Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
May 6, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 6, 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 10 a.m. the day of publication (May 6).
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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
Doug Isanhart of Conway enjoyed the brown trout fishing on the misty White River below Bull Shoals Dam on Monday of this week. With guide Doug Hagee, the two Dougs caught eight browns between 18 and 22 inches, as well as two rainbows over 17 inches.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 5-6-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake’s clarity is the normal Lake Conway stain. Water level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are still on their beds. The bite is good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are still good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfish are good on live bait, bream and trotline minnows.
(updated 4-29-2021) 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 64 degrees and the crappie spawn in progress; it was delayed. Bass were hitting everything in the box in the shallows, plasting worms and chatterbaits. Bream are much better on crickets and worms. Crappie are picking up a LOT better, use plastics or jigs, and minnows. Reports from anglers said the best time is dawn and dusk.” Visit Dennis’ Facebook page (Arkansas Fishing Adventures) for more information – “I can’t add info if you guys don’t tell me, don’t be shy, brag instead. Also send me or Jim Harris a photo of your catch and Jim just might post it here with the other photos.”
Little Red River
(updated 5-6-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with 12 hour, two-unit generation from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Corps of Engineers says this schedule will continue until the White River is able to take more water. At this time the generation on the Little Red could increase. It is always best to check the schedule before your next trip.
The caddis are continuing to hatch, although it seems less than a few days ago. Fish are taking beadhead emergers and midge pupa. The bite is good by staying ahead of the new generation.
Please remember that the river changes greatly when the generation gets to the section of river you are fishing, and take care to avoid docks and other obstructions when drifting the high water. Also, plan your canoe and kayak trips so that you are taking out ahead of the new water.
(updated 5-6-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is clear and at a normal level in the morning; afternoon generation is pushing the water higher. Trout are really good. Before generation starts, use Rooster Tails, Trout Magnets, marabou jigs and Buoyant Spoons. As the water rises from generation, start throwing jerkbaits and Shad Raps. Brown trout will bite in good numbers on streams for the fly-fishermen.
(updated 5-6-2021) 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 468.13 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl).
(updated 5-6-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Greers Ferry Lake got a 6.07 foot rise so far from the rain, with more to come. Greers Ferry Lake is at 468.11 feet msl above the normal 462.04 feet. Water temperature is about three weeks behind where it normally is, ranging 64-72 degrees. A lot of black bass are spawning. “A bunch just pulled up (Wednesday). The banks are good as you can get to them, and the shad spawn is trying to happen as well. There are bass and shad at 15-30 feet, and more out beyond that. Try dragging something for them. For the shallow bite, Texas-rigged stuff and floating stuff are working as well. And schoolers are getting started, also.
“Walleye are super scattered, as well as a lot of other species. Try dragging crawlers in 15-30 feet on the side of points. Crappie are everywhere, on the bank out to 30 feet. A lot of baits are working. Catfish are good one day and off the next for all three species. Bream are coming on strong now all over lakes and rivers; most are in or around the brush eating bass eggs. Hybrid and white bass are not wanting to fire, they are hanging around the shad spawn and other historical areas. More are showing up everyday. Try spoons, inline spinners and small swimbaits.”
(updated 5-6-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is 5 feet high. The upper end of the lake is dirty, while the lower end is clear. Mid-lake is stained with some color. Bass are excellent on topwater (the lower end on poppers, Spooks, or wake baits; the upper end on buzzbait), as well as Texas-rigged green pumpkin or watermelon-color worms around bushes. In deeper water (10-15 feet) use Carolina rigs and Baby Brush Hogs, worms, or lizards on the back (any watermelon or green pumpkin colors). Also use swimbaits and spinners on windy points.
Walleye are good by drop-shotting nightcrawlers on points, or fishing a swimbait in chartreuse color in 15 feet depth.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-6-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake remains muddy and is low as of Wednesday afternoon. Bream continue to bite well. They’re being found shallow on the shoreline. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are biting fair; they appear to be spawning. The bite is in deeper water. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are still hanging around the shoreline, and the bite is fair. Plastic worms are working best. Catfishing is good. Stink bait is working along with trotlines and yo-yos baited with goldfish or minnows.
(updated 4-29-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 5-6-2021) New owner Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the lake has turned murky since his last report, and on Wednesday afternoon the level had jumped up as well to high. Bream are fair using redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. He heard no reports on black bass, and only could deduce that catfish were biting well, though he heard no bait suggestions.
(updated 5-6-2021) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is up by 1.5 feet. Clarity is murky and surface temperature is around 70 degrees. Bass are doing well on crankbaits and plastic worms. Bream are starting to pick up. Crappie are doing fair but should be spawning out. Catfish are picking up on trotlines and jugs using perch and big shinners. “I caught a couple of flatheads (on Monday), 18.2 pound and 13.14 pounds,” Johnny said. “Come see me at Overcup Bait Shop off Arkansas Highway 9 for all your fishing needs.”
(update 5-6-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said the lake clarity is a little cloudy at midweek and the water level is normal. Bream are fair, he said. They are starting to hit in the sunlight especially, David added. Try redworms and crickets, and work those around the brushpiles. Crappie are staying deep but the bite is good. Target brushpiles with minnows or jigs. Anglers will find black bass moving in the afternoons. They’re biting bass minnows best. Catfishing is good on trotlines set up for deep water on the bottom.
(updated 5-6-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said the lake surface water temperature is in the mid-60s. The largemouth bass bite is good. Some can be found in the grass on the shoreline and around the grass in 8-12 feet depth biting a variety of lures. Try using crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Kentucky (spotted) bass are fair with some reports of them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks. Jigs are working best. Phillip Cole and Jason Bargiel teamed to catch five bass totaling 13.07 pounds to win the Tuesday Night Tournament. In last Saturday’s First Bit’s Big Bass Tournament, Kell Ward and Billy Wright caught five bass worth 14.36 pounds, David Stott and Josh Vaughn hauled in 13.95 pounds, and Brad Sherrill and Scotty Smith landed the Big Bass of 5.73 pounds. So, based on that, there are some healthy black bass in Maumelle.
White bass are fair, and the white bass run out of the west end of the lake in the tributaries is done. In the lake, there are reports of white bass mixed in with crappie and still biting swimbaits, Rat-L-Traps and minnows. Crappie fishing is GREAT. Reports this week of the crappie moving out of the shallow depth and being found in 12-16 feet of water; some were in 15-19 feet earlier in the week. Use jigs and minnows. Bream are ranging fair to good. Some anglers say they can be found in 12-16 feet depth around the beds, though they are not quite on them yet. Use crickets or worms. Catfishing is slow, with no reports coming in this week. Maybe you’ll have some luck, though, with chicken liver, worms or crayfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 144,417 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 139,410 cfs.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 4-29-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says clarity is clear. Water level and current are normal. Crappie are good around the banks on minnows or jigs. Black bass are being caught around the banks on spinnerbaits in good numbers. Catfishing is good on yo-yos and minnows. No reports on bream.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 159,810 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 166,165 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 175,745 cfs.
(updated 5-6-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said Wednesday afternoon that with the river at a current above 150,000 cfs, plus a small craft advisory, there are only a few places to put in and fish, like backwater spots such as Burns Park or Willow Beach. Still, they advise anglers to be careful on the water.
Bass are good on a black/blue creature bait, Texas-rigged, and fished around grass or wood, or fishing there with a black buzzbait. Also try a spinnerbait in white/chartreuse colors in the backwaters where current isn’t as swift.
(updated 4-29-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are excellent on the river below both dams and in the backwaters in 4-6 feet depth on black/chartreuse and white/chartreuse Slab Buster Jigs. Bream are fair; they have not moved up yet. White bass are being caught below either dam on light or chartreuse-colored Sassy Shads. Catfish are good below the dams and hydroelectric plant beside Murray Lock and Dam; use skipjack.
(updated 4-29-2021) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) said warm weather has turned things around. “We have customers catching crappie very shallow and most fish still have eggs. Bass are doing really well. Try creature baits. Bream are excellent on crickets. Catfish are being caught on trotlines using rice slicks.”
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-6-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bream are biting well now; use cricket and redworms. Catfish are good on lines baited with goldfish or skipjack.
(update 5-6-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reports that the lake still appears a little dingy. Water level is normal. Bream fishing really got hot the past week; Donna reports excellent results on redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on jigs. Catfish also picked up like bream with excellent fishing on yo-yos, and using baits such as minnows, hot dogs and jigs. “A little bit of everything” was working, Donna said.
(updated 5-6-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the White River tailwater of Bull Shoals Lake is currently running clear after two, not consecutive, days of murky water from different storm systems that passed through the Arkansas Ozarks. Some local areas received nearly 4 inches of rain, raising Bull Shoals Lake elevation to 672.25 feet msl, up from around 660 msl a week ago. Releases are remaining fairly low and mostly consistent so as not to increase water levels further downstream. Expect increases in releases from the dam before too many weeks go by. The rainbow trout catch has been less reliable than usual, but improving. “Several days this week we saw daily catches of 25 or 35 fish per fisher with a guide; some days much less. The best of all baits these past couple of weeks has been the Mepps Aglia spinner with a rainbow trout blade and translucent orange body. Carry live worms to work the late afternoon rise.
“If the rainbow bite has been tricky, the brown bite has been phenomenal! We’re still experiencing days when we hook into more browns than rainbows, sometimes even using the shrimp/egg pattern recipe. Catch yourself a sculpin and tie it to your line and pull in a bright yellow-bellied brown, kiss it and release it to grow another few inches and add several more pounds for the next catch. Our springtime weather has remained pretty cool — bring a warm jacket for the mornings and sunscreen for the afternoons. Stop in and say ‘Hey’.”
(updated 5-6-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said rainbows are picking up, but at the same the brown trout are slowing down. The river is clear and the level has been normal. The generation is using 3 or fewer generators at the dam, they report. Overall trout bite is good.
(updated 5-6-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Tuesday that during the past week that they had rain events that combined for about 5 inches in Cotter, warmer temperatures and, at times, heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 4.5 feet to land at 9.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 660.6 feet msl. This is 23.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 4 feet to rest at 3.1 feet above seasonal power pool and 11.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 6.3 feet to rest at 7.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 0.9 foot below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 5.7 feet to rest at 8.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.3 feet msl and 16.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Anglers on the Norfork tailwater have had wadable water. The lakes in the White River system are all much higher due to recent rains, with more coming.
On the lower flows the fishing has been hot! The top spot has been Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (size 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 pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper).
John also said, “My wife, Lori, and I have been guiding quite a bit lately but have not had an opportunity to fish on our own. My goal is for us to fish together at least once a week. Unfortunately our schedules do not always permit this.
“On Monday, I checked the water conditions and noted that the White had been off for 24 and was still off. My first thought was how I had missed the lower water on the previous day. I chided myself for missing that and then came to the conclusion that Lori and I had a great opportunity to get some fishing in. I checked the weather only to learn that it was to be sunny with a bit of wind and a high of 80 degrees. In other words, there were near perfect conditions.
“At our house, Monday is laundry day and Lori takes this seriously. She takes great pains to sort and wash our clothing. She makes sure to use cold water and gentle detergents to make our clothes clean with little impact on them. When I approached Lori about fishing, she was hesitant. I pointed out that she could do the laundry the next day. She considered this and quickly agreed. She wanted to go fishing as much as I did.
“As is our usual procedure, I load the boat on the trailer, drive to the access, rig two fly rods and launch the boat. I begin fishing to figure out what is happening. I rigged both rods with a size 14 pheasant tail nymph with a size 18 ruby midge dropper. Lori follows me a few minutes later after caring for our two Labrador retrievers. Lori parks and walks to the ramp and then calls me on her cell phone.
“I was on my second drift and had to release a trout before I could motor down to the ramp to pick Lori up. On my first drift I had landed five trout and on my second drift I had caught two when I got Lori’s call. I was on fire!
“I motored up to the top of the shoal and Lori had hooked a nice trout before I shut the motor off to begin the drift. She gently released that one and we were soon into a double. We had four doubles that day and a triple. The triple was when I caught and released two trout, while Lori was fighting a stout 20-inch female rainbow. It was the big fish of the day. When we fish together, I generally carry two boat nets so we can land our own trout. I had forgotten to load Lori’s net and we shared one. During the trip it never got a chance to dry out.
“We finished the day with 40 trout and quit because we just didn’t need to catch any more! It was the best laundry day ever!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 672.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 919.50 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-6-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reports that water temperature is in the mid-60s and the level is high by 13 feet. Fish are still in all stages of the spawn. In the mid-lake area, target points and swings close to spawning pockets. Hit the south-facing pockets and gravel flats. The shad are schooling back up so look for shad balls in the creeks. There’s shad spawn happening. Fishing around the shad, try a fluke shallow or swimbait 2.8 Damiki rig. A little topwater activity has started; try a popper or smaller walk-the-dog profile. Powerfish windy, cloudy days with a bright spinnerbait and Chatterbait in dirty shallow water. If it’s clear use green pumpkin shaky heads and ol’ Ned rig Carolina tubes. Green pumpkin or watermelon red colors are good. Use Senkos in the spawning pocket bushes. The backs of creeks have a little color change. You can always catch them on a jig in channel swings. Also try a green pumpkin Beaver flipping in shallow water and lay downs and bushes in the right area. Fish the conditions.
Visit Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing the lake.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 564.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 5-6-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 5-6-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 5.7 feet to rest at 8.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.3 feet msl and 16.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Anglers on the Norfork tailwater have had wadable water. The lakes in the White River system are all much higher due to recent rains, with more coming.
The Norfork is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during flooding over the past couple of years. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. John’s current favorite combination is a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper.
|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 remain 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 River and Norfork tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 5-6-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are rising (it continues raining as this is written). With the warm temperatures the bite is better. 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 1,129.62 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).
(updated 5-6-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Well, folks, here we go again. Unfortunately the rains did show up and brought the lake right up to flood stage. Any more big rains may turn into a bad thing for people downstream of Beaver Lake Dam. I hope not, as we have been dealing with this for the last three years.
“I can tell you that there was major debris all over Beaver. That being said, please be careful running on the lake. The water was chocolate milk up in river arms and stained almost to Big Clifty. The lake rose from 1,122 feet msl to 1129.35 in four days. That’s a lot of water!
“It has really put the bite on hold. A few stripers have been caught, and key is finding areas without a lot of floaters and cleaner water. All other fish have scattered and are waiting for things to settle down. If you are a bow fisherman, now is your time. Lots of rough fish up shallow on flats. Not much else to report as last week was just a blow out. Weather people say we may have big rains next week and I, for one, hope they are wrong. Stay safe on the lake; trees are all over floating throughout.” Remember to check out Jon’s Facebook page for the latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 5-6-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reports that Beaver Lake is muddy and the surface water temperature is ranging from the low to mid-60s. The lake has jumped up this week to high. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are good around brushpiles and stumps; use minnows and jigs. Black bass are good; try plastic worms or jigs. Catfish are good using nightcrawlers or prepared bait.
(updated 5-6-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) had no report. Follow Austin’s fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Guide Service) for daily and weekly updates.”
War Eagle/White River
(updated 4-22-2021) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC says the water fishing is about the same as it’s been over the past few weeks. The white bass are biting back toward the White River and War Eagle arms of Beaver lake. The smallmouth bass fishing is excellent, and females may still have eggs, so it would be wise to catch and then release them. The upcoming week of weather is expected to be nice for fishing in all Northwest Arkansas waterways and floating should be excellent.
(updated 5-6-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water remained muddy through a wet week and the water level is high. Surface temperature on Wednesday midafternoon was 67 degrees. Crappie are excellent; use minnows and jigs. Bream remain good on redworms or crickets. Black bass were good this week on plastic worms and topwater baits. Catfish finally stepped out of their hiding places, and anglers enjoyed a good bite using minnows and worms.
(updated 5-6-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday afternoon that the water is stained. Lots of rain lately pushed all the lakes up to high. With that high water, there was no bream activity noted. Crappie fishing was OK; anglers reported a fair bite around the shoreline using minnows and jigs. No reports came in on black bass. Catfish were still good, with the best activity found below the dam using live bream.
(updated 5-6-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing continues to go well at Lake Charles, including the first reported catch of a white bass this season. Shelly says the surface temperature earlier this week was 69 degrees, while the water clarity remains murky and the level is very high.
Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs. Try around the brushpiles, stumps or rocky points. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs and also are around the familiar brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Catfishing is good using worms, blood bait, stink bait and Catfish Pro Blood. That nice white bass that was seen was caught last Saturday she said. No report on black bass. This Saturday starts the best moon phase for fishing, through May 14, she says. May 23-29 are also expected to be good based on moon phase.
(updated 5-6-2021) Lake Poinsett is in the process of refilling. 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. Fathead minnows, golden shiners, threadfin shad and bluegill have been added to the lake to build up a huge food supply for bass, catfish and other sportfish that will be added next year to give the lake a jump start after its recent renovation.
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 (Poinsett is rainfall dependent). 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 5-6-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that water clarity is dingy and the lake is high by about 1 foot. Surface water temperature Wednesday afternoon was ranging 69-70 degrees. The crappie bite is good. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass are also biting well, with jerkbaits, topwater baits and worms getting the most action. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 5-6-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels Thursday morning are at 514 cfs (350 is average). Water clarity has been poor. Plenty of rain lately has had the river up and brown over the last week. “On Monday the river was starting to clear and had a fair day of guiding. That Monday night brought rains and the river has had poor clarity all week. The Spring River will clear up quickly, just need the rains to stop. Hopefully the river will have cleared up by the weekend. More rain in the forecast over the weekend may agitate the river. Check out springriverfliesandguides.com for daily updates on river conditions. Tight lines and good luck!”
(updated 5-6-2021) 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 9.94 feet, about 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was up significantly, about 8 feet from last week, to 24.65 feet, almost to flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta took a jump as well, and Thursday was at 32.19 feet, more than 6 feet above flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 5-6-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water remains muddy and at a high level. No reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 4-29-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperature is in the mid- to upper 60s. Water clarity is up to about 1.5 feet in protected backwaters. Black bass are biting well on shad-colored crankbaits and blade baits around wind-blown rock and woody cover. Dark-colored soft plastics and jigs are producing in the same areas in calmer weather. Fish are positioned on the first to second sand drops within Lake Langhofer relating to brush, points and steeper drops. Start watching for shad spawn along the rocks early in the morning and late in the evening; use shad-colored topwaters, blade baits and crankbaits right against the bank.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-6-2021) Cane Creek State Park offices report that Cane Creek Lake water temperatures are running in the mid-60s. Water clarity is about 1 feet. Crappie are starting to fall into their early summer pattern and can be found around brush and structure with minnows and crappie jigs. Bass are falling into an early summer pattern and can be found fishing around structure and along the bank. Spinnerbaits and soft plastics are producing results. Some reports have come in that topwater action is on the rise. Catfish are being caught on trotlines and limblines using large minnows and various attractant baits such as chicken liver. Catfishing is on the rise as we are only a few weeks away from the pre-spawn and peak catfishing time.
(updated 4-22-2021) Kris Nault, AGFC district fisheries supervisor in Monticello, says he spoke with the Monticello mayor, who said that the contractor for the dam repair work is staging this week and will be starting ASAP. Meanwhile, the AGFC has been rebuilding the lake bottom and areas near where the shoreline will be for fish habitat when the lake is refilled.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 260.93 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl).
(updated 5-6-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday Millwood Lake and Little River are a trainwreck from all the recent flash flooding and thunderstorms in southwestern Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. The Army Corps of Engineers is working to release excess water and get Millwood back to normal conservation pool. “We have not been on the lake this week due to hazardous conditions along Little River with high volume current at over 27,000 cfs at the Millwood Dam. Logs, debris, grass mats and trees with wide fields of debris are present and rolling down Little River, extremely hazardous.
“The lake is a muddy chocolate milk mess with logs, and they’re just begging to replace your lower unit. No thanks. Hopefully we will be out on Millwood Lake again late this week and early next week once the turbidity and current subside.”
On Tuesday, Millwood Lake elevation was 3 feet above normal conservation pool and falling. Tailwater elevation was 251 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam of 27,500 cfs. Check the most recent lake labels at the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates. Navigation is termed “hazardous conditions” by the Corps at this time.
Surface temperature ranges 61-70 degrees. River clarity has 0 visibility. In the oxbows, it is 5-10 inches depending on location. Further up Little River has heavier stain, muddy inflow conditions.
As for fishing specifics from last week’s report, before the surge in water:
* Largemouth bass: Most of the largemouths up Little River in the oxbows are post-spawn, even though a few straggling female bass still are in spawning mode, and fish are scattered. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Millwood Mayhem Bream, River Shad and Spot Remover continue catching roaming bass from 2-3 pounds each on flats and creek channel swings from 3-8 feet deep. Chatterbaits in Sexy Shad or bream patterns – using a thumping Bass Assassin Boss Shiner 4.5-inch swimbait trailer in Bluegill Flash, Mama’s 14k or Chico’s Red Ear – picked up a few healthy 3-4 pound largemouths this week. Bass continue randomly roaming shallow on full sun and bright skies in 3-6 feet depth of flats adjacent to deeper drops into 7-10 feet depth creek channels. The best period for the past couple weeks was during the afternoon. Anywhere a slightly deeper creek channel swings in near spawning flats with vertical structure nearby, and where stumps are present near creek mouths drop, have held some decent-sized bass over the past few weeks. NUMEROUS largemouths over 10-11 pounds each have been weighed over the past several weeks. Several bass from 5-8 pounds were caught and weighed in tournaments over the past two weeks.
Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire Owner Rig’n hook continue to draw good reactions in the grass and lily pads, with best reactions in pads and grass lines using Electric Shad, Golden Bream or Native Shiner colors. Best colors of 4-inch Bass Assassin HPC (Heavy Punch Craw), Texas rigged, have been the Black Grape/blue glitter, Chico’s Red Ear or St John’s Special the past couple of weeks, fished near stumps and lily pads from 5-9 feet deep. Custom-poured Senkos and Trick Worms continue working on stumps and cypress trees in 3-8 feet depths. Best colors in Trick Worms have been the black/blue, Blue Ice and Watermelon Candy. Magnum bulky lizards in Blackberry, Blue Bayou, black/blue tail and Watermelon Candy continued 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. Topwater Horny Toads and hollow-body Live Target Frogs are beginning to snatch a few topwater-explosion bass from 2-4 pounds each near buckbrush, overhanging limbs from cypress trees, and in lily pad and alligatorweed vegetation.
* White bass: They have pretty much finished their annual spawning run upriver, between U.S. Highway 71 at Wilton Landing and Patterson Shoals near Cossatot inflow ditch and are beginning to migrate down Little River. Numerous white bass have been caught over the past 3-4 weeks along the river, in the 3-plus-pound class, on Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Chuck’n Spins, Rooster Tails, spoons and Bomber Crankbaits. The white bass began scattering in large schools downriver following the spawn over the past week or so.
* Crappie: Continue to improve again this week and are staging near 2-8 feet deep close to cypress stands, ready to move in for the spawn. Over the past week, these prespawn crappie have been best on minnows and jigs in pockets along the main lake sections near the golf course along South Hickory Creek and near Beards Bluff campground, and in oxbows of Mud Lake and McGuire up Little River. Crappie continue holding in the 2-4 feet and 8-foot depth zones this week, and are staging to move shallow over the next few days or so. Best color of jigs over the past week or so have been black/red, June Bug, white/red and white/orange. Blakemore Road Runners in white/chartreuse and SK Rocket Shads in white/yellow heads have also produced nice 2- to 2.5-pound sab crappie over the past few days.
* Catfish: They drastically improved this week with the increase of current along Little River. Limblines, trotlines and yo-yos have been working for some nice Blues and Channel Cats over the past week with the increase of discharge at Millwood Dam. Cut shad, buffalo and three-day spoiled chicken livers have been working.
(update 5-6-2021) Andy Yung, supervisor over the AGFC’s Camden fisheries office, reported that on Wednesday, April 28, Brandon Bearden had the trip of a lifetime at Lake Erling. Brandon caught not one, but TWO bass over 10 pounds! One fish weighed 10 pounds, 4 ounces and the other was a whopping 11 pounds, 5 ounces. Both fish were caught on Texas-rigged soft plastics in shallow water near cypress trees on secondary points. If you’re looking for a great day of bass fishing, give Lake Erling a try!
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 547.11 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.24 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-6-2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said, the fish is the same basic thing as last week. Some crappie are still in the middle of their spawn. Plenty of little ones. The big ones will soon show up. Water is a little high right now but not muddy. Watch out for floating debris.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 445.37 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 541.06 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-6-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said water clarity remains muddy and the level is high, but he was able to get out on the lake for some good bream fishing. Surface temperature is ranging 69-70 degrees. The bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Catfish appeared to be biting well, also, he said.
(updated 4-22-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and at a normal level. Crappie have moved back deep and are biting fair using minnows or a Bobby Garland Jig in chartreuse or bone white colors. Black bass are fair and also are deep this week; best bet is a plastic worm in watermelon seed or green pumpkin color. Catfish are fair using basic catfish bait. No reports on bream.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 5-6-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 56 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has issued a week-long, all-day 7,000 cfs flow on Lake Catherine in an effort to bring Lake Ouachita down out of flood pool. This is a very fast and dangerous flow for anyone navigating the tailrace. Extreme caution must be used when on the water. 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 have been stocked into the tailrace this year, but have remained difficult to catch since late February. This problem continues with no answer in sight. Constant cold fronts and storms have complicated matters as huge temperature changes impair feeding patterns. Trout from downstream will migrate toward the dam in search of cooler water as the season progresses. 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 slackwater 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 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 were released in March and April below area dams with spring underway. All the rainbow trout stocking has been completed until late November.
The walleye spawn is now over, but fish remain in the tailrace feeding and recovering before migrating downstream. Anglers can catch these fish by trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current. 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 is also complete with very low catch rates recorded for the year. Small minnows fished under a bobber had been the most effective method either in slackwater or generation. Freshwater drum as large as 30 pounds have been seen in the tailrace last month as these fish began their spawning cycle. Live minnows or 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 5-6-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 5-6-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels a touch over full pool due to heavy rainfall lately. Water temps are in the high 60s to low 70s throughout the lake, with visibility fair to good with some color to it. Lake Hamilton has been fishing really well this year and that trend continues! Bass are finished spawning for the most part. This means fish will migrate out to the summer haunts of shade, food and current. Cover and food are the two major factors right now. The bass are really feeding heavily on small baitfish, which is very similar to the fall conditions. Swim Jigs with plastic fluke trailers, Zoom shad-colored flukes fished weightless and nonsuspending jerkbaits are getting smoked in pockets with good cover and docks. The floating worm has been replaced by these presentations. The bass simply want baitfish and it seems like nothing else will do. As night falls or early in the mornings, a Whopper Plopper or a Spook in lighter colors do really well until the sun comes up.
Crappie reports have been very good! Brushpiles and bridge piers in 20 feet of water are producing with a slip cork and live minnow. Bream are good everywhere on worms but especially deeper docks with wooden pilings. A worm and bobber work great! Catfish have also been good everywhere but especially in deep creek channels and drop-offs next to current. Cheese or cut bait is the way to go.
“Be careful out there everyone. The pleasure boaters are already out in large numbers. Be aware of your surroundings. Good luck and go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 351.44 feet msl (normal pool: 342.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-6-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake level has risen to 5 feet above normal as of midafternoon Wednesday, and the clarity is dingy. Surface water temperature was 65 degrees. Crappie are being found now at a 12- to 16-foot depth range and the bite is good. Use minnows and jigs. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on yo-yos and using minnows.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 578.53 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-6-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are very good. Jighead/Texas-rigged Brush Hogs and floating worms are working and the topwater bite is good. Walleye are very good and being caught on Shad Raps and jerkbaits over points on the river channels. Stripers are very good. These fish are being caught on topwater C-10 Redfins and jerkbaits in the central part of the lake. Bream are still very good and can be caught on worms and crickets. Crappie are good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 8-15 feet of water. Catfish are good and being caught on limblines and trotlines with live or cut bait. Water temperature Wednesday was ranging 65-70 degrees. Water clarity is clear. The lake level was 578.71 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 4-22 2020) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said he has been fishing both Ouachita and DeGray Lake, and he’s find a similar pattern: The crappie are great on jigs and minnows on staging brushpiles fished 8 feet deep. The cooler mornings haven’t slowed the crappie. “We are in the middle of the spawn, so some are nearly done while others are just getting started,” he said.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.48 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 25.81 feet, slightly below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 5-6-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) says the weather warmed up a little and so did the lake. Water temperatures as of Monday was at 71 degrees in the morning with water temperature rising throughout the day. Most crappie have spawned and are in a post-spawn pattern. Fish will again be scattered in the lake. There are some fish back out over deep water and some are still in the shallows. Right now, baitfish are the key. Jigs in green/white and yellow/white have produced this past week. Post-spawn is a time the fish will feed heavily.
No reports on bass. However, bream are shallow and biting. A 1/64-ounce or 1/80-ounce jigs in brown or black will catch bream. The base of the cypress trees are a good place to start looking for them. No report on catfish.
(updated 5-6-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) reports that they are still dealing with high water at Cooks Lake. It appears the river is slowly falling out, “so we may be able to open in the near future. Until then, now is a great time to check out other area lakes.”
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 5-6-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no new reports.
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