Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Jan. 7, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Jan. 7, 2021. 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 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 noon the day of publication (Jan. 7).
****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: http://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: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
NOTE: The boat ramp at Gold Creek Landing RV Park on Lake Conway has been temporarily closed for renovation. New owners recently acquired the property adjacent to the boat ramp. The AGFC provides a commercial license agreement for the facility to maintain a boat ramp at that location. The old boat ramp has been removed and a new one is under construction. The new ramp is larger and will be a good improvement over the one that has been in place since the 1970s. The AGFC urges anglers and boaters to be patient as the new owners make the needed renovation. Watch this space for news when the boat ramp reopens.
(updated 1-7-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is clear and at a low level. Bream are good on redworms, crickets and hair-tied jigs. Crappie are good; try using minnows (shiners or pink minnows) and jigs (chartreuse, monkey milk and other bright colors). Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater lures, jigs and poppers. Catfishing is good; trotline minnows, brooder minnows and nightcrawlers are working.
(updated 1-7-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said water is clear and cold. Crappie are found under the shad on the bottom and the bite is excellent. Catfish are deep and by the docks. Black bass are roaming all over and all depths, but the bite is questionable. A few bream have been found around the structure.
Dennis adds, “I’ve also been to a few smaller lakes around the area also managed by the AGFC: Lake Cargill, three small lakes in the Petit Jean wildlife management area, Lake Bailey in Petit Jean State Park, Woolly Hollow, Petit Jean River, all with the same result – the bite is off. I did not fish the following, but I collected reports while visiting and it seems it’s the same as Beaverfork at Brewer Lake, Lake Nimrod and Lake Winona.
Little Red River
(updated 1-7-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) had no report.
(updated 1-7-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) says 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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 1-7-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is 2 feet low and the upper end is stained, while the lower end is pretty clear. Bass are good on the upper and lower ends on Alabama rigs, jerkbaits, Rat-L-Traps, crankbaits and football jigs in 10-20 feet of water.
(updated 1-12-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is 461.94 feet msl and falling it is 0.64 feet below normal pool 462.04 feet msl. Crappie are eatin 18-40 feet of water and in between on minnows, jigs and the sort, straight up and down or horizontal as well. Black bass are eating all over the lake from super shallow out to 60 feet fishing vertical or horizontal, its wintertime now, so bluff ends 90 or 45-degree banks, deep guts in main lake are where a lot of population is at present aside from some loners, use Alabama rigs, crankbaits, grubs, jerkbaits, spoons, C-rigs, football heads and spinnerbaits, for best catches day-to-day and of course jighead worm, or now is the time a darter head will shine with 4-inch Right Bite bait senko. Bream are eatching crawlers alot suspended over deep water, the rest or out 30 feet. No reports on catfish. Walleye are starting to eat better, showing up around their regular haunts for prespawn; crankbaits are working best unless you can really pinpoint them and use a jighead with a small worm. Hybrid and white bass are deep for the most part; some can be found in 25-foot range, the rest in 43-80 feet and for the most part will feed off and on every day. Use spoons, swimbaits, inline spinners, grubs or Alabama rigs.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 1-7-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says white bass are good around the shoreline for anglers using minnows or jigs. Crappie are good around the shore. Anglers are catching small crappie at the shore, while larger crappie are being caught by anglers in boats working the deeper areas. Use minnows, jigs or shad. No other catches reported. The lake is clear and the water level is low.
(updated 1-7-2021) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said fishing is “pretty slow” with the recent weather. THe lake is muddy and is high by about 1 foot. He had no specific reports this week.
(updated 1-7-2021) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland had no report.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 1-7-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 1-7-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water is stained while the level and current are normal. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair; try crankbaits or plastic worms. No reports on bream or catfish.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 94,795 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 90,224 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 100,579 cfs.
(updated 1-7-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river around Little Rock is normal and muddy. Crappie fishing is “pretty good” on white/chartreuse, black/chartreuse and orange/chartreuse crappie jigs in 10-15 feet of water behind jetties or around any timber.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 1-7-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no reports.
(update 1-7-2021) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed for the season and will reopen in February after duck season closes.
(updated 1-7-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the fish are hiding out, seeking shelter. Fact is, the end of the brown trout spawn is near and we’re seeing movement from the upriver spawning beds to their Cotter home grounds. We’ve experienced some mild precipitation and cold mornings, but the daytime temperatures usually warm up a little and we’re on the upside of short, winter days meaning more sunlight every day.
“Bull Shoals Lake has reached power pool (659 msl) elevation again, so expect less generation, more low and steady flows. Trout fishing tip of the day: Keep a taut line, leave your rod alone as much as possible and refrain from reeling except to keep the line tight – until you get a bite. Listen to, and take advice from, your guide, even if it differs from the way you may have caught fish in the past; they want you to be successful and to catch fish!
“Happy New Year! Enjoy the great outdoors in The Natural State of Arkansas in 2021.”
(updated 1-7-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service says that during the past week, they had rain, sleet and snow,over a three day period that combined for a total of 1.75 inches in Cotter), along with cold temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose a half-foot to rest at 0.3 foot above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 35.7 feet below the top of the flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 1.6 feet to rest at 0.4 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.6 feet above the top of the flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.7 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above seasonal power pool and 9.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had variable generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.5 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had some wadable water.
All of the lakes in the White River system are now below or near power pool, and anglers should have wadable water in the near future.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. The section will reopen to fishing on Feb. 1.
On the moderate flows, the White has fished well. The hot spot has been 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 an egg pattern with a size 18 ruby midge).
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive algae. 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.
John also says, “For several days around Christmas, my wife, Lori, and I were in Memphis visiting family. Lori’s 90-year-old mother had a stroke a few months ago. While they have caregivers around the clock, Lori stayed there before and after Christmas to help her parents however she could. I felt that I was in the way. My brother-in-law, Larry, was headed up here to fish and offered me a ride. I left my suburban so Lori could bring the dogs back with her. We were both concerned with the coronavirus and wore our masks during the entire drive here. This was the first time in almost a year that I had been in an automobile with anyone other than Lori.
“Larry and I decided to fish the next day. We were both interested in wade fishing the White River. Neither of us had fished the Narrows in a long time, so we decided to fish there. We left Cotter at 7 a.m. Larry stayed in our guest house. We donned our waders and rigged our rods before leaving. We took separate cars and were on the river around sunrise. I walked far upstream, while Larry remained closer to the access.
“I started fishing with a partridge and orange soft hackle, a fly that I have done well with, when fishing the Narrows. I fished it for about 45 minutes and never got a bump. I thought about the last time Lori and I had fished together, about a week before. We had fished the Norfork and Lori had fished an olive Woolly Bugger, while I had fished a two-fly nymph rig, a root beer midge below a pheasant tail. She caught 25, while I caught nine.
“I changed over to an olive Woolly Bugger and fished on. After several minutes, I had not caught anything and was ready to change flies, when I landed a nice rainbow. I was working my way downstream and began to catch trout on a regular basis. After a slow start, I was beginning to have a good day. By the time I had worked down to Larry’s location, I had landed 15 nice rainbows.
“Larry had not done as well. He had stayed in the same basic spot and had started with an olive Woolly Bugger, a fly he fishes often. He had caught one on it but the going was slow. He decided to switch over to a partridge and orange soft hackle, a fly that had been very productive for him the last time he fished here. He caught a few but it never really started producing. We were both ready to end the day and reeled in our lines. We finished the day by having a hearty breakfast at the White Sands Restaurant in Cotter, my neighborhood restaurant.
“Our individual success on that day had depended on our fly selection. We both fished the same flies but I had stuck with the one that produced for me. Change flies when the one you are fishing does not work. It can make a difference.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 659.11 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 915.78 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).
(updated 1-7-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says there are baitfish in the creeks and main lake pockets. Some of the shad balls are getting bigger but suspended over the old creek channels. Ice jig Rapala or a Jewel Spoon is good if it’s windy. Use Damiki drop-shot McMinnow if it’s flat. If the shad are up high in the water column, they are on the move. Use Rock Crawler, Wiggle Wart or square bill with some wind on 45-degree banks with nasty rock transition. As the sun comes up or post fronts, change tactics and slow down. Jigs and a shaky head on channel swings. Follow the shad regardless of the depth. The lake clarity is clear and the surface temperature is 50 degrees. The lake level is high at 659 feet full pool. Check out Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more tips on fishing Bull Shoals and the latest activity there.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 553.76 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 1-7-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.5 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had some wadable water.
All of the lakes in the White River system are now below or near power pool, and anglers should have wadable water in the near future.
The Norfork is fishing well on the wadable flows. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the 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 a pheasant tail size 14 with a root beer midge dropper. John says his wife, Lori, did well recently with an olive Woolly Bugger. The fishing is better in the morning.
Also, Dry Run Creek is fishing well. There is less pressure with the colder weather. 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), mop flies and egg patterns.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 1-7-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the cooler temperatures the bite has slowed. 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 Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,120.64 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).
(updated 1-7-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said “Well, it’s a new year and I am hoping for a great 2021. The lake had some influx of fresh water with a fair amount of mud and debris. The mud goes from Neils Bluff on the White to Piney Creek and from Piney Creek up to Camp War Eagle on the War Eagle arm. Lots of big floaters, so be careful. Stripers are fair to good from Horseshoe Bend up to the islands at Prairie Creek. On that note the fish we are catching are real trophy size right now. We have put numerous 20-plus fish in the boat this week. Crappie are fair in and around brush in 15-25 feet of water. Jigs and minnows are working. Look from Hickory Creek down to Horseshoe Bend as that is where the water is not muddy. Catfish have been good on shad in 45 feet of water. Walleye are staging; time to hit the flats and points near Point 12. Water is at 45 degrees, give or take where you are located. Check out Jon’s Facebook page at FishOn Guides Goshen Arkansas for updated reports as conditions change quickly this time of the year.
(updated 1-7-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said stripers are good on topwater baits early in the day and late in the evening, as well as on brood minnows. Anglers report they are catching good-size fish. No reports on bream. The crappie bite is good; use minnows or jigs and work the brush piles for best results. Black bass are fair; anglers are having best luck using spoons, Alabama rigs and jerkbaits. No reports on catfish. The lake clarity is muddy and the surface water temperature is ranging 46-48 degrees. Water level is normal.
(updated 1-7-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “Well, I hope you all had a happy holidays. As for fishing, the trout bite has been decent in the tailwater. Most have been caught with Pautzke bait products, fished with light terminal tackle. However, spoons and small jerkbaits have produced nice numbers, too. Most of the fish have been caught between Spider Creek and Parker Bottoms. When the Army Corps of Engineers has water flowing, drift-fishing is the way to go. I would also work the spoons a little more.
“Here in a few weeks the walleye should start making their yearly run up the river. I will have better locations once I start looking for them. Follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for further updates between reports. Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and message me. Hope yall stay warm! Get out there and catch some fish!”
(updated 1-7-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is closed until classes resume at UA.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 1-7-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) had no report.
NOTE: A sustained drawdown at Lake Charles began Nov. 15. Water from Lake Charles is released annually via a diversion ditch to flood greentree reservoirs at Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area for waterfowl hunting. Since the amount of water needed at Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA is dependent on rainfall, heavy fall rain events the last few years have prevented a substantial drawdown at Lake Charles. This year, fisheries biologists are working with the Wildlife Management Division to maintain a low lake level through January 2021. Once Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA is flooded, biologists will allow excess water to pass through the WMA to the Black River without any adverse effects. The goal is to maintain Lake Charles at least 8 feet below normal pool, although the lake level could drop beyond this if more water is needed at the WMA.
Drawdowns help congregate baitfish and sportfish, which can increase growth of sportfish. Drawdowns also provide adjacent landowners an opportunity to repair fishing piers and boathouses, or complete other AGFC approved land-use projects. AGFC reminds adjacent landowners that a permit is required for activities occurring on AGFC property, including building new structures and stabilizing shorelines. For a copy of the AGFC Land Use Policy or a permit for a new fishing pier or boathouse, or for any other questions, please call biologists Allison Asher or Brett Timmons at 877-972-5438.
(updated 1-7-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said that over the past weekend they had a lot of boats on the water. Crappie have been biting, with small to medium sized fish being caught. Minnows and jigs will work, with the favored color of jigs being watermelon/chartreuse. No other fishing was reported. The lake is murky as usual and remains low, as it was drawn down to supply water for the neighboring WMA for waterfowl season. Surface water temperature Sunday was 46 degrees. Good fishing days based on the moon cycle should be coming next week, she said.
(updated 1-7-2021) The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed on Dec. 1, allowing the lake to begin refilling with rainwater. The lake, at Lake Poinsett State Park, has been undergoing a three-year renovation with a new water control structure, more than 10,000 linear feet of shoreline work, more than 100 habitat structures placed on the lakebed, and nearly 100 trees anchored for fish habitat with more anchoring in the plans as the lake begins to refill.
When the lake has enough water for stocking, channel catfish will be stocked to give anglers target fish to seek, while prey fish such as shiners and shad will be stocked. After the prey fish have established a base over the next year or so, predator fish such as largemouth bass and crappie will then be stocked.
(updated 1-7-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) remains closed until further notice “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
(updated 1-7-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 340 cfs (350 cfs is average), and water clarity has been clear. Rain last week has got river levels up to average flow. Water was lowered this week above Dam 1 to clean out vegetation on Tuesday. This is done once a year during the dead of winter. The river had a surge Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. and got cloudy, but cleared up through the day on Wednesday.
The bite lately has been tough. Few easy days and some really tough ones. Nymphs in sizes 10-16 have been hot dropped below a Y2K or fished Euro-style. On the good days, White Lightning (big white streamer) has been hot, and there are still big fish moving around. Over the next few months brown trout and smallmouth bass should start hitting well. The smallies move up the river looking for warmer water. The Spring is 58 degrees year-round. Cold during winter makes the upper part of the Spring River warmer.
For smallies this time of year a White Lightning floated below an indicator is the ticket. The bass are moving slow, so a slow presentation is the ticket. Soft plastics for spin-fishing. It takes many years for a smallmouth bass to get big so please catch and release these great fighters.
Brown trout get active and start hitting streamers. Casting downstream toward the far bank and short fast strips back is the ticket. Aggressive smallies will hit this, too.
Mark adds, “Check out our blog on our website for the latest fishing conditions!”
(updated 1-7-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is off-color. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. 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 Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 9.34 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 15.23, almost 11 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is 27.70 feet, more than a foot above flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 1-7-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 1-7-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 1-7-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no report.
(updated 1-7-2021) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no report.
(updated 1-7-2021) The lake is undergoing a repair to the dam by the City of Monticello and the AGFC is making improvements to the fish habitat while the lake is currently drawn down for the dam work.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 261.45 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 1-7-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said, “Honestly, right now, Millwood is a trainwreck. The lake jumped over 3 feet from the 5-to-7-inch rain last week in southwest Arkansas and southeast Oklahoma, and gate discharge this week is around 28,000 cfs. Logs and trees and grass mats are rolling in Little River, making conditions hazardous. If you get out, wear life jackets and USE A KILL SWITCH, watch for floating and subsurface hazards. Hypothermia can set in in minutes this time of year.
“Several clusters of giant salvinia were found at Jack’s Isle up Little River last week; the AGFC reported this on its website. Control/eradication methods are being determined as we speak by the AGFC and the Army Corps of Engineers. We have not been on the lake in the last eight or nine days due to the current conditions.”
He says water temperature has dropped into the 40s, and with the 3-foot rise and muddy current in Little River, “I’m sure the fish are scattered and metabolism reduced.”
(updated 1-7-2021) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no report.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 544.41 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.38 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 1-7-2021) Local angler Charles Abernathy said the surface temperature fell more over Christmas break and is in the mid- to upper 40s range. “Lake level came up a bunch very quickly. Water was stained around the Yancey/Lenox Marcus area and some trash was floating. I didn’t get a chance to go up to Point Cedar area, but I’m sure it was muddy and had a lot of debris. The bite was still decent during and after all the rain, but they seemed a little harder to find and were scattered around.”
Open water fish seem to be willing to bite when others won’t. When it muds up, some smaller fish will venture away from structure, too. “Over the weekend, I found all sizes near the river channel near Lenox in open water and they were scattered throughout suspended at various levels. I also found some decent-sized fish in deep timber from 10-35 feet from the surface (in 50-plus feet of water) in this same area. I know that’s a huge range, but it is what it is this time of year due to the fact that there is a column of water more usable to them than any other time of the year. You really have to lean on your electronics because they can be anywhere in the water column.
Hint: Find yourself a bunch of shad next to the river channel (from Lenox to Point Cedar) with your side imaging. Big crappie will single themselves out in these areas and just suspend in open water waiting for something to come by. Areas with lots of shad are prime spots to go sniping, if you are a LiveScope user. If you find something on your screen that looks like a football just sitting there, it is likely a big crappie. If what you are seeing appears long or moving around all crazy, it’s probably something else. Get about 15 feet from it with your nose into the wind and pitch a shad-like bait at it and let it swing right above it (as close as you can without hitting the fish). He or she will very likely end up in your boat. Keep that rod tip up and that line tight so that bait swings nice and slow over your target. If it’s windy and the fish seem to be below 15-20 feet, then add a split shot or two 12 inches from your jig to help out. Just remember: The more weight you add, the faster it will swing. Add just enough to get by if you are fishing this method. The longer that fish gets to look at your bait the better (if they are not in a chasing mood). If you are shucking and jiving with a long pole, then by all means add a bowling ball so that your jig can keep up with your boat speed. In muddy water, it’s hard to beat a bright jighead with a black body with a chartreuse tail. I like the Wally Marshall Slab Slanger profile a lot, but Bobby Garland’s work well, too. In somewhat stained water (Lenox area), I used a bright head with monkey milk and did fine. Keep those baits real slow and follow the shad. That’s where the crappie will be.
“Information in previous reports in the AGFC’s Weekly Fishing Report at agfc.com can still be used all through the winter season. Don’t forget those waypoints on the AGFC website and target the ones close to channels! Reach out at email@example.com for more info. Good luck out there and be safe and be nice!”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 452.11 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 539.11 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 1-7-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said the water is muddy and at a high level. Crappie are biting well on both crappie minnows and pink minnows, as well as jigs. Black bass are good on minnows and jigs. No reports on catfish or bream.
(updated 1-7-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear and the level is low. He said crappie fishing is good, with minnows and Bobby Garland jigs in chartreuse and black working best. Black bass are biting fair on crappie rigs. No reports on bream or catfish.
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 1-7-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that very heavy rainfall has forced Entergy to open floodgates and run heavy generation below Carpenter Dam. Lake Ouachita has risen over 2 feet into the flood pool as a result of the inclement weather. Currently, as many as three floodgates have been opened to rid the area of excess waters. This scenario will continue on Lake Catherine until the area lakes are brought back to normal levels. This process is expected to continue for several weeks or more. No one should attempt to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailwater until these treacherous conditions subside.
(updated 1-7-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 1-7-2021) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), had no report. For questions contact our visitor center at (479) 967-5516. Be safe while on the river and take time to put a line in the water!
(updated 1-7-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, had no report.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 354.29 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-7-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) had no report.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 580.44 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 1-7-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports black bass are fair to good. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are still schooled up chasing baitfish. Try a small ⅜-ounce spoon in submerged schools 40-50 feet deep off main lake points. Bama rigs and Pig-n-Jigs will work for largemouths around brush in 25-40 feet of water. No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caught on live bait and Bama rigs. No reports on bream. Crappie are good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. No report on catfish. Surface water temperature is ranging 54-58 degrees and the clarity is stained. The lake level earlier this week was 579.73, slightly over the normal conservation pool. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 1-7-2021) John Koestler at Masterbaiters Bait and Tackle (501-209-6538) on Arkansas Highway 7 had no report.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 393.13 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge at 24.81 feet, closing in on flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 1-7-2021) Fishing is closed at Cook’s Lake during waterfowl season while it serves as a waterfowl rest area through February. It will reopen to fishing in March if the water level permits. For more information please call the center at 870-241-3373.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 1-7-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says anglers at Bear Creek have reported catching large amounts of bass and crappie the past couple of weeks, with the main catch being bass. Anglers have had success using lures and jigs in depths from 3-8 feet of water.
Tyler also reports, “The construction of the spillway is still being coordinated at this time. We still have not received updates on this project.” The U.S. Forest Service is handling this project.
As for Storm Creek, Tyler says, “We are still having very little fishing activity in this lake. No anglers have been questioned on their experience at Storm Creek at this time.”
No reports. The AGFC is in search of a new supplier of information from Horseshoe Lake and the region. Any interested parties wishing to provide a weekly fishing report from here should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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