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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 02-29-2024


Feb. 29, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Crappie have been biting off and on at Lake Overcup in Conway County, near Morrilton, but when the bite is on, they’re in the 2.1- to 2.4-pound range, according to John Banks at Overcup Lake Bait Shop off Highway 9. In a photo supplied by Banks, Preston Brock (left) and Dough Vaughn both show off a couple of their nice catches in recent days.

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 2-29-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the key word this week has been crappie and more crappie.
“The lake is falling like super-duper fast. We’ve been catching fish every day, big crappie,” they report. “They’ve been doing it on the bass, too, but we’ve just been fishing for crappie.”

Key areas in a dwindling acreage of water at Lake Conway, because of the drawdown leading up to the planned renovation, are Gold Creek, the Highway 89 bridge and Adams Lake. Jigs and minnows both are working. “Every color of jig you can throw at them is working,” Bates reports. “Customers are buying a variety of everything in colors.”

Bass seem to be preferring Chatterbaits. 

Big bream have also picked up. “They’re running out of water,” Bates tells us.

The hunt for tagged fish in Lake Conway and a $1,000 prize for each tag was scheduled to end Thursday, 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 2-29-2024) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said, the Southwestern Power Administration’s generation schedule has been inconsistent lately regarding the timing and duration of water releases. Anglers are advised to check the SWPA website for the latest release schedule before planning their fishing trips. Additionally, anglers should monitor the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock app for any unscheduled releases, which could affect fishing conditions.

The best bite has been observed while fishing out of a boat during falling water from the previous day’s generation. Anglers may find success by targeting areas where water levels are receding. Winkler recommends using two nymph rods for optimal results. The first setup utilizes a pink San Juan Worm set anywhere from 5-7 feet deep. The second setup features a double nymph rig consisting of a pheasant tail soft tackle and root beer midge as a dropper. This setup is particularly effective as the water levels decrease.
Anglers are encouraged to contact Mike for further information or to book a guided fishing trip on the Little Red River. Always exercise caution and follow safety guidelines when fishing, especially in areas affected by changing water levels.

(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.


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 2-29-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.44 feet msl, or 0.6 below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. Generation has been running just about 6-12 hours full bore for last week or so. Catch rates for this time of year are really good. With crappie, some 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 bait , jigs, crankbaits or beetle spin for best results.
Black bass are good super shallow out to 50 feet in guts, main lake points or secondary points, and biting on Alabama rigs, C-rigs, jerkbaits, football heads or crankbaits. Stay around the shad. The Wiggle Wart is also working great; and last but not least. a spoon or a Silverado or red-colored Rat-L-Trap is working. 

Walleye are doing what they usually do this time of year: follow schools of bait around or are pulled up to prespawn or spawn sites. A spoon is working best around schools of bait. Catfish are hanging out on secondary points around and under baitfish or up rivers and creeks real shallow doing the same and gorging. No report on bream.

Hybrid bass and white bass are gorging like a lot of other species. When you find them, just about any metal bait you get in front of them will work, as well as swimbaits, hair jigs, inline spinners that have pulled a lot of them up out of super deep water, 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 our the 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 springlike 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 2-29-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported Thursday water temperature is in the low 50s. The largemouth bass bite is slow. There are reports of bass in prespawn mode right now but scattered anywhere from 2-20 feet. Try using jigs, Alabama rigs, crankbaits and swimbaits, and try jerkbaits shallow in the afternoon. Kentucky bass (spotted bass) are also slow. There have been angler reports of them being found off rocky points in 16-18 feet. Try a shaky head or jig.

The white bass bite is good. They are starting their annual run. The cold snap this week might slow them down for a few days, but it should start back up. Try the west end of the lake by the bridge, using Twister Tails.
Crappie are slow. Reports of crappie being found scattered shallow to deep and roaming in the channel, but it’s been a slow bite. Reports also have come in of crappie full of eggs. Try using jigs or minnows. 

No reports on bream, but try redworms. Catfish are slow. Bream, liver and worms are recommended.


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 2-29-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is at a normal level and “clear as can be.” The black bass have “been on fire here lately,” he said. Anglers are catching them early in the day and later in the evening, and a lot of bass are being caught in 4-5 feet of water.
The crappie, on the other hand, have been biting some but not like the bass have, ray said.
Jigs and crankbaits are what have been mainly catching the bass. Try blue or black colors on the jigs. Preferred crankbaits are the deeper-diving ones that can get below that 5-foot range. 

Crappie are biting on jigs and minnows, but during the recent full moon and during the day, the crappie bite seemed to stop and the fish were hanging out on the bottom, in the 11-12 feet range, according to anglers looking at them with LiveScope. Now that the full moon is gone, Ray said, “the last couple of days, some crappie have been caught.”


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.


Peckerwood Lake
(updated 2-29-2024) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (501-626-6899) reports that Peckerwood Lake has reopened for the season and anglers are catching crappie and catfish really well on poles and yo-yos. The lake is level full. Clarity is dingy. 

Crappie can be caught on minnows and jigs (anglers are quiet about the colors they are using). Catfish are biting minnows and hot dogs baited on the yo-yos.


North Arkansas

White River
(updated 2-29-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said there’s nothing average or typical about the weather this February, and there are no average days on the White River: all are memorable! Counting rainbows, watching for colorful cutthroats or taking time to hook into a sensational — no ordinary days here. Water levels have been a little erratic, starting out low, rising in late morning, then dropping a couple of hours later. Releases from minimum flow (700 cfs) to over five units (15,000 cfs) were pretty regular over the last week. The lake has risen over the last few weeks but is still 2 feet below its normal power pool of 659 feet msl, currently sitting at 657.61 feet msl.
Expect cold early mornings and a welcome rise in the temperature, sometimes already into the 70s. But March is coming and we can expect changes.
The brown bite has alternated between sculpins and minnows with minnows closing in as a close second for the best bait this week. That trusty sculpin has beat out any secret baits you might have tried. Nightcrawlers proved their worth for bank fishermen, and dragging a scented pink or pink and white worm worked well angling from the john boats in medium or higher water levels. We’ve met our limit with spinners as well as the always successful shrimp/egg pattern bait. We especially liked the Blue Fox: the 3/16-ounce spinner with a rainbow blade and pink bell, played about a foot or 2 below the surface produced more than a few smiles.

Remember to keep an eye on the possibility of rising water levels on the Bull Shoals tailwater. It can change quickly; don’t be caught careless. Regardless of water level, remember: Big fish like big bait. 

March will be blowing in before we know it, so don’t be surprised by some gusty days, just carry more weight on your line and keep on anglin’.

(updated 2-29-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said that over the last week we have seen river conditions as high as 8 feet or more last Thursday to a low under 3 feet this Wednesday. In addition, from Monday to Wednesday the wind caused the river to be choppy. During the higher water when the water had some dinginess, drift-fishing with Uncommon Baits Ultraviolet Eggs tipped with shrimp with an in-line spinner has been effective for catching a limit of rainbow trout. With the lower water, using lures such as quarter-ounce Colorado spoons in nickel/gold or CD 7 Rapala Countdowns in rainbow or silver color worked best. During the windy conditions, drift-fishing was difficult but 1/16-ounce jigs in dark colors worked well for both rainbow trout and brown trout

(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 2-29-2024) Fishing guide Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake said Wednesday’s lake level was 657 feet msl. The Army Corps of Engineers has been running some water in the mornings. The water temp is ranging 51-56 degrees. “Bass fishing has been up and down with the weather and I expect the water temp to drop a little with the cold front.”
Del recommends a powerfishing approach if it’s cloudy, rainy and windy covering water with a Rock Crawler, Wiggle Wart or square bill in red/orange variations. Look for windblown, shady, ledgy or chunk rock banks and steeper swings. Fish are biting in 5-15 feet. “I’m going halfway into the creeks. Covering water. You can always catch them on a jig in green pumpkin variations and peanut butter and jelly, or a little red flapping hog. Try piles, ledges and wood areas close to shad balls or even close to spawning areas in south-facing pockets protected from the cold north winds. The jig bite can vary 5-25 feet day to day. A shaky head will get you bit on tough days.
“I feel a lot the fish are still looking up, so I’m still scoping and the shad seem to have spread out again, moving back into in the bigger creeks, arms and mouths of pockets holding down in the 60-70 feet range, and then they are spread out up high everywhere. Graph, graph and graph. Drop a small shad Damiki, Tater Shad or Thump Shad and change head size according to depth. A swimbait will fool some. Also 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; you better pay attention. Every day is different. White bass and walleye are close to moving up to spawn.
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.

(updated 2-29-2024) Southern Walleye Guide Service reports that walleyes for the most part are still deep under or around shad 50-60 feet deep on the lower lake section and larger creeks. Starting to see fish around known spawning areas, but they have been slow to take baits. Some fish seem to be making their way up to spawning areas up in the bigger tributaries (Theodosia and Power Site areas) to the warmer flowing waters.
Rapala Ice Jigs and spoons are still the ticket. Jerkbaits and small shad style crankbaits fished like a jerkbait should be producing in the near future if weather stays warm. If trolling, try stick baits slow and shallow during low light periods in 8-14 ft water. Trolling at .85 to 1.2 mph should produce a few fish. 

Most crappie are in the creeks now. We’ve caught them feeding and sitting on brush mainly and anywhere from 10-30 feet deep. Jig bite is still doing well throwing a 1/16- to ⅛-ounce jig with Tater Shad Jr. in the Purple Monkey or Bayou Magic colors, and minnows are doing well, also.


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

(updated 2-29-2024) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level was 553.65 feet msl and had dropped three-quarters of an inch in the last 24 hours with the one operating generator running from about 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday. The White River at Newport is 6.80 feet and dropping and is very low. Not much water is being released into the White River anywhere. The wind has been incessant for three days and finally laid down last evening about 4 p.m. The surface water temperature is 50 degrees on the main lake and in the low 50s in the creeks. The water is stained green in the creeks and fairly clear on the main lake, and “Scuba Steve” said he could see his lure down about 7 feet. It is very clear near the shore.
The trollers have switched from fishing for white bass and small stripers to dragging umbrellas, live bait and crankbaits along the shoreline outside of brush piles for anything that will bite. The walleye are starting to move back downstream from the spawn and the white bass are heading up the river. Some black bass and crappie have moved back into the creeks, but not a lot. “I am still catching them on main lake brush in 23 feet of water on a jig. The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level, but fishing is just fair with the cold fronts continuously coming through.” 

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

(updated 2-29-2024) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Wednesday was a nonfishing day for him. He posts fishing reports almost every day on Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page but on Wednesday the wind was howling and the temperature had dropped into the low 30s.
“Tomorrow is still to be cold, but then spring reappears,” he said. “Our guests were out fishing (Tuesday). All had a lot of fun and caught fish. Three different groups fished the area where I had been fishing and caught striped bass by casting out Kastmasters. All had a few lost fish during the battles. You have to remember to always keep pressure on the fish while fighting them. It is hard to get a good hookset sometimes and any slack in the line will let the lure fall out of the fish’s mouth. I am sure you have heard this before: Pull the rod up gently then reel down quickly. If the fish starts to run, hold on, then start the pull-up-reel process again once the run stops.
“Another couple of our guests fished with Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters and landed some nice fish on live bait. I went out yesterday and checked out several new areas, but really never found any signs of striped bass. I did see some schools of what I was thinking were crappie. It is close to the time that trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows works. So, I gave it a shot. I didn’t get many crappie, but did hook into one fat 14-inch crappie. I landed quite a few small spotted bass and 2 very nice largemouth bass. The bass hit the No. 7 Flicker Minnow and the crappie hit the No. 9 size bait. I was trolling back in creeks and coves and checked out both the channel side of the creek as well as the shallower side. The bass were coming off of the deeper side of the coves near rocky points. I went over many brush piles but didn’t see much on them. The schools I was marking were a good 100 feet away from the brush.
“As the water temp rises, more and more fish and bait will move out of the main lake into the creeks and coves. Mid-morning I headed to a main lake area that had been holding white bass and hybrid/stripers. I landed one hybrid and a boatload of big white bass. I ended up cleaning three of the whites and the crappie for dinner Wednesday.”
The water temp yesterday morning was 50-51 degrees. The lake depth has been fairly stable and sits at the current normal seasonal pool of 553.75 feet msl. “If you are needing a place to stay, give us a call at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, 870-492-5113, for reservations. March, April and May are great months to fish Norfork Lake and the weather is typically a little more predictable. Happy fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”

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


Norfork Tailwater
(updated 2-29-2024) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), had no new report.


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 2-29-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is at 1,115.58 feet msl, give or take. Water temperature is in the upper 40s to lower 50s. The bright spot is on crappie, as they are doing pretty well. The bigger fish are suspended and the smaller fish are on brush. If you have forward-facing sonar you should do well. Places to look are any flats adjacent to the main river channel. Flats at Point 12 and Camp War Eagle and also out front of War Eagle Marina are holding fish. Stripers are still hit and miss and can show up anywhere right now. 

The walleye are still missing in action from the river arms. “I have caught a handful in the last three weeks but we need some water movement. On that note, do not plan on launching a boat at Twin Bridges, as the shoals above and below will be a hazard. I have a jet boat that runs in 4 inches and I am having issues. Your best bet is to launch at (Highway) 412 and run up. 

“I can say it is tough fishing up the river arms for everything except crappie. Really no signs of white bass or the walleye. Water temps are good, we just need some rain. Big difference from the last three years of ultra-high water. If you’re not familiar with running up the War Eagle or the White, you better pay attention. Lots of things that can jack your boat up right now. Stay safe and hope we get some rain so we can kick off the walleye spawn.” 

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


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) had no report this week.


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 nijghtcrawlers 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 2-29-2024) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) had no new reports. His latest report earlier this month had the Spring river running higher than normal, strong flows, with the water clarity slowing clearing.

He said the high water completed changed the approach to fishing the Spring, with a sink tip or some extra weight being the ticket 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.”
Check Mark’s blog at 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.

(updated 6-29-2023) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said that due to so much rain and the river being so high that anglers are staying away from the water, they had no reports.


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 ra tes 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 2-29-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, lake elevation is 4 inches above the normal conservation pool, at 259.4 feet msl, and falling. Millwood Lake Dam is releasing about 4,700 cfs and the tailwater is holding at 231 feet. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website linked under Millwood Lake above, for gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Surface temperature was stable this week, ranging 47 degrees early to 55 degrees later in the day along Little River, depending on location. 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, with normal stain in most locations, some areas further up Little River being heaviest, 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, away from river current depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain and higher current rates.
Note: The Millwood State Park Marina is scheduled to reopen March 1. The Millwood State Park IS OPEN for camping, and the State Park Office can be reached at 870-898-2800 for availability or additional information. USACE Campgrounds ARE OPEN for camping. USACE parks/campgrounds current status, information and reservations may be made by calling (877) 444-6777 or the Millwood Tri-Lakes office at 870) 898-3343.

Mike had these specifics for fishing Millwood this week:

* With Millwood Lake elevation approaching near normal pool, reduced current in Little River and drastically improved clarity, we are seeing a few largemouth bass males roaming in areas of 3-6 feet depth creeks, ridges and bedding flats on warm afternoons near creek channel swings and vertical structure. Heavy three-quarter-ounce One-knocker Rat-L-Traps, Brazalo and War Eagle Spinnerbaits have been working over the past few weeks. Hammer Traps, MR-6 and Echo 1.75, and Bill Lewis SB-57 MDJ crankbaits have all been getting random reaction bites over the past couple weeks from these active roaming bass. Anywhere a creek channel is close by to the deeper creek bends or vertical structure and drops into the oxbows, where stumps are present and creek mouths drop, have held some decent-sized bass over the past several weeks, and they were moving shallow on afternoons. Best responses are from the heat of the afternoon, noon to 3 p.m.
Reaction bites were much more reliable in the oxbows of McGuire, Horseshoe and Clear lakes where the water clarity was drastically better, water temps were warmer, and calm/no river current present. The best responses we were getting were on Rat-L-Traps in Red Chrome, Toledo Gold, Red Chrome Craw and Red Rayburn Craw. Baby Brush Hogs have been taking some decent 14- to 17-inch males roaming flats in the clearer water sections of the oxbows away from river current. With the water temp continuing into the low and mid 50s, the males are active. Where you find shallow 5- to 8-feet deep flats with stumps you can find a few decent 2- to 3-pound male bass roaming on warm afternoons, if near to a quick creek bend drop into 8-12 feet structure. 

A few bedmaking activities are being observed now. Red Slough and South Hickory golf course pockets are warming up as well. We got several good reactions from 2- to 3-pound males over the past week or so, throwing an old school H&H Spinnerbait in yellow/white and black/white around cypress tree knees using a trailer hook for short strikers.
Best reaction colors for Chatterbaits, where we are seeing cruising Bbass, have been the Millwood Mayhem Bream, Arkansas River Shad or Fire Craw. Best depth zones we are targeting are cypress tree knees from 6-10 feet, with 12-15 feet of depth nearby. We have been seeing the male bass roaming the flats through the dead lily pad stems from 2-4 pounds each, moving in shallow, 3-5 feet deep bedding areas, not staying on the flats for very long, and they were spooky. The larger females are staging further out depth zones, near points and drops where broken timber and stumps are present; 6- to 8-inch lizards in black neon, blackberry, California 420 and Watermelon Magic have been picking up some cruising vass near stumps on drops into 10 feet structure.
Senkos, Trick Worms, Trick Sticks and Twitch Worms in Watermelon Candy, Hot Craw, black/blue or purple ice were working late last week in 5-8 feet depths on cypress trees. Bass Assassin Shads in Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom or Pumpkinseed, dead-sticking on stumps and cypress trees/knees and using a extremely-light wire hook, was a method that caught a few nice male and female bass roaming in and out of flats to and from the creek channels.
* For several weeks, the white bass continue roaming and staging along Little River and mouths of the oxbows and creek dumps, in preparation for a spawning run upriver. Heavy thumping three-quarter and 1-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome or Splatterback colors, cranked very slow and deep behind primary or secondary points, caught some decent 2- and 3-pound whites over the two to three weeks from 9-16 feet deep A chrome three-quarter-ounce Cordell Hammered Spoon with a red/white hair bucktail, vertical jigging behind primary points near the bottom where stumps were located on the backside of points, were connecting with a few nice-sized 2- to 3-pound whites over the past several weeks. Swimming a hair jig with a heavy thumping tail swimbait trailer, picked up a few whites in 10-14 feet swimming and dropping the bait.
Most of the white bass continue staging along Little River, stacked up near primary or secondary points, from 10-15 feet deep at most reliable locations. Deep-running Fat Free Guppy cranks in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad, Little George’s, little Rocket Shads and red/white Rooster Tails were also picking up a few random whites this week. With the increase of warm water, the whites continue staging in Little River in preparation for a final run up to US Highway 71 Bridge and Patterson Shoals for annual spawning, if water temps stay in the 50-degree range. White bass were found again over the past couple of weeks between White Cliffs Campground and the entrance to McGuire Lake along Little River, where points intersect with creek mouths dumping into the river (although the water was very stained, but improved and had current). The white bass spawning run is about to be ON. Stay tuned over the next few days and week to the guide service’s website linked above, as well as Facebook pages, for updates on the white bass spawning run.
* The crappie bite has continually improved over the past few weeks with water clarity improving in many locations. Our planted brush piles in Pugh Slough, Horseshoe, Bee Lake and Millwood State Park gave up some nice 2-pound slabs over the past couple weeks. The crappie are best using minnows one day and jigs the next, in planted brush piles 10-16 feet of depth, with catches up to 2.25 pounds. Many of our planted brush piles were holding crappie last week. Best color jig was black/chartreuse one day, and red/white one 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
No report.


Lake Erling
(updated 2-22-2024) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) says the crappie have been biting really with good size to the fish (about 2 pounds or more on several catches). Crappie are in the deeper parts and favor white/silver-white jigs and gray/silver-white jigs, as well as on minnows. Earlier in February, a crappie weighing 3.55 pounds was caught in a tournament on Erling, with a live minnow as bait.

Catfishing has been excellent, with anglers catching quite a few nice ones as well on live bait (bream or minnows). Black bass have been active and biting.

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.

Visit for a daily update on fishing conditions.


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 2-29-2024) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 49 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has reduced generation times to a late evening runtime due to dry conditions this past week. The 6foot drawdown on lakes Catherine and Hamilton is scheduled to end Friday, March 1.
This reduction in current flow has allowed anglers to access the area safely and target area fish species with some success. The Game and Fish Commission released 12,000 rainbow trout in Lake Catherine below the dam this month, which propelled the tailrace into hyper-drive for fish numbers and opportunities to catch fish. Fly-fishermen are wading to areas that hold good numbers of trout and have had 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 comes to an end, 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 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 warm and these shad aren’t stunned by freezing temperature, 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 2-29-2024) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) did not have a new report. 


Lake Hamilton
No report.


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 2-22-2024) Sheila Ferrebee, owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025), says fishing had been really slow, but anglers getting back to it now, with minnows being the big purchase at her store. Crappie appear to be the main target now. There was a fair bite recently as the lake drops some.

Anderson Branch ramp is open again, she said. 

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 2-29-2024) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still very good. Try a Rat-L-Trap-style bait or jerkbait near main lake and secondary points. Carolina-rigged craw or lizard are starting to produce, too. Walleye are up the main rivers on their spawning run. Stripers are fair to good. These fish are being caught in the western portion of the lake and can be caught on live bait or Alabama rigs. Bream are still deep and hiding. Crappie are still slow. Try brush and structure 25-40 feet deep with jigs or minnows. Catfish – Happy leap day!

Water temperature range is creeping up to 50-54 degrees this week. Lake clarity is clearing, and the water level is slightly up from last week, at 573.74 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

updated 2-29-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said Wednesday on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that Lake Ouachita will be hosting the BFL this weekend, as well as Sunday’s Mr. Bass of Arkansas tournament. “Looks like Lake Ouachita kinda has a bull’s-eye on it.

“If you looked at Tuesday, there were a lot of places on Lake Ouachita where the main channel was in the mid-50s, 55-56-57 degrees. In the backs of pockets you could find some stuff. Now, I’m sure all of that is dead over by now, especially when it gets as low as it’s supposed to get (Wednesday night/Thursday morning), in the 30s. But then again, you look at the forecast and what’s coming at us over the weekend is highs back in the 60s again. It’s spring-like …. It’s going to bounce like this around the entire month of March. It’s typical Arkansas in the spring.”


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.


Horseshoe Lake
(updated 2-29-2024) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said that with the forecast of high winds this week, there wouldl not be an updated report for Horseshoe. He planned to be fishing other lakes until later in the week.
As of last week, he said, crappie had starting to react to the warming water, as some fish were showing up higher in the water column. There were still lots of fish deep and near the bottom. Shad were 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 2-29-2024) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) is happy to announce that Cook’s Lake will reopen to youth and mobility-impaired anglers starting this Saturday, March 2,, at 8 a.m. The lake has been closed during the winter as a waterfowl rest area. The White River is below flood stage, making the boat ramp and dock accessible. The lake temperature is around 56 degrees, so fish should start moving up soon.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-mile-long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegill, largemouth bass, and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers who must possess the AGFC mobility-impaired access permit, and up to two guests (who may also fish), during the specified fishing season. Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat. Fishing will be allowed only on Fridays and Saturdays during March through August, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., water level pending. Before launching, please check in at the Nature Center classroom and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please call the center at 501-404-2321.


Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.

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