Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 22, 2020
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for July 22, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might 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. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
* Buy an Arkansas Fishing License by clicking here. Your purchase of a Fishing License helps support the AGFC’s work in maintaining the fishing resources throughout the state.
Quick links to regions:
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are conducting herbicide applications to Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir over the next several months. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with water from the lake until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake, restricting access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hindering native wildlife and fish populations. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 7-22-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake clarity is the normal Lake Conway stain with normal water level throughout. Bream remain good, with redworms, crickets Dynamax Jigs and hand-tie jigs all working well. Crappie are good. Use jigs in white/chartreuse, or minnows. Black bass are good. Anglers are using spinnerbaits, plastic worms, topwater baits, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, frogs and jigs. Catfish continue to bite well on stink bait, nightcrawlers, dough bait, small bream, goldfish and trotline minnows.
(updated 7-22-2020) Angler Dennis Charles says the lake has clear visibility at 3-5 feet and the water level dropped a foot. Bream catches have been getting better. Look inside the grass areas; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are slow, as cover is hard to find on the lake. Largemouth bass are fair around sundown and sunup; use spinnerbaits, topwater lures, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, and go to deeper areas. After 6 p.m. and until 10 p.m. seems to be the best time for them. Catfishing is fair; go with cut bait. Some anglers are finding them in the deeper portions now. Follow Dennis at his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Conways-Lake-Beaverfork-Fishing-Reports-111202737334235) for the latest reports out of Beaverfork.
Little Red River
(updated 7-22-2020) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River is receiving a few hours of afternoon generation each day. This pattern provides wading opportunities on the upper river in the mornings and lower river in the afternoons. For fly-fishing, he recommends midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. Pink and cotton candy colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin-fishing Be safe while enjoying the river. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 7-22-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with generation starting at 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and running until about 7 p.m. The Corps of Engineers is running two units during this time. This is a good schedule for the summer because it keeps the water temperature good throughout the trout water. Wade fishing is available at JFK Park, Cow Shoals and Winkley Shoal during the morning and early afternoon until the generated water reaches your area. Rainbows are hitting small emergers, small mayfly nymphs and midge pupa.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.67 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.66 feet msl and falling with generation and evaporation. It is 0.12 feet below normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet msl. Catching is still good for all species all around if you stay the course. Crappie are still eating well straight up and down on minnows and jigs trolled or small cranks. Fish in 12-30 feet depth. Hybrid and white bass are good early, late and in the middle of day; some are up high schooling, while others are on structure eating live bait, spoons and inline spinners in 25-45 feet. Black bass are on structure, schooling, and some still are up shallow eating a lot of different baits. Just get it in front of them. Catfishing is going strong for all species. Walleye are on edges of gravel points, humps, bends, on one side or the other, in 18-45 feet eating crawlers and crankbaits. Bream action is hot all over the lake as well; fish with crickets and crawlers for the best bite.
(updated 7-22-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the water is clear and just a little low after weeks of running high. Night fishing is popular now. For bass, a ¾-ounce spinnerbait and a red bug O’l Monster Zoom Worm will catch them.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-22-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the lake is a little muddy and has hit 92 degrees on the surface as of Tuesday. Water level is normal. Bream fishing is good using redworms, waxworms and crickets. Crappie are slow right now; there have been some fair catches. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good on plastic worms. In the early mornings, throw a topwater bait. Catfishing is good. Bait a trotline with small bream or perch and set at 10-14 feet deep.
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the AGFC are conducting herbicide applications to Overcup over the next several months. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with lake water through until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake and, if left uncontrolled, could restrict access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hinder native wildlife and fish populations.
(updated 7-22-2020) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the lake clarity is nice and clear with the water perhaps down just a hair below normal. Bream fishing is good. He says they’re catching really nice red ear now. There are still a few bream on the bed. Use redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. They are suspended 6-8 feet deep in 13-15 feet of water around structures. Minnows or jigs will work. Black bass are fair. Best success is coming with Rat-L-Traps in deeper water. No reports on catfish this week. The previous week the catfish were good on chicken liver, black salties or goldfish.
(updated 7-15-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is 8 inches below normal pool. Surface temperature is around 88 degrees and clarity is good. “We have am abundant amount of small shad across the lake,” Johnny notes. Bass are doing well with crankbaits and buzzbaits. Catfish are slow but anglers are still catching some 6- to 14-pounders on trotlines and jugs using catalpa worms and perch. Crappie are being caught in 12-14 feet of water about 4-7 feet down. Not catching a lot but still some good ones, 2- to 3-pounders. Bream are doing well on crickets and worms in 3-4 feet of water.
“It’s very hot out there so keep hydrated and be safe,” he says. “We have started on our new parking lot. All the boat lanes have been remarked and ready for business. Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop.”
(updated 7-22-2020) David Hall, owner of Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303), said the lake is stained and at a normal level. Bream are good on worms. Fish on the banks and around the brush for best results. Crappie are fair. They’re being caught 10 feet down around underwater brushpiles on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good. They’re in the shallows. Use spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and frogs. Catfishing is good on jugs baited with goldfish and Danny King’s Punch Bait. Some white bass reports have come in, indicating good catches. Anglers are using topwaters during the day for the whites.
(updated 7-22-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said water temperature remains in the mid-80s, and the largemouth bass bite remains fair. Some can be found outside the grass in 15-20 feet,so most are moving into deeper water biting a variety of lures. Try using drop-shots, swimbaits, deep crankbaits and spinnerbaits. The Kentucky bass (spotted bass) bite is also fair, with some reports of them being found in 18-20 feet off drops and rocky banks. Despite that fair bite, Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley still fished their way to a nice 16.30-pound stringer of five bass in Tuesday night’s tournament, and also caught the Big Bass of 4.96 pounds. Lee Brizzolara and Wes Lowder hauled in 10.77 pounds for second place.
The white bass bite is slow, Westrock reports. Some can be found in 20-22 feet in or around the channel. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are fair. Reports have them being found in 22-25 feet. Some can still be found scattered, mixed in with the whites. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream fishing is good. They can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 14-18 feet of water. Try using crickets, worms and beetle spins. Catfishing fell off a little, with fair results this week. Try using chicken liver, nightcrawlers and baitfish.
For information on fishing the Tuesday night tournaments, call the marina.
(updated 7-22-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish seem to still being doing great. Fresh chicken livers, bass minnows, nightcrawlers and stink baits have been doing well. Crappie have been slow, but they’re biting on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bream are good on crickets and redworms, and also Superworms. Bass are fair on bass minnows and black salties. Also, they’ll bite on plastic worms.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-22-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says here, too, the catfish have been doing great off of fresh chicken livers and also Wildcat Chicken Liver stink bait. Bream are good on crickets and Superworms. Bass are good off of bass minnows and black salties, as well as Zingtails and chatterbaits. Crappie are slow but the ones being caught are small in size off of size 6 crappie minnows and crappie jigs.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-22-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish and bass have both been doing great on black salties and goldfish. Bream have been hitting on crickets. Crappie are being reported caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows in the deeper holes.
(updated 7-22-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are doing well at night on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass have been good on bass minnows and plastic worms. Catfish have been good off of black salties, cut baits, shad and skipjack and redworms and fresh chicken livers. Bream are doing great on crickets; drop-shot them.
(updated 7-22-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said have been fair off of No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin’s Grubs. Bream are good on crickets. Bass have been hitting crankbaits and bass minnows. Catfish have been good off of bait shrimp, fresh chicken livers and nightcrawlers.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-22-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says it’s been really hot and not a lot of anglers have been out. The river is clear and the water level is normal. He had no reports. Previous to this week, though, bream have been good on worms and crickets. Black bass were good and being caught in shallow water early in the mornings and late in the evenings. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaitas or soft plastics were working. Catfish reports were good using chicken liver or cut bait.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 2,689 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 3,562 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 1,531 cfs.
(updated 7-22-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said black bass are slow, but you can catch them on some mornings using a buzzbait in white or black colors, as well as using a crankbait in shad or black colors, and with spinnerbaits around the jetties if you find some current. Also, a shaky head worm in June bug or red bug colors will have some success with the bass. The river is lightly stained and has a normal level with a little current.
(updated 7-15-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream fishing is good on the river, in the backwaters and around Willow Beach in 4-5 feet of water. Use crickets or redworms. Black bass are biting early in the morning on topwater baits fished around the rocks. Crappie are in 8-10 feet depth off the riprap and will bite black/chartreuse jigs as well as minnows. Catfishing is good below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and dam. Use cut shad.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(update 7-22-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie remain poor. Black bass are fair; topwater baits and plastic worms are being used most. Catfishing is good using worms, chicken liver, cut bait, prepared bait and hot dogs.
(update 7-15-2020) Wil Hafner, AGFC Education Program Specialist at Cook’s Lake Potlatch Conservation Education Center near Casscoe, fished Peckerwood recently and said he caught a limit of bream on nightcrawlers, crickets and Bonehead Tackle Stump Bugs. Most were on the bed in about 3 feet of water.
(updated 7-22-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said everybody wants to be on the river where the water temperature is a near-steady 57 degrees and, even in the midst of a 95-degree day, you might float through a mist that drops the temperature 15 degrees. The trout have been gobbling worms. The XFactor shrimp pink is a new favorite, and the live red wigglers working like a charm. Rainbow spoons have been
popular; either the 1/6-ounce or quarter-ounce are proving their worth. The hot color for the river is “rainbow”; rainbow spoons, rainbow blades on spinners, rainbow paste. Now is the perfect time to experiment with new jerkbaits. Since Rapalas are hard to come by these days, try a 4.5-inch Headhunter rainbow lure or a Wee Craw crawfish crawler. “Come on over and enjoy some freedom from the day-to-day hustle on the banks of the White. A little breezes will pick up a hint of cool air off the river and make these dog days of summer much more tolerable.”
(updated 7-22-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says white jigs, PowerBait, pink worms and shrimp are the baits of choice this week for the trout. Fly-anglers are doing well; the trout are 10-12 feet deep. Anglers are catching rainbows and browns in good numbers. The river clarity is really good, they report, though a little mossy toward the evening. The level is running high with eight generators on round-the-clock.
(updated 7-22-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week they had no rain, hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.7 feet to rest at 28.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 5.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 2.1 feet to rest at 6.1 feet above seasonal power pool and 7.9 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 5.4 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Whie had heavy generation. There was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.6 feet to rest at 17.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 6.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater saw heavy flows and no wadable water.
The lakes in the White River system are near the top of flood pool. Expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
The grass hopper bite is upon us. Use a shorter leader and bang the bank. John’s favorite fly is a western pink lady size 8.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section at Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a cerise San Juan worm with a peach egg suspended below it).
John also said, “This week I got a firsthand look at summer. I was raised in the Deep South, so hot weather has always been my constant companion. When I was in the Army, I went to boot camp at Fort Polk, Louisiana, which was basically in a swamp, and furthered my orientation. I then did two tours in Vietnam, which completed my education. I know a thing or two about hot weather. I had a guide trip with two guys from Omaha, Nebraska, this week. They did not have the benefit of my education and were not ready for the heat.
“The best way to beat the heat is to avoid it. If you have a choice, the best option is to wade. Our tailwaters are cold, with an annual temperature of about 57 degrees. This can be quite refreshing on a warm day. On a really hot day, I will wet wade. That is, I will wade without waders. I wear my wading boots and quick drying slacks. Unfortunately wading is not always an option. We are in our second year of high water and we do not currently have any option to wade on the White River and Norfork tailwater.
“We are limited to fishing from a boat, and in a boat there is nowhere to hide from the heat, unless you fish early before it gets hot. I tried to talk them into a half-day in the morning (when it is the coolest) but they wanted to fish all day. We agreed to an early start to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures.
“It was 65 degrees with a dense fog. I wore a wind shirt over my clothes because it was so cool, particularly when we were in the boat moving to another location. The forecast was for temperatures in the mid-90s, sunny skies and light winds. I knew that when the fog burned off it would get hot.
“When the guys showed up that morning I noticed how they were dressed. They were wearing black pants, black T-shirts and ball caps. I don’t think these guys knew how to dress for hot weather. They were fine till about 11 a.m. The fog had burned off and the sun was climbing. Then they began getting hot. About noon they realized that their arms hands and faces were getting sunburned. They quickly applied sunscreen but it may have been too late.
“I was dressed in light tan tropical fishing pants. A long sleeved tropical fishing shirt, boat shoes with ankle socks, a broad brimmed straw cowboy hat and sun gloves. The outfit did not absorb heat as much and protected me from the sun. The breathable fabric allowed any breeze to flow through.
“At the end of the day I was fine. They were wiped out. If you are considering a trip, in this heat, think about when to fish and how to dress.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 688.26 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.20 feet msl). Table Rock Lake above Bull Shoals on Wednesday was at 925.72 feet msl (normal conservation pool is 917.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says the Corps of Engineers has limited access to ramps and parking, so Del suggests customers/boaters/anglers call first, especially on weekends. Summer fishing patterns are in effect. For largemouth bass, fish with topwaters in the mornings. Berkley Wake Bait, poppers, Whopper Plopper, buzzbaits or chatterbaits continue to work for power fishing shallow if it’s cloudy or stormy. During the day, smallies and spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are stacked out on main and secondary points, sunken islands, humps, channel swing bluffs and bluff ends. With shad present, fish position will change depending on sun, wind, current, clouds, etc. Still a lot of places for them to hide with high water, so keep it moving. Use a big worm in sunken trees, near ledges, or a half-ounce jig in green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue in 18-28 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are at gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads. Drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs, tubes, the Lil’ McMinnow, and fish a drop-shot suspenders off bluff points, main lake points and hump islands at 24-34 feet depth. Lake clarity is dingy to clear. Surface water temperature is up to 89 degrees. The lake is 27 feet high and falling. Visit Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for video with more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 573.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.95 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake is in a state of flux. The stripers have migrated from the mid-lake area and are now being caught in Diamond Bay and the points around the dam. The oxygen level is good at 100 feet near the dam, and in the other parts of the lower part of the lake the oxygen levels are OK. “Each morning I start out fishing by 5:30 a.m. but rarely catch a striper until 6 a.m. I cannot figure out where in the early mornings they are hanging out. The thermocline needs to set into its normal level around 34 feet, and the high temperatures this week should drive it down. Right now we are catching stripers in 20-80 feet deep all at one time. It’s crazy on what we’re doing. My setup has two free-lines and six downlines all set from 20-80 feet. Normally I set the lines all the same, but now you have to stagger your lines just to catch stripers. Today I caught a striper on a free-line, one at 60 feet, and one at 80 feet.
“The other major problem is there is no consistent secondary bite. Once the main bite is over, which usually ends around 7 a.m., we are having a difficult time getting stripers to bite. You can see lots of stripers on the bottom but they just look at the bait. Once we can figure this out we should catch a limit each time we go out and the stripers quit biting due to the oxygen depletion.”
(updated 7-22-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 7-22-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.6 feet to rest at 17.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 6.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater saw heavy flows and no wadable water.
The lakes in the White River system are near the top of flood pool. Expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
The grass hopper bite is upon us. Use a shorter leader and bang the bank. John’s favorite fly is a western pink lady size 8.The Norfork is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try an egg pattern 18 inches below a cerise San Juan worm. The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. With summer here there is a lot of pressure. The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is closed so there are no open restrooms there. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and mop flies.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-22-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and fishable. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,126.43 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is coming down ever so slowly. Water is very warm in the upper 80s throughout the lake. Clarity is stained to fairly clear toward the dam. Lots of pleasure boat traffic on weekends, making fishing an early or late proposition. Striper are really on a consistent early-morning bite. Look from Prairie Creek to the dam. Brood minnows and bream are working well. Crappie are on brush and also being caught on cranks. Look on structure in 20 to 30 feet deep and use jigs. Trolling cranks at less than 2 mph is working well. Bandits, Arkies and Picos all are working. Bass are hit-and-miss with some early topwater happening. Catfishing is breat on jugs, trotlines and rod and reel at night. Bream are good on crickets. Small walleye are also being caught, with some better fishing at night with brood minnows of main points 4, 5 and Lost Bridge area.
(updated 7-22-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said that fishing under the lights is doing pretty well right now. The lake clarity is clear and the water, while high, is coming down. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. Some are being found in cover and others are in open water. Minnows, jigs, trolling crankbaits and spider-rigging all are successful methods to catch the crappie. Black bass are good. Go with a topwater in the morning and a shaky head during the day. Bass are going after jigs and a hodge-podge of other baits at night. Catfishing is good. Use chicken liver on trotlines and jugs. Also try live bait.
(updated 7-15-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the water is starting to fall; however, the water temps have not. Surface temps between Houseman and Spider Creek have been between the high 70s to low 60s. Up towards the dam, the temps are in the 50s. The trout bite has been pretty good, he says. Most have been caught on light terminal tackle, with various PowerBaits. Quarter-ounce spoons and various crankbaits have produced some nice numbers as well. “No real hot spot to report, as the fish as still scattered. A few walleye are still being caught around Beaver town. Most are being caught with crankbaits and jigging live minnows. No other species to report on. It is hot out there, folks. Makes sure you stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun as much as possible. Be safe, have fun and catch some fish.” For more information, contact Austin through his Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service).
War Eagle Creek/Beaver Lake Area
(updated 7-15-2020) Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said, “Summertime is on, love it, and thank you very much!” Smallmouth bass fishing is happening in War Eagle Creek. Bass are schooled up in spring holes and when catching one, fish that spot a while longer and you may catch a half-dozen it the same pool. Use Ned rigs with red flakes or a Texas-rigged 4-inch or 6-inch watermelon-colored worm. When fish are feeding in the rapids, look for 3- or 4-foot deep small holes and throw a Mepps Spoon or spinnerbait and you just need to throw once in a hot spot while floating through the rapids, and hurry the reel up and cast in the next hot spot. Crankbaits and topwater baits are producing great action, and live minnows are everywhere and will be great bait!
In the Big Clifty arm of Beaver Lake, Rambo Cove access, North Clifty cove, the black bass fishing is excellent. “The old pig-and-jig works great, especially night fishing. The daybreak topwater is excellent on cove main channels! Catfishing on jugs with live perch and on poles will catch some great grilling fish. You can catch perch on live worms by waterfalls and land some perch big enough for grill, also!”
The Carroll County paved road 108 off of Arkansas Highway 23 goes to the easy bass boat ramp and anglers can fish all three coves easy, as well as get to the big waters in the main lake channel connecting coves. Madison County Road 8455 to 8465 off of Arkansas Highway 127 goes to the easy boat access at the end of cove and the no wake zone cove has great kayaking, canoeing and bank fishing access, Loy says. Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting on Facebook for photos; call 479-530-3262 for guided trips and for free water access and parking.
(updated 7-22-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the water is murky and the level is low. Bream reports are good. Worms or crickets will work. Crappie are poor. Black bass continue to bite well; anglers are having success with topwater baits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good; use worms, plastics, catfish bait and “pretty much anything.”
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 7-22-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says that like last week the lake clarity is a little stained but is fishable. Bream have really taken off this week with excellent reports. Worms, crickets “and pretty much anything you throw at the shore” seem to work. Crappie are fair; use minnows, jigs or crankbaits. Black bass are good. Go with topwater baits in the early morning, then switch to soft plastics. Catfishing is good using stink bait or cut bait. Lake water level is low by about a half-foot.
(updated 7-22-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports the water being clear and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Anglers are catching them around all the docks and off the points. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good for anglers fishing the deep waters (they’re 30 feet deep). Trying the late evenings and use a jig. Catfishing is good with stink bait or chicken liver.
(updated 7-22-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said catfish and bream continue to bite despite the heat. Early morning and night fishing is recommended. Anglers are catching a few bass on worms on the bottom; others are catching fair amounts using spinnerbaits, plastic worms and topwater baits. Worms and jigs are working best for bream, while worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver and Catfish Pro are the baits of choice for catfish. No reports on crappie or white bass. Surface water temperature Sunday morning was 69 degrees. The lake is at a normal level and murky.
(updated 7-22-2020) The lake at Lake Poinsett State Park has been undergoing a renovation with plans to refill it later this year and for fishing to resume at levels far better than in recent years, thanks to improved fish habitat and new underwater structures. The water control structure was also repaired.
(updated 7-15-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are at 490 cfs (350 average), and water clarity has been green tinted. No rain in the last few weeks has water levels coming down. “Still flowing little strong but getting easier to wade. The river has been up for so long the trout are biting really good as river levels drop,” Mark says.
Lately Woolly Buggers in brown, olive and flaming orange have been hot. “We are fishing early and off the water after lunch due to the heat. The trout have been biting great early in the day, and as the day heats up, the bite slows.”
Trout cranks and hot pink and black Trout Magnets have been working well with spin-fishing. “Any type of crankbait is good about getting down to the fish. Like the trout cranks, it must float. Fishing the Spring, it will hang on bottom in the rocks constantly. If it floats just give some slack and a lot of times it will float out.”
Mark also said, “The river is very cold this time of year and feels great! Get out and have a good time. And please keep our river clean.” For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 7-22-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White River and Norfork tailwatee. Canoe season is here and it can get very crowded. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Wednesday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 9.44 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 12.74, more than 13 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is 25.59 feet, almost a half-foot below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 7-22-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 7-22-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 7-1-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), said catfish and bream are biting on Lake Chicot. Possible scattered thunderstorms expected during the week, with a slight chance of rain in during the weekend. Lake Chicot will be busy with guests for Fourth of July weekend, but there still time to get out there and snag a good fishing spot.
(updated 7-22-2020) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam and improvements to the fish habitat and is currently drawn down.
Cane Creek Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.38 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake was near normal, 2 inches above conservation pool. Discharge was around 1,300 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday remains around 226 feet msl and stable with discharge. 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, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
Surface temps stable this week, ranging 85-90 degrees. Clarity in the oxbows is improved. Little River is normal stain this week, with few random broken timber. Clarity is consistent in the back of the oxbows, with improving stain this week. Clarity and visibility along Little River at 10-15 inches. The oxbow’s clarity is moderate stain, ranging 18-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location; several oxbow lakes continue improving clarity.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Have been in their typical summer habits and haunts for last few weeks. Early morning continues to be key for the best bite of the day. Cypress trees and knees near lily pads on shallow flats are drawing topwater blowups early, using black/blue or bleeding avocado buzzbaits, Bass Assassin Shads, soft plastic frogs and Stuttersteps in the oxbows. Best activity period remains from dawn to around 9 a.m.
Over the past couple weeks, most largemouths actively feed at night and at early daybreak for a few hours in the oxbows of McGuire, Mud and Horseshoe lakes. Stuttersteps and shallow square-bill cranks in Millwood Magic have drawn random reactions over the past couple weeks. Bill Lewis Lures’ SB-57 and Echo 1.75 crankbait square-bills in Ghost Minnow, Bluegill and Sneaky Shad continue getting good responses as the sun rises and the bass transition to vertical structure after 9-10 a.m. Target vertical drops near 3- to 6-feet deep flats that transition into 12-14 feet structure.
Bass Assassin Shads and soft plastic frogs continue drawing random reactions at dawn, from 5-8 feet of depth around stumps, lily pads and cypress knees. Best colors of Assassins over the past few weeks continue to be the Salt-N-Pepper Silver Phantom, Grey Ghost and Panhandle Moon. Bulky 10-inch Power Worms were getting fair responses over the past week and best colors have been the June bug/red, blue fleck and black grape. Texas-rigged Senkos, Trick Worms and Salty Rat Tails continue working near cypress trees and knees, drawing a fair response from lethargic bass from 8-12 feet deep. Best colors have been the watermelon candy, Blue Ice and June bug/blue tail.
* White Bass: Vertical jigging War Eagle Underspins and Kastmaster spoons were connecting with some nice 2- to 3-pounders over the past few weeks in Little River between Jack’s Isle and Hurricane creek. Additionally, white bass were observed pushing shad to the surface and breaking in McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows at dawn on cloudy mornings a week ago. Clear Baby Torpedoes, chrome Dying Flutters and Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic or Splatter-back colors, with Spin Traps in chrome/blue back, were catching these random surface breakers last week.
* Crappie: Best bite has been early for the past 3-4 weeks. Minnows and jigs have been working away from current and flow of Little River, in any clearer water sections of the oxbows and Millwood State Park, and near Okay Landing and Cottonshed areas near cypress trees from 3-5 feet deep and planted brush piles from 8-10 feet of depth. The crappie responses are most consistent with minnows. Millwood State Park continues seeing good activity in the pockets and coves near cypress trees and grass from 6-12 feet of depth. Saratoga and Beards Bluff areas continue to be good areas, giving up some nice healthy 2- to 3-pounders.
* Catfish: Fairly consistent over the past few weeks on trotlines and yo-yos in Little River. Cut shad or buffalo, goldfish (available at Millwood State Park Marina), spoiled chicken hearts and gizzards, or Punch Baits were working well for 2- to 4-pound blues and channel cats on yo-yos hung from cypress trees 3-8 feet deep in Mud, Horseshoe, and McGuire oxbows up Little River.
* Bream: No report.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyflishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 543.08 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.51 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Summer is in full swing now! Lots of warm water now. Water temperature is in the high 80s. Water is clear and clean.
“It’s that time of year when things go into the slow-motion mode. Crappie are holding close to the cover and the bite is slow. Real slow. There are lots of bream in the cover with the crappie, so you get quite a few bites that are bream when you are crappie fishing. The thermacline is from 30 feet mid-lake to 20 feet in some of the shallower areas. Jigs or minnows, it doesn’t matter, still a tough bite. Drop-shotting for bream or crappie is a good way to get some action if you are weedless. If you have Livescope, the brushpiles light up like a Christmas tree. But it’s bream, bass and crappie. White bass are surfacing mid-lake in the late morning. Hybrids are being taken on live bait, spoons, crankbaits, trolling and topwaters. Just look for the cluster of boats. Whopper Plopper and Pistol mMinnows are good baits for topwater. I feel this is the pattern we will be living with till a weather change. Be safe and remember social distancing.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.31 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.03 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 7-22-2020) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said he’s been in the river with the river finally at normal level. The catfish are good on Sonny’s Stink Bait, nightcrawlers and cold worms. Bream will bite well on crickets and worms in the oxbows. He reports that maintenance is being done on Upper White Oak Lake with a drawdown for habitat work. Water is a little murky and at a normal level.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-22-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 64 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has scheduled an 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. generation pattern that has included an open floodgate at times below Carpenter Dam, which has created a dangerous flow. Boaters are cautioned to remain a safe distance from the dam during this time. Rainbow trout fishing is very slow with the majority of fish either caught or migrated away from the dam. Months of the trout season were lost due to flooding much like last year. Typically, the trout season is over now on Lake Catherine and this year is no exception. While the white bass spawn is over, good numbers of fish remain in the tailrace and are feeding on shad. The size is running small but these fish are actively feeding and are being caught on jigs, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and live minnows. Walleye are also present from the bridge to the dam and being taken on the same presentations. The hot weather draws these fish to the tailrace to feed on shad and crayfish. Little topwater action has been observed around the dam this week, which normally marks the feeding patterns of big stripers that migrate in and out of the area to rest and feed. Hybrid bass often accompany these predator fish and both species can be hooked by casting Super Spooks and weightless jigs in a rainbow trout color. Flow discharges can change rapidly, and anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to stay alert and always wear a life jacket when on the water.
(updated 7-22-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said that since the high-pressure system that was lurking in the desert southwest settled over Arkansas last week, they have experienced mostly clear skies with sunshine, heat and humidity. The National Weather Service forecast expects more of the same with chances of afternoon showers for the week ahead. With less rains and slower river flow the water has cleared up near the surface and visibility reaches a few feet. Surface temperature is 87 degrees. As of Tuesday the Corps of Engineers last reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam was at 23,000 cfs. The Ozark tailwater was just below 338 feet msl. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam has been held at 0 this morning. Dardanelle tailwater level has moved between 6 and 4 feet. The pool elevation near the State Park has fallen in recent days and is near 337 feet msl. River flow at both Ozark and Dardanelle has been almost stagnant at times and most, if not all, of the flow has been through the powerhouses, which have been generating most days.
No fishing tournaments were hosted at Lake Dardanelle State Park this past weekend. Lake Dardanelle State Park continues to comply with state and federal guidelines and directives for social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The status of facilities continues to be evaluated. In accordance with the governor’s directive, tournament officials are required to submit an event plan and permit application to the Arkansas Department of Health before their event. Tournament officials are also required to present their ADH permit and event plan to Lake Dardanelle State Park and agree to the tournament regulations regarding COVID-19. For details or questions contact the visitor center at (479) 967-5516. Be safe while on the river and take advantage of nice weather or time to put a line the water
(updated 7-22-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at normal pool and surface temps in the high 80s in all areas but the river channel. Here we are in the dog days of summer! Bass have slowed down quite a bit in the last few weeks due to the water temperatures. No surprise there. Bass will be hanging out in deeper water and in shade, for sure. Bass can still be caught shallow on topwater baits like Whopper Ploppers, Horny Toads and Zara Spooks early in the morning and before nightfall. Morning is really the best this time of year, and it is not uncommon to find mass schools of breaking fish off points just as the sun comes up. On the flip side most fish will move to slightly deeper water to avoid the hot water; 15 feet seems to be a good sweet spot recently to target fish with Ned rigs and drop-shot rigs. Little green drop-shot worms and June bug Ned rigs have been getting it done on bluff walls and piers when nothing else is working. If you are a power fisherman, then drag a jig or big worm through brushpiles at 10-20 feet depth near current.
Crappie have been sporadic. The only tried-and-true way this time of year is to “shoot” docks with small shad-like jigs and hope for the best. Good ol’ dependable catfish are good everywhere in creek channels and drop-offs to the main channel. Cheddar cheese and cut bait work best. Good luck and Go Greeson!
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.49 feet msl (normal pool: 344.31 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the water remains clear, while the surface temperature has jumped to 91 degrees. Water level is low for the first time in many weeks. Bream are still good, with best results coming 3-5 feet on the points. Use worms or crickets. Crappie have turned around, with excellent results reported this week. They are in 6-8 feet depth away from brush. Any jigs in white/chartreuse and blue/white colors are good bets, along with minnows. Black bass remain good with the same baits as before: topwaters, worms, June bugs, War Eagle Buzzbaits in chartreuse, black and white colors all are working well. Catfishing is good on limblines and jigs set 6 feet deep and by noodling.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.47 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are fair. Big Texas-rigged worms and jighead worms are working best right now. Try red bug, plum or blood line colors. Walleye are very good. Spoons and bottom bouncers with small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best right now. Stripers are still good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the east part of the lake. Bream are good with crickets or worms in 15-25 feet of water. Crappie are still fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are still good and being caught with trot line and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature is ranging 80-85 degrees and the clarity is clearing. The lake level earlier this week was 576.65 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822 for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 389.40 feet msl (normal pool: 386.36 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2020) Fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said had no report.
(updated 7-22-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says that the White River has now fallen out enough to be able to open Cook’s Lake for youth and mobility impaired anglers. Fishing began July 15 and the action has been hot! Black bass should be targeted around cypress trees. Try using square-bill crankbaits or flipping black and red tubes or creature baits. Bluegill have been good around laydowns and cypress trees with crickets. Crappie can be picked off of brushtops using tube jigs.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-mile long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Due to current guidelines, Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing during Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youth under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but we ask for trolling motors only. To comply with current guidelines, we ask that you call ahead at least a day in advance to register to fish. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center, and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please contact the center at 870-241-3373.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
White River/Clarendon Area
No fishing reports. The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday reported the Clarendon gauge at 22.75 feet, under the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
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