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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 12-07-2023


Dec. 7, 2023

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

An angler named Gale (no last name provided) landed this crappie that was 15 inches long and weighed 1.8 pounds while fishing Harris Brake Lake recently. Crappie have been biting very well lately at the Perry County lake. Photo provided by Bing Watkins.

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 12-7-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported Thursday that catfish and crappie are “still doing their thing.” The recent rainfall put a little water back into the lake and that sparked things, they report. Crappie picked back up and catfish “haven’t ever quit.” Worms, cut shad and “basically whatever you throw in the water” will work for catfish. “They’re still catching tons.”

Crappie are still hot on jigs, though Bates also reports selling lots of minnows for the crappie, too. Also it seems that the bass have been biting better, specifically on a Chatterbait.
The hunt is still on for tagged fish in Lake Conway, too, as the prize for each tag was raised to $1,000 through Feb. 29. Also, the Lake Conway nursery pond is now open for fishing with the AGFC stocking various sport fish there.


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 12-7-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the Southwestern Power Administration is periodically running water as they have been, 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.


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 12-7-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said lower water temperature with cold nights and frost in the morning 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 remains 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.

(updated 12-7-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 454.55 feet msl, which is 7.49 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet for this time of year. It has come up more than 1 foot since all the latest rains. Tommy says, “Catch rates for this time of year are really good as with any highland reservoir across the country.”
Some crappie 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-rig, jerkbaits, football heads or crankbaits. Stay around the shad, and topwater baits working as well. Last but not least, a spoon or a Silverado-colored trap has been 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 baitfish or up rivers and creeks real 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 swim bait, hair jig, inline spinners and some topwater action, all in 25-60 feet. “Enjoy, and remember to let someone know when you will be back in and wear your life jacket!”


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 12-7-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says decent-sized crappie have been caught, and overall crappie have been doing pretty well, including one 15-inch catch and one that weighed in at almost 2.5 pounds. The angler catching the heaviest crappie was using a jig while the woman who caught the 15-inch crappie was using minnow. Large numbers of crappie have been caught, too, early in the morning and early at night (7 p.m. or so). Anglers are catching these off the shoreline. Anglers fishing from a boat toward the shoreline also said they caught decent-sized crappie.

White bass are running pretty well, and catches are ranging 2 to 4 pounds. 

Catfish are slow, and not many largemouths have been reported. 

The lake is lower because water is used from the lake to flood Harris Brake WMA for waterfowl habitat and hunting. The lake is probably 4-5 feet below normal pool, with lots of stumps showing. Lots of pelicans have found their way to the lake, too, they report.


Lake Maumelle
(updated 12-7-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that the water drawdown of Lake Maumelle by Central Arkansas Water continues toward an 8-feet drop, with water level Thursday at 7.2 feet below full pool. Ramps are still accessible.
The largemouth bass bite is good. There are reports of the bass around the edges of channels following baitfish. Use jigs, Alabama rigs, swimbaits, and try jerk baits in shallow water in the afternoon. Look for bass around isolated structures looking for bream and shad around 18 feet of water. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are fair. Reports have them being found at all depths scattered. There are a few reports of catches in 15-18 feet off rocky points. Try using shaky heads and jigs. No reports on white bass this week. Crappie, though, are great still. Reports have come in of crappie being found on structures and brush anywhere from 20-35 feet in the channels. Use jigs and minnows. Bream are slow, but a few are anywhere from 16-18 feet. Use worms. Catfish are slow. Try using bream, liver or worms to entice a bite.


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 12-7-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) reported that the recent rain muddy up the water some but by Thursday it was clearing back up. Fishing has slowed but anglers are still catching crappie and bass. It was going well but definitely slowed when the rains came through “but the water is clearing up so it will get back right,” Ray said. Crappie are being caught mostly on jigs, with some on minnows, in about 7 feet of water. Bass are shallower than the crappie, biting in 4-5 feet of water on Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits. Both species are being found along the channel drop.


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 12-7-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says fishing has maintained about the same as last week. Bass fishing has been good with the numbers. There has been a little better quality showing up, too. Fishing around any type of wood, be it pylons or laydowns, around the 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 12-7-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) had no new updates this week. But last week, they 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.

“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 12-7-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the rain last week had little effect on the river levels and caused some dinginess before clearing up again. We have seen water levels between 3-5.5 feet. The weather has been nice with chilly mornings and warmer days. Over the last week there have been very few boats on the river and a few people fishing from the banks. During the low and clear water, spoons continue to do well, as well as Rapala Countdowns. Some anglers are reporting success catching sculpins and using them for bait, resulting in a few good size brown trout and rainbows. With the reduced fishing pressure, the trout are getting a chance to feed and grow. Hopefully by the spring we will see a lot of nice brown trout and fat 15-inch-plus rainbows

(updated 12-7-2023) John Berry, veteran angler and retired guide/owner in Cotter, said that during the past week, they had a half-inch of rainfall, cold temperatures (to include heavy frost) and heavier winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.4 foot to rest at 7.1 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 43.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake remained steady at 3.2 feet below power pool and 19.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 7.8 feet below power pool and 17.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had much more wadable water with moderate flows in the morning. Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.5 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater has wadable water. All of the lakes are well below the top of power pool. Expect wadable water in the coming days. On the Norfork, all turbines are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the floodgates.
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.
John says, “On the White, the hot spot has been the Buffalo 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.”

John also had this advice for the return of colder weather while trout fishing: “It was 27 degrees when I went outside to load my riverboat onto my Suburban. I went over to start the engine and turn the heater way up so it would defrost the windows and heat up the car before I got in. When I began removing the boat cover, I found a heavy layer of frost on it. My hands were numb. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a warm pair of gloves lined with cashmere (they had been my father’s and are dear to me). I was able to get everything ready to go pretty quickly because I was properly dressed. There was no question that this would be a cold start. The trick to surviving weather like this is to dress in layers.
“The base layer is closest to your skin and it is there to wick moisture away from your body. Dry is warm, wet is cold. Avoid cotton. Wear it in the summer. As water evaporates from cotton it cools the body. Wool and silk are good natural choices. They wick moisture away. Wool retains 60 percent of its insulating ability when wet and is a great choice for fishing. Polypropylene is a solid choice. It is made from recycled soda bottles and is a great wicking fabric. I use all three from time to time, but merino wool is my favorite.
“The insulation layer is to trap heat and keep you warm. Once again avoid cotton. Fleece is a solid choice. It is also made from recycled soda bottles. It is washable, quick drying and a great insulator. I have several tops and bottoms of various weights. Wool is a solid choice. It is warm when wet and available is a variety of weights. It usually has to be dry cleaned or hand washed, although there are some wool products available that are machine washable. Down is the warmest insulation for the weight and a favorite of mine. Beware, it loses its insulating ability when wet. There is a new insulation material, PrimaLoft Gold. It has a great insulation-to-weight ratio like down, is highly compressible and maintains 98 percent of its insulating ability when wet.
The outer layer is the wind shell. The insulating layers are usually not wind proof and the wind can steal all of the warmth captured near your body. Gore-Tex is the gold standard. It is windproof, water proof and breathes to allow moisture to move out. Waxed cotton is a good alternative. It does not absorb water and it breathes.
“Take care of the extremities. Heavy wool or propylene socks and insulated boots keep the feet warm and dry. My wife, Lori, wears two pairs of heavy socks. If it is above 32 degrees, I wear fingerless wool gloves so I can tie knots. Below 32, I have to wear full gloves with wool liners. For the head, a wool watch cap is a good start. I prefer my Elmer Fudd hat. It has a long bill, fleece-lined ear flaps that can be secured with Velcro, is insulated with PrimaLoft and covered in Gore-Tex.
“We have a 12-month fishing season here. If you have the gear, you can fish every day.”


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

(updated 12-7-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday the Bull Shoals water level is at 651 feet msl, or 7 feet below the normal pool for this time of year. Water temperature has dropped to 57 degrees. Bass fishing has been stellar with the cooler temps. You can powerfish if it’s cloudy, windy, covering water. Use a red Rock Crawler in the wind or stained water, and target windy, steep transition banks. Also target the swings. Suns out, guns out — get that spinning rod going with a Robo drop-shot. Some of the late summer areas with standing timber, bluff ends, channel swing points — they always hold some fish. Look along ledges in 30-50 feet. Or target shad out there in the middle of the lake. Graphing can pay off. Get around bait and then fish whatever is available: piles, points, ledges, swings, etc. A jig in green pumpkin orange with red highlights is good. They seem to be holding on ledges shallower. If it’s cloudy or in the 20-30 feet depth, while not munching shad, most days you’re going to have work for them. In 50-70 feet there’s mega schools of fish: bass, white bass, stripers, all shad eaters. Videogame fish can be tough to fool; try a small shad swimbait if the shad are up high, or with a Tater Shad. Use white or shad colors The Jewel Scuba Spoon is kicking butt! Rapala Ice Jig is working for me if the shad are on the bottom. Or if large groups show up!
Every day is different, fish the conditions. Walleye for me have been deep on the bottom around shad and trees. If they are around shad, I’ve been spoon-jigging a rap at 50-70 feet. Crappie are picking up. Anglers are hopping brush piles and fishing standing timber on the main lake by the shad, working for them. Stay off of them and try jigging first or crappie minnow under a float if you have to.

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 12-7-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level was 553.32 feet msl and is dropping slowly as of 6 p.m. Wednesday with no discharge from the dam except for minimum flow. Both generators are still inoperable whatever that means. The level has been stable for several weeks. The surface water temperature is 56.5 degrees on the main lake deep water and is dropping very slowly. The White River at Newport is 3.85 feet and very low and dropping indicating not much water is being released into the White River anywhere. “I could see my lure about 5-6 feet down on the main lake and the clarity is good for fishing, not too clear and not too cloudy. Sometimes this time of year it is too clear. “Open water fish on shad remains fairly good, but you still have to work for them. The bass fishing has improved on main lake brush piles in 18-25 feet of water on grubs, and the crappie are improving and I caught several large ones last evening just at sunset casting a Bobby Garland Jig and letting it sink into the brush. It was slow until then and they bit until dark. It needed to improve and it looks like things are back to normal like they should have been starting in early November.
“The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level and a good clarity for fishing. Norfork has a lot of big fish. It is not easy but several good ones are being caught every day.” 

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


Norfork Tailwater
(updated 12-7-2023) 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 0.5 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Al turbines at Norfork Dam are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the floodgates. 

There has been wadable water on the Norfork and it has fished well. 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. With school in session the weekdays are not as crowded. The hot flies have been Sowbugs, various colored San Juan Worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and white mop flies. Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry along a large net as most fish are lost at the net.


Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 12-7-2023) 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 12-7-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Wednesday that Beaver Lake water level was 1,112.76 feet msl, which is around 9 feet below normal pool. Water temps are in the low 50s, and these temps are ideal for a strong bite. Crappie are doing well on brush in 12-20 feet of water. The War Eagle arm is especially good right now and the White River follows behind that. Also, people spider-rigging are doing well on flats in 20 feet of water. Jigs in various colors and minnows are putting fish in the live well. Stripers are moving in large schools and heading south. Good fish are being caught from Horseshoe up to Point 12. Just keep moving and trust your graph. See bait and fish will be close. Schooled up white bass are mixed in, also. Bass have slowed some. They have been good on all sorts of techniques. Square bills and Chatterbaits have been working as were white spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Walleye are in their transition mode from summer to moving and setting up closer to upcoming spawning areas. Remember, walleye are the first spawners and from January on look for the prespawn post-up areas. Jig and minnows work well early.
“Lake is low, weather is really decent for this time of the year, and fish are biting! Be safe and good luck.”

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

(updated 12-7-2023) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said black bass fishing has been OK. Jigs, spinnerbaits, a still a little bit of topwater bait — those have been the best ways to go. Crappie fishing has been good. Fish with jigs or minnows fairly tight to brush in 6-14 feet of water.

Striper fishing is coming on pretty well now. This is the time to go with live bait, either live brooders or live shad, as the stripers are finally getting up into the rivers. For a while now, they were back into the main lake, moving and then back into the main lake but it appears now they are set for the rivers and anglers are able to concentrate them better for success.

They’ve heard nothing on white bass or bluegill lately. In another month or so, they expect to be hearing of walleye, but for now nothing much.


Beaver Tailwater
(updated 12-7-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) asks, “Where has all the water gone to? That is the story for this week’s report. With the low water levels, unless you are shore fishing, or boating in a shallow draft boat, fishing locations are limited. The bite has been quite slow as well, unless you can make it up past Spider Creek. Pautzke Fire Bait, fished with light terminal tackle, is still doing the trick, once again, if you can get to them.
“Here lately, the Corps of Engineers has been allowing water to flow twice daily from Beaver Dam, morning and evening. During generation, drifting pink Fireworms have done pretty well. Pretty soon, we will start looking for the walleye. Follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for updates on the walleye.
“I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and have a Merry Christmas! Sorry there is not much to report this week; hopefully the trout numbers will pick up and the water levels increase.”


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 12-7-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said Thursday it’s been quiet last couple of days, but a couple of regulars at the lake had been out catching crappie and bass. Bass were active last week, with the anglers reporting success with soft plastic worms or crankbaits, and there was some topwater reported. The bass caught were bigger than what they had seen this week.
For crappie fish, best success is going to come fishing in 10-12 feet of water away from the shoreline with minnows or jigs.

If they’re crappie fishing, they have to fish 10-12 feet of water away from the shoreline with minnows and jigs.

Catfish are really picking up out there, they report. The cats are “biting everything: worms, catfish bait, even the guys fishing for crappie with jigs, they were biting those too. The catfish are chasing the bluegill.”

Looking ahead, Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock will be open up until Dec. 24, will close for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and reopen on Jan. 14.


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.


Lake Poinsett
(updated 12-7-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, had no new report. 


Spring River
(updated 12-7-2023) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 225 cfs (350 cfs is average), and water clarity is clear. Low and clear water has the fish acting spooky on the bright sunny days. And easy going on the cloudy cold days. There has actually been some good dry-fly action during the evening hours with the clear water conditions. On the overcast dreary days streamers or Woollies are hard to beat on a strip. On the beautiful bright sunny days, you’ve got to get down to the bottom! Indicators with an egg with a nymph dropper can be very productive. If the nymph does not work, we have been using small minnow patterns below the egg with great success.
This is the time to chase big fish on the Spring River. Stocking levels are reduced and we get a chance to chase the holdover fish that survive and get big. Trout love this cold weather. The colder the better! The low and clear conditions makes for easier wading, but always be aware of slick rocks. A wading staff can be a lifesaver on the Spring. 

The smallmouth bass and spotted bass are still hitting hard on the nice warmer days. Definitely chasing those with bigger streamers/Clousers. Got to work for them for a great fight. They have still been chasing. It gets much colder, the bite will slow and the bass can still be caught with a slower presentation. You almost want to crawl the fly across the bottom.
We have seen more brown trout this year than years before. The AGFC has been trying to plant more browns on the Spring, and we are seeing the benefits. Smaller streamers are working for browns and some of the bigger browns have actually been caught on eggs. Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery is up and running after the new remodel last year. With a much larger capacity, it will help improve the trout fishing throughout the state of Arkansas but most of all the Spring River. Only great things to look forward to on the Spring River. 

(updated 12-7-2023) 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 12-7-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, the lake elevation is 2 feet above normal conservation pool from recent rainfall. The level is falling, however. Millwood Lake Dam is currently releasing about 13,320 cfs. Tailwater elevation near 237 feet msl and falling, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, 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 are stable this week, ranging 47-55 degrees along Little River depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River has worsened from recent storms and rainfall, with heavy stain in most locations, some areas further up Little River being heaviest. River clarity is ranging 3-8 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from stained to good visibility from 10-20 inches, and we observed around 3-4 feet visibility in a few areas, like McGuire oxbow, away from river current depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain and higher current rates. 

Mike provided these specifics to the past week’s fishing:
* Over the past few weeks, the juvenile and adolescent largemouth bass surface-breaking has diminished with the cooler surface temps. In several oxbow locations along Little River, the largemouth and Kentucky bass, and white bass, remain in large schools following the threadfin shad, and randomly feeding below the surface from 5-12 feet of depth. The most aggressive feeding periods 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. We continue finding several schools of adolescent aged largemouths and yearling spotted bass schooling on shad in Mud and Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows. These schooling fish are reacting and hitting best on Bill Lewis Lures Mag Trap in three-quarter ounce, MR-6 Square Bill Crankbaits, 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.
We continue finding largemouths, Kentucky bass and whites foraging in large groups together on threadfin shad schools along the old river channel in the oxbows. Anywhere a 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 chasing shad. These schooled sass continue hitting chrome/blue or Millwood Magic Spin Traps, Sexy Prism, Millwood Magi, and Silver Tennessee Shad colored Rat-L-Traps, Bandit 200 and 300 series 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.
Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows along Little River continue to have the best water clarity with visibility up to 2-3 feet in some locations. The more aggressive black bass seemed to respond better in the oxbows of Little River at creek junctions on primary and secondary points. In McGuire oxbow up Little River over the past few weeks we tied into a few decent 12- to 15-inch bass on a Bandit 200 or Bandit 300 Crankbait in Splatterback yellow belly colors, or a Rat-L-Trap with a tail spinner. An MR-6 Crankbait picked up a few random bites. Best colors of Traps and MR-6 Crankbaits were Millwood Magic, Ghost Minnow and Sneaky Shad.

* Not much change in the white bass from last week, as they continue following threadfin shad in the oxbows along with the spots and largemouths 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, or an ATV Square Bill in Sneaky Shad have been catching these white bass in the oxbows for weeks. The majority of these whites were feeding aggressively and ranged in size from 2-3 pounds each.
* The crappie bite has been very good, but it slowed down along the Little River with increased river current and river water getting muddy in many locations this past week. Crappie are best using minnows one day, and jigs the next, in planted brush piles 14-16 feet of depth, with catches up to 2.25 pounds each. Bee Lake, Pugh Slough, Saratoga, Okay Landing and the Millwood State Park area were good locations where many of our planted brush piles are located — before the rapid 2-feet rise of lake elevation and increased river flows muddied up many of those areas this week.
* No reports on bream or catfish.


Lake Columbia
No reports.


Lake Erling
(updated 12-7-2023) 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.


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

(updated 12-7-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that both lakes Hamilton and Catherine are drawn down 5 feet for the winter. The public is urged to download the new Entergy Hydro-Operations page that gives out 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 50 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. This water level creates a dangerous environment for boaters as many underwater obstructions come into play as fishermen attempt to navigate the tailrace. Extreme caution is advised for boaters and wade fishermen alike during these months of low water levels. Entergy has scheduled a minimum flow pattern for Lake Catherine, but this can change with any rainfall or energy demand. Possible severe weather is forecasted for Saturday this week bringing heavy rains, wind and hail. Expect high generation flows and open floodgates below Carpenter Dam should this storm reach severe levels.
The fall trout season has begun with the first stocking of rainbow trout going into Lake Catherine the first week of November, and 1,400 fish were 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 now 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 early in the fall as fish move in and out of areas and prey items change according to the weather.
The trout bite has been hit and miss since the first stocking but is sure to become more consistent as more trout are scheduled to be released in the lake this month. Bank fishermen can use PowerBaits 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. Anglers using a variety of these proven techniques have 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 will 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.
The last three years have been a complete disaster for rainbow trout fishing with flooding destroying any chance for anglers to access the Carpenter Dam tailrace. Hopefully, Mother Nature will allow conditions to return to normal and help provide a safe and compatible environment for all to enjoy on Lake Catherine. Always wear a lifejacket when on the water and remember to follow all park and lake regulations when visiting Carpenter Dam. Remember to please pick-up after yourself as the number of trashcans are limited and litter is becoming a problem in the area.


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

(updated 12-7-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no new reports, but recent had reported that the warm weather in had 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 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 12-7-2023) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that Lake Hamilton is now drawn down 5 feet and that’s made it perfect for crappie fishing. “If you’ve got brush in 20 feet of water and it comes up 5-7, 8 feet, that’s perfect, that’s what Hamilton is. If you’ve got brush piles with 8-10 feet of water over the top of the pile, that’s exactly where all the crappie are on this lake. Hamilton has bass tournament after bass tournament out here every single weekend. But all of the crappie fishermen are laughing while they’re stocking the deep freezer because there is fish to be caught every day.”


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 12-7-2023) Sheila Ferrebee, owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025), said anglers stopped in her spot to fish the crappie tournament at Blue Mountain Lake last weekend, but she’s also got regular anglers taking advantage of a good crappie bite at Nimrod. Anglers are using hair jigs, plastic jigs and minnows and “doing quite well,” she said. 

Catfish are also good. She had no lead on the baits used, but suggested anglers use any of the regular catfish bait available. 

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 12-7-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still fair. Try a finesse worm or crawfish on a drop-shot for spotted bass. Jigging a spoon is producing some quality fish in the 25- to 30-foot range. No reports on walleye. Stripers are still fair. These fish are being caught in the central and western portions of the lake and can be caught on live bait. No report on bream. Crappie are still good and being caught on small jigs. Try brush and structure 20-25 feet deep. No report on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 52-56 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. Lake level on Wednesday was 569.99 feet msl, still about 8 feet below normal pool. 

Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.


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.

(updated 12-7-2023) Sheila Ferrebee, owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025) near Plainview, said Blue Mountain Lake hosted a crappie tournament last weekend with the tourney going very well. The first-place winner and runner-up each caught 5 fish totaling over 9 pounds. The “Big Fish” easily topped 2 pounds.

Catfish are also being caught in good numbers, according to anglers stopping in at her store on the way to Blue Mountain.


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 12-7-2023) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt reports that bass and crappie are biting well in all the area rivers. Minnows or a white tail jig will bring success.


Cook’s Lake
(updated 12-7-2023) Cook’s Lake is now closed to fishing through February and will serve as a rest area for migrating waterfowl. For more 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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