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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 04-11-2024


April 11, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

This youngster, the granddaughter of angler Tim Head, is ecstatic at catching a slab crappie at Overcup Lake in Conway County this past week. The crappie weighed 2.3 pounds, according to John “Catfish” Banks, who operates at Overcup Landing and sent in the photo. 

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 4-11-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said fishing was about a carbon copy of what it’s been lately. The lake was muddy Thursday after the rain, and it slowed the bite down a bit, but crappie are still being caught around the Highway 89 bridge and at Gold Creek. “It seems like they’ve been doing better on minnows the last few days. Though the rain slowed it up some, it should pick right back up,” they report.

Catfish continue biting well on night crawlers, and last week they were going after liver and shad. The Highway 89 bridge area seems to be the hot spot.

Bass are biting well on crankbaits. Soft plastic crawdads have also worked well lately. Anglers continue catching lots of bream. The bluegills really picked back up the last few days, and in pretty good size. Use redworms and waxworms.

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 and bream, and there were some rainbow trout stocked during the winter.


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 4-11-2024) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said the lake just hit its power pool level, and Army Corps of Engineers have been running one unit 24/7 to lower the water levels. Southwestern Power Administration projected releases, but didn’t execute any water runs. Keep an eye out for the generation schedule this week to plan your fishing trips accordingly.

Things are looking up here on the Little Red. The caddis hatch is in full swing, and the fish are loving it. Try using a Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear or a soft hackle Pheasant Tail nymph under an indicator, adjusting the depth based on river levels.
The streamer bite is on fire! Opt for an 8-weight fly rod with a 330 grain sink line. Double Deceivers and Peanut Envy flies are doing the trick, especially in yellow and brown or olive and yellow colors.

(updated 4-11-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Thursday the Little Red has been fishing really well of late. Rooster Tails, Rapala Countdowns and Maribou Jigs each have been bringing them in in good numbers. Also, a pink or white Trout Magnet will be a good call.

Wading is possible, you just have to pay attention to the generation schedule (see sources linked above). Pick and choose when they are running water.


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 4-11-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said
The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.10 feet msl; it is 0.06 above normal pool. The shad spawn is happening now over some portions of the lake. Some of our fish have spawned, but many haven’t. Between now and June there’s a lot more to go, and a lot of fish eating are coming and going to spawn and post-spawn. With the full moon many are going to spawn in the next week, so be ready.

Catch rates for this time of year are really good, just stay with the same programs. Some crappie are roaming around chewing, while others are chowing down in pole timber or in brush piles. Wherever they are 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 40 feet in guts, main lake points or secondary points, on Alabama rig, Carolina rig, jerkbaits, football heads or crankbaits, and Texas-rigged lizards. Stay around the shad and or spawning areas. Some bass now are eating topwater baits as well.
Walleye are following the river spawn looking to get set up back downlake to eat, while the lake walleye are pulled up to the same spots eating and trying to spawn on flats, humps, rip-rap and points. Drag a crawler or crankbait or use a minnow-tipped jig. The spoon works best around schools of bait.
Catfish are hanging out on secondary points around and under bait fish or up rivers and creeks real shallow and gorging.
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 get a response. Also, swimbaits, hair jigs and inline spinners have pulled up a lot of them out of super deep water, 25-50 feet.
No report on bream, but the full moon is coming and it’s warming up.
“Enjoy and remember to let someone know when you will be back in and wear your life jacket!”

(updated 4-11-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says both the bass fishing and crappie fishing have been very good in the past week. Anglers are using various approaches for bass – a Carolina rig and a jig are both being favored. On windier banks, a Chatterbait or spinnerbait have been working. Anglers also have been catching them off a floating worm up shallow. Anything in a bright color — Bubble Gum and Merthiolate are popular now — will get their attention. Also, anglers report catching a few on jerkbaits still.

Crappie fishing has been good using a little Roadrunner or a Fin Spin in one-eighth ounce or quarter ounce. Anglers have also been catching crappie up shallow around buckbrush or on standing timber in about 15 feet of water.
Water clarity up the lake is stained, but in the lower end it is really clear, they say.


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 4-11-2024) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the catfish is doing pretty well. They are catching them on minnows and worms. Some are being caught off the shoreline.

Largemouth bass are doing well. Anglers are using crankbaits out in the lake (some anglers are fishing kayaks near the shoreline). A 4-pound, 10-ounce bass was the Big Bass taken in last Saturday’s bass tournament.

Some bream are biting; use crickets or redworms.

The water after the rain left the top of the lake very yellow with pollen. Last week it was clearing, they said. Temperature was nearly 62 degrees on Thursday and the conditions were windy. Rain raised the level 2 feet this week.

Crappie are kind of slow, they report.
A 38-pound buffalo was caught on a crappie minnow last week.


Lake Overcup
(updated 4-11-2024) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 said water level is up about 1.5 feet, while clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 61 degrees. Black bass are in the shallow water trying to spawn. Bream are slow but should pick up with warmer weather. Catfish are being caught on yo-yos and trotlines baited with bass minnows. Crappie are still being caught but they are still moving around, and some males are in shallow water. It should all pick up with warmer and stable temperatures. 


Lake Maumelle
NOTE: Central Arkansas Water, in its ongoing effort to eradicate hydrilla for Lake Maumelle, plans a week-long treatment of the reservoir and will close the lake to all boat traffic from midnight Sunday (12 a.m. Monday, April 15) until 6 p.m. Friday, April 19. Launch ramps and boat slips at Sleepy Hollow Access Ramp and at WestRock Landing Marina, as well as Grande Maumelle Sailing Club, will be closed beginning at midnight Friday, unless otherwise posted.
CAW in a press release said, “As with nearly all of our work in the watersheds and at the lakes, this project is highly dependent on the cooperation of the weather and storms or windy conditions would shift these plans. 

“The lake will remain open to bank fishing, and other recreational parks and trails around the lake will remain open. Anyone doing business at the marina or sailing club will need to gain access from WestRock Landing Marina prior to entry. Recreation at Lake Winona will be unaffected during this closure.”

CAW says there likely will be subsequent closures through mid-summer. “Our hope is to remain efficient and potentially reduce the number of days in this and the subsequent closures, so please help make this application go as smoothly as possible by remaining off the lake during these times,” its press release stated. 

If there are any changes to this schedule, CAW will post an update on its Facebook page.

(updated 4-11-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that their boat ramp and access to Lake Maumelle will be closed (by order of Central Arkansas Water) from midnight Sunday (12:00 a.m. Monday, April 15) to 6 p.m. Friday, April 19, so that CAW can perform treatment on hydrilla. The lake will remain closed to all boat traffic from 12:01 Monday, April 15, to 6 p.m. Friday, April 19, unless otherwise posted.

Water temperature is 64-66 degrees in most areas, and 61-64 degrees in a few other areas. Maybe the fish are sensing the upcoming closure, as all species were fishing slowly this week. The largemouth bass bite is slow. Males can be found shallow in 2-8 feet of water, while females are being found deeper in areas of 10-15 feet. Jigs, Alabama rigs, crankbaits, swimbaits are reportedly working. Jerkbaits are the bait of choice for fishing shallow in the afternoons. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) also are slow. Reports of them being found around brush in 8-12 feet as well as in shallow water. Try jigs or shaky heads.

WestRock Landing Tuesday Night Tournament results this week saw Andrew Wooley and Cameron Nesterenko catch a winning 5-bass limit of 11.52 pounds. Cody Bryant and Brad Lequieu, who were second, landed a 4.55-pound Big Bass.

White bass are slow. No reports this week. Try using twister tails

Crappie are slow. Some reports of the crappie being pushed out during the cold snap and can be found anywhere from the teens to 20 feet. Anglers report catching smaller ones. Warmer weather will help but it’s a tough bite now. Try using jigs and minnows.

Bream are slow. Try using crickets and worms. Catfish are slow. Small bream, liver and worms might get some action.

(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.


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 4-11-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said, “We didn’t get enough rain to mess the water up. It’s still clear and normal. The bass are going nuts.”

Bass, both spotted bass and largemouths, are biting spinnerbaits, crankbaits, worms, “about anything you throw out there.” Anglers are catching more Kentucky bass (spots) than largemouths, which have been mostly small of late, he said. The bite is in 2-3 feet of water. They appear to be staging and spawning.

Crappie are so-so. Anglers are catching a few in about 3 feet of water, but the crappie do not appear to have moved shallower on the nests, Ray said. Use jigs or minnows.

He’s heard no reports on catfish or white bass, and the bream are fair. “You can always catch bream here,” he said.


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 4-11-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the fishing is “really, really good” for bass. Most of the good activity is on the main river and backwaters now. Bass are mostly being caught on black and blue jigs and also a Texas-rigged creature in Junebug or black/blue colors. A wide variety of creature baits are working, they add. Also, bass have been hitting a bluegill-colored frog in the early morning or early evenings as well as midday if it’s cloudy. And a black buzzbait has also been good anywhere on the river mostly in the early mornings or late evenings.

Crappie have been hit or miss with the changing river flow. Most crappie are being caught between the main river and backwaters on a black/chartreuse or white/chartreuse crappie jig. The water level has been fluctuating, which slows the bite (though it does not bother the bass bite now).

The water clarity is stained to muddy in most places.


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 4-11-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake elevation is 657.82 feet msl and slowly dropping farther below power pool. The gauge level at Newport will change this week as it does each spring; the Army Corps of Engineers and the Southwestern Power Administration have decreased generation amounts to as low as minimum flow, although most days have been around 1 unit (3,000 cfs) consistently before a rise in the river level by mid-afternoon near Cotter.
The brown trout bite has been great in this lower water with many 19 to 21 inch browns being reeled in each day. The low water and sucker/carp spawn even fooled some browns and bigger rainbows into snatching at Sunrise PowerBait sometimes combined with shrimp.

Rainbows have been biting just about any worm, artificial or live: Don’t discount the live worms for catching great rainbows–red wigglers are a natural food source for trout in the White and will always be a great fallback bait to keep on hand.

Hefty hatches have been popping up giving our fly anglers a run; try the super midge and some sparkling caddis flies. Red/silver midges have proven successful and peach egg patterns are also doing well.

We had a perfect day for viewing the 2024 Solar Eclipse–sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather in Cotter. The crowds were friendly, traffic was more than manageable and everybody was impressed by the celestial wonder. Reports about fishing were surprising: we all expected a better bite during the dimmer minutes, but the opposite occurred–fishing slowed down some. It’s great to always be so close to nature at its best. That’s the Natural State advantage!

(updated 4-11-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the river conditions have been almost perfect the last week and the fishing has reflected the river conditions. The brown trout bite has been tremendous. We have seen numerous 18-inch-plus brown trout caught to include one over 26 inches. The most effective lures were crankbaits similar to a Rapala CD5 in rainbow trout or brook trout. Other lures resulting in good fish, either brown trout or rainbow trout, were quarter-ounce Colorado spoons in nickel/gold or Little Cleo in gold. Drift-fishing with Uncommon Baits UV neo pink eggs with corn worked well. 

The storms Wednesday night into Thursday may dump up to 2 inches of rain in the area. This will likely cause the Buffalo River to rise and the next few days the river would be dingy at best and muddy at worst. Once the creeks clear up, fishing in the creeks with corn should work well. The river was a great place to view the total eclipse Monday. 


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 4-11-2024) Fishing guide Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake said Wednesday that the lake level is 657 feet msl. Water temperature is ranging 56 degrees to mid-60s, give or take depending on your location. Black bass are in prespawn, and overall bass fishing has been good; everyone is starting to catch them but it will definitely slow down after a cold front like we’ve had this week. 

Be sure to fish the conditions — if it is cloudy and windy you can still powerfish. Guys are putting away deeper crankbaits for square bills, spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits. It’s been a very windy spring, putting some color in the water. We’re covering water on windblown transitions, banks and swings. If it’s flat and sunny, target swing, points and secondary points with a Jewel Peewee Jig in green pumpkin. Also if it gets tough, try a green pumpkin or Puke Tube, and a C-rig or a shaky head and a Ned rig are all working. Green pumpkin orange/red variants are the best colors. Target swings or points or secondary points close to spawning areas in the creeks or bays. On tough days or with clear water you’re going to want to keep the boat out deep, 25-30 feet, and slow down. In the dirty water you can get real skinny if it’s warm. The shad balls are definitely broken up, so if you’re fishing open water you’re going to have to pay attention — a lot of fish are moving into pockets. If shad are present, try a 2.8 swimbait, a fluke or Tater Shad 2.8 all in white or natural shad colors.
“Everyone is starting to catch ’em, 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 4-11-2024) Southernwalleye Guide Service reports that walleyes are for the most part done spawning on the lower lake section. They have still been spotting and catching males at night on main lake and secondary points on jerkbaits. If trolling, try stick baits slow and shallow just before dark and after daybreak in 8-14 feet 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. They have been spotting and catching most fish tight up against the shoreline. They have also caught fish on white 2.8-inch swimbaits after daylight targeting 15-25 feet, fishing as close to bottom as possible. 

(updated 4-11-2024) Crappie 101 Guide Service reports that crappie are mostly staged on shallow brush now and the males are blackening up nicely. Swimming a one-sixteenth-ounce or one-eighth-ounce jig with a small fry bait or the Tater Baits Thump minnow right over top of the brush has been working, as well as minnows and bobbers. We’re getting close, barring any cold weather setbacks.


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

(updated 4-11-2024) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level was 553.78 feet msl and right at the top of the power pool of 553.75 feet msl as of Wednesday afternoon with the one operating generator running about half the time. It was starting to rain at 1 p.m. Wednesday, with some heavy rain possible last night (after this report was submitted). The level has been very steady for several months and it will be a good spawn if it stays that way for just a few more weeks. Surface water temperature is 58-59 degrees and is not rising very fast, but will later this month. 

The topwater bite for stripers and bass usually starts by April 15. The water is very clear and Scuba Steve said he could see his lure down 10-12 feet on the main lake and 6-7 feet in the creeks. It is very clear near the shore and some bass are staging there. The bass bite is best right now on 3-inch creature baits on a one-eighth-ounce jighead, but Chatterbaits are also working.
The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level, but fishing is just fair yet some good ones are being caught every day. The water just needs to warm up a bit with some warm nights and things will really start to happen.

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 deepwater 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 was doing some painting and 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 4-11-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is holding steady at 1,119.38. 2 feet below normal pool. Water temperature is in the upper 50s to low 60s depending on where you are. Everything is primed and ready to go. Stripers are showing up in the south end for the spawn. As the water clears on this end, the bite should get better each day. Fish lately have been caught from Horseshoe to Point 12. Shad and brooders are working. 

Crappie are moving daily. Look for fish on the shoreline and just off the shoreline on brush. As the full moon approaches the spawn should happen barring any major cold fronts that always seem to hit this time of year. 

The walleye have spawned but it was a tough year for most with low water affecting access to the spawning shoals. There are fish still in the river arms and lots of aggressive males can still be caught. The white bass have entered the rivers but numbers so far seem off from usual runs. Black bass are staged up and ready to go. Catfish should really get going with the water warming.
“It’s a beautiful time of the year to be outside! Go enjoy and stay safe! Good luck.”

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


Beaver Tailwater
(updated 4-11-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says there has been no change in the fishing from recent weeks. The catch has been off and on with the up-and-down water temperature, which lately has been around 50 degrees, as well as with light water releases from Beaver Dam.

Trout have been responsive to Pautzke Fire Worms and Fire Baits, fished with light terminal tackle. The fire bait has done the best. The walleye bite has been up and down as well, but it is still there, mainly between Beaver town and Holiday Island. Pulling mid-diving crankbaits coated in Pautzke Fire Gel has been the preferred method this week. Austin also reports catching a few white bass here and there, but has not got into any big schools of them. Pulling Flicker Shads or Shad Raps has produced the best with the white bass, he added.

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


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 4-11-2024) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says anglers catching a lot of crappie and white bass. They are using jigs, worms and minnows for both species. The crappie catches are still “pretty little.” They report that more anglers are getting out now, though.


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 4-11-2024) Jonathan Wagner at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett has been busy recently. Numerous anglers have reported catching good-sized bream and crappie. One angler, fishing from a kayak in one of the lake’s coves, reported catching a 10- to 12-inch crappie using minnows. Minnows still seem to be the preferred bait of choice for crappie, though anglers have said they have had luck with various artificial baits. Bream seem to be hitting on crickets and the redworms, according to visitors to the state park. They are primarily bank fishing from the park shoreline and at the AGFC fishing pier. Bass and catfish have not been reported being caught in large numbers as of yet. The state park visitor center has been selling a lot of white-colored lures and jigs as of late, possibly indicating a trend amongst anglers as a favored bait color for the lake. 


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, but 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 4-11-2024) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report this week, but its most recent report noted the water temperature was in the mid-60s, about where it has been for a few weeks. Cleanest water usually is in backwaters and Lake Langhofer. Black bass were biting fairly well recently on bladed jigs, spinnerbaits, shallow-diving crankbaits, lipless crankbaits and creature baits/jigs around typical prespawn rocky banks and wooden cover. Some bass were 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 4-11-2024) Teresa Atchley at Cane Creek State Park (870-628-4714) said that late last week, anglers reported fishing with crickets and minnows for anything and fishing with worms at the exterior pier. Nightcrawlers were being used at the exterior pier, and they were fishing from boats with minnows for crappie last Friday. Several anglers reported fishing with worms and minnows for crappie at the exterior pier, fishing with worms for anything that would bite, and one angler reported catching a 10-pound catfish (did not say where on the lake) and was going back to fish for anything with minnows.
Later that day, anglers were trying for crappie with nightcrawlers and still targeting any species that would go for minnows and worms. She heard reports from anglers on Sunday who reported fishing with crickets for anything, as well as some targeting crappie at the spillway with minnows and crickets. When the eclipse concluded on Monday, anglers were seeing what would bite with crickets but didn’t report any catches.


Lake Monticello
(updated 4-11-2024) Anglers are reminded that if they venture out for some fishing on Lake Monticello now while the lake refills after being renovated, that all fish caught must be released immediately. 


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 4-11-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said, “Well, what was an almost return to near normal level late last week, we got hammered with over 3-5 inches of storm rainfall over the past four days. Millwood is back on a rapid rise, lake elevation is near 12-13 inches above normal pool at 260.3 feet msl and rising. Millwood Lake Dam is releasing about 13,000 cfs and tailwater is holding at 238 feet and on the rise again. A lot of broken debris, logs, limbs, grass mats, and timber floaters remain visible, or not, in Little River heavy current. Use 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.”
Surface temperature fell late last week, then jumped up again somewhat this week with storms and fresh cold rain, ranging 63 degrees early to 67 later in the day along Little River, depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River is muddy this week with rapid pool rise, and heavy stain in most locations, with some areas further up Little River being heaviest. River clarity is ranging 1-3 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from mudlines pushing into the oxbows and are heavily stained to fair visibility from 5-15 inches — we observed around 1-2 feet visibility in a few wind and current protected areas.
Mike had these specifics of the fishing this week: 

* Largemouth bass activity has improved over the past week. Several large female bass between 6-9 pounds have been caught and released, including in local tournaments held on Millwood Lake recently. The males and females continue moving in bedding areas and building beds near 1-5 feet of depth on bedding flats. Best activity is being seen in the afternoons, near creek channel swings and vertical structure where flats of 1-6 feet deep are holding fresh lily pad blooms and vegetation. Five-inch Bass Assassin Shads, plastic lizards, Brush Hogs, tubes and spinnerbaits will draw a reaction in 2-6 feet depths.
Bill Lewis crankbaits like the MR-6, 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 (and white bass, too) in the deeper sections of creek channels or drops from the flats into 8- to 12-feet structure with stumps present. We caught good numbers of males & females from 3 to 6 pounds each over the past two weeks.

The largemouths’ reaction bites continue to be much more reliable in the oxbows of McGuire, Horseshoe, Mud and Clear Lakes where the water clarity was drastically better, water temps were warmer, and away from river current. Beaver-style baits, creature baits and 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 river current. With the water temp continuing to warm into the mid-60’s the males are active, cruising and a few beds are being seen. Where you find shallow 5- to 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. Red Slough and South Hickory golf course pockets are warming up as well and gave up some nice 16- to 19-inch, 3- and 4-pound bass late last week. 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 of Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits have been the Millwood Mayhem Bream, Fire Craw and Firetiger. We are targeting areas around cypress tree knees 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 acting spooky. 

Recent thunderstorms and fresh rain with muddy water have made the color spectrum shift change over the past week, and for Senkos, Trick Worms, Trick Sticks and Twitch Worms the best reaction color we found upriver was Merthiolate or Blackberry. Bass Assassin Shads in Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom or Pumpkinseed, fished by 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.
* The white bass have continued their migration up Little River, as well as the same activity in the Saline River on the east end of Millwood Lake, and we caught good numbers of 2- to 3-pound whites near Brown’s Slough and Black’s Branch and the U.S. Highway 71 Bridge. Heavy thumping three-quarter-ounce 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, white bass 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. Swimming a hair jig with a heavy thumping tail swimbait trailer picked up a few whites in 10-14 feet by swimming and dropping the bait.
* The crappie bite has continually improved over the past few weeks with water clarity improving in many locations. Our planted brush piles in Pugh Slough, Horseshoe, Bee Lake and Millwood State Park gave up some nice 2-pound slabs over the past couple of weeks. Minnows work one day, and jigs the next, or jigs tipped with a minnow, in planted brush piles 10-16 feet of depth.
* No reports on bream or crappie.


Lake Columbia
(updated 4-11-2024) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) near here said they heard reports that anglers were catching a lot of bass last week, and crappie were biting in about 12 feet of water.


Lake Erling
(updated 4-11-2024) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) said crappie are biting “really good. We are catching a lot of fish.” They are catching a few on the bank and a few out in deeper water. Up close to the bank, the go-to bait is minnows. From the areas that are 10 feet and deeper, the bite is on jigs. Water is up high because of all the rain, and the water clarity is getting a little dingy, but the fish are still biting. Other anglers are catching a lot of catfish on noodles with minnows or cut bait. No reports on bass

Bream were biting on crickets before the rainfall. What’s ahead is up in the air, they said.

Before the rain, water temperature was in the 64-65 degree range. No report on temperature after the rain but they are sure it cooled it off a bit.

Also check out Friends of Lake Erling on Facebook for more fishing information on the lake and photos, too.


Lake Greeson Tailwater
For the most updated Narrows Dam generation schedule from SWEPCO, click here.


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

No new reports.


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

(updated 4-11-2024) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Hello fisher-people. It’s been a crazy spring and I apologize for the slow start. So, here is what is happening on DeGray: The water temperature is in the low 60s right now but will probably cool further with this rain now hitting us. The lake has been drawn down — I expect with anticipation of this rain we are getting now. The area I was catching crappie in a few days ago, now I can see the bottom. The lake level is 404.69 feet msl as I write this and rising.
“The water begins to have a tint to it around the Arlie Moore area and thickens up as you go towards Point Cedar. Surface trash starts around Lennox Marcus. That is before all this rain. 

White bass andKentuckies’ (spotted bass) have started surfacing in the Shouse Ford area. Look for them in the back of coves or on the shallow points. They hit everything from crappie jigs and spoons, to topwaters. The problem is finding calm water this time of year. Several reports of catches of whites and hybrids trolling. A-rigs work great for trolling for these. Crankbaits, spoons and Rat-L-Traps are good for trolling, also. Green and light blue are some of my favorite colors.
“The crappie fishing is like a yo-yo right now for me. They were moving into the brush and the shallows a few days ago. Surface water temperature was in the low 60s. Fishing about 6 inches above the bottom with minnows was doing great for me. Then the spring rains and the wind made it a lot harder. Then they drew the lake down, also. Casting jigs will be the Mermaid and Glow Pop.

“The open-water fishing for crappie by ’long pole-ing or sniping’ has slowed greatly. The fish have been trying to get to shallower water, but Mother Nature won’t let them. So, look for water in the 60s and fish a minnow in the brush or cast jigs and work them off the bottom. This time of year I fish from Arlie Moore upstream, watching the water temperature as I go.
“Good luck and watch out for others.”

(updated 4-11-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) has been fishing both DeGray Lake and Lake Ouachita lately, and said, “It’s that time of year again. Crappie are scattered and can be caught as shallow as 3 feet deep and as deep as 12 feet. Live bait and jigs both produce ample numbers of crappie. White bass, hybrids and striper are on the move schooling. I have harvested limits trolling crankbaits and Alabama rigs. Spoons vertically jigged just off the bottom work well, too.”


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 4-11-2024) 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 Lake Hamilton and Catherine are at normal pool. Current flows have been high and generation has been 24/7 the past two weeks at Carpenter Dam, which has kept many boaters off the lake and made fishing conditions difficult for bank fishermen. While the tailrace appears normal and the scheduled trout stocking continues to plan, virtually zero trout are being caught. Thousands of trout are stocked in January, February and March, but few are caught until early April because of the early March refilling from the 5-feet wintertime drawdown. 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 schedule 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. Tout 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 temperatures warm and threadfin shad aren’t stunned by freezing temperatures anymore, there will be a dramatic decrease in the amount of prey for fish to feed on. Several days of this reduction in food will force fish to actively search for prey which will create a good situation for anglers to be successful. 

Despite the safer conditions and warmer weather, it is extremely important to remember that fish in the tailrace will be difficult to catch until early April. Trout can be caught but not in the numbers that are expected in March. 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), had no new reports. 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 4-11-2024) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are good. Try a topwater bait near main lake and secondary points. Carolina-rigged craw or lizards are still producing, and the floating worm bite is good. Just get out and throw your favorite lure!

Walleye are still fair and being caught on jerkbaits and green soft plastics. Stripers are 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 fair and being caught on crickets and worms in the 15- to 25-foot range.

Crappie are biting fair. These fish can still be targeted on shallow structure with minnows or small jigs. Jugs and trotlines are producing quality catfish catches over main lake points with live or cut bait.

Water temperature is ranging 58-62 degrees. The clarity is stained and the lake level is 575.92 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

(updated 4-11-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said, “It’s that time of year again. Crappie are scattered and can be caught as shallow as 3 feet deep and as deep as 12 feet. Live bait and jigs both produce ample numbers of crappie. White bass, hybrids and striper are on the move schooling. I have harvested limits trolling crankbaits and Alabama rigs. Spoons vertically jigged just off the bottom work well, too.”

(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 4-11-2024) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) said they still have not had many anglers on the lake and the ones that have fished have not had much luck at all. 

Despite the major rains, the lake is at a good level with good water color and, based on the forecast, is predicted to hold steady. The crappie should be moving shallow on to the trees any day now with the bream being about a month behind. 

Cook’s Lake is nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow has slab crappie, black bass, bream and every species of catfish and 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 the surface temperature at Horseshoe was 59 degrees. Water was clear and the lake was 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.


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

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