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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 11-22-2023


Nov. 22, 2023

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Robert Jones, an angler from central Arkansas, found his way into the big crappie slabs at Millwood Lake in southwestern Arkansas while fishing with guide Mackey Harvin recently. Here’s one of the crappie that was around 2 pounds. Crappie will go for minnows one day and jigs the next at Millwood, according to the guides, and they’re relating to brush piles in 14-16 feet of water.

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 listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.

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:

Central Arkansas

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.

NOTICE: The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission opened all operational gates at Lake Conway Dam Nov. 15, allowing the lake to drain faster in preparation for the Lake Conway restoration project announced in June. Nick Feltz, AGFC fisheries supervisor at the agency’s Mayflower office, says the lake has seen a slow release using only one to two open gates since Sept. 1.
“We needed to release the water slowly this summer to prevent flooding bottomland hardwood trees in Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area downstream of the dam during the growing season,” Feltz said.

The lake had fallen nearly 3.5 feet since the first gate was opened Sept. 1, and was expected to drop another 2 feet much more rapidly with the opening of all gates. Feltz says the lowest level the lake will reach from the gates being opened is around 257 feet msl, or about 6 feet below normal pool. He said a lot of surface water on the lake will remain at this level, but the AGFC does not plan any additional actions to lower the water level below this point until late winter or early spring.
Visit to for updates about the renovation project. 

(updated 11-22-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reports that anglers are catching crappie every day in big numbers as the lake drains down with all gates now open. Crappie are biting on jigs, while some anglers are catching them on minnows. Some anglers report catching 70-80 crappie (there are no creel limits as the lake is drawn down). Bass are biting on crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Catfish will bite anything you throw in the water.

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 11-22-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said a little water is being released from the dam, a couple of hours in the morning, but it’s been very spotty. It will run a couple of days and cut it for three or four days. It’s consistent for boating and important that anglers pay attention to the generation schedule.

But there has been enough water to set up for great wade fishing opportunities using the AGFC walk-in areas such as JFK Park, Libby, Swinging Bridge and Cow Shoals, all the way to Pangburn bridge. Trout anglers are mostly catching 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 11-16-2023) 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 little bit of water lately. “We have had two days with cold temperatures in the morning and they ran both those days, running two units for two hours.

Check the SWPA website for the generation schedule.

“The bite has been excellent the day after they release water and while fishing the falling out water from the day’s releases. With the current generation, the river is still experiencing low flows or no flows. With no moving water, I’ve been fishing the deep water around the moss beds. I’ve been casting near the moss beds. If no bite, cast in 5- to 6-feet increments or in-between the moss lanes. I’ve been fishing eggs and San Juan Worms. Midges have also produced.”

(updated 11-16-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) had no new reports. Always check the 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 11-22-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 453.86 feet msl, 8.18 feet below normal pool. “Right now is a great time to check out the lay of land that’s usually underwater — film it or mark it for later when the water gets back up so it can help you understand how the fish use it.
“There’s not much change at all in the report. Things about the same; wear your life jackets and be safe.
“A lot of baitfish have gathered up in the mouths of certain creeks and rivers, some are in the backs of them. It will not be same place every year, so check different ones each year for best results and stay around shad for the best catching. Crappie are as high as 4-5 feet floating around the surface in places, and in other places they are still in 40 feet deep. Pick your favorite way to catch them and stay with the program with jigs or jigs tipped with minnows. Crankbaits are working as well.
For catfish, there has been no report of catches lately other than they are following baitfish around eating what other fish spit up all over the lake and rivers, but jug fishing is good way to go. Black bass are super shallow out to suspended over 80 feet or sitting on structure in 43 feet. The top, middle or bottom of the water column is working with a lot of different baits.
Walleye are still eating, just finding them is ticket now. Drag crawlers 15-45 feet for best results, or use a spoon. Hybrid and white bass are scattered all over the 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 at 33 feet, and most are trying to get settled in 43 feet. When they first get out of deep water they will act kind of crazy like this for a while until they get settled down on structure they like, close to bait and in the right water conditions. Use spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and hair jigs for best results and stay around baitfish. 

(updated 11-22-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said fishing patterns seem to be the same as they have been for a few weeks. Bass are off topwaters now because the days are getting shorter, but they will jerkbaits and crankbaits.

They’re moving into the guts of creeks. They’re being found mostly on secondary points and biting shad-looking crankbaits, jerkbaits and swimbaits. Also try a drop-shot 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. 


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 11-16-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says crappie has been doing pretty well for the past couple of weeks. Anglers are catching them off the shoreline and some crappie have measured 14 to 14.5 inches. They are using minnows and jigs. Also try a 1/16-ounce orange or pink jighead. The best time for catching crappie has been from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. The evenings are OK, but not as good as the mornings. 

The AGFC’s drawdown of Harris Brake Lake to use some of that water for the nearby WMA for waterfowl season is underway. On Thursday, the areas where folks were able to catch crappie from the shoreline were harder to access because of the lowering of the water, they report, but the water level should pick back up after a few days.
Both white bass and some black bass (spotted bass) are being caught, with some of the bass in the 2-3 pound range. Anglers are catching bass with minnows and crappie jigs off the shoreline. You can catch white bass anytime now, they are very active, the resort folks tell us.
Not as many catfish as usual are being caught now, but people are still using noodles and trotlines for catfish. Trotlines are being baited with bass minnows. Some bream are still being caught off the dock off redworms.

Not as many people have been fishing lately with hunting season underway, they report.


Lake Maumelle
(updated 11-22-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that the lake is now 6 feet low. Central Arkansas Water, the owner of Lake Maumelle, is trying to draw down the lake 8 feet below normal level for the colder months.

Crappie are fair to good. They are starting to go deep. Reports of them in 20-24 feet. More crappie are being caught in the mornings. Use minnows or jigs.

No updates on black bass, bream or catfish this week.


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 11-22-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) reported crappie are doing real well around his location. Also, while Ray had been deer hunting he had heard from one angler fishing on the Arkansas River who had caught several black bass on crankbaits around the locks. Also, another angler that Ray spoke with mentioned catching several white bass on the river.

But the biggest news is that the crappie “have really turned on in the Little Maumelle,” he said. Fish for them with jigs and minnows, tube jigs, Bobby Garland-style jigs as well. Blue and white have been working for colors, he said, as well as pink and/or chartreuse.


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 11-22-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says that without any nights regularly in the 30s or low 40s — and having days that get back up to the 60s — to lower the water temperature a lot, nothing much in the fishing end for the river has changed in several weeks. Bass fishing has been good for catching numbers of bass — not the biggest fish in the world, but lots of numbers. There is a little bit of topwater bite in the morning, though not as much as there was. Mostly, the crankbaits and spinnerbaits are best, finding any around baitfish on the main river. The mid-diving or square-bill crankbait in a shad has been the best thing by far lately. A chartreuse/white or white spinnerbait will work around rocks, and a Texas-rigged creature bait and a finesse jig also are having success. 

Crappie have been biting pretty well on the backside of jetties on white/chartreuse and chartreuse crappie jigs. Anglers are catching them in around 8 feet of water.
When the water drops below 60 degrees, fishing patterns will change like a light switch, they say.


Peckerwood Lake
The lake is closed to fishing until later this month; while it serves as a rest area for migrating waterfowl through waterfowl season. Call 870-626-6899 for more information.

North Arkansas

White River
(updated 11-22-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake is well below the desired power pool level, and generation schedules reflect that: minimum flow releases, then up to 12,000 cfs and anywhere in between, all in a 12-hour period. Bull Shoals Lake is sitting at 652.71 feet msl; power pool target is 659 feet msl. Be on the lookout for quick rises and falls in the water level over the next few days, and ensure you have the baits on hand to cover the changes. 

Traffic on the river often slows down around the holidays, so now is a great time to experience uninterrupted fishing and relief from the fast lane holiday shopping/planning/running.

Always keep some worms to dangle when the water is rising — either red wigglers, nightcrawlers or the scented XFactor or Berkley artificial worms, doesn’t matter. When the water steadies and flattens out some, you can experiment with flashy spoons (hammered red/gold, one-sixth-ounce spoons work nicely) or, depending on water level, try flickering a one-eighth-ounce white or orange/brown jig. As always, scented egg patterns and shrimp will lure a good number of rainbows to your net.

Some of the guides find fishing falling water more fun because of the challenge it presents. The “bleeding” series jerkbaits make the challenge a little easier — played with slow sinking, wobbly action, you can watch the trout come up to your line and tease the bait.
The brown bite is slow but not nonexistent. Keep working a mid-size sculpin in the deeper holes and chances are pretty good you’ll get a hit or two.
“We’re still experiencing some nice daytime temperatures, perfect autumn weather to usher in the holidays. Coffee’s on; stop in and grab a candy cane.”

(updated 11-22-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said this has been another week of varied river levels. There have been times of water as low as under 2.5 feet for over 24 hours, then spikes in water levels to around 5 feet (more or less). When the water was low, the fishing was great using artificial lures, especially quarter-ounce spoons. There was moderate success using one-sixteenth-ounce jigs in dark colors with splashes of red. “We don’t usually see a lot of fly-fishing on this stretch of the river, but some fisherman were having success during the low water with flies fishing where gravel bars drop into deeper water. When the river would start to rise, the water would get dingy and ‘trashy’ with a lot of moss and debris (leaves, sticks) in the water. We have had cool mornings with warmer days in the upper 50s and into the 60s. Starting this weekend we are going to see colder temperatures. We hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with family and friends.”

(updated 11-22-2023) John Berry, veteran angler and retired guide/owner in Cotter, said the White has had much more wadable water with moderate flows recently in the afternoon during peak power demand. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31 to protect the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. On Feb. 1 this section will open to fishing.
John says that on the White the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. “We have had lower flows that have fished well. The hot flies were Y2Ks, Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan Worms, gold ribbed Hare’s Ears and Sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. My favorite has been a size 14 pheasant tail with a size 18 ruby midge dropper.”
He also said, “As fly fishers, we put our gear to use in a variety of conditions, which takes its toll. Often during a busy trip the broken item is set aside for later repair. I have so much gear I can do this and keep fishing. Due to my Scots-Irish heritage, I am frugal and want to repair my gear rather than replace it. I buy good equipment that lasts a long time as long as it is properly maintained. It is more economical in the long run. After my recent retirement, I took a serious look at all my gear.
“All of the better rods come with warranties. If it doesn’t have one, you don’t want to buy it. Whenever I break one of my rods (I have broken my share) I send the back to the manufacturer to be repaired. Over the years I have broken Winston, Sage, Orvis and TFO rods. All were repaired for a nominal fee ($35-$65) and took from a couple of days to over two months. TFO was the quickest and Winston took the most time.
“I had a broken reel, an Orvis CFO (worth several hundred dollars) with a broken frame (it got run over by a pickup in Yellowstone). I sent it back to Orvis and they repaired it for $35. It now functions like new. I took the remainder of my reels and carefully cleaned and lubricated them. I examined my fly lines and replaced the ones that were showing wear. I cleaned the remainder with Dawn dish detergent and warm water. I carefully dried them with an old T-shirt. Now they are all ready to go.
“I also repaired no less than three pair of waders. They were my loaners and all had leaks. I turned them inside out and sprayed them with isopropyl alcohol. The leaks appeared as dark spots on the waders. I then applied a dab of Loon UV wader repair (available at most fly shops) to each spot. This is a gel that instantly cures in direct sunlight or under an ultraviolet lamp. I carried the waders outside on a sunny day and they were ready to go. I also replaced the stainless steel wire laces in the BOA closure in my Simms wading boots a few weeks ago. I got the replacement from Simms.
“I had a couple of down jackets that had holes in them caused by a spark from a campfire that melted a spot on the outer fabric. I tried to repair them with needle and thread but they didn’t look too good. I fear that I am not much of a seamstress. I bought some Kenyon repair tape in the proper color at and was able to quickly repair the holes. It worked so well that I bought another package of the repair tape in the proper color to repair an old rain jacket. It worked great. You can hardly tell. By repairing your clothing you look like an old pro that has been around a while.
“My Fishpond boat nets were looking beat up. The carbon fiber frame was dinged but still serviceable. The net bag was much worse. A fishing buddy, Danny Sabo, had repaired his net bag using wire ties. That was a good, easy fix but my net bags were much worse and needed to be replaced. I had small fish slipping through the bigger holes. I ordered two new net bags from Amazon. I got a deeper bag to handle bigger trout. The bags cost $35 and I got two. They came with everything needed. There was a 6-minute video on their website. I watched it a couple of times, then easily replaced the bags. They look and function great.
“By making a few small repairs I was able to extend the useful life of some key items of my fishing gear and save some money in the process.”


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 11-22-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday the lake level is still at 652 feet msl, 7 feet below normal pool. Water temperature has dropped to 61 degrees. “Bass fishing has been work! Be sure to fish the conditions. These colder days have the deep bite starting to set up a little better.”
He says t’s a mixed bag, you can catch them a bunch of different ways day to day. Powerfish if it’s cloudy and windy. “I’m going with a Chatterbait, spinnerbait or square bill in the warmed stained water. Use a red Rock Crawler when you target windy, steep transition banks. A buzzbait or Whopper Plopper, too. But if it’s sunny and flat and a bluebird day, pull the Robo drop-shot back out.
“Some of the late summer areas always hold some fish. Or target shad. Graph, graph, graph! Graphing can pay off. Get around bait and then fish whatever is available on brush piles, points, ledges, swings, etc. Try a Beaver or Texas Cowboy on a wobble, a shaky head worm in green pumpkin and a Jewel Jig in green pumpkin orange with red highlights. They seem to be holding on ledges shallow.

“If it’s cloudy or they’re in the 15-20 feet range while not munching shad, on most days you’re going to have work for them.
“There are mega schools of fish grouping up demolishing shad, but videogame fish can be tough to fool. Try a small shad swimbait, a Damiki or Hover Rig with a Tater Shad. The Jewel Scuba Spoon is kicking butt! The Rapala Ice Jig is working for me if the shad are on the bottom. Every day is different; fish the conditions. Walleye are in the deep trees and humps at 50-60 feet. Some are on the outsides of the deep shad. Crappie are picking up and anglers are hopping brush piles working for them. Stay off of them and try a crappie minnow under a float.
“Be safe. Happy Thanksgiving!”

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 11-16-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level is 553.36 feet msl and has been the same since last week’s report with no discharge from the dam except for minimum flow. Both generators are still inoperable. As of 6 p.m. Wednesday the surface water temperature was 64 degrees and stable with the warm ambient temperatures and the White River at Newport was 3.32 feet and very low, indicating not much water is being let out anywhere in the White River. The clarity is good on the main lake and I could see my lure down about 5-6 feet in the warm sunshine and the creeks are stained a bit but not bad. The lake level and water conditions are both excellent, but fishing overall is just fair at best.
A few temperate bass are being caught in open water at varying depths depending on the time of day on the jigging spoon but not very many and not very big. Some crappie, black bass and walleye are biting on brush in 18-25 feet of water on live bait on a slip float about 5 feet further down than you can see your bait.
There are more baitfish than predator fish, and feeding fish are hard to find, but a few good ones are being caught every day. Bluegill are the best bite now and some are very nice-sized. The weather is supposed to cool next week, and later this weekend the fishing might get better but I cannot guarantee anything. It is just nice to be out there in the warm sunshine and catch a few fish.
Visit and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for daily updates. 

(updated 11-9-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “It looks like the beginning of the fall bite has begun. All species are starting to feed heavily as they typically do before the cold winter season. Our guests can see the fish activity getting better each day. The striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass have started to school up and can be found in shallow water out to about 50 feet of water. If you are out fishing very early in the morning, start checking out shallow water, less than 20 feet, and as the sun gets higher overhead the fish move out into deeper water. This whole pattern is based on where the bait is located. Check out large flats and also big round main lake points. If you are fishing in the afternoon, the fish will still be out in deeper water. The current magic water depth appears to be around 50 feet. At sunset the fish typically move up in the water column and also toward the shore following the bait. Fish will also be back in the major creeks, assuming the bait migrates into them.
“This is the time of year that the fish can and will be in many different types of locations. It takes a little time graphing, but once you find them you will have a blast. John and Joe, a couple of our guests, caught over 25 jumbo white bass Wednesday morning vertical jigging a 1-ounce spoon. Mike and Craig, two guests, told me they have caught all the predator species in the lake except for a smallmouth.”
The surface water temp is around 65 degrees and the lake is holding stable at normal seasonal pool of 553.3 feet msl. The lake is fairly clear to slightly stained back in coves. “It is going to be a lot of fun fishing Norfork Lake over the next several months. If you are needing a place to stay, give us a call at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, 870-492-5113 for reservations. Happy fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”
Lou posts fishing reports almost every day on Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page.


Norfork Tailwater
(updated 11-22-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said the Norfork Tailwater had wadable water. On Norfork Dam, 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 worms and a Ruby Midge. The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.

Dry Run Creek has fished a bit better despite a lot of fishing pressure. School is in session, though it will be much of this week for Thanksgiving, and usual weekdays tend to be 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 11-22-2023) 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.

Northwest Arkansas

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

(updated 11-16-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is sitting in the 1,113 feet msl range and rumors have it, it will be down near 1,111 feet msl soon enough, barring any major rains. “Now that will be as low as it has been in a few years. I think this low level in the long term will be beneficial, as grasses and other plants are growing back in areas that have been flooded in recent years. I believe in the long run it will have a very good impact on future spawns. The water has been so high for so many years and lots of erosion was going on, which creates a silty environment. 

“So on to the report: Stripers are moving and moving in a lot day to day. They are spread from Prairie Creek all the way up to Camp War Eagle. Use your electronics and trust what you see. Shad and brooders will work, and I have also witnessed some topwater activity, which is typical right now. Crappie are schooling up on structure and will stay attached to it all winter. Winter can be some really good crappie fishing on Beaver. Walleye have done their after turnover disappearing act. The will show back up in December on their prespawn staging up in the river arms.
“Lake is low, be careful and good luck!! 

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

(updated 11-9-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said activity is all right if you like deer, saying jokingly that anglers are carrying crossbows in their boats for the deer, and this weekend will move to rifle. 

Seriously, for fishing, it’s only about fair, they report, and there is very little pressure on the fish with outdoors folks seemingly more focused on hunting. “Pressure is very light and it has been all fall,” they tell us. “Nothing is really exceptional with the fishing.”

Crappie are fair and are right around brush piles. Stripers have moved into the river arms and they’re being caught on live bait. There are reports of a little topwater action; it’s a hodge-podge of patterns but again, it’s all been very light. Bass fishing is also fair, but there is a bite at 15-20 feet on jigs. “We ought to get a really good spinnerbait bite soon for a couple of weeks and then they will go deep and silent, staying under the shad.”

When the temperature gets around 60 degrees, the bass in Beaver Lake will get very active on the shad like they are feeding up for the winter, they say. But for now, anglers are just throwing various baits, with some resembling shad and others being jigs. 

“You can catch fish, but nothing is really on. That’s typical for the fall here. There is low interest.”


Beaver Tailwater
(updated 11-22-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says fishing has been a tad bit slower these days, along with low water levels. “For whatever reason, we are not seeing the number of stocked trout that we have in past months/year. It seems we are catching a lot of slot fish (holdovers) this year. With that being said, most of the fish are being caught with Pautzke Fire Bait fished with light terminal tackle. Tossing Panther Martins (quarter-ounce) have also done really well, too. When the Army Corps of Engineers has the water flowing from the dam, using Fire Eggs and Fire Worms while drifting has done the trick as well. 

“This month’s hot spot has been between Parker Bottoms and the dam. If you are able to access those areas by boat, you should be able to get on decent numbers. Bundle up if you get out early, this month is predicted to be a little on the chilly side.
“On an unrelated note, the ‘Best of NWA’ voting has begun. Go to, click on “Things to do,” then “Fishing guides,” to vote for your favorite guide. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and hopefully you can get out and catch some fish!
Remember to follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for day-to-day updates between reports.”


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 11-16-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the bream and crappie were biting pretty well. Crappie are biting jigs and are deeper right now (the lake maximum is 30 feet). Bass are favoring plastic worms and the bass are shallower; some just off the shoreline. 

Bream and catfish are both biting red worms. Catfish are in the coves in 12-15 feet of water. Some catfish have been around 7 pounds.

The lake was recently stocked with channel cats.

Northeast Arkansas

Lake Charles
(updated 11-22-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said that even though the AGFC is using water from Lake Charles to put on Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA for waterfowl season, the water has not dropped as much (as of Sunday, Nov. 19) and it’s still at a normal level.
Crappie fishing really picked up this past week. Anglers reported good results on jigs or worms. The fish are deep. Catfishing also is good on the typical catfish baits. There were no reports on bream or black bass.
Water surface temperature was 58.4 degrees on Sunday. Clarity is murky. Good fishing based on “moon times” will run Nov. 24-30, she noted. 

Lake Poinsett
(updated 11-22-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, had no new report this week, but had reported recently that Lake Poinsett was doing well with black bass and some crappie. The bass were biting well around the lily pads and the crappie are a bit deeper with live bait. Bream were still biting, but have been more active early in the morning and right before dusk. Catfish were doing outstanding on just about anything at night. 


Spring River
(updated 11-22-2023) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 230 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity is clear. The river is at an all-time low for flows. Low clear water can make for spooky fish — lighter tippets and smaller flies can be hot along with dries on some evenings. And on top of the low clear conditions, this is prime time to catch the big holdovers in the Spring. Cold temps and lower stocking during winter months allows us to catch some of the biggest trout in the river. 

Techniques for the bigger trout usually involve streamer fishing, but so far some of the biggest have been caught on egg patterns this year below an indicator. Place a small nymph dropper below the egg for numbers.
“We’re catching plenty of smallmouths on small streamers and Clouser minnows. My favs are Electric Chicken and Eyelash Minnows tied Clouser-style. With the cold temps you can slow down the presentation with an indicator with a White Lightning suspended below. Dead drift for the really cold days when they are sluggish.
“For spin fishing, it’s hard to beat Trout Magnets in the low clear conditions for the trout. For the smallies, a Ned rig always works.
“Wading has been much easier in the low water conditions, but do not forget the river bottom is very slick. Be safe wading, and please use a wading stick and felt soles that can keep you dry!”

(updated 11-22-2023) 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. 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.

Southeast Arkansas

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 11-22-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no reports this week. 

Cane Creek Lake
(updated 11-22-2023) Stephanie Clingenpeel, seasonal park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no new reports.

Southwest Arkansas

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 11-22-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, lake elevation was 5 inches above normal conservation pool and falling, with a gate release at Millwood Dam of about 1,530 cfs. Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow from Wilton Landing remains more heavily stained, with higher river flow rates and current. Tailwater elevation is near 265 feet msl and rising with gate discharge at the dam. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s webpage linked above, or 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. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake. 

Surface temps dropped this week, and ranged 54-60 degrees along Little River this week, depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River is stained in most locations; further up Little River is heaviest stain, with river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from stained to good visibility from 10-15 inches, up to 3 feet visibility in a few locations away from river’s high flow rates.

As for the fishing specifics this week, Mike said: 

* For several weeks, the juvenile and adolescent/young adult largemouths have been random schooling and surface-breaking in numerous locations along Little River and the oxbows. The most aggressive feeding periods for largemouth bass continue to shift to later in the day from late morning and continuing into mid-afternoon, mainly in the oxbows along Little River from Mud Lake all the way upriver to McGuire oxbow and Horseshoe Lake oxbow. We found several schools of adolescent-aged largemouth and yearling Kentucky bass schooling over the past few weeks in Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows on shad. These schooling juveniles and adolescents are best with custom-painted Little John Square Bill Crankbaits, Bill Lewis Lures Mag Trap three-quarter-ounce or Echo 1.75 Square Bill Crankbaits, and Rat-L-Trap Spin Traps with a tail spinner. Most bass are ranging 2-3 pounds. 

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 continue hitting chrome/blue or Millwood Magic Spin Traps, Sexy Prism, Millwood Magic and Silver Tennessee Shad-colored Rat-L-Traps. With the cooler water temps over the past week, we have not observed as much surface-breaking, but the schools of bass are still chasing and following large schools of threadfin shad in the oxbows and Little River.
When the shad pulled up onto 4-6 feet deep flats with lily pads next to vertical drops of 12-15 feet deep, we were able to catch several nice bass by finessing a short-arm H&H Spinnerbait and a Rocketshad, in the lily pads on flats near vertical drops.
Small Bill Lewis Lures Spin Traps continue working on randomly schooling juvenile bass at various locations.
* White bass continue random schooling and surface-breaking chasing threadfin shad in the oxbows with the spotted bass and largemouth bass near grass mats and extended points breaking off into deep water, where the points drop into 12-20 feet of depth with stumps present. These whites were hitting our custom-painted Little John Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Bandit 200 or 300 Crankbaits in Splatterback yellow belly, or Rat-L-Trap Spin Traps. Several different schools of whites have been feeding in the oxbows from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 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 three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Trap in Silverado color, or an ATV Square Bill. 
* The crappie bite has been very good, and continued over the past week. It’s best using minnows one day, and jigs the next, in planted brush piles 14-16 feet of depth. Crappie range up to 2.25 pounds.
* Blue catfish and channel cats are fair to good on trotlines in Little River using Punch Bait with cottonseed mill cake, Canadian Cold worms, frozen catalpa worms and homemade blood bait. According to anglers, the lines were set in 5-10 feet depth.
* No reports on bream.


Lake Columbia
No reports.


Lake Erling
(updated 11-22-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) has not had any reports of late, but crappie should be biting well now, and catfish have been biting good to excellent all year. 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 11-9-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said crappie are still hanging around these fall season depths (12-20 feet), but slowly moving into a winter pattern deeper in the channels. Bass, of all species, can be found schooling on their morning feed. Run and gun. Don’t stay too long in one area where you don’t see surface-feeding fish. Stay warm and safe.


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.

South Central Arkansas

White Oak Lake Area
No reports.

West Central Arkansas

Lake Atkins
(updated 11-9-2023) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-264-0851) said that when it was cool a few days ago, anglers were catching some good-sized crappie and a few black bass. When it warmed up, however, the crappie were deep. Wednesday and Thursday, he said, it was raining all day. 

“If it gets cold like they’re saying, the shad should be moving into the coves and the crappie should follow them into the coves too. It depends on getting that cold front in,” he said. He adds that the water will be up a little bit, and that will be good. “It’s a cold rain, and that is good, too.”

For catching those crappie, anglers should use minnows, or go with jigs in any combination of chartreuse.


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

(updated 11-22-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the 5-foot winter drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine was completed Nov. 11. The public is urged to download the new Entergy Hydro-Operations page that provides up-to-date information on all things concerning local lake news. The 5-foot drawdown will be in place until early March. Water temperature below Carpenter Dam has fallen to 53 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. This water level creates a dangerous environment for boaters, as many underwater obstructions come into play for fishermen attempting to navigate the tailrace. Extreme caution is advised for boaters and wade fishermen alike during this time. Entergy has scheduled a minimum flow pattern for Lake Catherine, but this can change with any rainfall or energy demand.
The fall trout season has begun with the first stocking of rainbow trout going into Lake Catherine last week with 1,400 fish released below the dam. These fish have brought life to the tailrace despite the low water conditions and are providing quality fishing opportunities for the general public as the fall season kicks into gear. Fly-fishermen can access areas that hold hungry trout in current or slackwater conditions. Casting egg patterns in white or yellow under a strike indicator is a proven technique early in the season as trout are searching for prey. Olive-colored Woolly Buggers are always a good choice along with San Juan Worms in red or hot pink.
It’s always a guessing game in the fall as fish move in and out of areas and prey items change according to the weather. Bank fishermen can use PowerBait in white, yellow or orange — taking advantage of the fact that rainbow trout have an inborn instinct to feed on fish eggs. Nightcrawlers cut in small pieces will also work well under a bobber or fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Using a variety of these proven techniques gives angles a big edge for success until one method proves superior to the rest. Numbers and size of rainbow trout will increase as the season moves through December and dramatically increase with the beginning of the new year. Rainbow trout now are scattered from the bridge to the dam in small numbers and are feeding on shad, insects and crayfish that inhabit the tailrace.
Always wear a lifejacket when on the water and remember to follow all park and lake regulations when visiting Carpenter Dam.


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

(updated 11-9-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) reported that the weather warming in recent days put a slowdown on the fish. They were about to get on a roll and Mother Nature threw a wrench in it. But you can still catch them. Water temperatures are in the 60s. Water clarity is fair, still a lot of dingy. The upper parts of the creeks are starting to clear. Bass fishing is fair. A good Rat-L-Trap bite is found in some of the creeks, a jig bite around rocks, and bluff ends are good for a spinnerbait bite around vegetation. They are really picky about their colors that you use, though.

Crappie are scattered in some of the creeks. But in others they are congregated. “The best bite is still in around 8 feet of water. But I have run across a few trees out in the river in 20 feet of water that were also loaded. You need to make a cast at the shallow fish. On other days you can get over them. The deep river fish are the ones that you want to go after if you are dropping straight down to them. Monkey Milk and Cajun Cricket are good jig colors, as well as pink green — those have been the colors doing the best.”

White bass are on some of the main river points on the deep side. Small Rat-L-Traps, crappie jigs and spoons have been working well on them. Stripers are below the dams and on some of the jetties. Large Rat-L-Traps and swimbaits are working well.

Bream are on some of the river points on trees, but the bigger ones are on the jetties. Look for grass. Catfish have been biting really well. Several have been caught on bass jigs in and around the creeks, and along the bluff. Try fishing around a persimmon tree. Live bait is best for the flatheads, cut bait for your blue cat (skipjack is working well), and worms are working well for your channel cats in the creeks and in the backwater.


Lake Hamilton
(updated 11-9-2023) 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 the lake is being drawn down now for its annual 5-feet winter drop, and the key for anglers is the crawfish migration and how that will get the black bass going. “Crawfish don’t have a choice but to follow the lake line as they drop (the lake).” He says that Lake Hamilton, fished now with a crawfish colored crankbait, “is a 10.”
“If you’re going to go fishing in the next two or three weeks, Lake Hamilton is it because you only get one time a year when you know a schedule when they’re going to drop the level 5 feet, so Hamilton this weekend, next weekend, is going to be an incredible time to go throw a crawfish-colored crankbait on the rocks or a spinnerbait in newly exposed brush.”


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 11-9-2023) Sheila Ferrebee, owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025), said the fishing is going great, particularly crappie and catfish. Look for crappie under the shad. One catfish angler recently caught a 56-pounder and another caught a 52-pounder, both flatheads. They were both fishing for crappie with minnows, and one had a crappie on the line and the flathead joined in the catch —- three fish on one hook.

Carter Cove has a Facebook page and the email address is, with photos and video of those two aforementioned catfish catches. 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 11-22-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are fair. Try a finesse worm or crawfish on a drop-shot for spotted bass. No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caught in the central and western portions of the lake and can be caught on live bait. No reports on bream. Crappie are fair and being caught on small jigs. Try brush and structure 20-25 feet deep. No reports on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 56-60 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 569.13 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

(updated 11-9-2023) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said he has been fishing DeGray Lake and Lake Ouachita recently and is seeing similar patterns at those lakes. Crappie are still hanging around these fall season depths (12-20 feet), but slowly moving into a winter pattern deeper in the channels. Bass, of all species, can be found schooling on their morning feed. Run and gun. Don’t stay too long in one area where you don’t see surface-feeding fish. Stay warm and safe.


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.

East Arkansas

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 11-9-2023) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt reports that crappie are biting well in the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge lakes.


Cook’s Lake
(updated 11-22-2023) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) says Cook’s Lake is now closed to fishing through February and will serve as a rest area for migrating waterfowl.

For information, please call the center at 501-404-2321.


Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.

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