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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 12-14-2023


The AGFC Fishing Report will be on hiatus for the holiday season and will next be published on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024

Dec. 14, 2023

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Jere Fones recently caught a nice Spring River smallmouth bass while fishing with guide Mark Crawford.

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 12-14-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported catfish are biting well but the crappie have slowed down for a nearly the past week, and for sure the past couple of days.
Catfish are biting anything you throw in the water.

They aren’t sure if it was the temperature change — it got cold for a couple of days – but the crappie action has been pretty slow, or slower than it had been. And it had been on fire on minnows or jigs. This week, minnows were working but jigs had days where there would be no action.

Anglers are catching black bass up on the north side of the lake. One particular angler who has caught a lot of bass lately said he was using Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits.
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 12-14-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said things are pretty much the same. The Southwestern Power Administration is periodically running water as they have been, but may only run a generator for an hour on some days. Sometimes it is short bursts over three-day periods and then no water. There are a lot of wading opportunities when they are not running water. Anglers are having success using small baits 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 12-14-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 454.63 feet msl, or 7.41 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl for this time of year. It has come up more than 1 foot since all latest rains. “Catch rates for this time of year are real good as with any highland reservoir across the country,” Tommy said.
Some crappie are roaming around chewing, while others are doing 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 beetle spins for best results. Black bass are good super shallow out to 50 feet in guts, main lake points or secondary points. They’re biting C-rigs, jerkbaits, football heads or crankbaits — stay around the shad. Topwater baits are working as well. And, 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. A spoon is 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 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. Look in 25-60 feet.
“Enjoy and remember to let someone know when you will be back in, and wear your life jacket!”

(updated 12-14-2023) 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 has come up slight and is less than 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 12-14-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says decent-sized crappie continue caught, and overall the crappie have been doing pretty well. In recent weeks, they one 15-inch crappie reported (caught on a minnow), and another that was 16 inches and weighed 2.4 pounds (a jig was used). 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 with some nice stingers.

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 12-14-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that the water level is 7.8 feet below full pool. Central Arkansas Water, which is drawing down the lake, will stop the drawdown at 8 feet below normal pool. The middle ramp at WestRock Landing is still accessible.
Largemouth bass are biting well. Reports of the bass around the edges of channels following baitfish. Try using jigs, Alabama rigs, swimbaits, and try jerkbaits in shallower water in the afternoon. Look for bass around isolated structures looking for bream and shad around 18 feet of water. Kentucky bass are fair. Reports of them being found all depths scattered. Some reports of catching them in 15-18 feet off rocky points. Try using shaky heads and jigs. White bass are slow. No reports this week. Crappie are good. Reports of crappie being found on structures and brush anywhere from 20-35 feet in the channels. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are fair and being caught anywhere from 16-18 feet depth. Try using worms. Catfish are slow. Try using bream, liver and worms.


Arkansas River at Morrilton
For the real-time water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam and Morrilton stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website


Little Maumelle River
(updated 12-14-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) reported that crappie are doing real well this week. Crappie are being caught in 7-8 feet on minnows and jigs. Ray said he also had some people go out that “caught a ton of bream on redworms. That’s the first report on bream in a while.”

Black bass biting on Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits, and those anglers who reported catching black bass were also catching a lot of white bass. Nothing was heard on catfish.

The water is clear and normal and back in good shape. The water temperature is down well enough that the crappie fishing should be good for a while, Ray said.


Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
For the real-time water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
For the real-time water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam and David D. Terry Lock and Dam, as well as the Little Rock pool stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 12-14-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says water temperature is staying in the mid- to high 50s. Fishing has been consistent for the past few weeks. 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 12-14-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially here in Cotter. As you come down to the river through Big Spring Park early on a frosty morning, you’ll see a most amazing, delightful display of lights. Morning temperatures have been plenty cool, but that has given way to sunny, warm days that don’t feel much like December. Sure is nice for a day of catching trout on the White River, though.”
Bull Shoals Lake is sitting at 651.61 feet msl, over 7 feet below power pool. Angler traffic on the river often dwindles through the winter, but these unseasonably mild days have seen an uptick of visitors. The successful anglers learned to include a variety of baits to accommodate the changes in river depth downstream of Bull Shoals Dam. “In recent days we’ve seen substantial changes in the water level throughout the day varying from minimum flow (700 cfs) to over four units (12,000 cfs), so bring a favorite silver spoon or some jigs for the lower level in the morning (orange and/or brown skirts), red wiggler worms for the rise during mid-morning, and some stick baits for the afternoon catch (rainbow patterns worked best this week).
“As always, scented egg patterns and shrimp will lure a good number of rainbows to your net. The browns are spawning, so you need to be creative in what you throw and how you throw it. Sculpins will still attract a brown trout but it might take more patience than usual. The rainbows are eating up the sculpins, too, so upsize your bait to attract the browns.
“Come on in and share a story or two. The weatherman promises mild daytime temperatures for the next week, so pick up your rod and reel, get outside and come join us on the river. Merry Christmas from the banks of the White.”

(updated 12-14-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said most of this week we have seen water depths around 2.5 feet. Quarter-ounce Colorado Spoons in nickel/gold worked well resulting in some nice 14-inch-plus rainbow trout. “On Monday the Bull Shoals Dam increased generation resulting in us receiving water depths of over 6 feet early Tuesday morning. This additional water caused dinginess to the water. With the water dingy and higher, drift-fishing with Uncommon Bait Ultraviolet Eggs in Bright Orange or Neo Pink and shrimp worked well. By Wednesday morning the river was still up but most of the dinginess had cleared out.”
On Monday the Norfork Hatchery stocked almost 33,000 surplus rainbow trout fingerlings at the Calico Rock boat ramp. As a result, Rapala Countdowns in rainbow trout colors were effective for brown trout and larger rainbow trout. 

(updated 12-14-2023) John Berry, veteran angler and retired guide/owner in Cotter, said that during the past week, they had no rain, cold temperatures (to include heavy frost) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.4 foot to rest at 7.5 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 43.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 3.7 feet below power pool and 19.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 8 feet below power pool and 17.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had plenty of wadable water with moderate flows in the morning. Norfork Lake remained steady at 0.5 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork has had wadable water. All of the lakes are well below the top of power pool. Expect wadable water in the coming days. On the 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 is closed from Nov. 1 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 this past week, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. We have had lower flows that have fished well. The hot flies were Y2Ks, Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan Worms, gold ribbed Hare’s Ears and Sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. My favorite has been a size 14 Pheasant Tail with a size 18 Ruby midge dropper.

John also said, “Since my recent retirement, I have been fishing differently. I usually fish in my river boat, and in over 30 years of guiding I have pared down the number of items that I carry with me. As a result, I developed an efficient way to carry all of the gear that I carry and use in my boat. Most of the stuff I carry is contained in my boat box, a large fly box with 19 compartments.
“In it, I carry about 30 different fly patterns. The big ones are put in the compartments, while the small ones are in small plastic containers that are put in the compartments on top of the big flies. There are three small dispensers containing split shot (BB, AB and AAA), a tippet gauge to measure leaders and tippets and a spare set of nippers. There is also a selection of strike indicators (bobbers), leader cleaning pads, and ice off paste (to prevent your guides from freezing in cold weather and ferrule wax to properly seat your rod ferrules.
“I have a small boat bag, a 40-year-old Wood River bag that has seen better days, to organize my other gear. I have forceps, a hook hone, a stout pocket knife and spare leaders. There are three spools of tippet (2X, 4X and 5X), a small flash light, a whistle, sunscreen and a small tool kit to make minor repairs to my motor. There is no room for the boat box. The bag and the boat box are kept in a boat locker with a rain suit.
Fishing with friends or on trips with a guide requires me to take the gear that I would need to fish in another boat. When you fish with friends you should carry your own tackle and rig your own rod unless you are requested not to. Your host or hostess does want you using up their flies and would rather be fishing than untangling your line. Be ready to take care of yourself.
“To organize my gear to do that, I needed to get a boat bag that could hold the gear that I needed to carry. I wanted a bag that could carry my big fly box, a light rain suit, a small thermos, a pair of forceps with a pair of nippers attached, spare leaders, tippet, a Swiss army knife, sunscreen and a little room left for a snack. There should be side pockets so I could carry reel spools or sunglasses, if needed.
“I looked at all of the Simms, Orvis, Patagonia and Fish Pond boat bags and none looked right to me. I went on eBay and found a vintage Orvis Battenkill tackle bag. It looked like an old English fishing bag (they generally don’t wear fishing vests). It looked like it had never been used and it matched the Orvis Battenkill duffels and totes that I already owned. It held all the gear that I wanted to carry, looked good and cost less than half the other bags I looked at. I have taken it fishing and it has functioned flawlessly.
“Maybe you could use a boat bag.”


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 12-14-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday the Bull Shoals water level was 651 feet msl, or 7 feet below normal pool for this time of year. The water temperature was 56 degrees. Bass Fishing has been stellar with the cooler temps. You can powerfish if it’s cloudy and windy, covering water with a Rock Crawler or Wiggle Wart in red variations. Target wind-blown chunk rock banks and steeper transition banks, as well as swings ledges. When the sun’s out, guns out — go with a spinning rod with a Robo drop-shot Some of the late summer areas with standing timber, bluff ends or channel swing points always hold some fish. Look along ledges in 30-50 feet, or target shad out 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 15-25 feet depth, while not munching shad — most days you’re going to have work for them.
Look in 50-70 feet. There are mega schools of fish: black 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. White or shad colors are best now. The Jewel Scuba Spoon is kicking butt! A Rapala Ice Jig or Jewel LS Spin is working for me if the shad are on the bottom or large groups show up! Every day is different; fish the conditions. 

The walleye report is via Southern Walleye Guide Service: Walleye have been scattered and anglers are spooning and ice jigging the bottoms. If you find the shad balls around trees or off of the flats in 50-65 feet toward the back of creeks, you can fish around the height of the shad close to trees with jigging spoons and get a chance at some good-sized fish. 

The crappie report is via Crappie 101 Guide Service LLC: They are finding crappie in the creeks on brush still with some on main lake brush and timber. Range seems to be 10-20 feet in most cases. They are catching them using an eighth-ounce jig with Tater Baits, small fry purple monkey color, and on minnows.

Del regularly posts new YouTube videos. Visit his YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Fishing Report) 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 12-14-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level is 553.26 feet msl and is the same as last week with no discharge from the dam except minimum flow. Both generators are still inoperable and have been for several months. The White River at Newport is 3.97 feet and very low, indicating not much water is being released anywhere. The surface water temperature is 55.5 degrees and dropping very slowly. “The water clarity is pretty good and I could see my lure down about 6 feet. The lake overall is in excellent condition but fishing is just fair.
“There are three ways to catch fish at this time. Beat the windblown bank with a crankbait, grub or a spinnerbait and work it slowly. Another is to drag live bait, umbrellas, clip a weight in front of a crankbait to get it down and troll through broken schools of shad. Last, work brush piles in 18-25 feet of water also on main lake windblown banks. Cast a jig or jig and minnow, past the brush and let it sink into it. You can also vertical jig a small spoon right in the brush or use a live minnow on a slip float and set it about 5 feet further down than you can see your bait. The best time of day is from just before sunset and until dark.” 

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


Norfork Tailwater
(updated 12-14-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said Norfork Lake remained steady at 0.5 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.7 feet below the top of flood pool. All of the lakes in the White River system are well below the top of power pool; expect wadable water in the coming days. On the 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 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. With mild weather during the Christmas break coming up, however, expect busier weekdays. 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 12-14-2023) 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 12-14-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Wednesday that Beaver Lake has remained at a steady level of 1,112.53 feet msl this last week. “We saw some fronts blow through which impacted the bite slightly. With the blue-birdy weekend it slowed fishing as tempered dropped into low 20s. This week as of (Tuesday), temps were rebounding to some darn nice winter weather. I have seen it worse for sure.
“So on to the report: Big news last week was some major movement on stripers from the north end to mid-lake and on further south. The fish have been caught from Horseshoe to Friendship Creek. Use your electronics and find the shad and those stripers will be in close proximity. Look for some birds. They will lead you to feeding fish pushing bait up in the water column. Brooders are working as are shad if you’re good enough to cast-net them this time of the year.
Bass are pretty good for people throwing cranks and some jerkbaits. I have noticed lots of schooling bass near a lot of my brush piles as of late. Crappie are good and getting better. Look from Hickory and south for fish on brush in 10-20 feet of water. Also you LiveScopers, lots of roamers to be had. Look in the 15 feet range and flats adjacent to main channels. We have done well pitching to suspended fish lately. I am sure catfish are available — if you target them I would look in the main channels, and cut shad works good this time of the year. Walleye are still hit and miss. They will start some prespawn movement this coming month.
“If this weather holds fishing should stay good and probably get better. Stay safe when navigating as there are lots of hazards in play. Good luck and enjoy this weather because it will change and you can bank on that!”

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 12-14-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the water level in the tailwater continues to drop through the month of December. However, if you can hit the right spots, you can still catch some fish. The bite has still been quite slow in most areas, 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 had water flowing during the morning hours (mostly). During generation, try drifting pink or white Fireworms, as they have done pretty well. “Here 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 can get out and catch some fish! I hope you all have a Happy Holidays! Sorry there is not much to report this week, again; here’s hoping 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 12-14-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said Lake Charles is down 3 feet or more as of earlier this week. Lake Charles water is used to help flood the Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area for waterfowl season. The only bites she heard about were good bites on both catfish and crappie, though she did not get an idea of the baits used. Jigs are always a safe bet at Lake Charles on the crappie, while catfish these days like worms/nightcrawlers and will even latch on to a jig for anglers targeting crappie. In the shade of Sunday, the water temperature was recorded as 50.7 degrees. The clarity is the usual murky.


Lake Poinsett
(updated 12-14-2023) 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 12-14-2023) 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 12-14-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, lake elevation was 4 inches above normal conservation pool from recent rainfall, and the water is dropping; Millwood Lake Dam is releasing about 6,420 cfs. Tailwater elevation is near 233 feet msl, according to the Army Corps of Engineers Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, link page, or at the US 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 were stable this week, ranging 50-56 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River has improved over the past week, with normal stain in most locations, some areas further up Little River being heaviest, and river clarity ranging 8-10 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. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain and higher current rates. 

Mike provided these specifics from the fishing this week:

* Over the past several weeks, the schooling bass surface-breaking has diminished with the cooler surface temps. In several oxbow locations along Little River, the black bass and white bass remain in large schools following the threadfin shad, and they are randomly feeding below the surface from 5-12 feet of depth. The most aggressive feeding periods for largemouths continue to shift from midday, continuing into mid-afternoon, and best locations of large schools are 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 Largemouth and yearling spotted bass following large groups of shad in Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows, and randomly feeding. Best responses from these bass are with reaction-type lures like the Bill Lewis Lures Mag Trap in three-quarter-ounce fishing deeper structure, and MR-6 Square Bill Crankbaits, Bomber Fat Free Guppy and Rat-L-Trap Spin Traps (with tail spinner) finessing through any dead lily pad stems. 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.
Bass are beginning to migrate toward deeper structure for their winter hideouts, and large bass can be targeted in the vertical structure and drops from primary and secondary points and flats, into 10-15 feet of depth drops. We continue finding black bass and white bass in various groups foraging in large groups together, on threadfin shad schools along the old river channel in the oxbows. Anywhere creek channel dumps into the back of the oxbows, and the mouths of the creeks, continue holding various size schools of largemouths or spotted bass Along Little River at Hurricane Creek there have been a few good schools of schooled up largemouth and juvenile spotted bass following shad. These schooled bass continue hitting chrome/blue or Millwood Magic Spin Traps, Sexy Prism, Millwood Magic 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 following and holding near the large schools of threadfin shad in the oxbows and Little River.
On warmer afternoons, you can find bass following 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, and a Rocketshad, or Brazalo Spinnerbait in Spot Remover or white color, and a white Chatterbait with a clear or Salt’n Pepper thumping Bang Boss Trailer, in the lily pads on those flats near vertical drops will draw a reaction. A Rat-L-Trap SpinTrap Tail spinner in chrome/blue, a custom painted Little John Square Bill in Modified Millwood Magic, and Bandit 300 in Millwood Magic or Splatterback yellow belly color, will get a reaction in the pad stems.
* Not much change over past couple weeks with white bass, as they continue to hang near and follow 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. Rat-L-Trap MR6 Crankbaits, or a Magnum three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Modified Millwood Magic color, or an ATV Square Bill in Sneaky Shad, have been catching these whites in the oxbows for weeks.
* The crappie bite has been very good, and improved over the past week along the Little River with decreased river current and river water beginning to clear in many locations. The crappie are best using minnows one day, and jigs the next, in planted brush piles 14-16 feet of depth. Expect crappie up to 2.25 pounds. Bee Lake, Pugh Slough, Saratoga, Okay Landing and Millwood State Park are good locations where many of our brush piles are located.
* No report on bream.
* Channel cats and blue catfish improved with a couple of guys we spoke with over the past few days running trotlines, limblines and noodles in 12-18 feet of water. They said the best bite was on Punch Bait, cut gizzard shad, and buffalo. They had caught around 22 nice channel cats from 5-7 pounds when we spoke with them a few days ago.


Lake Columbia
No reports.


Lake Erling
(updated 12-14-2023) 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.


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 Atkins
(updated 12-14-2023) Donald Ramirez has reported that he has sold Lucky Landing to a trio of businessmen led by Kevin Pierce of Paragrould, who is relocating to the area. Pierce’s intentions, Ramirez said, is to remain the spot Reba’s Marina Bait and RV Park at Lucky Land, in honor of his late wife. They have a new listing on Facebook.


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

(updated 12-14-2023) 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 when the refilling process will begin. 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 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 now access areas that hold hungry trout in current or slack water 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 in early December. 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 give fishermen 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 thru December and dramatically increase with the beginning of the new year. Currently, rainbow trout 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 12-14-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature in the 50s. Water clarity in the river is clear. Most creeks are clear, with very few stained. Crappie fishing is excellent. The colors Monkey Milk, Cajun Cricket and purple have been working great.

Bass fishing has been excellent with a lot of large fish being caught. Jigs and plastic crawl have been working the best. It’s been hard to find a jerkbait bite or an Alabama rig bite, but it’s coming.

Striper fishing is excellent. The big ones are hard to find but. They’re coming as well. Swimbaits and Rat-L-Traps are the best baits, and spoons are working great, too.

Bream are good along jetties with brush. Black jigs with scent have been working great. Catfish are good around rocks with shad. Cut shad and skip jack are getting bites, with quite a few being caught on bass jigs. Look for the gizzard shad. White bass are deep on some points and around jetties. White jigs and spoons have been working well.

“Merry Christmas. Good luck on your catch.”


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 12-14-2023) 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 spoon is producing some quality fish in the 25- to 30-foot range. No report 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 50-54 degrees. The clarity is clearing. The lake level has been on a slight rise and is now 570.31 feet msl. 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 12-14-2023) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt reports that crappie are biting between 7-15 feet in the rivers. Water is very low around the region. 


Cook’s Lake
(updated 12-14-2023) 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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