Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
March 11, 2020
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for March 11, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might 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. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 3-11-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is at its normal (stained) clarity but the water level has dropped below normal (before Tuesday and Wednesday rain). Bream are good on redworms, crickets and artificial baits. Crappie are good on both crappie minnows and bass minnows, jigs (Baby Shad or tubes, in particular) and they can be caught in the creeks and coves. Black bass are good on white spinnerbaits, plastic worms, chatterbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is good using stink bait, goldfish, shad, nightcrawlers and with minnows on trotlines.
In the photo left, an AGFC District 10 biologist puts some of the 100-plus Florida strain bass brood fish into Lake Conway’s nursery pond recently. The fish came from the Andrew Hulsey Hatchery in Hot Springs. The bass will spawn in the pond and the the fingerlings produced will be stocked directly into Lake Conway. The pond will be released in early November after water temperature has decreased and the pond has de-stratified to reduce mortalities associated with the release. Lake Conway is one of the few lakes in Arkansas selected for Florida strain largemouth bass stocking. The lakes were chosen based on physical and chemical indicators of trophy bass potential. Florida largemouth bass have been stocked into Lake Conway as early as 1993 and annually since 2007.
Little Red River
(updated 3-11-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River continues to receive extended generation most days. Greers Ferry Lake is above normal seasonal pool due to recent rains, so longer periods of generation are expected to lower the lake level. If you choose to fish these conditions, you will want to use long leaders and weight. Key for both fly-fishing and Trout Magnet fishing during heavy generation is the ability to get and maintain a good presentation of the fly or Trout Magnet. Working shoreline with streamers is also an effective fly-fishing method during high-water conditions. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends San Juan worms, micro-jigs, egg patterns and streamers during high-water conditions. Hot pink, cotton candy and white bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Be safe while enjoying the river. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Army Corps of Engineers website for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 3-11-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said that beginning Tuesday (March 10) the generation has been reduced to the 12-hour release schedule. This is again being forecast for tomorrow. The schedule is starting at 6:00 am each day with a continuous release scheduled for tomorrow and a split schedule today. Again, it would be best to check each day prior to planning your trip.
The good news is the lake level is now 463.08 feet msl, which is only about a foot over normal. The bad news is rain is forecast for the rest of this week with a possibility of up to 3 inches over this period for this area. It will be a wait-and-see event to see if this affects the river clarity and amount of generation. “Hopefully we will miss the brunt of the rainfall and the generation will continue to decline. The river is clear at this time and with the lower generation, the fishing should improve. If the 12-hour schedule continues there will be a window each morning to drift-fish in falling water and the bite should be good. Check the SWPA forecast for the next day’s schedule.”
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 463.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 3-11-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.12 feet msl and falling with generation. It is 1.08 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The overall catch rate is getting better every day because more people are just out fishing because the weather is getting better; the catch rate never really went down all winter. Some crappie are still out suspended in deep water, some closer in, some right in front of bushes and some in the bushes and on brushpiles. Try jigs, or minnows, or a combination – or a trolled bait. As for walleye, the river fish are in rivers and creeks, while the lake fish are on flats and steep banks and some under and around docks. Try crawlers, Flukes or minnows. Bream are eating up shallow in warmer water – real shallow – the rest are still out deeper. Try crawlers, beetle spins or small crankbaits. Catfish are eating all over rivers and in the lake. Black bass are scattered from super deep to super shallow; use any technique you usually use to get to them and you should have a blast. They are scattered all in between as well. Hybrid bass and white bass, some are upriver, while some are part of the way up and some are in the lake; use spoons, grubs, swimbaits or topwater baits for your best catches.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 3-11-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the clarity is a little murky. The water level is normal and the surface temperature Tuesday afternoon was 58 degrees. Bream are fair on worms, crickets and nightcrawlers. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Best fishing is around the shoreline. One angler hauled in 10.5 pounds of crappie. Black bass are good on plastic worms, and like the crappie the best results are fishing around the shoreline. Catfish are good using trotlines baited with minnows.
(updated 3-4-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is high by about 2 feet. Clarity is good with surface temperature around 57 degrees. Bream are slow but should start picking up with this warmer weather. Bass are chasing shad but not many people are fishing lately. Catfish should start picking up with people starting to fish again maybe I can tell more. Crappie are starting to pick up in 4-7 feet of water. A lot of males are being caught on rods and reels using minnows the last few days. Two anglers had 10 crappie Saturday afternoon that was well over 18 pounds.
Johnny also said, “Just a heads up, the Central Arkansas Crappie Association is having a tournament this weekend.”
Crappie also are being caught on yoyo’s at night lately.
Visit Johnny’s Facebook page (Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park) for any latest updates and photos.
(updated 3-11-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), said the lake has a strained clarity and the level is high. Surface temperature Tuesday afternoon was 50 degrees. Bream are starting to move, he said, and the bite this week was fair. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. They are being caught in 20-30 feet of water in the channels. Minnows and jigs (particularly the tri-color crappie tube) were working. Look for the crappie about 6 feet out from the brush. Black bass are good, with catches coming in the 6- to 8-foot range. Crankbaits and worms worked best. The bass are moving in the evening. Catfishing is fair, but they are starting to eat. Use Catfish Pro chicken liver flavor.
(updated 3-11-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland says largemouth bass are good. They’re in transition and can be found outside of the grass around 8-12 feet biting a variety of lures. Try using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and swimbaits. The Blue Collar Bass Buddy’s Club tournament held here last Sunday produced lots of good bass, with Cody and Garry Bryant bringing in a 15.66-pound string with the Big Bass of 4.44 pounds. Eric Wallace and Mike Hammott had a 14.06-pound stringer, and Matt and Mike Collum had five bass weigh 13.76 pounds. The black bass are biting, and not just largemouths. Kentucky bass have improved with a good bite the past week. Reports of them being found in 10-15 feet of water outside the grass line, and they can also be found in 18-22 feet off drops and rocky banks. The white bass are good, too. Reports of them being found still mixed in with the crappie and they are in transition. White bass are staging to make their annual run, which could happen any day. Use Rooster Tails, rattle-type baits and jerkbaits. Crappie are good. Some are reported suspended in 12-18 feet in transitional areas and some are in deeper water, 25-30 feet. Once water is in 53-59 degrees, they should be in the spawning areas. Try using jigs and minnows. No reports on bream this week, but give the worms and crickets a try, anyway. Catfishing is fair; use chicken liver, worms or crayfish.
(updated 3-11-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has been good for customers using No. 6 minnows, pink minnows and jigs tipped with pink minnows or crappie nibbles. Bass have been hitting live minnows, Carolina-rigged plastics and crankbaits. Catfish are biting nightcrawlers, minnows, chicken livers and bait shrimp. Bream are starting to bite a little better on crickets and worms.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 3-11-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are biting pink and No. 4 minnows. Catfish have been biting minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bass are biting fair on live minnows, crankbaits and small spinnerbaits. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 3-11-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says bass fishing has been great this week for customers using brooder minnows, crawdad-colored crankbaits and small plastics. A few have been catching a walleye or two on brooder minnows as well. Catfish are biting minnows, goldfish, black salties and chicken livers. Crappie have been biting pretty well on size 6 minnows in deep holes and backwaters. Bream will bite crickets and redworms almost anytime on the river, and if you keep fishing you’ll occasionally get a stringer of keepers.
(updated 3-11-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting well for a few customers using pink minnows. One reports catching some dandies in 40 feet of water near the channel. Bass fishing has been decent, according to reports from some locals. Minnows, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are working best right before dark. Catfish are biting minnows, goldfish, nightcrawlers and black salties. Bream fishing has been slow so far, but Lisa says she knows Lake Norrell holds some big ones and they’ll be hitting crickets and redworms soon. “Don’t wait too long to give ’em a try,” she says.
(updated 3-11-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said Lake Winona crappie fishing has been good with No. 6 and No. 12 minnows, as well as various jigs. “They’re still pretty deep and we haven’t heard of any limits being caught but some have been good big crappie,” she said. Bass are biting minnows, Carolina-rigged plastics, lipless crankbaits and jigs. Catfish are biting fair on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream fishing should be improving but Lisa says she’s had no recent reports from Winona.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 2-26-2020) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) says commercial fishermen have just come back to fish as the water is just now getting where they can fish. “We have had six years of high water. I have not had even catfishermen in three and a half weeks.” He says catfish below the dam will bite; use skipjack. Results have been fair. They’re also in the deep holes in the river and will bite skipjack. White bass are biting fair below the dame. Use Sassy Shad in pearl. Sauger fishing below the dam is slow but they will bite some. Use horsehead spinners with a red head and chartreuse body. No reports on black bass, crappie or bream.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 3-11-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water remains clear and at a normal level. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are deep but the results this past week have been good. Use worms. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good using crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on the trotlines and yo-yos baited with minnows.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 3-11-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 3-11-2020) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river is stained and it is running at a normal level and current. Surface water temperature was reported ranging 50 degrees to the mid-50s. Crappie reports are good. They are in 7-10 feet depth and are biting jigs (best colors are orange/chartreuse, red/chartreuse and blue/chartreuse). Black bass are good and are being caught at 3-10 feet. Black/blue or green pumpkin chatterbaits, black/blue reaction and Sweet Beaver baits are the best lures. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 3-11-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) didn’t have any reports on the conditions. However, they had good report on the black bass bite in the main Little Rock pool. Bass are biting at 6-8 feet; focus on the rocky points and use chatterbaits. Below both the Murray and Terry dams, crappie are fair on Jenko Bluegrass Mermaid Jigs. Blue catfish are excellent at both dams as well. Use cut shad. White bass are being caught below the Murray dam on white Rooster Tails in good numbers.
(updated 3-11-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no reports from the lower end of the pool.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 3-11-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake is as its name suggests – clear – and at a normal level. Crappie are good on crappie minnows and jigs. No reports on bass, bream or catfish, however.
(updated 3-11-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) describes the clarity as “pretty dingy” and the water level is normal. Crappie are biting fair. Minnows and jigs work well, while crappie are also biting the yo-yos. Anglers are also spider-rigging and trolling. Black bass are good, but there were no hints as to lures. Catfishing is good using hot dogs and nightcrawlers. No reports on bream.
(updated 3-11-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said variety is the name of the trout fishing game this week. Bring a variety of baits and be ready for a variety of weather. During the past week the anglers have found success with white and olive 1/8-ounce jigs, either Maribou or Zig Jigs. Healthy brown trout are biting at river minnows and sculpins drifted past deeper holes near structure of rocks and/or riverbed deposits. Spinners with bronze blades, 1/4- or 3/16-ounce, are attracting attention. “The high water we’ve grumbled about seems to have improved the rainbow population in terms of length and girth; hefty rainbows are hitting on orange-scented eggs and red wiggler worms – live or scented – and delighting anglers. Water releases from Bull Shoals Dam have decreased to 14,000 cfs on the average (down from 23,000 cfs at the highest), but there are times during the day when you’ll see a fairly significant rise as the Corps and Southwestern Power discharge higher amounts. Overcast skies might bring some rain, but they’re the best cover to bring the browns to the surface, so don’t let a possible rain shower keep you from the river.”
(updated 3-11-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says the clarity has a greenish hue and the river is still running high with up to 8 generators operating at the dam. The trout fishing the past week was fair. There were just a few boats out, they report. A few rainbows were caught on drift rigs.
(updated 3-11-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-4352169) said that during the past week, they had no rain, milder temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.3 feet to rest at 0.7 foot above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 35.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 6.1 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had heavy generation. There was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 3.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 23 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had heavy flows and no wadable water.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a cerise high water San Juan worm with an egg pattern suspended below it). Use long leaders and plenty of lead to get your flies down.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.40 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-4-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake is clear and is 4 feet above normal level. The surface temperature Tuesday afternoon was 47 degrees. Black bass are fair and found in 10-20 feet of water. Jerkbaits, jigs and swimbaits all were working. White bass are moving to spawn. The catch is fair now. Use white jigs, spinners, Rooster Tails or Alabama rigs. Walleye are actively feeding in the evening on jerkbaits fished on the long, shallow points by the bushes. No reports on crappie, bream or catfish. View Del’s YouTube videos (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for the latest in what’s biting and what Del is using, plus his tips on how to fish the various lures.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 555.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 3-11-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake fishing has been good for most species over the last week. The weather has been fairly stable with cool mornings and warmer afternoons, but the lake level changes have affected the fish
most, in my opinion. The Corps of Engineers has opened up a flood gate to evacuate some excess water from Norfork Lake. Our lake is dropping roughly 6 inches a day. What I have noticed is that a lot of the baitfish are moving out of the backs of the creeks and into the main lake or other coves that are close to the deep river channel. This has mainly affected the striped bass in the lake, but will also affect where the largemouth will start to feed.
“The last several days I have been fishing back in a major creek in 15-40 feet of water. Each day I have noticed fewer bait fish in the area. When I moved out toward the mouth of the creek, I found more bait, but they have moved into coves and sometimes all the way to the back of the cove. When I find a large concentration of bait, I have found many largemouth and a few spotted bass feeding heavily. Yesterday in two different coves, in roughly 15-20 feet of water, there were many largemouth feeding close to the surface, as well as right on the bank. Small swimbaits and crankbaits are both working, as are jigs worked along the bottom, from 5 feet of water out to 20 feet. I have also gotten into some good topwater action for largemouth. This action has only occurred when there is a lot of bait in the area. Topwater action can occur any time of day, so keep your eyes open.
“Hybrid bass and striped bass are continually moving around in search of their food source. The common saying ‘when you find the bait the stripers will be nearby’ held true most of the time in recent days. The striped bass are feeding in very shallow water in the early morning and also in the latter part of the afternoon. Start looking at the shallow side of the lake for this species. They are on points with brush and cover. This is normal for springtime fishing, but it is happening a little earlier than usual. The other type of areas where stripers are showing up is in the backs of coves, but only if the bait has moved in. I have been trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows, size 7 and 9. The 7 dives about 15 feet and the 9 dives about 20 feet. I am hugging the shoreline staying in 18-30 feet of water. I have found that the stripers are also relating to brushpiles, so don’t hesitate to troll over the brush, but be prepared to lose a few lures. The other method of fishing for stripers is to cast out suspending jerkbaits or 6-inch swimbaits. (Monday) afternoon a few of our guests found stripers right on the bank, on a long shallow point. They were casting a swimbait up in 5 feet of water and retrieving slowing and getting hammered, almost as soon as the bait hit the water. With these shallow feeding fish, I would have to say that the stripers are continuing to feed after sunset, so if you have interest in some exciting fishing, start slow-rolling a suspending jerkbait on shallow points after dark. Cast your bait as close to the shoreline as possible, then retrieve to the boat very, very slowly. I like to keep the bait on the surface or close to it. Some other fishermen like to jerk it once to get the bait down a couple of feet, then start the retrieval. Try both and see what the fish want.
“Like Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page for frequent fishing report updates. Our fishing derby for Hummingbird Hideaway Resort guests has also started, so if you like a little friendly fishing competition and a chance to win some cash or free stays for your big catch, give us a call at (870) 492-5113. Our derby runs throughout the year.
“Norfork Lake is dropping about 6 inches a day with both generators and a flood gate partially open. The current level is 556.04 feet msl. The surface water temperature (Monday) morning was 49-52 degrees. The lake is clearing, but still stained. If you head upriver and up in the Bennett’s area, the water is still brown from the heavy northern rain a week ago. Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(updated 3-11-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “I started fishing this past week and had some success for both stripers and crappie. The warm weather has moved the stripers up the creeks. The stripers are feeding on small shad, so shiners and small crankbaits are working the best. You can catch stripers from Fouts Marina to 1C in Big Creek in waters ranging from 18-35 feet. I have been using shiners on long lines with a split-shot, small balloons set at 20 feet, and downlines set from 10-20 feet.
“I took my crappie boat out to make sure everything was working and sure glad I did because it seemed that what ever I touch broke. I spider-rigged for crappie and yesterday the fish were piled on the brushpiles and not roaming yet. I did manage to catch a 14- and 15-inch crappie, white bass, largemouth and a 7-pound striper, plus broke off two more stripers. A 16-foot crappie rod does not perform well for stripers. I did spot lots of crappie being caught off the brushpiles. I fished both arms of Bennett’s Bayou and saw lots of action.”
Tom added that white bass are up the creeks and the upper part of Norfork Lake near Udall. “They are catching them from the shorelines and boat using small jigs and spoons. The left arm of Bennett’s Bayou is the hot spot right now. Crappie fishing is doing great. Keep fishing the creeks, find a brushpile with their tops at 15 feet or deeper and you will find crappie. Minnows, jigs and small spoons are catching limits of crappie. The best three creeks right now are Big Creek, Bennett’s Bayou and Pigeon Creek.”
(updated 3-11-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 3.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 23 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had heavy flows and no wadable water.
The Norfork is fishing better. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole from flooding. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper. The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing very well. With school back in session it will be less crowded during the week, but the weekends can be pretty busy. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and mop flies.
John also said, “Last week Chris drove 10 hours over snowy roads to let his son, Collin, and his buddy Jake fish Dry Run Creek. Collin had fished the creek before. He had caught some trout but no trophies. Jake had fished before but had never fished the creek. Chris thought they would do better if he hired a local guide and chose me.
“When we were planning the trip I was concerned about the weather. It was cold. Chris was concerned about the roads. They are from Minnesota and cold weather is no problem for them.
“We met at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It was 21 degrees and the boys didn’t mind. They had waders, good clothing and suitable gloves. We had the place to ourselves. They were ready to fish. My wife, Lori, joined us for the morning. The idea was for Lori to work with one of the boys in the morning, while I worked with the other. That way we could give them a good start by providing more individual attention. I had arrived before the others and had two fly rods rigged and ready to go.
“We began fishing immediately. Lori was working with Collin. He caught a good fish right off and then another. I took Jake and we walked far upstream to a spot that I knew had some bigger trout. We began fishing and caught a nice one on the first cast. We fished for an hour or so and caught about 10 trout, including a trophy rainbow. We began working our way downstream toward the spot where Collin and Lori were fishing. We caught several trout along the way.
“When we caught up with them, Chris had noted a large number of big trout keying in on a discharge pipe. Jake was eager to try his luck. There were plenty of trout and enough room for both of them to fish near each other. They both caught a few trophy trout.
“About that time the creek got very murky. The hatchery personnel were cleaning the raceways and this caused the hatchery discharge to muddy up; it contained a lot of food (to include some dead fingerling trout). I have encountered this before and knew that it would trigger a feeding frenzy. Luckily both boys had white mop patterns on, which emulated the dead trout fingerlings.
“Suddenly we were in the middle of a feeding frenzy and we had the most effective fly for the situation. We began catching one big trout after another. Lori and I were both in the stream netting trout. Chris was busy taking pictures of the bigger trout. At one time we had a trophy brown in one net and a trophy rainbow in another. Over an hour and a half we landed over 30 trophy trout. I have been a guide on Dry Run Creek for 31 years and Lori guided there for 18 years. We have never seen as productive as a day as this. The water cleared and the feeding frenzy stopped.
“We were worn out. We stopped for lunch. Lori had a hair appointment and headed out. Chris wanted to stop by Twin Rivers Fly Shop in Norfork to get some flies and supplies for the next day, when he would be fishing the boys alone. We figured the rest of the day would be slow. As I saw his car leave the parking lot, I noticed that the water was off color again and the feeding frenzy was back on. I was by myself.
“For the next 45 minutes we landed over 20 trophy trout. I was so busy netting fish we only took photos of the two biggest trout. I tried to light a cigar for 30 minutes but every time I pulled out my cigar lighter, one of the boys hooked another trophy. Finally, Chris arrived and immediately waded into the fray. We had another 45 minutes of the frenzy before we could relax. We stayed on stream until 4 p.m. Chris and I were done but the boys still wanted to fish. He promised to bring them back the next day and they reluctantly agreed to quit.
“Don’t let off-color water on Dry Run Creek scare you. It is a great time to fish.”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 3-11-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. The smallmouths are much less active in the cold weather. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,125.70 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-11-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake “is about to bust loose. Water is 52 (degrees) in most parts of the lake. Stripers are doing good. Fish have been caught in Prairie Creek, Rambo Arm and Natural Walk. We caught some up in the White River Arm last week. Bass are hitting jerkbaits and some action up Swallow last couple of days as water is warming nicely.”
Crappie are staging for the spawn. “We caught some really respectable crappie for Beaver Lake this last week. White bass are in river arms staged up ready to go. Have seen some nice catfish caught last week in the White River Arm. Walleye are fair, with most anglers catching one or two per day. Numbers so far this year are way down. Not sure what the issue is. Could be high water and lack of moving water. Normal spawning shoals are gone due to the lake backing up. Hoping for a surge after this rain that is expected this week, but not sure. Good fishing is expected for the next two months, so get out there and be safe – a lot of debris is still floating out there.”
(updated 3-11-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said there is a little color in the water but it is clearing up. The surface temperature has been ranging from the low 40s to the low 50s. The lake is 1.5 feet above normal. Crappie reports are good. Anglers are finding them biting at 10-12 feet on minnows and trolling crankbaits. Good crappie action is being found around the brushpiles. Black bass are good on crankbaits, jerkbaits and brood minnows. No reports on catfish. Walleye are picking up, with catches by trolling jerkbaits and grubs. No reports on bream.
(updated 3-4-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing this past week has been good. The trout bite has been great. Most of the trout have been caught between Houseman Access and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. Most trout are being caught on various PowerBaits, fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons, jigs and cranks have done the trick, too. Kentucky bass are being caught between Beaver and Holiday Island, most with soft plastics and crankbaits. Try fishing brush and chunk rock for best results. A few schools of white bass have been marked in this area, also. Hard crankbaits, fished in 14 feet of water, have seemed to produce the best results. Back in coves and inside bends have been good locations to find these fish. “Well, I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy some of this weather. Be safe and have fun!” You can contact Austin through his fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for more information between reports.
(updated 3-11-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported the water clarity as “pretty clear” and the lake is at normal level. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. No reports on bass or catfish.
Lake Fort Smith
(update 3-11-2020) Ralph F. Donnangelo, park superintendent, says fishing continues to remain slow with cold, cloudy waters and unsettled weather. A few locals have been brave enough to venture out on the lake, but “stringer bustin’ catches do not seem to be materializing. However, I did manage to catch a snippet of information from an overheard conversation the other day – it appears there is some developing smallmouth bass action toward the north end of the lake around the Frog Bayou inlet. Sadly, details were few and minimal at best. There was also some word of black crappie beginning to stir in about 15 feet of water around the flooded timber areas toward the southeast side of the lake before you get to the dam.”
(updated 3-11-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported that the lake is fairly clear and at a normal level. No surface temperature was recorded. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bream are poor. Black bass are good on crankbaits and jigs. They also report that over 5 pounds were caught by some anglers. Catfishing is fair below the dam.
(updated 3-11-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the lake is “a little stained’ and is at a normal level. The surface water temperature is 49-50 degrees as of Tuesday afternoon. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on crankbaits and jerkbaits. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 3-11-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park said the lake clarity is murky and the surface temperature Monday morning was 41 degrees. The water level is high. She say the water is a little cool at this point for pre-spawn. Crappie are biting fair on minnows and jigs around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good using worms, blood bait or stink bait. “We now have nightcrawlers and redworms in the bait shop,” Shelly says. Best moon times for fishing this month will be March 21-27, she adds.
(updated 3-11-2020) Seth Boone, the park superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, says the lake remains drained for the ongoing repair work; however, the state park has “continued being the light in the dark for bait. We are looking forward to the lake coming back in about a year for guests to enjoy.” The park’s bait shop is in close proximity to many other fishing destinations in northeast Arkansas while Lake Poinsett is repaired.
(updated 3-4-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides says water levels are at 480 cfs (350 cfs is average) at the spring and water clarity is good. Water levels are up, making for tough wading in the main channels. Water color has been a normal green tint. A lot of the recent heavy rains has missed this area.
Mark says he and customers are “catching really nice rainbows on Y2Ks and olive Woollies,” he says. “Doesn’t hurt to weight the flies extra when tying, or use of a split shot can help to get down to the fish. If you’re not hanging up on bottom occasionally then you may not be getting deep enough. The smallmouth have been biting well on olive with the warm up the last few days. This is a great time to get out on the water. Starting in March, stocking will increase from 1,700 during winter months to 7,000 rainbows in preparation for the summer fishing.”
He adds that hot pink and orange Trout Magnets and brown trout and rainbow trout trout cranks have been hot for spin fishers.
“A trout management plan is in the works and will hopefully be put into place this year,” Mark says. “We are all hoping for some catch-and-release areas on the river. Trout permits increased in price last year and money is earmarked for rebuilding the Jim Hinkle Fish Hatchery that was damaged during a 2017 flood. When these two things come into place it will really make the Spring River an even better trout fishery. And it is great now! Great things are happening on the Spring River.” Check out Mark’s blog at springriverfliesandguides.com for the latest river conditions.
(updated 3-11-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 3-11-2020) Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) had no reports.
(updated 3-11-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville said the river is muddy and high. They had no fishing reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 3-11-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 3-11-2020) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no report.
(updated 3-11-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no report.
(updated 3-11-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
As of Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.3 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 3-11-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday, Millwood Lake was approaching normal conservation pool. Millwood continues falling; it’s just slightly above normal conservation pool,
near 259.3 feet msl; and the discharge around 3,000 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates, as of Monday is around 228 feet msl with discharge. Surface temps as of Monday ranged 50-60 degrees. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken, or floating timber in Little River. Clarity continues improving in the oxbows with the river receding. Little River is moderate stain and current, and with random broken timber and debris.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: With Millwood Lake approaching normal pool, reduced current in Little River, and drastically improved clarity upriver, largemouth bass males continue roaming in areas of 6-9 feet depth in creeks, ridges and bedding flats on warm afternoons, near vertical structure. Heavy 3/4-ounce One-knocker Rat-L-Traps, Brazalo Chatterbaits, and spinnerbaits have been working over the past few weeks, and Echo 1.75 and Bill Lewis SB-57 MDJ crankbaits are getting decent responses over the past couple weeks from these active roaming bass. Anywhere a creek channel is close by to the deeper creek bends or vertical structure and drops into the oxbows, where stumps and creek mouths drop, have held some decent-size bass over the past several weeks and they were moving shallow on afternoons. The best times were 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The largemouths were much more reliable in the oxbows of McGuire and Horseshoe lakes where the water clarity was drastically better, water temps were warmer, and calm/no river current present. The best responses from bass are on Red Chrome, Toledo Gold, Ozark Craw and Red Rayburn Craw. Baby Brush Hogs and lizards have been taking some decent 15-1 to 18-inch male largemouth bass roaming flats in the clearer water sections of the oxbows away from river vurrent. With the water temps continuing into the mid-50s, the males are active and females continue staging. Where you find shallow 5-8 foot depth flats with stumps you can find a few decent 2- to 3-pound male bass roaming on warm afternoons, if near to a quick creek bend drop into 8-12 feet structure. A few bed-making activities are being currently observed now. Red Slough and South Hickory Golf Course pockets are warming up as well. “We got several good reactions from 2- to 3-pound males over the past week or so throwing an old school, H&H Spinnerbait in yellow/white and black/white around cypress tree knees, using a trailer hook for short strikers. An occasional pre-spawn female largemouth will randomly hit if you’re in the zone.
Best reaction colors in chatterbaits and spinnerbaits have been the Millwood Mayhem Bream, Spot Remover or Arkansas River Shad. 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 in further out depth zones, near points and drops where broken timber and stumps are present. Lizards (6-8 inches) in black neon, blackberry, California 420 and watermelon magic have been picking up some cruising bass near stumps, on drops into 10 feet structure.
Trick worms, trick sticks and twitch worms in watermelon candy, black/blue, blue ice and blue/purple ice were working late last week in 5-8 feet depth on cypress trees. Bass Assassin Shads in Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom or pumpkinseed — dead-sticking on stumps and cypress 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. Several nice-size pre-spawn female largemouths were hitting jigs using Texas Craw and Millwood Mayhem Bream using a black frog plastic trailer, upriver, over the last week.
* White bass: As we have been telling everyone for several weeks, the whites have been staging along Little River and mouths of the oxbows and creek dumps in preparation for a spawning run upriver. Well it’s ON, “and we are catching some of the largest white bass I have ever seen caught on Millwood, many numbers exceeding 3-3.25 pounds each,” Mike says. Heavy thumping 3/4- and 1-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome or Splatterback colors, cranked very slow and deep behind primary or secondary points, caught some decent, 2- to 3-pound whites over the 2-3 past weeks from 9-16 feet deep. Chrome 3/4-ounce Cordell Hammered Spoons with a red/white hair bucktail, vertically jigged behind primary points near the bottom where stumps were located on the backside of points, were connecting with a few nice sized 2-3 pound whites over the past several weeks. Swimming jigs with a heavy thumping tail swimbait trailer picked up a few white bass in 10-14 feet swimming and dropping the bait.
* Spotted Bass/Kentuckies: No report.
* Crappie: Improved over the past week with the improved clarity and conditions in the oxbows. Minnows and jigs were working near standing timber and creek channels in the clearer sections of the oxbows and golf course pockets from 8-12 feet deep.
* Catfish: Continue biting consistently over the past few weeks with the increased current along Little River. Channel cats and blues remain good on Punch Bait and cut baits over the last week on trotlines set at 8-14 feet depth in current.
(updated 3-11-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyflishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 544.60 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-11-2020) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is 544.39 feet msl, or 3.61 feet below full pool of 548 feet msl. Water temps have warmed up to the mid-50s and the upper portion of the lake has some color. Fishing is really starting to get good. Bass are trying to move from the winter depths to the spring spawn. Right now, if you find the shad you will find the bass. Bandit 200 Crankbaits in crawdad colors are working on rocky points and flats really well. Booyah Hard Knockers in red or gold are also working well in these areas. Bass can also be caught on Booyah and War Eagle Jigs. Black/blue and green pumpkin colors work best depending on water clarity. Suspending Super Rogues and Super Rogue Jr’s are also working very well on windy points. Chrome/blue and clown colors are working well. Crappie have been good lately. They can be caught in brush 15-25 feet deep on minnows and Bobby Garland Jigs.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.11 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-11-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the crappie are starting to stack up on the staging brushpiles. Lots of eating-sized crappie are being caught with live bait and a few on jigs. That means the slabs are in transition to the shallower water or are already there waiting for the water to warm up enough to spawn. White bass and hybrids are up the river spawning. Three-inch swimbaits on jigheads or spoons will get you a boat limit. FYI for those who may be conservationally concerned about the bass and crappie spawn, harvest the females even though they are full of eggs and leave the males alone on the beds. One female may spawn on 3-5 different beds. Therefore, a greater population of males is necessary to grow the crappie population. (The opposite is true with deer where one alpha buck has a harem of does.)
(updated 3-11-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said he’s back on the water again and fishing. Water temperatures are jumping on DeGray Lake. They went from the high 40s to high 50s through the weekend. Fish are on the move. The lake level is 403.92 feet msl. The water level is being lowered for use or in preparations for spring rains. Lots of shallow brush is fishable. “What I have been seeing thrown around the lake is predominantly the A-rig. White is usually the best color in the spring with some mixtures of chartreuse and blue. Wacky worm time is coming soon. Watch that water temperature. Whites are coming in the creek areas feeding on shad. Hybrids and whites are around the bait balls, usually 18-22 feet of water; around Shouse Ford and up to locate them. Brushy didn’t show much life. Crappie have been coming in to the closer points and deeper brushpiles (25-28 feet). Big ones are usually right on the bottom. Hard to see even with Livescope. Electronics show a large amount of fish activity near the bottom anywhere you can find baitfish. Creek channels are clear in the mid-lake and Iron Mountain areas. As you approach Arlie Moore, it starts to stain. Goat Island water clarity is low, darker staining. No reports on bream or catfish.
White Oak Lake
(updated 3-11-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) in Camden said the lake is a little murky and just a little high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass results have been good, with spinnerbaits and shiners working best. No reports on catfish.
(updated 3-11-2020) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no reports.
(updated 3-11-2020) Donald Ramirez, the new owner of Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) on the southeastern end of the lake, said Monday the lake was a little choppy and the water level is low. Crappie fishing is fair on crappie minnows and jigs. White bass are also biting jigs, crappie minnows and other lures, with fair reports. No reports on bream, black bass or catfish.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 3-11-2020) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park had no report.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 3-11-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that both lakes Hamilton and Catherine have been refilled to their normal summertime levels. Heavy rains predicted for this week could possibly force Lake Ouachita to rise back into the flood pool. Should this scenario occur, Entergy will schedule very heavy generation below all area dams to rid the system of excess water. Open flood gates will most likely accompany this heavy flow. All boaters and anglers should use extreme caution if attempting to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailrace. As much as 6 inches of rainfall could hit certain areas and will create a treacherous situation in our area lakes. It could take several weeks for the affected areas to return to normal. Thousands of trout are present and thriving in Lake Catherine. When lake conditions stabilize, anglers can begin to catch limits of trout using redworms or nightcrawlers under a bobber or fished just off the bottom. Worm presentations are often overlooked and will consistently produce results when other baits fail. Other live baits such as waxworms and mealworms will also perform well used in the same manner. Live minnows tend to catch larger trout that search for bigger prey. PowerBait and Trout Magnets in basic colors are two of the best methods of catching rainbow trout known to man and should never be forgotten by anglers who are serious about catching fish. Fly-fishermen that cast San Juan worms or micro-jigs in black or white under strike indicators can expect a solid bite. Egg patterns in white or yellow will also work very well in slack or current flow. Woolly Buggers have to be included in the “best-of” fly patterns and should be present in every fly anglers’ tackle. The middle of March should be the beginning of good trout fishing on Lake Catherine.
The walleye spawn is on in the tailrace with fish spotted in the shallows at dawn and dusk. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current will draw strikes from hungry walleye guarding their beds. A Carolina rig tipped with live minnows or nightcrawlers is a proven technique in current or slack water. Vertical-jigging spoons in deeper water is often a forgotten method of catching walleye and will outperform many other efforts.
Trout will be king for the next few months, but the crappie spawn is due to begin in the next several weeks. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace must always wear a lifejacket and should be aware of the generation schedules.
(updated 3-11-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said that they had mostly clear skies with cool mornings and mild afternoons for the past week. For this week, a frontal boundary will bring extended chances for rain. The Little Rock NWS forecasts rainfall is likely with a few strong storms possible, but overall severe risk remains low until Friday. Toward Saturday the frontal boundary will gradually lift back north and bring another wave of heavier rain over most of the area. There are no significant concerns with severe weather, but water issues cannot be ruled out. Rain chances exist throughout the forecast period to next week.
Visibility is limited to only a few feet. Surface temperature is 54 degrees. As of Tuesday (March 3) the Corps of Engineers has reported the Ozark Lock & Dam 12 tailwater is near 343 feet msl and flowing about 49,000 cfs. The Ozark tailwater has fallen slightly, but no major changes. Ozark has been generating power consistently this past week. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has risen some from 337.6 to 338.2 feet msl. The Corps of Engineers has reported the Dardanelle tailwater is near 8 feet (289 feet msl) and flowing about 54,000 cfs. Dardanelle’s tailwater has fallen from 61,000 cfs to about 45,000 cfs. Dardanelle has been generating power consistently this past week.
The Lake Dardanelle State Park tournament hosted the ABA Open Series on Saturday and the TBF High School State Championship on Sunday. The bass fishing was hit and miss for most anglers. About two-thirds of the field weighed fish each day and there were a few 4- and 5- pound bass weighed. Most reported using spinnerbaits (some mimicked crawfish) around points and jetties. Others used crankbaits and chatterbaits. Some of the bass were carrying eggs but Jason says he did not see many worked-over tailfins, which is a sign a nesting. For tournament scheduling and updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
(updated 3-11-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred X-press all-aluminum, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton almost back to normal pool! The lake is gradually clearing but water is stained to murky in shallow creek arms and pockets. Most of these pockets are getting close to 60 degrees. Bass … BASS! … are biting very well in the shallows. How shallow? Shallow enough you wouldn’t want to be in anything but an Xpress boat right now. Two feet or less has been holding aggressive largemouth that can be taken on spinnerbaits, swimbaits, Flukes, Texas-rigged worms and jigs. Shad colors and green pumpkin are king right now. Some fish remain deep in between points and secondary points but most fish are moving shallow for the inevitable spawn. Crappie have been spotted suspended between hard structure and rip-rap banks in 25 feet of water. Minnows and small jigs in shad or pink have been doing well. Hybrid bass are still in the main channels of the tailraces and creek arms. Odds are that a hybrid or two will be caught on the bass prowl. “Get out there, folks! Be aware there is an immense amount of junk coming down the lake right now. Please be cautious! Good luck, and Go Greeson!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.69 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-11-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Monday morning that clarity was clear and the lake was at a normal level. Surface temperature was on the rise to 55 degrees. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. The males are coming and going, and the fish are biting in 3-6 feet depth on minnows and black/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are fair; use blue/black jigs. No reports on catfish or white bass.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 576.76 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-11-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are good. Jerkbaits, crawfish colored crankbaits and Carolina rigs are starting to produce good stringers. Walleye are picking up. Shad-colored crankbaits fished on river points are a good starting point for these fish. Stripers are good. These fish are being caught on Alabama rigs, hair jigs or jerkbaits on the west end of the lake. No reports on bream. Crappie are fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. No reports on catfish. The water temperature is up to 54-56 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. Lake level Tuesday evening was 576.78 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822 for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.69 feet msl (normal pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 3-11-2020) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said the canals are muddy in Horseshoe but that it is semi-clear everywhere else on the lake. Water level as of midafternoon Tuesday was high. Bream are excellent. “Unbelievable” even, Ronnie said. “They are bedded up and we’re catching monster bream.” Ronnie said he caught his personal best bream over the past week (see photo in the email Weekly Fishing Report, sign up if not subscribing at agfc.com). Use redworms or crickets to get in on the big action. Crappie are good. He says they are in spawn mode. Trolling is producing decent results deep. He’s focusing on trees and the backside of peers. Brushpiles shouldn’t be neglected either. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are excellent. A spinnerbait is working best. They are spawning and “really turned on,” Ronnie says. Catfishing is fair. The best way to catch them is baiting and hanging yo-yos in the cypress trees. Check out Ronnie’s Facebook page for photos and other information from his fishing excursions at Horseshoe Lake, an old Mississippi River oxbow not far from Hughes.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 3-11-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says Bear Creek Lake has seen some good crappie activity this past week. “Our bank fishermen reported success using minnows at average depths of 5-6 feet. The boat ramp is still closed. For updates on that project, folks can contact the USFS at (870) 295-5278. Don’t forget, Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center is the one-stop shop for all of your bait needs.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 3-11-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says Storm Creek Lake has had no substantial reported activity, “but with this weather we are hopeful that folks will venture out to fish. Park Staff partnered with the AGFC to create more fish habitat on the lake so we are hoping that will be handy for our south end anglers.”
(updated 3-4-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says the White River at Clarendon is 28.3 feet and falling, “but we still have a ways to go before the parking lot is dry and accessible. Now is a great time to get out and fish lakes that are not highly affected by large amounts of rainfall. Good luck!”
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