Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 6, 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: Mitch (no last name provided), a client of Spring River fishing guide Mark Crawford, displays a prized smallmouth bass caught while the duo fished the Spring recently. Cool water at the Spring is a perfect respite from this recent summer heat. Photo provided by Mark Crawford.
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 fishing locations, and choke out native vegetation and fish populations. For more information, call the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at 833-338-3636.
(updated 7-6-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said nothing much has h changed in the fishing since last week. It’s hot and slow. Black bass have been the only species that anglers have been consistently catching of late. Fish for bass in the shaded areas, the grass, under trees. Anglers have been noted throwing under trees and docks for responses. Try creature baits, spinnerbaits, jigs, and frogs have been throwing real well of late. Also try a walking-style bait for a reaction bite, as well as a curly tail worm in 7.5 inches or smaller. Colors being favored lately are June bug, black, black/blue or any other muddy water colors.
Bream are the same as they’ve been, and we just finished a full moon spawning period. They are biting in maybe a foot to 2 feet deep. Find some cover, like around lily pads, and they may be there. Use redworms or crickets.
And the same word on catfish. The cats have been caught in good numbers on trotlines and for the pole-fishing anglers. Try black goldfish, trotline minnows, nightcrawlers, frozen shad, skipjack, regular shad, chicken livers and shrimp.
Bates reported last week that the bite was so-so around the dam – water has not started being let out as the AGFC prepares to drain the lake for renovation. Also near the Highway 89 bridge, some anglers were catching a few bass. Crappie anglers have headed elsewhere for a consistent bite.
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 7-6-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the flow has come in the afternoons for anywhere from 3-6 hours, so the trout fishing has been best early and late. Midday has been hard when it’s really hot. In those prime times, though, the Rapala No. 5 Countdown is working well as well as maribou jigs in olive color. Also, a Trout Magnet in pink, white or gold is getting good responses. Anglers have been targeting areas below the shoals with deeper pools for most of the fish.
(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 San Juan 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.
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 7-6-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is 460.67 feet msl and 1.87 feet below normal pool for this time of year. It has been fluctuating up and down a few tenths with rainfall and generation. Here we are in early July, and usually by June 1 most fish are out on major drops or close to them at 30-50 feet and set up for summer. However, the thermocline is not deep yet for some reason and a lot of fish are still more shallow than usual.
Crappie can be caught 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. Fish with topwater baits, flukes, swim jigs, glide bait, 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 main lake. Catfishing has not been the best; people are picking up a few fish each day or night, and that’s about it, on rod-and-reel or lines. Hybrids and white bass are roaming 15-50 feet running up on edge of flats eating off and on during the day; just try and stay with bait, use spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits or at times a topwater bait.
(updated 6-29-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water level is normal to a little low. Clarity is clear. Bass are being caught in 15-25 feet of water by throwing a Carolina rig, jigs, Texas-rigged worms and also a deep-diving crankbait.
For walleye, anglers are trolling crankbaits in 20-25 feet off main lake points. They’ve also been picking up white bass and hybrids, too, while targeting the walleye.
Also, for the topwater anglers, there is an early morning and late evening topwater bass bite for bass. The Zara Spook on clear or bone colors has been working best.
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 7-6-2023) Lacey Williams at Lakeview Landing on Arkansas Highway 95 (501-252-1437) had no new reports.
(updated 7-6-2023) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 had nothing new to report.
(update 7-6-2023) 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 7-6-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) says water temp has settled in at 85-87 degrees. Largemouth bass this last week have been 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; some are starting to hit topwater as well as 16-20 feet. Try using crankbaits, flukes or wacky rig shallow and Texas rig deep. The spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are also fair with reports of them being found deep in 16-20 feet of water. Try a shaky head and use crawdad colors. Overall, the black bass didn’t provide quite the fireworks on Tuesday that they had in the previous Tuesday night bass tournament out of the marina, but Larry Selig and Trey Rogers caught a winning 13.73-pound stringer, edging Randall Clark and Ben Burk, who hauled in the Big Bass of 4.72 pounds.
White Bass have not been biting of late. Crappie have been fair. Reports of crappie hanging in the brush around 15 feet of water as well as 25 feet. Try using jig or minnows. Bream are fair. A few reports of them still on beds. Anglers started catching more females after the July 3 full moon. They are spawning in 3-5 feet and 15 feet deep. Try using worms or crickets. Catfish are fair. Some reports of folks catching a few on trotlines.
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 7-6-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that bass are biting well on the river in the early mornings. White and chartreuse spinnerbaits, black/blue swim jigs and a black or white buzzbait will work nicely. Anglers are having best success fishing up shallow around grass.
As it warms into the middle of the day, anglers are mostly flipping a jig around grass or around wood with jigs. The color of the jig really hasn’t mattered there lately, but a black/blue or a crawfish color jig are two good options. Also, a square-bill crankbait will work on the river now pitching it around jetties and rocks. Those areas are also conducive using a shaky head.
Catfish are biting on nightcrawlers and stink bait below the Murray Lock and Dam.
They’ve heard nothing on crappie.
(updated 7-6-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said fishing on the cold, clear White River is the antidote to the heat surges in the concrete canyons. Early mornings are perfect with temperatures in the low 70s and, although they are seeing some warm afternoons, you need only dip your cap in the river or wrap a river-dampened hand towel around your shoulders to cool off, then return to hooking into a great catch of trout.
Bull Shoals Lake elevation measured 659.64 feet msl Wednesday with morning releases continuing at minimum flow (700 cfs) before rising to 12,000 cfs (four generators) in late afternoon.
Browns have been hiding in the deep holes and biting on sculpin and crawdad tails. The rainbows are hitting gold spinners and pink PowerBait worms topped with white (mouse-tails), and the ever-popular red/gold hammered Thomas Buoyant Spoon is adding to the count. There’s been a late afternoon surge in the brown bite during this past week, which is a little uncommon but might be attributed to the changing pressure systems and the occasional pop-up showers. A cup of nightcrawlers or red wigglers is a must while fishing the rising water late in the day; play them close to the banks just a foot or so below the surface.
“Grasshopper season is approaching quickly; when I see them on my porch I know the trout are looking for them. Get ready.
“Time on the river offers refreshment and renewal as only being in the outdoors can. Come to The Natural State for a chance to spend some quiet time with an old friend, restore family ties, or just get to know yourself again.”
(updated 7-6-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said they continue to see water depths under 3 feet in the morning and rising to around 6 feet (plus or minus a small amount) by late morning. The last couple of days the water has had some dinginess in the morning and clearing later in the day as the water levels drop. It’s common for boats to leave Calico Rock and run upriver a few miles to Red’s Landing to find cleaner water and fish back to and through Calico Rock following the dropping water. In the mornings drift-fishing with a silver inline spinner with Uncommon Bait Bright Orange UV glow eggs and shrimp has worked well. Additionally, deeper diving Shad Rap size 5 lures in Purpledescent or orange crawdad colors worked. As the water drops in the afternoon using quarter-ounce Colorado Spoons with nickel/gold or copper/gold or Buoyant rainbow trout or brown trout-colored spoons work well while fishing the gravel bars. Additionally, Rapala CD7 Countdowns in either silver or rainbow trout color have resulted in some nice trout.
The heat has been brutal the last week and the little cooler weather over the next week will be nice.
(updated 7-6-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week, they had three minor rain events (combining for less than a half-inch in Cotter), hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.7 feet below power pool of 661.3 feet msl. This is 35.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.3 feet below power pool and 15.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool and 9.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had wadable water every day with moderate flows in the afternoon during peak power demand. Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.3 foot over power pool of 556 feet msl and 23.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater has had wadable water. All of the lakes are below or near power pool. We can 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 Wildcat Shoals. “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 Ear and Sowbugs. Double-fly Nymph rigs have been very effective. My favorite has been a Copper John (size 14) with a ruby Midge Dropper (size 18).”
John also said, “Last week I wrote about handling the shuttle for my wife, Lori, her sister, Terri, and her niece, Brooke. They had a great time floating the Buffalo but did not catch many fish. Terri’s husband, Larry, wanted their daughter, Brooke, to have a good day of fishing, so I agreed to take them out in the boat.
“The next day we began the best way we could, by having breakfast at the White Sands Cafe, located four blocks from my home in Cotter. I left while they were still savoring another cup of coffee to hook up my boat and head to Rim Shoals to get everything ready for a day’s fishing.
“I launched my boat and rigged up a couple of fly rods with size 14 Copper John Nymphs and ruby Midge Droppers. The water was gin clear, with a moderate flow of about 3,000 cfs, or the rough equivalent of one generator. It was a bright, sunny day with temperatures in the mid-80s. There were moderate winds and we had the place to ourselves. I would consider it near-perfect conditions.
“Larry, Terri and Brooke arrived just as I finished rigging the last rod. Lori stayed at home to care for our Labrador retrievers. When I have three anglers in the boat, I only allow two to fish at the same time, with the other angler responsible for netting trout. I concentrated on handling the boat and dealt with problems. Larry was more interested in Brooke catching trout, so he decided not to fish and to concentrate on netting trout.
“Terri was into a nice trout almost immediately. She maintained her hot hand for the entire trip. Brooke hooked up but lost the fish. This happened several times. She had not fished for a while and she was not aggressive enough when setting the hook. Larry and I coached her and she hooked a fat 19-inch rainbow. Once she broke the ice, she got the feel of it and began catching trout after trout. She did well but never caught up with Terri. What Brooke lacked in numbers, she made up for in size. She caught the three largest trout. We fished a few hours and managed to bring over 20 nice trout to the net.
“I put the boat back on the trailer, stowed my gear and headed home. I sat down in my leather chair and relaxed for a minute. Lori came in and said that Terri, Larry and Brooke wanted us to join them at Whispering Woods for lunch. This is my favorite spot for lunch. I had a bowl of onion soup, a Caesar salad and a slice of carrot cake. It doesn’t get better than that.
“We sat on the patio and drank coffee while we looked at the lake. It was a perfect end to a great day.”
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 7-6-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that the lake level is steady at normal pool of 659 feet msl. Water temperature is around 85 degrees. “It’s getting hot! Bass activity seems to be in the 10-25 feet range. I’m spending lots of time graphing offshore checking summer spots, swings points, bluffs, and also brush piles, drops and ledges. Shad are spread out everywhere and there’s a June bug hatch. Look in large creeks early in cloudy, warm, windy rainwater. Power fish a Chatterbait, Flopper early or fish a big worm or Beaver in any of the laydowns. There’s a big Texas-rigged redworm bite. If it gets slow, move out, and as you move out try points by cracking a tube or stroking a Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin orange. Also try perch colors in the 20- to 30-foot range. It’s main lake or close to it time. In sunny, clear water use natural colors in small profile baits and 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 on piles off ledges or suspenders; a Tater Shad will also work on the suspenders.
Early morning topwater has slowed up a bit; try bomb casts and look around for activity. They are schooled up. Try a Lucky Craft Gunfish, a white Pop-R, or Zara Spook Jr. topwater, as well as a Flutter Spoon or Jewel Scope Spin on schoolers. Do this 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 7-6-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level was 556.31 feet msl and not changed in the last 24 hours, with sluice gates open equivalent to two-thirds of a generator since 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. Everything had been shut off for a couple of days. The surface water temperature was 88 degrees and the water was clearing after the boat churning for the holiday. It is actually clearing rapidly. The thermocline is at 21 feet with clear water down to 19 feet. Several fish are at this level but mostly small ones. The best bite is after dark for bass with a black light and salt craw, and Stripers deep with a jigging spoon. Big bluegill are still under docks on crickets. Crappie are slow and spooky. It is a typical summer pattern and it is not the best, but some nice fish are being caught every day. All fish being caught deep will die.
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 three-quarter-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 feet 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 7-6-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.3 foot over power pool of 556 feet msl and 23.7 feet below the top of flood pool. All of the lakes are below or near power pool. We can 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-head Nymph (Zebra Midge, Copper John or Pheasant Tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan Worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). “My 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. School is out and can get a quite crowded, particularly on weekends. 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 7-6-2023) 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 7-6-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is holding near normal level and is pretty warm with water temps in the upper 80s. Fishing was been fair to good for most species. Stripers are moving daily and can be caught on the usual trolled baits, with shad the best but brood minnows and bluegill will work. Look from Rocky Branch all the way to the dam. “As I have written in the last few reports, you need to be fishing right at sunrise as bite is only for a couple hours each day.”
Crappie are doing well on trolled Bandits or any bait that hit from 12-15 feet deep. Look for flats that are close to main river channels. Catfish are also being caught trolling the same cranks and they also are doing well on jugs/trotlines. Walleye can be found trolling points or bottom-bouncing crawlers. This pattern will continue through August. It’s hot so stay hydrated and enjoy this beautiful lake.
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 7-6-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the fishing this past week has been off and on. Water temperatures have been around 50 degrees and the water levels has dropped a little. Trout have been real responsive to Pautzke Fire Worms and Fire Baits, fished with light terminal tackle. The Fire Worms have done best with drifting. The B has been up and down as well, but it is still there, mainly between Beaver town and Holiday Island. Pulling mid-diving crankbaits, coated in Pautzke Fire Gel, has been the preferred method.
“Remember to follow my Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for day-to-day updates between reports Have fun, stay safe 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 well on plastics and some spinnerbaits. Crappie were forcing anglers to have to work for them. Mostly jigs, but some minnows, were used.
(updated 7-6-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) reports that the crappie falloff from the week before appears complete — she heard no reports on crappie over the past week. But all other species are biting well, so there is an opportunity for good fishing. Lake level temperature this week jumped more than 4 degrees on a sunny Sunday morning to 82.9 degrees. The lake remains murky as usual and the level is normal.
Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs. Black bass are good on crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is good using worms and chicken liver. Among those catfish are good reports on blues biting.
Thursday marks the last day in the “moon times” cycle for “good” fishing, but “best days” in July based on the moon are July 14-20, she said, reminder Lake Charles angling visitors to pick up some worms at the Visitor Center for the bream and catfish.
(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 7-6-2023) 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 7-6-2023) 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 7-6-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, Millwood Lake is about 10 inches above normal conservation pool and on a slow fall. 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 2,900 cfs in Little River according to the USACE on Wednesday. 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 fluctuating conditions in Little River, and anytime high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 86-89 degrees at Wilton and Little River this week, depending on time of day. Clarity ranges 10-15 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from heavy stain to good clarity, visibility 15-30 inches up to 3 feet in a few locations away from river flow.
Mike provided the following details for fishing Millwood Lake this week:
* Largemouth bass remain fair to good along the river from Yarborough Point all the way upriver to Mud Lake, and best early and late on plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shads and Brush Hogs in the pads, fair to slow in midday heat, ranging from 2-4 pounds on Cordell Jigging Spoons. All along Little River washouts from 6-15 feet of 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 Crankbaits, and 10-inch Power Worms or 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 topwater bite subsides on buzzbaits near late morning and noon. Best colors of Power Worms have been Blue Fleck, Black Grape and Brush Hogs in Watermelon Candy with chartreuse tail.
Senkos, Yum Dingers and trick worms like the Barlow’s Salty Rat Tails and the finesse worms are still getting reactions wacky-rigged. South African Special, Blackberry, Watermelon seed or June Bug/Red colors have been randomly working all along Little River and in the back of McGuire oxbow and Horseshoe Lake. Bass Assassin Shads in Pumpkinseed, Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom, and Chico’s Red Ear were been getting bit the last couple weeks near cypress trees and fresh vegetation.
Yum Christie Critters and Brush Hogs in black/blue, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse, watermelon candy, and cherryseed continue working for bass near grass mats and vegetation, near stumps 3-9 feet of depth.
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 spotted bass over the past few weeks. In McGuire oxbow up Little River a few decent 15- to 17-inch bass were caught randomly on those Yum Christie Critters, and on a Bill Lewis SB-57, ATV Square Bill, or MR-6 Crankbait.
* Several very large schools of white bass have been spotted schooling and surface-breaking in Little River between Jack’s Isle and the mouth of Snake Creek along the edges near grass mats on threadfin shad. These whites were hitting jigging spoons when seen surface schooling last week and this week. Several different schools of whites were feeding along Little River breaking on shad at the surface and down to 8-12 feet of depth near the burnt tree at Pugh Slough while vertical-jigging chrome Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons, and ranged 2-3 pounds each.
* Crappie of up to 2.25 pounds continue biting very well near Bee and Yarborough lakes this week and are biting best using minnows in 12-16 feet of depth in planted brush piles.
* No report on bream.
* Hi Fin blues and channel cats continue feeding well the past few weeks, on yo-yos, limb lines and trotlines with a few folks we saw along Little River. Dave King’s Punch Bait, chicken hearts/gizzards and catalpa worms working. Several folks were snagging below the dam with the increased discharge this week, also.
(updated 7-6-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) has had no reports to provide, 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.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
For the most updated Narrows Dam generation schedule from SWEPCO, click here.
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
For the most updated lake level at Lake Greeson, click here.
For the most updated lake level at DeGray Lake, click here.
(updated 7-6-2023) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Well, the Fourth is over. Take a breath and get going!”
Recent thundershowers and the ones to come have slowed the water temperature from heating up a little more. It’s still in the upper 80s but a little cooler than it’s been. Water level is at 406.32 feet as of this writing, a slight drop.
“I have very little to report since my time was limited with water activity. White bass, sand bass, hybrids and black bass are showing lots of surface activity if the surface is calm enough. Get out the Whopper Plopper, Devil Horse and Zara Spook Jr. for great topwater action, shad-colored crankbaits and spoons for the ones below.
“Now my choice: crappie. Things are changing. I have to say that there are still some good crappie in the brush piles but the summer move is on. Many of the good fish have gone to the timber or can be found roaming. Decent reports of sizable fish being caught trolling. Bandit 300s are a staple.
“With bream, the full moon has passed but bream are still to be caught. Use side imaging for finding beds. Drop-shot or slip bobbers are your best bet. Bring you some crickets.”
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 fishing locations, and choke out native vegetation and fish populations. For more information, call the AGFC Fisheries Office in Russellville at 833-356-0879.
(updated 7-6-2023) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-264-0851) said he had been out catching a bunch of small bream (5-6 inches) and tossing them back Thursday, and no one was trying to fish at midday. Fishing is slow and the water is hot. Anglers are trying, starting early (around 6-7 a.m.) and are out by 10-11 a.m. having caught one or two bass probably. Crappie are deep and hiding from the heat.
Clarity is a little murky.
Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-6-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 64 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 has generated below Carpenter Dam for two hours each day during the week 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 bass 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 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 Torpedoes 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 7-6-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is getting in the upper 80s and lower 90s. Water clarity is good in the river, stained in some creeks. Black bass have been hit-and-miss. When there is current, there is a good topwater bite. When there is no current, it is extremely tough – unless you get lucky and come across some schooling bass. Large worms and deep-diving crankbaits will catch you some fish off of points and drops. Crappie are on brush piles and deep trees. Monkey Milk color has still been working well; 6-10 feet is the best bite. But it is still going to take all day to get your limit.
White bass and stripers are starting to school out in the river around the flats. Crankbaits and spoons have been working the best. Flathead catfish have been good with live perch on the steep rocky banks, rock dikes and around bluff walls. Blue cats are in the deep hold around the channel swings. Channel cats are best found in the creeks. Cut bait, shad and skipjack have been working well on the blue cat. Worms and minnows have been working well on the channel cat. Bream have been good around the Mayfly hatch. Worms, crickets and flies have been working well.
(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 7-6-2023) Sheila Ferrebee, the new owner of Carter Cove Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025), formerly Andrews, says fishing is going good but it’s hot. They are selling a lot of minnows and definitely running through crickets for the bream. The store sold out of crickets earlier this week “so that tells you something about the bream,” but more crickets were on the way to the store Thursday.
Black bass are pretty good in the evening, but it’s not great when it’s super hot. Buzzbaits and other topwater lures are good in the early morning or late in the evening.
People are catching a lot of catfish below the dam, using black salties and goldfish. Several flatheads and blues and some channel cats were caught this week.
Crappie are still being caught on minnows but “you gotta brave the heat to catch them. Mostly ‘LiveScopers’ are coming through rather than spider-riggers lately,” they report.
Sheila, who moved from California to take over the business, says Carter Cove offers breakfast and lunch. They have a Facebook page and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
(updated 6-22-2023) Andrews Fishing and Hunting Supply in Hollis (1-800-818-6373) reported having fresh bait in this week.
For the current lake level at Blakely Dam, click here.
(updated 7-6-2023) 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 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 Spook/Boy Howdy fishing.
Silver spoons are working for walleye. Try main river/lake channel points for these fish, near brush, in the 18-22 feet range. Stripers are still 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 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 84-88 degrees. The clarity is clear. Lake level Wednesday was 575.76 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 7-6-2023) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that Lake Ouachita is at full pool. The cooler temps and two inches of rain falling on Hot Springs earlier this week has helped. The rainfall sent some runoff into the creek arms, and you should head there for some reactions.
(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 jug lines. 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.
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails
Don't miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!