Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Aug. 26, 2020
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Aug. 26, 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. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 10 a.m. the day of publication.
* 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 through September. 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 8-26-2020) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said bream continue to bite well. Anglers are having success with redworms, crickets and hand-tie jigs. Crappie reports were fair; use crappie minnows or small jigs. Black bass are good, and the usual assortment of baits continues to get the action: spinnerbaits, plastic worms, topwater lures, frogs, buzzbaits, chatterbaits and jigs. Catfishing is good. Try stink bait, dough bait, nightcrawlers, goldfish, trotline minnows and small bream and you’ll get bit. The lake remains the expected stain and is “just a hair low” this week, as of Tuesday afternoon.
(updated 8-19-2020) Angler Dennis Charles reports that fishing this week was much the same as last week. Bass are excellent early and late; they love frothing the water, it’s party time, go see what you can feed them. Anglers are finding success using spinnerbaits, plastic worms, topwaters, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, frogs and jigs. Bream are good all over; fish with redworms or crickets. Crappie are poor; see what you can do to catch a few. Catfish continue to be slow, go to deep water for your best chances. Lake clarity is up to 10 feet in spots.
Little Red River
(updated 8-26-2020) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains clear with afternoon generation starting about 1 p.m. “With Hurricane Laura forecast to track over Arkansas, we’ll have to wait and see how much rain we get to determine river conditions later in the week,” Greg says. “Possible heavy rain is forecast for this area on Thursday and Friday. This will cause the river to become muddy. The amount of generation will determine how fast the river clears if this should happen.” Rain amounts can be found on the generation tab on the USACE Little Rock app. Scroll down under the generation table. “A little rain won’t hurt anything since it is dry. We’ll hope that this is the case and not a ‘gully washer’.”
Greg says rainbows are hitting small mayfly nymphs, sowbugs and midge pupa. A few browns are being caught here and there on the same flies.
(updated 8-26-2020) 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, Lowell recommends midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. 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 Army 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 8-26-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that trout are good on pink/chartreuse Trout Magnets. Also, any type of shad-looking crankbait will work, as well as brown maribou jigs and also the Little Cleo Spoon (gold/silver).
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.75 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2020) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 458.89 feet msl at the last reading posted Tuesday at 1 p.m. That is 3.65 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. “Who knows what rain will do at this point other than speculation? Greers is for sure in summer mode but the thing is, weather is changing every minute, moving toward a quick fall, but the fish are not reacting very quick,” Tommy says.
Black bass are all over – they have been real shallow out to deep; drag a jig, worm, C-rig, or drop-shot, swim something deep or shallow, or just stay on top. Just stay with shad or wind. Crappie still have to eat, so use jigs, Blakemore Road Runners, crankbaits or minnows in open water and in timber or brushpiles 12-40 feet. No report on walleye. Catfish are eating some but must be changing as well, as there is not as much catching going on or being reported, but the heat during the daylight hours is having some effect. Bream are still very active, shallow to deep (25 feet); use crickets and crawlers, or small stream baits. “Hybrid and white bass have been acting crazy,” he says. “We think a lot of that is due to boat and angler traffic, so out-of-the-way places that have shad are maybe your best bet in finding a steady bite. Fish are 25-80 feet at present. For the hybrids use big Largo Muskie baits, inline spinners, spoons or live bait. For whites, scale baits back some but use the same.”
(updated 8-26-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says bass are good early and late in the day on topwater baits. Also during the day they’re being caught on deep-diving crankbaits and Texas-rigged worms.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 8-26-2020) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake was a little cloudy early this week but appears to be clearing up. Water level was low. Bream continue to bite with good results. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. Bobby Garland Jigs with a pink jighead are working well, and minnows also will work. Poor reports on black bass this week. Try topwater or a Spook for to maybe get some bass action. Catfishing is good. Glowworms are being bit, and trotlines baited with bass minnows or baby bream were catching cats.
NOTE: Employees and contractors with the AGFC are conducting herbicide applications to Overcup through September. 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 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 8-12-2020) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said Overcup remains “nice and clear.” The level has dropped to 8-12 inches below normal. Bream are fair but appear to be slowing down a bit. Redworms and crickets have worked best. Crappie also are fair but slowing. They’re in deeper water these days. Use minnows, or try a jig with a pink head and chartreuse body. Black bass are good, with nice-size bass being caught lately. Best fishing is off the shore with spinnerbaits. Catfishing has been excellent. Randy reports several nice-size catfish caught, including one 30-pounder hauled in this past week. Shad, large shiners and bass minnows will all attract the catfish bite.
(updated 8-12-2020) Johnny “Catfish” Banks of Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is down about 1 foot below pool. Surface temperature is around 88 degrees. Clarity is good but has a lot of green moss in shallow water. Bass are doing well around the brushtops on plastic worms and frogs. Bream are doing well on crickets and worms. Catfish are doing well on jugs and trotlines using perch and hot dogs. Crappie are slow but anglers are still catching some good ones in 12-14 feet of water 3-5 feet down.
Johnny adds, “I want everyone to know that it’s been really warm and not a lot of people have been out. Thanks for your business and stay safe.”
(updated 8-14-2020) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland said the water is warm and the fishing has been slow. Water temperature is in the 90s. Largemouth bass bite is fair. Some can be found outside the grass in 10-15 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 15-20 feet off drops and rocky banks. The better bass bite of this week helped on Tuesday njight as Noah White and Greg White caught 12.94 pounds of bass, edging Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley’s 12.43 pounds; Nesterenko and Wooley found the 4.74 Big Bass, though.
The white bass bite is still slow. Some can be found in 20-22 feet in or around the channel. Use 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. Go with jigs and minnows. Bream fishing is back to great. They can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 12-16 feet of water. Try using crickets, worms and beetle spins. Catfishing is good on chicken liver, nightcrawlers and baitfish.
For information on fishing the Tuesday night tournaments, call the marina.
(updated 8-26-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that from what they are hearing, Sunset Lake is still temporarily closed for renovations.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 8-26-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says the catfish have been pretty good here on fresh chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bass are fair on plastic worms and Zing Tails. Bream have been hitting crickets and redworms. Crappie are being caught on No. 4 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 8-26-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says crappie been good in deep pockets using the smaller crappie minnows. Bass have been hitting brooder minnows and 4-inch lizards; Zing Tails have been doing well on them, also. Bream have been great on crickets. Catfish are being caught on trotlines with goldfish and black salties.
(updated 8-26-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been hitting pretty well at night up until the early morning hours off of crappie minnows. Catfish have been good on cut baits; both shad and skipjack have been doing well, and bait shrimp, too. Bream are good on crickets. Bass have been pretty good on spinnerbaits and also on buzzbaits.
(updated 8-26-2020) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says bream have been good on crickets. Catfish are good on goldfish and bream. Crappie have been fair on crappie minnows. Bass also have been doing well on minnows, crankbaits and spinnerbaits.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 8-26-2020) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no reports.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 8-26-2020) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water remains clear and at a normal level. Bream picked up this week with good results. Worms and crickets are working. Crappie reports remain poor. Black bass are good, with best results in the early mornings and late evenings. Crankbaits and plastic worms are your best bet. Catfish are biting well in the nighttime; use 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 11,445 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 17 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 0 cfs.
(updated 8-26-2020) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said fishing the river is “a little tough right now.” The river is at normal level and current with a stained clarity. Black bass are fair on drop-shot worms, a Texas rig, jigs and crankbaits in 10-15 feet of water off the ends of jetties. Catfishing is pretty good using stink bait and nightcrawlers below the Murray Lock and Dam; also, catfish are being caught snagging below the dam.
(updated 8-19-2020) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reports that around Rector Brake, bream are good in 3-4 feet of water and are being caught on crickets. Crappie are fair off the ends of the jetties and are biting regular minnows. Target 10-12 feet depth. Meanwhile, moving around to the Burns Park area for a good crappie bite; fish around the pylons and use Beaver Bottom baits. Black bass are biting in the early mornings on black buzzbaits in the main river. By midday, the bite is fair with the Bandit 200 Series Crankbaits in shad color working best. Catfish are being caught, with snagging being an excellent method below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and dam. Bait fishing for catfishing is good below the hydroelectric plant and the dam and night; use skipjack of shad as bait.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas-River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 8-26-2020) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
(update 8-19-2020) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said Peckerwood is clear and the water level is low, but there are no stumps showing. Bream reports have been good. Anglers are getting bites from redworms and crickets. Crappie are poor. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and topwater baits. Catfishing is good; try chicken liver, hot dogs or basic catfish bait.
(updated 8-26-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Lots of things in our world are different today, but there are some things that remain the same: Trout fishing on the White River in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks continues to produce a great catch of fish and as much action as you could ask for.
“Browns have been hiding in the deep holes and biting on sculpin and crawdad tails. We’ve seen the rainbows hitting gold spinners and pink PowerBait worms topped with white. Several golden rainbow trout were caught this week and they are always great to see thriving and growing. Fish for them just the same as for other rainbows and you may be rewarded with a fun surprise on the end of your line.”
Bull Shoals Lake elevation is 679 feet Wednesday with generation continuing round-the-clock; daytime releases are usually 12,000 cfs (four generators). “Spending time on the river offers an opportunity to refresh and renew in the great outdoors, to reestablish contact with nature, reinforce family bonds, or spend quiet time with a close friend. Try it!”
(updated 8-26-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says the river is still running high, while the fishing is still good. This past week, not a lot of browns were caught. Mostly the anglers are drift-fishing for rainbows. Bull Shoals is still high and this will continue for about a month or so, the Corps continuing to pump out water. Clarity in the river is “really good,” they say.
(updated 8-26-2020) 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 2.3 feet to rest at 19.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 14.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.7 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.7 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell a foot to rest at 1.9 feet above seasonal power pool and 6.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had moderate generation in the morning and heavy generation in the afternoon. There was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 9.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 14.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had low flows overnight and heavy flows during the day. Most of the lakes in the White River System are still near the top of flood pool. We can expect heavy generation and no wadable water into the fall.
John says, “The grass hopper bite is upon us. Use a shorter leader and bang the bank. My favorite fly is a western pink lady size 8. Add a dropper (size 14 pheasant tail nymph) to increase your catch.
“The White has fished well. The lower flows we have had in the morning have been extremely productive. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals.” He says 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) suspended below it).
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 678.88 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.20 feet msl). Table Rock Lake above Bull Shoals on Wednesday was at 916.14 feet msl (normal conservation pool is 917.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says the bite is changing a little every day. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pumping water out of Bull Shoals Lake, and this has the fishing moving out on the points. There is also baitfish suspended deep off the points. Del says anglers should target fish at 10-15 feet deep dearly, then switch to 20-28 feet later in the day. If it’s hot, go deep, he says. If it’s cloudy and windy, go shallow. Throw topwater baits in the mornings. Berkley Wake Bait, poppers, a Whopper Plopper, buzzbait or chatterbaits are best for powerfishing shallow if it’s cloudy or stormy. Target shallow flats close to old creek channels with shad.
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 20-25 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 26-32 feet depth.
Lake clarity remains dingy to clear depending on location, while the surface water temperature is 85 degrees. Lake level is just over 20 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 564.88 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.95 feet msl).
(updated 8-19-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “Each year that we have high water we experience a low oxygen level during late August. This is due to the lake level being lowered. As the lake is lowered, the oxygen is being depleted. Stripers need 5 parts per million to be active, and as the oxygen begins to decline and the water warms up, the stripers begin to stress and move deeper in the lake to find more oxygen. By the end of August the oxygen is less than 1 percent and the stripers will begin to become dormant. This will last into the first part of September, then they begin to move up the creeks.
“This year we have seen an early start to their inactivity. This past week on Wednesday I caught five stripers; Thursday we boated six; and on Friday zero – the average is two or less. The stripers will move deep and quit eating to reduce the need for oxygen. Live bait and spooning has been the less productive catching stripers. Some are being caught trolling, but it’s not worth the money to fish the lower end of Norfork until later in September. The stripers will move to Robinson Point and up Big Creek as the oxygen returns.
“But it’s not all bad news. The walleye bite is very strong right now. They are being caught using bottom bouncers and nightcrawlers in 22-28 feet of water off the flat points like Thumb Point and Skunked Islands. I did a test run going up the lake past the state line and found schools of legal but small stripers that were feeding heavy during the early morning. The waters up there are shallow and will begin to cool down much faster than the main lake. Once it hits 80 degrees a major striper push will occur and you will see lots of action.
“Until sometime in late October, if you want to fish with us expect that we will be fishing above the state line, which requires both Arkansas and Missouri fishing licenses. If you’re a resident of either state you can purchase a (WRL) White River Border License that allows you to fish in either state. It’s $10 and good for a year.”
(updated 8-26-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 9.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 14.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had low flows overnight and heavy flows during the day. Most of the lakes in the White River System are still near the top of flood pool. We can expect heavy generation and no wadable water into the fall.
John says, “The grass hopper bite is upon us. Use a shorter leader and bang the bank. My favorite fly is a western pink lady size 8. Add a dropper (size 14 pheasant tail nymph) to increase your catch.
The Norfork is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the flooding over the past two years. 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 school starting, expect less pressure during the week. Fish early or late to avoid the weekend crowds. The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is open but the restrooms are still closed. 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.
Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 8-26-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. 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 1,123.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2020) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver continues its steady drop (now 1.5 feet above normal poo), which can only be a good thing. Unfortunately for us the weather service is predicting heavy rain in the vicinity later this week. Lake temperature is in the lower 80s. Fishing is fair to good for all species. Stripers are on a constant move from Rocky Branch to the dam. First light till 9 a.m. is the best bite. Brooders and shad are working well with lots of fish in the 10-to-20-pound range caught. Crappie are still being caught on trolled cranks. They are also suspended in brush at the 25-foot level. Minnows and jigs are working OK and the bite is fair at best. Bass are schooling early and late. Look for a topwater flurry, and as sun comes up, move deeper in the same vicinity and work plastics. Bream are excellent around docks. Catfish are also a good bet on all the regular baits. “Rain, please give a little for the yards out there but do not drop 2-plus inches as predicted.”
(updated 8-26-2020) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said stripers are good on live minnows or live shad. Bream are fair on redworms or crickets. Crappie are good, with anglers in boats with electronics doing the best; shoreline fishing for crappie is not good, they add. Trolling crankbaits in deep brushpiles is working the best for boaters. Black bass reports are poor. “It’s pretty challenging now,” they report. If you’re going to get any action, it will be with spinnerbaits, topwater baits in the early part of the day and late, worms, jigs and with finesse fishing during the day. Catfishing is fair. Live baits such as minnows, perch and goldfish are the way to go. Beaver Lake is dropping and is now at a manageable water level, they report, though it is above normal pool. The clarity is “good and clear.” Surface water temperature early Tuesday afternoon was 84-85 degrees.
(updated 8-26-2020) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says The bite this past week has been great. Most of it happening later in the morning, just after generation. The trout have responded well to spoons of various sizes and colors. They have also done well with various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. The water temperature has been consistent throughout the tailwater. If you want to catch the bigger fish, follow the bait!
White bass and a few walleye were caught this past week as well. Fishing structure and inlets have been good target areas. Try fishing suspended crank baits in the 10-foot range. Soft plastics have also done the job as well. Kentucky bass are still being caught around chunk rock and structure as well using the same above methods. “We have some weather heading our way, so get out there and catch some fish!”
War Eagle Creek/Beaver Lake Area
(updated 8-26-2020) Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) had no recent reports. Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting on Facebook for photos; call 479-530-3262 for guided trips and for free water access and parking.
(updated 8-26-2020) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake clarity is murky and the water level is a little low, but they expect the forecast of rain should bring the lake back to normal this week. The bream bite is good; use redworms or crickets. Crappie reports were poor with mostly slow action, though they say you can catch crappie “if you know what you’re doing.” Try minnows or jigs. Black bass are good, with plastic worms, topwater baits and live worms working best. Catfish are biting well on nightcrawlers, glowworms and basic catfish baid.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 8-26-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) says the clarity remains clear and the water level Tuesday mid-afternoon was low by 1-1.5 feet. Bream weren’t quite as prevalent as last week but the bite was still good; use redworms or crickets. Crappie reports were good. Minnows and jigs will work, though your best bet may be slow-moving crankbaits. Black bass are fair on crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfishing is good with nightcrawlers or cut bait.
(updated 8-26-2020) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that clarity is clear and surface water temperature as of Tuesday early afternoon was in the low 80s. Water level is 2 feet below normal. Bream fishing is excellent. Use redworms or crickets. No report on crappie again. Black bass are good; the bass are on the bottom, and a deep-diving crankbait in orange or yellow colors will be your best bet. No reports on catfish.
(updated 8-26-2020) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said lots of boats were on the water this past weekend, but she heard no reports from them on the fishing. She does report that bream anglers said the fishing was good, with worms, real and plastic, and jigs were working. The bream were biting around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. But no reports came in on crappie, bass or catfish. The lake remains murky in clarity and the surface water temperature Sunday morning was 70 degrees. Water level remains normal.
(updated 8-26-2020) The lake at Lake Poinsett State Park has been undergoing a two-year 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 8-19-2020) Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are down to 400 cfs and water clarity has been clear. No rain in a while has the river looking great. Y2Ks and Woollies have been the go-to flies. Hot pink Trout Magnets, trout cranks and Berkley Flicker Shad have been working well for trout and smallmouth bass.
“During the week the fishing has been great,” Mark says. “The river has been busy on weekends with canoes and rafts. There are no floaters on the upper stretch in Mammoth Spring on weekends. There is a lot of moss in the river this time of year. The fish don’t hide in the moss. Fish the clear runs by the moss. The fish are there waiting on food to come by. Really nice weather lately, get out and enjoy!” For the latest river conditions and more information from Mark, visit his blog at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 8-26-2020) 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 and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is here and it can get very crowded, especially on the weekends. 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).
(updated 8-12-2020) Elizabeth Kimble at Walcott Lake (Crowley’s Ridge State Park) said, from her observations, the fishing for black bass was fair. A couple of anglers Sunday reported catching two bass, both about 10 inches long, on yellow jigs. There were no other catches report.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Wednesday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 9.60 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 11.84, more than 13 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is steady at 23.78 feet, more than 2 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 8-26-2020) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 8-19-2020) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reported that water temperatures are in the upper 80s to low 90s. Visibility is 6-12 inches in most places. Black bass are biting fairly well on shad-colored medium-diving crankbaits and square bills while the wind is blowing. Use dark-colored shaky heads, jigs and soft plastics around offshore brushpiles and woody cover when it’s calm. Keep an eye out for schooling activity; many times it’s white bass or hybrid striped bass, but black bass are schooling with them on the shallow sandbars offshore. Small-to-medium-sized lipless crankbaits are very effective when you find a school, as are soft plastic jerkbaits and small topwaters while they’re at the surface. There are not many large fish in these schools, but you can catch several quickly if you can get to them before they move.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 8-26-2020) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no reports.
(updated 8-26-2020) 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 256.35 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2020) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday the lake is undergoing a 2-foot drawdown by Army Corps of Engineers for boat ramp repair, shoreline work, erosion abatement, Millwood Dam inspection and repair as needed. Lake level currently 35 inches BELOW normal pool. Millwood Lake pool elevation is 256.3 feet msl; and the discharge around 620 cfs in Little River, according to the Corps on Tuesday. The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Tuesday was around 227 feet msl and falling. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels, especially during current 2-foot drawdown conditions. Millwood State Park, the Corps of Engineers Campgrounds and State Park Marina are open. See the COVID-19 related information and camping reservation requirements at www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park. Continue to use caution in Little River navigation this week during USACE pool drawdown. Stumps and hazards will be at or near surface pool during drawdown conditions, which are expected to run into mid-October.
Surface temps stable over the past couple weeks, ranging 85-90 degrees. Clarity is improving in the back of the oxbows and along Little River and main lake. Clarity and visibility along Little River at 5-7 inches. Further up Little River has more stain. The oxbows’ clarity moderate stain, ranging 15-20 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain or thunderstorms, all of which is expected Thursday afternoon with the remnants of Hurricane Laura.
As for fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: What a difference a week makes, from a recent 2.5-foot rise of muddy, 10-inch rainfall to a 2-foot drop in lake pool for the Corps drawdown until mid-October. Flow rates along Little River have been reduced now that drawdown pool elevation has been reached. Largemouth bass in Little River have pulled to creek channel dumps and points. Early morning continues to be key for the best bite of the day in the oxbow lakes where the best water clarity exists. Soft plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shad jerkbaits, crankbaits and Stuttersteps are still working early in the oxbows. Best activity period remains from dawn to around 10 a.m. Juvenile largemouth have been surface-breaking on huge pods of threadfin shad early mornings in multiple locations, near and in lily pads for short periods. Bass Assassin Shads, Johnson Chrome Spoons with a short grub trailer, or H&H Short-Arm Spinnerbaits will work through the pads when bass move in to feed for quick cycles, chasing shad.
Best surface activity for the past few weeks has been at early daybreak for a few hours in the oxbows of McGuire, Mud, and Horseshoe lakes. Baby Torpedoes, Spitn’ Images, Stuttersteps and Dying Flutters were working for a few fish early in the mornings where juvenile Bass are schooling and breaking on shad. As the sun rises, shallow square-bill cranks in Millwood Magic, Splatterback and Tennessee Shad were drawing random reactions. Bill Lewis Lures’ SB-57 and Echo 1.75 crankbait square bills in Ghost Minnow, Bluegill and Sneaky Shad and MR-6 Crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Splatter Back or Ghost continue getting good responses as the largemouth transition to vertical structure after 9-10 a.m. Target ditches with vertical drops near 12-to-14-foot structure. Points of creek dumps into Little River have been holding small schools of juveniles from 2-3 pounds. The points extending into Little River, with large stumps and pads nearby, have been holding good schools. Mann’s Baby Minus-1 Cranks were taking a few subsurface bass on flats with long tapering points into the oxbows. Texas-rigged Baby Brush Hogs, shaky heads and Salty Rat Tails have been working for a couple weeks by working randomly near cypress trees and knees from 8-12 feet deep. Best colors over the past several weeks have been watermelon candy, blue ice and June bug/blue tail.
* White bass: We finally found a few white bass willing to bite crankbaits, as schools were roaming in Horseshoe and McGuire over the past week.
* Crappie: Best bite of the day continues to be early for the past 3-4 weeks. Minnows and jigs have had the most consistent response, with minnows having a slight edge, working along Little River in planted brush, 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 10-14 feet of depth.
* Catfish: Slowed when the current of Little River cut back, but were fair on trotlines along Little River this week. Cut shad or buffalo, spoiled chicken hearts and gizzards, or King’s Punch Bait was working well for 3-5 pound blues and channel cats on trotlines and yo-yos.
* Bream: No report this week.
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 540.80 feet msl (normal pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 401.54 feet msl (normal pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2020) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Welcome to Arkansas. It is summer and we know it. Water temperatures are in the high 80s. Great for water sports but tough on fishing. What activity there is on the surface is spotty and they just are not staying up long. So, it’s the same old story. Chase the surfacing ones with topwaters, then cranks or spoons. Some are fishing vertically with spoons on points and drop-offs, too.
“The lake is still lower and it is showing on the fishing. Bass are in the summer slow, for sure. Some of the black bass action is taking place with the whites on the surface. You can even catch some decent ones if you are in the right school.
“Wow, are these crappie finicky now?! They are deep as they can get above the thermocline in brushpiles and standing timber suspended. You have standing timber in all the pockets on the right leaving iron mountian headed to brushy. There are also timber at Arlie Moore and Lennox Marcus areas. Trolling jigs or cranks is slow, also.
“Rain coming, a change is on the way! Be safe and remember social distancing.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.84 feet msl (normal pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 534.14 feet msl (normal pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
No new reports.
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 8-26-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that currently the water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 66 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The remnants of Hurricane Laura will track through the area this week and a flash flood watch has been issued for late Thursday afternoon through Friday evening. High winds and rainfall amounts from 4-7 inches are expected. Severe weather is also a possibility and residents are cautioned to stay tuned to local weather updates as this system remains dangerous. Entergy will open floodgates and schedule high generation flows to rid area lakes of floodwaters. This process could take several weeks depending on actual rainfall totals. No one should attempt to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailrace for any reason during this time. Muddy water and dangerous flows will be the norm until the flooding has subsided and Lake Catherine returned to normal summertime pool. Anyone visiting the park area is urged to follow guidelines of mask wearing and social distancing as the pandemic remains a real threat to public health.
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 18,678 cfs.
(updated 8-19-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said the area returned to seasonal hot and humid conditions last week. There was no significant rain in the area either. The National Weather Service forecast discussion expects near to below normal temperatures through the work week with a return to normal over the weekend. A trough in the jet stream has set the area up for a drier northwesterly flow, which will drop the humidity and make temperatures comfortable with highs in the mid-80s and morning lows in the low 60s. Things will shift some by the weekend and warmer, more seasonal conditions will return. The water clarity has cleared up near the surface and visibility reaches a few feet. Surface temperature is 85.
No fishing reports. No fishing tournaments were hosted at Lake Dardanelle State Park this past weekend.
The Corps of Engineers on Tuesday reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam increased to 29,000 cfs. River flow did briefly increase to 61,000 cfs last Saturday night. The Ozark tailwater had risen to 344 feet msl over the past weekend but has since fallen to 340 feet msl. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was near 9,000 cfs Tuesday morning. It had risen to 52,000 cfs last Friday night. Dardanelle tailwater level had briefly risen to 9 feet then but has since fallen to about 4 feet. The pool elevation near the State Park has been relatively low and is just above 338 feet msl. River flow at both Ozark and Dardanelle has been good considering it’s August, which normally sees the slowest and warmest water. Most if not all of the flow at both dams has been through the powerhouses, which have been generating most days. Ozark has been flowing mostly through the powerhouse, while Dardanelle has been dividing flow between the spillway and powerhouse.
(updated 8-26-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels at normal pool and temps in the low to mid-80s in most areas with exception of the river channel. Bass have been doing pretty well lately around deep boat docks and slips and also steeper drop-offs. The drop-shot rig and the Ned rig have been doing nicely by working them slowly over areas and slightly shaking the bait. Something noticed in the last few weeks is that bass are super active and have had really large bellies full of baitfish. This means anglers should adapt colors to shad patterns at times and maybe consider replacing the drop-shot worm in green pumpkin with a fluke and change green pumpkin jigs to white swim jigs. Fishing is only going to get better here over the next few months, and it has been excellent overall this year. Make sure you get your crankbaits, spinnerbaits and spoons tuned up and hooks sharpened, folks. The storm that is the shad binge-o-thon on the horizon has been sluggish, but again look for that to change in the coming weeks. Minnows and dock shooting in 15-plus-feet of water should produce a few if you stay at it long enough. Catfish, as always, are excellent, on cheese and cut bait on drop-offs in in the 20 feet range on creek/river channels. Bream and bluegill have been outstanding on worms, crickets and jigs in 8-12 feet of water near grass and docks. Good luck, and Go Greeson!
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.36 feet msl (normal pool: 344.31 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the clarity is good and clear. Surface temperature as of Tuesday early afternoon was 89-90 degrees. Water level remains at normal level. Bream remain excellent. They are not on the beds now, but anglers are catching lots of bream using redworms or crickets. Crappie reports are good. Best baits are jigs such as pink-headed Road Runners in black and chartreuse or purple colors. Also, Little Arkies crappie crankbaits in pink and yellow colors were reportedly working well. Black bass are good. Anglers are using topwater baits, gold and white War Eagle Spinnerbaits, Zoom 10-inch red shad worms, buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers. Catfish have been caught on crankbaits fished 8 feet deep.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 572.92 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2020) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still slow to fair. Big Texas-rigged worms and jighead worms continue to work best. Try red bug, plum or blood line colors. Walleye are still good. Spoons and bottom bouncers with small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best. Stripers are fair to 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 slow. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are fair and being caught with trotlines and jugs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature has been ranging 80-85 degrees and the clarity is clear. 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 385.35 feet msl (normal pool: 386.36 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday reported the Clarendon gauge at 20.47 feet, well below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 8-26-2020) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) says fishing there is the “same ol’, same here.” Anglers are still catching a lot of bass and a few bream. Nothing else is being targeted to speak of, he says. In recent weeks, the black bass are being found around dead and hollow cypress trees as well as any running water. Most are being caught flipping black and blue tubes or jigs. Some bass are being picked off with crappie jigs. Bluegill have been biting crickets near laydowns.
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 normal business hours Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility impaired, 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, please 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, call the center at 870-241-3373.
(updated 8-26-2020) Fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) said fishing is not good at this time. He’s found a real bad bite trolling or fishing under the piers, he said Tuesday afternoon. A lot of recreational boaters makes fishing on Horseshoe really rough, he said. Ronnie plans to continue fishing Horseshoe Lake through September and then plans to move to Mountain Home, where he will guide for trout fishing or guide crappie trips on Bull Shoals Lake and other locales.
The clarity at Horseshoe is clear with a surface temperature of 85 degrees. The water level is 2 feet low.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 8-26-2020) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said had no reports.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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