Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
June 8, 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: A couple of young anglers named Andrew and Kip display their personal best crappie caught recently on DeGray Lake with guide John Duncan, and they might take a while to top those! The DeGray crappie are biting great, as are the bream, Duncan said.
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
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors will be conducting herbicide applications to Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir and Lake Overcup June 5-9. Contractors will complete the application of the EPA-approved aquatic herbicides by June 9. The treatment causes no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but water irrigated from the lake can harm gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to not irrigate for lawns or gardens with water from these lakes until October. Multiple applications per year are necessary for effective control of alligatorweed, and being unable to irrigate during this time is another unfortunate effect of this nonnative invasive aquatic plant species. With controlling it, alligatorweed can infest lakes, restricting access to boathouses, boat ramps and fishign locations, and choke out native vegetation and fish populations. For more information, call the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at 833-338-3636.
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 6-8-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bream are biting great on redworms, crickets and waxworms. They also say there are tons of catfish in the lake, and they are biting excellent too. Try your usual baits: shad, skipjack, dip bait and nightcrawlers. Limblines are working very well, too. Those two species are producing well at this time all around the lake.
Black bass are biting well around Hog Island and the north end. It’s getting to be spinnerbait time, it seems, although that’s always a good bait on Conway. Black/blue Baby Brush Hogs have also been producing lately. A few crappie are being caught on jigs, but the overall crappie bite has slowed some. The water is good with the usual Lake Conway stain to the clarity.
(updated 5-25-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the black bass are biting a big worm, like a Zoom Ol’ Monster, as well as spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits. The bite is very good beside the trees and the stumps.
Little Red River
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Greers Ferry Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website or by calling (501) 362-5150). Also check the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecast generation schedule.
(updated 6-8-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said, “It looks like the Little Red River has settled into a more fishing-friendly water release pattern. Daily afternoon generation provides good wade and drift-fishing opportunities. If you plan to fish the Trout Magnet, consider using pink, cotton candy and white-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. For fly-fishing, consider a San Juan Worm, Hare’s Ear, pheasant tail 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.
(updated 6-8-2023) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said Greers Ferry Lake is at summer power pool and the Southwestern Power Administration has been running some water each day. They are not running a consistent generation schedule at this time, so always check the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock app before heading out. The curent schedule has opened up the entire river for wade fishing. The bite has been really good with the lower flows they are generating. Try fishing the deeper water around the moss beds. and below the shoals in the oxygenated plunge pools. The fish are biting on anything that is “buggy.”
“I’ve been fishing Caddis patterns and Pheasant Tails underneath an indicator set at various depths depending on how deep the water is. Midge patters are also working well,” Mike said.
(updated 5-25-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout are really starting to bite well on the river. Anglers have reported that best catching is on Trout Magnets and the Rapala No. 7 Countdown in rainbow and brown trout colors.
Greers Ferry Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Greers Ferry Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-8-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level now at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.18 feet msl. It is 0.36 feet below normal pool for this time of year (462.54 feet ms). Greers Ferry is in the same shape as most lakes around the country: All species are scattered and about two weeks behind regular schedule, in between spawning and post-spawn and all in between.
With that said, crappie are eating live bait, jigs and crank baits in 10-40 feet of water, according to how you like to present your bait. Stay around bait fish. Walleye are eating when you find them on crawlers and crankbaits 10-25 feet. Catfish are scattered from 10-60 feet eating lots of stuff on lines or rod and reels. Bream are just off a big full moon spawn and are eating crickets and crawlers, and inline spinners are working super shallow out to 25 feet. Hybrid bass and white bass are chewing well, and roaming, as they have not yet gotten set up to stay on offshore stuff, where you can really work on them well day in and day out; yet, it’s coming, but for now stay with the bait and the fish will be close. Look in water 25-50 feet for the most active fish roaming and use spoons, inline spinners, topwater plugs, swim baits and Alabama rigs. Black bass are like the rest – roaming and not locked in offshore stuff yet. Alabama rigs, topwater baits, Texas-rigged worms, football heads-rigs and crankbaits and spinnerbaits are working. Stay around the bait shad, bream, etc. on the bank out to 40 feet and suspended over deep water.
(updated 6-8-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the largemouth bass and spotted bass are moving out onto main lake points. Try fishing them with a KVD Sexy Dawg in bone color. As of this Friday (June 9) there were also biting a Spro 55 green craw-colored crankbait, as well as a green pumpkin tube and PB&J colored tube.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-1-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says bream and catfish have been really biting. “There are a lot of them around,” they report. Crickets and worms are the way to catch the bream. Also, both species have hit their spawning seasons at Harris Brake, so this weekend should be a good one, along with a full moon for the bream. Some anglers have been catching black bass, mostly on bass minnows.
One angler earlier this week, fishing right by the dock, hauled in a 5.6-pound catfish. Small bream and nightcrawlers are the baits mostly being used for cats.
Crappie have moved out to the deeper end of the lake, according to several anglers. There have been fewer reports of catches.
The lake level is about medium or normal for Harris Brake. The water is closer to clear.
(updated 6-8-2023) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 said the water level is about normal, the clarity is good and the surface temperature is around 84 degrees. Black bass are doing well on buzzbaits and black plastic worms. Crappie are still being caught in 10-12 feet of water and out of the brushtops in 5 feet of water on minnows.
Catfish are being caught on jigs and trotlines baited with perch. Bream are being caught on crickets and worms, but crickets have been catching more.
(updated 6-1-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-252-1437) said, “The Bream are biting good! Use crickets! We caught a mess of ’em a few days ago. We were out in the tree lines and around some old posts. Also I got confirmation (Thursday) that they are coming up to the banks, also. If you know their secret hideouts from last year, I would try there first. Shouldn’t be hard to get you enough for supper.”
Lacey reports that the crappie are deep. Try using pink minnows, crappie minnows or white/black/red jigs. Go about 10 feet down into the stumps and underwater brush. You may only get one or two from that area. But keep moving around. You can catch them with patience. Same for bank fishing. Catfish are coming up into the shallows. Try using bass minnows just a foot or two deep. Bass are biting on spinners and wacky worms. The bite is good early in the morning and about an hour before sunset.
The lake water level is lowering, and the water isn’t murky like it has been. “It’s going to be a great weekend for fishing.”
(update 6-8-2023) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210), a 24/7 self-serve bait shop at the lake, had no new reports.
(updated 6-8-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) says bream are hot this week. Reports of them up spawning in 3-5 feet and 15 feet deep. Try using worms or crickets for an excellent bite.
Largemouth bass are fair. Reports of the bass being found in a wide range of depths. They can be found shallow, some are starting to hit topwater as well as in 16-20 feet depth. Try using crankbaits, flukes, wacky rig shallow and Texas rig deep. Spotted (Kentucky) bass are fair, with reports of them being found deep, at around 16-20 feet. Shaky heads are your best bet for the spot action.
Twenty-six boats went out in the Tuesday night black bass tournament this week, and 14 caught limits. Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley caught 12.94 bass to win, edging Billy Wright and Allen Ward’s 12.61 pounds, though Billy and Allen brought in the Big Bass of 4.70 pounds.
White bass produced no reports this week. Crappie are fair, with reports of them hanging in the brush around 18 feet of water. Try using a white Bobby Garland Jig or live minnows. A few catfish anglers are catching some.
Water temperature is ranging 85-87 degrees.
(updated 6-1-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said whites and hybrids are running east end of the lake. You can catch them on Rooster Tail or a spoon.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
For the real-time water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam and Morrilton stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 6-1-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the fishing is about the same as it’s been for a couple of weeks. Black bass have been doing real well, while the bream are still bedded. Crappie are done with their spawn and have gone back to deeper water.
Bass are being caught in 1-2 feet of water, up shallow. Anglers are fishing with spinnerbaits and worms, and one angler reported catching them this week on Chatterbait. They seem to be on the tail end of spawning, Ray said.
Bream will bite crickets and redworms. Catfish are being caught on trotlines baited with shiners. No reports on crappie or on white bass, Ray said. The water is normal level and clear. He estimates the water temperature is in the high 70s.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
For the real-time water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
For the real-time water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam and David D. Terry Lock and Dam, as well as the Little Rock pool stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-8-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that bass are favoring a chartresuse deep-diving crankbait. Last week, the bass were on the main river jetties and hitting crankbaits and topwater lures. Also, crappie were being caught around Willow Beach.
(updated 6-8-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “We have been blessed with the most perfect spring weather over the last couple of weeks – we invite you to step into our world of natural beauty and peace on the river. The trout are biting and the take has been more than respectable.”
White River water levels below Bull Shoals Dam have been a little arbitrary for the past week, ranging from less than one unit (3,000 cfs) to five or more generators/turbines (15,000 cfs). The lake level continues to drop and is currently 661.78 feet msl, just a little bit below seasonal power pool.
“The best bait last week was the trusty bubblegum pink worm. We drifted water that was fairly steady at about 6,500 cfs (about two units of generation). It beat out the gold Blue Fox spinner and the bigger jerk baits. Rooster Tails seemed a favorite with our anglers: blue and pink with white skirt, or yellow bodies with yellow and black skirts.
“With this lower water, it might be fun to try a lighter weight lure or even a floater (like the Rapala brook trout No. 7 Floater). Trout Magnet/D2 jigs are something new on the market. First up: The chartreuse/white or the peaches colors. You can experiment with shrimp or with various colors of floating eggs and you’ll bag a bunch, but the action will be faster when you use them together.
“It’s gotten pretty warm – drink plenty of water, get your electrolytes to stay hydrated, and continue to enjoy our Natural State.”
(updated 6-8-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said fishing conditions there have been great this last week. “We’ve seen water levels as high as 8.5 feet and as low as less than 6 feet. We are starting to see lower generation rates out of both Bull Shoals and Norfork dams. The lower water levels and water clarity are resulting in some very good fishing. Silver inline spinners with orange UV glow eggs and a piece of shrimp have worked the best.
“Additionally, during the lower water periods, quarter-ounce Colorado spoons (copper and gold), gold-colored Buoyant Spoons, or rainbow trout-colored Rapala Countdowns worked well. In the deeper holes, throwing a purple Descent Shad Rap has resulted in some 15-inch-plus rainbows and 18-inch-plus brown trout. Drift-fishing with Sculpins also resulted in a few 17-inch-plus rainbows and browns.
“Over the last week we have received two stockings of rainbow trout for a total of about 2,300 trout. In the last couple of stockings there have been some nice 13-inch-plus rainbows. Take advantage of Free Fishing Weekend starting Friday at noon and ending Sunday at midnight.”
(updated 6-8-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week they had no rain, warm temperatures and moderate winds.
On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. “We have had higher flows that have fished poorly. 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 a girdle bug dropper (size 8) or an orange egg dropper.”
Remember that the White and North Fork rvers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also said, “Last week I guided on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday. On Tuesday the hot fly was a girdle bug, a popular go to high water pattern. Saturday I tried the girdle bug but did not get a bump. The hot fly turned out to be an orange egg dropper fished under a cerise worm. The next day I had another guide trip that was a last-minute add. John and Jennifer were a young couple from Fort Worth Texas. John was an avid angler but Jennifer was not. She requested that she join us but did not care to fish. I quickly agreed to her coming with us. She was as cute as a bug and a pleasant conversationist.
The Corps of Engineers was running over 13,000 cfs or the rough equivalent of four full generators. Though the water was high it was gin clear. It was a cool start at 51 degrees. It warmed quickly as it was a cloudless sunny day with light and variable winds.
“We fished with my tackle and began the day with a rod used the day before that was still rigged with an orange egg below a cerise San Juan Worm. I added a heavy AAA split shot eighteen inches above the worm and a three quarter inch strike indicator. I set the depth of the rig at eight and a half feet from the strike indicator to the egg,
“We began fishing and did pretty good. We fished for quite a while, when we got our fly got stuck on the bottom. The conventional wisdom to handle this is to have the angler let the line out until the guide can start the motor and head upstream. The angler reels in the fly line until the boat is slightly upstream of the hook up. Then the angler gently backs the fly out. This had worked three times previously that day but did not work then. In our attempt to free the flies we lost it all, two flies and the split shot.
“I set about rerigging the rod. I added tippet, a split shot and a cerise San Juan worm. I was about to tie on the orange egg when I thought about a girdle bug. I discussed the idea with John. I explained how the girdle bug was a good fly for the conditions and how successful I had been with it especially on larger trout. He agreed and I quickly rigged the fly and we began fishing.
“We hooked a stout trout on the second cast. As he fought the trout and reeled it in I thought about how smart I was to figure this out. As I netted the big trout, I noted that the trout had taken the cerise San Juan worm and not the girdle bug. I started laughing as did John and Jennifer.”
Bull Shoals Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Bull Shoals Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-8-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that the lake level 661 feet msl, only 2 feet high. Water temperature is about 78 degrees. “Bass activity seems to be in the 10-25 feet range. I’m spending lots of time graphing offshore checking summer spots, swings points drops and ledges. Most fish still seem to be suspended looking up with the steady generation at the dam making dragging bottom baits slower than normal. Most the dirty water is in the larger creeks while the main is getting that summer color.
For several weeks now, Del has been recommending that anglers fish Bull Shoals like two separate lakes, depending on the conditions. Look in large creeks early in cloudy warm windy rain water powerfishing a square-bill crankbait, Chatterbait, spinnerbait or a Rat-L-Trap-style lure. Try on the last couple of swing banks or in or around the bluegill spawning flats, pockets, bushes – cover water. Fish runoff if available. There’s a big Texas-rigged redworm bite in some of the brush piles close to deep water.
For sunny, flat, stain conditions try points cracking a tube or stroking a Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin orange, or perch colors, in the 10-20 feet range. For sunny, clear water use natural colors in small profile baits. Look at ledges; keep your boat off the fish.
It’s that time of year: topwater, topwater, topwater. Get up early and bomb cast, and look around for activity as they are schooled up. Try wake shad, Spook, Lucky Craft Gunfish, Pop-Rs, or Spook Jr. topwater as well as a flutter spoon early in the morming – or all day if it’s cloudy. Each day is different so fish the conditions.
Walleyes are being taken on Bottom bouncers in 15-20 feet feet. Crappie are suspending on trees and brush piles closer to the main lake
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.
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Norfork Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-8-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level was 557.30 feet msl at 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening. “We received just a nice shower earlier giving everything a drink, but we are very dry. The water level had dropped 1 inch in the last 24 hours but both generators are inoperable and they are letting out about an equivalent of 1½ generators through the sluice gates at the bottom of the dam about half the time. The surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the water is clear down to the thermocline of about 16 feet.”
There are a lot of fish at that level, including Kentucky bass, bluegill and walleye. Spoon main lake points for walleye and let a plastic worm drop off the ledge at about 12 feet for black bass – mostly Kentuckies but they are nice sized. The stripers are going deeper and when you see a topwater bite early it is bass, while the stripers are under that at about 50-60 feet – drop a spoon on their heads.
The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level for fishing, boating and swimming. Visit blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for a daily report.
(updated 6-8-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that on the Norfork, they have had wadable water every day. All of the lakes are at or near power pool. Expect lower flows in the coming days. All the turbines at Norfork Dam are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs.
There has been wadable water on the Norfork and it is fishing well. 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 Worm and a ruby midge. 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.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 6-8-2023) 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.
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Beaver Lake Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-8-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake continues its crop and is near normal level. Water temperature is in the 70s to low 80s. Fishing is fair to good. Fish are transitioning to summer patterns, which means stripers are moving toward the dam, as are the walleye. Look from Prairie Creek all the way to the dam. Bream will start to work as shad and brooders will always work. Get out early! The bite stops around 9 a.m. Walleye are starting to show on main lake points in 15-25 feet of water. Crawler harnesses will be the go-to. Bass will be on those same points and same depths as water gets hot. Early or late is the name of the game. Bluegill are on the beds and spawning. Same thing on catfish.
“Stay safe and hydrated. Get out early and get you some fish.” Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 6-8-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been pretty good this past week. “We have pulling trout in nice numbers and there are still some walleye to be had (but you got to work for them.) Most trout are being caught using Pautzke Fire Bait and Eggs, fished with light terminal tackle. Gold and silver spoons have also done great, especially during generation. Using a quarter-ounce, letting it sink and working back slowly has been the preferred presentation. As far as the walleye, like with the trout you have to work for them and try various methods. Jerkbaits and jigging soft plastics have produced the best numbers.
“This week’s hot spot has been between Spider Creek and Parker Bottoms, but don’t expect to get up there by boat unless you have a jet or until they kick on water at the dam. Water temps have been a little higher in the tailwater due to flood gates being open at the dam. If you want to get in on some white bass action, try fishing between Beaver town and Holiday Island.
“Remember, for additional updates follow my Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service). I’m pretty much on the water every week. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. Take care, get out and catch some fish!”
(updated 5-25-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported “a ton of bream, readers,” are being caught lately on live worms and little jigs. Some catfish are waking up and getting more active. They’re biting on catfish balls. Bass have been coming around on live worms as well, with bass being found mostly off the pier and relatively shallow. Crappie have been steady and the ones being caught are about 10 inches or bigger. Bream and crappie are the most prominent catches now, they report. Water clarity is clearing up; recent storms have muddied things but it is improving.
(updated 6-8-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) reported that as part of the statewide Free Fishing Weekend from noon Friday to the last minute of Sunday, Lake Charles will be hosting a fishing derby Saturday, June 10, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration is from 9-10 a.m. at the pavilion in the day-use area.
There should be ample fish among all the major species at Lake Charles in an active mode for anglers. They were all ranging fair to good this past week, Shelly says. Bream are good on redworms and crickets, and she recommends Berkley Gulp Alive crickets that are available there. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and worms. Black bass are fair on crankbaits. Catfish are good on worms and blood bait.
The water remains the usual murky clarity and is at a normal level. Water temperature continued to warm, hitting 75 degrees last Saturday morning.
(updated 6-1-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said Lake Poinsett’s fishing has been good. The bream are biting on worms and Bream Killers. Catfish are good on live or stink bait.
Crappie, while catch-and-release only, have been hammering pink and chartreuse jigs. Bass will bite crankbaits and shallow-water baits, and they also are catch-and-release only. Bream and catfish may be kept at regular state limits.
(updated 6-8-2023) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said the Spring has been running at 390 cfs and water clarity has been clear. A long dry spell has the river looking great for catching. Heavy bugs hatches most mornings of Caddis and Mayflies. Nymphing with some dry fly action has been working great. With the water being really clear, on bright sunny days you have to get the fly down with an indicator rig or tight-lining. The rare overcast day has been easy catching with some streamer action.
The are a lot of big fish in the river. It’s been kind of hard to catch them with stocking ramping up for the summer season. It’s hard not to catch a beautiful, freshly stocked rainbow. Average stocking size on the Spring River is around 12 inches and the river is stocked weekly at nine locations. This is a great time to learn to fly-fish – easy fishing on the Spring this time of year.
Smallmouth bass are hitting but have been tough the last few weeks. “This is the time to chase smallies, and we have been so busy with chasing bows, we have not done many trips for smallies, but that should ramp up this month. The smallmouth bass is the native fish of the Spring River and local creeks. Hard to beat skull head Sculpin patterns; heavy-weighted Woollies in olive, brown and black work well; and Clousers. Got to get it to the bottom and work it slow.
“The canoe hatch is on every Saturday on the river now. Saturday is not a great day to fish, but through the week and on Sundays it’s perfect. The canoe hatch will be heavy on Saturdays until September.
“Be safe wading the river is very slick; but, hey, it’s hot out and the river is cold!”
(updated 6-8-2023) 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 slightly falling at 8.46 feet (flood stage is 15.0 feet). The Newport stage is slightly falling at 10.59 feet (flood stage is 26 feet). The stage at Augusta dropping at 22.71 feet, below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
No reports from this area.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
For the real-time water flow at the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam and Maynard Lock and Dam, as well as the Pine Bluff pool stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-8-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report this week.
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Millwood Lake Dam and the lake’s level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-8-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, Millwood Lake is back to near normal conservation pool and clarity continues improving in most locations. Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow from Wilton Landing remains more heavily stained. Reduced river flow rate and current. Currently Millwood is near 259.23 ft-msl, near NCP and stable. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 225 ft-msl and stable with gate discharge at the dam near 770 CFS in Little River according to the USACE on Wednesday. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on our website helpful link page, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake with discharge rates and fluctuations high flow conditions in Little River, and anytime high gate discharge conditions exist. Lake elevation and discharge at Millwood Dam can change dramatically in mere hours with thunderstorms and fresh water influx.
Surface temps stable this week, ranging 79-88 degrees at Wilton and Little River depending on location and the time of day.
* Largemouth bass remain fair and are best early and late, ranging from 2-3 pounds in 3-8 feet of water on flats near vegetation, and once sun gets above the trees, they are pulling out off the flats into 9-10 feet deep creek channels where grass and reeds and fresh lily pad shoots are emerging. Buzzbaits, Heddon Dying Flutters, Cordell Crazy Shads, plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shads, Bill Lewis Lures StutterSteps, and Ken Pop’s are all working randomly at daylight at various locations. Once the sun gets above the trees, many of the better quality fish are pulling out to the creek’s deeper sections, and will respond to a Bill Lewis SB-57 squarebill, Echo 1.75 Crankbaits, and 10-inch Power Worms or a Brush Hog. 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 an ambush bite on a BLL SB-57 or Echo 1.75 square bill after the top ater bite subsides on buzzbaits, near late morning and noon. Best colors of 10- to 12-inch Power Worms have been Blue Fleck, Black Grape and Brush Hogs in Watermelon Candy.
* White bass have disappeared this past week. Broken schools were staged along primary and secondary points extending into Little River last week, but we have not seen any whites this week.
* Crappie continue biting very good near Saratoga, Millwood State Park, and Beards Bluff last week and are biting best using minnows in 9-10 feet of depth in planted brush piles up to 2.25 pounds.
* For past couple weeks, folks have been telling us about catching bream on beds near Cemetery Slough and Black’s Creek above McGuire oxbow along Little River. Best baits reported to us have been crickets, and redworms in 2-5 feet of depth. Several nice largemouths were caught near those bream beds on a Bill Lewis SB-57 square-bill crankbait in Bream and Sneaky Shad colors.
* No reports on catfish.
(updated 5-25-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) says crappie limits are being caught, and good-sized crappie at that. The crappie started back up about two weeks ago and anglers are catching a bunch daily. “Every crappie we see, they’re hungry,” we’re told. Your best bet is using hand-tied jigs on white/silver/white or solid gray or solid orange. Anglers are fishing in 16-17 feet of water, with the fish about 6 feet down on tops.
One angler at Lake Erling is having a feast on catfish, we’re told, catching a lot of the cats on dip bait. A lot of good-sized catfish in the 25- to 40-pound range are also being caught baiting noodles with little bream. And speaking of bream, anglers are catching lots of those, with crickets being bought by the thousands for them. The bream are bedding and being caught on the beds.
Nothing reported on bass lately.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
For the most updated Narrows Dam generation schedule from SWEPCO, click here.
For the most updated lake level at Lake Greeson, click here.
For the most updated lake level at DeGray Lake, click here.
(updated 6-8-2023 John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Hello Fisher-people. Nothing but good news from here. First things first: Water temperature is low to mid-80s. Slow down, heat. The water level as I write is 406.65 feet msl with a slight fall. Water is clear and slight tint as you move upriver.
“There are surfacing fish when you get into the Lennox Marcus area. Same drill: Whopper Ploppers, Spook Jrs., various poppers for surface fishing. Shad-colored crankbaits when they go down. Spoons are always a great choice and can be delivered a long distance. Surfacing fish have been reported from Point Cedar to the State Park. Calm days needed.
“Crappie are going strong. The bigger fish are moving back into the brush piles. Catching fish in water from 14-24 feet. Watch the thermocline and keep moving until you find the ones that respond. Fish close. Minnows and slip bobbers are my choice this time of year. Drop-shots, jigs and sniping work, also.
“Bream have been on fire all over. Find the beds and either drop-shot them or slip bobbers.
“If you are not fishing, you should be.”
White Oak Lake Area
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors will be conducting herbicide applications to Lake Atkins and to the Cabin Creek arm of Lake Dardanelle June 5-9. Contractors will complete the application of the EPA-approved aquatic herbicides by June 9. The treatment causes no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but water irrigated from the lake can harm gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to not irrigate for lawns or gardens with water from these lakes until October. Multiple applications per year are necessary for effective control of alligatorweed, and being unable to irrigate during this time is another unfortunate effect of this nonnative invasive aquatic plant species. With controlling it, alligatorweed can infest lakes, restricting access to boathouses, boat ramps and fishign locations, and choke out native vegetation and fish populations. For more information, call the AGFC Fisheries Office in Russellville at 833-356-0879.
(updated 6-1-2023) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-264-0851) said the AGFC was fertilizing the lake again this week. He had no reports from this week. Last week, black bass were being caught on the lower end of the lake. Anglers were using all kinds of spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and Whopper Plopper. The bass were still bedding up in the cove at that area. Also, folks were catching fish in the bream beds. Bream were spawning. Redworms and nightcrawlers are the best baits.
Crappie were in the brushpiles. Anglers were catching a few, not many, but the catches were around 13- to 14-inches. Crappie minnows were the go-to now.
Some catfish were being caught on cut shad, bass minnows, black salties or goldfish baited to jugs, limb lines and yo-yos.
The lake clarity was clearing from the fertilization of a few weeks ago. Water temperature is 74 degrees and water was at a normal level.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-8-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 57 degrees with slightly stained conditions in the tailrace. The tailrace has stable conditions, enabling the public to fish and boat safely on Lake Catherine. Big numbers of fish have relocated downstream due to the flooding that ruined over three months of the trout season but are currently migrating upstream to feed and establish territory in the nutrient-rich tailrace. Fishing below a hydroelectric dam poses many problems dictated by Mother Nature for boaters and anglers. The rainbow trout bite has been painfully slow, but fish have been caught with quality being the main attraction now instead of numbers. Entergy has planned running the generators below Carpenter Dam for two hours each day through Friday, June 9. This schedule will allow a few hours each day to bypass fishing in the heavy flows and effectively target the many fish species that are now present in the tailrace. The following techniques will give anglers a chance at catching numbers of rainbow trout, walleye, crappie and white bass, all of which have received little fishing pressure this season.
Fly-fishermen can still access areas that hold feeding fish. Trout key in on the shad kill this time of year as good numbers of threadfin shad in Lake Hamilton are drawn through the turbines and scattered throughout the tailrace area. Thousands of shad have migrated into the tailrace to spawn, creating a perfect environment for area fish to feed on baitfish. Flies that imitate injured shad will draw immediate strikes from hungry rainbows. Micro jigs in white or black casted with a strike indicator will produce strikes in current or slack water. Egg patterns in white or yellow, used in the same manner, can be productive when the action slows down. Spin-fishermen using PowerBaits 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 of the bottom with a marshmallow floater, or earthworms and nightcrawlers in the same manner, to target larger trout.
The walleye spawn has ended, but many fish will remain in the tailrace to rest and feed up from the rigors of reproduction. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current is an excellent method of covering water and locating feeding fish. The crappie spawn is complete, but these fish can be caught with live minnows and jigs fished in current breaks around sandbars and rock structure as they remain in the tailrace to feed before migrating downstream to the main body of the lake. Crappie shy away from heavy current and thrive in protected areas out of the main flow. White bass are migrating into the area this month in huge numbers to spawn and their presence rounds out a multispecies opportunity for angling. These bass can be caught casting 1/16- and ⅛-ounce jigs around rock structure, with the best results occurring while the turbines are running.
Bream are present in big numbers preparing to spawn and are being caught on nightcrawlers and redworms fished under a bobber or a few feet off the bottom around rock structure.
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 10,868 cfs. Elevation was 337.77 feet msl and the tailwater was at 285.70 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.) The stage was on a nearly 1-foot drop since Wednesday to 5.51 feet as of Thursday afternoon (flood stage is 32 feet).
(updated 6-8-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is warming to the mid-80s. Clarity is good in the upper river section, while the lower section is dingy. Bass fishing has been good. Go with topwater baits early; buzzbaits have been working the best. Swimbaits have been working well around vegetation. Crankbaits have been working well off of the points and ledges. Flipping plastics around wood has been working well, also.
Crappie have been good around bridge structure, brush and rock dikes. They have been at different depths, anywhere from 5-10 feet. Monkey Milk is still working well.
Stripers and white bass are holding around current. Spoons, Rat-L-Traps and white hair jigs been working well.
Bream have moved off of the flats for the most part. Look for the Mayflies and they won’t be far away.
Channel cats are still good in the creeks on worms and crickets. Flatheads have been good around jetties with live perch. Blue cats have been good in the deeper holes on cut bait.
(updated 6-8-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the black bass are biting a wacky-rigged green pumpkin Senko, a green pumpking shaky head, and a PB&J finesse jig.
Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 345.41 feet msl (normal pool: 345.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-8-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said black bass can be caught in good numbers on a black and blue finesse jig, as well as a KVD Sexy Dawg in bone color. Also try a shaky head worm in green pumpkin.
(updated 5-25-2023) Sheila Ferrebee, the new owner of Carter Cove Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025), formerly Andrews, says crappie, bream and catfish all are biting well. Some of the crappie are in the 2-pound range, and two cats that were pulled from the lake this week “were the biggest I’ve seen,” she said. “We’ve been going through crickets like crazy for the bream and the crappie.” Black bass are biting “pretty good” on jigs and minnows. Crappie are also biting minnows and white jigs.
Sheila, who moved from California to take over the business, says Carter Cove offers breakfast and lunch, as well as pizza for now at dinner, “and eventually we’ll get there” for adding to the menu. They have a Facebook page and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 576.48 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-8-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the crappie are slowly starting to move out and deeper. “Most of our catches lately have been on brush fished 12-14 feet deep. And, as usual, the bream are everywhere. I see a lot of bass and catfish being caught. Water temperature is in the low 80s already and the bite is done by mid-morning.”
(updated 6-8-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still good. Drop-shot for lots of spotted bass action near brush in the 18-22 feet range. Topwater baits are still working in multiple applications; shallow frog fishing or deeper, open water Spook/Boy Howdy fishing. Swim jigs and shaky head worms are producing some quality sacks, too.
Walleye are being caught on Jigs and bottom bouncers tipped with night crawlers. Try main river/lake channel points for these fish, near brush, in the 18-22 feet range. Stripers are excellent. These fish are being caught in the central and eastern portions of the lake and can be caught on live bait, trolling crankbaits and Alabama rigs. Or try throwing a topwater C-10 Redfin early and late.
Bream are excellent. Try a cricket or worm near brush in the 8- to 20-feet depth range for a quality bite. Crappie are good and being caught on small jigs or minnows. Try brush and structure 15-20 feet deep. Catfish are good on rod and reel with crawlers or stink bait. Jugs and trotlines with live or cut bait are working well, too.
Water temperature is steady at 76-82 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. Lake level Wednesday was 576.50 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 Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.52 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 dropping at 20.52 (flood stage is 26.00 feet).
(updated 6-8-2023) AGFC staff attending a conference at Cook’s Lake fished the lake in various approaches this week. The lake has a healthy variety of fish to be caught, including active bream, catfish and crappie. A few flatheads were caught on limb lines. Channel cats are also active now. Lots of crayfish are notably active as well as the water drops out of the woods.
The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) says that the water continues to fall out of Cook’s Lake, making access now easy. Only a few anglers have fished the lake this season. Bass anglers should have the most luck flipping black and red tubes or green pumpkin jigs to cypress trees. For bream, try fishing crickets or redworms near cypress trees or vines on the bluff banks. Crappie anglers should try tight-lining jigs or minnows near cypress trees or in the channel using forward-facing sonar.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-mile-long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass, and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing during normal business hours Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m., water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat. Please call ahead at least a day in advance to register to fish. Before launching, please check in at the Nature Center classroom and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please call the center at 501-404-2321.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 6-8-2023) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no new reports.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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