Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
May 11, 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: Roger Fisher lived up to his surname, landing his personnel best largemouth bass on a creek off Norfork Lake last weekend while kayak fishing on a breezy, chilly and at times drizzly day. “It was totally worth it,” Roger said. “I’ve been waiting for this one for years, and I finally got him!” The fish was 19.5 inches long and 5 pounds, caught in about 2 feet of water on a white Rooster Tail. Roger and his nephew, Andy Bell, found some aggressive largemouths feeing on bait balls in the creek and landed a bunch; Roger also caught two at one time on a square bill.
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 5-11-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bream are doing really, really well, they report, on crickets, redworms and waxworms. Black bass are up close to the shoreline and doing well. Trick Worms in a June bug color, frogs, Rooster Tails and about any other kind of favored bass baits are working right now. Crappie are out on the flats. Lake Conway crappie usually are interested in jigs in white and chartreuse, Monkey Milk, anything with orange in it – generally your brighter colors to get their attention in the usual Conway stain. And speaking of, the lake’s clarity will be a little murkier than usual the next few days as its received a lot of rain Thursday, they report.
Catfish are picking up in spite of the rising water. Nightcrawlers, Catfish dip, any Catfish Magic type of bait, little bream for the flatheads, trotline minnows and bass minnows for the lines, and goldfish will catch them.
Little Red River
The Army Corps of Engineers reported the outflow at Greers Ferry Dam to be 3,026 cfs (turbine) as of noon Thursday, with one generator and round-the-clock release of about that same flow for days. The tailwater was down at 272.87 feet as of 2 p.m. Thursday. Greers Ferry Lake is 3.3 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 5-11-2023) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said Greers Ferry Lake is 3.2 feet above power pool.
The Army Corps of Engineers is running one unit 24/7 to get the lake down to pool.
Mike says to expect the same generation schedule to continue unless we get a lot of rain and they hold back releases from the dam.
“The caddis are hatching up and down the river. And the fish are eating. With the Corps running one unit, I’ve been fishing double caddis patterns 6-8 feet deep underneath an indicator. Another good fly is a pink San Juan Worm. The Streamer bite has been really good as well. Try fishing articulated patterns on a sink line and throw towards the bank.”
(updated 5-11-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said fishing has been really good out there. The Corps of Engineers is running one generator all day, or rotating in two generators for a few hours a day. So, in the early morning the fishing is really good on falling water. They’ve been biting a pink Trout Magnet really well and a No. 5 Rapala Shad Rap. Also, small jerkbaits have been working well. Trout anglers have been targeting booth rainbows and browns, and starting both above the shoals and just below the shoals.
(updated 5-4-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said the spillway gates are closed, but we still have one generator operating 24 hours each day. This current release schedule could change depending on rainfall. 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 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday at noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 466.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.88 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 5-11-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Thursday morning the water level at Greers Ferry was at 466.14 feet msl and rising. It is 3 feet above normal pool for this time of year of 462.88 feet msl. Walleye catching is picking up in lake, 12-25 feet on crawlers or a crankbait. The more stable the lake gets, the better. Stay away from this new mud line.
Bream catching is good with the moon, super shallow out to 20 feet on crickets, crawlers, small crankbaits or inline spinners. Bass fishing is good – all three phases of spawn are still going on, so they are scattered super shallow out to 30 feet. However you like to catch them you can do so now with a huge variety of baits, and keep your eye out for schoolers. Crappie, just like the bass, can be caught however you like to fish on a variety of baits all over lake and rivers from 10-30 feet. Hybrid and white bass are eating; most are fishing up traveling and can be caught on points, humps, bends and such all over lake and in some parts of rivers on spoons, topwater baits, inline spinners and hair jigs. Catfishing is going strong, and again it’s just however you like to catch them and on a variety of baits.
(updated 5-11-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the water level is a couple of feet high. The upper end of the lake is still stained and the lower end is getting fairly clear. Early in the morning and late in the evening, the topwater bait has been improving. Anglers are using and catching with Pop-Rs in a shad color, as well as a Zara Spook or similar bait in a bone or white color. Also try a white Horny Toad.
Throughout the day, some fish are still up shallower, with a shad spawn happening now. Spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits are working up shallower. Also, a weightless fluke is a good bait to use, as well as a finesse jig in PB&J color around flooded bushes or flooded cover.
Some fish are moving out deeper, too, into spots 12 feet and deeper. A Carolina rig has been doing really well with a green pumpkin creature bait. Also, a football jig, in 1/2- or ¾ ounce, is doing well, and so is a shaky head worm.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-11-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the rain has raised the water level quite a bit and the clarity is muddy, with pollen mixed in as well. Black bass were caught even Thursday morning in the rain, though, right up near the bait shop in shallow water. Use white swimbaits, maybe with some red in it. Some decent-sized bream have been caught on crickets in the shallower areas of the lake, particularly around Crappie Cove and Doughty Cove, two of the shallower spots.
Crappie is still not producing of late, they say.
Catfish have been caught on short lines around the bends. One angler hauled in an 11-pounder on rod and reel next to the dam.
(updated 5-4-2023) Ken Winstead at Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said bream are biting on redworms and crickets. Black bass are doing well. They like dark colored baits along with minnows and nightcrawlers. Look for a bait in watermelon red, red, blue or grape colors. Catfish are doing well on liver of call kinds and dough baits, plus minnows and nightcrawlers.
Crappie are biting and typical for all this changing water with the weather, so move around from shallow to deep water. Expect it to be hit or miss. The best colors are silver/chartreuse, Monkey Milk, black/chartreuse, Cajun Cricket, Kiwi, Mo-Glo, silver/Blue Ice, orange/white and Diamond Mist. There is a Crappie Magnet bite, and make sure to try to with minnows and nightcrawlers, too.
(updated 5-13-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-252-1437) said the fishing is fun right now. People are catching on the bank and out in boats. Crappie are hiding in the brush piles. Look for the blue signs, bank fishers. There biting on all minnows including roseys and jigs. There at least 6 feet down or more. Catfish are biting on nightcrawlers in the shallows, as well as minnows down deep. No report on bream. Bass are hit and miss, “but the recent bass tournament I saw out here would make me think they are still active,” Lacey added. Anglers can check out the Lakeview Landing Hwy 95 Facebook page for water temperature and other updates.
(update 5-11-2023) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, said that the last time he had checked you could still see the boat ramp despite the latest rainfall. The lake is high and is murky with about 1 foot of visibility.
Black bass have been in prespawn. Crappie reportedly are starting to get more active. Anglers are catching them in 6-10 feet over the underwater brush piles. Crappie will favor the live stuff, particularly No. 6 size crappie minnows. If you are going to use a jig, try something multicolored. White/red/chartreuse is what anglers say they are hitting on most.
A lot of people at Lake Brewer are buying up goldfish to fish for catfish on lines. Also, David reports he’s starting to sell out of crickets for bream fishing, as the bream are starting to hit around the shoreline or the brush. The two hot days from earlier in the week were pretty good for bream, he said. “They’re eating crickets if you can keep them on your hook,” he said.
He added about the fishing overall, “Whenever it quits raining and warms up a little, it will be prime time.”
(update 4-27-2023) AGFC biologists have recently sampled Brewer Lake and seem some very positive results concerning black bass. The high water at Brewer Lake is in the bushes now, and so are the bass. This made for a difficult sample, but the biologists say a determined angler should be able to find some good-sized fish deep in the buckbrush. A 6-pound, 5-ounce bass was sampled near the south boat ramp and in slightly deeper water than most others.
On a second night of sampling Brewer, more quality largemouth bass and crappie were collected off the south bank along the main lake along the water willow line. Most of these fish appeared to be post-spawn.
NOTICE: Central Arkansas Water is closing boat accesses to Lake Maumelle for all day Monday, May 22, through 6 a.m. Thursday, May 25. All launch ramps and boat slips at Sleepy Hollow Access, WestRock Landing marina and the Grande Maumelle Sailing Club will be closed during this period. The lake will remain open to bank fishing, and other recreational parks (except Sleepy Hollow) and trails around the lake will remain open. Anyone doing business at the marina or sailing club will need to gain access from WestRock Landing prior to entry.
Another brief lake closure is anticipated for June or July. Visit https://lakemaumelle.com/pages/lake-maumelle-drawdown/ for more information.
(updated 5-11-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) had no new reports.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
As of Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 53,186 cfs. The stage at Morrilton on a fast rise at 12.70 feet up, up 3 feet over the past 24 hours (flood stage is 30 feet). Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam the flow was 52,947 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-11-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the fishing report on the Little Maumelle went sour Thursday with the heavy rain. “It’s muddy and running today,” Ray said. “It will be 2-3 days before fishable. At least two days – unless you’re your catfishing, and then it will be time to go. But nobody has been out.”
He said people who want to catch catfish definitely can now. Use liver or shiners.
Black bass were doing really well before the rain. They were beginning to spawn, right up on the banks, and were being caught on spinnerbaits and worms.
Crappie seemed to be tapering off, asthe spawn seems about done there.
No reports on bream. They are about ready to bed, though, so when it clears up it ought to be good, too, Ray said.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 53,112 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 57,073 cfs. The elevation is 248.88 feet msl. The stage in the Little Rock pool was steady at 7.54 feet (flood stage is 23 feet). Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 55,627 cfs.
(updated 5-11-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports the river at a normal water level, but they’re looking at it coming up with all the rain coming. Water clarity is somewhat stained but muddying up. Early in the morning or late in the evening, bass are biting a black or white buzzbait as well as a frog. Also, topwater Spooks in a bone color are working. During the daytime, anglers have been catching them on a chartreuse and blue back square bill, as well as a black/blue jig, a Texas-rigged creature bait in black/blue or green pumpkin color, and also a black/blue and green pumpkin Chatterbait. Also try a white spinnerbait. Anglers have been catching fish both on the main river and the backwaters of late.
(updated 4-27-2023) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) has not heard any reports of fishing on the river lately.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 4-27-2023) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says crappie and bream are doing well. Anglers are focused on buying crappie minnows as well as some chartreuse/purple jigs with the hungry crappie. Crickets are selling for the bream anglers.
(updated 5-11-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said trout fishing has been spectacular this week with perfect spring weather to match – morning temps, low 60s, some overcast but mostly clear skies, afternoons a little warmer. Bull Shoals Dam has been averaging 10,500 cfs daily over the last week, equivalent to three generators/units, if you use that method to estimate water levels. The flow has remained fairly constant, which is good news; steady water releases cause less stress to the trout than frequent changes to the generation amounts.
The Cotter catch has been high quality this week: 16- to 20-inch rainbows are not uncommon, and the keepers (under 14 inches) are healthy and fat. Seems you couldn’t go wrong with a Vibrax Blue Fox. Gold or silver in 3/16 ounce worked best, but the ⅛-ounce spinners caught their share, too. The No. 7 Countdowns of almost any color (gold/black, brown or brook trout, rainbow, silver/black) are flying off the shelf, which tells me the word on the river is “Rapalas are catching!”
To fill your creel with keeper rainbows, downsize your hooks (size 8 or 6) and try a tiny piece of shrimp with a bubblegum pink worm. Make it a mousetail – white egg pattern on the pink worm – for a more sure catch.
Rising water? Always turn to live worms first. The browns have been nibbling shad and sculpins.
While the water level is still a little too high for wading, fishing along the river bank is not out of the question. It may require more frequent (but gentle and slow) casting and retrieve than when the river level is low, but success is assured with patience.
“Come enjoy an Ozark spring day and you’ll be hooked. See you on the river!”
(updated 5-11-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said, “The weather is getting hot. Even with the recent rains the river conditions have been excellent with clear water and depths between 6.5-8 feet. Fishing has been great. Silver inline spinners with yellow Power Eggs and shrimp worked well. Artificial lures such as Rapala Countdown CD7 in brown trout or rainbow colors continue to work well. Casting quarter-ounce spoons on the gravel bars was effective.
“This last week we have seen an increase in the number of 18-inch-plus brown trout caught. Although most weren’t legal size to keep, they had been eating well, were fat and put up a good fight.
“We have had three different trout stockings in the last week to include one stocking of 4,000 6- to 8-inch brown trout.”
(updated 5-11-2023) AGFC staff fished the White River in the Sylamore Creek-White River junction area last weekend. On Saturday, there was a little smallmouth bite in the current of the big river just in front of the creek, biting white maribou Trout Magnets. Rainbows like the Trout Magnet some but early, as well as an inline spinner, at midday started really favoring the orange PowerBait, while some liked the No. 7 rainbow trout-colored Rapala Countdown. On Sunday, fishing out of Jack’s Resort (870-585-2211) after the river had risen 1 foot overnight, we drift-fished the White River below the confluence, catching what would have been boatload of rainbows (all were returned to the river), including a 16-incher, using inline spinners and hooks baited with X Factor eggs and pieces of shrimp.
(updated 5-11-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week they had a half-inch of rain, warmer temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.9 feet to rest at 1.9 feet above power pool of 661.3 feet msl. This is 31.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 1.6 feet below power pool and 16.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 5.4 feet above power pool or 3.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White around Cotter has had no wadable water and heavy flows. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool of 556 feet msl and 25.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater has had wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River System except Table Rock and Norfork are above power pool, but dropping.
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 Cane Island. We have had lower flows that have fished well some days and poorly on others. 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, “For around a decade my wife, Lori, and I have been teaching fly-fishing at Arkansas State University Mountain Home (ASUMH). An integral part of that class has always been basic fly-casting instruction, which is led by Lori. She has also been teaching basic casting instruction at the Sowbug Roundup every year for quite a while. In addition, she has been giving private lessons to anglers who wanted to hone their casting skills beyond the basic level. She is the best casting instructor in the area. This is due to her learning to teach casting from Lefty Kreh and other master casters. I have taught casting for several years and usually assist.
“We discussed the fact that there are a lot of anglers out there who want to improve their casting skills. Therefore we decided to add a casting seminar to the list of classes that we teach at ASUMH. We have scheduled an intermediate casting seminar on June, 3 from 10 a.m. until noon at the ASUMH campus.
“This seminar is for anglers who have already mastered the basic cast. It is recommended that you bring your own rod, although we will have spare rods available for your use. All instruction will be outside. There will be no classroom.
“We will evaluate your cast and tune it up with constructive criticism and positive instruction. Lori will then teach you to shoot line. This will enable you to cast further with little effort.
“Then she will show you how to double haul. This enables you to increase line speed, which will allow you to increase distance and helps beat the wind. This is one of the more difficult techniques in fly-casting and it requires an accomplished instructor to teach it. Lori breaks it down to its simplest components and makes it easy to understand.
“Shooting line and the double haul are important contributors to success in salt water fly-fishing, fly-fishing streamers and any fly-fishing endeavor that requires a long cast.
“We will also cover the Belgian cast. This is a continuous cast that is perfect for casting the heavy double-fly nymph rigs that we favor here. It is a great way to cast in windy conditions. I was guiding yesterday and my clients were having trouble casting in intense wind conditions. I showed them how to use the Belgian cast and they were able to cope with the windy conditions with a minimum of tangles using heavy double-fly rigs.
“Our last intermediate cast is the reach cast. This is a specialty cast used in fishing dry flies. You actually make a mend in the line as you cast. This helps deliver a dry fly with a drag free float, which is necessary for success when fishing dry flies.
“If this sounds like something you would enjoy, go the ASU’s website https://asumh.coursestorm.com/category/outdoors and register. There is a modest fee. Lori and I hope to see you there.”
(updated 11-10-2022) White River Trout Club (870-453-2424) says fishing is not great now because the water there at White Hole is so low. No reports.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 662.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). By midday Thursday the flow was 13,521 cfs with constant generation over recent days; tailwater elevation was 456.45 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 915.18 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-11-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that Bull Shoals’ water temperature jumped from 60 degrees recently to around 70 degrees with the lake level dropping. “Algae blooms can be a hassle. Another wave of bass have moved up, we got another big wave. There’s a shad spawn with post-spawner bass feeding. You can find them grouped around docks spread out on flats, in pockets and in the bushes now. A lot of fish are now suspending. I’m spending lots of time graphing, checking pockets with wind and shad. Most fish still seem to be looking up. Most of the dirty water is in the bigger creeks, while there is high visibility around the dam area.
Fish it like two separate lakes. With dirty creeks, cloudy and warm, windy and rain, stick with powerfishing a square bill, Chatterbait, spinnerbait or Rat-L-Trap-style bait.
Try on the last couple of swing banks or in or around the spawning pockets. Cover water. Fish runoff if available.
If you’re chasing spawners, try Senko, Beaver or Ned rig.
If it’s sunny, flat, stain conditions, then try points slow-dragging a Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin. On sunny days with clear water, look at ledges already, keep boat in 25-30 feet, and try a green pumpkin 3/16-ounce shaky head or a Ned fished slow, then go a little slower. Look at points outside spawning areas.
The shad are moving up high, check to backs of the creeks and mouths of creeks. Also way off the points look for feeding activity. Bigger spreads are shallower, so be sure to check flats for a shad spawn. Graph time pays off. Bomb casts around the Ol’ McMinnow 2.8 Swimbait in white or shad colors, and also a fluke and topwater wake shad, or Lucky Craft Gunfish topwater early in the morning. This pattern has been the deal for me. The bass are definitely grouping up. 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 555.09 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.18 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Flow below the dam Thursday midday was 206 cfs, about 2,700 cfs drop from a 5-hour generation Wednesday night.
(updated 5-11-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 554.93 and had risen 1 inch in the last 24 hours when Scuba Steve came in at 4:15 p.m. (anticipating a thunderstorm, and not disappointed). It rained hard again at 4:30 just like the day before. The level has risen from 554.47 feet at its low about 10 days ago after the quick drop. The surface water temperature is 70 degrees and the water is clearing and you can see your lure down 7-8 feet in the main lake and less in the creeks. There was a spike in the threadfin shad spawn at full moon last Friday but it is tapering off, though it continues. They spawn mostly at night.
Some bass and crappie are still spawning, but many have finished. Both spawned-out bass and crappie are moving on brush piles and under docks. The topwater bite is getting good early at sunrise and lasts longer on cloudy days, and another is in the evening but is mostly bass partway back in the windblown creeks. Use Zara Spooks or Spittin’ Image until they go down and then switch to a 3-inch swimbait.
Catfish are biting live shiners and bluegill on throw lines. Smallmouth bass are on shallow flats and around points on creature baits. Bluegill are preparing for spawn. Overall, the lake is in excellent condition and at a good level for both fishing and boating.
Visit blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for a daily report.
(updated 5-4-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort says the bite for most species has slowed a little over the last couple of days with the cool front that rolled through the area. “Or at least it has slowed for me!” he said. “A 3-degree drop in surface lake temp has not helped. The heat wave is arriving soon, so the lake temp will begin to climb again and the bite will improve.
“This has not stopped anyone from fishing and catching fish. The striped/hybrid bass have really scattered out in the areas where I have been fishing. The very early-morning bite is the best and I have been catching a few each morning by casting a 3.5 swimbait up close to shoreline points, both back in coves or on the main lake. Crappie are both on brush and scattered out in coves roaming between brush. Trolling Flicker Minnows is working the best, but a slip float with live minnows is also producing some fish. Bass are on shoreline points in 3-10 feet of water. Casting swimbaits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits are all catching fish. I have found also some nice bass feeding in the middle of a cove in 30 feet of water. I was trolling for crappie with four rods out and all four got hammered by bass at the same time. I have also found bass in 25 feet deep brush piles. Jigging a Tater Shad was driving them crazy, especially with a fast reel up.
“Another angler landed some nice striped bass and largemouth on topwater baits, as well as by trolling Flicker Minnows. Meanwhile, Mike and Sam have been crappie fishing, trolling Flicker Minnows and by using live bait on a slip float. Wednesday, trolling worked the best for them. They landed a huge 15.5-inch crappie. All their fish were released to be caught another day.”
The surface water temp has dropped to around 60 degrees Wednesday morning. The lake level is stable at 554.51 feet msl, which is slightly under the current seasonal pool of 554.47 feet msl.
Lou posts almost daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 5-11-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool of 556 feet msl and 25.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater has had wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River System except Table Rock and Norfork are above power pool, but dropping.
The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). My 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. Be sure and 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 5-11-2023) 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 are more active. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,126.48 feet msl, or 5.0 feet above normal pool (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-11-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake continues to drop a bit each week. Lake level is around 5-6 feet above normal. Fishing is good, or fair to good, depending on who you talk to. The stripers are scattered and moving back toward mid-lake areas. There has been some topwater right before dark. Point 12 and Horseshoe Bend and the islands at Prairie Creek are places to look. Crappie are shallow to suspended deep. They are all over the place just like the weather.
“The lake made a dramatically fast warm up in the last few days. It reached 78 degrees when I was way up the War Eagle yesterday. Bass should be in full spawn mode. Walleye are moving back to the north end of the lake. Look from Horseshoe Bend down to all main points from there to the dam. Bluegill will be active and this is a great time to take the kids out. If you’re into bowfishing, now is the time as the carp are up in the bushes. Be safe out there and good luck!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 5-12-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said overall there is not a lot of high quality fish being caught and when when anglers do catch them it’s on bigger baits — bigger finesse worms, bigger swimbaits. Mostly, though, it’s just stop and go activity with the weather, rain, cold, then hot, the wind and so forth. Friday at the end of the week was decent day to be out as of this report, they told us.
Anglers are catching good numbers of crappie but they are having to search for them and many of the caught crappie are reported to be under the slot limit and returned to the water. Not much has been heard from the walleye lately; about the only way to catch them now is trolling the lake. Largemouth bass have been pretty decent for anglers fishing the creeks and streams, catching them on their beds, in tributaries and up real shallow on presentations such as a Ned rig.
Beaver Lake was described as “pretty muddy” up until a few days ago around Monte Ne, with fishing not that good in that area, but up further north in the lake, anglers were reported fishing with Kastmasters on a Sunday and were catching 30-40 bass, using crankbaits, Chatterbaits and finesse worms. There is some topwater action, but it’s mostly gone to soft plastics, Ned rigs, and the bass catch, like crappie, is all smaller fish. Also, big swimbaits are working, such as KVDs, the SPRO Chad Shad and the Megabass Magdraft swimbait. The Magdraft fished in the creeks and streams, not so much on the lake, was attracting the occasional bass in the 2- to 6-pound range. Things are good in those areas backwater areas, especially after a heavy rain.
Stripers have been doing well. Use brood minnows. Some days are producing a lot of fish, other days not so much.
(updated 5-11-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the past few weeks have been pretty good on the tailwater. The Army Corps of Engineers has been flowing water through Beaver Dam pretty consistently during the mid-morning hours. Most trout have been caught with Pautzke Fire Eggs and Fire Bait, fished with light terminal tackle. The majority of the trout have been caught between Houseman Access and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge.
There are still a few walleye in the system, with most being caught in the deeper waters. Jigging soft plastics or tossing jerkbaits with Walleye Fire Gel have produced nice numbers. The white bass have been toward Holiday Island and Beaver town. Tossing crankbaits and Alabama rigs have done the trick with these guys. Try to hit the coves early in the morning and fish the main channel later in the morning to afternoon.
“I hope your all able to get out and fish!,” he said. “We recently completed another fishing video that outlines how we apply our techniques on the Beaver Tailwater. You can find it by visiting my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) or search “Busch Mountain Fishing- Pautzke” on YouTube.”
(updated 5-11-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that anglers have been having a lot of success out crappie fishing on usual crappie baits (minnows, jigs). No other reports.
(updated 5-11-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said water temperature has risen about 5 degrees in a week, to 66.5 degrees. That rise got all the fish active: black bass, crappie, catfish and bream. Anglers were catching white crappie with black jigs and ghost bottoms, and they were catching crappie bream AND catfish on crappie jigs. It was reported to Shelly that crappie are in full spawn now. Other colors that were good were red/chartreuse and black.
Bass reports were good, but Shelly not no word on the baits. Catfish were biting well on blood bait and stink bait. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs in all colors.
The water is its usual murky clarity and is at a normal level.
(updated 5-11-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said Lake Poinsett’s fishing continues to hit on all cylinders. The bream are biting on worms and Bream Killers, but they are deeper now. Seth also says that catfish could bite in the evenings on live or stink bait.
Crappie, while catch-and-release only, have been hammering pink and chartreuse jigs. Bass continue to do well on crankbaits and shallow-water baits, and they also are catch-and-release only. Bream and catfish may be kept at regular state limits.
(updated 4-27-2023) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels at the Spring have been running at 480 cfs and water clarity is mostly clear. “It does have a perfect green stain to the water. The rain has missed us the last few rounds. Water levels are at its lowest this spring and the bite has been on!” Mark said.
The rainbows have been feeding hot and heavy with great caddis, stones and mayfly hatches most mornings. “Damsels were emerging about a week ago, making olive Woollies super hot, but that may be over. This week during the hatches a Crackleback works great! Or about most nymphs will work. The only tough days are when the sun is shining bright, then it’s simply get to the bottom. Don’t be afraid to add some split shot or a slow fished sink tip. The main outfit on sunny days have been indicator/split shot/ Y2K or blob/nymph or San juan Worm. Just gotta get down … This technique has been getting some bigger browns to the boat, too.
“Smallmouth are spawning during this time and should be left alone! Give them a few weeks to make more smallies and they will be on the bite in a few weeks. We are looking forward to doing more smallie trips this year on the lower above Hardy. Few trout in this area have the smallies biting great and an occasional walleye.
“This is the quiet time on the Spring River before the big canoe hatch happens at the end of May. All of the campgrounds are open and offer great wading and are stocked weekly. Water levels are still up, so be careful wading!! A wading staff is very handy.”
(updated 5-11-2023) 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 steady at 9.17 feet (flood stage is 15.0 feet). The Newport stage is slightly rising at 12.75 feet (flood stage is 26 feet). The stage at Augusta is dropping slightly to 24.87 feet, more than a foot below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
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 22,725 cfs. The stage at Pine Bluff is rising at 31.70 (flood stage is 42 feet). Further upstream, the flow at the Maynard Lock and Dam was 56,005 cfs.
(updated 5-11-2023) 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 260.69 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Release at the dam was 13,961 cfs, up about 4,800 cfs from Wednesday.
(updated 5-11-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, Millwood Lake is back on a slow rise due to recent thunderstorms. It’s now 18 inches above normal conservation pool, and clarity is heavy stain in most locations. Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow from Wilton Landing remains heavy stain. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 240 feet msl and falling with gate discharge at the dam near 14,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on our website helpful link page, 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 were stable this week, ranging 72-77 degrees, depending on location and the time of day. Mike had these details on the fishing from this week:
* Most largemouth bass have completed their spawning activities over the past several weeks in the oxbows and many are now post-spawn up Little River. Males and female Largemouths, from 2-3 pounds and up to 9 pounds as recently as last week, have been caught 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. Brazalo spinnerbaits, lizards, Bass Assassin Shads and Chatterbaits are working. Over the past couple weeks, Largemouths have been randomly feeding in creek channels dumping into Little River. The oxbows continue providing best water clarity, 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 weeks and those fish we are finding randomly near and close to deeper creek channels or ditches through the flats. The best Bass activity is shifting from midday to early morning on buzzbaits, Chatterbaits in chartreuse sexy shad, black and blue, in dingy water color. Bass Assassin Shads and soft plastic frogs, finessing through the new vegetation and lily pad blooms, have picked up decent-sized bass in the 2-4 pound class.
Senkos and floating trick worms like the Zoom Trick Worm, Barlow’s Salty Rat Tails and the Yum Dingers will get good reactions. Merthiolate, June bug/red, Blackberry and Pumpkinseed/chartreuse colors have been randomly working in the back of McGuire oxbow 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, post-spawn female and male bass near bedding areas over several weeks. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover or River Shad with red blades were catching some decent bass.
Yum Christie Critters in black/blue, Brush Hogs and Lizards in black/blue, watermelon candy, cherryseed continue working for shallow bass inside grass and vegetation near stumps 1-3 feet of depth.
* White bass have pretty much completed their spawning run up Little River, and schools are beginning to disperse back down Little River. These Whites have been roaming points, creek channels dumping into the river, and continue to bite well in broken schools. Most of the larger schools of White Bass over the past couple weeks have begun moving back toward the main lake, and are scattered in numerous schools, along Little River. Those White Bass were in large number and decent school sizes, ranging from 2-3.5 pounds, and continue hitting on Rat-L-Traps, Cordell hammered spoons, Bomber Fat Free Shads, Little George tail-spinners, Heddon Sonar metal blades, and Rocket Shads as long as you can locate shad and schools in creek mouths dumping into Little River. These schools are migrating back down river from the annual spawning runs up near Patterson Shoals, and almost every creek dump held some broken schools of White Bass over the past several weeks. Sexy Blueback Herring, Millwood Magic custom painted Little John crankbaits, and Bomber Fat Free Guppys in Tennessee Shad, were able to coax a bite over the past several weeks from these broken schools, ranging from 1.5-2.5 pounds.
* Crappie improved near Saratoga, Millwood State Park and Beards Bluff. Crappie were hitting best using minnows in 8-12 feet of depth in planted brush piles.
* No reports on catfish or bream.
(updated 5-12-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) says crappie are getting back out and are scattered in the deeper water, but they are biting well still. Hand-tied jigs and minnows are working best. The bream are bedded up and a lot are being caught shallow on crickets. Anglers are catching a lot of catfish on noodles baited with cut bait or minnows. There are some people looking for bass but they are not checking in to say what they’ve caught. The lake is rising with all of the recent rain. The clarity is a little dingy but that’s not stopping the fish from biting. Water temperature is “warm enough for good fishing,” they say.
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 544.07 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-4-2023) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that the crappie bite on Greeson. If you want to go crappie fishing, he says that for the last week everybody he knows that fishes for crappie is done by 8 a.m. They’re up on the bank and fishing in the guts of pockets. You don’t have to brush pile fish right now for crappie on Greeson. Literally just fish the guts of pockets in 5-6 feet of water and catch all you want.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.21 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-4-2023 John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Hey everyone. For those who do not know it, it rained quite a bit lately! The lake level is 407.52 feet msl as I wright this. Water temperature varies from mid-60s to 70 degrees.
“To be honest, with the high water and bad, windy days, I have limited time both on the water and reports coming in. For that lack of information, I apologize.
“With this water rising, catfishing should pick up. Lots of trotlines are out. Most are running either down points or across coves. These catfish normally move into the shallow waters to feed during high water. Crawfish, top bait and goldfish are super.
“I have no new info on black bass or bream. We have a full moon but may be a little early for the bedding bream. Not sure, need to check.
“Crappie can still be caught on jigs and minnows in the brush piles. Los of anglers sniping, though. Fish the tops in 18-24 feet of water. Fish slow and close. They are really finicky.
“No a lot of information to help you. Huge water volumes and large temperature fluctuations are not helping to get things settled down to develop good patterns. Go get them! Best wishes! Safety and fellowship goes a long way on the water.”
(updated 5-4-2023) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) said, “Lake DeGray action is going hot. Water level is at 407.49 feet msl and water temperature is ranging 67-73 degrees. We have a full moon coming up and the last round of bass that didn’t spawn on last full moon are roaming the shallows as we speak. Been seeing several bass ranging anywhere from 1-pound buck males to quite a few over 7 pounds. Even saw a couple that were pushing 10 pounds. These bass can be caught on a fluke, a wacky worm and a Texas-rigged lizard.
“I’ve also noticed a few more crappie have moved up shallow on some beds as well. Bream are roaming the shallows attacking the bass beds for eggs and small fry. So don’t rule out a perch-color bait as well. Crappie can still be caught on brush 8-10 feet deep, as well as some shallower. No reports on whites or hybrids.”
(updated 5-4-2023) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that DeGray is in a similar to Lake Ouachita. Still a bigger topwater bite is going on at DeGray.
The white bass run was two weeks ago. Whenever we got all that rain, that was the peak of the white bass run on DeGray. Hybrids are usually right there behind them. I’m not going to say it’s done by any means, but we’re on the back side of the curve of that. You do have to pay attention to is this next full moon coming up. The full moon in May and when the mayfly hatch happens, that’s comes up. That means the bluegill spawn is coming on. That bream spawn in May is some of the most fun time of the year. The catfish happen at the same time as bream.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.74 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.78 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 5-11-2023) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-264-0851) said two situations have seemingly run the anglers off the lake for a few days. One, the rain for the past three days through Thursday had fishermen staying away, and he adds that the AGFC has fertilized the lake for its annual May fertilization. Some anglers believe fertilizing the lake doesn’t affect the fishing and some insist it does, Don says (the AGFC does not believe fishing is affected after fertilizing), but nevertheless Lake Atkins anglers are staying away and likely will for a few more days.
However, before the recent conditions, he says, crappie had still not moved in and haven’t spawned. Some anglers reported to him that the water temperature earlier this week was 76 degrees and that the temperature might need to drop to see crappie shallow. Now, they are probably deep. As for black bass, anglers were catching lots of those recently, particularly near the lower end of the lake, on spinnerbaits and frogs.
Please note the new number for Lucky Landing in the listing.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 5-11-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 56 degrees with stained conditions in the tailrace. Entergy scheduled 24/7 generation flow for the past several weeks in order to bring Lake Ouachita down out of flood pool. This has been an ongoing effort with the heavy rainfall of April and May and has prevented people from boating and fishing in the Carpenter Dam tailrace safely for most of the year. April marked the final stocking month for rainbow trout until November with 4,320 trout released. Big numbers of fish had relocated downstream, but are currently migrating upstream to feed and establish territory in the nutrient-rich tailrace. More rainfall has forced Entergy to run heavy generation flows, so the public needs to check lake conditions before planning a day on Lake Catherine. 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. Hopefully, the weather will become stable enough to salvage some of the remaining time the trout are present in the tailrace.
Entergy has planned running the generators below Carpenter Dam for eight hours each day beginning Friday, May 12, and continuing this flow pattern through Friday, May 19. This schedule will allow a few hours each day to bypass fishing in the heavy flows and effectively target the many fish species now 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 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 PowerBait 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 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 will present themselves when the heavy current is slowed by Entergy as Lake Ouachita is returned to normal levels 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 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 this month and next 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 afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 52,947 cfs. Elevation was 337.76 feet msl and the tailwater was at 289.78 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage was on a nearly 3-foot rise since Wednesday to 9.30 eet as of Thursday afternoon (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 5-14-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is reaching up to the 80s. Upriver is clear with the lower end of the river dingy. The bigger mountain creeks are muddy, but the upper ends of the creeks are beginning to clear, With the smaller creeks still clear. Bass fishing has picked up with the spawn winding down. There is still a good jig bite in the grass, especially when the water’s up. Spinnerbaits and frogs are working well around the grass with the shad spawn. Crankbaits are working well around stumps. Worms are working well in the backwater. Creature baits are working well around floating mats.
Crappie fishing is really good as the spawn is winding down. Natural colors such as Monkey Milk and live minnows are working very well. Many crappie actually are being caught on bass lures, such as structure bugs or rage bugs. They’re catching crappie in 6-10 feet of water, with some being caught around floating mats, jetty rocks and brush pads.
Bream are finishing up their spawn. Crickets and worms have been working really well around mudflats and mud points, as well as along the cattail.
White bass have made a move out to the river. They are biting really well when there is current. Small spoons, white crankbaits and white bucktail jigs are working very well.
Catfish are on fire with many being caught on the spawning flats and points. Fresh cut bait shad and skipjack have been working well on the blue cats. Live perch has been working well on the flathead, especially on the jetties and around bluffs. Channel cat are being caught in the creeks and have been good on worms and crickets.
(updated 4-27-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said right now, in the early morning and fishing throughout the day, a small buzzbait seems to be doing well for the black bass, in a white color. Anglers are fishing it around the docks and in some of the creeks and fingers off the lake. Also, a wacky rigged Senko fished around the docks has been doing well. A Chatterbait will draw some action as well. Some anglers are targeting those 10- to 15-foot deep brush piles with post-spawn fish moving into those spots.
As of noon Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 1.2 feet high at 346.23 feet msl (normal pool: 345.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-4-2023) Ken Winstead at Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) in Perryville said the crappie bite continues to be typical for the continuous water changes due to weather, so move around from shallow to deep water. It’s hit or miss. Best colors are silver, chartreuse, Monkey Milk, black/chartreuse, Cajun Cricket, Kiwi, Mo-Glo, silver Blue Ice, orange/white, Diamond Mist. Also throw Crappie Magnet, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream are biting great on redworms and crickets. Black bass are doing well on dark colors, as well as watermelon red, red or blue shad, and minnows and worms.
Catfish are biting well on liver of all kinds, dough bait, minnows and nightcrawlers.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 577.35 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-11-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said crappie are in post-spawn, “meaning they are finished making babies and are hungry. We have caught ample numbers of large crappie in a wide variety of environments ranging from 8-16 feet deep on brush piles in 18-28 feet of water. The bass are finishing their spawn and the catfish are moving up into the shallower water.”
(updated 5-11-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still good. Topwater baits are working in multiple applications; shallow frog fishing or deeper, open water Spook/Boy Howdy fishing. Swim jigs and soft plastics are producing some quality sacks too. Walleye are being caught on shallow-running crankbaits and swim jigs. Try main river/lake channel points for these fish. Stripers are very good. These fish are moving more to the central portions of the lake and can be caught on jerkbaits, Alabama rigs and a top water C-10 Redfin. Bream are very good. 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 15-20 feet deep. Catfish are very good on jugs and trotlines with live or cut bait. Water temperature is ranging 72-76 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. The lake level Wednesday was 577.03 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 5-4-2023) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that Lake Ouachita is at full pool. The rainiest year so far on record in central Arkansas made the fish spawn “go backward. It retarded it. This does happen quite frequently.” One of his anglers went out Wednesday morning and said it was like going back in time to 2½ weeks ago and was catching bass on a floating worm right in front of buckbrush and on a topwater bait. You get a limited window for this, so it’s still going on and now is the time to catch up.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 392.92 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 slightly dropping at 24.97 feet (flood stage is 26.00 feet).
(updated 5-11-2023) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) had no new reports.
(update 5-11-2023) Wil Hafner, facility manager at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321), says the White River is finally dropping, which in turn is dropping the water level of Cook’s Lake. “We will keep an eye on the water level and will reopen as soon as we can,” he said. When it opens, the lake will be available to youth and mobility-impaired anglers 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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