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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 05-02-2024


May 2, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Jeff Berg (left) and Tim Keeble, both from the Kansas City area and who are longtime White River angling visitors, caught trout (Jeff with the brown trout, Tim with the rainbow) while fishing with Cotter Trout Dock guide Eric Beecher this past week.

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.

NOTE: The next public cleanup for the lake (the second of three planned by the AGFC and its partners in the renovation of Lake Conway) is scheduled for Thursday-Saturday (three days only), May 16-18. The hours for the May cleanup will be 8 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. For more information, call 501-604-0492 or email

(updated 5-2-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bream seem to be picking up very well. They are biting mostly on redworms, and they have been spawning. “If the water would just stay one level, it would be great,” a Bates angler tells us. “They’ll come up in the beds, come up in there, then the water goes down. They’re trying, but you can still catch them.”

Crappie are good on the north end of the lake on jigs and minnows both. Use jigs in white/chartreuse or that have some chartreuse in them, as well as the crappie minnows.
“I haven’t heard much on bass, they kind of disappeared on me,” our anglers tells us. “I think they are hitting, but not like they were about two weeks ago.” If you go trying for bass, consider using some kind of plastic now, like a soft plastic worm or lizard. “One day they were hitting crankbaits and the next day a spinnerbait. Everything is weird with the lake now. I’m not sure the bass know what to do either. Everything else those has been going good, especially the bream now.”

Catfish fishing is still going strong. Use nightcrawlers or cut bait for the cats.

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.


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 4-25-2024) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said that with Greers Ferry Lake holding steady at power pool level and Southwestern Power Administration taking a break from water releases, the river’s running low these days. “It’s a bit unusual for April, but hey, that’s fishing for you!”

“Now, here’s the scoop: We’ve got rain on the forecast this weekend, which should bump up the lake levels a bit. But for now, take advantage of the low river levels for some prime wading opportunities. It’s not every day you get these conditions in April!
“As for the fishing itself, it’s been solid lately. Caddis flies are out and about, especially in the warmer parts of the day. Try hitting the river with a nymph rig, using a Pheasant Tail soft hackle or a Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear under an indicator. And keep an eye out for those rising fish later in the day — an Elk Hair Caddis might just do the trick when they start sipping bugs off the surface.
“So, grab your gear and hit the water while the conditions are right. And if you need any more info or want to book a trip, you know where to find me!”

(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 5-2-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.06 feet msl, or 1.02 feet above normal pool. The shad spawn going on in various places around the lake and rivers; when you find them stay with them for good catches of all species. 

Crappie seem somewhat confused these days, as with the other species — try super shallow and out to 30 feet and use jigs, minnows or crankbaits. 

Walleye are eating in the main lake and a few are left up rivers. Drag a crawler or crankbaits 10-22 feet. Some walleye are following under big schools of whites and hybrids; bass use a spoon for those. Hybrids and white bass are trying to get set up in the main lake and set up for the summer, while a lot are still traveling, but ones that are set, use spoons, inline spinners, grubs and swim baits in 15-35 feet. Catfish are starting to show up more regularly. The usual stuff is working in the lake and rivers. Some bream are shallow but most are still around 8-15 feet. Crickets and crawlers are working fine as well as inline spinners. Some black bass are spawning; more are on their way to spawn, and some have finished. Use Caroline rigs, topwater lures, wake baits, drop-shots, crankbaits and spinnerbaits for best action — there are too many baits that will work right now to mention. Work them super shallow out to 30 feet. 

Be safe and wear your life jacket.

(updated 5-2-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the bass are up fairly shallow in about 1-4 feet of water. You can catch them flipping a green pumpkin Texas rig or a shaky head up shallow. You can catch the smallmouth out further with a drop-shot or a Ned rig.


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-2-2024) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said catfish are doing pretty well. Flatheads, blues and channel cats are all being caught either with rods and reel or via the trotlines. One young angler caught a 28-pound flathead in recent days. Anglers fishing from the shoreline or dock are using worms and chicken liver, while people are baiting trotlines with bass minnows and goldfish. The production off the trotlines is more along the smaller size of cats (3-4 pounds).

Also, bream are starting to pick up (last week was a full moon). Anglers are purchasing crickets and worms. 

Largemouth bass are good. They’re biting on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Some bass were caught right off the shoreline.

Boat anglers were bringing in some nice black crappie this week, and some appeared decent-sized (14-15 inches). Minnows were the bait of choice. Anglers tell them the crappie still don’t appear to have started a big spawn there yet.

The water temperature is steady at 72 degrees. Clarity is muddy from the recent rain, with more rain in the forecast.


Lake Overcup
(updated 5-2-2024) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 said the water level is still about a foot high but clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 70-ish degrees. Crappie are being caught in 5-10 feet of water using jigs and minnows. 

Bass are doing well on buzzbaits and plastic frogs since the spawn. Bream are starting to get on their beds and are doing well. Catfish are being caught on jugs using nightcrawlers and bass minnows. “I am gearing up to start running trotlines again,” John said. 

“Come see us at Overcup Landing off Highway 9, Morrilton.” 


Lake Maumelle
(updated 5-2-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water temperature is in the 67- to 70-degree range. The largemouth bass bite this week has been good. Reports of the bass in post-spawn and starting to move out in 8-12 feet. Try points and drop- offs. Jigs, crankbaits and swim baits are working, and try jerkbaits shallow in the afternoon. Spotted bass (Kentuckies) are also good. Reports of them being found on points in 8-12 feet depth as well as around drop-offs. Try jigs. In Tuesday night’s black bass tournament, 29 of 31 boats caught 5-stringer limits. Jeremy Cole and Billy Wright caught a 5-bass stringer of 13.46 pounds to win, with Brandon Crain and Matt Hedrick right behind with 12 pounds. Brandon Slaughter hauled in the Big Bass of 4.17 pounds.

No reports on white bass this week. Try using twister tails; there are a few stragglers on the west end of the lake.
Crappie are fair. Some reports of crappie being found suspended on brush anywhere from 16-21 feet and catching a bunch of small ones. Try using jigs or minnows. Bream are good. They’ll be moving up shallow now preparing for the spawn on the next full moon. They can be found around 7-10 feet as well as in shallow water (3-5 feet). Crickets, worms and drop-shots are all safe bets.
No reports on catfish this week, but the flatheads spawn is just around the corner. They will head to the flats soon. Try using bream, liver and worms.


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 5-2-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said anglers can catch just about anything but crappie these days on the Little Maumelle, and the black bass are still doing great. “I don’t know how you could say it any better than that,” he said. “Bass are on fire.”

The bass are biting crankbaits, plastic worms and spinnerbaits. Besides the quantity of bass caught, there’s good quality too. “It’s right in the middle of spawning right now, and they’re catching a lot of the big females,” Ray said.

Water is normal, fairly clear.

Crappie are probably done with the spawn, he reports and no one has caught much on crappie lately. Anglers are catching bream on crickets and worms now. One regular on the dock there has caught some catfish this week.


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 5-2-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said anglers fishing the river are finding bass in 6-8 feet of water off the main river banks, fishing off the rocks. Use a crankbait in solid black or chartreuse with black back. In the backwaters, anglers are having success flipping a black-and-blue half-ounce jig, or a Texas rig with a quarter-ounce tungsten weight with a black/blue or Junebug color flipping bait.


Peckerwood Lake
(updated 5-2-2024) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (501-626-6899) reports that the fishing is pretty good, with bream and catfish biting really well. Anglers are still catching a few crappie, too. Crappie are biting minnows and jigs (“everyone has their favorite color,” she notes of her crappie anglers). Crickets are the go-to on bream now. Catfish will bite “a little bit of everything,” she said. Hot dogs and minnows seem to always work well here.

Nobody has been saying anything about bass, but Donna says when everything else is biting, the bass are biting too. The bass anglers tend to hang out on the opposite (north) side of Peckerwood from Herman’s.


North Arkansas

White River
(updated 5-2-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the recent rains have increased the activity from the dams in the White River watershed, so prepare for faster water over the next few days. This provides the opportunity to reacquaint yourself with your favorite jerkbaits — maybe a No. 9 Rapala Countdown or a Smithwick Rogue. 

Bull Shoals Lake is at power pool while moderate generation continues, varying between 2,000 cfs to 14,000 cfs (one to four units). The lake level now is 660 feet msl, up a couple of feet from last week.

Deeper water in the afternoon means more drift-fishing and limited wading opportunities, but trout love lots of water and bubbles. Look for structures on the riverbed that oxygenate the area and you’ll find a hangout for trout. Anglers have been nabbing lots of 12- to 13-inch rainbows — best if you decide to keep any and absolutely perfect for lots of action, making some forever memories. Shrimp and PowerBait are a must in your bait bucket, but for larger fish and for the browns the guides say you can’t beat the real thing: live river minnows trapped fresh in the morning or some shad recently picked up in the lake.

The brown bite has been fantastic this week. They’ve shown up for sculpins, minnows, shad and even a random artificial pink mousetail worm.
We’re definitely seeing springtime temperatures — waking up to 60 degrees, give or take a few, with mostly blue skies ushering in the warmer afternoon temperature. Aside from showers now and again, our trout anglers have been blessed with gorgeous weather this week. 

“Natural (State) fishing is pure fun and excitement. Come visit Arkansas!”

(updated 5-2-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said that late last week and through the weekend the fishing was tremendous, with several above-average rainbow trout caught as well as some nice brown trout measuring 22 inches or more. Success was had using many different baits and lures. The go-to lures continue to be quarter-ounce spoons (Thompson Colorado in nickel/gold or Little Cleo in silver or silver with fire stripe). Rapala Countdowns in rainbow trout and brown trout colors worked well. Uncommon Bait UV Neo pink eggs with corn or shrimp worked well for catching rainbow trout

As the rain and storms moved through the area the river was dingy Monday and muddy Tuesday and into Wednesday. With the Buffalo River clearing up and Bull Shoals Dam’s increased generation Tuesday afternoon, by Wednesday afternoon the river was still high at almost 10 feet but the water cleared a lot. 

“Late this week and into the weekend I expect the river will continue to clear up,” Dave said. “This week we had one stocking when the AGFC pontoon raft stocked 1,000 rainbow trout between Calico Rock and Mt. Olive and another 1,000 rainbow trout between Mt. Olive and Sylamore Creek.”


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 5-2-2024) Fishing guide Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake said the lake level Wednesday was 661 feet msl. “We shot up about a foot,” Del said. “Temps are around 64 degrees give or take, depending on where you are at.”
Del reports the bass are spawning and they are already catching a few post-spawn. Fishing has been good and everyone is catching them, but it will definitely slow down after a cold front. Be sure to fish the conditions. If it’s cloudy, rainy and/or windy you can powerfish shad-style baits, a square bill, spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits in the runoff. Make sure you’re covering water on windblown transition banks and swings. If it’s flat and sunny, fish swings and secondary points, as well as south-facing spawning pockets. Try a green pumpkin or puke tube, C-rig or a shaky head Senko, or a floating worm. Also a Jewel finesse jig and a Ned rig are all working. Best colors are green pumpkin orange/red variants. On tough days or 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, fluke or Tater Shad 2.8. Small topwater poppers and the Lucky Craft Gunfish are starting to produce, all in white or natural shad. 

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 5-2-2024) Southernwalleye Guide Service (501-365-1606) reports that walleye fishing has been steadily getting better. Fishing methods have not changed. If contour trolling, try stick baits or shad-style baits slow and shallow just before dark and after daybreak in 8-14 feet of water. Slide out to deeper water, 20-40 feet, after daylight. If open water trolling for suspended fish, find shad and try trolling with snap weights from 35-50 feet deep over 80 feet or more of water while using Berkley No. 9 Flicker Minnows or No. 7 Flicker Shads. Rapala Deep Husky Jerks and Reef Runner 800 series trolled over the old river channel at 1.2-1.8 mph should put some fish in the boat.

(updated 5-2-2024) Crappie 101 Guide Service (870-577-2045) reports crappie are spawning but seemed to be pretty scattered with the water level down. Fish are moving in and out on staging structures to beds, and we have started catching spawned-out females. Use minnows and one-sixteenth-ounce and one-eighth-ounce jigs with the Tater Baits, Thump Minnow or Tater Shad Jr.


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

(updated 5-2-2024) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said the lake level was 555.92 feet msl and has risen 1.75 inches in the last 24 hours with the one operating generator running for about 8 hours and spillway gates open to an equivalent of another one-third of a generator when he came in at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The rise is from the heavy rain from the Norfork River Basin in the Ava, Missouri, area. It is up 2.3 feet since last week but has not hurt anything as far as fishing is concerned. There is some small debris floating out from the shore in the creeks but the main lake is still very clear. Almost too clear. The surface water temperature is 67 degrees in the main lake and 70 in the creeks. The topwater bite has started and will really get better when the threadfin shad spawn starts and it will be soon. They like 70-degree-plus water. Next week will be a good time to catch fish. Fish shadowy banks part way back in the creeks on creature baits for bass. Many crappie, bluegill, bass and catfish just moved in under Blackburn’s dock Wednesday. Things are changing quickly. This is the time. 

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

(updated 5-2-2024) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort (870-492-5113) said Wednesday, “It was a pretty good early morning of fishing for me and others. I have been fishing the night shift as I have needed to be back at the resort no later than 7:30 a.m. So, I have been starting to fish at 3 a.m. Sleep is overrated. 

“You have heard it before, if you find the bait you will find the fish, especially if the bait is spawning. That was the case today. I found large schools of bait that attached their eggs to my boat and trolling motor. Little bumps all over it. The bait was 20 feet thick from the surface to 20 feet down. The stripers were 10-25 feet down. I dropped a key lime Tater Baits Tater Shad, through the baitfish very slowly and the fish picked it up on the fall. What a blast! I also was casting out my 3.5-inch swimbait through the baitfish and got to land this nice 17-pound striped bass. It was a heavy, hard fighting fish. I landed four other stripers with many white bass and a nice 20-inch walleye. John, an angler guest of the resort, was fishing another part of the lake and had great success. He was casting out a Tater Shad, letting it sink, then giving it a twitch and the fish would hammer it. Other Hummingbird Hideaway Resort guests had guided trips Wednesday with Norfork Bayou Fishing and Rising Water Guide Service. Both had success on the topwater bite in different parts of the lake and had a lot of fun.”

The surface water temperature was a little over 67 degrees in the main lake. The lake level is on a slow rise due to all the rain that our watershed received from up in Missouri. The lake level currently sits at 555.84 feet msl.

“We have cabins available throughout the spring and summer. Give us a call to make your fishing and/or family vacation plans. Happy fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake in the Arkansas Ozarks!”

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 5-2-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Well, there have been some major changes this last week. This area had a ton of rain. Watching the gauges close to the Arkansas Highway 45 bridge showed a rise from 4 feet o near 14 feet. That’s a huge push of water, mud and debris. As of yesterday the mud/debris was approaching Monte Ne. Also they have been generating, which will pull the mudline further north.
The spawn is on and the good news is water is coming up, not being pulled down, which should help with the spawn. Before all the rain and severe weather the striper bite was kicking into high gear, but now we will have to relocate the striper when all settles. My gut feeling is the fish will start showing up near Prairie Creek and further north a little sooner with the mud down south pushing them north. Crappie are scattered, as some have spawned and some haven’t. Same with black bass. Smallmouth and spots have been pretty good from Point 6 into all the arms from there north. Catfish should really perk up all over the lake.
Water has come up nearly 3 feet in the last two weeks, so keep an eye out for floaters and other debris. “Be safe and good luck!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for the latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.


Beaver Tailwater
(updated 4-25-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “Well, our water levels are starting to come up and the bite has been improving on all fronts. I wish I could say I have been the one out there, but due to home construction, my other guides are getting the reports to me. I am being told quality white bass and some decent male walleye are being caught between Houseman Access and Beaver town. Most white bass and walleye are being caught with jigs tipped with a Pautzke Fire Worm, along with casting mid-diving cranks. As for the trout, they are pretty spread out; however, most are being caught with Fire Bait fished with light terminal tackle. Look for the deeper holes for the trout. The generation schedule has been a little bipolar, but drifting Fire Minnow and tubes will definitely put fish into the boat. Hope you all have been enjoying the weather, let’s get out there and fish! 

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


Lake Fayetteville
(updated 5-2-2024) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says we’re catching a lot of crappie and bluegill. Crappie are biting jigs and minnows. Try one with a pink head that they sell at the boat dock. Bluegill are biting crickets.

Nothing has been reported to them on bass or catfish. Crappie, they report, appear to be bedding, according to some anglers.

Water clarity is clear. 


Northeast Arkansas

Lake Charles
(updated 4-25-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the bream and crappie are providing a lot of good action for anglers, while she heard no reports from black bass, white bass or catfish this past week. Even with cool mornings, the crappie were still biting. Jigs and worms were working best for crappie Reports were coming in for bream starting to hit redworms and jigs, and crickets were also popular.

The water temperature Sunday morning was 64.5 degrees. Water level is normal and the clarity is the usual murky.

Good “moon times” for fishing are expected this week through April 26, she said.


Lake Poinsett
(updated 5-2-2024) Jonathan Wagner at Lake Poinsett State Park said anglers have mostly been catching bream. Most accounts say they are using crickets and “fuzzy” baits, likely imitating the tent caterpillars that are abundant right now. They have reported catching good-sized bream in good numbers from various locations around the lake from the shoreline.
“One angler we saw, waiting for his friend to put in the boat from the park ramp, decided to throw out a frog lure and caught a nice bass in a short time,” Jonathan said.
“I have had requests for white/milky colored baits and jigs for the crappie. Bass and crappie continue to be catch-and-release.”

Remember that while bass and crappie are catch-and-release only, bream and catfish may be kept at daily state limits.


Spring River
(updated 4-25-2024) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are low at 220 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity is clear. The area is in bad need of some rain. Lack of rain has the river very low, creating some great Hopper Dropper action, and possible dry fly action in the evening. With the clearer conditions, anglers might have to use lighter tippet and smaller nymphs on tough days.

The stocking for the summer season has ramped up with really nice-sized rainbows being stocked at all locations. All of the campgrounds are open now, offering more wade-in options. This is the time to fish before the summer crowd starts up. 

It’s a great time to chase smallies before the spawn, but they will start spawning soon to create more wonderful smallies for us to catch. “Gonna be a good season for smallies and rock bass,” Mark says.

The river is looking great, it’s just getting really low and warm too early in the year. River conditions can change with springtime thunderstorms. Always check the blog for the latest river conditions on the Spring River on Mark’s website linked above.


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 5-2-2024) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new reports.


Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-2-2024) Teresa Atchley at Cane Creek State Park (870-628-4714) said anglers have been fishing with redworms and crickets for “anything that bites” as well as using minnows for crappie. Others were using crickets for bream, but the bream bite has been slow. As bait, however, bream were being used to catch catfish in fair numbers.
Crappie were biting earlier this week on minnows. As last weekend came to a close, one angler mentioned he had caught 12-13 catfish, a few bream and a bass at the spillway dock, releasing all of them. He was fishing with nightcrawlers for the catfish. The next year, a couple of anglers were using redworms at the exterior pier and caught bass and bream. Wednesday, the only fishing was for catfish, using nightcrawlers.


Lake Monticello
(updated 5-2-2024) 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 5-2-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Wednesday that Millwood continues to rise, with lake elevation near 13 inches above normal pool — 260.3 feet msl and rising. Millwood Lake Dam is releasing about 6,700 cfs and the tailwater is holding near 234 feet msl and rising. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website linked under “Millwood Lake,” for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake.

Surface temps were stable this week, ranging 68 degrees early to 75 degrees later in the day along Little River, depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River is stained this week with above-normal pool elevation and increased river current. Heavy to moderate stain is found in most locations, with some areas further up Little River being heaviest. River clarity ranges 5-8 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from heavy stained to fair visibility from 10-20 inches, and we observed around 2 feet visibility in a few wind and current protected areas like McGuire Oxbow. 

Mike offered these updates on the fishing this week on Millwood:
* Most largemouth bass are coming off the beds and are in post-spawn condition. A few beds are still being seen near Millwood State Park, South Hickory Slough and golf course pockets near cypress trees, with males guarding the fry in a few locations. Activity is consistent with last week, not much change this week. Many large female bass between 6-9 pounds each have been caught and released over the past couple weeks, as well as in local tournaments on Millwood. The males and females continue moving in and around bedding areas and guarding beds with fry, near 1-5 feet on flats near grass, cypress trees and buckbrush. Best activity is being seen in mornings near creek channel swing and in flats of 1-6 feet depth that are holding fresh lily pad blooms and vegetation. Soft plastic frogs, 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads, plastic lizards, Brush Hogs and buzzbaits are drawing reactions from 12- to 16-inch bass from 2-6 feet depths.
Bill Lewis crankbaits like the MR-6, Echo 1.75 and SB-57 MDJ Crankbaits continue getting random reaction bites these past few weeks from the active roaming bass (and white bass, too) in the deeper sections of creek channels or drops from the flats into 8-12 feet structure, and on primary points with stumps present. Best responses are during the heat of the day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We caught good numbers of males and females from 3 to 6 pounds each over the past several weeks on the 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads, lizards and spinnerbaits in the shallow lily pads, grass and buckbrush.

The best largemouth bites and activity continue to be much more reliable in the oxbows of McGuire, Horseshoe, Mud and Clear lakes where the water clarity is drastically better. The water temps were slightly warmer, further away from river current. Salty Beavers, creature baits, lizards and Baby Brush Hogs have been taking some decent 14- to 17-inch bass roaming flats in the clearer water sections of the oxbows, away from current while guarding the fry near beds. In and near shallow stumps, cypress knees, and cover around 5-8 foot depth flats with vegetation, fresh lily pad blooms, you can find a few decent males roaming early and reacting to a topwater frog or jerkbait, near to a quick creek bend structure or a drop into 8-12 feet of depth. South Hickory golf course pockets are still active with post-spawn bass, and we saw males guarding the fry near beds. Those locations gave up some fair-sized largemouths in the 15- to 18-inch range (around 3-4 pounds) over the past couple of weeks. We got several good reactions from 3- to 5-pound bass over the past week or so with Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and lizards around cypress tree knees.

Best reaction colors for Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits have been Spot Remover, the Millwood Mayhem Bream, and black/blue. Best depth zones to target are cypress tree knees from 4-9 feet, with 12-15 feet of depth nearby. Lizards in 6- to-8-inch size in in Blackberry, Blue Fleck, Grape and Junebug colors have been picking up random cruising bass near stumps on 5-7 feet drops near 10-feet deep structure.
* The white bass continue scattering from their recent spawning run up Little River and are breaking into random schools moving back downriver. Two anglers we stopped and talked with a few days ago said they caught 15 white bass that were piled up on points, at mouths of the oxbows and creek dumps into Little River between White Cliffs and Cemetery Slough. 

For the past several weeks, the whites have begun to scatter and move back down Little River from the spawning pockets and rocks above U.S. Highway 71. Good numbers of 2- to 3-pound whites can still be caught as they break into various schools migrating back down Little River near Brown’s Slough, Black’s Branch and Cemetery Slough. The two anglers we spoke with were having the best luck on half-ounce to three-quarter-ounce hammered Cordell, Kastmaster and homemade spoons with white bucktails on the rear hook.
The week before last, we caught a few decent white bass at the mouth of Hurricane Creek on three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome/blue or Splatterback colors. Bomber Fat Free Shads, or Fingerlings, and Bill Lewis MR-6 Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad were working behind points along Little River, and we caught some decent whites in those locations that ranged from 7-12 feet deep on and behind those primary points. Vertical-jigging a chrome three-quarter-ounce Cordell Hammered Spoon with a red/white hair bucktail behind primary points near the bottom, where stumps were located on the backside of points, was working for us for a few nice-sized 2- to 3-pound whites. Swimming a hair jig with a heavy-thumping tail swimbait trailer picked up a few whites in 10-14 feet of water by swimming and dropping the bait.
* The crappie bite has improved over the past few weeks with water clarity improving in many locations. One day it’s on fire, and the next day they run from a minnow on Livescope! Our planted brush piles in Pugh Slough, Horseshoe, Bee Lake and Millwood State Park continue to hold nice 12- to 15-inch crappie, and those brush piles gave up some nice 2-pound slabs over the past couple of weeks. The crappie bite continues to be best using minnows one day and jigs the next, or jigs tipped with a minnow, in planted brush piles in 10-16 feet depth. Best color jig during the past couple of weeks has been Monkey Milk one day, Electric Chicken the next, while a smoke-colored grubs with a chartreuse tip tail on a light wire jighead would pick up a few extra bites.
* We did see two bream fishermen in Hurricane Creek a few days ago, and they said they were having fair luck with crickets and worms on slip corks, but said they haven’t seen any bream on beds yet.

* Catfishing has improved over the past week with the increased river current on trotlines and yo-yos. Baiting trotlines with King’s Punch Bait, chicken liver or hearts was working in Mud Lake a few days ago as long as you could keep the alligators away. We talked to a guy who said he was using the yo-yos we saw in Mud Lake, baiting them with minnows and big white grubs, and he said he had to stay within 100 feet to beat the water with a boat paddle to scare the alligators away from his yo-yos and from stealing his catfish. Guys were running trotlines 12-14 feet deep in Little River, and yo-yos were hung in cypress trees over 7-9 feet of depth in Mud Lake.


Lake Erling
(updated 5-2-2024) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) had no new reports.

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.

(updated 5-2-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that Lake Greeson is 9.5 feet below full pool with no water in the buckbrush. So what is the strategy for bass fishing this lake now in lower water conditions? Kastner notes that Greeson is completely different than most lakes. For one, there’s no grass, no moss other than the slime stuff growing and that doesn’t count, he says. With it being as low as it is, that just lends you to looking for rocks and brush … or timber, whatever you can find along the shoreline. Any lake that you go into in the spring, you’re looking for wood. You’re looking for fallen-down trees, you’re looking for buckbrush, and you’re fishing that structure. That’s where nests are.
Fish in the guts of pockets. You want to stop halfway and slow roll that black spinnerbait right down the gut of it, and catch a lot of fish.


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

(updated 5-2-2024) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Hey folks, it’s fishing time! Water level is at 404.52 feet msl with a slight drop. “Ready for this? Water temperature at my last writing was still in the 60s. I saw surface water temperature on Tuesday of 74-plus degrees. Wow!

“There was a crappie tournament last weekend on DeGray and the last I

heard, the largest weight (at that time, weighing in was in progress) was 8.66 pounds for five fish. Nice fish.

“Most of the reports for crappie that I have are from open-water fishing with front-facing sonar. The only things in the brush piles are small and lots of bream. Small ones.

“Crappie should be rock ’n’ rolling on the spawn. Slip bobbers and minnows around brush for the bedding ones. Fish 6 inches off the bottom. Or front-facing sonar in open water. The fish that have gone into spawn will be returning to the open water.

“The full moon cycle for the bream has provided good reports, anglers say, but will be winding down soon. Use side imaging to find the beds and the drop-shot will be great.
“Reports I’m getting is that the black bass spawn is about done. New techniques to come out now. Also, hybrid bass were surfacing around Yancey this last weekend.”

(updated 5-2-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said that at both lakes Ouachita and DeGray, where he has been doing most of his fishing lately, the spawn this year has been a tough one on the crappie and bass. Now that we are entering a post-spawn period they are stacking up on nearby habitat. You can find them on staging brush piles fished 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water. Get a minnow or jig in front of them and harvest your limit.


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 Atkins
(updated 4-18-2024) Reba’s Marina Bait & RV Park @ Lucky Landing (479-237-5218), previously known as Lucky Landing Marina, is under the new ownership of businessmen Kevin Pierce of Paragould, who has relocated to the area.
Last Friday’s conditions were 72 degrees ambient temperature with a surface water temp of 65.1 degrees, perfect for bass and crappie fishing. Extremely windy conditions Thursday led to just one brave soul fishing about an hour before giving up. The bait shop has live bait (bass, crappie, black salties, nightcrawlers, redworms, shad, crickets and more in stock, along with the latest and greatest lures. They also feature the Bonefish Bucket Eatery food trailer for hungry visitors/anglers (open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

They have a Facebook page with regular updates. Reba’s will be hosting a first (and planned for annual) youth fishing tournament on Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day), from 9 a.m.-noon. Signup sheets at Reba’s and Sun Kissed Tanning. Top three winners will receive big prizes: First place, a bicycle; second place, fishing pole; third place, tackle box with lures and more. Every child who signs up will receive a T-shirt. The event is open to 13 years old and younger.


Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit

(updated 5-2-2024) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 63 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Both lakes Hamilton and Catherine are at normal summertime pool. Due to the latest storm fronts moving through Arkansas, Entergy has run round-the-clock generation to lower area lakes in anticipation of heavy rainfall. More rain is expected later this week before drier conditions are forecast. 

Bad weather forces Entergy to run large amounts of generation from area dams to control lake levels and this process creates dangerous boating and fishing conditions. Before fishing below a hydroelectric dam, it is a good idea to check the weekly generation schedules and plan your outings accordingly. The Entergy website features a hydroelectric page for the general public to view current lake levels and conditions.
Below Carpenter Dam, fly-fishermen can still wade to areas that hold good numbers of trout and can have 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 casting waxworms or mealworms 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. 

Conditions are favorable now for trolling to 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 now complete on Lake Catherine but numbers of male and female walleye remain to rest and feed before making the move downstream to the main body of Lake Catherine. These fish can be caught by trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current on both sides of the river below the dam. Shad or crayfish imitations work best as both of these are present in large numbers in the lake and offer game fish a solid food source throughout the year. Trout will be scarce where spawning walleye were established as rainbow trout are known egg eaters and are attacked by walleye when crossing over into bedding areas. 

April was the beginning of the crappie spawn, adding another quality game fish for the public to target. In a cold-water situation like below Carpenter Dam, spawning times are much later than what occur in main lake bodies. Small jigs and live minnows are a best bet when targeting these spawning fish. 

As temperatures warm and threadfin shad are no longer stunned by cold temperatures, there will be a dramatic decrease in the amount of prey for fish to feed on. Several days of this reduction in food will force fish to actively search for prey, which will create a good situation for anglers to be successful. Despite the safer conditions and warmer weather, it is extremely important to remember that fish in the tailrace have proven difficult to catch this entire year. Trout can be caught but not in the numbers that were expected in past years. Normal pool levels will bring a more consistent bite from the rainbow trout population. 

Patience is a must this year for anglers to have success due to the flooding and heavy flows the lake has experienced. Always wear a life jacket when on the water and remember to follow all park and boating regulations. Pick up after yourself, as the number of trash cans are limited in this area. Always cooperate with all wildlife officials and law enforcement. 


Lake Dardanelle
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ outflow and gauge level reports from Dardanelle, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

No reports.


Lake Hamilton
No reports.


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 5-2-2024) 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 5-2-2024) 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. Just get out and throw your favorite lure!

Walleye are fair and being caught on shad-style baits. Stripers are still 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 still good and being caught on crickets and worms in the 15-25 foot range; these fish are starting to move shallow. Crappie are fair. These fish can still be targeted on structure with minnows or small jigs.

Jugs and trotlines are still producing quality catches of catfish over main lake points with live or cut bait.
Water temperature is ranging 66-70 degrees and the clarity is clearing. Lake level Thursday was 576.70 feet msl, about 1.3 feet below normal level. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

(updated 5-2-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said at both lakes Ouachita and DeGray, where he has been fishing lately, the spawn this year has been a tough one on the crappie and bass. Now that we are entering a post-spawn period they are stacking up on nearby habitat. You can find them on staging brush piles fished 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water. Get a minnow or jig in front of them and harvest your limit.

(updated 4-25-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the April 25 edition of “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that Ouachita is about a foot below normal pool and being held there. The big conversation among anglers now is, how far back into a pocket do you go with this lake level. The consensus, Kastner says, is two-thirds of the way back; don’t go to the back third. The back third is pretty stale and stagnant right now the way they are controlling the lake level. So, you want to fish the front two-thirds of the pockets, not the back one-third. That’s where the majority of the fish are being caught.


Blue Mountain Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow reports from Blue Mountain Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.


East Arkansas

White River/Clarendon Area
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time gauge level and flow from Clarendon, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.


Horseshoe Lake
(updated 5-2-2024) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said the water temperature is hovering close to 70 degrees and the water is clear. The lake level is still about 2 feet low.
The crappie are spawning. Some have spawned but there’s more to come in. We checked eggs on a few females this week and found some with few eggs, some that still need a week or so and some that were turning gray. These fish should stay in the shallows for a few more weeks. Look for crappie in 2-4 feet of water around trees or brush. Jig colors are all over the place: pinks, oranges, whites and chartreuse were popular colors.
The bass spawn is probably getting close. We caught a few males up in the shallows near the crappie beds.
Catfish are biting. Not many folks utilize the catfish population with rods and reels but this is a good time to check out the lake and catch some catfish. They are feeding on the shad in the shallows and are easy targets. We have caught some on every trip the past couple of weeks.
Bream are shallow as well. As the sun gets overhead, look under the piers in 1-3 feet of water. 


White River/Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 5-2-2024) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt said this week the Arkansas River is on the rise. Down below Wilbur Mills Dam, lots of water flows out of the gates and the hydroelectric portion. Catfishing should be excellent these next few days. As for the lakes on Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge, bream are biting in the cypress knees. Crappie are moving to deeper water and to structures. 

“We are about to wrap up the 2024 turkey season and it’s been a good one, lots of birds harvested! Thanks for shopping at Webb’s Sporting Goods! Look for us on Highway 1 on the south end of town.”


Cook’s Lake
(updated 4-25-2024) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) said he had nothing new to report. The lake is low and disconnected from the river, allowing it to hold steady for the last week or so. There is still not much fishing activity, “but I don’t know why it shouldn’t be getting good soon!”

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.


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

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