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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report

BY Jim Harris

ON 05-23-2024


May 23, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

A couple of youngsters from Siloam Springs who were fishing recently with guide Austin Kennedy on the Beaver Lake tailwater in Northwest Arkansas show off the first fish either has ever caught, two impressive rainbows. The upcoming Memorial Day weekend and a holiday on Monday will offer plenty of opportunity to take children along for a fun fishing experience, especially with this past week of rain expected to move out by Monday.

Reports are updated weekly, although some reports may be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.

Arkansas River and White River levels are available at:

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit:

For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:

Download the Fish Brain app and follow AGFC at:

Quick links to regions:


Central Arkansas

Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
For the most up-to-date lake level, visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s Lake Conway water level site.

(updated 5-23-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said crappie, catfish and bream are all biting well by the Highway 89 bridge. Catfish are also very active by the dam on worms and frozen shad. Black bass are hitting crankbaits and topwater round the lake.
Crappie are favoring minnows as well as black/chartreuse or pink/white jigs.

Bream are starting to pick up with the full moon approaching. Look for the beds, though the water has come up some with this week’s rain.

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 5-23-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Thursday that the trout fishing is pretty good now, with a focus on early morning or late evening. The best fish is off the falling water. The dam is running two generators off and on “so falling water is what I’d try to look for to be out there,” they said. Gold jerkbaits are working well, and a No. 5 Rapala Shad Rap has been pretty good, too, as have a pink and white Trout Magnet and an olive Maribou Jig.

(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 5-23-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.82 feet msl, or 1.78 feet above normal pool. Not much else has changed other than more and more fish are coming up on top schooling in different parts of the lake and rivers. The lake is on rise again with two generators running a lot; check the schedule for generation and enjoy all while you can.

Crappie seem somewhat confused, as with the other species. Try for them super shallow and out to 30 feet and use jigs, minnows or crankbaits. Walleye are eating in the main lake and the few that are left up rivers; drag crawler or crankbaits 10-22 feet. Some walleye are following under big schools of white bass and hybrids; use spoons for those. Hybrid bass and white bass are trying to get set up in the main lake for the summer, while a lot are still traveling. The ones that are set, use spoons, inline spinners, grubs and swimbaits in 15-35 feet. A 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 and the usual stuff is working in the main 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. Black bass are prespawn, spawning or have finished. Use Carolina rigs, topwater lures, wake baits, drop-shots, crankbaits and spinnerbaits for best action – there are too many baits to name that will work – super, super shallow out to 30 feet.
“Be safe and wear your life jacket.”

(updated 5-23-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood advises to look out for pleasure boaters during the holiday weekend. Bigger than usual boat traffic aside, anglers can still fish. Early mornings and late evenings have had the least amount of boat activity this week. Topwater fishing has been good for black bass and there are schooling fish. Anglers can go down the bank throwing a Spook or a Popper in those early or late times. During the day, a Carolina rig has been working well, along with a jig. Peanut butter and jelly is the best color of jig, but also throw a green pumpkin and orange jig. 

The drop-shot has also been good of late. The water clarity is mostly clear, though in the upper portion of the lakes and creeks there might be stain due to recent rains.

The crappie on Greers has somewhat slowed down. Anglers are still catching a bunch off and on, fishing treetops in 15-20 feet of water. Use a small 2-inch swimbait as well as a Road Runner with a 2-inch grub on the end of it. Blue/white and natural shad have been the best colors.
The lake is a little high, so there are areas you can get to now that you might not have been able to access a couple of months back.


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 bit 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 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 5-23-2024) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 had no new reports this week, but most recently he said crappie were being caught in 5-10 feet of water using jigs and minnows. Also, bass were doing well on buzzbaits and plastic frogs since the spawn. Bream were starting to get on their beds and doing well. Catfish were being caught on jugs using nightcrawlers and bass minnows, and he was starting to run trotlines again.

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


Lake Maumelle
(updated 5-23-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported water temperature is ranging 82-85 degrees. Whether it’s the storms this week, the spawn being over or something else, the largemouth bass bite has slowed. and all fishing has been slow other than the fair bream bite. Reports from the lake have largemouths now in post-spawn and starting to move out to 8-20 feet. Try fishing points and drop-offs. Use drop-shots, Texas-rigged worms or crankbaits. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) also are slow. Reports of them being found on points in 8-20 feet as well as drop-offs. Use jigs.
This past Tuesday’s black bass tournament showed a slight falloff in weights, too. Matt Hedrick and Brandon Crain won the event with a 5-bass stringer of 13.32 pounds, edging Andrew Wooley and Cameron Nesterenko by 0.15 pound. Brent Scott and Riley Scott netted the Big Bass of 4.44 pounds.

No reports came in on white bass. They’ll still bite twister tails. Crappie are slow. Some reports of crappie being found suspended on brush anywhere from 16-21 feet, and anglers report catching a bunch of small ones. Use jigs or minnows. 

Bream are fair. They’ll be moving up shallow now, preparing for the spawn on the full moon. They can be found around 7-10 feet as well as in shallower areas, 3-5 feet. Try using crickets, worms or drop-shots.
No reports this week on catfish. They ought to be biting bream, live and worms though as May wraps up.


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
(update 5-23-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said before the rains this week that water level in the Little Maumelle was a little low, as the Arkansas River in the Little Rock Pool was running very fast and moving water out. The water is strained but was stained 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 he had not heard much on the crappie. “It appears the crappie are fizzing out. Some anglers are catching a few, but it’s not great.” But catfish are biting well, he noted. 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 5-23-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) urges anglers to check the flow of the river before making a trip, especially if flow is reported over 75,000 cfs. As of Thursday this week, though, flow was at 73,000 cfs with projections by next Tuesday to begin falling back down. Expect 70,000-80,000 for the next few days.

There are places to fish safely, though.

Bass fish has been pretty good; they say you can catch a bunch of little Kentuckies and others.

The bite is good early morning and late in the evening on topwaters like a buzzbait, Whopper Plopper and Zara Spook. During the day, crankbaits have been doing well, as well as spinnerbaits or a black and blue jig. Those have worked on the backwaters and on the main river.

But know that the water is moving, and water might be up in a few places it hasn’t been. Water clarity is stained to muddy.


Peckerwood Lake
(updated 5-23-2024) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (501-626-6899) says the fishing is good for bream and catfish. Anglers are still catching some crappie on minnows and jigs. Crickets are best for bream now. Catfish will bite hot dogs, minnows and about everything else.

Nobody has been saying anything about bass.


North Arkansas

White River
(updated 5-23-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said White River water levels below Bull Shoals Dam have been up and down over the past couple of weeks. Bull Shoals Lake level is currently 666.33 feet msl, 4 feet above power pool. Because Beaver and Table Rock lakes are still above the desired power pool and continue to discharge into Bull Shoals, we’ll eventually see the increase in the tailwater here in Cotter. The trout are biting and the take has been very good.

The guides on our waterways are experts at fishing – and catching – in all water levels: rising, falling and steady levels, easily adjusting to the recent variability. Browns are surprising us by biting at shrimp, but they more often enjoy smaller sculpins and the elusive red-fin minnow. Lake shad are still a huge draw, which is surprising this late in the spring, so we’ll continue to offer it until the browns turn away. Drifting bubblegum pink worms has been the fallback, always-successful bait.

Bank anglers should keep a good supply of worms to thread up the shank of a No. 6 bronze Aberdeen hook and a few quarter-ounce spoons handy (red-gold or copper-colored works best on these sunny days). Be prepared to cast and retrieve quickly. You’ll find that trout love to dine on the fresh food supply on a grassy bank or lawn, so keep your bait near the bank during high or rising water.

“Be the early worm and get to the river while it’s still cool and the mist hangs low over the water. The days are rapidly warming up but the river keeps us cool. Be safe: Keep your life jacket on while on a boat. We welcome you to White River and hope you continue to enjoy our Natural State.”

(updated 5-23-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said it may sound redundant but this was another great week of fishing. “This week we have seen depths of just over 8 feet last Thursday with a low of 4.5 feet Wednesday morning. Water clarity has been good with minimal dinginess. We hope those in the path of the storms Tuesday night and Wednesday are safe. With more rain expected we will keep an eye on river levels and water conditions. 

“Baits that worked well this week have been Uncommon Baits Neo Pink UV eggs or Fluorescent Yellow Garlic Scented Power Eggs and tipping them with corn, shrimp or worms. We also saw success with sculpins. The biggest fish this week was a 25-inch brown but we also saw a 24-inch brown, several browns in the 18- to 23-inch range and several 17-inch-plus rainbows to include a 3-pound-plus rainbow. Artificial lures did OK with some success throwing the Rapala Countdown CD7 in silver or rainbow trout color. Quarter-ounce Colorado spoons in nickel/gold were effective when the water was at the lowest points in the day. 

“There was one trout stocking scheduled for this week. Stay safe this holiday weekend and be respectful of each other. Please take a moment on Monday to reflect on the purpose of Memorial Day and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice by giving their life in the service of our country.”


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 5-23-2024) Fishing guide Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake (815-592-4302) said the lake level is up to 666 feet msl and rising. Parking and boat ramp access is starting to be affected. Water temperature shot up to around 75 degrees give or take, with the water temps in the dirtier areas. Black bass are for the most part post-spawn — some are up chasing sunfish but the rise has everything slowed. Fishing has been good but it will definitely be tough after storm fronts. Some fish are staging in summer areas. Be sure to fish the conditions.
Del says if it’s cloudy, rainy and windy you can powerfish shad baits, square bills spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits in the stain or dirty runoff, especially if there are shad present around transition banks, swings and around the old creek channel. If it’s flat and sunny, fish swings, points and secondary points. Try green pumpkin or puke Ned rig or tube or a shaky head. Keep the boat out deep in the clear water; you can hit the old shoreline. There is a lot of activity in the 15 feet range. You can go up there with a Beaver-style bait. You can try a Jewel Flippin Jig still but that bite is going away. Best color is green pumpkin in orange/red variants. 

Some shallower brush piles closer to deep water in less than 25 feet are holding some fish. The shad balls are definitely broken up with the generation so if you’re fishing open water you’re going have to pay attention. There has been a shad spawn if you can find it. Shad seem to be spread out and moving. Try a 2.8 swimbait, flutter spoon, fluke — topwaters have been hit or miss. Wake baits and the Lucky Craft Gunfish are starting to produce, all in white or shad patterns. Del says he’s been catching some on the Robo Worm drop-shot with suspended fish.
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 5-23-2024) Southernwalleye Guide Service (501-365-1606) reports fishing has been pretty much the same as last week. With the rising water, walleye fishing has seemed to slow down a bit. Some fishing methods have changed over the last week. Some report that fish are starting to set up in traditional spots and water depths, which is indicating the thermocline is setting up. Pulling crawler harnesses in 15-20 feet early will get some fish. A little deeper later after sunrise.

If contour trolling, try shad-style baits or small Banada-style baits in 15-25 feet of water. Slide out to deeper water, 30-40 feet, after daylight. If open water trolling for suspended fish, they are still the same as last week but just a little deeper. Find shad and try trolling with snap weights from 45-80 deep over 100 feet or more of water while using Berkley No. 9 Flicker Minnows and No. 7 Flicker Shads. Rapala Deep Husky Jerks and Reef Runner 800 or Bandit Deep-Divers Series trolled over the old river channel at 1.5-1.8 mph should put some fish in the boat.

Have also 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 back into about 30 feet might also get you a few fish.

(updated 5-23-2024) Crappie 101 Guide Service (870-577-2045) reports crappie are definitely more scattered and they are finding some on the brush and structure. Quality is still kind of mixed up and they are having to really work at it to catch good numbers. The jig bite has definitely slowed down, but still catching a few on the Tater Baits Tater Shad Jr. with a sixteenth-ounce head and, of course, minnows. Stay patient; as conditions stabilize, it should really get good.


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

(updated 5-23-2024) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort (870-492-5113) said Wednesday, “A couple of us at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had a great day fishing for striped bass. I was on the lake around 4:30 a.m. I set out my green light on a main lake bluff wall point to draw in bait. A small school of bait came to the boat, but not the number that I found Tuesday. I landed several baby striped bass in the dark. As it started to get light out, I moved from this point since the stripers seemed to have vacated this area and moved into the back of a main lake creek.
“At a channel swing in about 70 feet of water, I marked several big arcs. The fish were coming under me from 20 feet down to the bottom. I saw a big arc lying on the bottom and dropped my white trash Tater Shad with half-ounce white big eye jig head right onto the striper’s head and he hit it immediately. He gave two great runs and all the time coming up to the surface. I saw him surface about 100 feet away from the boat.
“After his photo shoot he was released to swim away. After this battle I saw some fish surfacing and casted out my Kastmaster with a white feather trailer. One of the two hybrids I caught hammered the bait and circled the boat three times during the battle. What fun! The second hybrid came off the bottom and met my sinking bait at 40 and the game was on again. By this time, it was around 7 a.m. and the fish were scattering out, so I left this creek to check out another area as I headed back toward the resort.
“Of course, I stopped and looked at three other areas along the route. I met one of my friends who was trolling big umbrella rigs, and he told me he had landed nine stripers so far in the area I planned to check out. I set up in 74 feet of water off of a main lake big round point. A deep-water channel also swings into this point on two sides. I was in the middle of the point and started marking scattered fish. These fish were suspended from 30 feet down to the bottom. I got to land two more striped bass and both fish hit the Tater Shad on the fall. 

“It was time to head back to the resort, so I left feeding fish. Brett and his son Logan had a great first morning of fishing after arriving late Tuesday. They caught some threadfin shad and then headed back into a creek I had told them about. They proceeded to land five really nice striped bass along with some big largemouth and spotted bass. To say the least they were excited. ”
The surface water temperature at midweek ranged from 77 to a little over 78 degrees. The lake level is 557.68 feet msl.
“Hummingbird Hideaway Resort still has cabins available during June and July and a few still open for the remainder of May. Summer family vacation fun is just around the corner. Give us a call. If you have not been to Norfork Lake before, you will absolutely fall in love with it!”

Lou posts fishing reports almost every day to his blog on the Hummingbird Hideaway Resort webpage.


Northwest Arkansas

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

(updated 5-23-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake levels are steady, close to 1,125 feet msl. Water temperature is ranging 70-75 degrees. Spawning is done for walleye, white bass, crappie and most black ass. Stripers are moving back from the south end to more mid-lake. Catfish are starting to spawn. 

“So, basically now it’s a wait for the fish to set up on summer patterns. Basically what that means is stripers will set up camp from Prairie Creek and further north. Best bite time is from sunup till 9 a.m., give or take. Crappie will enter a period of suspension right at the thermocline that is starting to set up. Trolling will kick in for crappie the next couple of weeks. Try Bandits and Picos trolled at less than 2 mph. 

“Walleye will load up on humps and points and start to hit bottom bouncers. Look from 15-30 feet deep. Catfish will move up to spawn. Black bass will also set up on humps and points, same depth as walleye. 

“Bream are spawning and can be caught just about anywhere on the lake right now. We will be getting more rain in the next few days. Hopefully no huge rises on the south end. The lake was clearing nicely, and it would be fantastic to keep it that way. Be safe and good luck!”

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


Beaver Tailwater
(updated 5-23-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “This past week has been pretty good in the tailwater. The Army Corps of Engineers has been flowing water consistently, which has kept the river levels high, but we’re seeing some consistently to the bite. 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 jerkbaits 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 5-9-2024) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says anglers have been 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. Water clarity was clear. 


Northeast Arkansas

Lake Charles
(updated 5-23-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said conditions and the bite this past week mirrored last week. Water temperature crept up to 74.4 degrees earlier in the week and the water remains high and murky. Bream, crappie and catfish all continue to bite well. Black bass still continue to stay out of sight. 

Bream like worms, crickets and shallow jigs in all colors, as well as a small fly. Bream are shallow. Crappie are hitting jigs and worms. They’re relating to brush piles and stumps, and they’re more prominent in shaded areas or shallow water. Catfish are good on worms and goldfish.

The rest of this week through May 26 should provide good fishing based on “moon times,” she said.


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 5-23-2024) Jonathan Wagner at Lake Poinsett State Park said the bluegill have been biting at Lake Poinsett this last week, according to locals who have stopped by the park’s visitor center. Crickets and worms, in particular nightcrawlers, were the favorite bait of anglers for the bream. There have been reports of bream spawn beds just out from the bank. A few people reported catching 5- to 6-pound catfish using hotdogs from set lines, but we have been selling a lot of goldfish for the same reason as well. Many people are bank fishing and having luck. The rain moving in may dampen your catch chances, though. Bass and crappie continue to be catch-and-release on Lake Poinsett.

Bream and catfish may be kept at state limits.


Spring River
(updated 5-23-2024) 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 for current river conditions. The river remains cold and refreshing!

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 5-232024) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reported water temps are around 80 degrees. The main channel is muddy with less than 4-5 inches visibility and up to 8-10 inches visibility in parts of Lake Langhofer. Black bass have been biting fairly well in Lake Langhofer around flooded vegetation on shore, but dropping water levels are drawing them away from those areas. Begin looking at the first sand drops from shore and especially artificial brush piles to start holding bass more as the water returns to normal level. 

The main channel has been flowing too hard for the past several days for the jetties to be holding bass well, but they will improve quickly as flow rates continue to decline. Shad-colored crankbaits, bladed baits and swim jigs have been doing very well near shallow cover. Light jigs and large worms should start producing more as the fish transition into their summer patterns and cover use. 


Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-23-2024) Teresa Atchley at Cane Creek State Park (870-628-4714) said Cane Creek Lake saw fishing for crappie, bream, catfish and anything else that might bite by its anglers this past week. Last Friday, nightcrawlers and crickets were favored by anglers for fishing for bream and cats. Saturday, anglers were tossing crickets and caught bream and crappie, with nightcrawlers picking up catfish and minnows and redworms getting action from a variety of fish. Bream, including some small ones compared to the larger bream picked up around the exterior pier on Saturday, continued biting on the redworms Sunday. Boating anglers were also out Sunday looking for bream with redworms. They report having had bream and catfish fished on Monday from the exterior pier with anglers using nightcrawlers and crickets. Some campers were set up at the camper dock and looking for catfish with nightcrawlers and catfish bait.


Lake Monticello
(updated 5-23-2024) 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 5-23-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood elevation pool has been stable with lake elevation near 4 inches above normal pool at 259.5 feet msl, and rising/ Millwood Lake Dam was releasing about 215 cfs and the tailwater was holding near 230 feet 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. Surface temps also were stable, ranging 73 degrees early to 80 degrees later in the day along Little River. Clarity along Little River is heavily stained, with a few locations muddy and with reduced river current. Heavy to moderate stain is found in most locations, some areas further up Little River being heaviest, with river clarity ranging 5-8 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from heavy stained to fair visibility from 10-20 inches.
Mike had these fishing specifics from this past week:
* Largemouth bass activity has been fairly consistent and with not much change this week from last week. The topwater bite continues improving. In a tournament on Millwood Lake last Saturday, anglers weighed several largemouth bass over 9 pounds, including 10- and 11-pound bass, in post-spawn condition. Many large female bass between 7-9 pounds each have been caught and released over the past few week. Best activity is being seen early mornings near flats of 1-6 feet deep, 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 in 1-8 feet of depth at dawn and dusk.
Once the sun gets up high, switch over to a Bill Lewis crankbait like the MR-6, or Echo 1.75, and SB-57 MDJ crankbait, for 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. In Little River, now that the current has dropped slower, primary points with stumps present are holding schools of largemouths and whites. Best responses in these areas are coming off 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, as well as on various top water lures, and on the points extending into the Little River later in the day on crankbaits and spoons.

The best water clarity is much more reliable and drastically better in the oxbows of McGuire, Horseshoe and Mud Lakes. Bang Skunk Apes, Woopah Craws, Salty Rat Tail 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 get a reaction to a topwater frog or jerkbait in and near shallow stumps, cypress knees and cover around 5-8 foot depth flats with vegetation and fresh lily pad blooms.

Millwood State Park pockets are still active with post-spawn bass and have given up some fair-sized 3-to 4-pound largemouths over the past several weeks near grass and stumps. Getting good reactions using Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and topwaters around cypress tree knees. Buzzbaits in black, black/purple and Spot Remover colors were drawing good reactions in Mud Lake.

* The white bass continue scattering back down Little River from their annual spawning run up near Patterson Shoals, and breaking into fairly large, and random schools moving back down Little River. White Cliffs and the mouth of McGuire Lake into Little River held several good schools of white bass over the past few weeks. Good numbers 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 or homemade spoons with white bucktails on rear hook. 

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 and 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.
* The crappie bite has improved over the past few weeks with water clarity improving in many locations. Best color jig has been Monkey Milk one day, Electric 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 5-23-2024) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors in Little Rock and Hot Springs noted recently on the weekly “Wild Side Show” on KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz that Greeson is completely different from most big lakes in the area. 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 5-23-2024) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service (870-942-6291) at Iron Mountain Marina says water level is 405.1 feet msl. Water temperature is in the low 80s mostly. Water clarity is great.
Crappie are still stacking up on the brush piles. Start out by picking off the aggressive fish by throwing a small jig over the piles and working it in as close as possible, and eighth-ounce jig or smaller if possible. Profile size is a big thing with crappie. Open water fishing with front-facing radar is still an option but requires a specific type of electronics. There are some fold trolling with planer boards and having some good luck. 

The full moon is upon us again, so that means bream fishing is going to get good again. Side imaging or perspective mode of front-facing radar. Look for the “waffle.’ Anchor off or spot lock and work on them. Slip bobbers, drop-shot or other types of presentations work. Yancey and Alpine are good areas to look for the beds. Worms, crickets, maggots or tiny jigs all work on the bedding bream.

John said he had nothing to report on the black bass, white bass or hybrids “except if you are trolling, hold on because the hybrids and whites will find you.”

He added, “Holiday days are here. Water safety and courtesy should be at the top of your priorities.

“This is the time to get after them.”


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 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 5-23-2024) 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 now at normal 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. This website has been down for the last 10 days for upgrades to be installed, but should be back online soon. 

Below Carpenter Dam, fly-fishermen can still wade to areas that hold good numbers of trout and can 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 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 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 all throughout the year. 

The crappie spawn is nearing its completion, which has added another quality game fish for the public to target. In a cold-water 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 colder 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 are 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 5-23-2024) 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 5-23-2024) 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 or a jighead worm.
Walleye are good and being caught on shad-style baits or nightcrawlers. Stripers are very good. These fish are being caught in the central position of the lake and can be caught on C-10 Redfins or live bait.

Bream are still excellent and being caught on crickets and worms in the 6- to 15-foot range; these fish are shallow. Crappie are still good. These fish can still be targeted on structure with minnows or small jigs. Jugs and trotlines are producing quality catches of catfish over main lake points with live or cut bait.
Water temperature is ranging 72-78 degrees. Water clarity is clear. The lake level Wednesday was 577.03 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.”


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


East Arkansas

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


Cook’s Lake
(updated 5-23-2024) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) reports that they had a few anglers last weekend but ”they were tight-lipped and didn’t share a report with us, so not much to report other than the lake has remained relatively stable for the last 10 days and has begun to clear up. Not sure how long we will stay that way with the predicted rain and storms over the next few days.”
Cook’s Lake will be open for fishing this Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4:30, for anglers making holiday weekend plans.
Wil usually does a bit of fishing in the region, so the Fishing Report editor did ask how some of the other oxbows might be fishing near or off of the White River. He said, “I haven’t been out much anywhere lately, to be honest with you. Looking at Cook’s, though, I would say bream real shallow along the banks near vines or laydown trees and … limb lines and trotlines for catfish. The water level over here is perfect for that.” 

Cook’s Lake is nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow has slab crappie, black bass, bream and every species of catfish and receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers who must possess the AGFC mobility-impaired access permit, and up to two guests (who may also fish), during the specified fishing season. Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat. Fishing will be allowed only on Fridays and Saturday through August, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., water level pending. Before launching, please check in at the Nature Center classroom and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please call the center at 501-404-2321.


Horseshoe Lake
(updated 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 brush tops. Limb lining 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.”


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

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