock app for the generation schedule before heading out.
A deep-water nymph rig has been producing while fishing out of the boat. “I’ve been running anywhere from 6-9 feet on up to 12 feet deep depending on the water level and where I’m fishing. The hot flies have been pink San Juan worms, egg patterns and caddis patterns fished deep underneath an indicator.
“Streamer fishing with the current generation schedule has been good, especially on cloudy days. Try fishing with a size 8 weight and a sink line and cast toward the bank.
Try using articulated patterns like Double Deceivers and Peanut Envys.
“Seems like anything olive or brown and yellow have been working. Also try white and chartreuse.
(updated 4-13-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) urges anglers to always check generation schedule and be aware of unexpected water release. Check before heading to the Little Red River for Greers Ferry Dam water release by downloading the USACE Little Rock app, Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 4-13-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood advises that anglers check with Army Corps of Engineers (see url above or download the app) to see what the flow level is. On Thursday the flow was at 9,000 cfs. which is quite a bit for the Little Red. So they advise checking the flow the day you plan to go since the Corps has been running a lot of water all week in an effort to lower Greers Ferry Lake back to normal pool.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday at noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 473.46 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 4-13-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 473.55 feet msl and falling with lots of generation. It is still high, 11.51 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. All species of fish are in all stages of spawn. Most species are scattered from 1-60 feet. Crappie are scattered eating, spawning and moving. You’ll find them from 1-40 feet and several different ways to catch them – most will work one day or the next with different weather. More and more bream are moving up now; crawlers, crickets and small minnows working from the shoreline out to 25 feet. Catfish have been eating well in run-ins and various places, points, channel swings, etc. All the general catfish baits are working. Walleye are scattered and biting, you will have to take a number to get in a slot to fish up the rivers, but the rest of lake is wide open. Lake walleye are more active now in 25-30 feet; crankbaits, crawlers and soft plastics fished different ways are working. Most black bass are really wanting to feed, a few spawning, and a lot are on the move getting ready to eat and spawn. They’re being found from 1-60 feet, and Alabama rigs, crankbaits, jerkbaits, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, spinnerbaits and jigs are working plus a lot in between. You can catch a lot of healthy fish at this time.
(updated 4-13-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said that Thursday the lake was 11 feet high. The upper end of the lake is still stained with muddy water. The lower end is stained to clear. In the upper portion of the lake, anglers are catching bass on spinnerbaits and flipping a jig around wood and flooded brush. On the lower end, they’ve been catching mostly smallmouth by throwing Carolina rigs and also a crankbait.
(updated 3-30-2023) AGFC staff fishing Greers Ferry Lake said black bass should move up into the newly flooded areas with the warm weather, looking for places to set up spawning beds and feed on insects and other terrestrial critters caught in the rising water. Covering shallow water with a square-billed shallow-running crankbait or a spinnerbait with a single Colorado blade will help locate likely spawning flats. Once found, the flats can be milked for a few more fish as they continue to move up by casting Texas-rigged lizards and weightless worms to shallow targets like stumps and flooded brush.
Crappie will likely be found around brush and vegetation near the old shoreline as they were moving up to spawn when the last rise of water came into the system. Vertical jigging a crappie tube on a one-sixteenth-ounce ball-headed jig using at least a 10-foot jigging pole would be a good approach. We’re personally fond of black/chartreuse, white/chartreuse and electric chicken (pink/chartreuse) tube jigs.
Bream and catfish will still be in deeper brush. Most of the white bass and hybrid fishing will be up the rivers, and the usual spawning areas will likely be too deep and have too much current to fish them right now.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 4-13-2023) Ken Winstead at Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said bream are biting year-round on redworms and crickets. They’re doing well now. Bass are biting well. Try a dark-color bait. Minnows and nightcrawlers, too, and baits in watermelon red, red, blue and grape colors. Catfish are also biting on well on liver of all kinds, dough bait, minnows and night crawlers. Crappie are biting and typical with the water change because of the weather, so move around from shallow to deep water. Good luck. It will be hit and miss. Best colors are silver/chartreuse, Monkey Milk, black/chartreuse, Cajun Cricket, Kiwi, Mo-Glo, silver/blue ice, orange/white, Diamond Mist, Crappie Magnet and minnows and nightcrawlers.
(updated 3-30-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says crappie remains slow. “There has been too much rain, the water is really muddy and the water level is high,” they say.
Last week, anglers caught some really nice catfish and that catfishing is really good right now. Some bream is being caught. Largemouth bass fishing has been really good, with one angler landing a 4.5-pound fish (21 inches in length) on a spinnerbait. Another angler fishing from the dock landing 4-5 fish that were all 2- to 3-pounders.
But the biggest fish landed were three buffalo, including one that weighed 94 pounds. The other two were 68 and 70 pounds; this angler was pole fishing for catfish when he landed the buffalo, which are spawning, they report.
If you’re going for crappie, the boat anglers are trying in the shallow area now with minnows and with a Crappie Stinger jig. Spinnerbaits and bass minnows are what are working for the bass. Bream anglers aren’t catching any with great size, but they’re active on redworms, nightcrawlers and crickets (which they sell out the resort bait shop).
Catfishing will be best with gold fish on trotline or noodles. They also sell baby bream that are working, and one catfish angler favors golden shad.
(updated 4-13-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-252-1437) said the water level is still up but closer to normal. It’s clearing up slowly. The bass have started to spawn, so they are biting what bothers them. Almost anything, but topwater poppers seem to be doing better than other baits. Bream are coming in, also. Use crickets or redworms. Crappie are biting better on plain ol’ minnows now. And if you’re catfishing use nightcrawlers. And remember to Have Fun fishing!
Check out the Lakeview Landing Hwy 95 Facebook page for water temperature and other updates.
(update 3-30-2023) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, said that like everywhere else, water has been higher than normal. At Brewer it is up to the top of the boat dock, but you can still park in the parking lot. As soon as you back up you’ll be the water, he said. Expect to fish deep for success. Anglers say 12-15 feet is where you’ll find the catchable crappie. They are fishing over the underwater brush piles or trolling the channel for the current. That’s been the case there for a while now. Crappie like the live stuff, but will also go for jigs in chartreuse/white or Electric Chicken.
Black bass are starting to hit on the warm days, though David admits they haven’t really had many warm days yet. On the warmest days, though, you’ll get some reaction beginning midday/high noon. Bass are not up in the shallow water yet like they would typically be in the summertime. Anglers are fishing for them with a jig. Put one of those heavy Rooster Rails on that will go about 3-6 feet deep with a spinnerbait. Bass will eat minnows now as well.
Catfish are on the bottom. You’ll have to wake them up with something that stinks. “I’ve heard of a couple of good days for catfish, but that’s when it’s not rainy, not windy and above 72 degrees. If you’ve got all of those things, come on out,” David said.
NOTICE: Central Arkansas Water will be closing public access to the water on the lake (no boating/sailing) from midnight Monday morning, April 17, until 6 p.m. Friday, April 21, for application of herbicide to treat hydrilla in the lake. Bank fishing at Maumelle will still be available, and access to hiking trails and other park facilities outside the water will be available.
(updated 4-13-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported water temperature is in the mid- to high 50s. Lake level is full. The lake is no longer being drawn down.
The largemouth bass bite is good. There are reports of the bass being found shallow along rocky points around 4-8 feet deep. Try using Carolina-rigged lizards, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and drop-shots. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are also good. Some reports have them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet off rocky banks, while other reports say they are being found on brush piles. Try using a Texas rig on brush, or use jigs. In this week’s Tuesday Night Black Bass Tournament, David Stott and Josh Vaughn caught five bass totaling 12.39 pounds to win, with Sam and Fred Lowery in second with 11.68 pounds of fish. The Big Bass totaled 4.15 pounds, caught by John Anderson and Clayton Vote.
White bass are good. Reports this week of the whites being found on the road beds and near rocky points not far from the channel. Try using red and white crankbait, jigs or spoons. Crappie are fair to good. Reports of finding crappie suspended in 25 feet around 8-10 feet. Try using jigs or minnows. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 4-6-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the black bass are biting in 2-10 feet of water. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and swimbaits are all working. Anglers are also catching bass off main lake points throwing half-ounce PB&J jigs and deep-diving crankbaits in a shad pattern between 10-15 feet depth. The visibility in Lake Maumelle is ranging 2-4 feet.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
As of Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 8,064 cfs. The stage at Morrilton was fishing at 9.69 feet and falling (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 16,958 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 4-13-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said fishing is going very well. The water temperature is ranging 64-65 degrees this week, up to 68, “which is perfect,” Ray said. Bass and crappie both are definitely shallow. Bass pear to be right there where they will start to spawn with the water temp where it is.
Anglers are catching the crappie in about 2 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Pink minnows appear to be working better than the regular ones. Bass, he says, have “just been outstanding here lately” being up shallow as well. Anglers are catching them on spinnerbaits, lizards, worms and similar baits.
Catfish are being caught on chicken liver and minnows, with both channels and blue cats in the catches. There have been no reports on bream, but Ray anticipates that will turn around shortly.
The water is stable now, clear and at a normal level.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 10,518 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 18,411 cfs. The elevation is 249.25 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was steady at 7.60 feet (flood stage is 25 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 13,591 cfs.
(updated 4-13-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports the river is “really at a good spot where it’s fishing really well.” Bass anglers are either Texas-rigging or flipping a creature bait up shallow, like a 3.5-inch tube (a Gitzit is recommended). Also, they are going with green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue colors, as well as black/blue creature baits. Also in other spots on the river anglers are throwing a spinnerbait up shallow in white/chartreuse as well as black/blue Chatterbaits. Some fish are starting to hit a topwater bait, like a quarter-ounce buzzbait. They are not necessarily getting many bites with the topwater, but the ones they are getting are really good. Most of the fish being caught are in the backwaters in shallow water.
They haven’t heard anything on crappie or catfish.
(updated 4-6-2023) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) reports from the David Terry Lock and Dam area that catfish are being caught on skipjack and shad, catching them on the bottom. More than a week back, they had heard that white bass were doing well on blue/white jigs below the dam.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 4-6-2023) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says anglers are catching crappie on Clear Lake as the fish are moving into the banks, but then the weather drives them right back out, so the weather has made it hit or miss. The most consistent weather ahead should help. They are selling a lot of minnows for the Clear Lake anglers. Some are using jigs. The water is clear and fairly high. The water is still a little cool, around 60 before the latest weather and the passing front. They’ve heard nothing on bass or other species there, just crappie.
(updated 4-13-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said cool mornings and sunny days make for great trout fishing conditions – and we’ve got ’em. Bull Shoals Lake is sitting at 673.09 feet msl, still 14 feet above power pool, but dropping fairly quickly. Plan on continued heavy generation from the dam for a while. We’re currently seeing releases of 24,000+ cfs which is the equivalent of a full 7 units split between the power units and releases from the spillways. Big water … making big trout!
The brown trout bite has been reliable with shad doing best. Rainbows are snapping at sunrise and orange PowerBait; combined with shrimp or crawdad tails you’re almost sure to reel in some great-sized fish.
Casting toward the bank has been the best way to keep your bait into the mouths of trout and not being hung up with moss. Drift-fishing from a john boat takes the frustration out of high-water fishing; this is not the kind of water to for using an anchor.
“The redbuds are blooming, the dogwoods are gorgeous, decked out in white buds, and spring has sprung here in the beautiful Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas. We invite you to come join us.”
(updated 4-13-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said that as of Wednesday, Bull Shoals Dam had 17 spillway gates open plus for four generators and Norfork Dam had six spillway gates open and one generator. Water at Calico Rock has been between 11.5 feet and 12.5 feet with some dinginess and fast current. Fishing has been slow, but not impossible. Drift-fishing with silver-colored inline spinner, yellow Power Eggs and shrimp was the most effective. Adding extra weight helps get the bait to the bottom.
Although fishing has been slow this week, we have seen several rainbow trout over 2 pounds and brown trout over 18 inches. The faster water is stirring up more food and it seems like the bigger fish are taking advantage. One 2½-pound rainbow had five sculpin and at least four crawdads in its stomach.
This week we received two trout stockings, 1,200 trout were stocked at the Calico Rock boat ramp and early this week the AGFC used its pontoon raft to stock trout between Calico Rock and Sylamore Creek.
(updated 4-13-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week they had no rain, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.1 feet to rest at 14.2 feet above power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 21.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 1.8 feet to rest at 0.4 foot below power pool and 15.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 9 feet above power pool or 0.6 foot below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water and extremely heavy flows augmented by substantial spillway releases. Norfork Lake fell 2.2 feet to rest at 9.2 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 16.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had no wadable water. “Here again we have had spillway releases to augment generation. All of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. We can expect higher flows on the White and Norfork for some time to come.”
John also said, “The caddis hatch is ongoing. This is our best hatch of the year. We have seen some small hatches in late afternoon. Before the hatch, fish a caddis pupa like the Sunday Special in size 16. When you see takes on the top but see no insects, switch to a caddis emerger like my Green Butt in size 15. When you observe trout taking insects from the top of the water, switch to elk hair caddis size 16. It will be difficult to fish this hatch with the high water levels we now have.
“On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. 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. Use long leaders and plenty of additional weight.
“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.”
John also said, “Last winter I had gotten accustomed to fishing low water. I must say that I enjoyed it. Every time that my wife, Lori, and I caught a warm day with little wind we went fishing. It was glorious.
“This spring has been a bit different. It seems like we have a major storm every week. I am writing this in the middle of what The Weather Channel describes as a severe thunderstorm. I will take their word for it. Last week during the previous severe thunderstorm we had here, a tornado touched down a couple of blocks from my friend Randy’s home in Little Rock. The same storm knocked out my sister Ernestine’s power in Memphis for three days.
“The lakes are rising as I write. Bull Shoals Dam is 16 feet above power pool and Norfork Lake is 12 feet above power pool. This means high water for months to come.
“It was less than two weeks ago when I took two clients out the day after the Sowbug Roundup ended to fish the White River. They were avid fly-fishers and serious fly-tyers who had both tied at Sowbug and were hoping to catch the caddis hatch.
“The Army Corps of Engineers was running around 6,000 cfs, which is about two full generators. This is a near-perfect level of generation for fishing from a boat. There is enough water to be above the rocks and go wherever you like with a propeller-driven motor like I have. At the same time, the fish are not scattered and are easy to reach. The casting was easy, the drifts were long and the trout were cooperating. We ended the day with 60-plus trout, which included several big fish.
“A couple of days ago I went back to the same place with different conditions. This time the Corps was running double the amount of water of the previous day. I had a repeat client that was a solid angler with lots of experience. Early on we caught a few trout. As the day went on, the water came up. I was surprised because the prediction was for constant flows. The rise turned the trout off and fishing was tough for the remainder of the day.
“When I went online to study the rise, I noted that the Corps had instituted spillway releases (through the flood gates) of almost 5,000 cfs, or more than one and a half full generators of additional water.
“What surprised me most is that they had increased the flow by opening the floodgates instead of running the water through the generators. I thought they would want to generate electricity to power electric vehicles or charge your iPhone. I looked further and noted that they had spillway releases on all of the dams in the White River system. I heard that they are having some generator problems at Beaver Dam and were using the spillway releases to get the lake level down.
“I know the lake levels are high and we are going to deal with that for a while. They are currently running 26,000 cfs on the White and 7,500 on the Norfork.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 672.33 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). By midday Thursday the flow was 27,817 cfs and has ranged about that same level for several days; tailwater elevation was 461.02 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 915.17 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-13-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said lake level is 673 feet msl, or 14 foot above normal pool level. Water temperature is ranging 56 degrees to 60-degrees-plus. The lake is coming down a little with floodgates open. There is definitely limited accessibility to ramps, and parking can be an issue so call ahead. The black bass are grouped up and they are prespawn feeding. You can find them on spread-out flats and in the bushes now. Del says he has seen Kentucky bass on beds, as well as crappie moving up. “I’m looking for pockets with wind and shad. Most fish still seem to be looking up. Most of the dirty water cleared out, but some of the bigger creeks or up the lake have stain, while there is 18 feet visibility around the dam area. Fish it like two separate lakes.
He says that with dirty creeks, cloudy day, warm rainwater you need to be power fishing with crankbaits, Chatterbaits or square bill. Try on the last couple of swing banks or in or around the pockets. Cover water. Fish warm runoff if available.
For sunny days with flat water and strained conditions, try slow-dragging a Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin. On sunny days with clear water, look at the old shoreline points, keep boat in 25-30 feet, and try a green pumpkin three-sixteenth-ounce shaky head or Ned, fished slow then go a little slower. Try the ol’ wobble head with a Menace slow-banging on the rocks, ledges and points early in 5-15 feet, then 15-20 feet midday. Check out points outside spawning areas.
It’s getting to where you can beat the bank and run into a few target staging early in prespawn areas The shad are moving up again, and video gamers are everywhere from the main lake to backs of the creeks. Look for bigger spreads shallower than 30 feet, and be sure to check the flats. Graph time pays off. Throw around the ol’ McMinnow 2.8 swimbait in white or shad colors, and also a fluke and Lucky Craft Gunfish topwater – “this pattern has been the deal for me.”
The bass are definitely grouping up. Whites are munching in the very backs of the big creeks. The walleyes caught bass fishing have looked spawned out. Fish early or late in the day unless it’s a cloudy, windy day. Each day is different so Fish the Conditions.
Del regularly posts new YouTube videos. Visit his YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of midday Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 562.51 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 9,591 cfs, with constant generation in that range for several days.
(updated 4-13-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 562.94 feet msl and has dropped 5 inches in the last 24 hours with one generator running continuously and spillway gates open to an additional over two more generators. “This drop is about as fast as I have seen it drop in my 28 years of living here,” Steven said. “The White River at Newport is 23.83 feet and has been the same for three days. The surface water temperature was 68 degrees when I came in at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening. It was a beautiful day. The water is still tea-colored in the Blackburn’s Creek area and you can see your lure down a couple of feet but you can find about any water color that you want. Color is not an issue. There is no muddy water or debris. Darker water warms more quickly.
“The topwater bite for black bass and white bass has begun in the morning at sunrise, and the crappie have moved to their spawning banks. Flathead catfish have started biting on live shiners both on rod-and-reel and on short throw lines partway back in creeks. Things are getting better quickly.”
Visit blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for a daily report.
(updated 4-13-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 2.2 feet to rest at 9.2 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 16.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had no wadable water. “Here again we have had spillway releases to augment generation. All of the lakes in the White River system are now above power pool. We can expect higher flows on the White and Norfork for some time to come.”
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 says his favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worms and an orange egg. The fishing is 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 4-13-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing better. With warmer temperatures, the smallmouths should be active soon. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,129.40 feet msl, or 9 feet above normal pool (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-13-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is at 1,129.35 feet msl, “which is about as full as it can get,” he said. Water temps continue to rise. Most areas are in the mid-50s, to 60s up the rivers.
“The march to the shoreline has started. If you’re a fan of shallow water and structure the lake is just right for you. The only problem with it this high is that it creates lots of areas for fish to get back into making it harder to find big pockets of spawning fish. Look in buckbrush pea gravel areas to locate fish.
“Crappie have been pretty good, with the bigger fish suspended in 12 feet of water in 20 to 30 feet depth. As of (Tuesday) they moved from there and moved up. Minnows pitched around any structure will find the fish. My advice is just keep moving until you find some fish.
“Stripers showed a sign of life last week with some good ones caught. Look around Hickory Creek up into the Point 12 area. White bass are still good up into the White arm. Bass are ramping up also with the prespawn in force.
“Lots, and I mean LOTS, of debris floating. Please keep eyes open and be careful. Good luck!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 4-6-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said conditions of the lake and the fish should make for great fishing both this weekend and next week. “The season is here,” they said.
The white bass are enjoying a nice run up the rivers. The population of white bass may not be massive, they say, but a lot of 3-pounders and other “really good ones” are being caught. People are catching 15 or 20 out there.
The walleye run is still good in the river arms but it is probably at its peak. Both runs for white bass and walleye are strong, though.
Crappie are on the cusp of taking off, they report. They don’t appear to be spawning yet, but they are active and by the first of next week things should be on.
Beaver Lake is very high, at 1,129 feet, which is way up and is creating a hazard for people wanting to bank fish. But on the other hand, the high water has the fish up in the vegetation looking to eat for boaters who can access those areas.
Black bass are also in prespawn like the crappie, they say. “They are just hunting around for something to eat.” Outside of the high water, the water conditions are good. “We didn’t get much moisture out of the last rain, and the rivers are clear and the water coming into Beaver Lake is good.”
Out in the open water, guides are getting their customers to a good striper bite, catching them on live bait. The crappie and white bass that anglers are finding are biting on whatever anglers want to fish with, they say. Minnows and other live bait, and maybe a little artificial bait all will work. “There’s not a special bait working,” they report. You could go with an umbrella rig for white bass, as that has been a popular way to catch them.
“It’s good fishing now in the northwest,” they tell us.
(updated 4-13-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the fishing this past week has been off and on. Water temperatures have been around 50 degrees and the water levels has dropped a little. Trout have been very responsive to Pautzke Fire Worms and Fire Baits, fished with light terminal tackle. The Fire Worms have done best with drifting. The walleye bite has been up and down as well, but it is still there. Trolling has produced nice numbers downstream from Houseman Access. Pulling mid-diving crank baits, coated in Pautzke Fire Gel, has been the preferred method. Finally, this cold weather has moved out and we should see a rise in the water temperatures.
The white bass come up, but retreat just as fast. Most have been caught with the same technique as the walleye. “Remember to follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for day-to-day updates between reports. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!”
(updated 4-6-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said crappie are doing really well on jigs. A couple of anglers were fishing with minnows as well. The crappie are now coming in shallow. The bream are doing really well on redworms and are up closer. Black bass have been “OK” on crankbaits and plastics (they are selling lots of those). Nothing has been reported on catfish.
(updated 4-13-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said crappie and bream were biting earlier in the week, but fishing slowed down this past weekend.
Crappie overall have been good on minnows as well as jigs in all colors. They are relating to the brush piles, stumps and rocky points. Catfish continue to bite well. Try worms, blood bait, stink bait and chicken liver on lines.
There has been fair bass fishing of late, but Shelly had no specifics beyond that.
The surface temperature on Sunday had worked its way past the 60-degree mark, coming in at 63.5 degrees (nearly 11 degrees above the previous Sunday). Water clarity is the usual murky. The water level has dropped to normal level for the first time in a few weeks.
Anglers who follow the “moon times” should pencil in April 17-23 as the best days this month to fish Lake Charles, she said.
(updated 4-6-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said Lake Poinsett is kicking on all cylinders. The bream are biting on worms and Bream Killers.
“We haven’t heard a lot of reports on catfish,” Seth said, “but I bet they would bite all right in the evenings on live or stink bait.”
Crappie, while catch-and-release only, have been tearing up pink and chartreuse jigs. Bass are doing well on crankbaits and shallow-water baits.
(updated 3-30-2023) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) has seen some activity with bass being caught in good numbers and are reported to be 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 into shallower areas. They’ve seen some crappie anglers out. The water level is normal and the clarity is dingy.
(updated 4-6-2023) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said the Spring has been running at 560 cfs (well above the 350 average), and water clarity is stained a cloudy green. There has been a lot of rain over the last month to say the least. The river is up over a foot, making for tougher wading, but with the stocking increased through March and the bad weather, the rainbows have had a chance to build up and have been fun to catch. Really nice sizes, too! And high water is always a good time to chase browns.
With the flow stronger than normal, extra weight is a must to get down. Sink tips or long leaders and split shot will get the fish that are holding the bottom. Olive Woollies, egg patterns and big nymphs with a lot of weight have been working great. A few browns and smallmouth bass have been caught and released that have been heavy fish. Streamer action for the browns and deep slow presentations for the smallies work great when they are on the bite.
The campgrounds have all opened and are getting ready for the summer season. This is a great time to fish the campgrounds before school lets out for the summer. A person could have the river to oneself. The campgrounds have easier wading in most areas and that’s a good thing with the higher water flows.
At times the river has had too much rain and turned muddy. Stay tuned to our blog page on our website at springriverfliesandguides.com for the latest river conditions and what the fish are hitting. It takes a lot of rain to flood the river, but it can flood with heavy prolonged rains. Be safe during nasty weather and keep on high ground.
Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery should open this spring after a full renovation. “We are very excited to have the new hatchery completed. Jim Hinkle stocks all of the trout streams in Arkansas and this new hatchery will be a huge asset to our area. Able to raise rainbows and brown trout, it may even be used to raise tiger trout in the future. Gonna be cool! To help support our river, all of us at Spring River Flies and Guides practice catch and release. The hatchery rainbow trout raised at Hinkle fish hatchery are strong and beautiful. We like to watch them grow,” he said.
Mark adds, “Be safe wading. This is the time to buy that new wading staff. We all need one.”
(updated 4-13-2023) 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.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was rising at 12.24 feet (flood stage is 15.0 feet). The Newport stage is steady at 23.86 feet (flood stage is 26 feet). The stage at Augusta is steady at 32.03 feet, almost 6 feet above flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 4-13-2023) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said that due to so much rain and the river being so high that anglers are staying away from the water, they had no reports.
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 10,648 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is falling at 30.72 (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 44,928 cfs.
(updated 4-13-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report this week.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.70 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 15,238 cfs, which is steady for the past few days.
(updated 4-13-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Thursday, Millwood Lake had jumped a few inches over the past few days and clarity is improved from muddy to heavy stain in most locations. Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow from Wilton Landing remains muddy. There is high river flow rate and current. Millwood is still almost 7 inches above normal pool from recent thunderstorms but is falling. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 242 feet msl (almost 17 FEET above normal) but is falling with gate discharge at the dam near 15,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the 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.
Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 63-68 degrees depending on location and the time of day.
Mike provided these latest specifics on the fishing:
* Largemouth bass have been staging for several weeks in creek channels and near flats with cypress trees in the oxbows. High river current flow rate conditions in Little River make river fishing somewhat difficult to maintain. Some males from 2-3 pounds were found shallow in 1-3 feet of water on flats near vegetation, and others in 6-9 feet deep creek channels where grass and reeds and fresh lily pad shoots are emerging, and are biting Brazalo Spinnerbaits, lizards, Brush Hogs and Bass Assassins. Over the past couple weeks, largemouths have been randomly feeding in creek channels dumping into Little River. The oxbows continue providing best water clarity, albeit somewhat heavy stain to muddy conditions in many locations. 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, sunny days mainly in the afternoon. A few chunky 2- and 3-pound male bass were the most aggressive at midday into late afternoon over the past couple weeks, and we’re finding those randomly near deeper creek channels or ditches through the flats. We are seeing males guard beds this week, and a few male and female bass have been caught with their tails bloody from fanning beds.
Floating Zoom Trick Worms, Barlow’s Salty Rat Tails and Yum Dingers are getting good reactions. June bug/red, Blackberry and Pumpkinseed/chartreuse colors were all randomly working in the back of McGuire and Horseshoe Lake oxbows. Bass Assassin Shads in Pumpkinseed, Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom and Chico’s Red Ear have been getting bit near cypress trees and fresh vegetation from both prespawn female and male bass near bedding areas over the past week. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover or River Shad with red blades were catching some decent prespawn males moving in and out of spawning flats over the past couple weeks, when the sun was up bright high in the sky and you could see movement in 3-5 feet of depths on the spawning flats.
Yum Christie Critters in black/blue and lizards in blackberry or cherry seed were picking up some cruising shallow bass. Big female largemouths have been moving into bedding areas along creek channels and ditches over the past week, and near the first vertical drops from the spawning flats to deeper water. Mike says they have been observing a few big fish cruising through shallow grass, reeds and vegetation in bedding areas. Male largemouths have been observed making beds in numerous areas in fairly good numbers over the last week, with cold fronts chasing them back and forth from 1- to 3-foot flats back to the creek channels on cold nights. Female bass continue to be observed cruising in 2-4 feet of water near bedding areas, obviously on a mission.
Mud Lake’s and Clear Lake’s clarity has been heavy stain over the past few days with 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 Crankbaits 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.”
* White bass continue to bite well. Mike and crew continue to find a few large schools over the past couple weeks along Little River, and the most and largest schools of white bass have been between Cemetery Slough and Cossatot River inflow ditch. They were ranging from 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. “We started simply casting to the school, then ripping it up into the school.”
The current along Little River has continued with high flow rates this week, but the schools of whites continue migrating up Little River for their annual spawning run. Many different schools continue roaming Little River and have been caught for several weeks from Cemetery Slough upward toward Wilton Landing. Tail Spinner 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 and Cossatot inflow over the past week. “We spoke with two fishermen at Wilton Landing this week, and they have been catching the white bass further upriver near Wilton Landing, Cossatot inflow ditch and Patterson Shoals over the past few days now.”
* Crappie have been hit or miss with the muddy current in Little River, high wind and lake wind advisories on main lake over the past few days. Best bite was near Saratoga, Beard’s Bluff and Pine Island on live minnows or jigs from 2-9 feet deep in planted brush, vegetation and on planted PVC pipe attractors. These crappie have begun pulling into the ditches and silted creek channels leading to flats and cypress trees over the past week or so, and are aggressively feeding in 3-6 feet of depth near cypress trees and grass lines. “We also had good reports of nice crappie from folks camping at Cottonshed USACE campground and fishing Mine Creek and Schall Branch near Pine Island with over 50 caught per day.”
* Still no reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 4-6-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) that the water is running over the spillway after all the rainfall of late. The water clarity is dingy, and the water temperature was 66 degrees before the latest rain and cooler air in the past day.
“We’re still catching fish, the crappie are still jumping in the boat. We’ve got some up on the bank shallow and some out deep,” they report.
Some crappie are still full of eggs and haven’t spawned while some have finished spawning. They are being caught in 10, 12 and 16 feet depth. The hair-tied jig in gray, silver and white is the jig of choice. Also, crappie are favoring minnows, particularly silver shiners.
Catfish anglers have been catching cats on trotlines, noodles, limblines and rod-and-reel. “They’ve been catching some really nice flatheads on limblines,” they say.
Also, anglers are catching a few redear. “Don’t know if they’re bedding up or they’ve found them bunched up out deep, but they’re catching some nice bream.”
There have been no bass reports.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
For the most updated Narrows Dam generation schedule from SWEPCO, click here.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 544.78 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.70 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-13-2023 John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Thank you rain for a break. The water level fluctuations have had a big effect on day to day tracking the spawn. Water temperature is running mid-60s for the most part. The next couple of days are going to make things change.
“Crappie are being caught from 3 feet of water to 18 feet deep on brush piles. A mixture of blacks and whites. About half with eggs. Minnows are my preference from now till fall, but casting jigs and sniping are killers, also. Still seeing some suspended schools of crappie over creeks and some brush piles. Right now I try hitting the shallows early for bedding activity. I look for water in the mid-60s or better. If that is not where they are at, I begin to move out.
“Last report I had on bass was they were on and off the beds as far as the females. However, good catches in the shallows on the edge of the brush with reports of catching them on about everything. Now is the time!
“Be safe and courteous.”
(updated 3-30-2023) AGFC staff fishing here Sunday said the morning bite was slow, but it picked up as the water temperature rose with the nice, sunny weather. The largemouth and spots caught were keeper size but not really big fish – mostly male bass moving up to prepare the spawning beds. The big females are probably out deeper. Spinnerbaits, quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps and wacky-rigged Senkos were the best presentations. Bass were caught in 1-5 feet of water but closer to the deeper water. The bigger bass are probably holding deeper in those secondary points or in the great new coontail sitting in 9-15 feet of water.
In the BLF tournament held here on Saturday, tourney anglers had several five-bass limits of bass beginning to come up the shallower water, but most weren’t made up of really big fish. First place was almost 19 pounds, second place was 13 pounds and a large number of anglers were in the 6- to 8-pound range among the five keeper bass. Fishing was good overall, but it was hard getting the big fish.
Sunday, the crappie anglers said they were catching them on the inside edge of those coontail mats sitting in 12 feet of water and they were catching them moving up into shoreline brush anywhere it was flooded. Best success came on curly tail grubs.
Clarity still a little stained in mid-lake and above in the creeks from recent runoff. Near the dam it’s a lot clearer. Temperature was 52 degrees at the start, warming to 62 by the end of the day.
(updated 3-30-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said he has been fishing DeGray, Hamilton and Ouachita lakes in the Hot Springs area frequently and the water temp is perfect for the beginning of the crappie and bass spawn at each. “We’ve been catching ample numbers of crappie and bass on staging brush piles with jigs and minnows fished 6-12 feet deep.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.47 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 542.97 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 4-13-2023) 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 www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 4-13-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 53 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Very heavy generation has been the norm for weeks with both generators running huge amounts of water through the system to keep area lakes at normal summertime pool. Floodgates have been opened and closed in an effort to bring Lake Ouachita down out of flood pool. Weekly storms have forced Entergy to schedule heavy generation below all area dams to keep lakes stabilized. Little productive fishing has been done in the tailrace under these adverse conditions and this scenario has continued since mid-January. FINALLY, Lake Ouachita has been lowered 2 feet below flood pool, which will allow Entergy to drastically reduce generation flow and times, which will give the public the opportunity to safely boat and fish in the Carpenter Dam tailrace. The trout stocking program has proceeded as scheduled despite the adverse water conditions, so fish populations are strong in the lake. April marks the final stocking month for rainbow trout until November, with 4,320 trout scheduled to be released.
Big numbers of fish have relocated downstream from the dam to escape the heavy flow, but will migrate upstream to feed and establish territory in the nutrient-rich tailrace. The weekly generation report is posted every Wednesday evening on the Entergy website under Hydro-Operations. Beginning Thursday, April 13, Entergy will run 4 hours of generation each day below Carpenter Dam at 7,000 cfs.
The following techniques will give anglers a chance at catching numbers of rainbow trout that have received little fishing pressure this season:
Fly-fishermen are now handicapped to some degree with the lake now at summertime pool, but can still access areas that hold feeding fish. Trout key in on the shad kill this time of year as good numbers of threadfin shad in Lake Hamilton are drawn through the turbines and scattered throughout the tailrace area. Thousands of shad have migrated into the tailrace to spawn creating a perfect environment for area fish to feed on baitfish. Flies that imitate injured shad will draw immediate strikes from hungry rainbows. Micro-jigs in white or black casted with a strike indicator will produce strikes in current or slack water. Egg patterns in white or yellow used in the same manner can be productive when the action slows down. Spin-fishermen using PowerBaits and lures such as a Super Duper are proven trout catching baits in many conditions. Crankbaits that represent fleeing crayfish will also catch trout that are searching for prey. Live bait anglers can use waxworms or mealworms fished just of the bottom with a marshmallow floater or earthworms and nightcrawlers in the same manner to target larger trout.
Excellent angling opportunities are now present for all methods of fishing, giving the public a good chance of success for the first time this year. The walleye spawn is nearing an end, but many fish will remain the tailrace to rest and feed-up from the rigors of reproduction. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current is an excellent method of covering water and locating feeding fish. The crappie spawn is still underway and these fish can be caught with live minnows and jigs fished in current breaks around sand bars and rock structure. Crappie shy away from heavy current and thrive in protected areas out of the main flow. White bass will migrate into the area next month in huge numbers to spawn and their presence rounds out a multispecies opportunity for angling.
The public is now urged to take advantage of the changing weather and fishing possibilities at all area lakes. Always follow all park and lake regulations when visiting the Carpenter Dam use area and be aware of lake conditions before planning a day on the water.
As of Thursday midday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 16,958 cfs. Elevation was 337.78 feet msl and the tailwater was at 286.93 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage had dropped a foot and a half in the past 24 hours to 6.52 feet as of Thursday noon (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 3-30-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said the river is still pretty dirty, but clearing slowly and falling slowly. Creeks are beginning to clear, with temperature around 57 degrees in the morning this week. Some of the backwater is up to 66-67 degrees. The protected pockets are reaching 70 degrees.
We started seeing beds Tuesday in the protected pockets. The bass spawn has started. The bait of choice has been black-and-blue jigs with a bamboozie trailer in cobalt blue. Black-and-blue Chatterbaits have been working well, also. Some people have been catching bass on spinnerbaits “but I have not been able to get that accomplished. Green pumpkin with a little chartreuse, and with a Falcon Lake Rage Bug trailer. Baby Brush Hogs have been working well also in the color purple with blue flake. And green pumpkin with a little orange on its legs.
Crappie are kind of scattered; some are still deep, with some extremely shallow. I have noticed the creeks with a lot of stumps have the crappie up pretty shallow on the stumps. But in places that don’t have stumps and they have brush, the crappie could be as deep as 10 feet, but we’re seeing a lot of them suspended in the trees at 5 feet. In the deep creek, some of the crappie are down as deep as 20 feet. Monkey Milk has been working excellently. Black/chartreuse, chartreuse, Cajun Cricket, Electric Chicken, have also been working often.
White bass has been pretty thick in some of the creeks. You can catch them on spoons, white jigs and small crankbaits. Blue back/chartreuse has been working well. Stripers are being caught with swimbaits, Rat-L-Traps, spoons and bucktail jigs.
Blue catfish have been biting well on cut perch and cut skipjack, with the channel cats doing well on nightcrawlers and crickets. Flatheads have been doing well on sunfish.
(updated 3-30-2023) 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 temp is perfect for the beginning of the crappie and bass spawn. “We’ve been catching ample numbers of crappie and bass on staging brush piles with jigs and minnows fished 6-12 feet deep.”
As of noon Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 16.2 feet high at 359.05 feet msl (normal pool: 343.71 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-13-2023) Ken Winstead at Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) in Perryville said crappie are biting and it’s typical with all the water change because of weather, so move around from shallow to deep water. Expect it to be hit and miss. Best colors are silver, chartreuse, Monkey Milk, black/chartreuse, Cajun Cricket, Kiwi, Mo-Glo, silver Blue Ice, orange/white, Diamond Mist Crappie Magnets, and minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream are biting well on redworms and crickets. Black bass are doing well on dark colors, as well as watermelon red, red or blue shad minnows and worms.
Catfishing are biting well on liver, dough bait, minnows and nightcrawlers.
(updated 4-6-2023) Carter Cove Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025), former Andrews, says anglers are catching catfish down below the dam on liver or shad. Anglers are catching crappie 8-10 feet using minnows. Boaters can still launch at Carter Point.
Haven’t heard anything on black bass.
Below the dam, the water is at 314 feet msl.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 576.13 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-13-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the crappie spawn is full on. They are staging in brush piles in 15-20 feet of water and are being caught with minnows or jigs in the 8-foot range. Also fish 4-5 feet deep on the tops of tree laydowns or shallow brush piles in 10-12 feet of water. They are loaded, he says. Surface water temperature when Darryl came off the lake Thursday was 68 degrees and getting warmer by the day.
Catfish are starting to move up, he said.
(updated 4-14-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still very good. Senko, Dinger, floating worm, jerkbait and Carolina rig are “go-to” baits right now. It’s still that time! For walleye, shallow-running crankbaits and jerkbaits are working for these fish. Try main river/lake channel points for these tasty rascals. Stripers are very good. These fish are up the river channels and can be caught on jerkbaits, Alabama rigs and topwater C-10 Redfins. Bream are slow, but picking up a little. Try a cricket or worm near brush in the 20-25 depth range for a quality bite. Crappie are fair and still being caught on small jigs or minnows. Try brush and structure 8-15 feet deep. Catfish are fair to good on jugs and trotlines with live bait or cut bait.
Water temperature continues its rise, reaching a range of 60-65 degrees. The clarity is clearing. Lake level is gradually falling and is 576.02 as of Friday. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.<meta charset=”utf-8″>
(updated 3-30-2023) Fish ‘n Stuff in Sherwood said the lake is high but there are a lot of fish moving up to spawn. Anglers have been catching a lot on Chatterbait covering the water, or a Senko or floating worm up shallow. Also they are flipping a jig in the bushes. And some are even Carolina rigging some of the points, too. Target those secondary points before a spawning flat or the back of the creek where they go spawn.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.16 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge is steady 28.47 feet (flood stage is 26.00 feet).
(updated 4-13-2023) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) had no new reports.
(update 4-13-2023) Wil Hafner, facility manager at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321), says high water from the White River (more than 2 feet above flood stage at Clarendon) is keeping the lake from officially opening. When the waters recede and allow access to the parking, the dock and ramp, Cook’s will open for youth and mobility impaired and up to two guests. Please note the recent change in phone number to the facility as well, listed above.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.
Northeast Arkansas efforts highlighted at AGFC meeting
Nov. 30, 2023
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
Nov. 30, 2023
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