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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 04-04-2024

cotterrainbow Large 4424

April 4, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Connie Cornelius from southern Illinois outfished her son and three grandsons earlier this week by catching this 21-inch rainbow, fishing near the Cotter access ramp and Big Spring Park on the White River (or better known by the Cotter folks as “Trout Capital USA”). Photo provided by Cotter Trout Dock. Read more trout fishing reports from the White River below.

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 4-4-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said catfish and crappie are still going strong. Catfish are biting on liver, worms, shad “just about anything really.” The catfish bite is best around the Highway 89 bridge. Crappie are hitting strong on minnows and jigs both. The big crappie are really starting to bite now. Try the Adams Lake area or around the Highway 89 bridge, about 

Bass are biting well on plastic crawdads. Anglers are also catching lots of bream. Use redworms.

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 some winter-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 4-4-2024) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said the Little Red River has maintained a steady generation schedule over the past week, with the Army Corps of Engineers consistently running one unit of generation 24/7

+. Greers Ferry Lake is anticipated to reach power pool level on Friday (April 5). Anglers should keep an eye on the upcoming weekend and next week to monitor any changes in the generation schedule.

Given the current generation schedule, launching the boat near the dam has been a successful strategy. Fishing near the banks or in shallow areas of the river has yielded positive results.
“These are my fly-fishing techniques for these conditions: A double nymph rig set at 6 feet, using an egg pattern as an attractor with a caddis fly or pink San Juan Worm below it — this setup has been effective near banks and shallow river areas. For a deeper water setup, set at 9 feet depth, adding split shot above the egg pattern to reach deeper water. Hot flies include egg patterns, San Juan Worms and caddis fly patterns.
“For streamer fishing, my recommended flies are Double Deceiver flies; white, olive or brown and yellow colors have been successful, especially on cloudy days. For your tackle setup, using a 330 grain sink link on an 8-weight fly rod, anglers are casting toward the bank for optimal results.
Here’s some additional tips: Use the Southwestern Power Administration schedule ( to plan your fishing trips based on predicted generation for the day. Adjust fly depths and patterns based on water depth and conditions for optimal fishing success. For more information, visit Mike’s website linked above or call the number listed.

(updated 4-4-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Thursday that trout on the Little Red will bite a Trout Magnet in 6 feet of water. They also suggest a shallow-diving trout-colored crankbait like the popular Rapala Countdowns in rainbow or brown trout colors.


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 4-4-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.18 feet msl, or 0.14 above normal pool. “Some of our fish have spawned but a lot haven’t. Between now and June there are lots more to go and a lot of fish eating, coming and going to spawn and after spawning,” he said. “Catch rates for this time of year are really good; just stay with the same programs.”
For crappie, anglers will find some roaming around chewing while others will be 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 are biting on Alabama rigs, Carolina rigs, jerkbaits, football heads or crankbaits and Texas-rigged lizards. Stay around the shad and or spawning areas. Some bass are now eating topwater baits as well.
Walleye continue doing what they usually do this time of year: following the river spawn looking to get set back up downlake to eat, while the lake walleye are pulled up to the same spots eating and trying to spawn on flats, humps, riprap and points. Drag a crawler or crankbait or use a minnow-tipped jig. Also, spoons are working best around schools of bait.
Catfish are hanging out on secondary points around and under baitfish or up rivers and creeks real shallow and gorging. No report on bream. Hybrid bass and white bass are gorging like the other species, and when you find them, just about any metal bait you get in front of them will work. Or, you can try a swimbait, hair jig and inline spinners, as those have been pulling up 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 3-28-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says anglers are fishing the main lake points for bass with success dragging Carolina rigs across the points. A green pumpkin lizard with a chartreuse tail has been working great. Also, up in the buckbrush a 3.8-inch Keitech Swimbait is a good call, just swimming the bait close to the base of the buckbrush. With Greers Ferry Lake almost a foot high, some of those areas are excellent target spots.

Crappie has been doing fairly well on Greers, too. A lot of anglers are catching them on brush piles — not necessarily in the main lake but in the coves. Find a brush pile or some flooded timber and throw a light-colored jig, like a Monkey Milk color, as crappie are biting pretty well on that.


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 4-4-2024) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says 38-pound buffalo on crappie minnow. They report having a lot of big buffalo there.

Also anglers are catching crappie just past an island on the lake, including some hitting 14 inches.

Catfish is still doing well. Bass minnows are working for them on trotlines. Bream are kind of slow but some were caught in recent days on redworms and crickets. Not big, about hand-size.

Bass are doing well, too. A neighbor near the bait shop caught several bass, keeping a limit of 10.

A black bass tournament is scheduled for this Saturday. Call the resort for more information.

Water temperature Thursday was 61 degrees. The water level is normal, but the yellow pollen continues to stay on top of the water now.


Lake Overcup
No reports.


Brewer Lake
No reports.


Lake Maumelle
(updated 4-4-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that crappie are spawning and anglers can catch them around the brush piles in 10 feet of water. Try a one-eighth-ounce jighead with a white and chartreuse Crappie Magnet.

(updated 4-4-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that the wind has been whipping around the lake this week, slowing some of the fishing, but anglers were catching a bunch of bass on Thursday. For the past week, the largemouth bass bite has been fair. The bass were in prespawn and starting to spawn, and could be found in 2-8 feet of water, while some are being found in deeper areas. Try using jigs. Alabama rigs, crankbaits and swimbaits, and pull out that jerkbait to fish shallow in the afternoon for some hungry bass. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass), though, were good with reports of them being found around brush in 8-12 feet as well as in shallow water. Jigs and shaky heads seem to work best.

The WestRock Landing Tuesday Night black bass tournament season got underway this week, and Randy Sugg and his fishing partner, Anthony (no last name), hauled in a five-bass stinger totaling 13.67 pounds. Brent and Riley Scott caught the Big Bass of 5.11 pounds and were in second at 12.10 pounds at the weigh-in.

As for white bass, they seem to have slowed down completely and no reports came in. They’re still likely out on the west end and might go for a Twister Tail. Crappie are fair. Some reports had crappie being pushed out during the most recent cold snap, and they can be found anywhere out to 20 feet depth. Anglers report catching mostly smaller fish. A warmer next few days will help, but lately it’s been a tough bite, they report. Use jigs and minnows.

No reports on bream this week, but try a redworm if you want to see if they’re there. Catfish are slow but will like small bream, liver or worms.

Water temperature on Thursday was ranging 64-66 degrees.


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 4-4-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said fishing has been good this past week. The water is back up to a normal level and has good clarity. Black bass are right up on the bank and in the middle of spawning. Anglers report catching them in 2 feet of water with the fish going shallow now. Worms, spinnerbaits and crankbaits are the favored baits.

A lot of crappie are also in about that 2-foot range of water now and in the middle of their spawn, too, though some other crappie have been caught deep. “They appear to be transitioning between deep and shallow,” Ray said. Anglers are using minnows mostly. Bank anglers can cast right off that area and have success. The crappie being caught appear to be good-sized now, he added.

Ray said he had nothing to report on bream; he said regular anglers only begin targeting the bream after this spring activity of bass and crappie slows down. He’s heard no reports on catfish; not even from any folks setting yo-yos.


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 4-4-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass fishing is “pretty good” in the backwaters with fish biting in 2-4 feet. Try a white and chartreuse spinnerbait or a black and blue jig in the backwaters. Moving further into the main lake, bass are biting on darker colored crankbaits (black or black/chartreuse) in about 6-8 feet off the jetties.


Peckerwood Lake
(updated 4-4-2024) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (501-626-6899) reports that anglers are finding the fish good when they can fish — she says the wind has made it difficult this week. The crappie are biting both on poles and on the yo-yos. Crappie are moving up into the bushes and tree lines, making it conducive for the folks setting yo-yos with minnows. Jigs are also working for the anglers.

Catfishing is fair. Hot dogs are the preferred bait at Peckerwood Lake, and minnows are being used. Black bass are good; like the crappie, the yo-yos hung around the tree line and bushes are catching some.

Water temperature earlier in the week was in the 50s. The clarity is dingy and the water level is at normal pool.


North Arkansas

White River
(updated 4-4-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake is at 658.43 feet msl elevation. Fluctuating water levels on the White River have been less drastic with smaller increases in releases; still with an afternoon bump of up to three or four units (9,000-12,000 cfs) at times. That’s when it sometimes helps to remember that higher water levels aid in growth patterns of trout.
“Sculpins remain the best bait for the browns here in the Cotter area. We’ve seen some rainbow action with redworms and quarter-ounce spinners (orange or yellow-gold bodies); red-gold hammered spoons have received the most attention. Give the kids some shrimp and chartreuse PowerBait and they’ll bring in a mess of rainbows. We’re occasionally surprised when a good-sized brown is found snacking on shrimp as well.
“We are expecting a huge influx of visitors this weekend for the Monday, April 8, total eclipse viewing. We’re always pleased to share our treasures with guests and hope all who come to Arkansas have a safe, fun-filled time and are able to see this celestial display unhindered. River traffic is expected to be heavier than normal, so take special care and be courteous to all.
“The dogwoods are in full bloom, still some purple on the redbuds, and the wild flowers are budding. There’s no better place in our great country to enjoy God’s nature than The Natural State. See you soon!”

(updated 4-4-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said it has been a great week of fishing. “We have seen water depths as high as 10 feet and dropping to as low as 5 feet. The water cleared up nicely by the weekend. For the past couple of days we had some dinginess to the water but fishing was still good. Nickel-colored inline spinners with Uncommon Baits UV eggs in Neo Pink or Bright Orange and corn worked well. Local fishermen were reporting success using one-sixteenth-ounce jigs in darker colors. 

The next few days should be sunny with highs in the upper 60s to upper 70s by Sunday. The eclipse is Monday; if you are on the river to watch the eclipse, be sure to remain aware of your surroundings. 


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 4-4-2024) Fishing guide Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake said that Wednesday the lake level was 658 feet msl, closing in on normal pool of 659 feet msl, and slowly rising. Temperature dropped to around 55 degrees give or take. Bass are in prespawn, and overall the bass fishing has been good and everyone is starting to catch them. But it definitely slowed down after the big storm and then the cold front last week. Be sure to fish the conditions. If it’s cloudy and windy you can still powerfish cranking a Wiggle Wart, a SPRO Rock Crawler or a square bill. We’ve been covering water on windblown transition banks and swings. If it’s flat and sunny, fish swings, points and secondary points with a Jewel Peewee Jig in green pumpkin with either Bass Whacker or Touchdown in orange or blue. Also, if it gets tough try a puke tube, Carolina rig or a shaky head and a Ned rig — all are working. Green pumpkin orange/red variants are the best colors.
Look around swings or points or secondary points close to spawning areas in the creeks. With clear water you’re going to want to keep the boat out deep, about 25-30 feet, and slow down. In the dirty water you can get real skinny if it’s warm. For me I still feel most of the bigger fish are feeding heavily on shad. In the bigger creeks look for loons and gulls. You’re going to have to pay attention! Shad are spread out throughout the water column. Also some shad went shallow in the creeks and some are back deep with the cold front. Try a 2.8 Swimbait, a fluke or Tater Shad 2.8 all in white or natural shad colors. Guys are also catching them on a shad-color jerkbait or Megabass 110.
“Everyone is starting to catch them so go get out there and do your thing! Fish the conditions!”
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 4-4-2024) Southernwalleye Guide Service reports that walleyes are still spawning in the lower lake section. “I have been spotting them at night on main lake and secondary points in larger creeks. If trolling, try stick baits slow and shallow just before dark and after daybreak in 8-14 feet of water. Slide out to deeper water, 20-30 feet, after daylight.

If fishing at night try casting shallow-diving jerkbaits or small shad-style baits fished slowly with a jerk and pause retrieve. “I have been spotting and catching most fish tight up against the shoreline in as little as 12 inches of water after dark.”

(updated 4-4-2024) Crappie 101 Guide Service reports that crappie are starting to stage on shallower brush piles and structure. Minnows have been working as well as crappie jigs with small fry baits like the Tater Baits. Mid-lake is murky and temps vary from 54-59 degrees, but look for it to drop with this week’s cold front. We’re getting there, but not quite yet.


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

(updated 4-4-2024) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level was 554 feet msl and had dropped 2.2 inches in the last 24 hours as of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Army Corps of Engineers has run the one operating generator for about eight hours and has spillway gates open to an equivalent of another half generator. The White River at Newport is 9.06 feet and dropping. The surface water temperature is 59 degrees both in the creeks and in the open deep water.

“The cold front that came in Tuesday afternoon not only cooled down the shallow water, it slowed the fishing. We did not get out of the 40s for an ambient high temperature Wednesday and it was cold and windy.
“The cold fronts just keep coming through just when the fishing starts to get better. Several large crappie, bass and carp have moved in under Blackburn’s Dock and that is a good sign. The larger crappie want to spawn badly and the males have started to stage back in the creeks. Some smaller ones are still out in deeper water on brush.
White bass fishing is picking up but black bass fishing is the best, and several walleye are being caught after moving downstream from the river spawn.”
Scuba Steve says he caught some very nice ones still on main lake brush in 22 feet of water for some reason. “It warms up and the fish move into the warmest water and then a cold front comes through and they move back out. At least March is over and the cold fronts are not as cold. The topwater bite usually starts about April 15 and is in full swing by May 1, when the fishing is the best for the whole year.
“The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level but fishing is just fair. My favorite time is when the first shallow thermocline forms in early May.”

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

(updated 4-4-2024) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said that Tuesday was a fun morning of fishing on Norfork Lake. “I waited until the radar was clear of thunderstorms and made it out on the lake at around 4 a.m. The light rain was not over, but there was no thunder or lightning in the area anymore. Warm weather and virtually no wind — just how I like it when I am fishing in the dark. I started on a main lake point on the shallow side of the lake. I had caught several short walleyes in this area yesterday morning. This morning nothing was happening so I moved across the lake close to where the channel was swinging into a small cut in the rocks. I was sitting in more than 60 feet of water. I was casting in toward the shoreline using a 3.5-inch Paddle Tail Swimbait in a Sexy Shad color pattern on a three-eighth-ounce chartreuse jighead. I started counting down 3-4 seconds and it did not take long to land three nice walleyes. I could see fish down at about 30-40 feet on my LiveScope. I tried jigging for them with a Tater Shad but they would look and then swim away. I switched to casting my swimbait and counting down 7-8 seconds. The white bass hit this bait with each cast. It was starting to get light out and I had not found any striped bass yet. I headed back into a creek where I was fishing last week. I was near a deep-water channel swing next to a point. There were striped bass and white bass in the area 30-60 feet down. I managed to land one striped bass and more white bass. The stripers were being finicky and swam up to my Tater Shad quickly, then stopped and swam away. 

“LiveScope is amazing! You can actually see these fish and what they are doing. It can get a little frustrating to see the fish looking at my bait and not taking it (lol). 

“I had to be back at the resort by 8:30 so I headed home at about 8 a.m. I was fishing the mid-lake area for my third spot. The main lake surface water temp was 58-60 degrees and the creek was slightly above 60 degrees. The lake continues its slow, steady fall and sits at 554.23 feet msl. The lake is clearing up nicely.
“I ended up cleaning the walleye, striper and half of the white bass that I caught (Tuesday). One of my workers doing some painting was wanting some fish. I gave him a couple of gallon-sized zip-seal bags stuffed full of fillets.”
Lou says they have cabins available throughout the spring and summer. “Give us a call to make your fishing and/or family vacation plans, 870-492-5113. Happy fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”

Lou posts fishing reports almost every day to his blog on the Hummingbird Hideaway Resort webpage.


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 4-4-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake now sits at 1,119.15 feet msl, which is around 1.5 feet below normal level. Water temperature has been fluctuating just like the weather, and right now upper 50s are common. Fishing is fair to good for most species. 

Stripers are scattered from Coppermine all the way up to Twin Bridges. What that means is you have to move and move some more to get in them. This is the time of year when most fish are moving for the spawn. Stripers will move south into the river arms. Crappie will be moving into spawning areas as are all the black bass

Crappie are still scattered from 12-15 feet of water to right up on banks. Again, move until you get on them.

White bass are strangely missing up into the rivers. We have caught some but not big numbers by any means. 

Walleye really never showed in mass this year. Water conditions were optimal in early February but the lake was so low you couldn’t get a boat to them unless you used a kayak or canoe. They are still up in the rivers but mostly males and most are short (under 18 inches). 

Bass and crappie should hit the banks one to two weeks and we hope the weather will stay stable and we can pull off a good spawn. Spring is here and good fishing should follow. Good luck!
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for the latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.


Beaver Tailwater
(updated 4-4-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the Army Corps of Engineers has not been flowing water all of March, and with the lack of rain we are still seeing low water levels in the tailwater. With that, comes a wide range to temperature values from the dam, to Houseman Access. With that said, there still are fish to be caught; you just have to check different areas. The white bass are back and forth, between the shallow and deeper waters. Most have been caught pitching soft plastics or crankbaits. Also, there are still some walleye to be had, but you really have to fish for them. We have been getting the best response using Pautzke Fire Minnows with a slow presentation. The trout bite has been pretty consistent in the areas below Spider Creek and just up above the Highway 62 bridge. Fishing light terminal tackle with Fire Bait or Eggs has produced some very nice numbers. 

“Let’s hope we start to get some rain soon, to help with the water levels. I hope you all get a chance to get out and catch some fish!”

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


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 4-4-2024) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says fishing has been really good this week. The crappie, bream and bass all have been biting well. Crappie appear to be getting a little size on them now, and they are biting jigs more than minnows. 

They have had a lot of activity from bluegills, but this week a lot of redear have shown. Fish for those with redworms. Black bass are biting well on plastics with fish over 2 pounds consistently being caught. Best success has been near the rocky area of the dam. 

White bass are “biting like crazy,” they report. Most of the action is coming for anglers fishing off the dock using Rooster Tails and even jigs. 

The water is pretty stained and the water temperature dropped dramatically this week because of the cold, falling below 60 degrees.


Northeast Arkansas

Lake Charles
(updated 4-4-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) reminds anglers and visitors to the state park that April 8 offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fish during a total eclipse of the sun. You just might also find the fish as active as they were the past few days, with everything biting. 

Surface water temperature earlier this week was 62 degrees and the water level has returned to normal level. Clarity is the usual murky.

Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs of all colors. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and worms. Black jigs are a good call, but all colors were getting bitten. Black bass are good on soft plastic worms in black. White bass were back to biting this past week, being caught in good numbers on both jigs and worms. There were no reports on catfish, but you can always throw a line out and get a nibble from a cat. Trying nightcrawlers now.

It will be interesting to see what effect the total eclipse and the position of the moon will have on fishing. The Solunar Table forecasts April 5-11 to be the best days of the month. Good moon times are expected April 20-26.


Lake Poinsett
(updated 3-28-2024) Jonathan Wagner at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett has continued to see bream as the primary catch recently. They are hitting on both crickets and worms. Catfish continue to not have a large representation among anglers here, or at least not reported. Anglers have been requesting blue/white as well as pink jigs for crappie as of late, though some anglers reported having success with orange jig skirts. At the bait shop at the park, minnows continue to be the top-selling bait for crappie, though. They are having success in open water from boats as well as from the bank with crappie. 

Bass reports have not been as numerous, however. Both bass and crappie are still catch-and-release, whereas with bream and catfish you can keep state limits.
Over spring break, Lake Poinsett State Park held a fishing program, Keeping It Reel: Fishing Basics. Here aspiring anglers and other park guests learned casting techniques, baiting hooks, and more. They caught numerous redear using night crawlers. It was a great opportunity to get younger folks involved in this outdoor activity and to explore The Natural State through a new hobby. 


Spring River
(updated 3-28-2024) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 320 cfs and water clarity has been mostly clear. Over the last month a lot of storms have passed around our area. At this time the river is below average flows and looking great. Spring storms can change conditions at any time. Keep an eye on our blog on the website linked above for the latest river conditions.
This is the time of year the Jim Hinkle Spring River Fish Hatchery ramps up stocking numbers getting ready for the summer crowds. It has been very busy on the river with the nice weather. Please be safe and courteous when wading and fishing the river. The river bottom is very slick. A wading staff is a must in the main river.
The campgrounds all open up April 1. It will not be too busy on the river until the end of May when schools let out for the summer. Then Saturday will get busy and through the week, and Sundays will be the best time to fish. 

Plenty of bugs have been hatching lately, from black and tan caddis, to blue-wing olives to a small black beetle (that got hits for us one day). We’re seeing Hopper Dropper action on some days, bit on most days it’s swinging nymphs or Woolly Buggers. Fun fishing opportunities exist as long as the water stays low.

“Smallies on the fly are fun on an olive or brown streamer fished right on the bottom slow. Or if you’re floating, I love Popper Droppers. My White Lightning was made to float below an indicator for smallies. Why not make that indicator look like a big black or brown beetle with a hook in it. It works!
For spinning tackle, hot pink Trout Magnets fished just off the river bottom will wear out the trout. If you’re chasing bigger game fish, try the Trout Cranks in rainbow and brown trout colors. Ned rigs for smallies always work.


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. 


Cane Creek Lake
(updated 4-4-2024) Teresa Atchley at Cane Creek State Park (870-628-4714) said she heard several reports of fishing from the lake’s shoreline with worms, crickets and crankbait late last week for several species. Also late last week, anglers on the shoreline reported using worms and minnows for crappie. On Saturday, there was angler use from a boat on the north side of the lake, with minnows attracting both bass and crappie. Monday, anglers were fishing with crickets on the shoreline to catch bream or anything else that would bite the crickets, as well as fishing from the exterior pier at the lake for catfish with nightcrawlers. Also, worms and minnows were being used in other spots for crappie, as well as bream with crickets and worms. On Tuesday, they found anglers who were fishing for catfish with nightcrawlers and skipjack.

Lake Monticello
(updated 3-28-2024) Anglers are reminded that if they venture out for some fishing on Lake Monticello now while the lake refills after being renovated, all fish caught must be released immediately.


Lake Chicot
No reports.


Southwest Arkansas

Millwood Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Millwood Lake Dam, visit the Corps Little Rock office website.

(updated 4-4-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday, lake elevation is near 18 inches above normal pool, at 260.7 feet msl and falling. Millwood Dam is currently releasing about 17,000 cfs and tailwater is holding at 241 feet. Mike said “tons” of broken debris, logs, limbs, grass mats and timber floaters are being seen in Little River’s heavy current. He urges extreme caution in navigation on Little River this week with the scattered and wide debris fields all along Little River from Yarborough Landing all the way to White Cliffs and Wilton Landing on the river. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the US Army Corps of Engineers website linked above under “Millwood Lake,” for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Surface temperature dropped somewhat this week with cold fronts and fresh cold rain, ranging 60 degrees early to 68 degrees later in the day along Little River, depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River is muddy with rapid pool rise, and there is heavy stain in most locations; some areas further up Little River have heaviest stain, with river clarity ranging 1-3 inches visibility. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from mudlines pushing into the oxbows and heavy stained to fair visibility from 5-15 inches, and Mike said his guides observed around 1-2 feet visibility in a few wind- and current-protected areas like McGuire Oxbow, away from river current. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain and higher current rates. 

Mike offered these specifics among the latest fishing on Millwood: 

* Largemouth bass’ activity has improved over the past week. The males and females continue moving in bedding areas and building beds near 3-7 feet of depth on bedding flats. Best activity is being seen in afternoons near creek channel swings and vertical structure where flats of 1-6 feet deep are holding fresh lily pad blooms and vegetation. Bass Assassin Shads (5-inch size), plastic lizards, Brush Hogs, tubes and spinnerbaits will draw a reaction in 2-6 feet depths. Bill Lewis Crankbaits like the MR-6, and Echo 1.75, and SB-57 MDJ crankbaits were all 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 seen during the heat of the afternoon from noon to 3 p.m. “We caught good numbers of males and females from 3-6 pounds each over the past two weeks on the 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads, lizards and spinnerbaits in the shallow lily pads, 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 is drastically better, water temps warmer, and away from river current. Baby Brush Hogs have been taking some decent 14- to 17-inch male largemouths roaming flats in the clearer water sections of the oxbows, away from current. With the water temperature continuing to warm into the mid-60s the males are active and cruising, and a few beds are being seen. Where you find shallow 5-8 foot depth flats with stumps on warm afternoons, and if you’re near to a quick creek bend drop into 8-12 feet structure, you can find a few decent 2- to 3-pound male bass roaming. 

“We got several good reactions from 3- to 5-pound bass over the past week or so with Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and lizards around cypress tree knees.”

Best reaction colors for Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits — where we are seeing cruising bass — have been the Millwood Mayhem Bream, Fire Craw and Firetiger. Best depth zones around cypress tree knees are from 6-10 feet, with 12-15 feet of depth nearby. “We are observing numerous bass roaming the flats through the dead lily pad stems from 2-5 pounds each, moving in shallow 3- to 5-feet deep bedding areas, not staying on the flats for very long, and were spooky.
Senkos, Trick Worms, Trick Sticks and Twitch Worms in black/blue, Merthiolate and Junebug 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 using an extremely light wire hook — are still catching 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 the east end of Millwood Lake) and we caught good numbers of whites near 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 slow 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 over the past several weeks.
* The crappie bite has continually improved over the past few weeks with water clarity improving in many locations. Planted brush piles in Pugh Slough, Horseshoe, Bee Lake Millwood State Park have given up some nice 2-pound slabs over the past couple weeks. Best baits will be minnows one day, and jigs the next, or jigs tipped with a minnow, in planted brush piles 10-16 feet of depth.

* Still no reports on bream or catfish.


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.


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 (Junebug color is good) will be good ways to try.


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 4-4-2024) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 53 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Both lakes Hamilton and Catherine are now at normal pool, and that level will remain in place until mid-November. Current flows have been high and releases have been 24/7 the past two weeks below Carpenter Dam, which has kept many boaters off the lake and made fishing conditions difficult for shoreline fishermen. Each March the lake is raised back to normal pool from its winter drawdown and this process destroys the rainbow trout bite for the entire month. While the tailrace appears normal and the scheduled trout stockings continue to plan, virtually zero trout are caught. Thousands of trout are stocked in January, February and March, but few are caught until early April. Also, bad weather forces Entergy to run large amounts of generation from area dams to control lake levels and this process creates dangerous boating and fishing conditions. Before fishing below a hydroelectric dam, it is a good idea to check the weekly generation schedules and plan your outings accordingly. 

Fly-fishermen can still wade to areas that hold good numbers of trout and can have 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.

Low water conditions are finally gone as 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 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.

Now that the month of April is underway, walleye will be present and can be caught from the bridge to the dam. April also promises the beginning of the crappie spawn, which will add another quality game fish for the public to target. As temperature warms and threadfin shad are no longer stunned by freezing temperatures, there will be a dramatic decrease in the amount of prey for fish to feed on. Several days of this reduction in food will force fish to actively search for prey, which will create a good situation for anglers to be successful. 

Even with safer conditions and warmer weather, it is extremely important to remember that fish in the tailrace will be difficult to catch until further into April. Trout can be caught but not in the expected numbers. No explainable reason exists other than the fact that rising water is detrimental for the trout bite. Normal pool levels will bring a more consistent bite from the rainbow trout population. The rising water does not affect the walleye and crappie bite to the same degree. 

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 4-4-2024) Seth Boone, superintendent at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7474), reported that Lake Dardanelle looks to be entering the spring season strongly with white bass and crappie biting well on live bait such as minnows. Anglers haven’t shared much on the black bass, but catfish seem to be doing OK on chicken liver close to sunset or early evening. 


Lake Hamilton
(updated 3-28-2024) 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 the water temperature, fluctuating air temp and unusual spring water levels of all the central Arkansas lakes have “changed game a little bit. It’s gone back to regular Arkansas spring. (You’ve) gotta play the game the way the hand is played in front of you. There are some creeks that are warm, there are some creeks that are cold. You’ve just gotta go back and forth and pay attention to all the surface temperatures that you’ve on your depth finder that tell you where to go and where not to go. Most important is where not to go.”

Fishing is going to pick up in the warm afternoons now, but this weekend could see a surge in fishing activity and will be perfect for getting the family out. “You’ve got to play with a 75-degree weekend coming up … always be on the sunny banks, the warm side, the warm creeks that are coming in. That’s what you’ve got to be able to do to catch fish.”


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 well. 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 4-4-2024) 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 topwater bait near main lake and secondary points. A Carolina-rigged craw or lizard is still producing and the floating worm bite is good. Just get out and throw your favorite lure!

Walleye are fair and being caught on jerkbaits and green soft plastics. Stripers are still very good. 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 getting better and being caught on crickets and worms in the 20-25 foot range.
Crappie have slowed a bit, but are biting fair. These fish can still be targeted on shallow structure with minnows or small jigs. Jugs and trotlines are still producing quality catfish catches over main lake points with live or cut bait.
The water temperature has creeped back up to range between 55-60 degrees and the clarity is clearing across the lake. The water level Wednesday was a little more than a foot below level pool, at 576.88 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

(updated 4-4-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said the crappie spawn is on. Water temperature is in the 60s. Males are protecting the beds and the females are staging 8-12 feet deep on brush piles.

(updated 3-28-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the March 19 edition of “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that the white bass run is in full swing; it doesn’t matter if you’re on Greeson, Ouachita, DeGray, Hamilton, any of the central Arkansas lakes. Go in the back of creeks and throw a quarter-ounce lipless crankbait of some type, Red Eye Shad or Rat-L-Trap or a smoke grub, it doesn’t matter. Take the kids and catch fish. It’s all about being able to get the kids and take them to catch something, making it a family function. That’s what fishing on spring break is about.”


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 4-4-2024) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) said there’s an opportunity waiting at Cook’s Lake, but of late there have been no anglers on the Fridays and Saturdays that it is now open on the 2.5-mile-long oxbow off the White River near Casscoe. He has no reports on what is biting, but the lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and all species of catfish.

Water is back up as of midweek but it appears to have crested and is predicted to fall like a rock in coming days. 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 nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near 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. 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 Saturday 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 3-28-2024) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said that as of Tuesday, the surface temperature at Horseshoe was 59 degree. Water was clear and the lake is low by about 2 feet. There is water in the Happy Jack area but it is shallow.
The prespawn bite for crappie continues and the fish are extremely scattered. There are fish in the shallows as well as deep water, and those in deep water are scattered vertically in the water column. Our trips this past week produced fish with jigs in the colors of oranges, silvers and pinks. Longlining and Livescoping have been the most productive methods
Male bass are showing up in the shallows. Those big females, no one seems to know where they are or they are being quiet about it.
No reports on catfish or bream.


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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