Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 20, 2023
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Reports are updated weekly, although some reports may be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for current news for the lake or stream you plan to fish.
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.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
For the most up-to-date lake level, visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s Lake Conway water level site.
(updated 7-20-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said catfish and black bass are excellent. Catfish are hitting great on shrimp, and lots of catfish anglers are coming in to the store to purchase shrimp. Bass are hot on spinnerbaits and crankbaits up on the north end. They have not heard much from the south end anglers. Bream catches are small, “nothing to brag about there,” they report. Crappie, meanwhile, are going unreported these days.
“It’s all been kinda slow except for catfish and bass, which are tearing it up.” Look for the small schooling shad on the north end and you’ll find the fish, they add.
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 7-20-2023) 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 good consistent generation schedule as of lately while we are having hot weather throughout the state. The SWPA has been usually running two units starting around 2 p.m. I’d expect to see the same generation schedule for a while or until we get some relief with cooler temps. Always check the USACE Little Rock app before heading out.
The bite remains good, even in the heat. Best bite has been early morning and late evening. With the temperatures in the 90s and 100s try to quickly land the fish and get them back in the water for a quick catch and release. Try fishing the deep holes around the moss beds and the oxygenated shoals and plunge pools.
“The hot flies for me have been pink San Juan Worms. Pheasant Tails, Guides Choice Hare’s Ear and Root Beer Midges.
(updated 7-20-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said they are running a little bit more water, anywhere from 3-6 hours on about two generations at Greers Ferry Dam. Early in the morning has been the best time to be out when the water is dropping. Trout anglers are having success with Rooster Tails, Trout Magnet and small crankbaits, as well as a maribou jig. Also, there have been reports of good success with chartreuse or pink PowerBait.
(updated 7-13-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said the Little Red River is in a summertime water release pattern from the Greers Ferry Dam. Daily afternoon generation provides wade and drift-fishing opportunities on all sections of the river. If you plan to fish the Trout Magnet, consider using pink and white-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. For fly-fishing, consider San Juan Worm, Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail and Midge. Always check generation schedule and be aware of unexpected water release. Check before heading to the Little Red River for Greers Ferry Dam water release by downloading the USACE Little Rock app, Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
Greers Ferry Lake
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 7-20-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.75 feet msl, 2.79 feet below normal pool (462.54 feet msl) for this time of year, and with evaporation and generation will continue to come down. Black bass for the most part are super shallow, suspended or out sitting on structure, so have baits to cover all three locations and you’ve got it covered, however you like to target them, 1-60 feet – and sometimes a few coming up on top as well. Crappie are still being hauled it more regularly now with the invention to teach people where fish are located a lot of times in a highland reservoir. Use jigs, beetle spins, hair jigs, live bait, etc. in 10-50 feet. Bream catching is at its best now; crickets, crawlers and inline spinners are working super shallow out to 20 feet. Catfish are eating live and cut bait, dog food, soap and prepared baits as well as artificial baits like spoons under shad, shallow to deep. Hybrid bass and white basses are eating live bait, spoons, inline spinners and hair jigs fished right on structure. Some schooling activity is going on. As for walleye, some are floating around with shad suspended, some are on structure, some are roaming. Drag a crawler on jighead or drop-shot for best results in 20-40 feet. Some crankbaits are working, as well as spoons.
(updated 7-20-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said bass fishing has been kind of tough of late, the result of the hot summer in full swing. But anglers are catching schooling fish on the main lake and also catching them with a drop-shot and shaky head out deep, while a Texas-rigged worm is working in brush piles in 20-25 feet of water.
Walleye are being caught drop-shotting a nightcrawler or trolling crankbaits near the dam.
Water clarity is clear and the lake is about 1-2 feet low.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-13-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says catfish are being caught off the bank at night in good numbers and sizes, including fish close to 11 pounds. People are catching baby bream and using them on the hook, and also garlic with a hot dog is working as well.
Bream are “pretty good” but the size differs depending on where you are fishing. Close to the bait shop, they say, the bream are smaller, but some anglers fishing across the lake from the bait shop appear to be catching some nice-sized bream using crickets.
Anglers are also catching some largemouth bass using spinnerbaits. Meanwhile, crappie are slow and what is being caught is being found in 9-10 feet depth.
Rain this week has muddied the water as of Thursday, but the water level is normal.
(updated 7-20-2023) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 said water level is normal and clarity is good, but the surface temperature is around 93 degrees. “No one is fishing at the moment, but last week we were catching 50-70 Bream in the afternoons. No great big ones but good trotline bait.
“We have caught several good channel cats and a albino. Also a 40 lb flathead by Doug and Dennis Vaughn and Dennis’ granddaughter, Marrissa.”
(updated 7-20-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) says the water temperature is ranging 85-87 degrees. The largemouth bass bite has improved, rating good this week. 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 starting to hit topwater as well as in 16-20 feet. Use crankbaits, flukes or wacky rig fishing shallow, or go with a Texas rig deep. Kentucky bass (spotted bass) are fair, with reports of them being caught in 16-20 feet depth on shaky heads and crawdad colors. In Tuesday night’s tournament out of WestRock, 19 of 22 boats caught 5-bass limits. Eight bass were weighed ranging 4.13-5.46 pounds. Larry Selig and Trey Rogers caught the 5.46-pounder and won the tournament with 17.58 total pounds.
Crappie are good. Reports of crappie hanging in the brush around 20 feet of water on top of brush. Try using minnows or jigs. Bream are good, with reports of them still on their beds and biting. They reportedly have been spawning in 3-5 feet of water and in 15 feet depth. Worms or crickets are the go-to. Catfish are good and have been found with the bream off the bottom. Still no reports lately on white bass.
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 7-13-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water is clear and normal pool. Still catching a lot of bass on plastic worms and spinnerbaits. Bream are still doing real well. Catching in 2 feet of water on crickets and worms. Catfish are being caught on liver and minnows. Also, one angler was noodling with big shiners and doing well.
Crappie are hiding.
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 7-20-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that fishing is somewhat tough these days. The pool does had a little bit of flow, around 15,000 cfs lately. For the most part, early morning and late evening are the prime times to fish for bass. Anglers are having success with a soft body frog or a buzzbait around grass in the early morning. During the day, they’re catching bass on Carolina rigs, shaky heads and a jig on the main river.
Catfish have been biting well below the Murray Lock and Dam. Stinkbait, nightcrawlers and cut bait are best.
The water is stained but clearing.
(updated 7-20-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said We have a remedy for these hot, humid July days: a slow, peaceful float on the cold, refreshing, clear water of the White River beside Cotter, or maybe a little wade fishing during the morning hours when the river is low and layers of mist make you forget the numbing heat of midsummer.
And while you’re at it, you can catch a whole bunch of trout. What a gift!
White River water levels below Bull Shoals Dam have continued to be little arbitrary for the past week; minimum flow (600 cfs) all day around Cotter, then rising several feet with releases from the dam of 12,000-14,000 cfs during late afternoon and early evening.
Low water means finding the deepest spots with the coldest water. When you do, get ready for plenty of angling action. Orange and black jigs have proven successful on the lower water. Swim them mid-depth with a small tug now and again.
It’s fun to watch the rainbows follow the spinners– try an ⅛- or 3/16-ounce Blue Fox Spinner with a red bell or the bleeding frog Rooster Tail. We found that bleeding frog pattern in a Thomas Bouyant Spoon and worked it for several catches. Yellow and/or Sunrise PowerBait are bringing in the rainbows with or without a morsel of shrimp added to the mix.
Come on over, get out of the house, and enjoy the cool of the river in the beautiful Natural State and the Arkansas Ozarks.
(updated 7-20-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said, “We continue to see the routine of low water around 3 feet in the mornings and rising to as high as 7 feet late in the morning. Around 11 or noon the water stops dropping again. On Saturday we saw some muddy water arrive mid-morning, but by late afternoon the water was clearing. Otherwise the water has ranged from clear to some dinginess.
“In the mornings drift fishing with a silver inline spinner with Uncommon Bait UV glow eggs and shrimp has worked well, as have quarter-ounce spoons. Additionally, deeper-diving Shad Rap size 5 lures in Purpledescent or orange Crawdad colors did well. “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. CD7 Rapala Countdowns in silver or rainbow trout are effective. Additionally, dragging sculpins has resulted in some nice 16-plus inch rainbow trout.
“Stay safe during this heat. Drink plenty of water, wear a hat and use sunscreen. After applying, make sure to wash your hands so you don’t get any on your bait.”
(updated 7-20-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week, they had four rain events combining for 3 inches in Cotter, hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.3 foot to rest at 1.3 feet below power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 34.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 2 feet below power pool and 16 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 1.8 feet below power pool and 10.4 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 rose 0.5 foot to rest at 1.3 feet over power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 23.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater has had wadable water this past week. All of the lakes in the White River System 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 the 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 Ears 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).
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 7-13-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday the lake level is steady at 659 feet msl. Water temperature is around 85 degrees but is 90s in the backs. Bass activity seems fair. A thermocline is starting to form down there around 26 feet. Get up early, especially with this heat, and you’ll get a chance at some topwater action. Look for surface activity along shallow areas close to deep water. If you’re around them, they will show themselves, but it’s still hit or miss. They are schooled up and covering water. A popper or small walk-the-dog like a Lucky Craft Gunfish or Sammy if you can get it in there while they’re up.
“Shad are spread out everywhere. Most topwater for me has been closer to the main lake or on the main lake. Look in large creeks early if you’re planning to fish runoff or stained water. If the conditions are right you can catch them on a Whopper Plopper on the flats and remaining bushes. Pick up a Jewel Jig Bass Whacker in green pumpkin orange or a big red worm or green pumpkin shaky head in any of the laydowns, brush piles, drop-offs – cover water. Look at the temps back there before you start. Be sure to fish the conditions.”
If it’s sunny and clear, stay out toward the main lake and use natural colors on small profile baits. Look at ledges, keep boat off the fish. Start early with a topwater and as it slows, a drop-shot has been my go-to bait matched with a Robo Worm on brush piles, bluffs, standing timber off ledges or suspenders. Bonus walleye are mixed in on the brush piles off points in 25-28 feet.
“It’s summer for sure. You’re gonna have to cat and mouse ’em most days. Tater Shad will also work on the deeper suspenders at 35-45 feet. Also a big R2S Flutter if the largemouths and Kentuckys are up high (0-20 feet) and a small spoon if they are deeper (20-40). Use a spoon or Jewel Scope Spin on schoolers. Don’t put the topwater away after the morning bite. If they start generating, there will be a flurry.”
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 7-13-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 556.97 feet msl and has risen three-quarters of an inch in the last 24 hours with absolutely no discharge for four days. Both generators at the dam are still out of service. The level continues to creep up. The surface water temperature is 87 degrees and the water is clear down to 16 feet and there is a mudline with very little visibility down past the thermocline at 23 feet. It is clear down past that. A lot of fish are in the mudline, especially on main lake points around brush near the bottom, including bass, catfish and walleye. Some white bass are roaming a few feet above the bottom. Stripers and some larger walleye are deep and being caught on the jigging spoon. Drop it right on their heads. The night bite for bass with a black light and salt craw is very good near Cranfield Island from 9 p.m. until almost midnight. Bluegill are under docks and biting crickets in the shade. Catfish are hitting prepared baits on drop-shotted jugs and trotlines back in the creeks. Flatheads have finished spawning and are hungry but only bite live baits. Get out early, take the middle of the day off, and fish until or after dark. The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level for boating and fishing.
Visit blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for a daily report.
(updated 7-20-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new reports, but Lou posts almost daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.
(updated 7-20-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.5 foot to rest at 1.3 feet over power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 23.1 feet below the top of flood pool. All turbines at the dam 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 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). John says his favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan Worm and a ruby Midge. The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.
Dry Run Creek has fished a poorly. 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.
John also said, “I have often said that my biggest problem is keeping up with my gear. This past week I had a guide trip to Dry Run Creek for a brother and a sister. My wife, Lori, was out of town competing in a dog show with our Labrador retrievers, Tilley and Ghillie. I was to join them in Springfield, Missouri, at the end of my guide trip. I find guide trips to Dry Run Creek much more challenging because the young clients have never fished before and have no gear. Therefore, I furnish it.
“I have found that if my clients wear waders there they can fish several spots that other anglers cannot comfortably reach. I have about a dozen pairs of waders of various sizes. Before the trip I asked the father what sizes his kids require. He also supplied his shoe size. The day before the trip I go through the garage gathering the three sets of waders (waders, boots and wader belt) that I will need the next day. I also include three pairs of heavy wool socks to wear under the waters. These are put into a folding box and put in my car.
“While I am doing this, I also make sure my waders are in my wader bag and loaded in my Suburban. I always carry a big boat net, but when there are two young anglers I carry an extra big boat net. The net stays with the angler and if I am busy with another trout, Dad can net the trout. I keep no less than five fly rods and reels already rigged and ready to go in a rack in the rear of my car. I also pack and load lunch in my Yeti for five people.
“I thought I had it all packed. I arrived at Dry Run 30 minutes early and donned my waders. I pulled out two rods and the two nets and did a last-minute check of the gear in my little chest pack to be sure that I had all the tackle I needed. I found flies, strike indicators, leaders and weights. There was no tippet. This is an ultimate rookie mistake! You can’t finish without tippet.
“I looked all through my gear to no avail. I thought I might have an extra spool in my wader bag or my rain jacket. They were not there. I remembered my last boat trip, where I took the tippet spools from my vest to the boat. I had not put them back.
“I had to figure a way to fish with no tippet. The answer was in my car. I had five rods ready to go. I fished one rod until it was so tangled I could not fix it without fresh tippet. I then took the next rod and fished it until it got tangled. At the end of the day, we were still fishing and I had three badly tangled rods in my car. My clients never knew the difference.
“Sometimes the answer is obvious.”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-20-2023) 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 7-20-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake continues to fall slightly and is a bit below normal level.”We are still smack dab in the dog days of summer. Again, what that means is get out early or late. Crappie and stripers are cruising the thermocline, which for the most part is set up at 18-30 feet, dependent on the location on the lake. If you do not know how to find the thermocline, adjust your gain up until you start to see the therm show up. It will look like a secondary bottom. The fish will be located right where that starts. So, if fishing, concentrate at the depth you see that. Where the two meet is some of the best dissolved oxygen levels. So, when trolling for crappie or stripers place you baits or cranks at that level and you will catch fish.
“Stripers have been caught from Prairie Creek all the way down to the dam. Shad and bluegills are working. Trolling for crappie, run cranks that will skirt the level where you see the thermocline. Bandit 300s will touch 12-14 feet deep at 2 mph.
“Catfish have been smashing trolled cranks also this week on every trip I have run. Bluegill are there for the taking. A float and a cricket will fill a stringer.
“The lake is lowering, so watch out for barely submerged structure. There have been a lot of boaters grounded on different hazards lately. It’s hot and this pattern will continue until water temps drop into lower 70s, which may be awhile. Good luck and stay safe!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 7-6-2023) 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 7-13-2023) 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’ve got to work for them.) Most trout are being caught using Pautzke Fire Bait and Fire Eggs, fished with light terminal tackle. Gold and silver spoons have also done great, especially during generation. Quarter-ounce, letting it sink and working back slowly has been the preferred presentation. As far as the walleye, like stated above you have to work for them and try various methods. Jerkbaits and jigging soft plastics have produced the best numbers.”
This week’s hot spot has been between Spider Creek and Parker Bottoms, but don’t expect to get up there by boat unless you have a jet or until they kick on water at the dam. Water temperature has 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 7-20-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) did not have any new reports.
(updated 7-20-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says water is a up a little from last week and has cooled off some. And crappie and bass took the opportunity to go rest; she heard no reports on those species.
However, bream are good on jigs and worms, while catfish are good using worms, shrimp and goldfish.
Water temperature Sunday was 78.8 degrees. Clarity is the usual murky.
(updated 7-13-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said Lake Poinsett has the bream still biting. The bigger bream seem to be off rocky shores in about 12-15 feet of water biting on worms or crickets. Catfish are deeper right now and more active in the evenings on chicken liver and other good-smelling baits. Bass and crappie are still catch-and-release but the crappie have been biting on minnows and worms. Bass are biting on white jigs around structures and frogs off the water primrose.
(updated 7-20-2023) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) had no reports.
(updated 7-20-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water level on the Spring River is fishable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is here. Fish early or late to avoid the boats. 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.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-13-2023) Stephanie Clingenpeel, seasonal park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said that Henry, a young angler, and his father were out fishing over the last few days on Cane Creek Lake and throughout their visit they caught around 10 small largemouth bass and numerous bream of all sizes around the boat dock and in the shallow water. Most notably, the pair caught several largemouth bass and channel catfish out in the deeper part of the lake. They had most success fishing on a trotline using small redear sunfish for bait. Spotted gar were seen in the area as well. The ambient temperature has been an average of 83 degrees and partly cloudy with a slight breeze through Monday.
On Sunday, Tyler and some friends, a group of young anglers, reported spending the weekend fishing off the Cane Creek boat dock. They caught numerous largemouth bass fry, redear sunfish and bream. They had the most success in the areas that were shallow and covered mostly by lily pads. The temperature on average was 83 degrees, partly cloudy, with a slight breeze.
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 7-20-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the Army Corps of Engineers has initiated a 2-foot drawdown to run through mid-September. Millwood Lake is about 3 inches below normal conservation pool and falling due to the drawdown conditions, and clarity continues improving in most locations. Use EXTREME CAUTION during the drawdown when stumps and obstacles will be at or near surface pool in many locations. Some boat lanes in the main lake will be inaccessible during the drawdown with shallow flats and stumps preventing navigation.
Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow from Wilton Landing remains more heavily stained. Currently Millwood is near 259.0 feet msl, and tailwater elevation near 240 feet msl and rising with gate discharge at the dam near 11,800 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website linked under Millwood Lake above, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. The drawdown is expected to reach 257.2 feet msl late this week or next week.
The project to improve Yarborough Landing has been completed this week.
Mike had these specifics on the Millwood Lake fishing:
* Largemouth bass are slow, and best from daybreak until up around 10 a.m. along the river from mouth of Snake Creek dump all the way upriver to Hurricane Creek dump. Best early and late on plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shads and Brush Hogs, or Bang 3.5-inch Skunk Apes in the pads along grass lines ranging from 2-4 pounds and activity slows in midday heat. “We connected with some largemouth and Kentuckies and Whites on Cordell Jigging Spoons all in various groups following shad schools along the river. During the drawdown, the current and falling lake level has begun pulling most bass to the creek mouths, primary and secondary points where channel dumps, and into Little River.”
Best action along Little River is near 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 cypress trees, until the sun gets above the trees. Once the sun reaches overhead, they are pulling out off the flats into 9- to 10-feet-deep creek channels where grass and reeds and fresh lily pad shoots are emerging. Best color of Shad Assassins with current water clarity is Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom, Chico’s Red Ear and Pumpkinseed. Best colors of Brush Hogs are Watermelon Candy, June Bug Red and Skunk Apes in black/blue tail, Hematoma Shad or Blank Check.
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. After about 9-10 a.m., bass will randomly 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 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 Power Worms have been Blue Fleck, Black Grape and Brush Hogs in Watermelon Candy with chartreuse tail.
* For a couple weeks, some very large schools of white bass have been spotted schooling and surface-breaking in Little River between Jack’s Isle and mouth of Snake Creek along the edges near grass mats on threadfin shad. These whites were hitting jigging spoons when we saw them surface schooling last 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 we were vertical-jigging chrome Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons, and ranged from 2-3 pounds each.
* Crappie continue biting well near Saratoga and Millwood State Park this week and are biting best using minnows one day, and jigs the next, in 12-16 feet of depth in planted brush piles up to 2.25 pounds.
* Bream were biting well above Jack’s Aisle, and more beds were seen last week. Those bream were biting best on crickets, redworms and sweet corn.
* Blue catfish 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. Punch bait, chicken hearts/gizzard and catalpa worms are working. Several folks were snagging below the dam with the increased discharge this week, also.
(updated 7-20-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) has a Crappie Masters Lake Erling Showdown going on Thursday through Saturday. Fish are biting really well early, then as it warms up they are not biting near as good. Hand-tied jigs and minnows are working best on the crappie.
Meanwhile, the local anglers are catching lots of catfish on jugs, trotlines and noodles and they’re using anything for bait, it doesn’t matter.
Folks are still ccatching a lot of bream around the lake, and the store is selling lots of crickets and worms for them. They have seen several schools of black bass in the mornings and afternoons, but they haven’t heard of anyone catching any bass yet.
The lake was more than 3 feet high after heavy rain last week, but has come down as of Thursday. On Friday or Saturday it should be back to full pool, they report. The rainfall did cool the lake down nicely, which helped get the fish biting again. The water clarity is clear in spite of the heavy rainfall.
The tournament results will be carried on the Crappie Masters Facebook page live during the midafternoon (around 3 p.m.) Friday and Saturday. Crappie Masters is a national group. The tournament has drawn anglers from many states in the region.
The Lake Erling Guide Service store is open daily, 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. weekdays, 9 p.m. on weekends. 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 7-20-2023) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Yep, it’s hot! Water’s hot and the air is hot! Hydrate, folks!
“The water temperature is mid- to high 80s. It’s clear and still windy, it seems. Water level at this time is 405.01 feet and falling.
“It’s hot and I have had limited time on the water. But in a nutshell, here it is: The biggest story is the schooling fish. They are pretty well lake-over if you can find calm water you can get action on whites, Kentuckys, Spoons are great always; 2-ounce white and chartreuse is my favorite. Lots of fish near the bottom in these pockets. Deep-diving crankbaits are good and can be trolled, also. Topwater action will be on if the water is calm. Devil Horse, Whopper Plopper, Zara Spook, Chuggers and other noisy baits will work. Still getting reports of good crappie catches in the brush piles casting jigs. Fish slow and deep.
“Short and sweet: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!”
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 7-20-2023) 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. Entergy is generating 6,900 cfs for seven hours each day this week through Friday. Fair numbers of white bass have migrated into the tailrace chasing shad. July is a good month for white bass fishing, although most of the fish present are on the smaller size. Topwater activity is key in locating feeding bass. The main channels hold the majority of shad, and anglers casting ⅛-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. Live bait is a must when anglers are serious about catching numbers of fish in the area. While artificial lures work when feeding fish are showing themselves, anglers must be patient and use live presentations when no topwater activity is present.
The rainbow trout season is over with very few fish caught or seen in the last several weeks. While a few fish have been caught in the last month, 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.
Always wear a lifejacket when on Lake Catherine and be aware of the generation schedules 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.
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. Most ‘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.
For the current lake level at Blakely Dam, click here.
(updated 7-20-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass remain fair. Drop-shot for some spotted bass action near brush in the 18-22 feet range. Walleye are excellent. Silver spoons and drop-shotting nightcrawlers are working for these fish. 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. Bream are good. Try a cricket or worm near brush in the 15-25 feet depth range for a quality bite. Crappie are fair and being caught on small jigs or minnows. Try brush and structure 20-25 feet deep. Catfish are fair on rod-and-reel with crawlers or stink bait. Jugs and trotlines with live or cut bait are working well, too.
Water temperature is a steady 84-88 degrees now. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 575.27 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.
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 7-13-2023) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) says that the lake is low and muddy. The water conditions and the recent heat has really slowed the bite down for anglers. Bass anglers are having some luck with white spinnerbaits and buzzbaits as well as flipping a Texas rig black and red flake soft plastic to the hollow cypress trees. For bream, crickets have been working the best around laydowns, about 18 inches under a cork. Crappie anglers have pulled out a few on black and chartreuse jigs in the hollow trees.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-mile-long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass, and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing during normal business hours Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m., water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers, and up to two 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.
AGFC Commissioner Meeting Notice
Dec. 4, 2023
Northeast Arkansas efforts highlighted at AGFC meeting
Nov. 30, 2023
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