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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 05-16-2024


May 16, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

No, you’re not seeing double from last week’s Fishing Report: Mitch Holland went back to the Little Red River, near the same spot he was and at the same time of day when he caught a massive brown trout that we highlighted on the weekly report’s email blast a week ago, and caught yet another big brown. Or was it the same fish, Mitch wondered? We sent that question onto Christy Graham, the AGFC’s Trout Management Program coordinator, who had an answer. Turns out Mitch just has a great streak going of catching big browns on the Little Red.

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 this week, Thursday-Saturday (three days only), May 16-18. The hours for the cleanup will be 8 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. For more information, call 501-604-0492 or email

(updated 5-16-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said anglers are still catching fish, “Just tons. It’s hard to believe.” And the word is, they are big fish, not any small ones. Crappie has been good on the north end of the lake, with chartreuse jigs working best. Black bass have been good on crankbaits.

Anglers are catching bream but that bite slowed out a little bit. “Nobody is tearing the redear up like they’re going to any minute,” they tell us.
The catfish are biting “and there are plenty of them. But nobody has reported getting strong on the flatheads yet. When it gets a little more shallow and the fish lose oxygen, they will be in the holes.”
For anglers looking to launch boats, the Adams and Greens access areas will be your best spots. 

“Water here is warming up extremely fast. The fish being caught are warm to the touch,” they say.

Lake Conway has no creel or length limits while the lake is in its drawdown phase as part of the AGFC’s renovation project. All fish may be kept; in fact, it’s encouraged, hence the no limit regulation. Still chances to stock up on crappie and others for the freezer.
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 5-16-2024) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said the Army Corps of Engineers and Southwester Power Administration has been keeping things steady at Greers Ferry Lake dam with a consistent generation schedule, pumping out 40 megawatts 24/7 through the dam. This week, it’s been running at just under one full unit, meaning we’ve got a touch less water than usual. But fear not, the fishing’s still on point!

“I’ve been having success with a pink San Juan Worm rigged up about 6.5 to 9 feet deep under an indicator. Target the banks near moss beds and ledges, or try your luck around the docks. For those feeling adventurous, run the same rig deep down the middle of the channel.
“Keep an eye out for caddis flies, especially on warm, sunny days around 11 in the morning. They’ve been making appearances, so it might be worth switching up to a caddis pattern when they’re hatching.
“Streamer fishing has been solid, especially when the clouds roll in. Give the yellow Double Deceiver or Dungeon flies a shot, casting toward the banks. You might just reel in a beauty! Tight lines and happy fishing!”


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 5-16-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says for bass fishing on the lower end of the lake, throw a Carolina rig with a soft plastic (a Zoom 6-inch lizard in pumpkin with a chartreuse tail, a popular color on Greers Ferry Lake) on the edge of buckbrush with a half-ounce weight. Up a little closer to the bank, throw a 4- to 5-inch soft plastic swimbait, such as a Keitech Fat Impact.

(updated 5-16-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.60 feet msl, or 1.56 feet above normal pool. Not much else has changed and will not until it gets hotter, other than they are generating water at the dam just about 24-7 with one generator going. “Enjoy all while you can,” he said.

Crappie still seem somewhat confused, 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 for 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, so use a spoon for those.
Hybrid 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 for ones that are set, use spoons, inline spinners, grubs and swimbaits in 15-35 feet. 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. 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 Carolina 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. Fish super, super shallow out to 30 feet. Be safe and wear your life jacket.


Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-16-2024) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said bream are “pretty good.” Anglers caught a lot of big bream on crickets and redworms in the last week, mostly fishing off docks. Bass are a little slow, and they are not sure why. The bass are being seen shallow but are not biting well. 

Crappie have been caught on boats out on the lake; some were up to 14-15 inches in length.

A couple of gentlemen caught some big flathead catfish at night this week using worms and minnows. Minnows and goldfish are being purchased for trotlines now, they report. Crickets and redworms are in heavy demand for the bream.
Turtles are also prevalent and biting baits, they say. You’ll spot turtles around the resort’s pier.

The water temperature had jumped up to 79.7 degrees by Thursday. Clarity is muddy. Water level is normal.


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 5-16-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water temperature is in the mid-70s. The largemouth bass bite is good. Reports of bass in post-spawn and starting to move out to 8-20 feet. Try points and drop-offs using drop-shots, Texas-rigged worms and crankbaits. Spotted bass are good, too, and they are being found on points in that 8-20-foot range, as well as around drop-offs. Jigs are working best for them.
Good amounts of black bass were being pulled in during Tuesday night’s weekly bass tournament: 23 of 25 boats caught 5-stringer limits, and Andrew Wooley and Cameron Nesterenko hauled in 15.74 pounds to win. Barry Wolfe and Stephen Dillon caught the Big Bass of 4.46 pounds.

There have been no reports of white bass schooling this last week. Try using twister tails to pick up a straggler, though. Crappie are fair, with some reports of crappie being found suspended on brush anywhere from 16-21 feet; anglers report catching a bunch of small ones. Jigs and minnows will work best now.

Bream are fair. They’ll be moving up shallow now preparing for spawn on the full moon. They can be found around 7-10 feet as well as shallow, 3-5 feet. Try using crickets, worms and drop-shots.
No reports on catfish this week, but they are out there. 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 5-16-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water level in the Little Maumelle is a little low, as the Arkansas River is running very fast now, and the Murray Lock and Dam has cfs of around 140,000 as of Thursday. The water is stained but clear further up the Little Maumelle. 

The bass bite has been good, “everybody’s catching bass,” Ray says. “They are catching big bream as well. Bream are on their beds.”

Black bass are biting on spinnerbaits and soft plastic worms. Bream are great on crickets and live worms.

Ray said there was not much to report on crappie. “It’s appears the crappie are fizzing out. Some anglers are catching a few, but it’s not great.”

But catfish are biting well. Blues and channels are hungry, with liver and hot dogs being the best presentations.


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 5-16-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) advises anglers and boaters to stay off the river for the next few days as it is running very fast.


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 5-16-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said water releases from Bull Shoals Dam into the tailwater have been moderate/high over the past week. Bull Shoals Lake is continuing to rise, currently sitting at 665.65 feet msl. Water releases average three to five units (9,000 to 15,000 cfs). The Army Corps of Engineers is working to lower the lake level in the coming weeks, so stay informed about water

releases from Bull Shoals Dam if you plan to be on the White.
“We’ve had a lot of success with various spoons this past week, especially the bronze Colorado quarter-ounce spoon. Rapala Countdowns are making a real splash both from the shore and casting from a drifting john boat. White-bellied baits are working best (rainbow or brown trout CD5, or the gold/black No. 5 or No. 7).

“The browns are consistent: still demanding sculpins and maybe some shad for dessert; still remaining near the bottom and center of the stream during high, high water days. When the water level is high, drop a line close to the water’s edge near grassy banks — the bite should be excellent since the trout are hanging out near fresh food sources.
“The weathermen promise warmer temperatures beginning Saturday. Remember to keep your baits and line clean of sunscreen; trout don’t like it. Sunscreen is a blessing when used on anglers but can sabotage your fishing day if mixed up with your tackle. We want you to be successful, safe and enjoy your time in The Natural State of Arkansas.”

(updated 5-16-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said this has been another great week of fishing. “We have seen depths as high as 8.5 feet and as low as 5 feet. The water clarity has remained good with some occasional dinginess, but mainly clear. The favored bait this week remains Uncommon Baits UV eggs with corn or shrimp. The higher water depths have made using artificial lures minimally effective, with some success with deeper-diving lures such as Rapala Shad Raps in shad colors. Larger jigs have been effective due to their size and ability to get to the bottom. Dark colors (black, brown or olive) with a dash of bright red or yellow has resulted in some nice rainbows and browns

“We are expecting another round of rain Thursday night and through Friday morning with possibly an inch or more of rain. Keep an eye on the Buffalo River; if it starts rising very much, we have the possibility of very dingy to muddy water later on Friday and into Saturday.
“This week we received one stocking of rainbow trout at the Calico Rock 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 5-16-2024) Fishing guide Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake (815-592-4302) said the lake level is 665 feet (6 feet above normal pool) “and rising! Table Rock opened the floodgates. Temps are around 70 degrees, give or take, with warmer water in the dirty areas. Bass are for the most part post-spawn. There are definitely enough bushes in the water now. Fishing has been good, but it will definitely slow down after a storm front. Be sure to fish the conditions.”
And here’s how to tackle those conditions, according to Del: If it’s cloudy, rainy and windy you can powerfish shad-style baits, square bills, spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits in the dirty runoff. Cover water on windblown transition banks, swings and in and around the old creek channel. If it’s flat and sunny, hit swings and secondary points out from spawning pockets. Try green pumpkin or puke Ned rigs or tubes, Carolina-rig or a shaky head, or hit the shoreline floating a worm or a Senko on fry-guarders, or flip the bushes with a Beaver-style bait, or a Jewel Flippin’ Jig. 

The rise in water level is going to make that bite tough. Green pumpkin orange/red variants are the best colors. On tough days or with clear water you’re going to want to keep the boat out deep, 25 feet, and slow down. If your fishing dirty, you can get real skinny. The shad balls are definitely broken up with the generation, so if you’re fishing open water you’re going to have to pay attention — a lot of fish are still in pockets if shad are present. There’s been a shad spawn here and there. Try a 2.8 swimbait, spoon, fluke, and topwaters are starting. Also wake baits and the Lucky Craft Gunfish are starting to produce; all of these should be in white or natural shad to work best.

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 5-16-2024) Southernwalleye Guide Service (501-365-1606) reports that with the rising water, walleye fishing seems to have slowed a bit. Fishing methods have not changed much. If contour trolling, try shad-style baits or small Banada-style baits in 8-14 feet water. Slide out to deeper water, 20-25 feet, after daylight. If open water trolling for suspended fish, it’s the same as last week: 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, No. 7 Flicker Shads. Rapala Deep Husky Jerks and Reef Runner 800, or Bandit deep-divers series, trolled over the old river channel at 1.2 to 1.8 mph should put some fish in the boat.

Have had reports that jigging spoon fishing has also been another tactic that’s working. Casting a half-ounce spoon into 15 feet and hopping it off the bottom and back into about 30 feet might also get you a few fish.

(updated 5-16-2024) Crappie 101 Guide Service (870-577-2045) reports that crappie have backed out on brush and are starting to really disperse with the water level coming up. “We’ve found them on shallower as well as deep brush, a lot of smaller fish, as big ones are harder to come by. Still catching them on sixteenth-ounce or eighth-ounce jigs with Tater Baits small fry-style bait as well as minnows.


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

(updated 5-16-2024) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort (870-492-5113) said Wednesday, “It has been a while since I have done a fishing report. Resort work has been interfering. I have been out fishing most days for short periods. Our resort guests and I have been catching fish. The bite has slowed a little, but today I saw improvements, based on everyone’s reports. I got on the lake at 5 a.m. and headed to a nearby major creek. I checked out deep and shallow water and found shad up close to the shoreline. Fish started feeding on the shad, which made it easy to find them. I was casting a Kastmaster and a swimbait. They liked the Kastmaster. Up close to the bank I was catching smallmouth, largemouth and walleye. What fun.

“Fish then started busting out in deeper water. These were hybrids and whites, but I am sure some stripers were mixed in. I ended up landing seven different species of fish, all on a Kastmaster. I kept the bait fairly shallow, and my retrieval method was to slowly reel, stop, then a little twitch, then start the process over, all the way back to the boat.
“Glen had fun learning how to use a green light and fish in the dark. He landed some of the biggest white bass I have seen, around 19 inches long. The Jones brothers had fun catching some nice fish by casting out a swimbait. This was Ed’s first hybrid/striper that he has ever caught. The Koehlers have been catching every species in the lake by casting out a swimbait. Some of their fish are coming from shallow water but others were found out in 100 feet of water feeding on shad on the surface. Another group of guests took out Breckenridge Guide Service and Norfork Bayou Fishing. Each boat landed some nice fish.
“The fish seem to be all over the lake. I have been fishing and looking from the mid-lake major creeks up to Bennett’s Bayou, and also heading the other direction up to Red Bank. Crappie are being found under docks and also on brush inside of coves. The water depth of the brush has varied up to 30 feet deep. The bass are also scattered out. They will be on the shallow banks as (Wednesday), when the bait is in the brush.

“Last week one of our guests did quite well bass fishing bluff walls and working a pumpkin green wacky worm. The bass were roughly 20 feet down but coming up for the wacky worm while it was sinking.
“The surface water temperature was over 73 degrees in the main lake this morning. The lake level is on a slow rise due to the rain we have been having. The lake level currently sits at 557.55 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.
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 5-16-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is still rising. It’s on a slow rise as of late and the lake sits close to 1,125 feet ms. That correlates to around 4 feet above normal pool level. Water temperature is in the 60s. Water is finally starting to clear up on the south end. 

Fishing is good if you can relocate where the fish are after this latest rise. Stripers have been from the islands at Prairie Creek up to Point 5 and are moving daily. You must move and locate the fish. Here today, gone somewhere else tomorrow. That is the same for crappie and walleye. All the fish are entering post-spawn and as stated are very scattered. As water warms and a thermocline sets up in a few weeks, the fish will remain scattered. “I wish I could help more but scattered is the word. Move and move some more, watching electronics. With the weather settled a bit, we will get on the fish this next week and I will have a much more detailed report once I know where the fish are. Lots of floating debris, so be careful and good luck!”

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


Beaver Tailwater
(updated 5-16-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says there has been little change in the fishing this week from last with Beaver Lake being high. “It’s 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 5-16-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said bream and crappie both remain good at Lake Charles, and good catfish reports have started coming in as well. The only species not providing any action these days is bass. It’s the basics now: Bream are favoring worms and crickets, while crappie are going after minnows and jigs. The crappie are still found shallow.

For catfish, try blood bait, worms or goldfish. May 20-26 should provide good fishing based on “moon times.”
Water temperature earlier this week was 72.5 degrees. The water level is high and the clarity is the usual murky.


Lake Hogue
(updated 5-16-2024) Angler Tracy Rolfe said that last Friday morning there were huge fish everywhere by the pier. He noted hundreds of rainbows, bass, catfish and alligator gar, from 2 feet out to 40 feet from the shoreline. All of them were at least 12 inches or bigger. “It was incredible.”


Lake Poinsett
(updated 5-16-2024) Jonathan Wagner at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett has been absolutely “breaming” with anglers lately. Bream have by far been the majority of reported catches we’ve gotten. Over the weekend, countless folks came out to the State Park’s visitor center to buy crickets! They have continued to be the number-one-selling bait for bream here at the lake. Visitors have reported catching 20-30 hand-sized bream, again mostly on crickets. I have also had reports of some success with crappie using various colored jigs: pearl white, crawfish-colored and cream. I also had a report of some decent catfish being caught over the weekend with some shad bait. The bass and crappie in Lake Poinsett are still catch-and-release ONLY. Bream and catfish may be kept at state limits.


Spring River
(updated 5-16-2024) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels have been at 500 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity has been poor this week. Storm showers on Tuesday of last week got the river up and brown for a few days. It has begun to clear up, but heavy rains can change conditions quickly. The river should look fine by the weekend if there is no more rain.

The catching has been excellent with heavy stocking and the trout hitting the cicadas hatching right now. Using a cicada pattern as an indicator with a dropper of an egg or nymph has been hot. With the stained water conditions a big Woolly can work to get a bite. Might have to add weight to get down.

The smallies have been a little tough to get with the high water for the last few weeks. When things dry out a bit, the smallmouth bite will be back on. You’ve got to slow down the presentation and fish deep. Big Clousers and Woolly Buggers are hard to beat. 

“Sudden rain storms can change conditions quickly, keep a watch on our blog (linked above) for current river conditions. The river remains cold and refreshing!”


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 5-16-2024) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reported that water temperature is in the mid- to upper 70s. Water clarity is 6-8 inches most places. Water has been up 1-2 feet for a few days. Flooded vegetation/brush within Lake Langhofer is always a good place to look for largemouth if the water rises at least foot this time of year. Many fish were holding in less than 1 foot of water this last weekend. Shad-colored spinnerbaits and swim jigs do well for covering water during cloudy weather, mornings and evenings, especially with a little wind, with soft plastic creatures Texas-rigged and light jigs working the heavier flooded cover when the sun is out. Points, openings and current/eddy seams on main-channel jetties can hold many spotted and largemouth bass this time of year with this level of river flow.

Shad colored square-billed crankbaits and bladed jigs can produce big when you identify what type of structure the fish are relating to along the jetties and run that pattern down the river. Topwater popper and walking baits over shallow jetties and around openings can also yield some fun bites, especially during morning and evening. 


Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-16-2024) Teresa Atchley at Cane Creek State Park (870-628-4714) said that on Saturday there were reports of fishing with nightcrawlers at the park’s exterior pier, along with fishing with crickets and redworms for bream. Another fisherman reported hearing from a friend that he was catching bream, so he came to fish with nightcrawlers and crickets for bream from his boat.
Sunday brought reports of fishing with crickets from boat for bream, fishing with minnows and crickets for “anything that bites” as well as fishing with nightcrawlers, and fishing with minnows from a kayak “for anything.” On Tuesdays, anglers in a boat were fishing with minnows and another was using crickets.


Lake Monticello
(updated 5-16-2024) 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 Millwood elevation pool is back on a slow rise, with lake elevation about 8 inches above normal pool at 259.9 feet msl. Millwood Lake Dam is releasing about 1,500 cfs, and the tailwater is holding near 235 feet msl and falling. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website linked under “Millwood Lake” above, 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. Lake elevation and discharge at Millwood Dam can change dramatically in mere hours with thunderstorms and freshwater influx. 

Surface temperature is stable, ranging 70 degrees early to 78 degrees later in the day along Little River. Clarity along Little River was stained this week with above-normal pool elevation and reduced river current. There is heavy to moderate stain in most locations with some areas further up Little River being heaviest. River clarity is ranging 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, away from river current. 

The Yarborough Landing Project’s additional lighting in the parking lot is complete. The AGFC Tournament courtesy dock, handrails and walkway are under construction at Yarborough Landing. Concrete sidewalks from the bank to the dock connection gangplanks have been poured and cured.
Mike had these specifics on the Millwood fishing this past week:

* Largemouth bass activity has been fairly consistent with last week. The topwater bite continues improving. Many large female bass between 7-9 pounds each have been caught and released over the past few weeks, including in local tournaments. The best activity is being seen in early mornings near flats of 1-6 feet depth, where fresh lily pad blooms, stumps and vegetation are holding fish. Soft plastic jerkbaits, Senkos, Twitch Worms, Trick Worms, plastic frogs, 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads and buzzbaits continue working and drawing reactions from 3- to 8-pound largemouths from 1-8 feet of depth at dawn and dusk.
Once the sun gets high, switch over to a Bill Lewis Crankbait like the MR-6, or Echo 1.75 and SB-57 MDJ crankbait. These will continue getting random reaction bites from active roaming bass (and white bass, too) in the deeper sections of creek channels and near drops from the flats into 8-10 feet depth structure. Now that the river current has dropped, primary points with stumps present are holding schools of largemouth and whites. Best responses in these areas during the morning are coming on crankbaits and spoons. We caught decent bass ranging from 3-4 pounds each over past several weeks on 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads, lizards and spinnerbaits in the shallow lily pads, grass and buckbrush near flats early in the morning on various topwater lures, and on the points extending into the Little River later in the day on crankbaits and spoons.

The best water clarity remains much more reliable in the oxbows. The water clarity further away from river current was best. Bang Skunk Apes, Woopah Craws, Salty Rat Tail baits, lizards and Baby Brush Hogs have been taking some decent 14- to 17-inch largemouths roaming flats in the clearer water sections of the oxbows near stumps and lily pads. In and near shallow stumps, cypress knees, and cover around 5-8 foot depth flats with vegetation and fresh lily pad blooms, you can get a reaction to a topwater frog or jerk bait.
Millwood State Park pockets are still active with post-spawn bass and gave up some fair-sized largemouths in the 15- to 18-inch range (around 3- to 4-pounders) over the past several weeks near grass and stumps. We have had good reactions from 3- to 5-pounders 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.
Best reaction colors of Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits, where active bass are holding, have been Spot Remover, Millwood Mayhem Bream and black/blue. Best depth zones are cypress tree knees from 4-9 feet, with 12-15 feet of water depth nearby. Lizards of 6-8 inches in Blackberry, Blue Fleck, Grape and Junebug have been picking up random cruising bass near stumps on 5- to 7-feet drops near 10 feet deep structure.
* The white bass continue scattering back down Little River from their annual spawning run up near Patterson Shoals, and are breaking into fairly large, random schools moving back down the river. White Cliffs and the mouth of McGuire Lake dumping into Little River held several good schools of whites over the past few weeks. 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 best reactions were 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 whites at the mouth of Hurricane Creek on three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome/blue or Splatterback colors. There were two huge schools of white bass located deep in Hurricane Creek this week near the creek bend leading to Clear Lake in 17-18 feet of water depth.
Bomber Fat Free Shads, or Fingerlings, and Bill Lewis MR-6 Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad were working behind points along Little River, and last week we caught some decent whites in those locations that ranged from 7-12 feet deep on and behind those primary points. A chrome three-quarter-ounce Cordell Hammered Spoon with a red/white hair bucktail vertical-jigging behind primary points, near the bottom where stumps were located on the backside of points, were working for us. Swimming a hair jig with a heavy thumping tail swimbait trailer picked up a few in 10-14 feet by swimming and dropping the bait.
The deeper-running Fat Free Guppy crankbaits in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad, Bill Lewis MR-6 Crankbaits in Tennessee Shad and Millwood Magic, Little George’s, little Rocket Shads and red/white Rooster Tails continued working last week. Random and broken schools of white bass were found again over the past couple weeks between Brown’s Slough and Cemetery Slough along Little River where points intersect with creek mouths dumping into the river, although the water was very stained. But it had improved and had current. 

* 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 andElectric Chicken the next, while smoke-colored grubs with a chartreuse tip tail on a light wire jig head would pick up a few extra bites.
* We did see bream beds in Hurricane Creek over last weekend and near Jack’s Isle. We spoke with several bream fishermen and they were having fair results using crickets around cypress trees not far from the floating fishing dock near Jack’s Isle.
* No reports on catfish.


Lake Columbia
(updated 5-16-2024) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) says lots of bream and redear are being caught. Crickets and worms are working best.

Big black crappie are being caught on jigs. They tell us they’re sure black bass are being caught as well, but they haven’t personally heard any recent reports.


Lake Erling
(updated 5-16-2024) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) said anglers are catching lots of crappie, bream and catfish, and they’re hauling in some black bass, too. Lots of bream are showing up, a lot of good-sized bream and a lot of redear, some ranging a pound to a pound and a half.
The crappie are around structure a little more now; for most of the recent weeks they had been scattered. Anglers are catching them from 6 feet deep to 16 feet deep. Hand-tied jigs are the go-to for fishing for crappie on Erling now.

Reports also of a lot of flathead catfish being caught on limblines.

“The water temperature doesn’t even matter now for the fish, they’re coming off the shoreline and are hungry,” they tell us.

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 from 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 5-16-2024) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service at Iron Mountain Marina says the water level is at 405.16 feet msl with a slight fall. Water clarity is great. There is a little trash to watch for. Water temperature is down to 74.7 degrees on his electronics, he adds.

“You all know I am primarily a crappie guy. So, here’s the good news: Many of the crappie are done with the spawn cycle. They are moving to the brush piles. I am finding crappie in a lot of brush piles. I have been Brushy, to Arlie Moore, Lennox Marcus and Shouse Ford. Start by finding a brush pile in 16-20 feet of water. You can cast an eighth-ounce jig with various colors and fish it as close as you can to the top of the pile. I have had good luck bringing up the side of the pile and letting it fall on the other side for the following ones. Two of my favorite colors are Bluegrass and Monkey Milk. After you have picked the aggressive fish off the top of the brush pile, here we come with the slip bobbers and minnows.

“Use your sonar to determine the depth of the fish or the brush pile and set your depth slightly above them. Hold on, they are there.

“I must state that when I write, I always expect everyone to be using forward-facing sonar. If not, I apologize, but that’s the current technology. 

“Sorry, nothing on other species but I’ve been enjoying the bite and preparing for the season.

“Great fishing, and help others when they need it. Boat safely.”

(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 5-16-2024) 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 Paragrould, 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 5-16-2024) 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 storms moving through the state, 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 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 have had some success casting micro-jigs in white or black under a strike indicator. This presentation perfectly matches the injured shad drawn through the turbines from Lake Hamilton. San Juan Worms offer feeding trout a different look and will often work equally well when fished in the same manner. Trout Magnets should not be overlooked by fly-anglers and often make the difference between a successful outing and an unsuccessful one. Bank fishermen using waxworms or mealworms will catch rainbows cast with a small bobber or fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. 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 have congregated 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. 

The crappie spawn is nearing its completion, which has added another quality game fish for the public to target. In a coldwater situation like Carpenter Dam, spawning times are much later than 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 aren’t 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 5-16-2024) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are still good. Try a topwater bait near main lake and secondary points.

Walleye are good and being caught on shad-style baits or nightcrawlers. Stripers are very good. These fish are being caught in the western portion of the lake and can be caught on C-10 Redfins or live bait.

Bream are excellent and being caught on crickets and worms in the 6- to 15-feet range; these fish are shallow. Crappie are good. 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 70-76 degrees, and the clarity is clearing. Lake level is less than a foot below normal pool, at 577.37 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

(updated 5-16-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said, “The post-spawn is hot right now. You’ll find bream and crappie on brush piles where you can fish 12-16 feet down to them. Water temp is in the mid-70, so the catfish are moving up feeding and ready to spawn.”

(updated 5-2-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs said on a recent appearance on “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.


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 5-16-2024) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said that this week, the water is clear and still low. Surface temperatures have been in the mid-70s. Crappie are getting into a post-spawn pattern and are feeding heavily. Fish are scattered in the lake with plenty of fish still shallow but also enough for those that like to fish the deeper water. One of our boats caught a lot of short fish but came out with a nice mess. Jig color has not changed much — orange, silver and Electric Chicken get plenty of attention to catch fish. 

He’s heard no reports on bass, bream or catfish.


White River/Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 5-16-2024) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt said flathead and channel catfish are biting on all rivers, spawning is in the midst and they have moved to shallow brushtops. Limblining and trotlining is excellent right now! Reports from the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge say bream are biting in the cypress knees on live bait.

“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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