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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 03-21-2024


March 21, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

A Kansas City-area angler named Cori (no last name provided) landed a memorable walleye on the Beaver Lake tailwater recently while fishing with area guide Austin Kennedy. The walleye measured 23 inches in length.

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 3-21-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said fishing slowed up a little bit this week with the rain earlier. Before this week, the fishing had fallen into a continuous pattern of being pretty good for all species, as the lake continues to drop for the planned extensive renovation. 

Minnows and all colors of jigs have been working for crappie up until the last few days. Cranks are good black bass. The bream were biting well on crickets and redworms. Nightcrawlers will be your best bet for catfish.

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. The water temperature is still suitable to the trout, and AGFC staff report that lots of trout have been caught in recent weeks.



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 3-21-2024) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said the recent rain, totaling 2.5 inches, has caused the lake to rise above power pool level. As a result, the Army Corps of Engineers is operating two generators 24/7 to manage the water levels. This generation schedule is expected to continue until Greers Ferry Lake reaches normal pool level, which is projected by the USACE Little Rock app for March 25.
Given the current water conditions, Mike says he’s is launching his boat at JFK Park and using a deep-water nymph rig set at depths ranging from 6-12 feet depending on the river depth. He’s having success with a pink San Juan Worm with split shot above it. Additionally, the streamer bite has been good under the current generation schedule. Mike recommends trying Double Deceivers in white, yellow and brown, casting toward the bank and varying your retrieve to entice bites.

(updated 3-21-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Thursday that the fishing has been good. The best fishing is when the Corps of Engineers is coming off the generation and the water begins falling. Check for generation times. Best baits in the falling water have been an eighth-ounce Maribou jig and the No. 7 Rapala Countdowns.


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 3-21-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake on Wednesday was at 462.66 feet msl, or 0.62 foot below normal pool of 462.04 feet. Catch rates for this time of year are really good, just stay with the same programs.
Crappie are either roaming around chewing while others are doing the same in pole timber or in brush piles. In all places they are suspended 4 feet down to 40 feet. Use live baits, jigs, crankbaits or beetle spins for best results. Black bass are good super shallow out to 50 feet in guts, main lake points or secondary points, and biting on an Alabama rig, C-rig, jerkbaits, football heads or crankbaits. Stay around the shad. The Wiggle Wart is working great, too, and a spoon or a Silverado or red-colored Rat-L-Trap-style bait will work. 

Walleye continue doing what they usually do this time of year: following schools of bait around or pulling 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 baits fish or up rivers and creeks really shallow, and gorging. Still no report on bream. Hybrid bass and white bass are gorging like the other species — when you find them, just about any metal bait you get in front of them will work. Also, a swimbait, hair jig or inline spinner has pulled a lot of them 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 3-21-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the water level is up a little bit over normal level. The water clarity is stained in places up in the upper end of the lake, while the lower end is mostly clear. The bass fishing has been really good overall, and anglers are using a lot of different things. Most guys are throwing Carolina rigs or throwing a jig up shallow around some of the bushes. They are also catching them on a crankbait and spinnerbait anywhere you’ve got a windy bank. 

The crappie have been doing “pretty well,” they add. You can find them in standing timber in about 15 feet of water. A Roadrunner head and also a 2-inch swimbait seem to be working the best.


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 3-14-2024) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the bass and catfish are very active around the lake now. An 8-pound catfish was hauled in recently, using minnows. Another angler reported catching five catfish in the 3- to 4-pound range. Some are being caught from the bank, some from boats. It appears some good catfish success is being had on the lake from opposite the bait shop, they report.

Recently, a local bass fishing tournament posted good results with some really nice largemouths being caught, they report. The winning two-person team caught a 15-pound bag of fish (limit of five), and the tournament’s Big Bass catch was 3.7 pounds among the 16 boats competing.

Wednesday morning, a crappie angler was having good success catching fish in shallow water from his boat. The crappie appear to be moving closer to the shoreline for spawning. No bream have been reported lately.


Lake Overcup
(updated 3-14-2024) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 said water level is about 1.5 feet high but clarity is good. Surface temperature as of midweek is around 64 degrees. Bass are getting ready to spawn. Bream are slow but should pick up before long. Catfish are being caught on yo-yos with minnows. Crappie are being caught with minnows and jigs. Not catching a lot but they are some good ones.
“Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop off Highway 9.”


Lake Maumelle
(updated 3-21-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported Thursday that water temperature is ranging 55-61 degrees.

Kentucky bass (spotted bass) are great. Anglers are catching nonstop, tons of them, and catching them over brush piles. People fishing for crappie are catching them as well. Many aren’t big ones, but they are biting. Depth is around 8-12 feet. Shaky heads and jigs are the go-to baits.

Largemouth bass are still fair. Many report largemouths in prespawn mode and being found in 2-8 feet of water. Try using jigs, Alabama rigs, crankbaits and swimbaits, and try jerkbaits in shallow water during the afternoons.

White bass are fair. Females full of eggs are being reported around 10 feet. There are no reports by the west end of the bridge this week. Twister tails will work well.

Crappie are fair. They are at 8-12 feet. They are catching around brush piles but it’s a tough bite. Use jigs and minnows.

No reports on bream, but throw a redworm and see if they respond. Catfishing is slow. Bream, liver and worms typically work well now.


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 3-14-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the fish are “doing great,” but he’s not sure what the incoming rain might do to the bite over the next few days. Black bass are biting in 2-3 feet of water, and the females are full of eggs and up on the banks. It’s pretty much the same thing with the crappie, with the biting going on in 3 feet of water and they are obviously ready to spawn. A few catfish anglers were out at night this week catching some on minnows.

Among the crappie being caught, many are big now, particularly the females, he said. Minnows and jigs are the usual go-tos, but specifically for jigs, use anything that is a shad color, as well as jigs in black and chartreuse, black and white, red and chartreuse.

Bass are biting on spinnerbaits, soft plastic worms and crankbaits.


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 3-21-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass fishing has been getting pretty good out in the Little Rock pool; it’s definitely picking up. The best fishing has been mostly in the evenings of late. Anglers have been catching them on a Texas rig using a creature flipping bait. Black and blue are the colors to favor. Also a white and black buzzbait has been picking up some bass. And, of course, green pumpkin or black and blue jigs are also going to work now, along with a white/chartreuse spinnerbait. They are catching bass in the backwaters or in the areas leading into the backwaters, shallow up against any cover whether it be grass, wood or rock.

Crappie also are beginning well now. They are catching them in about 8 feet of water or shallower. A black and chartreuse or blue and chartreuse crappie jig will be a good choice, they said.


Peckerwood Lake
(updated 3-21-2024) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (501-626-6899) reports that anglers are doing very well on crappie. The crappie are starting to get on their beds. Minnows and jigs will both work. The fish are biting more on anglers’ pole fishing than on the yo-yos.

They’re doing fair on catfish with hot dogs and minnows, she added.

The lake is at level full.


North Arkansas

White River
(updated 3-21-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said winter is behind us and we’re looking at warmer days and more sunshine — mostly. March can still throw us a curve, so come prepared for all kinds of weather conditions. Bull Shoals Lake is at 655.57 feet msl elevation, down about 4 feet below power pool. Generation over the past three days has been variable, rising to 5 or more units (15,000 cfs) and dropping to below one unit (3,000 cfs).
When water releases settle to a steady amount, the bite picks up. Keep your egg patterns handy, along with wriggling redworms. Drifting a bubblegum pink or white worm while letting the current move you downstream should stir some excitement in the rainbow community.
While the rainbow bite has been good, the brown catch has been phenomenal with sculpins and minnows (if you can find one). We’ve netted more browns than rainbows some days, and the trout we’ve netted have been healthy and are providing a lot of action. Most were caught with a sculpin, but shad is also a great treat for the browns.

As we move toward April, the brown bite might slow, but only a little. It might surprise you to find that a gold Cleo hasn’t lost its allure to the browns — they may have lost favor for a while with anglers, but the trout have always been fond of them.

Test the topwater action on sunny days with a tiny white and pink jig-like streamer.
“Come on over and experience trout catching at Cotter on the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks. The redbuds are blooming and the dogwoods are starting to pop out. Spring has sprung here in our beautiful Ozark Mountain region of The Natural State. You’re invited to join us.”

(updated 3-21-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the rain last Thursday once again caused the Buffalo River to rise, which caused us to have muddy water through the weekend. The water cleared up some by Monday but it wasn’t until Tuesday before the river was “normal.” When the river was muddiest, the best fishing option for trout was to move up into the mouths of the creeks where the fish were looking for cleaner water, tie up or anchor, and fish using corn. This proved to be successful, resulting in some nice limits of trout plus a few other species of fish caught.
Monday through Tuesday fishing was decent using Uncommon Bait Neo Pink UV eggs and corn. With the river being normal by Wednesday, Uncommon Bait UV eggs (either Neo Pink, Firefly or Orange) worked great with corn, shrimp or worms. Artificial lures were not effective until Wednesday when we saw Rapala Countdowns in silver or rainbow trout colors catching fish, along with Panther Martins with gold blades and black bodies with yellow spots. 


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 3-21-2024) Fishing guide Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake said the lake level Wednesday was 655 feet msl, or 3 feet below pool. Temperature dropped to around 55 give or take. “We had a little runoff bite but it didn’t last long. Bass are in early prespawn. Overall, bass fishing has been fair; it definitely slowed down after the big storm, then the cold front.
“Be sure to fish the conditions. If it’s cloudy and windy you can powerfish cranking a Wiggle Wart, SPRO Rock Crawler or square bill. You need to be covering water on windblown transition banks and swings. If it’s flat and sunny a Jewel Football Jig or Peewee Jig in green pumpkin with either orange or blue is good. Also, if it gets tough try a tube or a shaky head, and a Ned is also starting to get a few. Green pumpkin orange/red variants are best on swings or points or secondary points close to spawning areas in the creeks.
For me I still feel most of the fish are looking up at shad. In the bigger creeks, look for loons and gulls because they are not all out in the middle anymore. Some shad went back deep with the cold; try a 2.8 swimbait fluke or Tater Shad 2.8 all in white or natural shad colors. Guys are also catching them on a shad-colored jerkbait, as well as the Megabass 110.

“Everyone is starting to catch ’em, so go get out there and do your thing! White bass are still in spawning areas,” he said.
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 3-21-2024) Southernwalleye Guide Service reports that walleyes have started spawning in earnest on the lower lake. Main lake and secondary points in larger creeks are holding fish. If trolling, try stick baits slow and shallow during low light periods in 8-14 feet of water. Trolling at 0.85 to 1.2 mph should produce a few fish.

If casting, try jerkbaits or small shad-style baits fished slow. Most fish will be caught after dark or just before daylight at this time.

(updated 3-21-2024) Crappie 101 Guide Service reports that crappie are actively feeding in creeks at times and they are also still finding some on brush piles. The depth varies between 8-15 feet. An eighth-ounce jig with a Tater Shad Jr. in Bayou Bleeder and Purple Monkey colors has been working as well as minnows.


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

(updated 3-21-2024) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level was 553.70 feet msl and had dropped just a bit in the last 24 hours as of 5 p.m. Wednesday evening. The Army Corps of Engineers started running the one operating generator for about eight hours and then shut everything off again after several days of nothing. The level has been near the top of the power pool of 553.75 feet msl for several months and has been very stable with the less-than-average rainfall. The surface water temperature is 56 degrees on the main lake and a little warmer back in the creeks. The White River at Newport is 9.75 feet and still low but higher than it has been, indicating they are letting out more water somewhere. The average ambient temperature is 62 degrees for a high and 39 for a low.
The main lake is very clear, and is as clear as Scuba Steve has seen it in several years, he says. It gets clearer as you go south and is too clear for fishing near the dam. The creeks are stained a bit but a good color for fishing. The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level.
Bass fishing is the best part way back in the creeks, and several are being caught. Single spins are working and crankbaits are catching the active fish. The walleye are back downstream from the spawn and some white bass are, also. Trollers dragging umbrellas are starting to catch them again. Use soft plastics for walleye in the evening on shadowy banks. The night bite for stripers is starting on stick baits. More crappie are showing up under docks back in the creeks, but not a lot. They want to spawn but are waiting for warmer water. Fishing overall is a little better than fair and improving. Blackburn’s has several guests in bass fishing and they report doing well and are satisfied with the bite. More large fish are being caught than last week. 

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

(updated 3-14-2024) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Wednesday, “Mission accomplished! I had my daughter fishing with me this morning. Was hoping to have the oldest granddaughter along but she would not wake up. I guess college life for Jordan has set in — stay up all night and sleep all morning.
“I found some striped bass and Keri totally out-fished me this morning. She was casting a half-ounce chrome Kastmaster with white feather trailer and I was casting a 5-inch Sexy Shad Swimbait with a three-eighths-ounce chartreuse jighead. The bait was right on the surface down to maybe 15-20 feet. It was scattered out. The fish were darting through the bait, feeding away. I got quite a few short strikes but no boated fish for me. I should have downsized to a 3.5-inch swimbait. Keri landed two nice striped bass and a really good largemouth bass.
“Keri and I were fishing back in a creek in 30-60 feet of water. Wayne and Jimmy had success casting swimbaits and a Kastmaster. They have had a stretch of bad luck lately with striped bass. They have hooked into quite a few over the last couple of days, but the fish were coming unhooked. They redeemed themselves this morning. Joe was back at finding and catching some really nice walleye, crappie and one striped bass.
“I heard another guest was cleaning some fish, but I have not had a chance to talk with them. Overall, good day for all. The surface water temp was in the mid-50s. The lake level is falling slowly and sits at 553.43 feet msl. Fishing has been pretty good for most species and will only get better and better as the warmer temperature continues. I believe the white bass are spawning, most of the walleye should have spawned and a few others will be still on the beds. Crappie are staging for their spawn, which should happen before long. There are quite a few big slab crappie on or near brush piles back in creeks. The bass are still a little way off for their spawn, but with the early warm weather it might be sooner than normal.
“We have cabins available throughout the spring and summer. Give us a call to make your fishing and/or family vacation plans. Happy fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”
Lou posts fishing reports almost every day on Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page.


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 3-21-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake rose around 1.5 feet since last week. “The bite is really starting to come on as expected. The stripers are showing up on the south end with some great catches before the rain, and I expect it to get even better in the next couple of weeks. Look from Horseshoe up into the War Eagle. The walleye should be pushing up, albeit about a month behind from the last few years. Also the white bass should be moving up into the river arms on their spawning run. Bass fishing should also uptick each day that we get closer to the spawn. There has been a pretty good jerkbait bite happening. Crappie are schooling up on shallow brush waiting to make that last push to the shoreline. That should also get better each day as we get closer to April.” 

There is some stained water pushing through the lake with the last rain. “We needed some rain, so all is good. Be safe and good luck!”

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


Beaver Tailwater
(updated 3-21-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the fishing this past week has been off and on. Water temperatures have been around 50 degrees and the water level has dropped a little. Trout have been really responsive to Pautzke Fire Worms and Fire Baits, fished with light terminal tackle. The fire bait has done the best. The walleye bite has been up and down as well, but it is still there, mainly between Beaver town and Holiday Island. Pulling mid-diving crankbaits coated in Pautzke Fire Gel has been the preferred method this week. “As the Army Corps of Engineers is not projected to move water for the rest of the month, I do not expect the walleye bite to increase anytime soon. Have caught a few white bass here and there, but we have not got into any big schools of them. Pulling Flicker Shads or Shad Raps has produced the best with the white bass.
“Hopefully soon we can get some serious rain and help raise the river and lake levels. Hope you all get a chance to get out and fish! 

Follow Austin’s fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for updates.


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 3-7-2024) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the fishing is going great. Crappie, black bass, white bass and even some carp are biting well.

Anglers are throwing topwater and the classic baits for the hungry white bass on the move. Minnows are beginning to work well on crappie. Just about everything a black bass likes is working for them. The water is good in depth and clarity.


Northeast Arkansas

Lake Charles
(updated 3-21-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing is continuing to pick up in just about all species with good reports on everything except catfish, which are laying low or aren’t being fished.

Black bass are good now on soft plastic worms and jigs. White bass continue to show up in good numbers and are biting jigs and worms. Crappie are good on worms and all color of jigs. Bream are good on worms and jigs.
Shelly reports that the water temperature Monday was back up to 58.9 degrees The water level remains high and the clarity is the usual murky. 

The “moon” times indicate good days coming up this week (March 22-28), she says. The total eclipse in April should have a moon effect on the fishing the following month, with best days in April forecast for April 5-11 (the eclipse is April 8). Lake Charles might be a nice place from which to watch it, and catch some fish at the same time that Monday.


Lake Poinsett
(updated 3-14-2024) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said the bream are doing well on crickets in various water levels. Bigger ones are deeper, around 8 feet or so. Catfish have been scarce, though we are hoping to have some anglers try out our new Docs bait to see if they can get them going. Bass and crappie are just starting to get into the prespawn. With the bass, you should have luck with frogs coming off water rose and lily pads. Crappie seem to be biting best on minnows around 10 feet of water, but you may do well with pink, green or Electric Blue jigs.


Spring River
(updated 3-8-2024) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 300 cfs and clarity has been clear. “The river has come down and is looking great. The trout were hugging the bottom and had you had to get down to get a bite. This week we did well fishing olive streamers deep on a slow retrieve, and we actually caught a bunch on Hopper Droppers. Mostly on the dropper, Y2Ks, nymph or a snail pattern.
“The stocking will increase this month from Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery, getting ready for the spring and summer fishing. It looked like some really nice sizes, too. Starting in April all of the campgrounds grounds will open up. No need to worry about too much canoe traffic on Saturdays until the end of May. It has still been very nice and quiet on the river.
“If you’re spin fishing, hot pink Trout Magnets always work. If you’re chasing walleye or anything big, we use the rainbow and brown trout Trout Cranks. The big size. Our bass love them, too.
“During this time of year, thunderstorms can change things. Keep an eye on our blog at for the latest in river conditions. And the river bottom is still slick, so be safe out there!”

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.

(updated 3-21-2024) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperature is in the mid-60s. Visibility ranges from 0-18 inches, with the cleanest water usually in backwaters and Lake Langhofer. Black bass are biting fairly well on bladed jigs, spinnerbaits, shallow-diving crankbaits, lipless crankbaits and creature baits/jigs around typical prespawn rocky banks and wooden cover. Some bass are positioned along the first sand drops away from spawning areas. Moving baits do better around current and banks with wind blowing to them. Use slower baits in calm areas. 


Lake Chicot
(updated 3-14-2024) Crappie reports have been good from AGFC staffers in recent weeks. Anglers putting in from the Connerly Bayou Access have been seeing good results. Recent electrofishing surveys of the same area of Lake Chicot have revealed several crappie in the surveys.

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 3-21-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, lake elevation is 5 inches above normal pool, 259.7 feet msl, and falling; Millwood Lake Dam is currently releasing about 10,000 cfs and the tailwater is holding at 236 feet. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website linked under “Millwood Lake” above, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Use caution navigating the lake. Surface temps were stable this week, ranging 60-68 degrees. Clarity along Little River has improved over the past few weeks of with pool rise and there is normal stain in most locations — some areas further up Little River have heaviest stain with river clarity ranging 8-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity in the 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. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain and higher current rates.
Mike offered this specifics for the fishing this week:
* Largemouth bass drastically improved activity over the past two weeks. The improved clarity has the males on the search for bedding areas and the females are roaming in areas of 1-6 feet on bedding flats. Best activity is being seen in afternoons, near creek channel swings and near vertical structure where 1-6 feet deep flats are holding fresh lily pad blooms and vegetation. Bass Assassin 5-inch Shads, plastic lizards, Brush Hogs, tubes and spinnerbaits will draw a reaction in 2-6 feet depths. Heavy three-quarter-ounce One-knocker Rat-L-Traps and 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 of weeks from these active roaming bass in the deeper sections of creek channels or drops from the flats into 8-12 feet structure with stumps present. Targeting these areas, the best responses are during the heat of the afternoon, best from noon-3 p.m. We caught a good numbers of males the past two weeks on Bass Assassin 5-inch Shads, as well as Lizards and spinnerbaits this week in the shallow grass and buckbrush.
The largemouths’ reaction bites continue to be much more reliable in the oxbows of McGuire, Horseshoe, Mud and Clear Lakes where the water clarity was drastically better, water temps were warmer and calm/no river current present. The best responses came 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 temps continuing to warm into the low 60s the males are active and cruising. Where you find shallow 5-8 foot depth flats with stumps, you’ll find a few decent 2- to 3-pound males roaming on warm afternoons, if you’re near a quick creek bend drop in 8-12 feet structure. 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 Spinnerbaits in yellow/white and black/white around cypress tree knees using a trailer hook for short strikers.
Best reaction colors for Chatterbaits have been 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 were spooky. The larger females are staging further out depth zones, near points and drops where broken timber and stumps are present.
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 and knees using an extremely-light wire hook — caught a few nice male and female bass roaming in and out of flats to and from the creek channels.
* This week the white bass have continued their migration up Little River (and we hear reports of the same activity in the Saline River on east end of Millwood Lake) and we caught good numbers from White Cliffs Creek all the way to Brown’s Slough and Black’s Branch and U.S. Highway 71 bridge. Heavy thumping three-quarter and 1-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome or Splatterback colors, and Fat Free Shads and Fingerlings or Bill Lewis MR-6 Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad cranked very slowly and deliberately behind points along Little River, caught some decent 2- to 3-pound whites over the past few weeks from 7-12 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 whites. Swimming a hair jig with a heavy thumping tail swimbait trailer, picked up a few 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. Dee-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.
* 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 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. 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 jig head would pick up a few extra bites.
* No reports on bream or catfish.


Lake Erling
(updated 3-14-2024) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports that crappie are biting really well and anglers were bringing in good fish topping 2 pounds. White/silver-white jigs and gray/silver-white jigs seem to work best here, along with minnows, especially if the water is muddy.

Catfishing has been really good, 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.

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.

(updated 3-21-2024) Southwest regional AGFC Fisheries biologists recently completed black bass spring electrofishing at Lake Greeson, capturing over 300 bass during their spring sampling effort, and fish appeared to be in good condition. They will conduct another black bass electrofishing effort this fall in order to evaluate fish condition going into the winter.

The biologists also offer this hot tip on Greeson: Bass are currently in about 6-10 feet of water near steep-sloping, rocky shorelines, and also on brush piles near shorelines.
Electrofishing is the most common sampling method for collecting data on black bass populations in Arkansas reservoirs. Electrofishing briefly stuns fish, allowing biologists to scoop them up with a dip net. This method is not lethal when performed following standardized sampling procedures. The data obtained tells fisheries managers about the fish population’s recruitment rates, size structure, density, condition, growth rates and mortality rates, and helps them make informed management decisions.

(updated 3-7-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said Tuesday on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that both lakes DeGray and Ouachita are both exactly 4.5 feet below full pool, while Lake Greeson is 8 feet below full pool because the Army Corps of Engineers has pulled the lake level down to work on the dam.
“A lot of lakes are in the same ballpark right now. Mid-50s temperatures, 53-55 degrees, in the back of pockets you can find warmer water, absolutely. Most lakes are pretty, pretty clear. There’s not a lot of color in the water because we just haven’t had enough rain for this time of year. It’s a unique situation for March for it to be not only this warm, but to be this low in water and this clear from the lack of rain.”


DeGray Lake
For the most updated lake level at DeGray Lake, click here.

(updated 3-21-2024) AGFC staff checked out DeGray Lake over the past weekend. Water was up 2 feet from recent rains, allowing for ample room for the spawning fish. Male buck bass were noted swimming through the shallow water. In a bass tournament over the weekend, the biggest bass caught topped 9 pounds, and then it fell off to the 6 pound range from there.
Water temperature is ranging 59-62 degrees. You’re going to want to fish weedless in the shallow areas as bass begin to hit those spots in their run-up to spawning. A Senko, a Chatterbait, or a Texas-rigged lizard (June bug color is good) will be good ways to try.

(updated 3-7-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said he has been fishing both Lake Ouachita and DeGray Lake recently and the fish activity and conditions mirror each other. The crappie are definitely moving up shallower and in transition to spawn. Water temperature in the main body of water was 57 degrees the last time I went out. White bass and hybrids are migrating upriver for their spawn, too.

(updated 3-7-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs noted on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that DeGray Lake will be hosting the Trader Bill’s Team Trail event on Saturday, and high schooler’s will be fishing a tournament on the lake on Sunday. He also noted of DeGray, Lake Ouachita and Lake Greeson how “a lot of lakes are in the same ballpark right now. Mid-50s temperatures, 53-55 degrees, in the back of pockets you can find warmer water, absolutely. Most lakes are pretty, pretty clear. There’s not a lot of color in the water because we just haven’t had enough rain for this time of year. It’s a unique situation for March for it to be not only this warm, but to be this low in water and this clear from the lack of rain.”


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 3-21-2024) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 51 degrees with stained conditions in the tailrace. Both lakes Hamilton and Catherine have refilled and are now at normal spring-summertime pool. Current flows have come at various times below Carpenter Dam as power demands dictate, but much safer fishing and boating conditions are present, allowing safe public access Lake Catherine.
The reduction in current flow has allowed fishermen to target area fish species with limited success. The AGFC released 12,000 rainbow trout in Lake Catherine below the dam in February and another 9,700 trout were scheduled to be stocked in March. This huge introduction of fish has 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 some 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 cast with a small bobber or fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater will catch rainbows. 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. Rising water has brought the tailrace to normal pool, so trolling can be effective against the current. 

Rainbow trout fishing will dominate the area for months 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 underway on Lake Catherine as male walleye have migrated 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 March rolls on, walleye will be present and can be caught from the bridge to the dam. 

March also promises the beginning of the crappie spawn, which will add another quality game fish for the public to target. As the temperature warms and threadfin shad aren’t stunned by freezing temperatures anymore, 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.

No reports.


Lake Hamilton
(updated 3-7-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that Lake Hamilton, as well as Lake Catherine, are not quite halfway to refilling from their 5-foot winter drawdown, but he expected both to be a normal pool early next week.


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 3-21-2024) Sheila Ferrebee, owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025), said fishing is going good. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs.  Bream are biting well on crickets (“crickets are flying out the door,” Sheila said. White bass are good, but Sheila said the guys out crappie fishing are the ones catching white bass on the same baits for crappie.

Black bass are biting on spinnerbaits and jigs.

Carter Cove has a Facebook page, and the email address is, with updates and photos. 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 3-21-2024) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. Try a Trap-style bait or jerkbait near main lake and secondary points. Carolina-rigged craw or lizard are producing, and the floating worm bite is trying to get some traction. Just get out and throw your favorite lure!
Walleye are moving back into the main lake and being caught on jerkbaits and green soft plastics. Stripers are excellent. These fish are being caught in the western portion of the lake and can be caught on C-10 Redfins, live bait or Alabama rigs.

Bream are still fair and being caught on crickets and worms in the 20- to 25-foot range. Crappie are still very good. These fish can be targeted on structure with minnows or small jigs. Jugs and trotlines are producing quality catfish catches over main lake points with live or cut bait.
The water temperature fell some this week with the rain and cold front; the range Tuesday was 50-55 degrees but should pick up toward the weekend. Water clarity is stained. Lake level on Tuesday was 576.10 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

(updated 3-14-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the Lake Ouachita crappie and black bass are beginning their spawn. You can find them scattered from beds to staging brush piles. Vertical=jigging and casting jigs or minnows both have produced ample numbers of large fish.

(updated 3-7-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said Tuesday on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that last weekend on Lake Ouachita, “something I noticed, a testament to what’s going on,” were the variation in results of two tournaments on the lake. In the BLF tournament on Saturday, first place (Brice Boatwright) caught 18 pounds, 12 ounces; Chris Darby took second with 18-9, and the big bass was 6 pounds, by Grand Ford. “The very next day, same pond, a lot of the same guys, the Mr. Bass of Arkansas, first place, Derrick Sandlin catches 22.95 pounds, Trent Owens is second at 20.15 pounds and Brandon Rhoden has 19.43 AND a 10.62-pound Big Bass. And there was an 8-pounder, a 7-pounder and on down. One hundred and 19 fishermen with 76 limits of fish. It’s amazing how one day 18 pounds wins it and the next day 23 pounds wins.”

Kastner attributed some of that to the tournaments being contrasting styles: In the Mr. Bass anglers could fish by themselves and didn’t have to deal with someone else in the boat, a definite advantage to moving around and hitting your target areas quicker. Nevertheless, BFL is a very popular tournament to fish; so, it’s two different formats and two different ways to fish.”
Kastner notes that both lakes DeGray and Ouachita are both exactly 4.5 feet below full pool; Lake Greeson is 8 feet below full pool because the Army Corps of Engineers has pulled the lake level down to work on the dam.
“A lot of lakes are in the same ballpark right now. Mid-50s temperatures, 53-55 degrees, in the back of pockets you can find warmer water, absolutely. Most lakes are pretty, pretty clear. There’s not a lot of color in the water because we just haven’t had enough rain for this time of year. It’s a unique situation for March for it to be not only this warm, but to be this low in water and this clear from the lack of rain.”


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.


Cook’s Lake
(updated 3-21-2024) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) said the recent rains and cold fronts have knocked the water temperature into the 50s, creating difficult fishing conditions. The lake level rose more than 3 feet in the last week, the landing and dock are still accessible, but fishing is typically slow when the level is this high. Youth and mobility-impaired angling will remain open on Fridays and Saturdays as long as the dock and boat ramp are accessible.
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 bluegills, 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 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.


Horseshoe Lake
(updated 3-21-2024) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said that as of Wednesday (March 20), the surface temperature in the lake was in the upper 50s to low 60s. The warmer weather has the lake temperature rising and the fish on the move.
Crappie are Scattered. Fish are at all levels in the water column. There are some males moving in on trees and shallow cover with females in their staging areas. “Most of the fish we caught on Wednesday were in 10-20 feet of water and ranged from 5-15 feet deep. We cleaned some female fish and checked the eggs and the eggs are not ready for spawning. We also caught male fish that were still in deep water. No particular jig color was better than another.
“Look for the crappie to continue to be scattered until we have a stable weather pattern at which point they should make their move to the shallows.
“In talking with several anglers (Wednesday) found that there were a few bass being caught in the shallows. We were in the shallows looking for males and had several bream bites. No reports on catfish.”


Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 3-21-2024) AGFC Fisheries biologists and other staff recently teamed up with Mississippi River State Park and U.S. Forest Service staff to enhance fish habitat in Bear Creek Lake near Marianna. The group sank more than 60 Christmas trees across four previously established habitat sites that had broken down over time, and needed a little attention. Those sites can be found on the AGFC’s Fishing Attractors page on the website,


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

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