Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Jan. 14, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Jan. 14, 2021. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com 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 10 a.m. the day of publication (Jan. 14).
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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
(updated 1-14-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is back to its normal Lake Conway stain and is at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. Medium and pink minnows are working, along with jigs (preferably 1½ to 3 inches). Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good using stink bait, chicken liver, trotline minnows, nightcrawlers, shad and dough bait.
(updated 1-14-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said water is clear and cold. Crappie are very slow. Catfish are deep and hiding. Black bass are roaming all over and all depths, but the bite is questionable.
Dennis added, “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 the same as Beaverfork: Brewer Lake, Nimrod, Winona.
“Also, I visited and fished Lake Barnett by Floyd. The temperature was 35 and there were 10 boats out, It was VERY much fun to fish and enjoy the bluffs and lake, with lots of suspended fish, as well as trees to steal your gear.” For more information, check out www.facebook.com/groups/arkansasfishingadventures.
Little Red River
(updated 1-14-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the river is at a normal level and stained. Trout have been good on jerkbaits, Rapala Countdowns, Power Rigs, Rooster Tails and ShadRaps.
(updated 1-14-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said 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 1-14-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) had no report.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.80 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 1-14-2021) 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 eating 18-40 feet of water 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 eating crawlers a lot 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.
(updated 1-14-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is normal and clear with a surface temperature in the mid- to low 40s. Bass are good on jerkbaits, crankbaits, Alabama rigs and Rat-L-Traps anywhere from 1-15 feet deep.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 1-14-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake clarity is fairly clear and the water level is low. Crappie are still good and in the same pattern: Smaller crappie are being caught around the shoreline, while larger crappie are being brought in on boats over the deeper areas. Use minnows, jigs or shad. There were no other reports of catches.
(updated 1-14-2021) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said bream are biting a little but have slowed down in the past couple of days. Crappie have moved to deeper water; some anglers have been able to find them, but it’s hard. The lake is starting to clear up. Lake level is high by 1-1½ feet.
(updated 1-14-2021) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no report.
(updated 1-14-2021) The Dirty Worm (501-317-5046) on Highway 5 at Crows Station in Saline County reports that crappie fishing is excellent in 35-feet or more depth of water. Crappie are being caught around structure on No. 6 crappie minnows with ⅛-ounce jighead. Crappie are also being caught on Kalin’s Triple Threat Grubs in assorted darker colors. The Dirty Worm opened late in 2020 near the intersection of Arkansas highways 5 and 9; the store’s address is 17572 Arkansas Highway 5, Lonsdale, AR 72087.
(updated 1-14-2021) Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland had no report.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 1-14-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 1-14-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water has cleared, and the level has dropped to low. Crappie continue to bite well. They’re being found in 7-10 feet depth of water. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass are good using crankbaits. They’re also running at a 7-to-10-foot depth area. 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 31,922 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 45,787 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 51,761 cfs.
(updated 1-14-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river is a little high and muddy. Crappie fishing is good on orange/chartreuse, pink/chartreuse, blue/chartreuse and black/chartreuse crappie jigs. Bass are hit or miss, but anglers note they are catching fish on entrances of backwaters using Chatterbait, Rat-L-Traps and jigs.
(updated 1-14-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that crappie fishing is good in 6-8 feet depth around the Willow Beach area using Slab Slayer Jigs in power blue and pearl white colors. Also, Bobby Garland Baby Shad in pearl/chartreuse color is working). Crappie are good below the Terry Lock and Dam as well in 8-10 feet depth fishing off the rocks and using regular crappie minnows. White bass are being caught below both dams using 3-inch chartreuse grubs. Catfishing is fair below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam. Use cut shad.
(updated 1-14-2021) The Dirty Worm (501-317-5046) on Highway 5 at Crows Station in Saline County fishing in the Arkansas River is fair with largemouth bass being caught in 2-to-3-foot deep stumpy water on white Indiana Blade Spinnerbaits.The Dirty Worm opened late in 2020 near the intersection of Arkansas highways 5 and 9; the store’s address is 17572 Arkansas Highway 5, Lonsdale, AR 72087.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 1-14-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Clear Lake is clearing up, with water level now normal. Crappie reports are fair; use minnows or jigs. No other catches were reported.
(update 1-14-2021) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed for the season and will reopen in February after duck season closes.
(updated 1-14-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the three reservoirs in our White River watershed are all very near or just below their power pool objectives, and all three dams are generating power at moderate levels. Bull Shoals tailwater has averaged three units (9,000 cfs) daily for the past week. If there is a pattern to the releases, expect a fairly significant rise in the morning (Cotter experiences that rise at about 10:30-11 a.m.), then a drop later in the day (4 p.m. or later in Cotter). This is a good time to experiment with a jointed Rapala, No. 5 or silver/black, played at mid-depth. Let the bait work for you – that’s what’s nice about the “broke-back” feature. White and silver are the go-to colors for stick baits and skirted jigs or spinners right now. The cold winter weather has lots of folks watching for a shad kill. A good crop of shad requires several cold nights and chilly days to cool off the lake temperatures to kill off the shad to bring them across the dam to the river. Early to mid-February is the most frequent season for a kill.
(updated 1-14-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service says that during the past week they had a little over a quarter inch of rain, very cold temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 36.2 feet below the top of the flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 1 foot to rest at 1.4 feet above seasonal power pool and 14.6 feet above the top of the flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.1 foot above seasonal power pool and 9.5 feet below the top of flood pool.The White had variable generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake remains steady 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 wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system now below or near the power pool. Expect 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 area is 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.
On the moderate flows, the White has fished well. The hot spot has been Wildcat 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).
John adds, “The day after New Years I had my first guide trip of the year. It was a full-day trip in the boat. Before the trip we took a bit of time to plan it based on the generation prediction. We were eager to take advantage of the best water available. The prediction on the White was for a flow of about 3,200 cfs with an increased short burst (three hours) of 9,000 cfs halfway through the day.
“We arrived at the access about 7:30 a.m. It was snowing! It made everything look even better. I had dressed warm with muck boots, long underwear, wool socks, fleece lined jeans, wool sweater, down jacket, wool fingerless gloves and a fleece hat. I had checked the weather forecast before I left the house and thought it would warm up above freezing turning the snow into rain. Therefore I put on my rain suit.
“I took note of the water level. I had checked the flow on my iPhone before I left the house and I was disappointed but not surprised. The water was flowing at about three times the predicted levels. I had planned my day based on the prediction. Now I had to scramble to explain the difference to my clients and rig their rods for higher water.
“I am originally from Tennessee, where I fished tailwaters. These are streams below dams where the water flow is controlled by a government agency. There the flows are controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority. There they publish a schedule that is very reliable. The White and Norfork are tailwaters.
“Here our tailwaters are controlled by two government agencies, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA). The Corps controls the flows when the lakes are in flood pool and SWPA controls the flows when the lakes are in power pool. The SWPA publishes the predicted flows on the internet. The Corps of Engineers publishes real data on flows.
“Since this particular weekend included a national holiday the SWPA issued a generation prediction for four days Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. When I later compared the actual generation to the prediction, I noted a significant difference between what was predicted and what transpired. In all cases the actual generation was much larger.
“I find that unreliable information complicates my life. When I use it to decide where to fish the next day, I do not know if I will find the conditions that it reports will happen. This is further complicated by concerns for my client’s safety and mine. The White and Norfork are dangerous waters due to the rapid and unexpected rise in water level. Unreliable generation reports do not help anything.
“On this day, we were all right. We were fishing from a boat so we were able to deal with the higher flows. I have had plenty of experience fishing high water the last two years. We caught plenty of trout and survived the cold rainy conditions without a problem.”
(updated 1-14-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that anglers are catching a lot of rainbows. Best success is coming drift-fishing with little frozen shrimp as bait. The river level is high with eight generators running at the dam. Overall fishing there is good, they report.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 658.83 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 1-14-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says there are baitfish in the creeks and main lake pockets. Spending your idle time on the graph looking for loons and video gaming will pay off. Fish 50-70 feet in guts. Most of the shad are suspended over the old creek channels. Go with a Rapala Ice Jig or Jewel Spoon if it’s windy, or Damiki Drop-shot and McMinnow if it’s flat. Or, if shad are up high in the water column, they are on the move. Del recommends powerfishing “shallow” if there’s wind, cloud, bushes, snags with deeper water close and shad. Rock Crawler, Wiggle Wart and square bill are all working with some wind on 45-degree banks with nasty rock transition. Moss is becoming prevalent and a pain for anglers. As the sun comes up, or after a front, change tactics and slow down. Go with jigs and shaky head on channel swings. Follow the shad regardless of the depth and you’ll find the fish. Fish the conditions. Check out Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more tips on fishing Bull Shoals and the latest activity there. Current clarity as of Tuesday was clear with a surface temperature of 49 degrees. The lake is at normal conservation pool.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 553.50 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 1-14-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 1-14-2021) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report
(updated 1-14-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake remains steady 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 wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system now below or near the power pool. Expect 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 from 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 (size 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. “My wife, Lori, did well recently with an olive woolly bugger. The fishing is better in the morning.”
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.
Remember that the White and North Fork 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 1-14-2021) 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.
(updated 1-14-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is steady at normal pool. “The biggest change is the major cold blast that hit, dropping lake temps below 40 degrees in lots of places. That has caused a slight shad kill. Stripers are gorging on shad right now, making the bite a little tough the last few days as they are keyed in on stressed and dying shad. When we put one in the boat they just spew shad and shad remains all over the boat.
“We are catching some really nice ones, just not big numbers. Look from Highway 12 bridge all the way up War Eagle and the White River arms.
“Crappie are fair and will continue to get better as the weather warms. Walleye are starting to stage on points and flats mid-lake. A-rigs are catching bass. Look at points adjacent to the main creek and river channels, and watch for birds working. Some nice black are mixed in with stripers. We caught several last week in the 4-pound range while striper fishing. Good luck ! And enjoy the lake.”
(updated 1-14-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said walleye are fair on grubs and jerkbaits. Stripers are being caught in good numbers on brood minnows and topwaters. Crappie are fair in 8-12 feet depth using minnows and jigs around brushpiles. Black bass are fair; try spoons, Alabama rigs and jerkbaits. No reports on bream or catfish. The water is stained a little in the river. Surface temperature is in the mid- to low 40s. Water level is normal.
(updated 1-7-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “Well, I hope you all had a happy holiday. 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 1-14-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is closed until classes resume at UA.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 1-14-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) had no report.
(updated 1-14-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 43 degrees and the lake remains lower than normal, as water from Lake Charles is used to help provide water for habitat in Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA during waterfowl season. Clarity is murky. She had no fishing reports from the past week to report. Last week, she reported that the crappie were biting with slightly warmer water temperature.
(updated 1-14-2021) 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 1-14-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) remains closed until further notice “due to unforeseen circumstances.” However, they are still accepting RV and cabin reservations.
(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 1-14-2021) 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 9.13 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 13.04, almost 13 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is 25.28 feet, slightly below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 1-14-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 1-14-2021) Jeff Shell, superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said fishing remains slow for Cane Creek Lake. Water clarity is around 1 foot. Bass are suspended and the bite is slow. They can be caught by fishing bass jigs over structure. Crappie can be found around docks and structure fishing with minnows and jigs; the bite is slow and they can be found from 5 to 8 feet. Bream and catfish are slow but can be occasionally caught after rains in the mud lines where creeks feed the lake. For winter fishing at Cane Creek, overcast days will produce the best results. The bite generally slows down on cold clear days.
(updated 1-14-2021) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no report.
(updated 1-14-2021) 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.
(updated 1-14-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake is 16 inches above normal conservation pool)and falling; the oxbows’ water clarity stained, while Little River is muddy. Millwood Lake pool elevation is 260.6 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 20,200 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates is around 245 feet msl and rising with discharge. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Use caution in navigation along Little River with high discharge rates and scattered, wide debris fields in heavy flow conditions.
Surface temps dropped again over the last week, ranging between 40 degrees early to the 45-degree range later under full sun, depending on location. Clarity reduced over the past few days in the oxbow lakes along Little River. Current along Little River decreased, and river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows along Little River is at 10-12 inches depending on location. Further up Little River has more heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
Millwood State Park Marina is closed for its annual winter shutdown through the end of February. The Millwood State Park Office is open and can be reached at 870-898-2800 for additional information. The Army Corps of Engineers is in the process of evaluation and replacing Little River buoy markers that have been shifted or moved from recent high flow conditions. Beware of missing/broken telephone pole lane markers at the upper end of Little Gas Line Cutoff boat lane! Navigation is cautioned with high discharge rates at the Millwood Dam and high river flow conditions with debris!
As for specific fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Random bass near vertical structure on deeper drops or creek channel swings in the oxbows were fair on Chatterbaits, jigs, heavy thumping 1-Knocker Rat-L-Traps and cranks. “Most bass we are finding are roaming shallow on full sun and bright skies into the 3-6 foot depths of flats adjacent to deeper drops into 9-15 feet depth ranges. The largemouths have been turning on during the heat of the day, better on bright, sunny, clear days when water temps will rise a few degrees in mid-day.” Square-bill crankbaits, Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits will randomly connect with the shallow roaming bass. MR-6, Echo 1.7 and Little John Cranks have been getting fair responses over the past week. Anywhere a creek channel runs into the deeper creek bends or vertical structure and drops into the oxbows, where stumps and creek mouths drop, have held some decent-sized bass over the past week. Seems like over the past few days, the feeding mechanism turns on like a light switch and shuts off almost as quickly during the heat of the afternoon, best from noon to 3 p.m.
Rat-L-Trap MR-6 or SB-57 medium-diving cranks in Millwood Magic, Sunburst Shad, Red Shad or Red Chrome and Craw colors continue getting best reactions over the past several weeks, and anglers should be patient this time of year. McGuire Lake and Horseshoe Lake oxbows up Little River have the clearest water conditions. Majority of these roaming, mid-day bass are suspended near vertical structure for many hours of the day, and turn on like a light switch for a few hours under the warmest 2-3 hours of daylight, from 5-9 feet depth with 12-18 feet of depth nearby.
Swim Jigs with a Bang Die Dapper, and Cordell or Kastmaster Spoons, are finding vertical suspended bass from 10-15 feet on ledges or deep creek outside bends with stumps present.
* White bass: Whites continue to be scattered with the muddy rise in Little River. No consistent bite to provide/update.
* Crappie: They were holding near standing timber and planted brushpiles in the oxbows before the rapid 3-foot rise last week and muddy current. But for the past week, crappie were slow due to poor water clarity from all the recent rain and runoff. “We searched where they were biting jigs and minnows near standing timber two weeks before but didn’t connect with anything consistent over the past few days, and the bite was considerably slower. Chartreuse/black jigs were working a few weeks ago, but as the clarity has worsened, vertical-jigging near standing timber in Horseshoe was markedly reduced.
* Catfish: Channel cats and blues improved in Little River on trotlines as well as in the oxbows on limb lines using Punch Bait and chicken livers/hearts.
(updated 1-14-2021) 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 545.48 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.88 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 1-14-2021) Local angler Charles Abernathy says, “If you haven’t read my previous weeks reports, check them out. Those reports contain info that will carry you through the winter season. When I hit the lake this time of year, I’m always close to the river channel or some major creek channel. It doesn’t matter if I’m downlake or uplake (although I do prefer to be upriver). I’m always close to a channel. I focus on the deep pockets that are right alongside those channels. I look for deep brush and/or deep standing timber. If you are close to the river channel and you see timber, there is going to be fish there and most likely if you keep your eyes on your graph you will find brush or other structure along the way. Look for bait balls on your graph when you are checking for fish. If I’m not seeing food on my graph, I’ll go somewhere else. Once you find a place like that in the winter you can pretty much count on them to be there the next trip out.”
Hint: There are tons of bait profiles and colors to select from. It can be pretty overwhelming. I try to keep it simple. I’m 2-inch or smaller during the winter regardless of the bait profile I use. If the water is clear, use something like monkey milk or maybe something clear with silver/black flake. I like whites with chartreuse a lot too. Something that looks like a real bait fish. If it gets dirty, use something dark with bright accents. If you know there are fish there and these aren’t doing it, change something minor and see if it helps. Many times, I have pitched a Bobby Garland Shad in a color like monkey milk and changed only the profile of bait (like switching to a Mr Crappie Slab Slanger) and achieved better results. Sometimes it ends up being as simple as dying the tail chartreuse. I know … these creatures can be finicky. If these go-to colors don’t work, then I move on to the million other different colors. In my experience, the profile has ended up being the major difference. Remember, keep your line tight and that bait slow.
“I’ve appreciated receiving emails regarding this body of water. As always, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Good luck out there and be safe and be nice! Hope to see you on the water.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 448.56 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 539.90 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 1-14-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said a lot of pelicans are out on the lake and have run the fish down deep. He adds that no one is really fishing right now. Lake Atkins is clear and high. He had no specific reports. Before the pelican arrival, he said last week that crappie fishing was good, with minnows and Bobby Garland jigs in chartreuse and black working best. The crappie rigs were also hooking a fair amount of black bass.
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 1-14-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that open floodgates and heavy generation continue on Lake Catherine in an effort to stabilize area lake levels. Lake Ouachita remains almost 2 feet into flood pool, but is falling by the hour. This scenario will continue on Lake Catherine until Ouachita is lowered below flood level. This process could last another two weeks. Meanwhile, no one should attempt to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailwaters until these treacherous conditions subside. The good news is that the trout stocking program continues with 9,300 rainbows scheduled to be put in the lake this month. The November and December stockings were a success with 4,295 fish delivered safely. Trout can contend with very fast water much better than most species of game fish and will thrive in the cold waters below area dams. Thousands of threadfin shad, injured from the frigid temperatures, are drawn through Carpenter Dam during the heavy flows. Trout are feeding on these baitfish daily and will easily adapt to the dangerous conditions. As soon as the lake stabilizes, good fishing will return to the area with the original 5-foot drawdown in place through March 1. Remember to social distance and always wear a mask when coming into contact with others. Always follow all park regulations as local law enforcement patrols and strictly enforces the rules.
(updated 1-14-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels on the rise (at least 2 feet over the last week) and water temps in the mid-40s. The weather and especially the air temps and rainfall have really been all over the place this winter and it has the fish doing things a bit differently this year. Bass have been doing very well in ditches and in between lake points at 25-30 feet in depth by vertical-dropping a Damiki rig, Ned rig or drop-shot with a tiny craw on it. Slowly dragging an olive and blue ½-ounce football or finesse jig like the Slycked Back Hammer Slammer is getting bites in brush and timber in the shallower depths of 15-20 feet.
“What’s really standing out this year that is unusual is the drop-shot presentation. Dragging a blue Zoom Meathead Worm (wacky rigged) in green pumpkin (clear water) or sapphire blue (dirty water). Dragging this presentation in gravel flats of 20-30 feet of water is incredibly effective! Spotted bass especially can’t stay away from it.”
Crappie are suspended over or right next to standing timber and brush in the 25-45 feet range and can be caught early in the morning on jigs and minnows but really turn off when the sun comes up. No catfish report but look for them in depths of 25-30 feet right in the trough of ditches. “Get in an Xpress boat from Greeson’s and get out there!”
(updated 1-14-2021) The Dirty Worm (501-317-5046) on Highway 5 at Crows Station in Saline County reports that crappie fishing is good on live bait and small plastics in deeper water surrounding brush and cover. Bobby Garland Baby Shad in electric chicken, ghastly minnow and bleeding shad have been working well. The Dirty Worm opened late in 2020 near the intersection of Arkansas highways 5 and 9; the store’s address is 17572 Arkansas Highway 5, Lonsdale, AR 72087.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 354.39 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-14-2021) 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 579.45 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 1-14-2021) The Dirty Worm (501-317-5046) on Highway 5 at Crows Station in Saline County reports that fishing is decent. Spotted bass are biting well on small spinners and live bait in 30-40ft of water off of points. Crappie fishing is good with #6 Crappie minnows and small jigs in 25-35 ft deep water around cover. The Dirty Worm opened late in 2020; the store’s address is 17572 Arkansas Highway 5, Lonsdale, AR 72087.
(updated 1-14-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports black bass are still fair to good. 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 large mouths around brush 25-40 feet deep No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caught on live bait and ’Bama rigs. No report on bream. Crappie are fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 25-40 feet of water. No reports on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 48-52 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. The level is high at 579.57 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 1-14-2021) 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 393.06 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 1-14-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says, “We are getting reports of anglers catching large amounts of crappie at Bear Creek Lake! Anglers report catching crappie anywhere between the depths of 6-8 feet. Anglers report that artificial baits such as jigs have contributed to their success. As we move through the cold months, the fish tend to travel into deeper waters. The spillway is still awaiting construction at this time, we are patiently waiting for COVID to dissipate so that this project can be coordinated. Funding is still an issue as well due the total costs for repairs. We are still patiently waiting to hear more information at this time from the U.S. Forest Service. The water is still high enough to operate a vessel from the launch ramp.”
He says that they are experiencing very little fishing activity at Storm Creek Lake at this time. “We are hoping that this changes during the spring and summer months.”
(updated 1-14-2021) 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.
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 email@example.com.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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