Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
May 13, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 13, 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 9 a.m. the day of publication (May 13).
****Buy an Arkansas Fishing License by clicking here. Your purchase of a Fishing License helps support the AGFC’s work in maintaining the fishing resources throughout the state.
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
TOP AND LEFT: Matt Albertson of Fayetteville caught this nice largemouth bass on Lake Sequoyah in Northwest Arkansas with his friend Andy Stone on Friday, May 7, right before the rain started. Lake Sequoyah, east of Fayetteville off Arkansas Highway 16 and fed by the White River (the city created the lake by damming the White in the late 1950s as a water source), is a favorite lake among the students at the university and other anglers in and around Washington County. Bream, crappie, black bass and catfish are all prominent, and the bass are more active with a drop in water this week, the marina there reports. Read more from their report under the Northwest Arkansas section.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 5-13-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake clarity is the normal Lake Conway stain. Water level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are on their beds and the bite is good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfish are good on live bait, bream and trotline minnows.
(updated 5-13-2021) Angler Dennis Charles visited Beaverfork as well as several other lakes in the area with similar conditions (Lake Brewer, Lake Cargile). He says, “Every finned critter is increasing the bite. Water temperature is around 72 degrees and the crappie are doing fine; use floating lures with dive as well as jigs., Bass are hitting everything in the box in the shallows and in the grass, “YES, in the grass and under the grass.” Plastic worms, top poppers and Chatterbaits. Bream are much better on crickets and worms. Catfish are chasing plastics. ” Visit Dennis’ Facebook page (Arkansas Fishing Adventures) for more information – send Jim Harris, the AGFC managing editor, a photo of your catch and Jim just might post it here with the other photos.”
Little Red River
(updated 5-13-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the generation has been sporadic because of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wanting to shock at night to conclude their brown trout study with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. This should be completed by Friday and generation should return to the daily 12-hour, two-unit pattern. We hope that 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. will be the normal generating period.
The lake is 467.75 feet msl which is about 5 feet above normal, so this generation will continue until the lake is back to normal pool. Generation could increase if the White River is able to take additional water. Check the schedule before planning your trip.
The river remains clear, and when the generation gets back to the daily 12-hour pattern fishing should be good ahead of the rise.
(updated 5-13-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is fairly clear. Trout are really good on marabou jigs (olive color is best now), jerkbaits, Rapala Countdowns (rainbow trout or brown trout colors). Rainbow trout are good on Trout Magnets in pink, white and moleworm gold colors and on Rooster Tails.
(updated 5-13-2021) 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 467.74 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.83 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 5-13-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 467.75 feet msl, or 4.71 feet above what they are calling normal pool for this time of year (463.04 feet msl; from May 1-June 1 the Corp is calling for it to be 463.04-462.54 feet).
“Overall catching is kind of up,” Tommy says, “with a lot of fish hemmed up around the bank, but the lake is three weeks behind normal for regular fish behavior. Black bass are in the old bush line, between it and the new bank spawning or recouping from spawn. Some are out to 30 feet, but not a lot, and they do not want to bite. Try Texas-rigged plastic baits. Also topwater or a small swimbait. Some crappie that have not spawned are still out in 30 feet, a lot are on the shoreline and rest in between; use jigs and minnows. Catfish are good one day, off the next, according to weather a lot, and a variety of baits are working. Walleye are scattered, still up rivers and all over lake shallow out to 30 feet. Drag crawlers, a grub or minnow. Bream are eating crawlers, flies, inline spinners, crickets and crawlers from up on the shoreline out to 18 feet. Hybrid and white bass are being stubborn and eating super-small shad in 30-45 feet. Try small spoons, inline spinners and swimbaits.
(updated 5-13-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says the lake is still 5-6 feet high after last week’s big rise. There is a slight stain. The surface water temperature is in the mid- to high 60s. Bass are excellent on upper and lower end around windy areas and brush on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater (wake bait or Zara Spook). Up the river in dirty water, a Texas-rigged creature bait in green pumpkin colors with some flake in it on 3-ounce weight is a great way to fish, and they’re also having success using buzzbaits. Crappie are good in 15-20 feet depth on any natural-colored jigs (Tennessee Shad, blue/white or blue/silver colors). The walleye bite is good on points drop-shotting a nightcrawler or a blue/chartreuse swimbait.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-13-2021) 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 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 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 shiners. “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 5-13-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(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 the May 1 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 61,298 cfs, down significantly from last week’s flow at this time. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 68,439 cfs.
(updated 5-13-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-13-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says clarity is clear. Water level and current are normal. Bream have made an appearance with good catches on worms and crickets. Crappie are good around the banks on minnows or jigs. Black bass are shallow and the bite is good on plastic worms and spinnerbaits. No report on catfish this week.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 72,881 cfs, a drop to half of what the flow was at this time last week.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 64,630 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 85,245 cfs.
(updated 5-13-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said Wednesday afternoon that the river is “borderline fishable.” They suggest anglers put in at the backwaters, the main river is still high. Water is muddy. Bass are good in the backwaters on black/blue jigs and black/blue Chatterbaits, chartreuse square bills around wood or grass areas. Bass are good in the main river on white/chartreuse spinnerbaits, chartreuse and black crankbaits and buzzbaits early in the day and late in the evening. Crappie are good behind the jetties in 7-8 feet of water; try orange/chartreuse or solid chartreuse crappie jigs around any wood or timber.
(updated 5-13-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said catfish are excellent below the hydroelectric plant by Murray Lock and Dam and at Terry Lock and Dam on cut skipjack. Snagging is also good as well below the hydro plant and Terry Lock and Dam. White bass are good on white Rooster Tails and white Sassy Shad. Bream are excellent in 3-4 feet depth around the Willow Beach area on crickets and waxworms.
Crappie are excellent in 8-10 feet depth on minnows in the main river around the rocks.
(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 5-13-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bream are good on crickets and redworms. Catfish are good on lines baited with goldfish or skipjack. Black bass are biting this week, with anglers catching good numbers on spinnerbaits and topwater lures.
(update 5-13-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reports that the lake still appears a little dingy. Water level is normal. Bream remain excellent on redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on jigs. Catfish are excellent on yo-yos, and using baits such as minnows, hot dogs and jigs.
(updated 5-13-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “What a week on the White! Most every day started out with the threat of rain, then ended on a mostly dry note with a whole bunch of photos of browns and happy anglers. This week we saw some good-sized rainbows reeled in as well as quite a few keeper browns. The rainbows have been biting hard on rainbow-hued egg patterns (PowerBait) and 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.
“This past week has seen consistent water levels generated from Bull Shoals Dam, an easy flow of about 3,000 to 6,000 cfs, and that means the trout aren’t being spooked by extreme changes in their environment. All that makes for a great time to pull up to a favorite brown trout spot and throw out a minnow. The fishing forecast: Good to spectacular. Come test the waters.”
(updated 5-13-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the fishing is going really well this week. Anglers are having good success catching rainbows and browns. The river is clear and at a normal level, and the Army Corps of Engineers is running 3-4 generators.
(updated 5-13-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Tuesday that during the past week they have had several rain events that combined for about 3 inches in Cotter, cooler temperatures and, at times, heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 4.8 feet to land at 14.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.6 feet msl. This is 18.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.5 foot to rest at 3.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 11.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 7 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 3.5 feet to rest at 10.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.3 feet msl and 13 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 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 pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper).
Remember that the White River, Norfork tailwater 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.
John also said, “Last week I had a guide trip with William Barksdale and his business associate Kevin. William is the son of my dear friends Bill and Sandy Barksdale. He is in the cotton business and divides his time between a loft in downtown Memphis and his home here.
“We fished at Rim Shoals on a beautiful sunny day with a moderate flow of water. We began the day with a casting lesson for Kevin. The fishing went well. We were fishing double-fly rigs (a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper below an AB split shot and a strike indicator).
“In the early afternoon, I noticed a couple walk onto the fishing pier near the ramp. They carried a large white bucket with them. I could not figure out why they needed the bucket in a catch-and-release section, where the use of bait is not allowed. I was concerned that they were potential poachers and determined to keep an eye on them as we fished.
“A few drifts later I was passing near the fishing pier. The guy fishing on the pier called out and asked me what kind of fish he had caught. It was a beautiful, fat, 22-inch rainbow trout. I told him that it was a rainbow trout, that this was a catch-and-release section and it must be released. He uttered a curse (not to be repeated here) and said that he might as well take a picture.
“He laid the trout on the deck of the pier and took a couple of pictures. He then picked up the trout and tossed it into the river. The three of us in my boat were all staunch conservationists and we were aghast of the way he treated the trout. The lady with him called out that the trout was floating.
“I fired up my motor and headed straight toward the pier. William was in the front of the boat and I handed him my long-handled boat net. As soon as we neared the trout, he gingerly scooped up the rainbow and began reviving it. I stayed in the back of the boat maintaining our position in the river, so we would not drift into the pier. It took several minutes to revive the trout but it eventually swam off on its own.
“I had a chat with the two anglers and explained that in the catch-and-release section all trout must be released immediately and no bait or barbed hooks could be used. They packed up their gear and left.
“In the boat, we discussed the situation. We were amazed that the two anglers had to pass a large sign that clearly identified the section as catch-and-release and clearly spelled out the special regulations and still did not follow the law.
“We were glad that we had been able to rescue that magnificent trout.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 677.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.86 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 919.12 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.42 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 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 567.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.61 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-13-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 5-13-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 3.5 feet to rest at 10.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.3 feet msl and 13 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 recent 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 (size 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 colors of San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10), mop flies and egg patterns.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 5-13-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high. 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 1,128.49 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-13-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake dodged the heavy rains but still is really high. “High water scattered fish as it always does and has made the bite difficult at times. Lots of debris throughout the lake and some areas worse than others. The mud line is past the Highway 12 bridge and moving towards Rocky Branch.
“Bass fishing seems to be the bright spot. Some big strings were weighed last week, I was told, in a tournament. Twenty-plus pounds won it and that’s a big bag for Beaver. Stripers are still roaming and are fair at best. Look in the Avoca and Coose areas for fish. You may want to venture up the War Eagle and look around. It is clearing nicely. White bass moving back into the mid lake area. Walleye are somewhere and should start to load onto main lake points. Bream will be good, as are catfish. Good luck and be safe.” Remember to check out Jon’s Facebook page for the latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 5-13-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reports that the lake remains muddy and the surface water temperature at 65 degrees. Lake level is high again this week, and all these conditions seemed to hinder fishing. Walleye appear to be slowing down. Anglers report a fair bite with the white bass. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are good around brushpiles and stumps; use minnows and jigs. Black bass slowed down to fair; worms are working best. Catfish are fair on nightcrawlers or prepared bait.
(updated 5-13-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “I apologize to readers for the lack of reports; I have been quite busy with the Sheriff’s Office and the Fire Department. However, I did manage to get out and do some scouting.
“The trout bite is quite good below Spider Creek. Most have been caught with various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons of various sizes have been great, too. The white bass have made it up and the bite has been on fire. Locate the schools and you will be on the chew. Most are being caught with suspended crankbaits and soft plastics. Watch your water temps and you will locate the fish.
“The Army Corps of Engineers has dialed back on the spillway gates and Table Rock has started to release. This should bring the river levels back to somewhat normal. I hope you’re able to get out and catch some fish.” Follow Austin’s fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Guide Service) for daily and weekly updates.
War Eagle/White River
(updated 5-13-2021) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC had no new reports.
(updated 5-13-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is still muddy 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 on plastic worms and topwater baits. Catfish are good using minnows and worms.
(updated 5-13-2020) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday afternoon that the water is a little stained, but the lake level returned to normal after last week’s surge. Bream perked back up and anglers reported good results; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are shallow and the bite is good. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass became more active with the drop in water this week, as catches were good. Spinnerbaits, topwater lures and Chatterbait all are working. Catfish are good, with best results coming using live bluegill.
(updated 5-13-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing was good all over for the main species at Lake Charles this past week. Bream were good on worms and jigs. Crappie were good on minnows and jigs when fishing around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Black bass picked back up with good reports. Anglers were using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Bass are being caught near brush and rocky points. Catfishing is good. Try worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver or shad. Sunday’s lake temperature was 69 degrees. The lake is high and murky. Great fishing based on the moon cycle should continue through Friday, and she says the forecast is for good fishing based on the moon May 23-29.
(updated 5-13-2021) Seth Boone, the superintendent at the Lake Poinsett State Park, said, “Lake Poinsett is getting closer to being full! There are 4- to 7-inch redears that you can catch and release in the lake. We are about 8.5 feet from being full again for the first time since 2017 and we are so excited. I would only recommend kayaks or canoes out on the lake at this time.”
The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed on Dec. 1, following the completion of a three-year renovation projection, and the lake began to refilling with rainwater (Poinsett is rainfall dependent). The lake, at Lake Poinsett State Park, has been undergoing an extensive 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.
The AGFC’s stocking of forage fish began in March, 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, redear 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 renovation.
(updated 5-13-2021) 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 5-13-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are flowing at 500 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity has been poor. Over the last week the waters have begun to clear and catching has been excellent this week. Olive Woollies have been the hot fly of the week. It may take some extra weight to get the fly down. Trout cranks can work well for spin-fishers to get down deep.
With water flow up, extra care should be taken when wading. A wading staff can be very helpful. Once the rains stop, the river will get back down to normal levels quickly.
Check out springriverfliesandguides.com for daily updates on river conditions. “Tight lines and good luck!”
(updated 5-13-2021) 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. 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 8.91 feet, down a foot from last week and about 6 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was down to 21.19 feet, now almost 5 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta remained high at 31.40 feet, more than 5 feet above flood stage of 26.0 feet.
(updated 5-13-2021) 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 areonly a few weeks away from the pre-spawn and peak catfishing time.
(updated 5-13-2021) Kris Nault, AGFC district fisheries supervisor in Monticello, says dam repair work should be underway by the city now, while 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 259.92 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-13-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Wednesday, “Well, I certainly wish I had more to report this week, but again Millwood Lake and Little River is a muddy mess 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 to normal conservation pool. We went out on the river twice in the last week to see what we could get into, and other than the cats on lines, not much to report.”
Conditions along Little River show high volume current near 17,000 cfs at the Millwood Dam. Logs, debris, grass mats and trees with wide fields of debris continue to move down Little River, making boating extremely hazardous.
The muddy 3-foot rise has hampered fishing other than for catfish, Mike said. “It’s a muddy chocolate, and logs, mess. Hopefully we’ll have more to report on Millwood late this week and early next week.” Check reports on the guide service’s website linked above, and also check for update lake level conditions on the Army Corps of Engineers website. On Tuesday the lake elevation was 12 inches above normal conservation pool at 206.3 feet msl and falling. Oxbows’ water clarity heavy turbidity. NAVIGATION TERMED HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS on Millwood Lake. Use EXTREME CAUTION during current high gate discharge conditions. Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging in 65-70 degrees.
Wilton Landing on Little River was closed last week due to HIGH WATER and current. Current along Little River decreased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 0 inches visibility depending on location. Muddy current was rolling through Clear Lake this week, and it is typically the most clear water you will find on Millwood Lake. Visibility in Clear Lake can be 5 feet or more when stable pool conditions are present. “Muddy, fast current was almost class 3 rapids in Clear Lake this week,” Mike said jokingly.
As for fishing specifics:
* Catfish: Improved last week and again this week with the increased current along Little River. Limblines, trotlines and yo-yos have been working for some nice blues and channel cats over the past couple weeks with the increase of discharge at Millwood Dam. Cut shad, buffalo and soap have been working.
No reports from largemouth bass, white bass or crappie. From Mike’s most recent report on those fish:
* 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.
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 547.53 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.51 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 437.53 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 540.25 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-13-2021) Angler Stephen Tyson Jr. had a big day out on Lower White Oak lake recently, landing a monster 10-pound bass. See more at the AGFC’s Facebook Page (click here).
(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.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.26 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-13-2021) Angler Bennie Goodman fished Blue Mountain this week and said the water level is up 9-11 feet. In open water you can find the crappie 5-10 feet down, and the flooded willow trees are loaded like crappie Christmas trees with good-size crappie. Any color jig is working, but they did like the minnow around the flooded willow trees
(updated 5-13-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is high, and this week they’ve seen windy conditions and choppy water. He had no catch reports.
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 5-13-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 50 degrees with stained conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has scheduled a 7,000 cfs generation schedule beginning Friday, May 14, and continuing through Thursday, May 20. This pattern will run 24/7 and is a very fast flow of water that can be dangerous to boaters and wade fishermen alike. Anyone attempting to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailrace is advised to use extreme caution. With more rainfall expected early next week, this flow pattern will likely increase to maintain area lake levels. Lake Ouachita is nearing flood pool and all generation efforts will be devoted on area dams to prevent the big lake from rising too high into flood stage.
In the big picture, fishing below Carpenter Dam this year for rainbow trout has been a dismal failure. Record low catches of trout from professional guides have dominated the season in an area known for excellent trout fishing. Last year was marred by constant flooding that ruined the majority of the season. This year has surpassed that in low catch rates with no concrete reason for the slow bite. The general public has also reported similar results, with many anglers moving to other areas hoping for better outcomes. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission completed the trout stocking schedule for spring and no more fish are to be stocked until late November when the water cools. The crappie and walleye spawns were uneventful in catch numbers mostly due to area flooding that brought on very fast flows of water below the dam for weeks that prevented anglers from accessing areas that held fish.
The only bright side of things were days when white bass were caught in good numbers as they fed on threadfin shad.
April and May are stormy months in Arkansas and often bring flooding to our area. Until a safer generation schedule is implemented, fishing and boating below area dams will be dangerous. Recreation activities below hydroelectric dams are much different than the main bodies of lakes and rivers and have many dangerous side effects when bad weather is a weekly event. Being aware and taking proper precautions can make the difference between an enjoyable day and one that ends in injury or death. Hopefully, the month of June will mark a more stable weather pattern and bring better fishing to Lake Catherine. Remember to wear a mask and social distance in the park area and always wear a life jacket on the water.
(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 346.71 feet msl (normal pool: 345.0 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 5-13-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake level is high by 1.5 to 2 feet but is falling. There is pretty good visibility and the surface temperature is 65-68 degrees. Bream remain good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good in the 8-12 feet depth range on pink minnows or black/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on limblines and yo-yos.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 577.74 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-13-2021) 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 577.98 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 5-13 2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said crappie are doing great. “We’ve caught them as shallow as 6 feet and as deep as 15 feet. Live bait works best, but jigs do their part, too. We’ve also seen large schools of white bass and small striper surface-feeding on threadfin shad early at first light. Spoons and 3-inch swimbaits landed a single limit in short order.”
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge had dropped slightly from last week to 28.27 feet, more than two feet above the 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 5-13-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no new reports.
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