Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Feb. 11, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 11, 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 11 a.m. the day of publication (Feb. 11).
****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
(updated 2-11-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake is bad to its normal Lake Conway stain but the level has dropped to low. Bream are good on redworms, crickets and Dynamax hand-tied jigs. Crappie like those hand-tied jigs as well, along with minnows and regular jigs, and the bite is good. Black bass are good on crankbaits, Chatterbaits, jigs and shad. Catfishing is good with stink bait, dough bait, nightcrawlers, trotline minnows and goldfish.
(updated 2-11-2021) Angler Dennis Charles had no new reports. For more from Dennis’s fishing excursions, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/arkansasfishingadventures
Little Red River
(updated 2-11-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the Little Red is stained to clear (depends on the flow) and normal level. The trout bite is pretty good; browns are favoring jerkbait, maribou jigs and Countdowns, while rainbows trend toward Trout Magnet, maribou, Countdowns, spoons and Rooster Tails.
(updated 2-11-2021) 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 2-11-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) head no report.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 2-11-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.82 feet msl and falling with generation. That puts it just 0.22 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. Some of fish have made an initial move with spawning getting on their minds with the longer days and last few weeks of warmer nights, but the current 10-day forecast does not look conducive to shallower movement much or at all. It looks like when it happens it’s going to happen fast as has been the case in years previously; so get ready, the spawning period will happen overnight and be over.
Crappie will eat if you get bait (jigs, minnows) in front of them in 18-40 feet of water in and around brushpiles, or pole timber, or just floating around guts of deep pockets. No report on bream. Bass catching is good with crankbaits, traps, spinnerbaits, jigs, hair jigs, jerkbaits and C-rigs from super shallow out to 60 feet. As for walleye, the lake fish are not doing much; the river fish are spread out all over. Try crankbaits and grubs or a jighead tipped with minnow. No reports on catfish but the blue’s good bite is fast approaching shallow. Hybrid and white bass are eating in river bends, creek bends, deep guts, off the side of humps, points, etc., on spoons, grubs, swimbaits, inline spinners, Largo Specials, and live bait in 30-80 feet.
(updated 2-11-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is at normal level and clear, with surface water temperature in the mid-40s. Bass are biting pretty good on red crankbaits, Wiggle Wart shallow baits, and jerkbaits in 5-10 feet of water. They’re also biting on Alabama rigs with white or natural color swimbait in 15-20 feet of water. And don’t forget to try a drop-shot in 15 feet of water with any type of fluke.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 2-11-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says it’s clear water onHarris Brake Lake with water at normal level now. Bream fair on redworms or crickets. Crappie are biting well, with best results at night time. The crappie are close to the shoreline and following both the big and little shad. Give them a look at a minnow or jig. Black bass are good. Try crankbaits, topwater lures and jigs. No reports on catfish.
(updated 2-11-2021) Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the fish are down deep right now and not wanting to bite. The lake is fairly clear, he adds, and is high by about 1 foot.
(updated 1-28-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said crappie are elusive, set up on the southwest end and drop-shot with small jigs. Cats are there, just have to find them. Many anglers catch them hunting crappie. Bass are starting to show themselves along the grass.
(updated 1-28-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reports that water temperature has been in the mid- to low 40s (about 43-44 on Thursday). The largemouth bass bite is fair. Some can be found just outside the grass line and in 8-12 feet of water biting a variety of lures. Try using rattle-type crankbaits, jigs or jerkbaits. Kentucky bass are fair. Some reports have come in of them being found at 15-20 feet depth off drops and rocky banks. Try using jigs. White bass fishing is slow. Some reports of anglers catching them at 25-30 feet depth. Try using minnows, Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are good. Reports of them moving out of deeper water and being found in 30-35 feet in the channel. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are slow. They can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 12-16 feet of water. Try using worms and beetle spins. Catfishing is slow. Try using chicken liver, nightcrawlers or baitfish.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 2-11-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) say the crappie bite continues to be good, with crappie at 8 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. With them staying deep, use a crankbait or jigs. No reports on catfish or bream. River clarity is clear and the level and current are normal.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 40,406 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 41,303 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 43,886 cfs.
(updated 2-11-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the backwaters are clearing up, while the main water is muddy. Water temperature is in the mid-40s and the level isa little high. Anglers are catching a few crappie below the Murray dam and by Burns Park on white/chartreuse, blue/chartreuse and orange/chartreuse crappie jigs in 10-15 feet of water. Bass are being found closer to the backwaters using red crankbaits, black/blue Chatterbait and on jigs.
(updated 2-4-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are fair below the Terry Lock and Dam, below the Little Rock pool, in 10-12 feet of water. Try black/chartreuse Super Jigs. White bass are reported fair in both pools, with white Rooster Tails working best. Catfish are being caught in fair numbers below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam. They will bite skipjack.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 2-11-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake is clear and at a normal level. Crappie fishing is good. Use minnows or jigs. No other catches were reported.
(update 2-11-2021) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed for the season and will reopen later this month.
(updated 2-4-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said that since Bull Shoals Lake reached power pool (the seasonal 659 feet msl), generation has been a little erratic. “We’re seeing highs of 20,000 cfs down to minimum flow (less than 700 cfs)and back up to six generators all within 24-36 hours. You won’t get bored trying to stay at the top of your game with challenges like this.
“Be especially cautious if you are casting from the bank or if, during the periods of low water, you are able to wade into the main channel. The water level can change very quickly, so don’t be caught unawares.
“Another challenge: It’s really cold out there! We’re having an old-fashioned winter this year, so dress accordingly. But you will be rewarded if you find your way to the river: the trout catching has been very good. Streamers, jigs and stick baits will attract more fish if they are white: white bellies, white skirts, white tails. Regardless of water level, remember: Big fish like big bait. We’ll keep a pot of coffee on for a quick warm up.Stop in and share a story or two.”
(updated 2-11-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that there is high generation in the mornings, tapering off in the afternoon. Wade fishing is not available. The catch-and-release area below the dam is now open. White jigs are good on cloudier days. Drift-fishing is best with minnows or shrimp. Anglers are catching a few browns “here and there.” Shrimp, PowerBait and pink worms are working very well with rainbows. Fly-anglers are throwing streamers in a white pattern for best success. River clarity is clear and the river is high when eight generations are going at the dam. Overall trout bite is good.
(updated 2-11-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said earlier this week that during the past week, they had less than a quarter of an inch of rain, very cold temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.3 foot to rest at 0.1 foot above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 35.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.3 foot to rest at 0.3 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.7 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 0.1 foot below seasonal power pool and 9.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White saw heavy generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.6 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had little if any wadable water.
All of the lakes in the White River system are now below or at power pool and the tailwaters should receive wadable water in the near future. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam was closed from Nov. 1, 2020, to Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. This section has reopened to fishing.
On the moderate flows, the White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch and release section below Bull Shoals Dam. 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, “I have recently been writing about water safety concerning wading. There is another important safety issue concerning fishing, and that is hooks. I recently learned that a fellow guide in the area had to have emergency eye surgery to repair a detached retina caused by an errant hook. He had been wearing sunglasses, but removed them to put on his cheater glasses to aid him in tying on a very small hook. He ended up missing two months of work. He gave up the cheaters and now wears bifocal sunglasses.
“The story here is to always wear eye protection. I wear bifocal sunglasses. They protect my eyes and cut the surface glare and allow me to clearly see fish and underwater obstacles. On very overcast days I might wear my regular clear glasses to see better in low light conditions. Every time I see my ophthalmologist at the VA, he is always very concerned about my eyes when he learns that I am a fishing guide. He always admonishes me to wear glasses at all times when guiding.
The eyes are not the only delicate spots to get hooked. I have personally been hooked in my nose twice. I was fishing with my friend Larry Deweise several years ago. He hooked himself in the face (his cheek) with a large Woolly Bugger that still had a big barb. I borrowed a pair of needle nose pliers from another angler. I cut off the hook point and barb and backed the hook out. Larry never said a word.
“Since then I have found a much better method to remove barbed hooks. Clip the fly from the leader. Wrap a piece of heavy tippet around the bend of the hook. Push down on the eye of the hook in order to disengage the barb. Then jerk the tippet wrapped around the bend of the hook. The fly will come out easily.I have used this method on my wife, Lori, and she felt no pain.
“If you are hooked in the eye, let a doctor remove it.
“I much prefer to use barbless hooks. If you do get hooked, they are much easier and less painful to remove. As a guide, I feel like I am the most likely person in the boat to get hooked. Therefore I always fish barbless even when I am in water where barbed hooks are allowed. I prefer to tie flies with factory barbless hooks. If I cannot find barbless hooks for a particular fly, I will use barbed ones and carefully pinch down the barb before I fish them.
“In the emergency room at Baxter County Regional Hospital they have a glass case that contains all of the flies and lures they have removed from patients. It is quite a large collection. Do not contribute to it.
“Always wear eye protection and fish barbless. I do!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 658.89 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.94 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-11-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no report this week. Bull Shoals is clear with a surface temperature of 47 degrees. The lake is about near normal conservation level.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 553.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 2-11-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 2-11-2021) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report. Look for new reports in March.
(updated 2-11-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.6 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had little if any wadable water.
All of the lakes in the White River system are now below or at power pool and the tailwaters should receive wadable water in the near future. The Norfork tailwater is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try 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,” John said.
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 2-11-2021) 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 1,120.09 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).
(updated 2-11-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake remained at a steady level, and really the only change is going to be the major change in water temps, especially in the river arms that cool quicker to the swallow depths. “With temperatures hitting in the teens, I am looking for the lake to drop drastically and for a shad kill to happen by next Monday. When that happens it is a good time to spoon for stripers. Bundle up and fishing should be good next week if you can stand the brutal predicted temps.
“Also be careful on the ramps; you might slide into the lake. Probably the best bet is to stay home. Wind chills predicted to be at zero. I hate when winter shows just weeks before fishing should be on. Oh, well, that’s Arkansas. So on to report:
“Stripers were hit and miss. Some days the guides were killing it and some days really tough. I was catching walleye until water temps started to drop the last couple of days. Crappie were fair on brush in 20 feet of water and also being caught spider-rigging in Blue Springs.
“Stay warm and stay safe. Spring is around the corner.”
(updated 2-11-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said stripers are good on brood minnows at the deep end of the lake. Walleye are biting well below the dam.No reports on bream. Crappie are excellent and being found deeper this week, in 10-15 feet depth; use minnows or jigs and work around the brushpiles. Black bass are fair, with crankbaits and jigs working best. Still no reports on catfish. The lake clarity is clear and the surface temperature is mid- to high 40s. The level is normal.
(updated 1-28-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says fishing has been consistent this past week with the trout bite. Since the Army Corps of Engineers has two floodgates open a foot, it may be difficult to fish from the shore. However, if you’re fishing from a boat, you may do a little better. The trout have been biting on various Fire baits, fished with light terminal tackle. Throwing spoons and hard baits have also produced some nice fish. The water temp is still around 43 degrees in most of the river. This week’s hotspot has been around the Spider Creek area. Just remember to watch out for the hidden structures if you decide to go up that way. While the water is flowing, try fishing the slack water around structure to locate the trout. You can also try to drift-fish as well, just downsize your weight and you should do just fine. If you get out this weekend, bundle up, it may be quite chilly. Good luck, stay safe and catch some fish!
(updated 2-11-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is temporarily closed.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 2-11-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said that the lake is has cleared up and is at normal level. Crappie are good using minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 2-11-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said anglers should match jig colors to water conditions for best results at Lake Charles. If the water is slightly stained, she recommends trying jigs in the colors Refrigerator White, Pepper Shad and Glimmer Blue. In dingy, muddy water, you should go with Tuxedo Black/chartreuse, Electric Chicken and Cajun Cricket. She notes that the best days to fish based on the moon cycle runs Feb. 8-14. On Monday, the surface temperature in the morning was 46 degrees. The water is low, but now with waterfowl season completed and Lake Charles’ water not needed for Shirey Bay/Rainey Brake flooding, look for water to pick up. Clarity is murky. There were not reported catches this past week.
(updated 2-4-2021) 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 2-4-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) remains closed until further notice “due to unforeseen circumstances.” However, they are still accepting RV and cabin reservations.
(updated 2-11-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are flowing at 360 cfs, whichs about average flow. Water clarity the last few weeks has had a heavy green stain to it. It’s normal for the Spring to have a heavy tint to it. Makes for less spooky fish.
On the fly lately, eggs and Woolly Buggers work great on days the bite is on. On the slow days, nymphing has been hot. About a size 14 hare’s ear or pheasant tail will do the trick. An extra nymph as dropper can help. During this time of year, slowing the presentation down can work great. A big indicator with a White Lightning/big white fly on jig hook, fished about 3-4 feet below indicator, works great when fishing those deeper green pools.
For spin-fishing, hot pinkTrout Magnets produce day in day out. Also, trout cranks and crankbaits can work well. This is the time of year to catch walleye and brown trout because of the terrible weather conditions. The nastier the weather, the better for catching those fish. Still catching a few big rainbows. Gotta be a day the bite is on and fish the deeper pools.
“It has been dangerously cold out. If you fall and get wet, find a heat source quickly. The trout love the cold! Be safe! Tight lines and good luck!”
Check out Mark’s blog on his website for the latest fishing conditions.
(updated 2-11-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing well. 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 16.06, almost 10 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is still high at 28.06 feet, about 2 feet above the flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 2-11-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)|(updated 2-4-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 2-11-2021) Jeff Shell, superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, had no new reports.
(updated 2-11-2021) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), had no report.
(updated 2-11-2021) 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 2-11-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was approximately 5 inches above normal conservation pool and falling; oxbows’ water clarity is stained, Little River is muddy. Gate discharge at the dam was around 2,400 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates was around 229 feet msl and falling 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.
Surface temps dropped again over the last week, ranging in mid-40-degree range, depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken, or floating timber in Little River are in effect. Clarity improved over the past few days in the oxbow lakes along Little River. Current along Little River decreased, and river clarity ranging 6-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows along Little River ranged 8-30 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 is opened for campers. See the COVID-19 related information, and camping reservation requirements at https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/millwood-state-park. Millwood State Park Marina is closed for its annual winter shutdown through the end of February.The Millwood State Park Office is open can be reached at 870-898-2800 for additional information.
As for the fishing details:
* Largemouth bass: Bass over this past week have been slow with the current conditions and cold fronts.High bluebird days with bright skies have been best on 5-9 foot deep flats near vertical structure nearby.Over the past several weeks, Bass have been suspending near these flats with stumps, on vertical drops into 16-20 feet structure.When the feed bag light bulb turns on, last week it was decent action for a couple hours on squarebills, BLL MR-6 Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Ghost Craw, or Rayburn Red Craw. Custom chatterbaits in Fire Craw, Texas Craw, or firetiger will draw a few reaction bites. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover, and heavy thumping 1-Knocker Rat-L-Traps with a very slow and deep retrieve picked up a few 2-4 pound Largemouths last week.Most Bass we are finding continue randomly roaming shallow on full sun and bright skies into the 6-10 foot depths of flats adjacent to deeper drops into 9-15 feet depth ranges.The best 3-4 hours is during the heat of the day, best on bright, sunny, clear days when water temps will rise a few degrees after lunch.Little John cranks, have been getting slow 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 few weeks.The best time of the day is during warmest period of the day from 12pm-3pm, albeit slow and methodical.
Swim jigs with a Bang Die Dapper, and vertical jigging Cordell or Kastmaster spoons, got a few reaction bites last week, vertical suspended Bass from 10-15 feet on ledges or deep creek, outside bends, with stumps present.
* White bass: Large schools of Whites were located on the main lake over the past few days, and are holding in deep holes along Little River and Saline River intersections, in open water near standing timber, from 20-35 feet of depth. Vertical jigging spoons caught a few hammer White Bass last weekend, along Little River and Saline River cutoff boat lane, between 1-3 mile marker on Little River.Chrome/Blue, Chrome/Chartreuse, and Leadhead spoons, hammered Cordell Slabs with bucktails got the best response from the Guys we talked to.Several Whites in the 3-pound class were hard-charging the vertical jigging spoons near any remaining standing timber/stumps out in front of the dam 1-3 miles from the dam where Little and Saline Rivers junction.We have yet to locate, with any consistency, any large schools of Whites running in Little or Saline Rivers as of this point for their annual spawning runs.Once the water temps climb out of the 40º range overnight and into the mid 50º range all day and overnight hours, we are expecting the White Bass Run to fire up in short order.
* Crappie: Have been slow and scattered with current weather and lake conditions. Nothing consistent to report.
* Catfish: Channel cats and blues in Little River have been fair on trotlines and in the oxbows on limblines using Punch Bait and chicken livers/hearts.
(updated 2-11-2021) 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 542.47 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 403.06 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 2-4-2021) Local angler Charles Abernathy says water temperature is still hanging around the mid-40s. “Water was pretty muddy up around the Shouse Ford area. I found a lot of fish in the Shouse Ford cut-through that runs across #39. Several schools of crappie and hybrids, too. This area has some brush scattered around ranging from 25 feet to less than 10 feet. There’s a creek channel that runs through that area, too, that gets down to about 35 feet and will hold fish year-round. It’s kind of a pick-your-poison type area. There were fish relating to the brush at these depths as well as schools roaming in open water. I caught fish as shallow as 8 feet.
With the water being muddy and some cloud cover, I started with a dark bait (Mr. Crappie Slab Slanger, black with chartreuse tail, paired with a bright orange head, 1/16-ounce). This combo seemed to work fine. I also tried a 1/16-ounce maribou jig (black glimmer body with chartreuse tail paired with unpainted lead head) and seemed to work equally as well. I did not throw any other color and left with a decent mess.
“It was extremely windy Sunday evening, but the fish were willing if you could get your bait down to them. I had to use a lot of weight to keep my bait down. More weight means a faster bait, so you have to get pretty close to them to be able to keep your bait up and slow on the swing down.
|Hint: Normally in the winter, you think fish are deep, and that is logical thinking. But that’s not always the case. You can find fish in the winter in shallow water. Maybe it’s been cold for a spell and the sun is finally poking through to warm the surface just a degree or two? Maybe the water is muddy and they just want a little light? Maybe the wind is hammering and all the shad are flopping up on the windblown bank? Who knows? But regardless, I’m still looking for a deeper hole nearby for them to retreat to (that river channel … or perhaps a nearby creek channel). In this area I have described, it happens to be an old creek channel. That is what put me in that area to begin with. I’ve said this before, but it really helps if you are using some type of topographical map to form a game plan before hitting the water. (Don’t forget Navionics has a free viewer online). Even on your home lake. We all have holes that were passed down from friends, family, word of mouth, etc. Look up these known places on your map and try to figure out why they are there. If you do this, you can pull up a map on any lake and get a pretty good idea where to start just using what you have learned on your home lake. You can also transform spring spawning areas into winter areas just by looking at your map to see where they may have gone. I can’t emphasize enough to use those maps and never lose sight of the food source.
Here’s another hint for the forward-looking sonar users: Do you often see fish following your bait but never committing? It seems like some crappie just enjoy the hunt. When this happens, we have a tendency to slow our bait down to help them out. It’s been my experience that this seldom works. Have you ever pulled a piece of string away from a cat? It reminds me of that a bunch sometimes. Instead of slowing down, try to take it away from them a little. Tease them, just like you would a cat. I’m not sure what it is. My only guess is they think it’s getting away and instinct kicks in. If it’s a good one, and it’s getting close to the boat, take it away completely. If you end up pulling it all the way to the boat, your chances of a successful follow-up pitch are going way down. Color does play an important role in one’s success. It’s my opinion that presentation is definitely more important, followed very closely by bait profile.
“I really do appreciate the emails I have received. I have gotten a chance to converse with some very nice folks and enjoy the conversation. This can be a dark world sometimes, but there is always some light if you look for it. As always, feel free to reach out at email@example.com 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 437.38 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.28 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(update 1-21-2021) Angler Charles Abernathy had no recent reports.
(updated 2-11-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake remains low by about 1 foot and clarity is clear. Crappie are in deeper water and the reports on catches continues to be fair. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair, and with worms working best. Still no reports on bream or catfish.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visi www.entergy.com/hydro
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 2-11-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 45 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has run an afternoon flow pattern of 3,400 cfs this past week that has allowed anglers to safely access and fish numerous areas that hold rainbow trout. Productive fishing has been seen below Carpenter Dam this past week by fly-fishermen and bank anglers alike. Fly-fishermen have recorded limits of trout by casting Woolly Buggers in black or green under a strike indicator. San Juan worms in hot pink have also caught fish, along with egg patterns in white or yellow presented in the same manner. Micro-jigs in black or white should always be included in the mix when attempting to target finicky rainbows. Bank anglers have done equally well by using Little Cleo’s and Super Dupers in silver or gold colors. Trout are concentrating on injured shad drawn through the turbines from Lake Hamilton. These baitfish provide a major food source for all area gamefish this time of year. When you observe the white gulls circling over areas of the lake, that is a sure sign of injured shad. Rooster Tails casted across the current perfectly imitate a baitfish running for cover.
Trout love to feed on worms and snails that are plentiful in the Carpenter Dam tailrace. Presenting a redworm or nightcrawler just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater is a deadly technique to catch good numbers of fish. Huge numbers of rainbow trout are now thriving in Lake Catherine due to the efforts of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
While February marks the beginning of the walleye spawn on Lake Catherine, no reports of catches have been reported as yet. Normally, by the second week, smaller male walleye migrate into the tailrace to prepare the spawning beds. These fish will be present near the dam until late April.
Remember to social distance in the park areas and always wear a mask as the pandemic rages on. Follow all rules and regulations and wear a life jacket while on the water.
(updated 2-11-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature is 46 degrees and falling. Water clarity in most creeks are good. Most of the bays are in good shape; some are stained. River conditions are dingy to dirty. Largemouth bass have been slow, but on those low-pressure days your best chance to have a good day is to stick to A-rigs or jerkbaits in or around 8-10 feet of water. Where this cold front is moving in, they may even move down to 15 feet.
Crappie have been fair. They have been holding close to the bottom in multiple depths depending on where you’re situated on the river. Natural colors have been working the best: monkey milk or mayfly. You can find the fish from 10 feet down to 30 feet. Stripers have been excellent, and early mornings the bite has been best from daylight to 9 a.m. Swimbaits have been working the best, though there is a topwater bite occasionally, and large Rat-L-Traps also are working. Catfish have been excellent throughout the river system and the creeks. Shad, skipjack and stink bait have been working the best. White bass have been good on small crankbaits and spoons.
(updated 2-4-2021) 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 2-4-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton water levels slowly on the rise with temps in the high 40s in most areas. Water clarity is fair to good with visibility of 5 feet in most areas. The water color is a bit foggy, so keep this in mind on your color choices. Bass (especially spotted) have been doing very well in 25-32 feet of water and typically in or over brushpiles. Using a vertical presentation like a Ned rig or a Damiki rig really gets them fired up! Drop it straight down, let it hit the bottom and lift it up 2 feet. Twitch-Twitch-Bite.
Green pumpkin or black and blue are the go-to colors on everything right now. The Drop-shot is still working pretty well, but being that the water temp is up a little bit consider throwing ShadRaps and suspending (deep-diving) jerkbaits in shad/chartreuse or Craw colors. Largemouth bass have been very lethargic due to cold night temps, but they can still be caught by dragging black and blue jigs through brush at 18-25 feet. The Slycked Back Hammer Slammer in a ¾-ounce football head is a good choice, but sometimes it’s as simple as a Texas-rigged soft plastic Craw. Both work! Crappie have been doing well in the very early mornings on minnows and jigs over the tops of push or suspended in the middle of nowhere in 20 feet of water, but the brush is usually at 40-30 feet. Rain or overcast calm days are also great times to get out there if you aren’t an early riser. Bream and sunfish have been very good in and over brush in 20 feet of water. You can clean up with a bobber and a worm! No catfish report. “Good luck, wear those life Jackets! Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.57 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 2-4-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is stained. Surface temperature is ranging 38-42 degrees. Water level is normal. Crappie are biting excellent. They’re still around 7-10 feet depth and are biting minnows and jigs around brushpiles. Black bass are good up in the river. Try spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Catfishing is good; chicken liver baited on trotlines is the best way to go.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 574.60 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 2-11-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) Black bass are fair. Try a small ⅜-ounce spoon or jig-n-rap out deep; 40-50 feet off main lake points. Bama rigs and pig-n-jigs will work for large mouths around brush in 25-40 feet. Trap time is right around the corner. No report on walleye. Stripers are good. These fish are being caught on live bait and Bama rigs. No report on bream. Crappie are still fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 25-40 feet of water. No report on catfish. Water temperature is ranging 42-46 degrees. Water clarity is stained. Lake level is 574.60 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.42 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 1-28-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says anglers have reported catching large numbers of crappie at Bear Creek Lake. Anglers have had success in using artificial baits such as jigs to catch these great tasting fish! Fish have been caught in depths of 6-15 feet depending on the temperature of the water. The water temperature hasn’t been consistent due to the drastic change in weather, so it’s hard to tell at what depth they bite the best. Tuesday this week it was very warm with temperatures in the 70s, which pushed the fish into that 6-to-7-feet range.
Construction at the spillway is still waiting to be coordinated by the U.S Forest Service.
As for Storm Creek Lake, very little fishing activity has been reported. We are expecting a better outcome in the next couple of months.
(updated 2-11-2021) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northeast Arkansas efforts highlighted at AGFC meeting
Nov. 30, 2023
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
Nov. 30, 2023
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails
Don't miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!