Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
June 29, 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.
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: The AGFC reminds landowners adjacent to Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir and Lake Overcup to not irrigate for lawns or gardens with water from these lakes until October. Both lakes were treated in early June with herbicides to control the invasive aquatic vegetation. 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. Without 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.
(updated 6-29-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bream are still biting though with the heat it has been slowing down. The full moon follows this weekend, though. People are still going out, catching bream around lily pads and in shaded areas along the shoreline, fishing about 1.5 to 2 feet along banks. Use redworms or crickets.
Bass anglers are throwing spinnerbaits, creature baits, dragging off the bottom. Also frogs – they have been selling a lot of frogs – and throwing them by the lily pads.
Crappie are slow but you can catch some deep with minnows or small jigs. The key is SMALL baits as they don’t chase them, they just swallow them.
Catfish are being caught in good numbers on trotlines and for the pole-fishing anglers. They’re using black goldfish, trotline minnows, nightcrawlers, frozen shad, skipjack regular shad, chicken livers and shrimp.
The bite is so-so around the dam – they have not started letting water out, the water is just naturally running out as the AGFC prepares to drain the lake for renovation. The fishing there, you have to catch it at the right time before it gets hot. Also, there are some guys catching a few bass by the bridge where a new floating dock was put in. The bass are small ones, but they are still fair if you fish deep. Everything slows down during the heat of the day. The crappie anglers have started going to Nimrod or Greers Ferry Lake where the bite is supposed to be better now.
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 6-29-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said the Little Red River is in a summertime water release pattern with daily afternoon generation. If you plan to fish the Trout Magnet, consider using red, pink and white-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. For fly-fishing, consider SanJuan Worm, Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail and Midge. Always check the generation schedule and be aware of unexpected water releases. Check before heading to the Little Red River for Greers Ferry Dam water release by downloading the USACE Little Rock app, Army 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 6-29-2023) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said the Southwestern Power Administration has been running a fairly consistent generation schedule all week, usually running two units starting at 3 p.m. and running until 7 p.m. on weekdays.The weekend generation schedule has usually been starting at 3 p.m. and running just an hour in the afternoon. Always check the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock app before heading out.
With the daytime temperatures being in the 90s and heat index in the 100s, try not to overplay the fish and return them quickly to the water. The bite has been good first thing in the morning before the temperature starts to rise, and in the evening as it cools down.
Try fishing the deep holes around the moss beds and the oxygenated shoals. Pheasant Tails and Hare’s Ears along with Midges and pink San Juan Worms have all been producing.
(updated 6-29-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the generation has been pretty consistent – six hours in the afternoons. So early morning bite has been doing really well on Rooster Tail, PowerBait, maribou jigs and also Trout Magnet rig and also a No. 3 Rapala Countdown in rainbow or brown trout color.
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 6-29-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is 461.10 feet msl and now 1.35 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet for this time of year. It has been fluctuating up and down a few tenths with rainfall and generation. “Here we are in the latter part of June and usually by June 1 most fish are out on major drops or close to them 30-50 feet and set up for summer; the thermocline is not deep yet for some reason and a lot are still more shallow than usual.
Crappie can be caught from 10-40 feet fishing up and down or trolling for them with usual baits. Black bass are super shallow out to 50 feet and some floating around docks, topwater, flukes, swim jigs, glide baits, or dragging something plastic C-rigged or Texas-rigged. Bream are eating well on crickets or crawlers, shallow out to 25 feet. Walleye can be caught on some days, and some days not, on crawlers or crankbaits in 10-40 feet on gravel banks in the main lake. Catfishing has not been the best – people are picking up a few fish each day or night, that’s about it, on rod and reel or lines. Hybrids and white bass are roaming in 15-50 feet depth running up on the edge of flats, eating off and on during the day. Just try and stay with bait and use spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits or at times a topwater bait.
(updated 6-29-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the black bass have been doing very well early and late, chasing schooling fish with a clear Zara Spook with a feather treble on the back of the lure. After the bite subsides early, fish deeper with a jig, a Carolina rig or a drop shot in 20-25 feet on brush piles.
Also, there is a bite for a variety of fish for people looking to troll the main lake. Use any kind of 10-foot deep-diving crankbait, getting it down to 20-25 feet depth over the top of standing timber in 40-50 of water. You’ll get bites from a variety of fish: white bass, walleye, black bass, hybrids.
Also, in that deeper water, on main lake points, look at dropping a nightcrawler for walleye.
The water level is normal to slightly low. The clarity is clear.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-29-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says bream, bass and catfish are doing well. Bream have been biting well on crickets and worms. They are being caught near the shoreline, rocks, piers and in shaded areas, and close to the resort dock. Some anglers have been catching bass on minnows and worms. Bass vary between shallow and deep. Some people report that a lot of catfish have been coming out and hungry to bite. One angler caught “a real nice one,” they said, on stink bait used on their trotline set near the shore. Crappie have moved out into the deeper end with occasional catches, but not often.
(updated 6-15-2023) Ken Winstead at Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said bream are biting great on redworms and crickets. Black bass are biting well; dark colors are being favored along with minnows and nightcrawlers. Good colors for artificial baits are watermelon red, and red, blue and grape. Catfish are biting great on liver of all kinds and dough bait, as well as minnows and nightcrawlers. Crappie are biting typical for changing water with the up-and-down weather, so move around from shallow to deep water. Good luck, crappie are hit and miss. Best colors are silvers/chartreuse, Monkey Milk, black/chartreuse, Cajun Cricket, kiwi, Mo-Glo, silver, blue ice, orange/white and diamond mist. Also fish a Crappie Magnet, minnows or nightcrawlers.
(updated 6-15-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-252-1437) said The rain didn’t stop everyone from fishing last weekend. The kids are catching catfish and bream off of the dock. Some crappie also. Best baits are nightcrawlers and minnows.
(updated 6-29-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) says water temp is a hot 85-87 degrees. The largemouth bite is fair. Reports of the bass being found in a wide range of depths. The bass are biting best in the mornings and evenings. They can be found shallow, with some starting to hit topwater as well as 16-20 feet depth. Try using crankbaits, flukes, wacky rig shallow and Texas-rig deep. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are fair as well. Reports of them being caught deep in 16-20 feet of water. Try using shaky heads and crawdad colors. The big bass were biting for the top teams Tuesday night in WestRock’s weekly tournament. Larry Selig and Trey Rogers won with a 5-stringer total of 18.78 pounds, Lee Brizzolara and Wes Lowder hauled in 17.94 pounds and Randy and Rick Sugg lassoed the Big Bass of 6.58 pounds in their 16.73 total pounds over five fish.
White bass haven’t been reported in a while. Crappie are fair, with reports of them hanging in the brush around 15 feet of water, as well as 25 feet. Use jigs or minnows. Bream are fair. A few reports of them still on beds and will spawn again around Monday, the full moon. They are up spawning in 3-5 feet and also at 15 feet. Use worms or crickets.
No reports on catfish.
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 6-29-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said he’s had quite a few anglers this week despite the heat. Folks are really catching the bass now, but it’s early or late – the first 2-3 hours around sunup and the last 2-3 in the day. The go-to bait is the soft plastic worm. Try them in purple or green pumpkin or pumpkin seed now. He says that’s basically the only bait people seem to be using.
And folks are wearing the bream out, Ray says. “The bream are going nuts, on crickets mainly.” He says he’s had a stream of kayakers putting in and all they are fishing for seems to be bream.
He’s heard nothing on crappie and nobody appears to be fishing for them now. Catfish are being caught mainly at night on minnows and liver, both on trotlines and rod-and-reel.
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 6-29-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that there is not a lot of river current, and the water is clearing up a little. It’s still mostly stained in most parts but is clearing up on the main river. With no flow, anglers have been catching bass on a crankbait, football jig, Carolina rig, and also shaky head. They’ve been fishing on the main river on jetty tips, jetty cuts, shell beds and sandbar drops.
Of course, there is always a shallow early morning topwater bite for bass. Use a black buzzbait or a bone color Zara Spook early in the mornings and also late in the evening.
(updated 6-15-2023) AGFC staff fishing the Little Rock Pool of the Arkansas River last weekend found the catfish very active and hungry both for rod-and-reel anglers and for trotline setters just east of downtown near the airport. Lots of bream in that area were biting, especially the small ones perfect for catching catfish. Large blues and fair-sized flatheads were biting. A lot of other fish were coming up on the topwater after the sun went down. The river was at 85 degrees at sunset and there was little current. Set trotlines from 7 out to 45 feet depth for the cats.
(updated 6-29-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Trout fishing in the Arkansas Ozarks is most always successful and the fun never stops – even during the heat of summer. Bull Shoals Lake is hovering at 660.07 feet msl, just below where the Corps of Engineers likes to keep the lake this time of year (power pool). The river is extremely variable right now with minimum flows (670 cfs) in the morning rising to almost four units (12,000 cfs) in the late afternoon/early evening. Excessive heat calls for high power demand, which dictates water releases and impacts river level.
Black was the color to tie on this week when water levels remained steady at around 3,500 cfs (one unit): black Rooster Tails, black jigs, sometimes a little red or moss green in there, dark spoons, nothing too weighty. Drifting pink PowerBait worms or live red wigglers achieved quick bites and brought in plentiful and healthy catches. It sounds crazy, but inflating a nightcrawler with a Magic Worm Blower excites the rainbows like nothing else.
Shrimp/PowerBait combo is always a great fallback bait when others aren’t attracting attention. Add a little salt to your shrimp supply to better keep your bait on the hook between bites. The brown trout bite has been exceptional for late spring, with catches in the double-digits some days. Sculpin and shad have been the ticket this week with several good keeper browns reeled in.
Visit Cotter and find out why we’re called Trout Capital USA. Hope to see you at the river!
(updated 6-29-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said this last week the fishing continues to be great. There has been little variation in the dam generation schedules. Bull Shoals Dam continues increasing in the mid- to late afternoon and decreasing in the evening. In the morning we are seeing depths as low as under 3 feet increasing to 5.5 feet by late morning. Norfork Dam has been releasing water in the mornings, so as the water from Bull Shoals is dropping we see a slight jump in depth from the Norfork water and then the rest of the day the water continues to drop. With the lower water ¼ ounce spoons are working great. The Colorado spoons with nickel/gold or copper/gold worked well as well as Buoyant rainbow trout or brown trout colored spoons. CD7 Rapala Countdowns in rainbow or silver seem to be working best. In the deeper holes the crawdad (orange) colored Shad Reps have been effective. Drift fishing with sculpins continues to be effective for bigger sized rainbows and browns. Summer is in full force and the temperatures are high. Make sure to dress appropriately, drink water, wear a hat and use sunscreen. A lot of people are taking a cooling towel with them and dipping the towel in the water to help cool off. With the lower water be careful of where you are going. If you miss the deeper channel it is easy to run a boat onto a gravel bar or barely submerged rock. This week we saw two stockings for a total of approximately 1950 rainbow trout. The average stock size is about 11 inches but the last couple of stockings I’ve seen some bigger 13+ inch fish being stocked.
(updated 6-29-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week, they had two rain events (combined for less than a quarter of an inch in Cotter), hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.4 foot to rest at 1.6 feet below power pool of 661.6 feet msl. This is 34.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.7 foot below power pool and 14.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4foot to rest at 0.5 foot below power pool and 9.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had some wadable water and lower flows. Norfork Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at power pool of 556.35 feet msl and 23. 6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater had less wadable water. All of the lakes are below or near power pool. Expect lower flows in the coming days. On the Norfork, all turbines are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the flood gates.
On the White, the hot spot has been around Cotter. We have had lower flows that have fished well. 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 Wowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. John says his favorite has been a copper John (size 14) with a ruby midge dropper (size 18).
John also said, “This week my wife Lori’s sister, Terri, her husband, Larry, and their daughter, Brooke, came to visit. They were interested in kayaking, fishing and enjoying the beauty of The Natural State.
“Brooke, a pharmacist at the VA hospital wanted to kayak the Buffalo with Lori and Terri accompanying her. So we set about planning the trip. We found out that the outfitters were charging over $40 for a shuttle so Larry and I decided to handle the shuttle for them.
“The next morning we got up early and loaded three kayaks on our Malone kayak trailer. We also got enough personal flotation devices, paddles, coolers with food and drinks and fishing gear to fill up our Ford station wagon. We headed out to the Spring Creek access on the Buffalo River. Lori and I rode in the Ford with the gear and the kayak trailer. Larry, Terri and Brooke followed in their SUV. It took us about an hour to get to the turnoff for the access, which turned out to be a rough, pitted dirt road. I quickly figured out why the shuttles were so expensive.
“We arrived at Spring Creek. We got the kayaks off the trailer, loaded the gear into the boats and carried them to the river. It was a perfect day. It was sunny and warm with little wind. The water was at a good level for kayaking and was gin clear. The scenery was gorgeous with limestone bluffs, beautiful green undergrowth and no development. The plan was for them to float down to the next access, the Highway 14 bridge, and fish along the way.
“I drove to the Highway 14 bridge with Larry following me. I parked the Ford where Lori could find it and got in the car with Larry. We headed back to Cotter. We stopped at the White Sands Cafe for a late breakfast. Fortified with a couple of hearty omelets and a bunch of coffee, we headed to my house four blocks away. We dropped off Larry’s car and picked up my Suburban. My Supreme river boat was already hooked up and ready to go.
“We drove over to Rim Shoals. We loaded my paddle, two boat nets and a couple of pre-rigged rods into the boat and launched it into the river. The water was about 3,500 cfs or a little over one full generator and clear as a bell. These are near-perfect fishing conditions.
“We began fishing. The rods were rigged with size 14 Copper Johns with size 18 ruby midge droppers. The fishing was great. We landed around 20 nice rainbows and browns in a few hours.
“We beat the girls home. They had a great float but did not catch many fish. The only casualty was Terri’s Helios fly rod.”
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 6-22-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that the lake level is steady at 660 feet msl, only 1 foot higher than normal power pool. Water temperature is around 80 degrees. Bass activity seems to be in the 10-25 feet. Del says he’s spending lots of time graphing offshore, checking summer spots, swings, points and bluffs as well as brush piles, drops and ledges. Generation helps the point bite. Look in large creeks early. If you find cloudy, warm windy rainwater, powerfishing is best with Chatterbaits, spinnerbait. Early, pick up a big worm or Beaver in any of the laydowns. There’s a big Texas-rigged redworm bite in some of the shallower brush piles close to deep water. As you move out, try points cracking a tube or stroking a Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin orange. Perch colors, too. In 10-20 feet range in sunny conditions with clear water, natural colors in small profile baits are good. Look at ledges, keep the boat off the fish. Start early with a topwater and as it slows, a small 2.8 McMinnow is still working. Once the sun gets up, drop-shot a Robo Worm. Don’t be surprised if you find a few walleye on those points in 15-20 feet.
The shad are broken up high in the water column mostly over deep water. Early morning topwater has slowed up a bit, but bomb casts and look around for activity – they are schooled up. Try a Lucky Craft Gunfish, white popper or Spook Jr. topwater as well as a flutter spoon or Jewel Scope Spin on schoolers. Fish it in the early morning, or all day if it’s cloudy. If it get too hot, jump in the water – it’s fine!
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 6-29-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level was 556.29 feet msl and had dropped three-quarters of an inch in the last 24 hours with sluice gates open an equivalent of two-thirds of a generator for about 10 hours as of 7 p.m. Wednesday. The generators are still inoperable and they are not letting out much water anywhere with a White River level of 5.19 feet. We are getting very hot and dry and not much relief is in sight. The surface water temperature is 85 degrees and the thermocline is at 19 feet with a mudline and cold water at 23 feet. Several fish are still at or around this depth, including walleye and bass. The best bite now is for bass after dark with black lights and fluorescent line and saltcraws on the first drop-off on steeper banks, and stripers and some larger walleye deep early in 50-60 feet of water on jigging spoons. The water can be deeper but they seem to like the 50- to 60-feet level and that is where the shad are located.
“We are now in the middle of the summer fishing. The lake is at a good level for boating, swimming, fishing, boating and scuba diving, but the water clarity is diminishing with the heat.”
Visit blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for a daily report.
(updated 6-22-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort reports from Wednesday, “Happy first day of summer! Give us a call at 870-492-5113, if you are needing a place to stay on Norfork Lake. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort still has a few cabins available throughout the summer.
“Today (Wednesday) was the first day since last Friday that I have been able to get out on the lake. I had a pretty awesome morning of fishing. I started fishing around 4 a.m. and landed a nice striped bass at the second spot that I checked out. The stripers were suspended 30-50 feet down in 100-plus-feet of water. This fish was released and swam away very quickly. I moved to a large flat and found a lot of fish in 25-30 feet of water at all depths.
“On my first drop of a white trash Tater Shad, a big fish hammered the bait on the fall, but it broke off immediately. Must have hooked on the gill plate and cut the line. After that, I started to land one after another big white bass. When it became light enough to see, the fish seemed to vanish. I moved back into a creek and found a lot of bait up high in the water column. I checked a lot of areas in the creek and nearby coves, but never could find anything exciting.
“I started to head toward the resort at around 8 a.m. and decided to check out a deep bluff line with some rocky points. Over the next hour, schools of stripers came under the boat and I got to land five more striped bass. All swam away very willingly. My best bait in this area was the Binks 3/4-ounce spoon with a green back and white belly. The stripers wanted to chase the bait. I dropped the bait down to 50 feet and when the fish swam though at 30-40 feet, I would reel up as fast as I could. I would see three to five fish turn out of the school to chase the bait. Before the bait reached the surface one of the followers would hammer the bait. Each of these fish had lots of energy and would peel out close to 100 feet of line. I could see the fish surface in the distance.
“What great battles these fish gave today. I was sitting in 70-110-plus-feet of water.
“There was also quite a bit of surface activity. I landed and released several nice largemouths. Each time I saw bass feeding on the surface there seemed to be stripers under them. This isn’t the first time I have noticed these two species feeding together. I don’t know if the stripers are pushing the bait up or if they are just waiting for some leftovers from the feeding bass.
“The Skole group also had a successful morning fishing, landing several striped bass and largemouth bass. They caught their fish jigging a Tater Shad and also jigging a Ned rig. The surface water temp was about 82 degrees. The lake level is slowly falling and sits at 556.7 ft msl. The lake appears to be fairly clear.
“Have a great time on Norfork Lake doing whatever water activity that you love doing. Give us a call at 870-492-5113, if you are needing a place to stay.”
Lou posts almost daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 6-29-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at power pool of 556.35 feet msl and 23. 6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater had less wadable water. All of the lakes are below or near power pool. Expect lower flows in the coming days. On the Norfork, all turbines are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the flood gates.
There has been much less wadable water on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). John says his favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan Worms and 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. School is out and can get quite crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs, various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and white mop flies. Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 6-29-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing well. 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 6-29-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake levels remain around normal pool. Water temps are from low 80s to mid- to upper 80s depending on location. Stripers have turned on to more of a summer pattern this last week. Look around points 4 and 5 and down toward the Starkey area. Shad is preferred, but brooders and bream will work – make darn sure you are there at sunup! The bite lasts for two hrs and after that, well, it’s boat ride time.
“Crappie have been good for me on the troll. A little tip is use Flicker Shad in a No. 5 as the fish have been in the top 10 feet of water lately. Put it back 60 feet. If nothing happens fairly quickly, rotate to Bandits and Picos.”
Walleye have been pretty good out in front of Prairie Creek on crawler harnesses and trolled cranks. Catfish are almost done on the spawn, which will really get them biting in a week or so. Bream are there for the taking. Great eating and under-utilized. Good luck, stay safe.
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 6-29-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said people there are not fishing much in the daytime with the heat full-on. Fishing overall is fair. The lake level is normal and clear with no rainfall of late. Black bass fishing has happened more at night than anything, they report. These days, soft plastic worms, spinner baits and jigs are the main baits, and they’re fished mostly around brush piles. There is some schooling action of the bass, but it’s hit or miss.
Crappie are scattered now. The fishing for them “is not great, but it’s not terrible.” Again, just fair. Trolling is working some and fishing with minnows around brush and cover.
Not much if anything to report on white bass now. Bream have been good, but they are small – most bream on Beaver tend to be of the small size, being it’s such a big lake, they note. Catfishing is really not bad now, there are just not as many hungry catfish it seems “in these mountain lakes,” they tell us. “The ones that fish for them are pretty after it. They go for flatheads with live bait. We also sell a lot of skipjack for the catfish, all of them. Flatheads are nearly through spawning. There is a full moon next week. July is a good summer month for catfish here.”
So, the total outlook? “Nothing exciting,” they said. “Also the fishing pressure on the lake is light now … The Fourth of July is not a big fishing weekend around here. It’s a firecracker weekend. Boats will be on the water and the campsites will be full, but there will be a lot more playing in the water than fishing it.”
(updated 6-29-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been pretty good this past week. “We have been 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 spoon, letting it sink and working back slowly has been the preferred presentation. As far as the walleye, like previously stated, 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 the Corps of Engineers kicks on the water. Water temps have been in the high 40s and low 50s.
“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 6-29-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) did not have any reports from this week, though several anglers were out Thursday morning and still out near midday. The dock will be open for the Fourth of July, by the way.
Before this week, though, they had gotten reports that catfish were good off the rocks and were pretty shallow. Anglers were using nightcrawlers, cut bait (mostly little bream). The grown-up bream are doing really well, and should again this June 30-July 4 period with the full moon, both the bluegill and redear. Redworms are working mostly, as crickets are hard to come by, but they’ll work if you have them.
Black bass were doing good on plastics and some spinnerbaits. Crappie were forcing anglers to have to work for them. Mostly jigs, but some minnows, were used.
(updated 6-29-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says crappie have dropped all, but all other species are biting well. The lake has its usual murky clarity and the water temperature earlier this week was 78.6 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs. The crappie reports are fair, with jigs and worms being used. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastic worms. Catfishing is good using worms.
Shelly said that “moon times” for good fishing are between July 1-6 – note that July 3 is the full moon, so bream should be very active around that. Best days in July based on “moon times” are July 14-20. Make sure to pick up some worms at the Visitor Center, that’s what seems to have the catfish and bream most interested these days, she notes.
(updated 6-29-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said 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 6-29-2023) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 350 cfs and water clarity is clear. Very little rain over the last month has the river getting low. The low clear conditions have made for smart trout. On the hot, sunny days indicator/hopper dropper rigs work great just off the bottom. Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails, sizes 12-16, Pat’s rubber legs and, of course, an egg pattern for the top fly with plenty of weight. On the rare cloudy day, Woollies are great. Browns and rainbows are hitting hard. Lot tougher to hook up with a brown but they are there.
The smallies are hitting hard on big heavy Woollies, fished slow and deep. The big rocks in the river are the structure. Just remember, be careful and safely catch and release. It takes a long time for a smallie to grow big.
It is the heat of summer and Saturdays have the traditional canoe hatch. Not a great time to fish. Through the week and on Sundays is the perfect time to fish the cold waters of the Spring River in the summer months. Cold year-round, no need for waders with this heat, at 58 degrees the Spring is perfect for wet wading. Be safe, the river bottom can be very slick. A wading staff can be a life saver.
(updated 6-29-2023) 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. Canoe season is here. Fish early or late to avoid the boats. Be sure to 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.
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time gauge level and flow from the White River stages at Batesville, Newport and Augusta and all other sites within the White River basin in Arkansas, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
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 6-29-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report this week.
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Millwood Lake Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-29-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, Millwood Lake is 15 inches above normal conservation pool and on a slow rise. Clarity continues improving in most locations. Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow from Wilton Landing remains more heavily stained. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 228 feet msl and rising with gate discharge at the dam near 3,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website also linked above this report, 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 in high flow conditions in Little River, and anytime high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temperature has been stable this week, ranging 86-90 degrees at Wilton and Little River this week, depending on location and the time of day. River clarity is ranging 10-15 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity in oxbows will vary widely from heavy stain to good clarity, visibility ranging 15-30 inches up to 3 feet in a few locations away from river flow.
Mike provided these details of fishing the past several days at Millwood:
* Largemouth bass remain fair to good along the river and are best early and late, fair to slow in midday heat, ranging 2-4 pounds on Cordell Jigging Spoons along Little River washouts from 6-12 feet depth off the bank near vegetation mats, and along primary and secondary points and creek dumps into the river. Back in the oxbows, 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 Pops 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 Square Bill, Echo 1.75 Crankbait and 10-inch Power Worms or Brush Hog. Over the past couple of weeks, largemouths have been randomly feeding in creek channels dumping into Little River. The oxbows continue providing best water clarity 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 topwater bite subsides on buzzbaits, near late morning and noon. Best colors of 10-12 inch Power Worms have been Blue Fleck, Black Grape and Brush Hogs in Watermelon Candy.
In the very back of McGuire oxbow, some chunky 2- and 3-pound bass were most aggressive early into late morning over the past few weeks, and those fish were being found randomly near deeper creek channels or ditches through the flats. The best bass activity is shifting to early morning on buzzbaits, BLL 4.0 StutterStep in Ghost Shad, Horny Toads in Junebug or Pumpkinseed, and Spit’n Images 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- to 3-pound class.
Further up above McGuire in Little River, near Cemetery Slough and Black’s Branch, several nice largemouths around 3-5 pounds were caught near new bream beds on a custom-painted, bream-colored, Little John Crankbaits as well as BLL MR-6 Cranks in Bluegill, Tennessee Shad and Millwood Magic colors.
Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows, Cemetery Slough and Black’s Creek along Little River have had the best water clarity and the most aggressive largemouth and Kentucky (spotted) bass over the past few weeks. In McGuire oxbow up Little River, a few decent, random 15- to 17-inch bass were caught on Yum Christie Critters and on a Bill Lewis SB-57, ATV square bills or MR-6 Crankbaits.
* The white bass have been spotted between Jack’s Isle and Mud Lake “and were hitting jigging spoons when we were locating Kentuckies,” Mike reports. “Several schools of whites were feeding along Little River from 12-15 feet of depth while we were vertical-jigging chrome Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons, and ranged from 2-3 pounds each.”
* Crappie continue biting very well near Saratoga, Millwood State Park and Bee Lake this week and are biting best using jigs tipped with minnows in 11-15 feet of depth in planted brush piles up to 2.25 pounds.
* For the past several 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 red worms in 2-5 feet of depth. Several nice largemouth were caught near those bream beds on a Bill Lewis SB-57 Square Bill crank in bream color, as well as with custom-painted Little John Crankbaits.
* Hi fin blues and channel cats good this week improved on yo-yos and trot lines, with a few folks we saw along Little River on Monday. Punch bait, chicken hearts/gizzards, and catalpa worms working. Several folks were snagging below the dam when the USACE opened the discharge gates up this week also.
(updated 6-15-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) is closed until July 1 for vacation, but the store on Lake Erling is open daily, 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. weekdays, 9 p.m. on weekends. Good numbers and size of fish are being caught there this week, though, based on anglers posting on their Facebook pages. Also check out Friends of Lake Erling on Facebook for more information and photos, too.
For the most updated lake level at Lake Greeson, click here.
For the most updated lake level at DeGray Lake, click here.
(updated 6-29-2023 John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Hey folks, it’s hot! Yep, get ready to sweat. Water temperatures are moving up fast. High 80s as it is now (Wednesday) and not slowing down. Recent showers had slowed the rise some, but this heat wave has overrun the cool water. The lake level is at 406.91. There is a slight lowering as of now. A full moon is coming, so the bream will be headed to the beds. Side imaging and perspective view are used to locate the beds and fish. Drop-shot or slip bobbers are your best bet. Bring your crickets or call ahead to make sure they have some at the marina.
“Crappie, my preference, are making their seasonal change. Brush piles still have fish in them but are a lot more complicated to catch. Drop-shotting has been working well, but it is slowing down. It appears the bigger fish are doing their next yearly move to the timber. Look for vertical timber and try minnows, jigs, sniping or any other technique you have. Fish above them and pull the bait away when they move toward it.
“Black bass, I have no report. Schooling fish are the new game in town. Go early and look for action, boats and birds. Shad-colored baits are beset. Spoons are more versatile. Crankbaits and trolling work, also. It’s just hot and that slows the amount of and aggressiveness of the bite.”
De Queen Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from De Queen Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Dierks Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
White Oak Lake Area
NOTICE: The AGFC reminders landowners adjacent to Lake Atkins and to the Cabin Creek arm of Lake Dardanelle that EPA-approved aquatic herbicides were applied to those bodies of water earlier this month, and while he treatment causes no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, 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. Please 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. Without 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 6-22-2023) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-264-0851) said the AGFC was fertilizing the lake earlier this month. He had no reports. Before the fertilizing began again, he said, 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 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 6-29-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 62 degrees with slightly stained conditions in the tailrace. The tailrace has stable conditions, despite storms moving in and out of the area last week, enabling the public to fish and boat safely on Lake Catherine. Sadly, the rainbow trout season is over with very few fish caught or seen in the last week. Flooding and extremely high flows from the dam forced thousands of trout downstream early in the year that never made their way back to the tailrace, creating one of the least productive fishing seasons in recent memory. Professional trout guides reported the fewest numbers of catches this year, because of high water. While trout have been caught this year, the numbers were much lower than normal due to these conditions. The rainbow trout stocking schedule will resume in mid-November to start the fall and winter season.
Entergy is generating below Carpenter Dam for two hours on weekdays followed by a weekend pattern of five hours for Saturday and Sunday. Flows from the dam are subject to change with ever-changing weather conditions and energy demands. July will have large numbers of white and hybrid bass migrate into the area to feed on the huge numbers of threadfin shad spawning in the tailrace. Topwater activity is key in locating feeding bass. The main channels hold the majority of shad, and anglers casting one-eighth-ounce jigs in gray or white will catch bass that are keying in on these baitfish. Small topwater plugs such as Zara Puppies and Heddon Tiny Torpedos closely match the profile of area shad. Because of the variety of forage – walleye, catfish and bass will move in and out of the tailrace in the hot summer months and can be caught in numbers by anglers that closely observe conditions on Lake Catherine.
Carpenter Dam is a difficult area to fish with a constant barrage of changing conditions brought on by storms and dangerous heat. 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.
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ outflow and gauge level reports from Dardanelle, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-15-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said early morning they’ve been catching bass on frogs and buzzbait in the Illioni bayou area and also the Spadra area. After the morning bite, people are flipping reeds with a green pumpkin or black/blue creature bait. Also throwing like a square bill crank around wood and rocks in a chartreuse blue back or a char black back. Fishing offshore brush piles or shell beds, Deep diving crankbait and also a big Texas-rigged worm.
(updated 6-29-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no new reports.
(updated 6-29-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the crappie have moved deep, scattered and are tough to catch. However, at first light until about 9 a.m., white bass, spotted bass and walleye are suspended 10-12 feet deep on points and humps. Casting and vertical-jigging spoons have produced. Then, trolling crankbaits later in the morning is equally productive.
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow reports from Nimrod Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
(updated 6-15-2023) 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.
(updated 6-22-2023) Andrews Fishing and Hunting Supply in Hollis (1-800-818-6373) has fresh bait in this week.
For the current lake level at Blakely Dam, click here.
(updated 6-29-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. Drop-shot for some 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 Zara Spook/Boy Howdy fishing. Jigs and bottom bouncers tipped with nightcrawlers are working for walleye. Try main river/lake channel points for these fish, near brush, in the 18-22 feet range. Stripers are good. 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 top water C-10 Redfin early and late. Bream are excellent. Try a cricket or worm near brush in the 8-20 depth range for a quality bite. Crappie are still good and being caught on small jigs or minnows. Try brush and structure 20-25 feet deep. Catfish are very 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 ranging 80-84 degrees. Water clarity is clear. The lake level Thursday was 576.21 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 6-22-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the crappie are starting to move a little deeper and not on all the brush piles. Most are being caught on live bait 12-14 feet deep. Don’t spend too much time on one spot unless it’s loaded with fish, and don’t let the sunfish fool you. I see ample numbers of catfish at the cleaning stations, so they too are there to be caught. “Many have told me they are catching them at night on juglines. Rest assured, they can be caught during the day in the same areas if well-baited regularly.”
Blue Mountain Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow reports from Blue Mountain Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.
White River/Clarendon Area
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time gauge level and flow from Clarendon, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website
(updated 6-22-2023) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) says that the water has drastically dropped out of the lake, making for some of the lowest water conditions in years. Only a few anglers have fished the lake this season. Bass anglers are having the most luck flipping black and red tubes or green pumpkin jigs to cypress trees as well as tossing white spinnerbaits up on the bank. For bream, crickets have been the ticket near large cypress trees. 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 is 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 guests (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.
Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.
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