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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 05-09-2024


May 9, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

A youngster from northeast Arkansas named Miles recently ventured to the opposite corner of the state, just below Beaver Lake on the tailwater in northwest Arkansas, and found out how much fun walleye are to catch. He was fishing with tailwater guide Austin Kennedy and his family.

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 5-9-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water is back up with the rain. “The lake’s got plenty of water in it right now, a lot of water right now,” they report.

Crappie kind of scattered a little bit. There is a lot of flow coming with the gates open. That is not hurting with the bream, catfish or bass, though. All of those species are doing well. Crappie, though, have been tough to catch the last few days.

Same baits as usual for the bream, they say. The redear are turning on pretty well; use redworms. That appears to be the favorite for their customers as well, Bates tells us. There are lots of signs of the bream spawning, and that was especially true before the water came up.
The usual catfish baits will work.

Black bass are hot again on crankbaits. Try a natural shad-colored bait now.

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!”


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 5-9-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.92 feet msl, 1.88 feet above normal pool. The shad spawn is going on in various places around the lake and rivers. When you find them, stay with them for good catches of all species. Crappie still seem somewhat confused, as with the other species. Try super shallow and out to 30 feet; use jigs, minnows or crankbaits. 

Walleye are eating in the main lake and the few that are left up rivers. Drag a crawler or crankbait at 10-22 feet. Some are following under big schools of white bass and hybrids; use a spoon for those. Hybrid bass and white bass are trying to get set up in the main lake and set up for the summer — a lot are still traveling, but ones that are set, use spoons, inline spinners, grubs and swimbaits at 15-35 feet. Catfish are starting to show up more for the usual stuff, 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 Carolina rigs, topwater lures, wake baits, drop-shots, crankbaits and spinnerbaits for best action as they are too many baits to mention that will work right now, 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 5-9-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water temperature is in the mid-70s. Largemouth bass are good. There are angler reports of the bass in post-spawn and starting to move out in 8-20 feet. Try points and drop-offs. Try using drop-shots, Texas-rigged worms and crankbaits. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) have also been good and reports have them being found on points in 8-20 feet as well as around drop-offs. Use jigs for spots.

WestRock’s Tuesday night black bass tournament totals took a big jump in weights this week, and 29 of 31 boats caught 5-bass-limit stringers. Andrew Wooley and Cameron Nestereko landed a winning 17.87 pounds, while Daniel Romine and Brian Greenway caught the 4.23-pound Big Bass. Josh Jeffers and Aaron Presser hauled in a 14.54-pound stringer for second place.

Crappie are fair. Some reports have crappie being found suspended on brush anywhere from 16-21 feet and catching a bunch of small ones. Try jigs and minnows. Bream are good. They are moving up shallow now preparing for the spawn on the full moon. They can be found around 7-10 feet as well as shallow in 3-5 feet. Crickets, worms and drop-shots are working. There have been no reports this week on white bass or catfish, but you could still pick up one or two. Use twister tails for whites, while catfish now favor smaller bream, chicken liver or worms (nightcrawlers!).


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 5-9-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said fishing the White River tailwater in Cotter this past week meant keeping your rainsuit near and ensuring your tackle box contained rainbow-hued baits. Overcast skies are an angler’s gift. The river remained pretty clear, but darker baits helped before generation from the dam cleared

out the little bit of dinginess we experienced.
Bull Shoals Lake is continuing to rise, currently sitting at 663.11 feet msl, as the spring rains in southwest Missouri and north-central Arkansas fill the reservoirs. Water level in Cotter averages one unit (3,000 cfs) to four units (12,000 cfs).
Trout fishing on high water is all about drifting big baits to lure those big (and growing) fish. River minnows and sculpins drifted near the grassy banks will bring the browns out of hiding and every kind of jerkbait is a worthy agent in your search for the biggest trout. We favor the Rapala Rainbow or Brook Trout Countdowns, Nos. 5 or 7. There have been some hefty hatches giving our fly-anglers a run; try the super midge and some sparkling caddis flies.

Our spring colors are vibrantly green this year from the recent rains. Come visit and experience the Natural State in its springtime brilliance.

(updated 5-9-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the fishing over the last week has been great except for Tuesday afternoon when they got some muddy water from the Buffalo that cleared up by Wednesday morning. This week we saw water depths over 9.5 feet and as low as 7 feet. For the majority of the week, Bull Shoals Dam generated a lot of water, keeping the water levels high but with the added benefit of quickly flushing out or diluting the muddy water from the Buffalo River. With the higher water, we saw limited success with artificial lures. The best results came from using Uncommon Bait UV eggs in Neo Pink or Bright Orange with corn or shrimp. On days when there was little loss of moss in the water, adding silver inline spinners provided the extra flash needed to get the trout’s attention. 

This week we received one trout stocking with the AGFC using their pontoon raft to stock 2,200-ish rainbows between Calico Rock and Sylamore Creek and another 2,200-ish fish between Sylamore Creek and Round Bottom boat ramp.


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 5-9-2024) Fishing guide Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake said the lake level is 662 feet msl. “We shot up after Table Rock opened the floodgates. Temps are around 69 degrees give or take, with warmer water in the dirty areas. Bass are in spawn and post-spawn Fishing has been good but it will definitely slow down after these fronts. Be sure to fish the conditions.”

Del recommends that if it’s cloudy, rainy and/or windy you can powerfish shad baits, square bills, spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits in the dirty runoff. He suggests covering water on windblown transition banks swings. If it’s flat sunny swings and secondary points out from spawning pockets. Try a green pumpkin or a puke, a Ned rig or tube, Carolina rig or a shaky head, or hit the shoreline floating a worm or Senko on fry-guarders. Or flip the bushes with a Beaver-style bait. Del like the Jewel Flippin’ Jig. The rise in the lake is going to make that bite tough. Best colors are green pumpkin orange/red variants.
On tough days or in clear water you’re going to want to keep the boat out deep, 25 feet, and slow down. In the dirty water you can get real skinny. 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 there’s been a shad spawn here and there. Try a 2.8 swimbait or fluke, and topwaters are starting to pick up. Wake baits and the Lucky Craft Gunfish are starting to produce, all in white or natural shad color. 

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 5-9-2024) Southernwalleye Guide Service (501-365-1606) reports that walleye fishing has been good. Fishing methods have not changed much. If contour trolling, try shad-style baits or small Banada-style baits in 8-14 feet of water. Slide out to deeper water, 20-25 feet, after daylight. If in open water, trolling for suspended fish is still the same as last week. Find shad and try trolling with snap weights from 35-50 deep over 80-plus feet of water while using Berkley No. 9 Flicker Minnows and No. 7 Flicker Shads. Rapala Deep Husky Jerks and Reef Runner 800, Bandit Deep-Diver Series trolled over the old river channel at 1.2 to 1.8 mph should put some fish in the boat.

(updated 5-9-2024) Crappie 101 Guide Service (870-577-2045) reports that most crappie they’re finding are back around brush and structure not far away from spawning areas. They are scattering more as the lake is on the rise. Cover lots of water and look at brush and structure. One-sixteenth-ounce jigs with Tater Baits Tater Shad Jr. have been working well and, of course, minnows.


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) 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, moved it 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.

(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. 


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 5-9-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is moving up and past normal pool levels. The lake has come up almost 2 feet in two weeks. Right now it is sitting at 1,125.40 feet msl. Water temperature is in the low to upper 60s. Stained/muddy water is from near Horseshoe all the way up to Twin Bridges. From Coppermine north the clarity is good. Stripers have been pushed around from all the mud and rain. People are picking them up from Prairie Creek to Rocky Branch. Bass fishing is pretty good. Some have spawned and some are spawning. I have been catching some nice smallies in the Big Clifty and Rambo areas and spots are in there, also. Crappie are scattered everywhere, so your guess is as good as mine. Same as bass in the fact some spawned and I am sure some are still spawning. With water coming up it has really scattered all fish. Catfish are starting to show up for jugs and trotline users. Lots of floating debris so be careful when running your boat. I saw debris all the way into Big Clifty (Wednesday). 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, “This past week has been up and down on the tailwater. The Army Corps of Engineers opened the floodgates, causing swifter and higher water. This has made the bite a little trickier. Most trout have been caught with Pautzke Fire Eggs and Fire Bait, fished with light terminal tackle. The majority of the trout have been caught between Houseman and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. There are still a few walleye in the system, with most being caught in the deeper waters. Jigging soft plastics or tossing jerk baits with Walleye Fire Gel have produced nice numbers. 

“The white bass have been toward Holiday Island and Beaver town. Tossing crankbaits and Alabama rigs have done the trick with these guys. With the warmer water entering the system, this has brought up some alligator gar as well as crappie and nice sunfish. They should hang around for a few weeks, or until the water cools down. Try to hit the coves early in the morning and fish the main channel later in the morning to afternoon. I hope you’re all able to get out 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 5-9-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said it’s still a great time to be fishing for bream and crappie at Lake Charles. Bream are being found in shallow water now and are aggressive toward crickets, worms and jigs. Crappie are still hanging out in shallow water as well and will bite well on jigs. She heard no reports from last week on bass or catfish.
Water level was on the rise and is high as of earlier this week. No water temperature was recorded. The clarity is the usual murky.


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 5-9-2024) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new reports.


Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-9-2024) Teresa Atchley at Cane Creek State Park (870-628-4714) said anglers on Wednesday caught a couple of fish and had a couple of nibbles from fish that got away fishing with nightcrawlers from the park’s exterior pier. They were camping at the park. Nightcrawlers, redworms, crickets, jigs and minnows have all been used by anglers in the past week who said they were hoping to catch anything that bites. Some were fishing from their boat for a variety of fish (bream, crappie, bass, catfish). 


Lake Monticello
(updated 5-9-2024) 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 5-9-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Wednesday that Millwood pool is falling. Lake elevation is about 5 inches above normal pool at 259.6 feet msl. Millwood Lake Dam is currently releasing about 14,000 cfs, and tailwater is holding near 243 feet msl and falling. 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 above below “Millwood Lake,” for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. 

Surface temps are stable, ranging 71 degrees early to 76 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 in 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 heavier stain 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, away from river current. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.

Mike provided specifics on the Millwood Lake fishing this week:

* Most all the largemouth bass are in post-spawn conditions. A few beds were 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 late last week. Activity is consistent with last week — the topwater bite continues to improve. Many large female bass between 7-9 pounds each have been caught and released over the past few weeks by regular anglers and in local tournaments. 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 seen in mornings near creek channel swings, and in flats of 1-6 feet deep are holding fresh lily pad blooms and vegetation. Soft plastic jerkbaits, Senkos, Twitch Worms, Trick Worms, frogs, 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads and buzzbaits are drawing reactions from 3- to 8-pound largemouths from 1-8 feet depth.
Bill Lewis Crankbaits like the MR-6, Echo 1.75 and SB-57 MDJ crankbaits continue getting random reaction bites over the past few weeks from these 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 during the heat of the day, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. We caught good numbers of males and females from 3-6 pounds each over 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 was drastically better. The water clarity further away from river current was best. 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, near stumps and lily pads. You can still find a few decent 2- to 3-pound male bass roaming early in and near shallow stumps, cypress knees and cover around 5-8 foot depth flats with vegetation and fresh lily pad blooms protecting fry and reacting to a topwater frog or jerkbait, near a creek bend deeper structure or drop into 8-12 feet of depth. State Park pockets are still active with post-spawn bass, and we saw males guarding the fry near beds. Those locations gave up some fair-sized bass in the 15- to 18-inch range, (around 3-4 pounds) over the past several weeks. We have had good reactions from 3- to 5-pound bass over the past few weeks with Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and topwaters around cypress tree knees. Buzzbaits in black, black/purple and Spot Remover colors were drawing good reactions from 2- to 3-pound bass in Mud Lake.
* The white bass continue scattering from their recent spawning run up Little River, and are breaking into random schools moving back down Little River. Two anglers we stopped and talked to last week caught 15 white bass that were piled up on points, at mouths of oxbows and creek dumps into Little River between White Cliffs and Cemetery Slough. 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 and 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 or Kastmaster, and homemade spoons with white bucktails on rear hooks. The week before last, we caught a few decent whites 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.
* 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 gave up some nice 2-pound slabs over the past couple weeks. The crappie are best using minnows one day, and jigs the next, or jigs tipped with a minnow, in planted brush piles 10-16 feet of depth. Best color jig has been Monkey Milk one day, Electric Chicken the next, and 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 last week, and they said they were having fair luck with crickets and worms on slip corks, but said they haven’t seen any on beds yet. We talked to a pair of bream guys in Jack’s Isle this week and they were having fair results using crickets around cypress trees not far from the floating fishing dock.
* Catfish improved over the past two weeks with the increased river current on trotlines and yo-yos. Baiting trotlines with King’s Punch Bait, chicken livers or hearts were working in Mud Lake recently as long as you could keep the alligators away. We talked to a guy said he was using the yo-yo’s we saw in Mud Lake, using minnows and big white grubs, and 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 stealing his catfish. They were running trotlines 12-14 feet deep in Little River, and yo-yos hung in cypress trees over 7-9 feet of depth in Mud Lake.


Lake Erling
(updated 5-9-2024) 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 5-9-2024) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Well, let’s go fishing. Water has settled down somewhat as far as rise and fall. Water temperature has reached 75.4 degrees as of Tuesday. Water coloring starts around Caddo Drive going upriver. Not a lot of trash in the water.

Bream bed fishing has been going on. Use either or both techniques of side imaging and Livescope perspective view. Beds can be located on points and backs of coves. There are several methods for bedding bream: drop-shot, slip bobber, worms, crickets and others. They all work. Pick the technique that fits you.

Crappie are on the upswing from the prime spawn time. Starting to pick up decent crappie on brush piles. Of course, sniping and long-poling are still options. My best suggestion for brush piles is casting rigs with Livescope. Work the jig as close to the top of the cover as you can. They will come up from inside and strike. There are some suspended fish over some piles. Change colors often until you find the cookie they want. Throw an eighth-ounce on 6-pound test.

“Looks like the bass fishermen are moving to the summer patterns with more points being fished lately.”

(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 5-9-2024) 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. 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 5-9-2024) 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 daily generation to maintain area lake levels for the past week. More rain was expected Wednesday along with severe weather that will add to this process before drier conditions prevail. 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 generational 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. 

The crappie spawn is nearing completion, which has added another quality game fish. In a cold-water situation like below Carpenter Dam, spawning times are much later than what occurs 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.

(updated 5-9-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on the May 7 edition of “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that Dardanelle played host last weekend to the Mr. Bass of Arkansas tournament, “a benchmark lake with a benchmark tournament,” he added.

Chip Hawkins won the tournament with a 5-bass stringer of 16.16 pounds. Chris Fuselton hauled in 15.54 pounds for second and Scott Hinds caught 15.34 pounds.
Kastner said he was surprised, however, that the Big Bass caught was only 4.75 pounds. “That’s not what you normally see on Dardanelle right now.” Host of the show Mark Hedrick, however, wondered if that lack of size for the biggest bass caught might have been correlated to the end of the bass spawn and fish were spreading out and just not as easily caught, especially very large bass. 


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 5-9-2024) 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 5-9-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said, “I love post-spawn. The crappie and bream are stacked up on the brush piles. We’ve been harvesting near double-limits of crappie hovering over the tops with live bait under corks fished 8-14 feet deep. The monster bream are at the same depths and biting anything. Be safe out there.”

(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 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 5-9-2024) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) said there’s a whole lot to report this week except that the lake has risen over 4 feet since last weekend. It looks like it is projected to crest this weekend and hold steady for the next week which could create some great fishing opportunities in the weeks to come. 

Not many anglers have been fishing and the ones that have, have been throwing everything but the kitchen sink, only catching a few here and there and all have been a variety pack including black bass, crappie, white bass, drum and a few bream

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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