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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 01-11-2024


This marks the return of the AGFC Fishing Report for 2024. During the first weeks of the year, the report will be published every other week, with weekly reports resuming at the end of February.

Jan. 11, 2023

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Rick Stone of Centerton (right), getting help at the shoreline holding this monstrous fish from Nara Cheng, also of Centerton, caught this massive striper in the Hickory Creek Area of Beaver Lake while fishing with guide Jon Conklin. The striper measured 46 inches long with a girth of almost 30 inches. The estimated weight was 46 pounds. Stone was using brood minnows. Conklin says in his fishing report this week from Beaver Lake (see below) that stripers are on the move chasing baitfish. There may be one like this waiting for you.

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 1-11-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) had no new report. In their most recent report, with the lake drawn down over 4 feet, they said catfish were going well while crappie had slowed down. Catfish are biting anything you throw in the water.

Anglers were catching black bass up on the north side of the lake. One particular angler who has caught a lot of bass lately suggested using Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits.
The hunt continues for tagged fish in Lake Conway. The prize for each tag is now $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 1-11-2024) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said the Southwestern Power Administration has not been running a consistent generation schedule of lately. They have been running some water in the mornings. Check the SWPA website to see if they have any water scheduled for release for the day you go fishing. Also check USACE Little Rock app to see if any water was released unexpectedly for power demand before heading out.

“We have several days this coming week with temperatures in the teens forecast.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they were generating water on some of these cold days for power demand,” he said.

“The lakes in Arkansas are all low and not much water has been generated on our tailwaters this fall and winter like in years past. This has pushed the spawn back. 

The brown trout are spawning; be mindful of this as you are wading, keeping out of any cleaned gravel areas as you wade the river. Be careful while handling females full of eggs. Practice catch-and-release on our brown trout, especially during the spawn.

We don’t receive stockings of them on the Little Red River. This will ensure we have this resource for years to come.
“On days with no generation I’d fish the deep holes or the deeper water around moss beds. Try fishing a pink San Juan Worm and throw near the moss beds, giving it time to fish — if no bite, then give it a twitch. The rainbow bite has been good. Egg patterns and Midges underneath an indicator have been producing along with San Juan Worms and Mega Worms. 

“The best bite has been the day after they release water or fishing the water falling out from that day’s release. I’ve been launching the boat and streamer fishing on the days they are running water in the morning, then switching to nymphing as the water starts to fall out. You can’t go wrong fishing egg patterns and Mega Worms during falling water.

“The streamer bite has been good when we have the water to push the fish to the banks. I’ve had my clients throwing smaller Double Deceivers in white/chartreuse, Cotton Candy and brown/yellow. And they’re all moving fish.”

(updated 1-11-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Thursday that water has not been running at the dam for the past six days, so it’s hard to get a boat into the water for fishing. You can wade the banks, but caution is urged because of the very cold water and the possibility of slipping. A fall will have you searching for a dry place and warm dry clothes very quickly.
Most anglers have been catching their trout on an eighth-ounce spoon and on PowerBait in the colors white, yellow or chartreuse and pink. The water is probably stained up a bit because of the recent rain; the water coming out of the creeks will stain the river up some but it should be clearing up in a bit.


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 1-11-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 466.55 feet msl, which is 4.51 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet 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. 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 beetle spin for best results. Black bass are good super shallow out to 50 feet in guts, main lake points or secondary points, on C-rigs, jerk baits, football heads or crankbaits. Stay around the shad; topwater baits working as well. And last but not least, try a spoon or a Silverado colored trap, as both are working. 

Walleye are doing what they usually do this time of year: follow schools of bait around or disappearing. 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 kicks in; when you find them, just about any metal bait you get in front of them will work, or use a swim bait, hair jig, inline spinners and there’s some topwater action, also. Fish in 25-60 feet.
“Enjoy and remember to let someone know when you will be back in and wear your life jacket!”

(updated 1-11-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the water is somewhat stained by recent rains and the lake is rising. The bass fishing has been hit and miss, some days good, some days bad. Most people are targeting deeper areas like guts of the creeks, and they are focusing on areas with balls of baitfish. Anglers are throwing an Alabama rig and a Damiki rig and also a jerkbait with success. The fish have been suspended from 15-25 feet of water. This pattern has been lake-wide.

Crappie have been caught underneath docks or around standing timber in 15-20 feet of water. Use live minnows or a natural-colored crappie jig or pink/chartreuse jig.


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 1-11-2024) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water is still low and is “really muddy.” There doesn’t seem to be any fish biting in the daytime. Most of the news of catches is coming from folks saying they are catching crappie overnight, or before sunup. Some big crappie have been caught off of the shoreline in the early morning hours. “You have to come before daylight,” they said.

Black bass also appear to be slow because of the muddy and low water. 

Last week, a youngster caught a 6.5-pound catfish fishing off the shoreline and using chicken liver. And a woman across the lake reported to the resort operators that she and her party had caught catfish using large minnows on their yo-yos.
Despite the slow bite and varying weather conditions of late, including snow late last week, anglers are still coming out to fish, they report.


Lake Maumelle
(updated 1-11-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water level is 8 feet below full pool, as drawn down last month by Central Arkansas Water, the lake’s owner. The middle ramp at WestRock Landing is still accessible, as well as its back launch ramp near its docks. In both cases, use the ramps with caution.

Largemouth bass are biting well. There are reports of bass around the edges of channels following baitfish. Try using jigs. Alabama rigs and swimbaits, and use jerkbaits shallow in the afternoon. Look for largemouths around isolated structures hunting for bream and shad in around 18 feet of water. Kentucky bass (spotted bass) are fair. Reports have them being found around the edges of the channel deep, as well as some anglers catching them in 18 feet off rocky points. Try using shaky heads and jigs.
The Lake Maumelle Winter Series is underway and last Saturday’s tournament was highlighted by 17.18 pounds of black bass (5-bass stringer) being caught by Vaughn and Brian Greenway. Another team had 17.07 pounds, and Big Bass weights ranged from 4.23-4.77 pounds.

White bass are slow this week, no reports. Crappie fishing is great, though. Reports of crappie being found on structure and brush anywhere from 20-35 feet in the channels. Use jigs and minnows. Bream are fair and being found in 16-18 feet on redworms. Catfish are slow. Use bream, liver or worms for some nibbles.


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 1-11-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is on the murky side after rain on Monday, but he expects it to be clearing up soon — the river hasn’t been running, so the clearing up part has been slower than usual. Water temperature was 42.6 degrees. 

Crappie have been doing fairly well but are deep — 8-10 feet for anglers, who are using minnows and jigs. Black bass have actually been doing better than the crappie, Ray said. Anglers are catching many bass in that 8- to 10-feet range using crankbaits.

One angler had success last week catching redear sunfish on the bottom.
“With all this cold coming on, I don’t know what will happen. It was real good (fishing) before this little rain we had the other day,” 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 1-11-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says the pattern for anglers is still cold wintertime fishing, but it has changed some in recent days. There has been more current on the river lately and the water has stained up a bit. Mostly the good news is from crappie anglers. They are catching crappie behind the jetties in 15 feet of water. They are using blue and chartreuse and solid chartreuse crappie jigs as well as black and chartreuse.

Also, anglers have been catching some saugeye below the dam on white/chartreuse or a straight chartreuse grub. Most of those catching saugeye are fishing along the bank of the river from the rocks, below the downriver side of both Murray Lock and Dam and below the David D. Terry Lock and Dam at the south end of the pool. Saugeye is a species best caught in the wintertime along the river.


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 1-11-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Just because the air temperature is cold doesn’t mean the fish are hiding out, seeking shelter. Fact is, the end of the brown trout spawn is near and we’re seeing movement from the upriver spawning beds to their Cotter home grounds. We’ve experienced some mild precipitation and cold mornings, but the daytime temperatures usually warm up a little and we’re on the upside of short, winter days — meaning more sunlight every day.”
Bull Shoals Lake is still well below power pool elevation (sitting at 652.42 msl as of Wednesday), so expect low generation most of the time. As the continuing cold weather brings more power needs, however, the Army Corps of Engineers may release more water, so always keep an eye on releases for safe wading.
With the significant weather fluctuations we’ve experienced, you’ll be most successful baiting your No. 6 or No. 8 trout hook with a mashup of shrimp and scented PowerBait. The browns have responded well to jigs or beads, river minnows — especially red fin minnows if you can find them — and shad. Lunker brown fishing is just around the corner with the official end of the spawn, so unpack those Rapala Countdowns (or floaters for really low water levels): gold and black or the rainbow pattern. Another safe

bet: Four-inch Smithwicks, black back, white bellies in February.

Trout fishing tip of the day: Keep a taut line, leave your rod alone as much as possible and refrain from reeling except to keep the line tight — until you get a bite. Listen to, and take advice from, your guide, even if it differs from the way you may have caught fish in the past. They want you to be successful and to catch fish!
“Happy New Year! Enjoy the great outdoors in The Natural State of Arkansas in 2024.”

(updated 1-11-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said, “We hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. The mild weather and low river conditions have made for pleasant fishing. With the low and clear water, quarter- ounce Colorado spoons in nickel/gold worked well, resulting in some nice limits of rainbows and also some nice 20-inch-plus brown trout. Normally, fly-fishing is marginally effective in this area of the river but with the low and clear water conditions, fly-fisherman are reporting successes. Other methods that have been effective are using jigs (try different ones until finding what the trout like that day), Rapala Countdowns (again, try different ones) and Little Cleos in gold, gold/fire stripe and silver (on cloudy days).
The recent rains caused the river to rise and become very dingy. In these conditions, silver inline spinners with Uncommon Baits Neo Pink ultraviolet eggs tipped with shrimp worked best. Stay safe with the incoming rain/freezing rain/sleet/snow and brutally cold conditions. 

Dave added, “We will be at the upcoming Arkansas Marine Expo in Little Rock from Jan. 19-21. If you are there, stop by and say, ‘Hi’.”

(updated 1-11-2024) John Berry, veteran angler and retired guide/owner in Cotter, said that during the past week, they have had almost an inch of rain in Cotter, frigid temperatures (to include heavy frost) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.3 foot to rest at 6.5 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 42.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 4.8 feet below power pool and 20.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 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 lately. Norfork Lake rose 0.3 foot to rest at 0.3 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.9 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, all turbines remain 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. On Feb. 1 this section will open to fishing.
John says that on the White, the hot spot recently has been the Rim Shoals. “We have had lower flows that have fished well. The hot flies were Y2Ks, Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan Worms, gold ribbed Hare’s Ears and Sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. My favorite has been a size 14 Pheasant Tail with a size 18 ruby midge dropper.”
John also said, “I was asked if I would take over club outings for the North Arkansas Fly Fishers. I did and decided to begin with something a little different, a New Year’s Day trip to the Spring River. When I was active in the Mid South Fly Fishers, we went to Lassiters, an access located in Mammoth Spring, for our fly-fishing classes and outings. It is fairly easy wading with plenty of room to move around, and since it is a natural spring-fed river it is not subject to generation. I learned to fly-fish there.
“As the day neared, I began to closely monitor the weather. I am a retired guide who is accustomed to fishing in inclement weather. My wife, Lori (still a working guide), and I have good gear for any kind of weather. I was concerned that it may be a bit cold for some members. The idea is to get them out of the house. Would you rather binge watch ‘Reacher,’ ‘The Crown’ or a few of the 47 bowl games we had this year, or go fishing. One of our attendees, Robin Curtis, said, ‘If you catch a fish on New Year’s Day, you will have good fishing all year.’ I was pleased to find the beginning temperature 34 degrees instead of the forecast 23.
“I loaded up my Suburban and headed out as soon as it was light enough to drive. It took about an hour and 15 minutes to get there. I was early but a club member was already there wadering up. It was 38 degrees. Lori was to feed and walk Tilley and Ghillie, our Labradors, and then join me at Lassiter’s with them. I began setting up lunch so Lori could begin cooking after she arrived.
“Other hardy anglers arrived and began rigging rods and donning waders. Eventually we had about a dozen fly-fishers, men and ladies. It slowly warmed all day. The fishing was a bit slow but there were several nice trout caught. The hot flies were soft hackles and olive Woolly Buggers.
“Around noon, Lori had the food ready and called everyone in. We had grilled brats and hot dogs, a variety of chips, potato salad, homemade cookies, Lori’s brownies and a Dutch oven peach cobbler cooked on-site. There was water and soft drinks, and several anglers brought thermoses of coffee. The high point of the day was all of us hanging around swapping fishing stories.
“I began cleaning up. I put all of our trash in a bag to dispose of at home. As I was loading my gear back into the car, I saw fellow anglers Danny Sabo and Bill Spain policing up the area, to tidy up where other visitors had strewn trash. I was impressed with their efforts. We were leaving Lassiters looking better than it did when we got there.
“I have already started planning the next club outing. Why not join us?”


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 1-11-2024) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that the lake level is 652 feet msl, or 7 feet below full pool. The water temperature is 49-50 degrees. Bass fishing has been fair despite the cooler temps. You can powerfish if it’s cloudy, windy, by covering water with a Rock Crawler or Wiggle Wart in red variations. Target wind-blown chunk rock banks and steeper areas with the ol’ jerky jerk Megabass Standing timber, bluff ends, channel swings and points always hold some fish. Look along ledges in 30-50 feet target areas by shad Graphing can pay off. Get around bait and then fish whatever is available: piles, points, ledges, swings, etc. …Use a jig in green pumpkin orange with red highlights. They seem to be holding on ledges or treetops, and shallower if it’s cloudy, while not munching shad. Most days you’re going to have work for them. Shad seem to be spread out, for sure, but holding in the 60- to 80-feet range regardless of overall depth. There’s mega schools of fish out in the middle: black bass, white bass, stripers, walleye, all shad eaters. Videogame fish can be tough to fool — try a small shad Damiki Tater-style bait in white or shad colors. The Jewel Scuba Spoon, Rapala Ice Jig or Jewel LS Spin — tailspin baits are working for me if the shad are on the bottom or large groups show up! Every day is different, so fish the conditions. 

“My crappie report comes 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 a ⅛-ounce jigs with Tater Baits, small fry Purple Monkey color, and on minnows.
Walleye are scattered along the creek channel following the shad. I am catching some around trees in 60-70 feet of water where the creek passes close to a steep bank or a point halfway to two-thirds in back of creeks. I’m mostly fishing the longer creek arms. I’m staying close to trees with spoons and jigging raps. Also, I have also been catching a few on Rapala Rippin Raps. Lure colors have been white or shad pattern.”

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 1-11-2024) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said Wednesday the lake level was 554.02 feet msl and is the same as it was at this time Tuesday with minimum flow, and they did open up sluice gates a trickle. It is the first time in a long time. Both generators are still inoperable, and the No. 1 generator was to be in operation by November. The surface water temperature is just under 50 degrees and colder back in the creeks. The fish like the warmest water in the winter. The water clarity is not the best and Scuba Steve said he could just see his lure down about 4-5 feet.
Trollers are catching stripers in open water, while brush pile fishermen are catching some nice crappie and bass in 20-28 feet of water on main lake points. The best bite for crappie is just at sundown until dark. Some bass are shallow on shadowy banks in the evening.
He said, “Overall, fishing is above fair but not good. Some nice fish are being caught every day. It is a typical January bite. I am not looking forward to the upcoming cold weather but will keep you informed on what is happening.”
Visit and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for daily updates. 

(updated 1-11-2024) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said all species of fish in the lake are biting fairly well now. Lou also caught an AGFC-tagged striped bass on Sunday, while the white bass were feeding heavily gearing up for their upcoming spawn, he said.
Sunday was an awesome day for catching fish on Norfork Lake,” he said. “I headed to an area of the lake that I have not fished for over a month. It is a large, shallower flat that ranges 30-50 feet of water. The old river channel outlines three sides of the flat. At about 9:30 a.m. I found schools of fish in 47 feet of water. I started to vertical jig a three-quarter-ounce Binks white with red throat spoon and caught one white bass after another. I think in 1.5 hours I landed well over 40 fish. I ended up keeping a dozen of the big whites for the freezer. Fried white bass is one of our favorites.
“At about 11 a.m. I left the whites, which were still feeding, to look for striped bass. I thought they would show up in this area, but they never did. I moved a short distance away where the channel is deeper and found lots of suspended bait on the edges of the channel in 60-65 feet of water. I dropped a Bayou Magic Tater Baits Fishing Lures and Umbrella Rigs lure down to about 45 feet, which was right above the bait. All of a sudden I saw a school of big fish come through and one of them ate my bait, and the game was on. For the next two hours, schools of stripers and hybrids came under me and I was able to catch one fish out of most schools. The fish came through from 30-55 feet deep. There were some fish on the bottom, but they didn’t want to bite. I ended the day with five stripers and two hybrids! What a blast to catch. One of the stripers was a tagged fish, so it was a profitable fishing trip as well. The tagged fish was 12 pounds, but my biggest today was a little over 14 pounds. All stripers/hybrids were released on-site.
“I did not get to fish (Tuesday), so I guess I made up for it (Wednesday). The surface water temp was 48-49 degrees. The lake level is rising very slowly and currently sits at 554.04 feet msl. We had about an inch of rain on Jan. 8-9. I did make it out on the lake (Wednesday) afternoon to see if the frontal system had any effect on the bait and fish. I found everything to be about the same. In a very short period of time I caught one nice striped bass on a Bayou Magic Tater Shad and several of the huge white bass. The fish were staying about 55 feet down hiding inside of the bait. I was in 69 feet of water.
“I will be back at (Thursday) morning. If you are needing a place to stay, give us a call at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113 for reservations. March, April and May are great months to fish Norfork Lake and the weather is typically a little more predictable.
“Happy fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”

Lou posts fishing reports almost every day on Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page.


Norfork Tailwater
(updated 1-11-2024) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said 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, all turbines remain 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 Tailwater 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. The cold weather has resulted in less crowding. The hot flies have been Sowbugs, various colored San Juan Worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and white mop flies. Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.


Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 1-11-2024) 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 much 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 1-11-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Wednesday, “Well, it’s been a few weeks and a few storms since the last report. I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season. Happy 2024 to all of you!
“The fishing has been in transitional from a late fall to ‘welcome to winter’ bite here on Beaver Lake. The water temps are in low 40s to upper 30s up into the river arms. Water level is at 1,112.35 feet msl, which in relation to the normal pool levels is around 9 feet low. 

Stripers have been pretty good, but they are on the move every day. Fish have been caught from the Camp War Eagle area north all the way to Prairie Creek. As usual, use your electronics and where you find bait, stripers should be near. Crappie have been caught from very shallow on flats in less than 10 feet of water for people using spider rigs. Crappie also are still roaming flats in deeper water also, so I guess you can say they are scattered in various depths. Crappie also are loading up on brush, and this should continue to be the pattern as the water temps are certainly going way down this next week — as a matter of fact, I believe the far south river arms may freeze over next week. Some brutal cold is coming, and on that note, take cold weather prep on your boats if it’s not already done. 

Walleye will start to set up on prespawn points and flats for the upcoming spawning push in February. I dislike this time of the year as winter always rears its ugly head from now until the end of February. If you get some decent days, fishing can be real good for stripers this time of the year. With the temps in the low 20s for highs for many days we may have a shad kill.
“On a different note, that is prime time for big trout below Bull Shoals Dam. Stay safe and try to stay warm next week. Looks brutal.”

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 1-11-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “Welcome back! I hope you all had a happy holidays and were able to get out and catch some fish. On the tailwater, we have a shortage of water in the system; however, if you can find some decent holes, you can catch some fish. We have been focusing around the U.S. Highway 62 bridge area for trout, and further downstream, looking for the walleye. As for the trout, light terminal tackle with Pautzke Fire Bait has been the ticket. Be careful if you are operating a boat, due to the water levels. Gold spoons have also been quite effective with a slow retrieve.
“Like I mentioned, we are starting to look for the walleye. The best way to keep up with weekly updates, is to follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service). As of now, we are catching a few, but nothing in real big numbers or size. Trolling crankbaits have been the preferred method, in 15-20 feet of water. We have been fishing between Beaver town and Holiday Island for the walleye. Using your electronics will cut down on time, locating these tooth critters.
“Currently the water temperatures are between 42-45 degrees, with generation generally happening in the evening, if any at all. Bundle up going into the weekend and the beginning of next week. We are forecasted to have below-0 temperatures and a few more systems impacting our area. Hopefully I will have some better news with the next report.” 


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 1-11-2024) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) was scheduled to reopen after the holiday break on Jan. 14.


Northeast Arkansas

Lake Charles
(updated 1-11-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) had no report this week. In mid-December, Lake Charles was down 3 feet or more. Lake Charles water is used to help flood the Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area for waterfowl season. The only bites she had heard about at that time 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. 


Lake Poinsett
(updated 1-11-2024) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, had no new report. 


Crown Lake
(updated 1-11-2024) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) is closed for the winter season.


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/Clouser Minnows. 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 1-11-2024) 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 1-11-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake is slightly above normal pool as of Wednesday. Mike did not had a fishing update for this week, but in his most recent report before the end of 2023, he said:

* Over the past several weeks, the schooling largemouth 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 Rocket Shad, 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 1-11-2024) 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 well to excellent. 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 1-11-2024) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that big numbers of rainbow trout have been stocked into the Carpenter Dam tailrace in the last several weeks, creating an environment filled with hungry trout that can be accessed and caught by the public. The November and December trout stockings are in place on Lake Catherine and the January stockings are in the process. The public is urged to download the new Entergy Hydro-Operations page that gives up-to-date information on all things concerning local lake news. A 5-foot drawdown was established in November for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine and will be in place until early March when the refilling process will begin. Water temperature below Carpenter Dam has fallen to a frigid 43 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. This water level creates a dangerous environment for boaters, as many underwater obstructions come into play as anglers attempt to navigate the tailrace. Extreme caution is advised for boaters and wade fishermen alike during these months of low water levels. 

Entergy continues to run a minimum flow pattern for Lake Catherine, but this can change with any rainfall or energy demand. Accessing the flow charts located on the Entergy website under Real Time Lake Levels can keep anglers informed on current lake conditions with no guess work involved. 

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. The winter months force trout to move around the tailrace in search of forage and these prey items change according to the weather.
The trout bite has been strong this past week with radical weather patterns creating small windows of opportunity for good fishing. Bank fishermen can use PowerBait in white, yellow or orange, taking advantage of the fact that rainbow trout have an inborn instinct to feed on fish eggs. Nightcrawlers cut in small pieces will also work well under a bobber or fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. 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 fluctuate greatly as the season moves through January and dramatically increase in size as the month of February approaches. Currently, rainbow trout are scattered from the bridge to the dam in big 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. So far, Mother Nature has allowed conditions to remain stable 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 1-11-2024) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) did not have a new report for this week. In his last report late in 2023, he reported that crappie fishing was excellent. The colors Monkey Milk, Cajun Cricket and purple were working great.

Bass fishing had 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 was 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 were good along jetties with brush. Black jigs with scent have been working great. Catfish were 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 were deep on some points and around jetties. White jigs and spoons have been working well.


Lake Hamilton
No reports.


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 1-11-2024) Sheila Ferrebee, owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025), had no new reports. 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 1-11-2024) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are fair. Try a finesse worm or crawfish on a drop-shot for spotted bass. A jigging spoon is producing some quality fish in the 25-30 feet range. No report on walleye. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caught in the central and western portions of the lake and can be caught on live bait. No report on bream. Crappie are very good and being caught on jigs. Try brush and structure 25-40 feet deep. No report on catfish.
Water temperature is ranging 44-48 degrees. Water clarity is stained. The lake level is at 572.10 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.


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 1-11-2024) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt had no new fishing reports from the region.


Cook’s Lake
(updated 1-11-2024) Cook’s Lake is 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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