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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 11-30-2023


Nov. 30, 2023

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Kevin Formes, who also brought son Bladen along from Texas to fish crappie in Millwood Lake, proudly displays one of the slabs he caught while being guided by Mackey Harvin.

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.

(updated 11-30-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reports that Thursday was slow because of the weather, but anglers are still catching crappie every day in good numbers and size, and catfish will bite anything an angler throws in the water.

You can still launch boats at Adams Lake, they say.


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 11-30-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the Southwestern Power Administration is periodically running water, but may only run a generator for an hour on some days. There are a lot of wading opportunities when they are not running water. Anglers are having success using small bait such as a No. 3 Rapala Countdown in a rainbow trout or brown trout color. Also they’ve been throwing an eighth-ounce Little Cleo spoon. A Carolina rig with PowerBait (in chartreuse or pink) is another choice that will get reactions from trout in the lower water.

(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 11-30-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 453.68 feet msl, 8.36 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl for this time of year. Catch rates for this time of year are really good as with any highland reservoir across the country. With crappie, some are roaming around chewing while others are doing the same in pole timber or in brush piles — in all places they are suspended 4 feet down to 40 feet. Use live baits, jigs, crankbaits or a beetle spin for best results. Black bass are good super shallow out to 50 feet in guts, main lake points or secondary points on C-rigs, jerkbaits, football heads or crankbaits. Stay around the shad, and topwater baits are working as well. And finally, last but not least, a spoon or a Silverado colored trap is working. 

Walleye are doing what they usually do this time of year: follow schools of bait around or disappear. Spoons are working best around schools of bait. Catfish are hanging out on secondary points around and under bait fish, or up rivers and creeks really shallow doing the same and gorging. No report on bream. Hybrid bass and white bass are gorging like the rest before the real winter — when you find them, just about any metal bait you get in front of them will work, as well as a swimbait, hair jig, inline spinner and some topwater action also, from 25-60 feet.
Enjoy and remember to let someone know when you will be back in, and wear your life jacket!

(updated 11-30-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the cooler temperatures and lower water temp have sparked the black bass bite. Most bass are being caught in the guts of the creeks or on secondary points. They are either suspended around those areas or chasing shad. Use jerkbaits, single swimbaits and Alabama rigs to match the success of anglers out on Greers this week. These fish are in about the 15-feet depth range. In other areas of the lake in the backs of coves or on flatter banks with rocks on them, anglers have been catching bass on crawfish colored crankbaits.

Crappie have been around the timber in about 15 feet of water at the tops and anglers have been catching them on little 2-inch swimbaits with a sixteenth-ounce or eighth-ounce jighead. Any natural shad color or anything with some chartreuse in it will work now.

The lake is about 8 feet low, and the water in the main lake is pretty clear, but in the creeks because of the rain Thursday that water is going to stain up a bit for the next couple of days.


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, Harris Brake 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 11-30-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water level is 7.2 feet below full pool. Central Arkansas Water, owner of the lake, is drawing the lake down to 8 feet for the winter months to help with the elimination of hydrilla. Ramps are still accessible.
Crappie fishing is great. Reports of crappie being found on structures and brush anywhere from 20-35 feet in the channels. Try using jigs and minnows.

Largemouth bass slowed down this week, with few reports. Kentucky bass (spotted bass) were fair. Reports of them being found at all depths scattered. Some reports of anglers catching them in 15-18 feet off rocky points. Try using shaky heads and jigs. No reports on white bass this week. Bream also hasn’t been reported, but they will bite on a worm. Catfishing is slow. Try using bream, liver or 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 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 11-30-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says that with the colder weather, bass fishing has been good with the numbers. There has been a little better quality showing up, too. Fishing around any type of wood, by it pylons or laydowns, around main river and backwaters. They’ve been throwing a square bill crankbait and a spinnerbait (chartreuse black back or chartreuse blue back or a shad color, but really no particular color has stood out). Also flipping a jig, like green pumpkin or black and blue jig around the timber. 

For fishing around the jetties on the main river, they’ve been throwing jerkbaits and swimbaits. They’re catching those fish in about 8-10 feet of water, roughly. 

Crappie have been biting on a white and chartreuse crappie jig and a solid white crappie jig around the cuts in the jetties and behind the jetties in 10-15 feet of water.


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 11-30-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said ’tis the season when most of us are beginning to turn our thoughts and energies toward Christmas, and maybe hunkering down some for the colder months. Family time is anticipated, shopping not quite so much. Also anticipated is continued terrific trout catches on the White River; anglers are still finding plenty of rainbows and browns willing to leave the comfort of their favorite hidey-holes and come a-calling’ to the right baits. 

Bull Shoals Lake is sitting at 652.27 feet msl, almost 7 feet below power pool. The water level below Bull Shoals Dam has been at minimum flow — very low and wade-able — most of every morning, but later daytime generation arrives in pulses, sometimes pretty high and for several hours at a time, as the lake continues to drop after a dry fall. Watch for the river rises in the late morning and stay ahead of it for the best fishing.
Remember that the catch-and-release area below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from Nov. 1-Jan. 31 to preserve the brown trout spawn; this includes some special regulations near the State Park, too. The browns are in mid-spawn now; if you’re able to net one, be especially careful and return it healthy and fighting back to the river.

Flashy silver Cleos should work well in this water, as well as the silver-blue hammered spoons. Orange PowerBait has been the popular bait for the rainbows to mimic the eggs from spawning activity. During the sunny parts of the late morning, dry flies should perform well with hatches occurring as the weather warms slightly; orange and yellow egg patterns and the Y2K have been successful when the clouds return. Catch a sculpin or two to put on your hook for brown trout bait and keep a large net handy to ensure not losing your fish before you can picture it.
Kids will be looking for Christmas vacation adventures and the river answers that call. PowerBait and shrimp are reliable baits to help them catch a rainbow or five. The weatherman promises very mild daytime temperatures for the next week, so pick up your rod and reel, get outside and come join us on the river. Bundle up in the morning and enjoy the excellent wintertime fishing.

(updated 11-30-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said this week we have seen depths between 4.5-5.5 feet during the early mornings and then dropping to 2.5 feet throughout the day. With the low water during the day, artificial lures worked well. Most fishermen have been using quarter-ounce spoons or Rapala Countdowns. Morning drift-fishing with Uncommon Bait UV eggs and shrimp with or without silver spinners worked well. Anglers also saw success shifting to artificial lures later in the morning throughout the afternoon. We are tracking up to three-quarters of an inch of rainfall Thursday. The rain may cause some dinginess to the water but those conditions shouldn’t last very long, so we hope by Saturday the river will have returned to our clear water. The rest of the days we expect to see partly sunny to sunny days with lows in the mid-30s to highs in the upper 50s/low 60s. 

(updated 11-30-2023) John Berry, veteran angler and retired guide/owner in Cotter, said that during the past week, they had a trace of rain (it is raining as I write this and we are scheduled to get three quarters of an inch today), cold temperatures (to include frost warnings) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.4 foot to rest at 6.7 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 42.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 5.2 feet below power pool and 19.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 7.6 feet below power pool and 17.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we have had much more wadable water with moderate flows, in the morning. Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.4 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater has wadable water. All of the lakes are well below the top of power pool. Expect wadable water in the coming days. At 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 flood gates.

The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam 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.
John said, “On the White, the hot spot has been the Rim 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 six 18 ruby Midge Dropper.

John also said, “Last week my wife Lori’s sister, Terri, and her husband, Larry, came to Cotter for a pre-Thanksgiving visit. They live in Germantown, Tennessee (an affluent suburb of Memphis) and are both avid fly-fishers like Lori and me. On the first day of their visit, Terri and Larry wade-fished at the Narrows, while Lori and I fished from the boat at Rim Shoals.
“After a few hours of fishing, we met at my house and then went to the White Sands Cafe for a late, hearty breakfast and to debrief our respective fishing trips to see how we did, what the hot fly was and how the conditions were. Terri and Larry said they had caught 12 and 15, respectively. They asked how many we caught. We said we did not know because we do not count.
“Most guides and fly-fishers usually count their fish. Since most fly-fishers fish catch-and-release, there is no stringer or live well to inventory to determine how the day’s angling went. If you want to do that you have to count as you go along.
“I know of one guide who records every trout caught on a clicker that he carries on the stream. He posts the daily total to a calendar and combines the daily total for an annual total. His records go back for years. I am impressed with his dedication to recording his fishing life. Another guide I know does a similar daily count on a clicker. He records the fish hooked but not brought to the net. To him a hook up is clear notification that he is doing his job.
“I don’t count because it is just a number. I am more interested in enjoying where I am and what I am doing. I want to concentrate on netting a good fish or watch an eagle snatch a trout from the surface of the river, rather than trying to keep up with the count of fish caught and by whom they were caught. At the end of the day, everyone in the boat knows how well they did without being given the official tally. Some clients even keep up with their count.
“Before I was a guide, I was a CPA. I spent 25 years living my day hunched over a computer working with numbers. I was burned out and I needed a change. I had been guiding part time and was ready to see if I could make a living guiding. Instead of working with numbers, I would be working with trout. I have never regretted that decision.
“Now that I am retired and fishing on my own again, counting trout just reminds me that my wife, Lori, has out-fished me yet again. As to the clicker, that is just another piece of gear that I have to keep up with.
“Counting is a personal decision. If you want to count, that is your decision and I respect it.”


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 11-30-2023) 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 it’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 to 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 11-30-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level is 553.31 feet msl and dropping slowly with only minimum flow. Both generators are still inoperable. “We are very dry but there is rain in the forecast but they are backing off on that. The White River at Newport is 2.54 feet and very low, indicating not much water is being released into the White River anywhere.”
The surface water is 58 degrees and stable for a couple of weeks.” It was a very nice and warm day Wednesday with light winds and the fishing is starting to get better, especially the largemouth bass fishing. I went to the same place where I went the day before where I caught nothing and caught some very nice largemouth bass and a few crappie. A few walleye are biting at dusk on shadowy banks and some temperate bass are in open water on shad but it is hard to find them feeding.
“It looks to me like things are getting better as far as bass and crappie fishing are concerned, but it could stand a little improvement. Things are changing and you have to be out there every day to know what is happening. Overall, the lake is in good condition and at a good level for fishing, and I am happy to report it is getting better finally.”

Visit and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for daily updates. 


Norfork Tailwater
(updated 11-30-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.4 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. All of the lakes are well below the top of power pool. Expect wadable water in the coming days. At 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 flood gates.

There has been wadable water on the Norfork Tailwater. One day it fished well and the next day fished poorly. 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. Be sure and carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.


Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 11-30-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are not fishing as well and water levels are low. With colder temperatures, the smallmouths are less 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 11-30-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake has dropped to the 1,112-feet range which is getting low from the normal levels of 1121.0 feet msl. What that means is lots of navigational issues that have not been in play for some time. It is also nicely concentrating fish in a much lower pool level. Stripers are coming on with the water temps in the low 50s, which is when we start seeing some topwater activity. Look for fish from Point 12 down to Horseshoe. Use your sonar and find bait, and the fish will be close. Bass fishing has been good on square bills and spinnerbaits as of late. Crappie are really loading up on structure and this will remain until spring spawn. Look in 10 to 20 feet for best concentrations of fish. White bass are starting to load up in the Point 12 area, and they should remain all winter in those areas. Walleye are scattered and very tough to pattern right now. Lake is ripe for some great fishing, dress warm and enjoy! Be safe and watch for low water issues. 

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 11-30-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said catfish were biting through the Thanksgiving holiday and into the weekend, but nothing else was reported from anglers. The water is down about a foot, she says, as Lake Charles water is used to help flood the Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area for waterfowl season.

Catfish were biting nicely this past week in stink bait and on chicken liver.

Previously, crappie fishing really picked up. Anglers had reported good results on jigs or worms, with the fish being deep. 

Water surface temperature tumbled nearly 10 degrees from the previous week, to 48.5 degrees Sunday. Clarity is murky. Good fishing based on “moon times” will run through this Thursday, she noted. 

Lake Poinsett
(updated 11-30-2023) 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 11-30-2023) 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.

No 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 11-30-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, lake elevation is 4 inches above normal pool and falling. Millwood Lake Dam is releasing about 1,520 cfs. Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow at Wilton Landing remains more stained, but improving daily with slower river flow rates and less current. Tailwater elevation is near 226 feet msl and falling with gate discharge. 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, 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, ranging 50-55 degrees along Little River this week, depending on location and the time of day. Clarity on the river was ranging 5-15 inches visibility depending on location, and in the oxbows it will vary widely from stained to good visibility from 10-20 inches; we observed around 3-4 feet visibility in a few areas like McGuire Oxbow, away from river current depending on location.
Mike had these fishing specifics from the past week:

* The juvenile and adolescent/young adult black bass surface-breaking has diminished with the cooler surface temps. In several oxbows along Little River, the largemouth, Kentucky and white bass remain in large schools following the threadfin shad and randomly feeding below the surface in 5-12 feet depth. The most aggressive feeding periods for largemouth bass continue to shift to later in the day, 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. These schooling juveniles and adolescents are reacting and hitting best with Bill Lewis Lures Mag Trap three-quarter-ounce size, MR-6 Square Bill Crankbaits, a Bomber Fat Free Guppy, and Rat-L-Trap Spin Traps with a tail spinner. Best colors over the past several weeks have been the Modified Millwood Magic, Tennessee Shad, Citrus Shad or Chrome Blue back in the clearer water areas of the oxbows.
Anywhere creek channel dumps into the back of the oxbows and the mouths of the creeks continue holding various size schools of black bass. Along Little River at Hurricane Creek there have been a few good schools of 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, Bandit 200 Cranks, and Bomber Fat Free Guppy. 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 the large schools of threadfin shad in the oxbows and Little River.
When the bass are chasing shad from structure of 12-15 feet deep, up onto 4-6 feet deep flats with any remaining live or dying lily pads next to vertical drops, 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, or finessing a custom-painted Little John Square Bill and Bandit 300 in Millwood Magic Splatterback through the pad stems.
* White bass continue following threadfin shad in the oxbows along with the Kentucky 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 noon to 4 p.m., with the largest part of the school between 7-10 feet of depth while we were casting to them. Rat-L-Trap MR6 Crankbaits, or a Magnum three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Trap in Modified Millwood Magic color, or an ATV Square Bill in Sneaky Shad have been catching these white bass in the oxbows for weeks.
* The crappie bite has been very good, and continues over the past week with slowed river current and water clarity improving. The crappie are best using minnows one day, and jigs the next, in planted brush piles 14-16 feet of depth.
* No reports on catfish or bream.


Lake Columbia
No reports.


Lake Erling
(updated 11-30-2023) 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.

No reports.


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 11-30-2023) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt reports that crappie are biting about 7-8 feet deep in most rivers and lakes in the area.


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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