Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
April 15, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 15, 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 (April 15).
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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 4-15-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake’s clarity is still slightly stained as of Wednesday afternoon but is starting to clear up. Water level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie and edging to spawning. The bite is good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are on the move to shallow water. They are biting well, with spinnerbaits and topwaters the best baits to use.
Catfish are fair on trotlines and limblines.
(updated 4-8-2021) Angler Dennis Charles visited Beaverfork as well as several other lakes in the area with similar conditions (Lake Brewer, Lake Cargile and Harris Brake). He says “every finned critter is increasing the bite. Water temperature is around 60 degrees and crappie spawn in imminent Bass are hitting everything in the box in the shallows. Bream are slow. Crappie are still suspended, but some are being caught using plastics or jigs, and minnows. Reports from anglers said the best time is dawn and dusk.” Visit Dennis’ Facebook page for more information.
Little Red River
(updated 4-15-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the lake has returned to normal level and generation has been reduced so there are now windows available for wading. Most wading opportunities are at JFK Park during the afternoon hours. Some wading is available downstream at Winkley Shoal for a short time in the morning. These hours are changing daily so it’s best to check the next day generation before planning your trip.
The river is clear and drift-fishing is fair to good by staying ahead of the generation or going in behind the generation and fishing falling water. Some caddis are beginning to stir, so a size 16 emerger or caddis pupa may be a good choice of flies in the coming days. Midge pupas have also been productive in the low water areas.
(updated 4-15-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is a little high when the Corps of Engineers is running water at the dam, and the clarity is clear. Rainbow trout are good on Rooster Tails, marabou jigs, Lucky Stripe Trout Worm and PowerBait. Brown trout are good using jerkbaits when they are running 1-2 generators. Throw the bait around any kind of current break.
(updated 4-15-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) reminds anglers to 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 462.00 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is down just a bit from normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. It is down 0.05 at 461.99 feet msl. Overall, all fish are about three weeks behind normal spawning times this year. Crappie continue to be caught at will on jigs, minnows and crankbaits all over the lake and rivers at various depths, from super shallow out to 25 feet. Black bass are on beds and hanging out to 35 feet and can be caught on crankbaits, plastics, Alabama rigs, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs. No report on catfish. Walleye are pretty much done in rivers; the lake walleye, when you find them, will bite crawlers, grubs and minnows in 15-35 feet of water. Bream are still slow to come shallow; try crickets and crawlers from 5-25 feet. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating/laying eggs, etc., from super shallow out to 25 feet with some in 40 feet of water. They are good on jerkbaits, grubs, spoons, inline spinners and Alabama rigs. It’s time for the shad spawn with this weather, so keep an eye out for that.
(updated 4-15-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is normal and clear, with a little stain in the backwaters. Bass are good. They’re shallow around the bushes and are being caught shallow on swimbaits, finesse jigs, Texas-rigged lizard, and Senkos. Deeper bass in the 10-15 feet range can be caught on Carolina rigs and crankbaits. Crappie are good, though a little sporadic, around the bushes with Road Runners working well. Also working are Bobby Garland Baby Shad on the back or a Triple Threat Grub (natural or white color, or pink/chartreuse or blue/white color combos).
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 4-15-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake muddied this week. Water level is high as of Wednesday midafternoon. Bream are fair and found in shallow areas. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are still deep but they are biting well. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good; try crankbaits or topwater baits. Catfishing is good. They’re biting nightcrawlers, glow worms, bass minnows and are being caught on trotlines close to shore.
(updated 4-8-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 4-15-2021) New owner Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the lake still has pretty good clarity Wednesday afternoon and the level remains low. Bream are fair; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on the shoreline, hitting minnows and jigs. Bass are good on a variety of baits. Catfish are also good, with the best fishing off the docks using live bait (worms, minnows or nightcrawlers).
(updated 4-15-2021) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said Wednesday afternoon that water surface temperature is around 65 degrees, clarity is good. Water level is up about 8 inches. Bream are starting to bite in the shallow water around the banks on crickets. Bass are slow but should be picking up. Crappie are starting to move into the shoreline in 2 feet of water. A couple of anglers caught 22 Wednesday afternoon, mostly males, but another pair of anglers caught 14 Wednesday morning (eight were females) on minnows. Catfish are starting to bite on trotlines and jugs. Several 8- to 9-pound channels were caught. Johnny says, “I caught several crappie around 3.2 pounds and 3.1 pounds, and a 38-pound flathead the other day. Come see me at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9. We carry a lot of different bait and tackle.”
(update 4-15-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said Wednesday afternoon that clarity is clear and the level is normal. The bream bite is good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good (David tells us that “the dogwood is blooming so crappie are spawning”). Try the buckbrush around the shoreline, about 1-2 feet deep, or look for the underwater brushpiles and fish 5-6 feet deep. Black bass are good. Anglers are finding them at about 4-5 feet depth. Try a rattle-style bait. Catfish are good on the bottom. Use stink bait or live bait.
(updated 4-8-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said they have been receiving great reports on crappie this week. More on that in this report. Also, note that Maumelle will be host to the Arkansas High School Bassers’ Tournament, with 80-100 boats on the lake, on Saturday. And the Lake Maumelle Tuesday Night Bass Tournament season is back up and running, contact WestRock Landing for more information on how to compete in the series. This past Tuesday night, 17 out of 21 boats landed five fish each. Lee Brizzolari and Wes Lowder hauled in 14.33 pounds worth of bass to win, while Jeremy Cole and Aaron Cole hooked a big bass of 4.37 pounds. Water temperature is running 58-61 degrees at Lake Maumelle. The largemouth bass bite is good. Some can be found in the grass on the shoreline and around the grass in 8-12 feet biting a variety of lures. Try using jigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. The Kentucky/spotted bass bite is fair. Some reports have them being found shallow or near drop-offs and rocky banks. Try using jigs. White bass are fair. Reports of the white bass being shallow by the west bridge and moving back out. Try using swimbaits, Rat-L-Traps and minnows. The great bite from the crappie is coming in about 2-4 feet of water as the males are shallow on the beds. Other anglers are saying that female crappie can be found moving in at 8-10 feet. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are good. Some are reporting finding them in 24-26 feet, while others say 26-28 feet off the bottom. Use crickets or worms. Also, reports have come in of redear being mixed in with the crappie in shallow water and biting jigs. Catfishing is slow, with no reports coming in this week. But see if they’ll take chicken liver, worms or crawfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 36,451 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 51,378 cfs.
(updated 4-8-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had closed most of his marina down for COVID-19 and had the launch ramp open. He has live baits, tackle, and gas available and says that now the only things he’s not doing are the RV and boat dock.
For fishing in his area, Charlie says, “Our catfish are doing well on nightcrawlers. There is hardly any river flow right now, and they are on the backside of the jetties, about 15 feet from the tip of the jetty going out. They are doing fairly good.
“I had a guy come in who is a pole fisherman, and he hadn’t been in in over a year. Him and his son had some real nice 5-, 6-pound and a bunch of 3-pound catfish. That was on nightcrawlers.”
He also says that black bass appear to be sitting on top of the jetty. Anglers are using plastic baits and jigging or popping them – “lift up, pull and drop, lift up, pull and drop,” Charlie says. A few bass were caught in about 5 feet of water on top of the jetty in the late evening, he said.
Drum are also being caught with catfish, he reports. “And the guy I was talking about who caught all the catfish, he caught a needle-nosed gar that was two-thirds the length of his boat and about scared the heck out of him. He’d never seen anything like that.”
Little Maumelle River
(updated 4-15-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says clarity is clear. Water level and current are normal. He’s still heard nothing on bream. Crappie, however, continue to bite well. Look for them in 3-4 feet of water and use minnows or jigs. Black bass are around the bank and in shallow water. For the good bite, try spinnerbaits, soft plastic worms, or swimbaits. Catfishing is good on yo-yos at night, baited with minnows.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 35,332 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 26,553 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 27,290 cfs.
(updated 4-15-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said Wednesday the water is a little high and muddy. Bass reports are good in that a lot of fish are being caught.
Black Bandit 100 or 200 series crankbaits are working well, as are white/chartreuse spinnerbaits. Also, there’s a topwater bite, and white or black buzzbaits are drawing good responses. A Texas-rigged green pumpkin or a black and blue creature bait will get you some action, as well as black/red and black/blue Gitzits fished behind the jetties on the main river and the backwaters. Crappie are good on orange/chartreuse and pink/chartreuse crappie jigs fished behind the jetties in 4-8 feet of water.
Catfish reports are good below the Murray Lock and Dam; try nightcrawlers or stink bait.
A few good bream are being caught now in the backwaters in shallow water. Redworms or crickets will work.
(updated 4-15-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are excellent below the Terry Lock and Dam.
(updated 4-15-2021) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) said fishing in general has been really good. Black bass and Kentucky bass are good on moving baits and creature baits in the backwaters in 65-degree water temp. The crappie bite is excellent in shallow water close to spawning areas on jigs and minnows. The bream bite is improving; use crickets and redworms. Very few catfish are being caught below Murray Lock and Dam.
(updated 4-15-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) fished Pool 5 earlier this week, putting in at Terry Lock and Dam in Scott. He reports that the flow was greatly reduced and bass could be found in less than 3 feet of water out of the current. All fish were still pre-spawn and looking for a protected area to make their beds. Wil says his most productive pattern was a River Craw finesse jig fished parallel to rip-rap, about 5 feet from the shore. “I also caught several fish on small shad-colored crankbaits as well as spinnerbaits.”
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 3-25-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake remains slightly stained and the water level is normal. Anglers are catching good amounts of crappie on minnows and jigs. Catfish are beginning to bite, with skipjack working. Nothing was reported on bream or bass.
(update 4-15-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reports that the lake is a little dingy this week. Water level is normal. The bream bite has improved to fair; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on jigs. Catfish are good on yo-yos, jigs and minnows.
(updated 4-15-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said it’s been a great week on the White – the water has been staying high and swift, but that may soon change. Bull Shoals Lake is starting to approach its normal level for the season and the generation may change, and with it the fishing style. The fish have been snapping at a variety of baits. Shore anglers have been finding some luck with garlic-scented yellow and pink Power Eggs. Fishing with guides and from boats, the rainbows have been biting hard on pink worms and frozen shrimp. This strategy has also netted a few big browns, but the best bet to catch a lunker has been river minnows or lures with a sliver flash to them; also try some rogues with orange bellies and red eyes. Once the trout have had their fill of the staples, cast something new and flashy to pique their interest.
“Come on over and experience trout catching at Cotter on the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks. The dogwoods are popping and we’re in the middle of one of the most beautiful times of the year.”
(updated 4-15-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said anglers this week still caught more browns than rainbows. Water is clear and the river level is running high with the Corps of Engineers running eight generators round-the-clock from the dam. Overall the trout bite is fair.
(updated 4-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday that during the past week they had several rain events that combined for about 0.9 of an inch here in Cotter), warmer temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.8 feet to rest at 5.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 30.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 foot to rest at 0.3 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.5 feet above seasonal power pool and 8.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.9 feet to rest at 4 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has not had wadable water in a couple of weeks. The lakes in the White River system are dropping rapidly.
On the heavy flows fishing has been spotty. 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 a San Juan worm and egg pattern; use long leaders and lots of lead).
John also said, “It is no secret that my favorite place to fish is Rim Shoals. It is catch-and-release water, has a great ramp, great walk in access, porta-johns and picnic tables. Now it is getting even better by the addition of Rim Shoals Trail. There is now a quality 1-mile trail that starts at the walk-in access and follows the river downstream.
The trail first began almost 20 years ago when Gary Flippin of Rim Shoals Lodge hacked a trail on land belonging to Marshall Berg along the river below the walk-in access. Gary told me he was regularly rescuing waders caught in high water on the island at Rim Shoals. The trail provided a safe way to exit the water. Gary called the trail Menokas trail. I was an early user and walked it every time I waded at Rim Shoals.
“There has been a major project to expand and enhance the trail. The original trail was a bit rough. It is now really nice. The new trail was a joint effort between Trout Unlimited White River Chapter 698 and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, with additional funding from Barbara Graham through the Graham Foundation in memory of her husband, Frank. The trail is on land belonging to Marshall Berg and Hugh McClain, who have granted access for the trail.
Key players in the process have been Tim Barnley of the AGFC; Jim Dugan, Tom Emerick and T. L. Lauerman from Trout Unlimited White River Chapter 698; and Gary Flippin. Thank you to all concerned.
“My wife, Lori, and I took my sister, Ernestine, on the trail when she visited last year. We found the trail to be excellent. It is much longer and the surface is definitely user-friendly. There is a picnic area at the trail end. According to Gary, they have identified at least a dozen spots along the trail to access the river. Therefore this trail will allow unlimited access to a mile of river and will also allow safe exit from the shoal in rising water.
“There is to be a dedication of the trail on April 17 at 1 p.m. at Rim Shoals. The public is invited. I plan to attend.
“I am really happy to see this project come to completion. There are so many users. I have many friends who are hikers. This trail is close and very easy to access. It is a reasonably easy walk and it follows the river and features some incredible scenery. I saw a bald eagle snatch a good-sized rainbow from the surface of the river on a recent visit.
“Equally important is the ability to access more of the river. Due to the introduction of this trail, Rim Shoals will now have more and easier wade access than any other area in the state. It has always been my favorite spot, and now it just got better. I have a lot of new water to access and learn. Life is good!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 663.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 915.04 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says fish are either in pre-spawn or spawning. Some small Kentucky bass are trying but the major drops have them holding. There has been a wave up and abandoned beds. Target points and swings close to spawning pockets. South facing pockets, gravel flats and dirty water have some warmer temps but are first to cool. The shad are schooling back up. Look for shad balls in 20-50 feet in the creeks. Loons are heading north. Fishing around the shad, try a fluke shallow or swimbait or 2.8 Damiki rig. Powerfish windy, cloudy days with bright spinnerbaits, Chatterbait. If it’s clear and flat bluebird days, use GP shaky head and the ol’ Ned rig.
The backs of creeks have little color change. The crank bite, a Wiggle Wart or Rock Crawler are working. Target windy steeper banks with nasty rock. Fish 4-10 feet and match the colors with water clarity. There’s a little cranking action with the Green Craw working in the clear water. You can always catch them on a jig in the channel swings. Also try a GP Beaver flipping shallow laydowns and bushes. As usual, fish the conditions.
Visit Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing the lake. Surface temperature this week is ranging from the 60s to the mid-60s. Water level is high by 5 feet.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 557.70 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is in the prime of the spring fishing season. Crappie and bass have both started their spawning process, which will continue for several weeks if not more. Cool fronts during this process do tend to slow things down. Walleye have completed their spawn and are starting to show up all over the lake. White bass should have spawned already, “but from what I’ve seen with the few I have cleaned they are just starting to get ready,” he says. “The cold February might have really messed with their cycle.
Striped bass and hybrid bass will spawn soon if the water temperature rises a little more. Overall this spring is acting very similar to prior years, which means a good bite for most species.
Crappie are being caught with three different methods. Cast a small jig right into the shoreline with a very light jighead. Let it fall slowly and twitch it out of the sunken brush until you feel a strike. Best areas are where there is dead wood sunken on the shoreline or where the shore has a lot of sunken buckbrush due the slight rise in the water level. You can also fish brushpiles that are 20-30 feet deep. The crappie have typically been on the tops of the brush or out along the sides of the brush. A second method is to vertical-jig a small spoon or a small jig with a very lightweight jighead. Let it fall slowly and typically a crappie will pick it up before it stops falling. A live minnow with a slip float is also a good method for brushpile fishing. The third method (the one Lou says he prefers at this time) is trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows size 7 and 9. “I slow-troll with my trolling motor at a speed of 1.2 to 1.4 mph. I try and stay in 18-40 feet of water. There are schools of crappie out in the deep water staging for the spawn and when your bait goes through the school it gets hammered. The best areas to fish are back in coves and creeks that have brushpile throughout the cove.
Bass fishing has also been very good. The bass are up in shallow water feeding on baitfish and small bluegills. “I have found them back in creeks and coves. A lot of the time they are all the way in the back in very shallow water. Try crank baits, soft plastic jerk baits and jigs worked slowly along the bottom. On windy days, spinnerbaits will work wonders. Topwater action has started, but isn’t consistent at this time due the cool water. When I have found this action, it has been in the backs of creeks that the wind has been blowing into. Typically, you will find a lot of baitfish in the same area.”
Striped bass and hybrid bass fishing is also picking up. “Tuesday morning, I found some topwater action for striped bass. The water was not boiling, but there were many fish individually busting the surface feeding on bait. I tried throwing a Zara Spook with no success and switched to a long 5-inch swimbait with a paddle tail and it was hammered. I did not let it sink very much, but only retrieved at a medium speed, letting it drop slowly as it came back to the boat. It is a blast when a big fish hammers the bait and just starts running in the opposite direction. All you can do is hang on until it decides it is tired of running. I have also found this species on main lake points early in the morning, as well as late in the day up in the sunken buckbrush, feeding on shad. They tend to push the bait up to the shoreline to make them easy pickings. Cast a swimbait or a fluke up into the brush with a steady retrieval to the boat and hang on.”
The lake level has been falling slowly for the past week or so, but now is stable due to power generation being reduced from two generators to just one. The current lake level is 557.72 feet msl, which is only 4 feet over normal pool levels. The surface lake temperature ranges from the upper 50s to low 60s depending on the time of day. The lake is clearing with just a slight stain. With the clearer water, make sure you use clear or vanishing fishing line and as light of a test line as you feel comfortable fishing with.
Lou adds, “If you are looking for frequent fishing information on Norfork Lake, go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page. Daily posts of my fishing trip, as well as our guests. You will find some very helpful information. Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”
(updated 4-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.9 feet to rest at 4 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 22.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has not had wadable water in a couple of weeks. The lakes in the White River system are dropping rapidly.
The 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 San Juan worm and egg pattern combination.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. There is increased pressure with warmer weather. Fish early or late to avoid the crowds (the creek is open to fishing from sunrise to sundown). 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 Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. 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 4-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are clearing. With the cool temperatures the bite is still slow. 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 1,121.94 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake remains at a level slightly above normal. Water temperature is near 60. Fishing is on the upswing. All fish are getting near or have spawned (walleye). Stripers have been turning on for the last few days. Brooders and shad are working from mid-lake up into river arms. White bass are really good at Twin Bridges. Walleye have spawned and they are still up the rivers. Crappie are good and getting better daily. Look shallow and that may change with colder weather next week. They may pull back a bit depending on how cold it gets. Bass are staging. Close to spawning areas. “All in all it’s that time of year for some great fishing. Look up my Facebook page for daily updates, FishOn Guides Goshen AR.”
(updated 4-15-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reports that the white bass bite slowed down with the rain and cold this week, but anglers are catching what they can on plastics. Stripers are good on minnows and live shad. Anglers are catching a few walleye, but it’s not great. Grubs work best now. No report on bream. Crappie are fair and are being found in 6-15 feet depth. Minnows and jigs will work. Black bass appear to be in pre-spawn mode. Anglers are finding them in shallow water and catching them using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs and jerkbaits. Catfishing is fair; best bet is to use cut bait or dead bait. Up the rivers the water is stained, while the main lake is “pretty clear,” they report. Surface water temperature is ranging 55-60 degrees.
(updated 4-15-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been great this past week. The trout have been biting on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons and spinners, with a little Firegel applied, have done great, too. Most of the trout have been caught between the U.S. Highway 62 bridge and Spider Creek. As for the walleye, the males are up here. If you go down to Parker Bottoms, you should be able to get into a few. Most of the females have spawned out and are retreating toward deeper waters. Flicker Shad, spoons and soft plastics have done well with the eyes. If you have a graph, you can hit the deeper water and start to find the white bass as well. Try looking for baitfish and the whites should be nearby. “Hope you can get out and catch some fish. Remember to follow my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Guide Service) for daily and weekly updates.”
War Eagle/White River
(updated 4-1-2021) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC says the water has cleared up and the fishing is happening. White bass fishing is great in the War Eagle Mills area down to the confluence of White River by Nob Hill and then up to the Twin Bridges of White River. Bass boats and motored flat-bottom boats can usually motor up to Mills Dam, so kayaks and canoes will be better with bright colors and close to the bank. All Beaver Lake fish species will be held up by Mills Dam back down to Beaver Lake – awesome fishing!
Smallmouth bass fishing is great from Huntsville War Eagle accesses downriver to the War Eagle AGFC access, to Smallmouth Rapids north of Hindsville to the War Eagle Mill area – 38 miles of options for kayak and canoe floating with 24 miles of great smallmouth bass fishing! Anglers will also want to know that on the Kings River, from Marble to Marshall Ford to Rock House, the river is running right with some good smallmouth bass fishing!
The north end of Beaver Lake is awesome around the no wake zone cove end of Big Clifty arm cove. It’s great for kayak and canoe fishing and there is great shoreline fishing on both sides of Hogscald Cove. Spotted bass, drum, catfish and largemouth bass are excellent now. The Clifty side can be accessed from Arkansas Highway 127 north on Madison County Road 8455; 8465 ends at lake access. On the Eureka Springs side, take Arkansas Highway 23 to Carroll County Road 108, left on County Road 148, past Lovers Leap Bluff and take the next left; the road ends at the lake access.
For bass boats, stay on Carroll County Road 108 to Big Clifty Arm paved boat access. Has wide waters to sight fish for schools in the main lake channel.
Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC on Facebook for water conditions, and don’t forget the valet shuttle service offered to make floating easy and give you more time for fishing and have your vehicle at landings!
(updated 4-15-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water has cleared. Surface temperature Wednesday afternoon hit 60 degrees. The level dropped to below normal over the past week. Bream are good; use redworms, crickets or jigs. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair; crankbaits, jerkbaits, bass minnows and jigs worked best. Catfish showed some life this week; anglers had fair catches using worms and minnows.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 4-15-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday afternoon that there is still a slight stain to the water but it remains at normal level. Bream are back, moving up shallow. Redworms and crickets were getting good results. Crappie are also moving up shallow and anglers are bringing in good catches using minnows or jigs. Black bass are good; try spinnerbaits, crankbaits or soft plastic worms. Catfishing is fair; use nightcrawlers.
(updated 4-15-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said there were reports of crappie biting this week amid high water, but not a lot else was reported. Some catfish catches were reported to be good, with blood bait, stink bait and chicken liver working best. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and worms. The crappie are up around the brushpiles, stumps and close to rocky points. Nothing heard on black bass or bream. Surface water temperature Monday was 64 degrees. The lake remains murky.
(updated 4-15-2021) Lake Poinsett is in the process of refilling, and at last report was more than halfway refilled. Stocking of forage fish has begun, with hopes that the forage fish will reproduce in good numbers over the next several months. Predator stocking is planned for next year.
The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed on Dec. 1, following the completion of a renovation, 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.
(updated 4-15-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that the lake remains clear, but the water took a jump this week and is high by about 4-6 inches. Surface water temperature is 63 degrees. Crappie appear to be moving closer to the shoreline. They are in about 15 feet depth of water. Fishing has been good; use minnows or jigs. The black bass bite is good, just in time for a tournament planned for Crown Lake on Saturday (April 17). No reports on catfish, and higher water may have turned off the bream.
(updated 4-15-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 440 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity has been clear. Rain over the last few weeks has mostly been south of the area. The river is still up about a foot and clarity has been really good this week.
With trout, Woollies and nymphs have been hard to beat. Olive, brown and white Woollies, and big nymphs with a little extra weight to get down, will work. And, of course, Y2Ks on the tough days.
For spin-fishers, trout cranks and Flicker Shad are working well on the bass, and hot pink, red and white Trout Magnets are working well for the trout. Got to get close to the bottom for the bite.
Mark says, “Be safe wading; the flow is still strong and a wading staff can be a very good idea. Jim Hinkle State Fish Hatchery has been stocking weekly with some really nice-sized rainbows, making for plenty of fish to catch. New signs at public access areas with rules and regulations are a welcome sight on the river, and will help to keep everyone informed.”
For latest updates on river conditions visit or blog on Mark’s website at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 4-15-2021) 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 10.42 feet, nearly 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage had dropped to 19.20, almost 7 feet below flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is still very high at 30.91 feet, almost 5 feet above flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 4-15-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 4-15-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new reports.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 4-15-2021) Sarah Reap, assistant superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said water temperatures for Cane Creek Lake have remained in the lower 60s for the past week. Crappie continues to be caught on minnows and jigs. Bass are still being found around structures, and catfish are being caught on trotlines and limblines with large minnows and attractant baits. Due to the recent rainfall, angler activity has been down.
(updated 4-15-2021) 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 259.43 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake had improved clarity, and lake elevation was about 4 inches above normal conservation pool and falling; oxbows’ water clarity was improved, while Little River clarity improved with current reduction this week. Gate discharge at the dam was around 1,087 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater below the dam and gates, around 228 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 remain stable this week, ranging 60-69 degrees, depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken or floating timber. Lots of Little River buoy markers have been replaced along the main lake channel. Use extreme caution in navigation on the main lake.
As for fishing specifics:
* Largemouth bass: Bass have been in varying degrees of annual spawning mode for the past 4-6 weeks on Millwood. Most of the oxbows up and along Little River are seeing post-spawn largemouths and pre-spawn crappie. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse, Millwood Mayhem Bream and Spot Remover continue catching decent bass from 2-5 pounds each over the past 2 weeks, and Chatterbaits continue to pick up a few healthy 3- to 4-pound largemouths this week. “Most bass we are finding continue randomly roaming shallow on full sun and bright skies in the 3-6 foot depths of flats adjacent to deeper drops into 7-10 feet depth ranges,” Siefert says. “The best period this week is during the late morning. Anywhere a creek channel runs near spawning flats with vertical structure nearby, where stumps and creek mouths drop, have held some decent-sized bass over the past few weeks. NUMEROUS largemouth bass over 10-11 pounds each have been weighed in over the past several weeks. A big spawning, 10.25-pounder was caught and released last week at Millwood State Park.”
Bass Assassin Shads continue to draw good reactions in the grass and lily pads; salt and pepper Silver Phantom, Grey Ghost or Houdini continue to be the go-to color choices. Best colors of Bugs and Beavers have been Black Neon, Grasshopper, Blackberry and Pearl Bream. Custom-poured Senkos and Zoom Trick Worms are still working on stumps and cypress trees in 3-8 feet depths. Heavy thumper tail swimbaits and Beavers on a Jackhammer Chatterbait in Spot Remover or Blue Glimmer are working, and Trick Worms in black/blue, Blue Ice and Purple Smoke are catching bass. Bulky Lizards in Blackberry, Blue Bayou, black/blue tail and Watermelon Candy continue taking a few good bass this week on flooded cypress trees, stumps and along vegetation lines in ditches, creeks, and flats from 3-8 feet deep.
* White bass: They continue their annual spawning run upriver between Cemetery Slough and U.S. Highway 71 at Wilton Landing along Little River this week. Numerous anglers are connecting with whites in the 3-plus-pound class along the river on Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Chuck’n Spins, Rooster Tails, spoons and crankbaits. The white bass began their annual spawning run up Little River over the past couple weeks for the spawn.
* Crappie: Much improved again this week, biting minnows and jigs in Bee Lake on the open lake section, in pockets along South Hickory Creek, and in oxbows of Mud Lake and McGuire oxbow up Little River. Crappie are holding in the 6-8 feet depth this week and are staging to move shallow over the next week or so.
* Catfish: Cats continue to bite consistently along Little River on yo-yos and trotlines. Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows along Little River are yielding up some nice channel cats and flatheads on yo-yos and limblines using King’s Punch Bait, chicken livers, gizzards and homemade blood bait.
(updated 4-15-2019) AGFC biologists and staff electrofished the lake in March and April to study the largemouth bass population. Catch rates were slightly above the 10-year average. Nearly one out of every three fish was over 16 inches long, and 5 percent of the bass collected were longer than 20 inches. Many large fish were collected within a few feet of the shoreline in the campground, an area with plenty of room for both shoreline and boat anglers.
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 540.04 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.81 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Springtime is here. Weather changes daily. Water level is 405.76 feet msl. Water temperature is mid-60s depending on where you fish.
“Crappie fishing has been pretty good all around. Many are being caught in shallows throwing jigs outside the brush line. Pink heads or chartreuse are my favorite ⅛-ounce or 1/16-ounce colors from Tennessee Shad, Monkey Milk are among the favorites. Minnows and pole fishing are always a staple. The bite is moving east toward mid-lake as the water temperature warms up. The fish I am catching are off the brushpiles still. It seems to me that the brushpiles I am getting the most action out of are the thick cover brushpiles vs. piles that are bare and laydowns. What we do is cast jigs over the piles and let them fall to the appropriate level and slowly retrieve after we catch what we can throwing jigs. We then move in with minnows and fish. The fish are suspended over the tops of the piles anywhere from 20 feet water level to 30 feet. Usually the fish are around 10-12 feet.”
(updated 4-15-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said that as he also found at Lake Ouachita (see below), crappie fishing is going great at this time. Males are bedding and females are staging, meaning he and his guests have caught crappie on both minnows and jigs as shallow as 3 feet and as deep as 12 feet.
(update 4-15-2021) Local crappie angler Charles Abernathy says, “I got a chance to get on the water for a couple of hours before dark (Wednesday). The water temperature up around Lennox Marcus area was at 64 degrees. It was a dark, dreary evening but the fish were biting fair enough. I was looking at timber in the middle of spawning pockets, scanning open water in the mouths of those pockets and also looked at some shallow brush (8 feet or less) and all seemed to be able to produce some fish.
“Up until this point, I haven’t been seeing any consistent size in the brush until yesterday. The water was fairly clean after the rain there and Monkey Milk with an orange head seemed to be what they wanted that evening. I did try some other colors but they seemed to have their minds made up pretty good.
“At Lennox some of the females still had eggs, but a lot didn’t. If you like fishing the shoreline you still have some time (but this magical moment will be gone as quickly as it arrived). Also, there’s a mob of hybrids in the Lennox area going on a rampage. They weren’t popping, but they are easily spotted cruising with your side scan and they were as rambunctious as ever.
“I get lots of emails and I enjoy reading/responding to every one of them. Thank you so much for reading these and thanks to everyone for letting me know. As always, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. I have a YouTube channel where I share some fishing content and will be posting this brief trip from Wednesday within a day or two. Watch for it. Good luck out there and be safe and be nice. Hearing of a lot of fish being caught right now. Get out there and enjoy it because we will all have our swimsuits on before you know it.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.34 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.44 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2019) AGFC biologists and staff electrofished the lake in March and April to study the largemouth bass population. Catch rates were similar to last year’s sample and over 50 percent of the fish collected were over 15 inches long. Lake Erling is the top-ranked bass fishery in Arkansas over the past five years (2016-2020), according to the results from angler-submitted Arkansas Tournament Information Program data. This year, the AGFC’s electrofishing results looked so good, two of the four biologist that conducted the samples went fishing on Erling the following weekend, according to AGFC district supervisor Andy Yung.
(updated 4-15-2019) AGFC biologists and staff electrofished the lake in March and April to study the largemouth bass population. The largemouth bass population appears healthy and is right on track with what biologists expect to see following a lake renovation. A large majority of the bass sampled were from the initial stocking and about 10-14 inches long. There were also a few large fish greater than 14 inches sampled. Additionally, biologists also saw high numbers of quality-sized bream and crappie. Lake June is in the initial stage of the “new lake boom” that is seen following lake renovations.
Upper White Oak Lake
(updated 4-15-2021) AGFC Fisheries staff and biologists electrofished the lake for largemouth bass in recent weeks. Catch rates in Upper White Oak were lower than usual, but this was expected as the lake was drawn down about 5 feet until February. It often takes a while for fish to return to their normal spots following a signficant drawdown. The bass collected in the upper lake were in excellent condition and appear to have been feeding well during the drawdown.
Lower White Oak Lake
(updated 4-15-2021) AGFC Fisheries staff and biologists electrofished the lake for largemouth bass during March and April. Catch rates were roughly 1.5 times higher than reported in last year’s sample of Lower White Oak. It appears there is a strong 2020 year class on the lower lake, providing lots of fish for future angling opportunities. Staff also saw plenty of large bass, including a 9-pounder and several 6-7 pounders. Plenty of angling opportunities exist on the White Oak lakes now, both for number-oriented and trophy anglers, the staff reports.
Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake
(updated 4-15-2021) AGFC Fisheries staff and biologists electrofished the lake for largemouth bass during March and April. the bass fishery appears to be doing well, according to biologists. Nearly half the fish collected were between 13 and 17 inches in length. It appears that good survival of the 2020 spawn should provide excellent angling opportunities in the future as they continue to grow. Also, many of the bass were collected near patches of vegetation among the fishing jetties, which provide excellent shoreline fishing access.
(updated 4-15-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and at a normal level. Crappie are fair using minnows or Bobby Garland jigs. Black bass are fair; try green pumpkin worms for best chances. No reports on bream. Catfish are fair on yo-yos.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 4-15-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 53 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has issued a 10 hour flow pattern this past week beginning at noon and ending at 10 pm. The weekly generation schedule is posted on the Entergy website each Wednesday evening and anyone planning on using the Carpenter Dam tailrace is advised to check-out the report. Both lakes Hamilton and Catherine are now refilled to normal summertime pools and will remain at these levels until mid-November. Thousands of rainbow trout are present and feeding on injured threadfin shad drawn through the dam from Lake Hamilton. Because of the huge influx of prey items, these fish are harder to catch and patience must be used for success. Trout have proven to be extremely difficult to catch in the last month below Carpenter dam, and big drops in temperature have shut down the bite. Local guides continue to experience low catch rates of rainbows. Constant cold fronts and storms are complicating matters. This slow bite will dramatically change with temperatures rising during the day. Trout from downstream will migrate toward the dam in search of cooler water. Competition for food will force a more consistent feeding pattern. Fly-fishermen can still wade to areas that hold numbers of trout and should use a fly that imitates something other than a shad. Worm imitations, such as the San Juan worm in red or hot pink, can produce good catches of rainbow trout in current or slack water conditions. Woolly Buggers in green or black are a time-honored fly that will produce results casted with a strike indicator. Egg pattern flies in orange or white have drawn strikes from finicky trout that are stuffed from threadfin shad feeding. Bank anglers have a chance at catching limits of fish by using PowerBaits and redworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Much larger trout have been released in March and April below area dams with spring officially underway.
The walleye spawn is in full swing and has not been adversely affected by water levels or clarity. Anglers can catch these fish by trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current effectively now because lake levels are back to normal. Tipping jigheads with live minnows over and around sandbars and rock structure is another proven technique to catch spawning walleye. White bass have migrated into the tailrace and are being caught on small jigs and minnows fished under a bobber. Anglers need to concentrate their efforts below the bridge in the main channel. The crappie spawn has gotten off to a slow start this season, but small catches have been reported this past week in the fast-flowing waters below Carpenter Dam. The white bass and crappie are crowded close together in the tailrace with both species caught over sandbars and rock structure. A small minnow fished under a bobber has been the most effective method used in the early morning before the turbines come on. Larger females have migrated into the area, while the males have been present to prepare the spawning beds. Freshwater drum as large as 30 pounds have been seen in the tailrace in April as these fish begin their spawning cycle. Live minnows and nightcrawlers fished just off the bottom is a favorite technique used for catching these fish. It is very important to note for anglers to keep a close eye on rods left unattended as these fish can easily jerk equipment into the lake.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and wear a mask and observe social distancing when encountering others.
(updated 4-8-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature in the main river is 58 degrees, with backwater areas in the 70s. Some of the creeks are warmer than the others; they are ranging 56-59 degrees. Some creeks are clean and some are still pretty dirty – the dirtier creeks seem to be the warmer of the creeks. Bass have been on fire with an excellent topwater bite early and late and just before and during the storm fronts. There’s still a good spinnerbait and crankbait bite in some of the creeks, with a Senko bite on the spawning flats and a great jig bite in river pockets. Lizards, as well as Space Monkeys, have been working great along stumps.
Crappie have been great and suspended in some places, scattered in other areas. Many crappie this week have been caught on bass lures. Fishing minnows and jigs along the grassy banks and the larger stumps will put crappie in the boat; still, bright colors have been working the best. Try chartreuse, chartreuse/black, Electric Chicken or Cajun Cricket. Some are still being caught deep but a lot have been shallow, as shallow as a foot.
White bass and stripers are in the larger creeks; use swimbaits, topwater poppers, spoons, and inline spinners. Bream have been good on worms and crickets around treetops and around dead grass on the rock dikes. Catfish have been fair and improving just inside the pockets along the current line. Cut shad, skipjack and stink bait have been working best.
(updated 4-1-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that the water is a little high with muddy to stained clarity. Bass are good on white spinnerbaits and white/chartreuse spinners, as well as Jackhammer Chatterbait and black/blue and green pumpkin Senkos in shallow and grassy areas.
(updated 4-15-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels at full pool with water temperatures up to 67 degrees in the shallower flats and pockets of the lake. THE BASS SPAWN IS ON! Bass have moved up hot and heavy into shallow areas and creek channels doing their thing. Floating worms, jigs and fluke-style imitations that can be fished deliberately and slowly are the way to go. Many anglers enjoy sight-fishing for these fish on beds, as they should! Please be respectful and put big Mama back so we can have more good bass fishing for years to come.
Bream and crappie are biting well on deeper docks and shallow, submerged brush all over the lake. Live minnows or shad-colored jigs and crickets or worms are the ticket. Catfish have been spotted very shallow on flats but anglers should target them on the drop-offs to the main channels adjacent to the flats, especially at night. Y’all be careful out there and respectful of each other, and the fish, also. The lake traffic is already heavy and will only get worse. Try to give each other space and take safety precautions. Good Luck! Go Greeson!
(updated 4-8-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said the crappie are working the spawn just like the black bass. For the conservation-minded, the males are on beds in the shallower water. Leave them to their business and harvest some of the females on the staging brushpiles. White bass are schooled up in the back of the larger creek arms.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 345.83 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake remains “pretty clear” this week. Surface water temperature has settled in at 65 degrees, and the water level is down to normal. Bream are good but they have not bedded quite yet, reports says. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie appear about a week out from spawning and are on the shoreline in the brush. Jigs in red/chartreuse are favored now, along with minnows. Black bass are good. Try the ol’ War Eagle white spinnerbait, some other spinnerbait you like, or a Chatterbait. Catfish have been good on skipjack and shad. Last week, a 72-pound flathead catfish was reported caught.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 576.32 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-15-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said crappie fishing is great right now. The males are bedding and females are staging. “That means we have caught crappie on both minnows and jigs as shallow as 3 feet and as deep as 12 feet. Stay safe everyone and be kind not to wake other anglers.”
(updated 4-15-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still excellent. The jighead/Texas-rigged Brush Hog bite and floating worm bite are working. Try pockets 2-10 feet deep and work them slowly. Walleye are very good and being caught on Shad Raps and jerkbaits over points on the river channels. Stripers are excellent. These fish are being caught on topwater C-10 redfins and jerkbaits. Bream are good and can be caught on worms and crickets. Crappie are very good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 12-20 feet of water. Catfish are good and are being caught on limblines and trotlines with live or cut bait. Water temperature is ranging 60-64 degrees and the clarity is clearing. Lake level is 576.36. 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 387.65 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge had dropped slightly from last week to 27.82 feet, a little less than 2 foot above flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 4-15-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) says crappie are still scattered. Recent days have found some females spawned and still some holding out suspended waiting to spawn. The spawn can be a tough time to catch fish, especially if you are targeting females. Males will be found in the shallows around bedding areas. There are still females holding in 20 feet of water. With the cool snap coming this week, this could back these fish off the beds for a few days.
Male black bass are showing up in the shallows with several reports of bass being caught by crappie fishermen searching for spawning crappie.
Clients have been catching channel catfish in 3-5 feet of water on minnows. Catfish are in a pre-spawn mode and are feeding heavily as they get ready to spawn with the water temperature approaching 65 degrees. A variety of baits will catch catfish, such as nightcrawlers, minnows, shad, etc. No reports on bream.
(updated 4-15-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) reports that with the White River still above flood stage in the area, Cook’s Lake is still closed and inaccessible due to high water.
Wil was able to get out elsewhere earlier this week, fishing Pool 5 of the Arkansas River in central Arkansas. “I was able to sneak away on Monday and had a great trip. I put in below the David D. Terry Lock and Dam in Scott. The flow was greatly reduced and bass could be found in less than 3 feet of water out of the current. All fish were still pre-spawn and looking for a protected area to make their beds. My most productive pattern was a River Craw finesse jig fished parallel to rip-rap, about 5 feet from the shore. I also caught several fish on small shad colored crankbaits as well as spinnerbaits.”
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 4-15-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers report catching a few largemouth bass with artificial baits and minnows at Bear Creek Lake. Anglers suggest fishing at depts of 4-6 feet for the best fishing experience. Some of these bass were reported to still be full of eggs. As the temperature of the water changes, they are expecting certain species of fish to spawn, in return helping anglers have better success. Meanwhile, very little activity has been reported at Storm Creek Lake. A few blue catfish have ben caught with artificial baits. Anglers report having success fishing in depths of 6-8 feet.
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