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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 10-19-2023


Oct. 19, 2023

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

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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: You don’t often hear about largemouth bass being caught in the cool Spring River of northeastern Arkansas, where the targets are usually trout and smallmouth bass, but Chuck Lajuanesse landed a largemouth fishing with guide Mark Crawford. Crawford reports that the Spring is very low and there are pools where black bass are congregating and feasting with the arrival of fall.

Quick Links to Regions
Central Arkansas

North Arkansas

Northwest Arkansas

Northeast Arkansas

Southeast Arkansas

Southwest Arkansas

South-Central Arkansas

West-Central Arkansas

East Arkansas

Arkansas River and White River levels are available at:

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit:

For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:

Download the Fish Brain app and follow AGFC at:



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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 10-19-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said fishing is the same as it’s been. Catfish are great. But the big news the past two weeks is that crappie are too now. “Saturday (Oct. 7) it started picking up and they’re coming on now,” they tell us. “We’ve sold lots of minnows, but most people are using jigs. We don’t have a (1/32-ounce) jighead in the house.”
Crappie are in the channels — that’s about all the major water left and the lake is being drained for the AGFC’s major renovation planned there – and will bite in 2 feet of water. This time of the year is about when crappie kick on, as the water temperature settles into their comfort zone.
Catfish are very hot now on trotlines and jugs. The best bait to use is trotline minnows or bass minnows.
Nothing has been heard this week on the bass front, and bream disappeared about the time the drawdown began last month.

The prize for catching a tagged fish in Lake Conway (through Oct. 31) has been raised from $500 to $1,000. There were over 50 fish tagged by the AGFC to aid in research as the lake is drawn down, and two tagged fish were caught when the value was $500 per tag. Many fish were expected to escape from the lake through the Palarm Creek spillway as the lake continues to drop.

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 ( to see forecast generation schedule.

(updated 10-19-2023) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said the Southwestern Power Administration has not been running water for the past several days and the river is extremely low. Let’s hope we get some rainfall.
The best bite has been early mornings or after they generate some water. With the lack of generation, the fish have been concentrated in the deeper water. The shallow water has the fish on edge, so try to make longer casts. While wade fishing try to walk in a stealthy manor not to spook the fish.
Try fishing the deeper stretches along the moss beds. The fish have been in the deeper lanes look for the deeper spots beside the moss and cast to those areas.
With no moving water the river is like fishing a pond.
“While fishing out of the boat I have been having people cast in a spot, let it fish for a moment, and if no strike, cast 5 feet further and keep working the area as I row down the river covering water.
“The fish have been hitting the flies softly, so set on anything that resembles a hit. Eggs and midges have been the hot flies for me of lately.
“A San Juan Worm has also been producing. Try giving the San Juan Worms a little action by giving it a little flicker with the tip of your rod every now and then. That little bit of movement from the flicker of the rod will produce a strike in water that has no movement.”

(updated 10-19-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said that will little release from the dam lately, the bank fishing has been good. On a boat, however, there’s not as much access because water is so low. This sets up for great wade fishing opportunities using the AGFC walk-in areas, such as JFK Park, Libby, Swinging Bridge and Cow Shoals, to name a few.
Trout anglers are mostly caching them on Carolina-rigged PowerBait or on a small Rooster Tail or a small Little Cleo (or small spoon) and a Maribou Jig (anything in olive or white has worked well lately).

(updated 10-5-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) said, “We are experiencing minimal water release for the Little Red River from the Greers Ferry Dam. This pattern is creating low water conditions. Lower sections are unfortunately seeing warm-water conditions. Water release pattern could change if the need for hydropower increases or we have cooler air temperatures. If you plan to fish the Trout Magnet, consider using mealworm and pink-lemonade-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. For fly-fishing, consider San Juan Worm, egg pattern, Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail and Midges. 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 ( for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website ( 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 10-19-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said fishing patterns seem to be same as they were last week. Bass are hitting topwaters mostly. They’re starting to move into the creeks. They’re being found mostly on secondary points and biting on topwaters and shad-looking baits. Also try a drop-shots around brush for some response. Crappie are also hungry around the brush in 15-20 feet. Some anglers are catching crappie by trolling Bandit crankbaits. Nothing has been heard this week on walleye.

(updated 10-19-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 453.75 feet, or 8.29 feet below normal pool. Right now is great time to check out the lay of land that’s usually underwater — film it or mark it for later when water gets back up so it can help you understand how the fish set up here for you to catch later, and wear your life jackets and be safe. Crappie are as high as 4-5 feet floating around the surface in places, while in others they are still in 40 feet depth; pick your favorite way to catch then and stay with program with jigs or jigs tipped with minnow. Crank baits working as well.
No report on catfish other than they are following baitfish around eating what other fish spit up all over lake and rivers. Black bass are super shallow out to suspended over 80 feet or sitting on structure in 43 feet. The top, middle or bottom of water column are working with a lot of different baits.
Walleye are still eating, just finding them is the ticket now. Drag crawlers 15-45 feet deep for best results, or use a spoon.
Hybrid and white bass are scattered all over lake and rivers feeding pretty well, and it will be even better soon. They are on top at times, some are trying to get settled in 33 feet, while most are trying to get settled in 43 feet. Then they first get out of deep water they will act kind of crazy like this for a while until they get settled down on the structure they like, close to bait and the right water conditions. Use spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and hair jigs for best results.

Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-5-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says everything is doing well. Anglers are catching a lot of catfish on trotline, with some more than 12 pounds. They are using minnows and stink bait on the lines at night. Largemouth bass are biting well in the mornings and the evenings. Anglers are using purple-colored soft plastic worms among a variety of other baits. One bass caught was about 4-5 pounds by an angler fishing from a kayak. The same angler caught several as well during the recent full moon that were at least 2 pounds each.

Bream have slowed down but you can still catch some off the bank on worms and crickets. Crappie are still slow; the temperature of the water is reportedly still not right, according to anglers. Still some anglers are trying and catching a few that were small. Minnows and jigs are best if you’re going to try.
The water level is kind of low, they say, and muddied with the rain last week. It should clear up with no more rain though.

Lake Overcup
(updated 10-19-2023) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 had no new reports.

Lake Maumelle
(updated 10-19-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reports that water temperature is now down into the low 70s. The largemouth bass bite is fair, as it slowed down this week, but they are biting best in the mornings and evenings still. They can be found shallow, with some starting to hit topwater baits and appear scattered. Also try using crankbaits, Rat-L-Trap-style baits, square bills and shaky heads. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are also fair with reports of them being found at all depths and scattered. Some anglers reported catching them in 10-15 feet off rocky points. Shaky heads and jigs will work best.
As an indicator of how the black bass may be biting, the Arkansas High School Bassers held an event last Saturday on Lake Maumelle, with Tristan Golden and Carter Shinn from Bryant catching a winning five-bass stringer worth 14.01 pounds. The next day, 12 pounds won the Trader Bill’s High School event, while 11.91 pounds was the top haul in the Lake Maumelle Winter Series also Sunday.
White bass are slow but are reported chasing balls of shad. Crappie are good around brush in 16-18 feet on jigs and minnows. Bream are slow, but the ones being caught are anywhere from 8 to 15 feet deep. Use crickets or redworms. Catfish are slow but will bite bream, liver and worms.

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 10-19-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water is fine and clear, and the fishing seems to be similar this week to what it’s been in recent weeks. Anglers are beginning to catch messes of crappie using minnows. One angler reported catching a limit of black bass but they were small. Crankbaits are the go-to for bass now. Ray has not heard any reports on catfish. Mostly the focus is now on crappie. “They seem to be coming on now. If it would just cool off, the water is still a little warm.” Even with the water being a little warmer than ideal, the crappie are biting in about 5-6 feet, he said.

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 10-19-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says conditions and fishing patterns are pretty consistent. It turned cold over the weekend but warmed back up. The bass have been biting on the sandbar points for anglers throwing Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and tubes. The crappie are around 5-10 feet in brush and biting on crappie jigs and minnows. Catfish are pretty much also being found around the sandbars and will bite cut shad or stink bait.

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White River
(updated 10-19-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake is 4.5 feet below power pool offering steady releases over the last five days averaging 3,000 to 6,000 cfs with spikes up to three units (12,000 cfs). Some days allow for wade fishing, usually mid-morning hours. At these levels, a john boat angler can put an anchor down and fish a favorite deep spot or drift downriver keeping a tight line held near the river bed without having to use too much weight.

Rainbows have been feisty and hefty, paying most attention to flashy baits. Thomas Buoyant Hammered Spoons (especially blue/silver) continue to cause a stir. Add some jigs to your arsenal — orange and ginger are best right now — to increase the action. Can’t beat the white PowerBait topping a pink worm if you’re drifting over the shoals.
The brown bite has been a little challenging with the onset of the annual spawn, but we’re still seeing some action with sculpin. During these crucial months (November through January for the brown spawn), be careful not to disturb the spawning beds (the redds) while motoring or wading through spawning areas around Rim Shoals and either side of the catch-and-release areas.
“We’ve been promised more sunshine and temperate days (very cool mornings, though) to continue for a while. Come visit Cotter; catch some rainbows and enjoy the beauty of our Natural State.”

(updated 10-19-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said that this week they have seen water depths on most days between 3-4.5 feet and on Tuesday a spike up to 6.5 feet down to 4.5 feet on Wednesday morning. Fishing has been great over the last week. Nickel/gold and copper/gold quarter-ounce spoons worked well. Also Rapala Countdowns CD 7 in rainbow trout, silver and gold colors. Drift-fishing with Uncommon Baits Bright Orange or Neo Pink UV eggs with shrimp worked best to catch a limit of rainbows. Fishing with corn also worked well. If going for bigger fish, drift-fish with sculpins. On Tuesday the AGFC pontoon raft stocked 2,400 rainbows between Calico Rock and Piney Creek (6 miles downriver) before receiving another load of fish and stocking down to Sylamore Creek. The AGFC pontoon raft was set to run again on Thursday and the Calico area should see about the same number of fish stocked, Dave said.

(updated 10-19-2023) John Berry, angler and retired guide/owner Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter, said that during the past week they had no rain, cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell a foot to rest at 4.5 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 3.5 feet below power pool and 17.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 5.8 feet below power pool and 15.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had less wadable water with moderate flows in the afternoon during peak power demand. Norfork Lake remained steady at 0.5 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater had wadable water. All of the lakes are below the top of power pool. Expect wadable water in the coming days with heavy flows in the afternoon during peak power demand. 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 floodgates.
John said the hot spot on the White River has been Bull Shoals State Park. “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 Pheasant Tail (size 14) with a ruby midge dropper (size 18).
John also said, “I retired from guiding about a month ago. I am a member of a breakfast group made up of fellow fly-fishers. A couple of those guys, Danny Sabo and Mike Inger, wanted to take me fishing. This is a very unusual situation for me. I have been a working guide for over 30 years. During that time I have taken literally thousands of people fishing but no one has taken me.

“I wasn’t sure that I would know how to act.
“We met at the White Hole ramp at 11 a.m. The plan was to fish below there until the Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to increase generation. That would give us plenty of water to motor up to Bull Shoals Dam to fish the water below it, which has some really large trout.
“We went in Danny’s boat, a XX Power Drifter. This boat looks like a big drift boat with a big 40-horse jet. It is an impressive watercraft. Every square inch was utilized and organized. I found it to be a stable casting platform. It is gorgeous!
“It was cool and sunny. The water was gin clear and on the bottom. Danny took first turn on the oars. During the day he switched off with Mike so they would both get a chance to fish. Thankfully they did not ask me to row. I began with my usual bead-head Pheasant Tail with a Ruby Midge dropper. I did not get a bump. Mike was catching fish on a regular basis. He had given me a container of several of the bead-head orange conical flies (the blob) he was fishing, so it made sense to fish those flies. I finally caught a nice rainbow. I fished nothing else for the rest of the day.
“We waited for the water to come up, but it did not occur when predicted. We kept fishing and finally stopped for a late lunch. We had individual containers of ham, cheese, crackers and grapes (charcuterie) that Danny had prepared with soft drinks. I was impressed when he pulled some individual chilled containers containing still frozen vanilla ice cream from his big Yeti. The containers included a folding spoon. It was one of the simplest and best shore lunches that I have had in a while.
“While we were enjoying our lunch, the water finally came up. We pulled up the anchor and headed to the dam. It was much less crowded than I expected. We caught some good drifts and caught a few nice fish. I believe most if not all of the trout caught were hooked on the orange fly. The bite slowed and we decided to head back to White Hole.
“It had been a great day. I had people that decided where to go, supplied a fly that worked, presented a great lunch and netted my fish. I could get used to this.”

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 10-19-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that the lake level continues to fall and is sitting at 654 feet msl. The water temperature dropped to 69 degrees, give or take, a big drop from 77 degrees only two weeks ago. “Bass fishing has been up and down like the weather I have caught fish on a Whopper Plopper all the way down to 50 feet on a Tater Shad. It’s a mixed bag. You can catch them a bunch of different ways without one being better than the other.
“Looks like we’re getting some shallow fish creeping up. Early morning topwater is still hit or miss. A small walk-the-dog-style bait like a Zara Spook or Lucky Craft Gunfish will work. If they’re busing, don’t put it away, though, as they can go to the middle of the day.
“Fall fishing equals junk fishing, covering water with a Whopper Plopper, buzzbait, square bill, Chatterbait in shad or white colors are working beset for me. With a Rock Crawler in green pumpkin orange, target steep transition banks in wind and hopefully clouds.
“The shad have started their migration into the creeks. There are wads of shad half to three-quarters ways back middle of the channel or pushed on the flats, especially if there is wind. Shad balls are everywhere right now. Look for areas where they are bunched up. I have found groups from the surface down to 50 feet. Graphing can pay off, as 28-34 feet depth seems to be a consistent depth for the drop-shot.
“On the points, brush piles, ledges, swings, etc., a big worm, a shaky head worm and Jewel Jig in green pumpkin orange are working. It seems you need to have some color in the water for this bite, especially areas where there are shad nearby.
“If you venture into the stained water in the backs, there are some shad there. They seem to be moving out with the cooler nights. Most days you’re going to have to work for a bite. Try a Beaver-style bait in the laydowns.
“There’s a lot of roaming suspended schooling fish in 20-35 feet over deep water still. These videogame fish can be tough to fool; try a small shad swimbait, a Damiki or Hover Rig with a Tater Shad. Walleye have started trolling over deep shad. I believe we lot the thermocline. Crappie guys’ jig bit slowed a bit, but they are still hopping brush piles and that’s working for them; they are having to use a crappie minnow under a float.

“Every day is different, fish the conditions. It isn’t easy fishing right now, but it’s getting better!”
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.

Norfork Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Norfork Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-12-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said Wednesday night the lake level was 553.26 feet msl and creeping up with no dam discharge for a week as of 6:30 p.m. The White River at Newport is 4.35 feet and all of the water is coming from Bull Shoals. Both generators are still inoperable at Norfork Dam. The surface water temperature is 70 degrees. The lake turned over on Sept. 22 but has not cleared up as it usually does in the fall. The cold water is now at about 45-50 feet and there is not much oxygen past there and also not many fish. Scuba Steve says he has been fishing and diving mostly brush piles on the main lake steep river channel bank brush piles and finding bluegill shallow, Kentucky Bass in front of the brush piles, walleye on the side of them and crappie roaming looking for baitfish. Use a 3-inch crawdad creature bait on a 3/16th-ounce jighead for the bass in front of the brush. The smallmouth are right in the brush and a small spoon vertical-jigged straight down is your best bet. Crappie are roaming and checking out brush for baitfish. No baitfish, no crappie; but if you look on banks where the wind has been blowing into, you will find them.
Temperate bass are moving north and getting ready for their night bite near the full moon in November right at and after dark on a stick bait. Use a 4- to 6-pound test clear line with a slip float and live minnow and set it about 5 feet further than you can see your bait for crappie and big bluegill right over brush.
Fishing overall is just fair but some nice ones are being brought in every day. The lake is at a good level and in good condition. Visit and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for a daily update.

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 10-19-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said Norfork Lake remained steady at 0.5 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater had wadable water. All of the lakes are below the top of power pool. Expect wadable water in the coming days with heavy flows in the afternoon during peak power demand. 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 floodgates.
The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like Zebra Midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-head nymph (Zebra Midge, Copper John or Pheasant Tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan Worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). John says his favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan Worm and a Ruby Midge. The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.

Dry Run Creek has fished a bit better despite a lot of fishing pressure. School is back in session and weekdays are not as crowded. The hot flies have been Sowbugs, various colored San Juan Worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and white mop flies. Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-19-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing well but are very low. With moderate 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.

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Beaver Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Beaver Lake Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.           

(updated 10-19-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is now in the 1,114 feet msl range. “What that means is we are lower than we have been in quite some time. Good news is the lake is in final turnover. Fall bite should be kicking in, and on that note we had a good day (Tuesday) on crappie that were behaving pretty good.
“Water color is getting a bit more of a green color in river arms. In this body of water, that’s a good thing. Crappie were on brush in 12-20 feet of water. They’re close to the bottom and can be caught on jigs or minnows. Look from Horseshoe Bend up to Camp War Eagle. Stripers are fair to good. Look from Prairie Creek down to Point 2. This should flip and the fish should be migrating back to Point 12 in the next month or so. Bass fishing is hit and miss. Look from the banks out to 20 feet. All types of methods are putting lots of spotted bass in the boat.
Walleye are scattering and will settle down once turnover is completed. With the low water levels, make sure you know where you are running your water craft, as there are many obstructions in play. Be safe and good luck!”

Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.

(updated 9-28-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said this summer was slow. It got hot (in temperature) and they just didn’t see a lot of fishermen. Crappie are OK now, there is just no fishing pressure. The lake is down several feet. It’s pretty, but now about 6-7 feet below normal level. Water is clear. Anglers are LiveScoping and catching crappie around brush. Black bass are just hit or miss on a hodgepodge of baits. “I can’t find any consistent pattern the anglers are using,” they report. “If it’s cloud they’re fishing shallow with a topwater early and doing fair. If it’s a clear day, they just finesse them with soft plastics in 10-15 feet depth. There is good fishing, overall; they are catching some bass, but there just is no real consistency.”
 Nothing’s been heard lately on white bass or catfish.
 “Most people coming in to the store have a bow in their hands now, so the fishing pressure is just light … nobody is burning them up.” Call it fair all around on fishing. Use minnows for the crappie. Regular walleye anglers are probably catching a few here and there in the river arms.

Beaver Tailwater
(updated 10-19-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the fishing this past week has been off and on. Water temperature has been around 50 degrees and the water level 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 walleye bite 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 fishing Facebook page (
Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for day-to-day updates between reports. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!

Lake Fayetteville
(updated 10-12-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said catfish did really well this week. Black bass were being caught, though there was nothing too big, while white bass were caught by anglers not even looking for them. They were trying to catch crappie or bream but he minnows and jigs were getting white bass to bite.

Bream were OK. Crappie will bite about like the bream, and the ones being caught being around 10-12 inches.
Catfish are biting liver, catfish bait and worms. Black bass were favoring the wacky worm this week.
Fishing is hit or miss every other day with the weather changing, they say. It’s been a little slower this week, they add. The water is stained and the water level will rise really high after a rain, only to drop by quickly back to normal. The lake rarely drops down low.


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Lake Charles
(updated 10-19-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) had no fishing reports from this past week. She says that according to the “moon times” fishing should be at its best Oct. 25-31. Before this week, the action has been mostly fair with some good bass fishing. Bream were fair on worms and crickets. Crappie were fair on minnows, jigs and worms and they still remain in deep water. Catfish were fair with worms, chicken liver, and minnows.
Lake water temperature began to close into the 60-degree mark Sunday afternoon, with a reading of 61.3 degrees. Water depth improved with a return to normal level. The clarity is the usual murky.

Lake Poinsett
(updated 10-12-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said Lake Poinsett is still doing well with black bass and some crappie. The bass have been biting well around the lily pads and the crappie are a bit deeper with live bait. Bream are still biting, but have been more active early in the morning and right before dusk. Catfish are doing outstanding on just about anything at night. One angler and his family caught around 100 over the weekend per their report. They said anything they put on the hook seemed to work for the catfish.

Spring River
(updated 10-19-2023) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are very low at 200 cfs and water clarity has been very clear. “We really need rain in the area. The river is very low and clear with excellent catching in these conditions. Lots of hopper dropper action with eggs and nymphs as droppers. The fish can be picky with the clear water clarity. Lighter tippet and smaller nymphs can be the ticket on tough days. Micro streamers to imitate sculpins and baitfish work great on the dreary days that have been few and far between. On the sunny days, get it down and look for the deeper pockets.
Mark adds, “This is when Trout Magnets do the best. Hot pink, white, black and red can be hot! Fish them just off the bottom. And Trout Cranks can work well for bass that imitates rainbow and brown trout cranks.
“The largemouth bass always start biting when the water gets low and clear. Look for the slack water and hang on. Smallmouth bass have been hitting well on tubes and Ned rigs. Some of the best smallie water has been hard to get to with low water conditions, but if you can get to the remote areas, the smallies are hitting hard!
“Hoping we get rain in the near future!”

(updated 10-19-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator 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 over but there will still be a few boats out while the weather is nice. 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.

White River
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.


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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 10-19-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperature in the river is in the low 70s and visibility ranges 6 to 12 or more inches. There is little to no flow on the main channel. Black bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, shallow-running crankbaits and lipless crankbaits in shad/chrome colors, especially near woody cover and docks/piers. Windy banks tend to produce better than slack ones.

Cane Creek Lake
(updated 10-12-2023) Stephanie Clingenpeel, seasonal park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no new reports, but in recent weeks she had spoken with anglers who said they were able to catch a few nice-sized crappie off the campsite fishing pier using live bait, while other anglers reported good success using minnows to catch black bass toward the south part of the lake.


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Millwood Lake
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 10-19-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service still urges boaters to use extreme caution at Millwood until normal conservation pool conditions return, as stumps and shallow flats and other obstacles are at or near the surface. Main lake boat lanes may be dry and out of the water or less than a foot deep in some areas. The Army Corps of Engineers is bringing Millwood back up to a level that is 1 foot below normal conservation pool until Nov. 1 (weather permitting), then it is scheduled to be taken back to normal pool.
As of Wednesday, the lake elevation was 11 inches below normal conservation pool and steady. Clarity is stained to heavy in most locations.
Tailwater elevation is near 226 feet msl and rising with gate discharge at the dam near 730 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website also linked at above under the lake title, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.

Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 64-70 degrees along Little River depending on location and the time of day. River clarity ranges 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from heavy stain to good clarity, visibility 10-15 inches, up to 3 feet visibility in a few locations away from river flow. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
Mike had these fishing specifics:
* For the last few weeks, the largemouth bass have been schooling in numerous locations along Little River. Bass feeding binges shifted from daybreak to later in the day, from mid-morning up until noon, but bass continue randomly schooling into early afternoon mainly in the oxbows along Little River from Mud Lake, all the way upriver to Brown’s Slough. We found several schools of adolescent aged largemouth and yearling Kentucky bass (spotted bass) schooling over the past few weeks in Mud and Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows, feeding on shad. These schooling juveniles and adolescents will bust a tandem rigged Bass Assassin Shad or Cordell Crazy Shad on the surface, then alternating with a shallow-diving Bill Lewis Lures Mag Trap in three-quarter ounce, or Echo 1.75 square bill crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps with a tail spinner.
Most bass are ranging 2-3 pounds, and over the past week the schooling activity continued in the early afternoon. We connected with some largemouth, spotted bass and white bass in the early morning on Cordell jigging spoons all in various groups following shad schools along the river. Anywhere creek channel dumps into Little River, the mouths of the creeks are holding various sized schools of largemouths or spots. Along Little River just north of Hurricane Creek dump, there have been a few good schools of schooling largemouth and juvenile spotted bass chasing shad. These schooling bass were hitting chrome/blue Spin Traps, Sexy Prism, Millwood Magic and silver-colored Tennessee Shad Rat-L-Traps after the surface-breaking slowed for another 5-10 minutes at a time.
Best color of Shad Assassins with current water clarity is Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom in the lily pads when bass are busting shad on the flats. Best colors of Brush Hogs are Watermelon Candy with chartreuse tail or June Bug Red, and Skunk Apes in black/blue tail, Hematoma Shad or Blank Check.
The schooling largemouths we found last week seemed to like our topwater plugs when surface-breaking, like the Cordell Crazy Shads (chrome/black), Baby Torpedoes (clear) and Pop-R’s (any shad color with a white bucktail) or a Bass Assassin Shad skipping on the surface. Small Bill Lewis Lures Spin Traps are also working on randomly schooling juvenile bass at various locations. After about 9-10 a.m., bass will randomly respond to a Bill Lewis ATV Square Bill, Echo 1.75 Crankbaits and three-quarter-ounce Mag Trap Rat-L-Trap. 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 ATV Square Bill or Echo 1.75 Square Bill after the topwater bite subsides, near late morning and noon.
* White bass continue random schooling and surface-breaking in Little River and the oxbows with the spotted and largemouth bass near grass mats and extended points breaking off into deep water, chasing shad. These whites were hitting our custom-painted Little John Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, or Kastmaster Hammered Spoons with a white bucktail, when we saw them surface-breaking again this week. Several different schools of whites were feeding along Little River breaking on shad at the surface, and the biggest part of the school was between 5-10 feet of depth while we were casting to them. Once the surface-breaking subsided, we were able to coax another 5-10 good bites from the school by switching to a Rat-L-Trap MR6 Crankbait or a Magnum-size three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Trap in Silverado color, or an ATV Square Bill. The majority of these hard-charging, jerk the rod out of your hands white bass were feeding aggressively, and ranged from around 2-3 pounds each.
* The crappie bite continued to improve over the past week, and was best using minnows one day and jigs the next in planted brush piles 8-10 feet of depth. Catches weighed up to 2 pounds each.
* No reports on bream or catfish.

Lake Columbia
No reports.

Lake Erling
(updated 10-19-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) has not had any reports of late. 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.

Lake Greeson
For the most updated lake level at Lake Greeson, click here.

No reports.

DeGray Lake
For the most updated lake level at DeGray Lake, click here.

(updated 10-12-2023) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) said DeGray action is on fire with water temperature ranging 72-76 degrees. Bass fishing has been great on topwater. Watch for fish schooling early in the morning through midday. When they stop schooling just watch your LiveScope and when you see them you can vertical, drop a spoon on them. White bass have been schooling along with the blacks but have been below the largemouth and spots and can be caught on spoons. Hybrids are being caught on topwater out over deeper water.
No reports on crappie
Randy adds, “Book your trip today to get some of best action you can get.”

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.

Dierks Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Dierks Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

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White Oak Lake Area
No reports.


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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.

Lake Atkins
(updated 10-19-2023) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-264-0851) said anglers were catching a few largemouth bass with some quite sizeable up to 6 pounds. Meanwhile, the crappie are deep. Anglers are catching some but they are of no real size. “A bunch of smalls,” he said, “about 9 inches, some are 10 inches, but the big ones are still down deep.” The water temperature Wednesday was 67 inches. Donald says with a temperature of 65 degrees or cooler, the crappie will start moving into the coves, and he anticipates that coming in a couple of weeks. Rain is in the long-range forecast for a week from Friday.
Shad is started into be around the area, he said. For fishing for the crappie, he says the anglers are using minnows and chartreuse/black jigs. The bass anglers weren’t as forthcoming, neither where they were catching the bass nor the baits being used. They were showing photos of what they caught, however, and some bass were impressive, he said, but he hasn’t seen any of the 10- or 11-pounders that have been caught there in the past.

Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit

(updated 10-19-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 61 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has not scheduled a recreational weekend release the past several weeks and the same is planned for this weekend. Also, the weekday release has been reduced to minimum flow for purposes of power generation and lake level management. This pattern will continue for the next several months in an effort to refill Lake Ouachita, which as of Thursday is 10 feet below normal pool. The AGFC’s rainbow trout stocking will begin again in mid-November, which will bring life back to the area — the trout season ended early this year due to the constant flooding of spring. The annual winter drawdown will also begin in November, although no exact date has been announced, to allow for dock renovation and vegetation control.
Extreme heat of the summer kept many anglers off the water below Carpenter Dam, but diehard anglers caught numbers of white bass in late August and early September, as these fish migrate in and out of the tailrace chasing threadfin shad. Zara Spooks and Alabama rigs have been the lures of choice when feeding schools of bass have been observed in the late evening on the main channel and just below the bridge. Jigs have also caught fish over the deeper waters of the main channel in a white or gray pattern. Hybrid bass have also been taken using the same techniques — most hybrids have been in in the 3- to 4-pound class. A few large stripers have been seen in the area when the turbines are running just before nightfall.
No big numbers of game fish have been reported during the summer months, but several different species of fish are always present near the dam. Bream and crappie numbers are low but are being caught on jigs, minnows and nightcrawlers during periods of no generation, along with catfish that spawn next to the dam in late June. Because baitfish are often present in the tailrace, these species can be found and caught all throughout the warm months.
Good numbers of crappie and white bass are always taken by anglers in March and April, which are the times for these gamefish to spawn. The absence of rainbow trout always creates a huge void for anglers to deal with on Lake Catherine in the tailrace area. This year was no exception. Fishing will improve dramatically as the trout stocking schedule kicks into gear this fall and temperatures allow a safer environment to be on the water. Always wear a life jacket when on the water and remember to follow all park and boating regulations when visiting our local lakes.

Lake Dardanelle
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ outflow and gauge level reports from Dardanelle, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-12-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no new reports.

Lake Hamilton
(updated 10-19-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said bass anglers are concentrating on main lake points and the guts of creeks. Mostly they are targeting schooling fish or fish relating to a drop-off or ledge. Crankbaits or a drop-shot work when the bass are down on the drop-offs. When the fish are schooling, anglers are catching them on a clear Zara Spook or some kind of clear topwater lure.
Crappie on Lake Hamilton have been biting pretty well of lake. They are being caught on a one-sixteenth-ounce gray hair jig. They’ve been targeting them in 15-20 feet of water.
And something to consider for families wanting to get the kids out and catching: There are still bream bedding around the docks and biting on crickets.

Lake Nimrod
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow reports from Nimrod Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-12-2023) Sheila Ferrebee, the new owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025), said the fishing is off and on. When it’s on, most of the anglers are catching 10 up to the limit of crappie, throwing back the big ones. They are using mostly minnows, some are using jigs. Crappie are relating to the brush piles.

Carter Cove has a Facebook page and the email address is Stop in for live bait, tackle, cabin rentals, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and more.

Lake Ouachita
For the current lake level at Blakely Dam, click here.

(updated 10-19-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still fair. Try your favorite topwater bait early or late. Walleye are slow. Three-quarter-ounce silver spoons and bottom bouncer rigs are working for these fish. Stripers are still fair. These fish are being caught in the eastern and central portions of the lake and can be caught on live bait. Bream are slow. 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. Try brush and structure 20-25 feet deep. Catfish are still fair on rod and reel with crawlers or cut bait. Jugs and trotlines with live or cut bait are working well, too.
The water temperature is plunging some, now ranging 72-76 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level on Thursday morning was 568.05 feet msl, still about 10 feet below normal conservation pool. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

(updated 10-12-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that Kentucky bass (spotted bass) are biting well. Try a drop-shot or use topwater. Largemouths are good, but they are not as on as the spots. Largemouths appear to be moving up in the creeks. Try a shad-colored bait or a Spook-type bait. You can catch bass first thing in the morning on a buzzbait or spinnerbait as well.
Crappie are in 10-20 feet and biting around brush piles.

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.

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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.

White River/Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 10-19-2023) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt reports that on the White River off the bluff banks the catfish are biting cut bait. From the mouth of the Mississippi River all the way to Clarendon, lots of white cats ranging 8-15 pounds have been active and hungry.

Cook’s Lake
(updated 10-12-2023) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) says they are still there welcoming anglers, but the water has been “low, low, low. We haven’t had many people fishing so there’s nothing to report.” Cook’s Lake will provide a good fall opportunity for fishing as things cool and before it closes for the season to serve as a waterfowl rest area.
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.

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