Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
April 20, 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: Millwood Lake in southwestern Arkansas is widely known for behemoth largemouth bass, but anglers lately have found some behemoth crappie, too. Eddie McPherson from near Greenbrier landed this serious slab, while his friend Jim Elliot took the picture last week.
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 4-20-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bream are rocking now. They are starting to get on the banks and anglers are seeing a lot. Use crickets and redworms. Black bass are still doing pretty well on spinnerbaits, creature baits, Chatterbaits, crankbaits. One angler used a Whopper Plopper on the topwater in recent days and got some good blow-ups. He said that fishing around some grass, you could do some good. Frogs are also a good bait to be throwing now. Crappie are picky with the bite here and there on jigs and minnows. Catfish are biting well on stink bait, shad, skipjack, chicken liver, little bream, goldfish and trotline minnows.
The water is getting back to normal after running a little high recently. It is also still a little strained. But the 70-degree water temperature is very inviting. It’s been up around that for a few days. Last Saturday, a bass tournament on Lake Conway saw almost 19 pounds (5-bass stringer) win the event.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reported the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 9,066 cfs (turbine) as of noon Thursday, with round-the-clock release that has ranged 9,100-9,200 cfs for at least two days. The tailwater was at 278.63 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 (swpa.gov) to see forecast generation schedule.
(updated 4-20-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said that with recent rains, Greers Ferry Lake is above top seasonal pool. To lower the lake as quickly as possible, the Corps of Engineers currently has two units and four spillway gates open 24 hours each day. This release schedule could change depending on rainfall, but expect the schedule to continue through at least the end of the month. If you plan to fish the Trout Magnet in high water, consider using extra weight and focus on eddies and close to banks using pink and white-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads. For fly-fishing, consider weighted San Juan Worms, weighted egg patterns and streamers. Always check the 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 4-20-2023) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said Greers Ferry Lake is 8.5 feet above the power pool. The Army Corps of Engineers are currently running two units and flood floodgates open round-the-clock to get the lake down to the pool. “I’d expect the same generation schedule to continue unless we get a big rainstorm and they shut down or reduce the flows for a while until the creeks and streams are running normally.
“The fishing has been good considering the high water. We have a caddis hatch as the temperature starts to rise in the morning. I’ve been running a deep-water nymph rig while fishing out of the boat. Usually fishing between 9-12 feet deep or deeper. Hot flies for me have been a caddis and a pink San Juan worm.
“The streamer bite has been good. The fish are either hugging the bank or laying on the bottom of the river. My streamer set up has been an 8-weight rod fishing 330 sink line with articulated flies and hitting the banks. Yellow and brown Dungeons along with Double Deceivers with a skull head have been my go-to patterns of late.
(updated 4-20-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said anglers should be advised that there is heavy current (9,000 cfs) on the Little Red) and there has not been much trout fishing on the water because of it. Be careful if you get out.
They added that what trout fishing is being done is happening just below the dam, with anglers fishing from the bank (definitely not wading with the high water and/or current, and it’s also hard to keep a boat up in that area, too, they say). You can have success with maribou jigs, Trout Magnets and also Carolina-rigged PowerBait.
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 4-20-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 470.30 feet msl and falling with lots of generation. It is 8.26 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. All species of fish are in all stages of spawn. Most are scattered from 1-60 feet. Crappie are scattered, eating, spawning and moving from 1-40 feet. There are several different ways to catch them; most will work one day or the next with different weather. Bream are showing up more and more now. Crawlers, crickets and small minnows are working from the shoreline out to 25 feet. Catfish have been eating well in run-ns and various places such as points, channel swings, etc. All general catfish baits are working. Walleye are scattered and biting; you will have to take a number to get a slot to fish up rivers but the rest of the lake is wide open, with lake fish being 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 are spawning, and a lot are on the move getting ready to eat and spawn, from 1-60 feet. Alabama rigs, crankbaits, jerkbaits, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, spinnerbaits and jigs are working, and a lot in between. You can catch a lot of healthy fish at this time. Hybrid bass 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 10-50 feet and some are up rivers, of course, spawning and some are around bushes up on the bank and out in fields.
(updated 4-20-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the lake is 8 feet high and coming down. With the amount of water being run through the dam, they say that even the amount of rain predicted for Thursday-Friday this week should not make a big difference in the lake level. The Army Corps of Engineers is running 9,000 cfs (that is a lot of water, they add).
The upper part of the lake is still stained and dirty. On that end, bass anglers are fishing the rivers and the guys who have been doing well have been throwing spinnerbaits around trees or using a finesse jig around trees and laydowns. They are also throwing Chatterbaits.
On the lower end, where the water is a little clearer, they are throwing Carolina rigs out a little deeper from the original shoreline, and they are also throwing a fluke. Also, both early in the day and lake in the evening, there has been some topwater response to anglers throwing a Spook or a wake bait.
Around some of the bedding fish they are seeing, anglers are flipping a Texas-rigged creature bait, or tossing a finesse jig in there. Also, for the lower end and if fishing windy banks, a swimbait is doing really well right now.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 4-20-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says crappie have slowed. However, some really nice largemouth bass and catfish have been caught in the past week, and bream are more active.
An 8-pound female largemouth bass was caught and immediately returned to the water last week, they report. Soft plastic worms and spinnerbaits are the go-to baits for bass right now. The largemouth bass are most active, it appears, near the lake’s islands.
A flathead catfish weighing 7-8 pounds was also hauled in during the past few days. Catfish anglers are using skipjack, bass minnows and some anglers from the bank are tempting the cats with nightcrawlers. The large flathead was caught on rod-and-reel.
Crickets are the go-to for the bream, with catches coming in the shallow areas.
The lake level is normal but the clarity is a bit muddy. Surface water temperature is a nice 63-65 degrees. That still isn’t helping the crappie anglers, who were having good success up until this week. “No one is catching any now. People on the boats say they can’t find where they are hiding,” they report.
(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 well on liver of all kinds, dough bait, minnows and nightcrawlers. 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 4-20-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-252-1437) said the water level is getting lower. The bass are up near areas of the shoreline biting on anything that moves slowly. Use something weedless. “I got a few reports that while they were bass fishing with swimbaits and spinnerbaits they got some decent crappie!” Minnows are still holding the top of the bait list for crappie, she said.
Bream are coming in strong. Crickets are the way to go. And lastly, use some nightcrawlers and fish after dark if you’re wanting catfish.
“Y’all remember to stay safe on the water,” Lacey said. Check out the Lakeview Landing Hwy 95 Facebook page for water temperature and other updates.
(update 4-20-2023) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, had no new report.
NOTICE: Central Arkansas Water has closed public access to the water on the lake (no boating/sailing) through 6 p.m. Friday, April 21, for application of herbicide to treat hydrilla in the lake. Bank fishing at Maumelle is available, and access to hiking trails and other facilities outside the water is also available.
(updated 4-20-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) There has been no fishing on Lake Maumelle this week. Fishing and boating on the lake will resume Friday night. Last week, the marina reported that the largemouth bass bite was good. There were 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) were 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 last 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 were good. Reports last 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 were 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 3,067 cfs. The stage at Morrilton was fishing at 9.46 feet and falling (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 0 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 they will turn up 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 3,256 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 8,352 cfs. The elevation is 249.18 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was rising slightly at 7.34 feet (flood stage is 25 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 6,220 cfs.
(updated 4-20-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that most bass are being caught in the shallow water in the backwaters or around the jetties both early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Anglers have been throwing a hollow-body frog as well as a buzzbait for topwater action. During the middle part of the day in the backwaters and on the main water they are flipping a Texas-rigged creature bait or a Gitzit or tube-style bait. They’ve also been trying a weightless Senko or wacky worm.
On the main river jetties and rock, successful anglers are also throwing a square-bill crankbait in a black back color or natural shad color.
As for crappie, some have been biting shallow in 5 feet of water in the backwaters around timber or brush. Anglers report catching them on a slip cork rig baited with a minnow, or they’ve used a 1/32-ounce crappie jig in white/chartreuse, orange/chartreuse or black/chartreuse.
(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 4-20-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “We’re serving up an Ozark spring at its best! Add terrific trout fishing to a glorious spring day and glorious peace on the river, and you’ve got a memory in the making.
Bull Shoals Lake is sitting at 668 feet msl, just 8 feet above the desired power pool level – the Corps has done a great job at bringing the lake down. The generation has been trending down all week from almost flood stage levels (30,000 cfs) during the middle of last week to much more normal levels currently: about 14,000-17,000 cfs (four to six units). The river has prime fishing water right now.
“The trout bite was phenomenal last weekend on the high water with Rapala Countdowns No. 5 and No. 7 (the black/gold and brook trout Rapalas brought the most success). The glass blue Husky Jerk Minnow was bragged on by some longtime White River anglers. We pulled in rainbow after rainbow with floating pink mouse tails (artificial worms). It’s a good idea to have a rod rigged with your favorite PowerBait hue (garlic flavor works nice, too) and some shrimp toppers to coax the more reluctant ones out of hiding. You can try your hand at jig fishing again now since dam generation has slowed: moss green or orange/black Zig Jigs or even a plain white maribou jig should provide a lot of action. We brought a beauty of a rainbow to the boat for pictures (22 inches, 5 pounds) (Tuesday) with a nice little redfin river minnow.
“You can expect our guides to serve you well in all weather and water conditions, help you catch fish every day, teach new techniques to sharpen your fishing skills, and bless you with Arkansas Ozark hospitality. We welcome you to Cotter.”
(updated 4-20-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said that as of Wednesday Bull Shoals Dam had 17 spillway gates opened to 1 foot plus four generators, while Norfork Dam had 11 spillway gates opened to 1 foot and one generator operating. “Last weekend we saw water depths as high as 13.5 feet, but by Wednesday the river had dropped about 3 feet to approximately 10.5 feet. The water has some dinginess with a fast current. Drift-fishing with silver-colored inline spinner, yellow Power Eggs and shrimp was the most effective. Because of the depth of the water there was minimal success using lures.
“This week we received one trout stocking of over 650 rainbow trout at the Calico Rock boat ramp. An additional stocking was done at the Chessmond Ferry boat ramp.”
(updated 4-20-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week they had just a trace or rainfall in Cotter, warmer temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 4 feet to rest at 10.2 feet above power pool of 659 feet. This is 25.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below power pool and 14.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 8.6 feet above power pool or 1 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 3.5 feet to rest at 5.7 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 20.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had no wadable water. “Here again we have had spillway releases to augment generation.”
All of the lakes in the White River System except Table Rock are now above power pool. At the current rate of drop, expect all of the lakes in the White River System to reach power pool in three weeks.
John 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 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. Use long leaders and plenty of additional weight.”
John also said, “Yesterday I went to the Sowbug Roundup wrap-up meeting. The object of the meeting is to analyze the most recent Sowbug to see what went well and what could be improved upon.
“The secret to Sowbug’s success is that the committee meets once a month for the entire year. That way we have plenty of time to plan for its success. Most of the committee members have served for a number of years and are very knowledgeable about their responsibilities. When there is turnover, the committee member departing mentors the new member.
“This year’s Sowbug Roundup was a major success. We had around 1,100 attendees who spent an average of 1.62 days at Sowbug. That means that the average attendee spent quite a bit of time there. Most of this time was for them to watch some of the top fly-tyers in the United States do their thing. They also attended some interesting seminars or took classes in fly-tying or fly-casting at no additional charge.
“One of the classes taught was a kid’s fly-tying contest. I heard of one student that learned to tie a fly. He then took that fly to Dry Run Creek and caught a fish on it the next day. This is a big deal in fly fishing, to catch a fish on a fly that you tied. The first one is special.
“I remember the first time it happened to me. My brother, Dan, taught me to tie an olive Woolly Bugger. That week I took it to the Spring River. I started the day with my fly. In 15 minutes, I had caught a trout on a fly that I had tied myself. I fished it all day and caught a total of six trout (a limit at that time). The Woolly Bugger was a bit beat up. I carefully put it back in my fly box. Forty years later I still have it. I am sure that this young man feels the same.
“The food vendor was a big hit. We had the Clark Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary there to provide breakfast, lunch and snacks for the Sowbug volunteers, tyers and attendees. It was quality food at reasonable prices.
“I freely admit to being a serious chowhound. Their sausage gravy biscuit is the best I ever had. My sister, Ernestine, talked me into trying it and I am glad she did. We split a two biscuit plate for $6 and it was well worth every penny. The fried pies were fantastic. They reminded me of my mother’s. How good does it get?
“We spent a lot of time discussing how to make the Sowbug Roundup better. How do we make the layout more efficient? We also spent a lot of time figuring out how to more efficiently handle the finances.
“The meeting went long but we thought that we accomplished something and hope that we can continue to make it better every year.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 668.18 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). By midday Thursday the flow was 12,939 cfs and has ranged as high as 14,389 the last couple of days; tailwater elevation was 457.30 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.70 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-20-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Bull Shoals Lake level as of midweek was 668 feet, or 9 feet high. Water temperature is 60-plus degrees. The lake is coming down fast with floodgates open. There is now accessibility to ramps and parking again. The bass are grouped up and they are spawn/prespawn feeding – you can find them on spread-out flats and in the bushes now. We had a big wave move up last week, but unfortunately I think those beds are out of the water and put them in a funk. There were some that spawned, but a lot did not. A lot of fish are now suspended, waiting for better, more stable conditions. I’m looking for prespawners checking 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. Dirty creeks, cloudy, warm rain water you’re best powerfishing with crankbaits, Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps. Try on the last couple swing banks or in or around the spawning pockets. Cover water. Fish warm runoff if available.
Sunny days with flat water and stain conditions, try slow-dragging a Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin. Sunny with clear water, look at the old shoreline points, keep the boat in 25-30 feet, try a green pumpkin 3/16-ounce shaky head or a Ned fished slow, then go a little slower. The ol’ Wobble Bead with a Menace slow-banging on the rocks, ledges and points in 5-15 feet early, 15-20 feet midday around points and outside spawning areas.
It’s getting to where you can beat the bank and run into a few. The shad are moving up again. Video gamers are everywhere up high. Check the backs of the creeks and look for bigger spreads shallower than 40ft; be sure to check 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. White bass are munching in the very backs of the big creeks. The walleyes caught bass fishing looked spawned out. Go out 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 558.07 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 9,404 cfs, with constant generation in that range for several days.
(updated 4-20-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 558.51 feet msl and has dropped over 7 inches in the last 24 hours with one generator running continuously and spillway gates open to about an additional 2¼ generators. The White River at Newport is 22.28 feet and dropping quickly. They now predict the lake will be at the top of the power pool of 553.75 feet msl on May 1. That is very good compared to where we were. All launches and parking are back to normal and that is very good. The topwater bite depends on the nighttime ambient temperature. If it is about 55 degrees it is very good, and below 50 it’s nonexistent. The water temperature is all over the place, but is about 67 on the main lake in the Blackburn’s Creek area.
“Walleye, white bass and some small stripers are coming up on warm mornings. Crappie are in the middle of spawn and are deciding what to do with the quickly dropping water. Black bass are worse and do not know what to do. I am glad the water is not so high, but it is not helping the spawn any with the quick drop in level. It is still early and things will settle out as long as we do not get any big rains in the Norfork watershed area. Fishing is still fair to good.”
Visit blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for a daily report.
(updated 4-20-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 3.5 feet to rest at 5.7 feet above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 20.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had no wadable water. “Here again we have had spillway releases to augment generation.”
All of the lakes in the White River System except Table Rock are now above power pool. At the current rate of drop, expect all of the lakes in the White River System to reach power pool in three weeks.
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 4-20-2023) 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 1,128.81 feet msl, or 8.4 feet above normal pool (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-20-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake has dropped about 1 foot last week and now sits 7 feet above normal pool level. “I was afraid of the Corps pulling water right at the spawn. Not good! Anyways, the fishing is cranked up right now. Stripers are good, and if you’re looking for a wall hanger, now is the time. Big fish have been caught from Point 12 up to the islands at Prairie Creek. Live shad is bait of choice. Walleye have finished their spawn and are moving back into mid-lake areas. Give it a week or two and you should start picking them up off main points in 20 feet or water. Crappie are tucked back in all the submerged structures and are starting their spawn. Problem is getting back into the brush. Black bass are prespawn and staging in the usual spawning areas, which are flats and backs of creek arms.
“Hopefully the bottom doesn’t fall out on the drawdowns. It leaves the spawning areas high and dry. Lots of debris throughout, so be extremely careful when running a boat. Stay safe and 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 4-20-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the fishing this past week has been off and on with the walleye bite. Water temperature has been around 48 degrees and the water levels are rising steady with generation. Trout have been really 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 crankbaits, 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 temperature.
The white bass have come up, but they 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 4-20-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing really picked up for everything other than bass this past week. Crappie, catfish and bream all provided good fishing.
Crappie are spawning and anglers are still catching them from the shoreline. Crappie Nibbles PowerBait in blue/black speckled and all colors of jigs and soft plastics were working. Also, Woolly Buggers were catching crappie, with olive and black being the best colors. Minnows also will work.
In murky or stained water, go dark or go with very opaque bright. In the very stained water, dark-colored jigs work as well as bright colors. Crappie are related to the brush piles, the stumps and rocky points. The bite seems to be at 6-8 feet.
Bream are good on worms, jigs in all colors. Look for bream in or near brush piles and around stumps and rocky points. Catfish are good using blood bait, stink bait or chicken liver. She’s heard no reports on black bass or white bass.
The water temperature as of Sunday morning was steady at the 60.4 degree mark. Water is high and murky.
Anglers who follow the “moon times” should pencil in the rest of this week through April 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 4-20-2023) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) had no new reports.
(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 4-20-2023) 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 falling at 11.04 feet (flood stage is 15.0 feet). The Newport stage is falling at 21.64feet (flood stage is 26 feet). The stage at Augusta is slightly dropping to 31.87 feet, still almost 6 feet above flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 4-20-2023) 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 7,656 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is rising at 31.45 (flood stage is 42 feet).
(updated 4-20-2023) 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 259.35 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total hourly outflow at the dam is still high; at midday it was 11,845 cfs, which is steady for the past two days.
(updated 4-20-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Thursday, Millwood has dropped a few inches over the past few days and clarity has 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 reduced river flow rate and current. Millwood is almost 3 inches above NCP and falling. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 236 feet msl and falling with gate discharge at the dam near 7,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake.
Surface temps have been stable this week, ranging in 64-68 degrees, depending on location and the time of day.
Here are fishing specifics from Mike from the past few days:
* 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, on Brazalo Spinnerbaits, lizards, Brush Hogs and Bass Assassins. Over the past couple of 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 and 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 of weeks and those fish were randomly near deeper creek channels or ditches through the flats. The best bass activity has been random hits on Chatterbaits in chartreuse Sexy Shad or black/blue in dingy water color. Bass Assassin Shads finessed through the new vegetation and lily pad blooms have picked up a few males in the 2- to 3-pound class.
Floating Zoom Trick Worms, Barlow’s Salty Rat Tails and Yum Dingers will get 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 males 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 high in the sky and you could see movement in 3-5 feet of depths on the spawning flats.
Mud Lake’s and Clear Lake’s clarity was 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 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.”
* White bass continue to bite well. “We continue to find a few large schools over the past couple weeks along Little River, and most and largest schools have been between Cemetery Slough and Cossatot River inflow ditch. Those white bass were ranging 2-3.5 pounds, and continued 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 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 white bass 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 upwards 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.
* Crappie have continued to improve on the main lake and in oxbows over the past week. Best bite has been near Saratoga, Okay Landing, Cottonshed, 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 from 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. The crappie continue to feed aggressively, as we caught several while bass fishing this week, on lizards and spinnerbaits.
* Still no reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 4-20-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) says anglers are still catching a lot of crappie. They are still finding a few in shallow water, but most of the catches recently are deeper, and those still have eggs. “Don’t know if the water has messed them up or not, but it looks like more are going to spawn still,” they say.
Best crappie fishing is coming in 16-20 feet of water, and the crappie are suspended – they are not over anything like brush. Minnows and hand-tied jigs (gray and gray/white are the go-to colors) are your best bet.
Catfishing has really picked up well. Anglers are catching a lot of large flatheads and blues – some of these have been in the 20- to 40-pound size. They’re catching those on noodles baited with little bream or goldfish.
Also, they’re catching a lot of smaller catfish on poles with little bream, many of these being 1-pound or so fryers. There is no problem for anglers catching limits of catfish these days.
Redear have bedded up, and bream anglers are catching a lot on shoreline in beds. Some 12- to 13-inch redear were coming out of the lake this week. Most of those have been caught on crickets.
With all of that going on, there’s been nothing heard on bass fishing. But anglers can catch a lot of everything at Erling these days, they tell us.
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 543.88 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.53 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-20-2023 John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Hello, fisher-people. Good news and bad news from DeGray. I do apologize but my reports are geared more to crappie than other species because that is what I personally focus on. Sorry to the bass, bream, catfish and others.
“As I write this, the level is 405.52 feet msl with a slight increase in the water level. They have been pretty steady at pulling water out for a while. This led to a lake lowering over time and this affects the spawn. This applies to all species of panfish. Bass anglers to crappie anglers have commented on how they have been killing in an area and to come back with a 4-inch lowering the next morning.
“Nothing new from me on the black bass. Everyone is still catching on jerkbaits, floating worms, spinnerbaits and topwater early. The Kentucky (spotted bass) bass are plentiful. They are in every brush pile and scattered everywhere.
“Water temperature – wow. What a yoyo ride that has been. Surface temperature has ranged from 72 one day to 62 in the next day or so. Last time I was on the water it was mid-60s again.
“Stringers are varying widely in size and numbers.
“Crappie are mostly holding off the extreme shallows and can be found in the mid-depth brush piles. Minnows are my preferred bait this time of year, but all methods work when applied correctly.
“Fish the coves, brush piles and cover.
“Wish I had more good news. Safe fishing. Be courteous.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.37 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 537.54 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 4-20-2023) 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 4-20-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 55 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has run four hours of generation each day in the late evening, which has given the public an opportunity to safely fish and boat below Carpenter Dam. The AGFC’s trout stocking program has proceeded as scheduled despite the adverse water conditions of early in the year, 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 this month. Big numbers of fish have relocated downstream,but are migrating upstream to feed and establish territory in the nutrient-rich tailrace. Another spring storm is expected to roll through this area Thursday afternoon and evening, which may bring heavy rainfall that could affect the generation schedules for the next week or longer. Fishing below a hydroelectric dam poses many problems dictated by Mother Nature for boaters and anglers. Over four months of the trout season has been lost due to flooding in the area. Hopefully the weather will become stable enough to salvage some of the remaining time the trout are present in the tailrace.
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 cast 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 in yellow or white and lures such as a Super Duper and Little Cleo in silver are proven trout catching baits in many conditions. Crankbaits that represent fleeing crayfish will also catch trout that are searching for prey. Live bait fishermen can use waxworms or mealworms fished just off 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 in the tailrace to rest and eat 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 sandbars 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 0 cfs. Elevation was 337.59 feet msl and the tailwater was at 286.07 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage was up a foot to 5.77 feet as of Thursday noon (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 4-20-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said the main river temperature is reaching 70 degrees. The spawn is in full swing. The bream are making beds in the backwater areas. Crickets and worms will work great. Crappie are starting to get on the jetties in the main river. Some are still deep, with some being found around brush piles around 7-10 feet deep. Monkey Milk, Cajun Cricket and black and yellow each has been working great. Largemouth bass are picking up on points on the main river. Crankbaits and topwater lures have been working well. Swimming a black-and-blue jig has been working well around vegetation; white color has also been working really well. Frogs and weightless swimbaits have been working well on flats. Channel cats in the creeks have been good on worms and crickets. Flathead catfish have been good on perch and caught along the jetties. Blue cats also are as big, caught just inside the pocket or on the edge of the current. Fresh cut bait has been working well.
As of noon Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 5.2 feet high at 350.23 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.
Catfish 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 Carden 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 575.85 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-20-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said, “Like I said last week, the spawn is ON. The black crappie are about half done and the white crappie have started and are still moving up.”
Crappie have been caught on both jigs and minnows under corks as shallow as 2.5 feet deep in the banks and as deep as 12 feet deep on staging brush piles. Both largemouth and spotted bass are doing the same thing. Surface water temp today (April 18) was 64 degrees.
(updated 4-20-2023) 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, Yum Dinger, floating worm, jerkbait, and Carolina rigs 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, Bama rigs and a topwater C-10 Redfin. Bream are slow but picking up a little. Try a cricket or worm near brush in the range of 20-25 feet depth 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 or cut bait.
The lake water temperature is up to 60-65 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. Lake level on Wednesday was dropping at 575.88 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.15 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 28.25 feet (flood stage is 26.00 feet).
(updated 4-20-2023) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) had no new reports.
(update 4-20-2023) 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.
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Nov. 30, 2023
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
Nov. 30, 2023
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