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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 01-25-2024


Jan. 25, 2023

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

A well-bundled-up angler named Warren, fishing with Spring River guide Mark Crawford recently, caught this pretty rainbow trout. Mark said the Spring River had been low for several weeks, but now has a flow of around 400 cfs, higher than the average (350 cfs) and that should be the case for a while with more rain. He says winter months can be the best time to chase brown trout and smallmouth on the Spring as well, plus some “holdover” fish from previous rainbow trout stockings that may present the catch of a lifetime.

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:

Quick links to regions:


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 1-25-2024) 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 1-25-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Thursday the generation from the dam has been off and on, and there hasn’t been much at all in the last couple of days. With that lack of generation in mind, they suggest fishing with a silver spoon, which has been doing really well lately. Also, crankbaits like a Rapala Countdown in size 5 or 7 size are good choices; try colors like Fire Tiger, rainbow trout of brown trout. Also, there are anglers who are Carolina-rigging with Power Eggs (pink, chartreuse, red and white) and having success.

(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 tailwater 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.”


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 1-25-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.94 feet msl; that is 1.1 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. For crappie, some 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, on C-rigs, jerkbaits, football heads or crankbaits. Stay around the shad. Also, the Wiggle Wart is working great. And last but not least, a spoon or a Silverado-colored Rat-L-Trap is working. Walleye are doing what they usually do this time of year: following 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 baits fish or up rivers and creeks real shallow doing same and gorging. No report on bream. Hybrid bass and white bass are gorging like a lot of other species — when you find them, just about any metal bait you get in front of them will work, or try a swimbait, hair jig or inline spinners and some topwater action, too, from 25-60 feet.
“Enjoy and remember to let someone know when you will be back in and wear your life jacket!”

(updated 1-25-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the lake is almost back up to normal pool with the rain. By Thursday afternoon the lake was just about a third of a foot below the normal pool of 462.14 feet msl and on the rise. With the warm rain moving in, they suggest trying to fish the backs of creeks or halfway in the creeks, and expect that incoming water to be dirty. That means throwing something like white spinnerbait with some double Colorado blades on it for responses from the bass. Also throw a red crankbait, or perhaps one in red and chartreuse (some call it a tomato craw color, they note). There is still come clear water in the lake, and if you find that clear water, use an Alabama rig or jerkbait, but don’t expect that clear water to be around much longer with the dirtier, muddy water taking over.
Another pattern to consider now for dirty water is throwing a finesse jig in green pumpkin or a black/blue color.


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 1-25-2024) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the fishing is so slow now. At most they’ve seen at most one or two anglers out, but mostly it was too cold for anyone to venture out. Water has risen about 2 feet, though. It’s also very muddy.
There is little to report on catches since the last report two weeks ago. A few crappie were picked up Wednesday of this week after the ice and snow was gone — five by one angler, three by another, a couple here and there. The lake was frozen for a week, 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.

(updated 1-25-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that with the recent rainfall, the water level is 4.9 feet below full pool. The lake had been drawn down to 8 feet below normal pool by Central Arkansas Water, the lake’s owner.
Before the recent major change in weather, largemouth bass were biting well. There were reports of bass around the edges of channels following baitfish. Jigs, Alabama rigs and swimbaits were working well;use jerkbaits shallow in the afternoon. Anglers were looking for largemouths around isolated structures hunting for bream and shad in around 18 feet of water. Kentucky bass (spotted bass) were 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.
No reports on white bass. Crappie fishing was great, though. Reports of crappie being found on structure and brush anywhere from 20-35 feet in the channels on jigs and minnows. Bream were fair and being found in 16-18 feet on redworms. Catfish were 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 1-25-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said nothing much has been happening the river muddy and moving fast up until Wednesday. The river is low. As Ray explains, even though they have seen a lot of rain, when the Corps of Engineers if moving water at Lock and Dam 7, the Little Maumelle goes low because of its proximity to the dam. Water is probably a foot low as of Thursday. The water “is beyond bad,” he said of Thursday’s outlook “but in a couple of days it might be back, although we’re expecting more rain on Saturday. Hopefully not as much.”

Before the snowstorm of Jan. 15 and the monsoon that followed, fishing was good, he said. Crappie had been doing fairly well but were deep — 12 feet deep in the channel and biting more on minnows than jigs. “Water was crystal clear before all this,” he 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 1-25-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) had no reports of fishing, but also urged anglers to keep an eye on the flow, which had been over 100,000 cfs early Thursday morning, with similar numbers at Toad Suck and at David D. Terry Lock and Dam on the river. It’s been high enough for a small craft warning, though it should come down in a few days. Cold temperatures and high flowing water are not the best combination for anglers out in smaller boats. Better to be careful during this time.

Before the sudden change in weather in mid-January, crappie anglers were having a big time on the river, fishing behind jetties in 15 feet of water and catching crappie on blue and chartreuse and solid chartreuse crappie jigs. Also, black and chartreuse was a winning combo. The winter saugeye bite was good as well on white/chartreuse or straight chartreuse grubs form the rocky banks below both dams of the Little Rock Pool.


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 1-25-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “With the brutal cold behind us, we can turn our attention from hypothermia to catching trout. Bull Shoals Lake remains well below power pool, but the lake level rose nearly 1 foot with the recent sleety rains and snow runoff; ditto across all the lakes in the White River watershed. Releases from the dam were fairly heavy during the cold snap to accommodate power needs, but have now trickled back to minimum flow with the return of milder temperatures.
“Excitement is running high for the official end of the brown trout spawn Feb. 1. It’s a lot of fun to jump in on the action; lots of anglers wait for the reopening of the restricted areas near the dam to get on the river and catch those hungry trout. While this is definitely the season for spawning, I’m of the opinion that browns don’t pay attention to our calendar — they determine when to nest and don’t wait until Feb. 1 to return to home ground — so it’s nice to know there’s always a good chance to catch some great browns.
“February and March are undoubtedly the best months here in the Arkansas Ozarks to net some beauties. Cold winter months provide some freedom for the trout since traffic is very light compared to later in the season, and with spawning season nearly behind us it’s time to bring out your best ammunition and get on the river. Satisfy their hunger with a minnow, shad or sculpin. Or, with this low flow, a white jig or pearly white streamer would be a lure for an oversized brown, as would shad replicas.
“Looking forward to seeing you. Stop in and say, ‘Hey!’”

(updated 1-25-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said, “There haven’t been many people fishing the river this last couple of weeks. Most boats who have put in at the Calico Rock boat ramp have been duck hunting along the river and in the sloughs. Because of the recent rains and snow, the ground is saturated. As a result, a lot of the melting snow and rain this week has become runoff. The Buffalo River has risen, resulting in muddy water. Last week both dams were releasing a lot of water, with us seeing as high as 9 feet. If the river is muddy and the creeks have cleared, move into the creeks, tie off to a tree and use corn to catch trout as they seek cleaner water. An added benefit of moving into the creeks is the opportunity to also catch smallmouth bass. As the river clears, drift-fishing with silver inline spinners (optional), Uncommon Baits UV Eggs and shrimp give the best chance of catching a limit. Throwing Rapala Countdowns in silver or gold toward the banks may result in some nice rainbows or browns

“The weather forecast is for more rain later this week and into the weekend. Be sure to check the river levels and conditions before heading out. The changing river levels can make fishing challenging at times but hang in there — the conditions will change again. If you are bank or wade fishing, pay attention to the water level. The good thing is we should see some warmer weather this weekend and into next week and the river should stabilize and clear up.”

(updated 1-25-2024) John Berry, veteran angler and retired guide/owner in Cotter, said that during the past week, they had almost an inch in Cotter, snow (about 4.5 inches in Cotter) frigid temperatures (to include winter storm warnings), and heavy winds (to include wind chill advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.7 foot to rest at 7.2 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 43.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.7 foot to rest at 5.5 feet below power pool and 21.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 8.4 feet below power pool and 18 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had little wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.7 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.5 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. Heavy generation was needed to provide power during peak demand due to the severe winter storm. Expect wadable water in the coming days. On the Norfork, all turbines are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the floodgates.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through Wednesday, 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. This section will reopen to fishing next Thursday, Feb. 1.
John sad that on the White, the hot spot has been the White Hole. “We have had higher 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 San Juan Worm with an egg dropper with plenty of lead.”
John also said, “Last week my fishing buddy Mike suffered a mishap. He is an avid fly-fisherman and a fly-tyer. He has been intimately involved in the North Arkansas Fly Fishers (our local fly fishing club) and the Sowbug Roundup (our local fly-tying show with a national reputation as one of the best fly-tying shows in the United States) since he moved to the Twin Lakes area several years ago. He loves to wade and catch fish on flies he has tied.
“This situation began last week when he tied a dozen root beer midges. This is a very popular local pattern that is used very frequently by local guides and serious local anglers. My wife, Lori, and I carry them every time we go out and fish them often.
“It is a fairly simple pattern to tie with few materials and fewer steps. It is quite straight forward. The problem is that it is quite small. It is normally tied on a size 18 hook. This is the smallest fly that I tie, and to do that I have to wear cheaters (reading glasses with a much stronger magnification than the reading lenses on my bifocals). It is also just about the smallest fly that I fish because the eye of the hook is so small that I have trouble putting the tippet through it. Once again I pull out my cheaters.
“Mike took his flies with him on a fishing trip a day or two later. When he went to tie one on, he dropped the flies on the ground. It should be noted that the root beer midges are brown and disappear on soil or gravel. The small flies are very had to see. Of the dozen he was only able to find two.
“Things did not improve. As he was scrambling around the bank, he slipped and fell. He was not hurt but he broke his Tenkara rod in the process.
“Tenkara rods are a specialized Japanese fly-fishing rod. They are very long, generally 12 feet or longer. There is no reel and you fish a fixed length of line and leader. You do not so much cast them but dap them or gently drop the flies to the surface of the water making a flawless presentation to the fish. It is a simple and effective way to fish flies. When it comes to breaking Tenkara rods, this was not Mike’s first rodeo. Over the years he has broken several Tenkara rods, usually on huge fish at Rockbridge.
“I did not write this to give a fishing buddy a hard time. This is the type of situation that could happen to any of us at any time. I have personally survived several mishaps like this.
“I am sure that he will shrug this off and keep on fishing.”


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 1-25-2024) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said that lake level is 652 feet msl, or 6 feet below full pool. Water temperature is 46 degrees. Bass fishing has slowed with the cooler temps “but it looks like we are out of the woods for a little bit anyways. I’ll go over what’s working for me:

“Powerfish if it’s warm and windy, covering water with a Rock Crawler or Wiggle Wart in red variations. Look for wind-blown, shady, ledgy or chunk rock banks and steeper swings. You can always catch them on a jig in green pumpkin variations and PB&J. Try piles ledges close to shad balls. The ole jerky jerk Megabass-Plus is good to use around standing timber, treetops, bluff ends and channel swing points that always hold some fish.
“Graphing can pay off. Get around bait and then fish whatever is nearby — treetops, points, ledges, swings, etc. Shad seem to have spread out deeper in the bigger creeks arms and are moving out toward the main lake or completely out of some off shallower creeks, hollers, drains. They are holding down in the 80-100 feet range regardless of the overall depth. Some bass left them as they went deep and some are holding above them 30-60 feet.
“The videogame fish can be tough find and to fool — try a small shad, Damiki Tater Shad or Thump Shad. White or shad colors are working for me. Loons and gulls are in the area so you better pay attention. The Jewel Scuba Spoon is fooling a few as well as Rapala Ice Jig, especially if the shad are on the bottom or large schools show up! Every day is different; fish the conditions.”
The crappie report comes from Crappie 101 Guide Service: Crappie still fairly scattered from creeks to main lakes brush and timber. Minnows have been key with a little slower jig bite. Tater Baits, Small Fry Purple Monkey on a ⅛-ounce jig on sunny days have produced the best. Better quality seems to be in the main lake in smaller groups> 

The walleye outlook is provided by Southern Walleye Guide Service: The walleye are scattered along creek channels following the shad. I am catching some around trees in 70-80 feet of water where the creek passes close to a steep banks or a point halfway to two-thirds back of creeks. Mostly fishing the longer creek arms. 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 1-25-2024) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level was 554.30 feet msl and had risen 3.5 inches in the last 24 hours when he came in at dark Wednesday evening. The Army Corps of Engineers had opened five spillway gates to an equivalent of three-quarters of a generator earlier Wednesday. The White River at Newport is 14.77 feet and rising, while the surface water temperature on the main lake is 44 degrees. 

“The melting snow is cooling the lake. We received 2 inches of rain in the last three days and it is to rain more soon. The creeks run a bit but not fast. The frost is not out of the ground yet.”
Scuba Steve said he could see his lure down about 5 feet and the water was stained green. The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level, but fishing is just fair, although a few good fish are being caught every day. Crappie and bass are on brush at 20-30 feet on live bait and jigs tipped with minnows. Trollers with live bait are catching small stripers, some black bass and white bass in open water from the bridge to Howards Cove. “It is a typical winter fishing pattern. Not bad but not good,” he said.
Visit and click on Scuba Steve’s blog for daily updates. 

(updated 1-25-2024) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said it’s a great time to fish the deep water as you never know what you are likely to catch. All species are out chasing baitfish.The photos on our Facebook page from this week are just a sample of what I was catching on Tuesday. It sure feels great being able to be back on the lake after the deep freeze, even with the fog. I was mainly dead sticking a White Trash Tater Baits – Fishing Lures and Umbrella Rigs in about 90 feet of water. I found fish in three different locations. All locations were close to the main lake old river channel.
“My first fish, caught early morning, was a striped bass and he hit the bait on the fall at about 40 feet down. There were other scattered fish in this area but I didn’t see any schools. The second area, mid-morning, I caught another striped bass. He was sitting inside of a bait ball 60 feet down. The third area, late morning, held a lot of bait and good schools of striped/hybrid bass came under me 45-65 feet deep. I landed three hybrids in this area, all on a very slow reel up through the school. The 25-pound catfish was below the bait 75 feet down. He absolutely hammered the Tater Shad. After I netted this fish, I found the hook was almost straightened out. I don’t know how he didn’t come loose.
“Three very nice largemouth and several white bass were feeding 35-40 deep and they really liked the white Tater Shad. The blue cat, whites and largemouth bass were all caught in the second area that I fished.
“The lake level is at 554 feet msl. The surface water temp ranged from 42.5 degrees to 44 degrees depending on where I was fishing. We are forecast for a warming trend with highs in the 50s. This is the time to fish the winter bite. If you are needing a place to stay, give us a call at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113 for reservations. February, 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 1-25-2024) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.7 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.5 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. Heavy generation was needed to provide power during peak demand due to the severe winter storm. Expect wadable water in the coming days. On the Norfork, all turbines are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the floodgates.
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). My 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 few anglers. 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 1-25-2024) 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 smallmouth bass 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 1-25-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Well, by goodness, we have run the gauntlet on the weather front. Frozen Arctic tundra and lots of frozen lake to be had. Now as of yesterday we have gotten some melting rains. Fishing really was shut down, so any reports would be null and void. So with that I am going to let you know what to expect: The rivers came up with the first good rise in some time. The river gauges went up from 2 feet to close to 10 feet. That’s good volume and will push water that is a bit warmer than the lake into the lake, and that in turn will draw fish up into the White and War Eagle arms. This is what we wait for to kick off walleye to start their spawning migration. They should start to show around Point 12 area and toward Friendship Creek areas. This time of year a jig and minnow combo is the best option on the walleye.
“Things will get considerably better just as long as sub-zero weather doesn’t show its ugly head! Crossing fingers!”

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

(updated 1-25-2024) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said fishing has been slow.


Beaver Tailwater
(updated 1-25-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “Trout, walleye and water levels — that is the story for this week’s report. With the water level continuing to drop, unless you are shore fishing, or boating in a shallow draft boat, fishing locations are very limited in the upper tailwater. The trout bite has picked up, but unless you can make it up past Spider Creek, it may be difficult. Pautzke Fire Bait, fished with light terminal tackle, is still doing the trick — once again, if you can get to them.
“Also, last week, I got to try two new products released by Pautzke that I had to share. Their new Fire Minnows and Fire Tubes (video will be out shortly on my fishing Facebook page and Pautzke YouTube page.) These two new products absolutely tore up the trout when Pautzke flew down to fish with us. I was highly impressed with how the trout responded. There will be more on this new product later in the report.
“Here lately the Corps of Engineers has been flowing generally a few times a week. During generation, drifting pink Fireworms have done pretty well. I have not had a chance to drift the Fire Tubes or Minnows yet, but if the fish respond to them like they did back on the 11th, there will definitely be an uptick in hookups.
“As I mentioned in the last report, we are starting to look for the walleye. Well, guess what? We are starting to see some appear in the system. We have focused most of our attention to the upper White River arm of Table Rock Lake. We got out yesterday to scout and landed on a good mess of them. Forgoing traditional methods, I wanted to see if the above stated Fire Tubes and Fire Minnows would provoke the same response as the trout — boy, did it! In a four-hour period, we were able to boat 14 walleye and walk away with a four-man limit! I could not believe the response I got from these new baits.
“Now, how to fish the Fire Minnows and Tubes: Using a 1/16-ounce to ⅛-ounce jighead, you want to fish and work the minnows in the water columns, paying attention to retrieve and cadence. With the tubes, they are prepackaged with a jighead; just tie it on and start working it. Most of the walleye were caught in 20 feet of water, and the trout were caught above Spider Creek. You will use the above methods for both species.
“Follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for updates on the walleye. If you would like more information on the new Fire Minnows and Tubes, feel free to reach out to me. Obviously, I am pretty excited about these baits. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!”


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 1-25-2024) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake is still frozen over.


Northeast Arkansas

Lake Charles
(updated 1-25-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said Monday that water was still coming up and there was “a pretty good freeze on the lake.” Lake water had been down as Lake Charles’ waster is used to help flood the Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area for waterfowl season. She had no reports of any bites.


Lake Poinsett
(updated 1-25-2024) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, had no new report. 


Crown Lake
(updated 1-25-2024) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) is closed for the winter.


Spring River
(updated 1-25-2024) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are at over 400 cfs (350 cfs is average flow) and water clarity is poor but should clear quickly. It has been a mess here. Last week over 6 inches of snow; this week it’s been ice early in the week and rain most of the week. With the rain and thaw out, the river has come up over a foot and water clarity has been poor.
The river will clear quickly as soon as the rain stops. Great streamer action in these conditions. Hit the bank and try to get a chase. Big olive and white Woollies in size 4 can work. Over the last few months the river has been very low. This should get river levels back to average flows. “As always check our blog (see link above) for the latest Spring River conditions and what we are catching them on. Spring is just around the corner.”

Winter months can be the best time to chase brown trout and smallmouth bass. The Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery still stocks weekly through the winter months but at a lower amount. That gives everyone a chance to chase the bigger holdover fish. It also can add up to some tough days, but when chasing the fish of a lifetime, that’s how it goes. Stocking will ramp up in March for the summer season. 

(updated 1-25-2024) 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 1-25-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that while he hasn’t been out on the lake lately for numerous factors, he’s spoken with several catfishermen and crappie anglers who have. Millwood Lake surface temperature is running in the low 40s. Shoreline lake water was frozen in numerous locations from Millwood State Park to Jack’s Isle last week, about 2-3 inches thick in places. Duck hunters that we saw were having to break ice to launch and load up (hunters reported a fair amount of wood ducks, a few mallards and teal, by the way).

Millwood was of Wednesday was about 2.5 feet above normal pool and on a rapid rise from recent rain. By Thursday, he reported, the elevation had jumped again and was 3.5 feet above normal pool with the gate release at the dam of 20,000 cfs. “It’s on a rapid rise and probably will rise another 4-5 feet before it’s done!” Mike said.

He said there was lots of current and debris fields (including logs) were in Little River and urged caution in navigation.
The main lake and Little River have turned heavy stain to muddy in many locations. Oxbows are heavy stain with mudlines pushing into the oxbows from Little River.
Mike said, “Catfishermen we spoke with were doing fair, constantly changing locations and trotline depths, due to river current. They were using cut shad and buffalo. Crappie are hit and miss with the muddy, high-volume current along Little River or main lake. No reports on bass.

“Hopefully will have some better news next week if this recent rapid, rise will crest and begin to fall and clear up.”


Lake Columbia
No reports.


Lake Erling
(updated 1-25-2024) 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 1-25-2024) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that snow and ice accumulation have kept fishermen off the water at Carpenter Dam for the last couple of weeks. Extreme cold combined with heavy rainfall has prompted Entergy to run high generation flows to maintain the 5-foot area lake drawdowns in place. Dangerous flows are currently the norm on Lake Catherine and will continue until the runoff has been transferred through the system. Floodgates could also be opened to aid in this process. No one should attempt to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailrace until the danger has passed, and this could be a lengthy process. Use the Entergy Arkansas/Hydro-Operations website to view real-time lake level conditions. Below freezing temperatures stuns the threadfin shad that live in Lake Hamilton and these baitfish are drawn through the turbines below Carpenter Dam and are spread throughout the tailrace.
Thousands of rainbow trout have been stocked into Lake Catherine this month and these fish are feasting on these shad, which are easy prey. This process has been repeating itself for weeks, which is productive for the trout and other species of game fish that live in Lake Catherine. Conversely, the fish are gorged with food and this makes it very difficult for anglers to catch fish and get consistent bites. Warmer temperatures are forecast for the middle of this week, which will stop the flow of injured shad through the dam and dramatically decrease the amount of food available for fish to feed on. The Game and Fish Commission will stock 9,300 rainbow trout this month and follow that schedule with 12,000 trout in the month of February.
Huge numbers of fish will inhabit the Carpenter Dam tailrace during this time and can be caught in a variety of ways. Fly-fisherman can easily access areas that hold good numbers of trout and have success casting Trout Magnets in white or pink colors under a strike indicator. Olive-colored Woolly Buggers and San Juan Worms in hot pink are time-honored presentations that will draw strikes from rainbow trout in the slowest of times. Micro-jigs work very well this time of year as trout are actively feeding on threadfin shad drawn into the tailrace from running turbines and make an easy meal for hungry trout. Use an off-white color of jig that matches the look of a shad this time of year and target the head and tail areas of shoals that have moving water running through. Bank fisherman are advised to use live baits such as nightcrawlers, redworms or waxworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. As the weather improves and the temperature gets back to the 50s and 60s, trout will consistently search for available prey items and these varied techniques will produce good results for anglers using their preferred methods.
Boaters must use extreme caution on the water with the 5-foot drawdown in place and always wear a lifejacket when anywhere near the water. Rainbow trout are king below Carpenter Dam at present, but the walleye spawn will begin early in February with the smaller males migrating into the tailrace to prepare the beds for the females. Look for reports the first couple of weeks of February. Always follow all park and boating regulations when visiting the Carpenter Dam use area and pick up after yourself, as trash cans are limited. 


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

(updated 1-25-2024) 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 1-25-2024) 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 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 1-25-2024) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are slow. Try a PB&J jig or jigging spoon in the 25-30 feet range. No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caught in the central and western portions of the lake and can be caught on live bait. No report on bream. Crappie are good and being caught on jigs. Try brush and structure 25-40 feet deep. No reports on catfish. Lake conditions see water temperature ranging 38-44 degrees, the clarity stained and the lake level on Thursday of 576.33 feet msl, 4 feet higher than two weeks ago. 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 1-25-2024) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt had no new fishing reports from the region.


Cook’s Lake
(updated 1-25-2024) Cook’s Lake is closed to fishing through February as it serves as a rest area for migrating waterfowl. Look for a reopening in the spring, where Cook’s Lake serves youth anglers, mentors and mobility-impaired anglers (who may bring two anglers with them to fish). 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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