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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 02-22-2024


Feb. 22, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Tommy Simmons recently wrangled this big brown trout while fishing on Beaver Tailwater (White River) in northwest Arkansas, the second big one he’d caught that morning. Tommy said, “I couldn’t locate my measuring tape and wanted to get the fish released as soon as I could, but I was able to measure a brown I had caught earlier in the morning that was 21.5 inches. (This) was definitely a few inches bigger. Both fish were released quickly and swam away healthy.”

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 2-22-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said anglers have been back to catching crappie in good numbers lately. “Good numbers, good fish,” they say. Jigs of about every color are what they are throwing. “Everybody’s buying a little something different.” Crappie are biting at about 2 feet, and the water is dropping fast now to about where it was before all the January rains, snow and ice came.
Anglers are also starting to pick up on some bass, and these also are good bass. Anglers are running their Chatterbaits, the go-to, shallow. The water throughout the lake is not deep now.

They haven’t heard anything on catfish catches lately. It’s mainly just crappie, they report.
The hunt is winding down tagged fish in Lake Conway. The prize for each tag is now $1,000 through Feb. 29. Lake Conway has no creel or length limits while the lake is in its drawdown phase as part of the AGFC’s renovation project.
Also, the Lake Conway nursery pond is open for fishing with the AGFC stocking various sport fish there. The pond is more than 60 acres and has bass, crappie, bream and stocked rainbow trout.


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 2-22-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Thursday the trout have been doing really well for anglers, as the water flow has been good. One to two generators are being operated at the dam, so the Corps of Engineers and Southwestern Power Administration have been running a fair amount of water daily (check the websites listed above for current conditions). Trout have been caught on a white Maribou Jig or a Rapala No. 7 Countdown in brown trout color. Anglers are also doing well on gold jerkbaits, too.

(updated 2-16-2024) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said, “Well, the generation coming out of Greers Ferry Dam has not been consistent as far as timing. They have been running a split generation schedule of lately two units in the morning, then some at night.

“I’d expect this kind of schedule to last until they get the lake down or until we get a bunch of rain, then they might shut it off for a bit. Then back to running high water.

“The bite has been good with (the Army Corps of Engineers and SWPA) running two units of water. I’m primarily launching at the dam. I’ve been setting up two rods for nymphing. The first rod is set about 6-7 feet deep and I’m running a single pink San Juan Worm; above it is a small split shot to help get it down. I’m using this setup in slower water and casting to the banks.
“The other setup is a deep-water nymph rig set from 9-12 feet deep, with split shot to help get it down in the deeper sections. San Juan Worms, egg patterns or anything buggy have been working.
“The streamer bite has been good. We definitely have the water for it. Double Deceiver has been consistent.”


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 2-22-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.77 feet msl, or 0.27 foot below normal pool of 462.04 feet. Generation has been running full bore for the last week or so. Catch rates for this time of year are really good. Some crappie are roaming around chewing while others are doing the same in pole timber or in brush piles — in all places they are suspended 4 feet down to 40 feet. Use live baits, jigs, crankbaits or a beetle spin for best results. Black bass are good super shallow out to 50 feet in guts, main lake points or secondary points. They’re biting on C-rigs, jerkbaits, football heads or crankbaits around shad. Also try Wiggle Warts, a spoon or Silverado-colored Rat-L-Traps. 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 baitfish or up rivers and creeks real shallow doing the same and gorging. No report on bream. Hybrid bass and whites 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 swim bait, hair jig, inline spinners and some topwater, too, in 25-60 feet. Enjoy, and remember to let someone know when you will be back in and wear your life jacket!

(updated 2-22-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is up a little bit, and water up in the rivers and creeks has some stain to it. The middle of the main lake will be clear. 

For bass fishing, it’s kind of spread out from deep to shallow. For the deeper fish, bass anglers are focusing on 15-20 foot of water and throwing a Damiki Rig, as well as an Alabama rig and a jerkbait. For more of the shallow fishing up on the shoreline areas, a red Rock Crawler or red crankbait is working. They are also throwing jigs in peanut butter and jelly, or a green pumpkin with a little bit of orange in it. Also, when fishing around windy banks, consider a half-ounce white spinnerbait for best success.

Crappie anglers are catching them in 10-15 feet of water around docks or standing timber. Pink and chartreuse colors or Monkey Milk crappie jigs on a one-sixteenth-ounce jighead are what the successful anglers are using now.


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 2-22-2024) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says fishing is still kind of slow. Some catfish are being caught by regular area anglers in the evening; one of the catches was around 7-8 pounds off the shoreline using nightcrawler. A couple of anglers also reported catching some 3-pound flatheads.

Crappie is somewhat slow and the fish have moved away from the shoreline out into deeper water. White bass have been caught but also in limited numbers. The slow results have been ongoing for two weeks, they said. Thursday, there were several people on the lake trying their luck in the more spring-like weather. The water is at a normal level and still muddy.


Lake Overcup
(updated 2-22-2024) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 said water level is about 8 inches high and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 54-56 degrees. Crappie are doing well, but off and on. Not catching a lot but we’re catching some big ones, 2.4 to 2.14 pounds.

“Bass are slow but should pick up with this warm weather. Bream are slow, but still catching some on redworms and crickets. I haven’t heard anything about the catfish yet.”


Lake Maumelle
(updated 2-22-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported Thursday that water temperature is 48-50 degrees. The largemouth bass bite is slow. Reports have the bass scattered anywhere from 2 feet down to 20 feet. Try using jigs, Alabama rigs, crankbaits, swimbaits, and in the afternoons try jerkbaits in shallow areas. Kentucky bass also are slow. Reports have them being found off rocky points in 16-18 feet. Shaky heads and jigs are your best bets. The white bass bite is picking up though, and anglers have had good results recently. They seem to be starting their annual run. Try the west end of the lake by the Highway 10 bridge. Crappie are slow. There are reports of them being found scattered shallow to deep and roaming in the channel, but it’s been an off-and-on bite, mostly slow. Try jigs and minnows. No reports of bream, but throw a redworm anyway for maybe some response. Catfish are slow, too; try bream, liver or worms.


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


Little Maumelle River
(updated 2-8-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the fishing has been kind of tough lately with the weather patterns but has been decent this week. A few anglers were out this week catching crappie — “nothing great, but they caught a few,” Ray said. Black bass are in 8-9 feet and biting on crankbaits and jigs, though not many of the bass were keepers. Also, a woman fishing off the dock this week caught redear.
During the coldest part of the weather recently, anglers were finding crappie via LiveScope on the bottom and not interested in taking a minnow — usually, that weather pattern produces a good crappie response but not this year, Ray said.

The water is clear and normal, but a few days of rain are forecast and could muddy things up.


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 2-22-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said fishing has been picking up. The river flow in the Little Rock Pool from Murray Lock and Dam was good for fishing as of Thursday this week. Most of the backwater fishing these days is for bass, with anglers targeting the shallow backwater areas off the main river. Best baits to consider now are white and chartreuse spinnerbaits, black and blue Chatterbaits, and also a black/blue jig, flipping it up shallow. Also try some red crankbaits like a square bill.

No news from the crappie front on the river lately. The water level is normal and the clarity is stained to muddy on the river.


North Arkansas

White River
(updated 2-22-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake elevation has raised two feet to 657.35 feet msl over the last few days due to some much needed rain. Generation has been erratic, from less than 3,000 cfs to over five units (15,000 cfs) or more pretty regularly over the last week. The lake is still almost 2 feet below its normal power pool of 659 feet msl. Keep an eye on the river level! Changes occur quickly, so be especially cautious from the bank or if you are wading into the main channel.
The shad kill has been sporadic compared to some year, but the browns are still snapping at shad-like baits, white-bellied lures, with white jigs working especially well during low water or slowly rising water. The fluctuation in the water level means you need to have a good arsenal of baits ready, and sculpins seem to be preferred the further away from the dam you float.
Bank anglers continue to have a great catch of rainbows with the shrimp/egg pattern combination. If it’s action you crave (and who doesn’t?), stock up on shrimp and try it with a wriggling worm. Again, white would be our first choice for the egg pattern (PowerBait or XFactor), but yellow and the sunrise color are good choices, too.
The mornings remain pretty cool; the afternoons have been sunny and warm. Be prepared for the variation in temperatures — dress for the weather and enjoy our Natural State.

(updated 2-22-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the river has been in excellent condition for catching trout. What we have been seeing is a morning generation from Bull Shoals that arrives in Calico Rock during the night. Water depths have been reaching around 7 feet overnight and then dropping down to about 4 feet during the day. The good thing for fishing is, by morning the rise has been gone long enough for the trout to start feeding again, and the moss and debris in the water caused by the rising water has passed. Typically, fishing is great just as the water starts rising, and many boats will try to stay just ahead of the rise. Once the rise is past, it takes an hour or two for the fish to start being very active again. We continue to see some very nice 18-inch-or-more brown trout being caught, with several over 24 inches. Rapala Countdowns CD7 in silver or rainbow colors have worked well. With the Countdowns, if you have a problem getting snagged, try removing the front hook. We seem to catch just as many trout with just the back hook being on the Countdown. Drift-fishing with Uncommon Baits ultraviolet eggs tipped with shrimp without an inline spinner has been effective for catching a limit of rainbow trout. Jigs have had mixed success, with darker color jigs seeming to work better. Gold-colored spoons worked well this week when the water was lower. This week we received one stocking of 1,400 rainbow trout from the Norfork Hatchery. 

(updated 2-1-2024) John Berry, veteran angler and retired guide/owner in Cotter, said the White has had a lot of wadable water. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam has reopened after being closed for three months for the brown trout spawn. Night fishing in the area is allowed now, too. On the White, the hot spot has been The Narrows. They 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. John says his favorite has been a San Juan Worm with an egg dropper with plenty of lead.

John also said, “Recently, I wrote a column about a fishing buddy that had a bad day, which included him falling and breaking his rod. I had breakfast with him today and explained that I was not trying to demean him in any way, but to show other anglers that this happens to all of us. In fact, during breakfast I began going through the list of my broken rods. It was longer than I imagined. It should be noted that better fly rods and reels come with significant warranties and ask few questions about what happened. There is a handling fee.
“The first rod I broke was my first fly rod, a Fenwick fiberglass rod. I was parked in the pasture at McClellan’s trout dock and I accidently closed the hatch of my Bronco on it, turning a two-piece fly rod into a three piece. By this time, I was beginning to fish only graphite fly rods and I did not bother to have it repaired.
“The next rod I broke was a Sage graphite rod with an Orvis CFO reel. I was fishing the upper Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park. At the end of the day I put my rod and reel on top of the Rent a Wreck we were using. I stowed the rest of my gear in the car and we drove off. The rod and reel were still on the roof of the car. I heard a clunk and turned to watch in horror as a pickup ran over my rod and reel. It was a mess. I sent the rod to Sage and it cost $25 and took three months to fix my rod and $10 and a couple of weeks to replace my reel.
“Next I put a Sage rod into a ceiling fan in a motel room in Mammoth Spring before a night-fishing trip to the Spring River. It cost $30 this time to get it repaired.
“Unfortunately my next victim was my wife’s Orvis. It is Lori’s first rod and she loves it. I closed the hatch of my Volvo station wagon on it. That one cost me $35 and took two months.
“I broke a Temple Fork Outfitter rod on a kayak float trip down the Norfork Tailwater. I had attached the rod to the boat to prevent its loss. We sought shelter in a covered dock to escape a heavy pop-up thunderstorm where I accidently banged against the dock, which snapped the tip off. It took $25 and a week to get the rod repaired.
“My clients accounted for four TFOs that I use for my client rods. They were broken on fish, on the deck of the boat, wading the White and just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The cost to repair them rose from $25 to $48 over time but they still take a week to repair.
“Finally, there is a Winston rod. For the life of me, I cannot remember the incident. I only remember that it took a long time to get it back.
“In fly fishing, your rods take a hit. They are fragile, but most rods can be repaired at little cost and a bit of time.”


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 2-22-2024) Del Colvin of Del Colvin Fishing says the lake level is 657 feet msl. The Army Corps of Engineers has been running some water in the mornings. The water temp 49 degrees. Give or take, we are close to the magic 50! Bass fishing has been up and down with the weather, but looks like we are ahead of the game. I’ll go over what’s working for me: Powerfish if it’s cloudy, rainy and windy covering water with a Rock Crawler, Wiggle Wart or Square Bill in red variations. Look for windblown, shady, ledgy or chunk rock banks and steeper swings. I’m going halfway into the creeks. If we get some more warm rain, you better have a Chatterbait and a spinnerbait tied on for a runoff bite. You can always catch them on a jig in green pumpkin variations and PB&J, or a little red flapping hog. Try piles, ledges or wood close to shad balls. The jig bite can vary 5-25 feet day to day. Graphing can pay off. Get around the bait and then fish whatever is nearby: treetops, points, ledges, swings, etc.
Shad seem to have spread out again, moving back into the bigger creeks and arms. They’re holding down in the 60-70 feet range regardless of the overall depth. Graph, graph and more graphing. While a lot of shad are high in the water column, out in the middle, in some areas bass left them as they went deep. Look along bluffs and treetops for suspending fish; some are holding above the shad 20-30 feet.
The video game fish can be tough find and to fool. Try a small shad Damiki, Tater Shad or Thump Shad and change head size according to depth. Using a fluke on high shad balls or a jerkbait in white or shad colors is working for me. Loons and gulls are in the area, so you better pay attention. Every day is different and it is February so fish the conditions.
White bass and walleye are close. They are heading to their spawning areas and the full moon approaching. 

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.
Crappie 101 Guide Service reports that most crappie are in the creeks now. I’ve caught them feeding and sitting on brush mainly and anywhere from 10-30 feet deep. The jig bite is still doing well throwing a one-sixteenth to one-eighth-ounce jig with Tater Shad Jr. in the Purple Monkey or Bayou Magic colors, and minnows are doing well also.

Southern Walleye Guide Service says walleye look like they starting to swell up with eggs pretty good now. I would imagine after the next few warmer rains, the males should start making their way to spawning points and up the few tributaries like up by Power Site and the little North Fork River and backs of the bigger creeks. It still a little early but should not be long. See you out there soon.


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

(updated 2-22-2024) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level was 553.81 feet msl and had dropped three-quarters of an inch in the last 24 hours with the one remaining operating generator running for about 8 hours. They are now regulating to the top of the power pool of 553.75 feet msl and the level has been very stable all winter with no big rain events. The White River at Newport was 9 feet at 7 p.m. when Scuba Steve went in to work from the lake; the surface water temperature was 49 degrees and he said he could see his lure down about 7 feet. The shallow creeks and the main lake are about the same temperature now, and as the weather warms, the creeks will warm faster and several fish will move back into them. It has not happened yet.
“Several fish of different species are on shad in open water but the temperate bass are biting the best now. Just find schools of shad and drag either live bait, umbrellas, or sit on top of them and drop a spoon. I am catching some crappie and bass ion main lake points in about 23 feet of water on brush just at and after sunset until dark. 

“The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level, but fishing is fair at best. You have to work for them but some nice ones are being caught every day, mostly by guides.”

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 2-1-2024) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said there has been wadable water on the Norfork and it has fished well. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like Zebra Midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-head nymph (Zebra Midge, Copper John or Pheasant Tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan Worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). John says his favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan Worm and a ruby midge. The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.
Dry Run Creek has fished a bit better. The cold wet weather of late January 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. Be sure and carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.


Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 2-1-2024) 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 2-22-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake sits at 1,115.38 feet msl and that is around 6 feet below normal pool. “Last month, as you all know, has been an up-and-down situation with the weather. We have gone from sub-freezing temps and a half-frozen lake to springtime this week. In return, the fishing is on a roller coaster, also.
“For the most part the shad kill three weeks ago slowed the fishing, especially on the stripers. The fish gorge on the dying shad, which makes it tough. That problem has rounded the corner, with some fish starting to be caught throughout the lake. I have heard of stripers up toward the dam and also up into the river arms. Crappie are either suspended at 10 feet on 25- to 35-feet flats adjacent to the main river channel or in brush from 5-20 feet deep. 

“Walleye are still sputtering and waiting for a river rise so they can proceed with their spawn. On that note, if you’re thinking about going up the White toward Twin Bridges, it is very low and many obstacles to overcome. I heard from one of the game wardens that a boat sank hitting something up that way recently. Basically, be careful if you venture that way. Even in my jet boat it’s extremely tough. Walleye on that note are hit-and-miss, with mostly all short males and a few bigger females showing. This is jig and minnow time on the walleye.
“Good luck enjoy this beautiful weather!”
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 2-22-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “Well, the river is starting to get some gold in it — walleye gold, that is! There have been a few decent fish caught, but we are still a couple of weeks away from what I’m hoping will be a great spawn run.
“Most of the fish being caught now are juvenile males and a few over that 18 feet mark. Try fishing the deeper water and deeper holes. Obviously, if you have electronics on board, use them. The Pautzke Fire Minnow has produced some nice fish this past week. Work the minnow from the shallow end to the deep water.
“As far as the trout are concerned, we have had some really nice numbers in the past week or so. Using light terminal tackle, Fire Bait has produced the best numbers. Parker Bottoms has been a hot spot this week, down to Spider Creek. Also, quarter-ounce spoons with a little trout Fire Gel has also produced nice numbers.
“I know it is that time of year where a lot of folks get that walleye fever. Let’s be courteous and mindful to other anglers, both on the river and at the boat ramp. I have already seen actions and incidents that are easily avoidable. We all have to share this awesome fishery, but let’s try to keep our ethics and morals intact, and, most of all, being safe! I hope you’re able to get out, have some fun, enjoy some of this nicer weather, and catch some fish!”
Follow Austin’s fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for updates.


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 2-8-2024) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says anglers on boats out in the lake away from the shoreline have been catching both smallmouth bass and crappie of late. The smallmouth are taking to worms, while the crappie are favoring jigs. Overall, they report the fishing as fair considering how the weather has been lately.


Northeast Arkansas

Lake Charles
(updated 2-22-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the water level is high, the water temperature on Sunday was 48.4 degrees, and the crappie bite is good in the usual murky water. Anglers were catching crappie last week in minnows and jigs with skirts. Bass are in prespawn, she hears. No reports have come in on the other species.

Shelly says the Visitor Center now has nightcrawlers and redworms as well as a good selection of tackle. Best “moon times” for March will be March 8-13, and good days are forecast for March 22-28. Make your plans now to hit that usual good spring crappie bite there. 


Lake Poinsett
(updated 2-22-2024) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said Lake Poinsett is starting to do better with the crappie as the weather turns warmer. Minnows and light-colored jigs seem to be doing well for them. Bass are doing OK off the rocks with crankbaits and Zara Spooks in the wind. As for bream and catfish, we have had little reports, but the bream are starting to come around on worms and crickets. Catfish, from reports, are mainly biting nocturnally.


Spring River
(updated 2-8-2024) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said the Spring has been running at 410 cfs and water clarity has been slowly clearing and has a heavy green tint from recent rains. Plenty of rain the last few weeks has raised river levels from 220 cfs to over 400 cfs (350 is average flow). Anglers must be careful wading with the stronger flows.
“A few weeks ago we were fishing dries and droppers, a complete change with the high water. A sink tip or some extra weight is handy with the river up. Every morning we start out throwing Woollies to see if the fish will chase; then, if that doesn’t work we resort to nymphing to get down to the fish. Olive Woolies have been hit this week with heavy bead heads. Great for chasing smallies and browns. For nymphing, an egg with Pat’s Rubber Legs, Pheasant Tail, soft hackle as a dropper can work when the bite seems off. On the Spring River, we have daily hatches of mayflies and caddis. If you’re not getting bites from Woollies, then the trout are usually on the bottom feeding on nymphs.”
February is a great time to chase some of the big fish in the Spring River. Starting in March, stocking will ramp up getting ready for the summer season. This is not the best time for beginners but is a great time to catch your personal best on the fly before heavy stocking starts.
All of the campgrounds are closed until April 1, except for Riverside Resort, which is open year-round and can offer an easier place to wade fish. Lassiter walk-in, Dam 3 and Bayou Access are the main public places to fish during the winter.
“Be very careful wading with the flow above average. Wading staff and felt soles can help keep you upright! Always check our blog on our website,, for the latest conditions on the Spring River!”


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.


Lake Chicot
(updated 2-22-2024) AGFC staff report quite a few angers are enjoying a strong midwinter crappie bite putting in from the Connerly Bayou out of access. AGFC biologists recently conducted an electrofishing survey of Lake Chicot in this area, showing several large crappie. Moderate crappie catch rates were noted in October and November in Ditch and Connerly bayous. During December, the biologists noted high crappie catch rates in Connerly Bayou and Lake Chicot and collected 1,318 crappie with trap nets. Of those crappie, 91 percent were legal size (greater than 10 inches). Most of the crappie sampled were in the 11-inch range, but some crappie sampled reached 14.75 inches.

Angling pressure in Connerly Bayou was high during the sampling period, they noted. Anglers also were catching good numbers of crappie.
Lake Chicot, part of Lake Chicot State Park, is home to bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, redear sunfish and other bream, in addition to crappie. If you fish Lake Chicot, Connerly Bayou downstream of Connerly Dam, or Ditch Bayou from Lake Chicot downstream to Ditch Bayou Dam, be aware that crappie shorter than 10 inches must be immediately released and that the crappie daily limit is 20.


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 2-22-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, lake elevation was 4 inches above/ near normal pool and falling; Millwood Lake Dam is currently releasing about 2,800 cfs and tailwater is holding at 230 feet. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake with discharge rates and fluctuations in Little River. Lake elevation and discharge at Millwood Dam can change dramatically in mere hours with thunderstorms and fresh water influx. 

Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 49 degrees early to 56 degrees later in the day along Little River, depending on location and the time of day. Use caution in navigation on main lake river channels where river buoys may be out of channel from recent high wind, or not yet replaced. Clarity along Little River has improved over the past few weeks of pool rise and is normal stain in most locations; some areas further up Little River are heaviest stain, with river clarity ranging 8-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from stained to good visibility from 10-20 inches, and we observed around 3-4 feet visibility in a few areas like McGuire Oxbow, away from river current, depending on location. Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow at Wilton Landing remains more stained, with more current.
Mike provided these specifics on the fishing for the past couple of weeks:

* The largemouth bass have been considering their move shallow. Two guys we saw up Little River had caught some decent largemouth on Chatterbaits and 1-Knocker Rat-L-Traps. The best feeding periods for largemouth bass have been from midday, continuing into midafternoon with increased sunlight in the 5-8 feet range. The oxbows along Little River from Mud Lake, all the way upriver to McGuire and Horseshoe Lake oxbows, have seen several male bass cruising in the flats. The very back of McGuire had three nice-sized flats with stumps and fish cruising in the sun. Those bass were chasing a quarter-ounce Rat-L-Trap Spin Trap, and a Bass Assassin 5-inch shad in the off-color water from 1-4 feet of depth near stumps. Chatterbaits in Spring Bream and Blue Ghost with a twin tail trailer picked up a couple random bass. Three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps or the five-eighth-ounce HammerTraps in Modified Millwood Magic, Rayburn Red or Chrome Blue back in the clearer water areas of the oxbows turned a few heads.
The Bass are beginning to move and think about warmer water, and some have begun temporarily staging just off the flats and on points at mouths of creeks, in 3-8 feet of depth drops. Bandit 200 and 300 series cranks, and Bomber Fat Free Guppy in craw colors or brown back/orange belly tagged a few bass in Mud Lake. With the water temps continuing to warm over the past week, we expect to see a potential move of largemouth relatively shallow over the next week. Lizards and Brush Hogs in black/blue, pumpkinseed/chart, watermelon magic or cotton candy will begin taking good fish as the males begin to explore bedding areas in 1-3 feet.
On warmer afternoons, you can target bass in 5- to 6-feet deep cypress trees by a dead sticking a Senko, Bass Assassin or Zoom Trick Worm up onto 4- to 6-feet deep cypress trees in back of the pockets. Brazalo Spinnerbait in Spot Remover or white colors have been good choices where water clarity is better, and a red Chatterbait with a thumping Bang Boss Trailer near those same cypress will draw a reaction.
* We spoke with two guys in the parking lot at Wilton Landing loading their boat up on the trailer who had been out for 4-5 hours near Cossatot inflow, and points extending into Little River from near Patterson Shoals down to Cemetery Slough. Not much white bass activity that far up to the U.S. Highway 71 bridge, until they went downriver to near Cemetery Slough and Brown’s Creek. The further downriver they fished, the more white bass they connected with. They did not fish all the way down to McGuire oxbow entrance. They said that on the extended points breaking off into deep water, where the points drop into 12-20 feet of depth, with stumps present especially near creek mouth dumps into Little River, were best. The whites were hitting Bandit Crankbaits in Splatterback yellow belly, 1-Knocker Rat-L-Traps in chrome/blue, and MR6 Crankbaits in Oyster, Tennessee Shad and Silverado. Majority of the whites have not made the commitment to run up Little River yet, but have pulled into creek mouths at numerous creek dumps into the river and ranged from around 2 to 3 pounds each. We would expect a major move of the white bass to migrate up to Highway 71 bridge in the next week or 10 days if this weather holds.
* The crappie bite has improved over the past week with water clarity improving in many locations. Planted brush in Bee Lake, Millwood State Park and Saratoga yielded some nice 2- to 2.5-pound slabs over the past couple weeks. The crappie are best using minnows one day and jigs the next in planted brush piles in 14-16 feet of depth, with weights up to 2.25 pounds.
Bee Lake, Pugh Slough and Saratoga all are good locations where many of our brush piles are located and were holding crappie last week. Best color jig was black/chartreuse one day and red/white the next day; then smoke-colored grubs on a light wire jighead would pick up a few extra bites.
No reports on bream or catfish.


Lake Columbia
(updated 2-8-2024) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) near here heard a couple of reports this week from Lake Columbia. Some really nice crappie are being caught there. In one particular report, a crappie angler brought in a couple of two pounds as part of his haul using a 1/16-ounce solid gray jig.


Lake Erling
(updated 2-8-2024) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) says the crappie have been biting really well and anglers have been catching a lot of good fish or 2 pounds or more. Crappie are still out in about 16 feet of water. They’re being caught on white/silver-white jigs and gray/silver-white jigs, as well as on minnows.
The water is still a little bit muddy, they report, and the water level is about a foot above normal.
Crappie have been good there for the past month or so. Recently one angler caught a limit with eight of them being over 2 pounds each. In a crappie tournament held on Erling this past weekend, the Big Crappie caught weighed 3.55 pounds, hooked with a live minnow.

Catfishing has been really good of late, with anglers catching quite a few nice ones as well on live bait (bream or minnows). Also some good black bass have also been caught, but those anglers weren’t sharing the baits used.

The water temperature is ranging 49-50 degrees. 

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.

(updated 2-22-2024) Black bass measuring 11.02 and 12.6 pounds were taken on successive weekends at DeGray at the end of January and early February by area anglers. Kanon Harmon caught his monster, which was 26 inches long with a 21-inch girth and 15-inch-wide mouth, on Saturday, Jan. 27, fishing with two friends, brothers Carson and Blake Humphrey. On the following Saturday, Jimi Easterling guided an angler from Memphis, Dabney Hammer, to a spot to land the 12.6-pounder. 

The water temperature has been about 48 degrees. Kanon reported catching his lunker with a white swimbait, a Motivated Exodus swimmer, at 35 feet in 60 feet of water. He was able to see the fish on LiveScope and put the perfect cast in its vicinity, played with it and got it to attack the bait. They were fishing in the area around the State Park Marina.
Kanon suggests anglers fishing DeGray now to try using swimbaits, jigging spoons and jerkbaits, as well as a Rat-L-Trap, which would be ideal around grass and shallow rock areas at DeGray. The spoon or swimbait, as well as an Alabama rig, would be more suited for targeting over brush piles there the way he was fishing in late January; the A-rig will work nicely over grass, brush and schools of shad. Kanon uses a spoon or swimbait when he’s targeting, he says.
The 11.02-pound catch is his personal best, topping a 7-pounder. Kanon teamed with Carson Humphrey to win the 2020 Commissioners’ Cup, sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. He’s currently a senior at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.


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 2-22-2024) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that fast flows and unfishable conditions have been the norm below Carpenter Dam for weeks due to snow and ice and continued heavy rainfall. The 5-foot drawdown on area lakes will be in place until March 1, and Entergy had scheduled 24/7 generation times to keep the lakes at the winter drawdown levels. Very little quality fishing has taken place on Lake Catherine for rainbow trout since late January due to these conditions. 

A more stable weather pattern has settled in this past week, and that has allowed Entergy to run 12-hour generation times, meaning a few hours a day for safe boating and fishing below on Lake Catherine. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is scheduled to release 12,000 rainbow trout in Lake Catherine below the dam this month, which will propel the tailrace into hyper-drive for fish numbers and opportunities to catch fish. Fly-fishermen will be able to wade to areas that hold good numbers of trout and have success casting micro-jigs in white or black under a strike indicator. This presentation perfectly matches the injured shad drawn through the turbines from Lake Hamilton. San Juan Worms offer feeding trout a different look and will often work equally well when fished in the same manner. Trout Magnets should not be overlooked by fly anglers and often make the difference between a successful outing and an unsuccessful one. Bank fishermen using waxworms or mealworms will record limits of rainbows casted with a small bobber or fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Boaters can anchor in and around sandbars and rock structure and catch trout using small inline spinners such as a Rooster Tail or Mepps Spinner in brown or silver colors. 

Because of the low-water conditions, trolling will have to be confined to areas below the bridge where enough water is present for safe navigation.
Rainbow trout fishing will dominate the area for weeks to come as big numbers of fish will congregate in many areas of the tailrace. However, trout will not be the only game fish available to target. The walleye spawn is just now beginning on Lake Catherine as male walleye begin to migrate into the tailrace to prepare the beds for the much larger females. These fish can be caught by trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current on both sides of the river below the dam. Shad or crayfish imitations work best as both of these are present in large numbers in the lake and offer game fish a solid food source all throughout the year. Trout will be scarce where spawning walleye are established as rainbow trout are known egg eaters and are attacked by walleye when crossing over into bedding areas. As February rolls on, more and more walleye will be present and can be caught from the bridge to the dam. 

The month of March promises the beginning of the crappie spawn, which will add another quality game fish for the public to target. What anglers are experiencing now are the huge numbers of injured threadfin shad that are drawn into the tailrace from Lake Hamilton. While these baitfish are key in making a healthy environment for area game fish, the daily pouring in of food creates a situation where fish are gorging on shad daily, making them very difficult to catch. As the temperature warms and these shad aren’t stunned by freezing temperatures, there will be a dramatic decrease in the amount of prey for fish to feed on. Several days of this reduction in food will force fish to actively search for prey, which will create a good situation for anglers to be successful.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and remember to follow all park and boating regulations. Pick up after yourself, as the number of trash cans are limited in this area. Always cooperate with all wildlife officials and law enforcement. 


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

(updated 2-22-2024) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) did not have a new report for this week. 


Lake Hamilton
(updated 2-8-2024) Anglers fishing in Saturday’s Anvil Jaw bass tournament caught plenty of largemouth bass and a few spotted bass during the rainy day earlier this month. Thirty-three of the 59 anglers competing brought five-fish limits to the scales. Alabama rigs, jerkbaits and flat-sided crankbaits dominated most anglers’ front decks, with some anglers catching a few kicker bass on football jigs and Damiki rigs. The water was stained in the lower lake, but clear upstream of Treasure Island. Water temperature in the main lake ranged from 46 to 51 degrees by mid-afternoon. 


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 2-8-2024) Sheila Ferrebee, owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025), says the water has been high and she didn’t have much of a report. It’s been really slow, but they’re getting back to it now. I’m selling minnows and they’re out fishing. One guy caught eight crappie (Wednesday), but it’s really been slow, the lake’s been up, and they haven’t wanted to get out, but it’s going down now.”

Anderson Branch ramp is open again, she said. She hasn’t sold any bait for catfish or bass.
Carter Cove has a Facebook page and the email address is, with photos of recent 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 2-22-2024) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are very good. Try a Rat-L-Trap-style bait or jerkbait near main lake and secondary points. As for walleye, we’re still waiting for these fish to return from the river. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caught in the western portion of the lake and can be caught on live bait or Bama rigs. Bream are deep and hiding. Crappie are slow; try brush and structure 25-40 feet deep with jigs or minnows. No reports on catfish.

The water temperature is ranging 48-52 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. The lake level is 573.68 feet, or a little more than 4 feet below normal level. 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 2-22-2024) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt had no new fishing reports from the region.


Horseshoe Lake
(updated 2-22-2024) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said Horseshoe’s surface temperature as of Tuesday was a chilly 47 at daylight and warmed to 51 by 2 p.m. Water is slightly stained. 

Crappie are starting to react to the warming water, as some fish are showing up higher in the water column. There’s still lots of fish deep and near the bottom. Shad are also starting to show up in the water column. 

The fish caught mostly were 15 feet deep over 21-25 feet of water. Fish were biting pink/chartreuse and silver jigs the best. Spider-rigging fishermen seemed to be struggling. We caught ours using LiveScope and saw several fish spook if we got close. 

The bite should improve over the next few day with warmer temperatures in the forecast.
No reports on bass, catfish and bream.


Cook’s Lake
(updated 2-22-2024) Cook’s Lake is closed to fishing through February as it serves as a rest area for migrating waterfowl. Look for a reopening as the water warms in coming weeks. 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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