Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
June 3, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for June 3, 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 noon the day of publication (June 3).
****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: Justin Yancey and his children, Ava, age 8, and Gavin, age 5, had a blast this Memorial Day weekend.On Saturday, Ava caught a 22-inch brown trout on the White River with Gavin netting the fish. On Monday, Yancey reports, both kids had fun catching trout at Dry Run Creek.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 5-27-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said that after unusually high water last week, the water level on Wednesday morning was back to normal. The clarity is slightly stained. Bream are active and anglers are recording good catches in 2 feet of water, using redworms and crickets. Crappie have moved off their beds and back to deeper water after spawning, and this week’s bite has just been fair. Black bass are good; it’s definitely topwater time, and plastic worms also are working. Catfish are good on chicken liver and nightcrawlers.
(updated 5-27-2021) Angler Dennis Charles visited Beaverfork as well as several other lakes in the area with similar conditions (Lake Brewer, Lake Cargile). There have been a few tournaments in the area and even those guys had trouble finding the bass. He says the bite has slowed over the past two weeks. Water temperature is around 75 degrees and the crappie are slow in mid-level water; use floating lures with dive, as well as jigs. Bass are slow and in the shallows and in the grass. “Use plastic worms, topwater poppers and Chatterbaits. Bream are much better on crickets and worms. Catfish are chasing plastics and almost anything in your box and can be found anywhere.” 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 5-27-2021) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with 12-hour generation schedules. The generation has been mostly from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. This schedule is subject to change, so one should check the forecasted generation each evening before planning a trip.
“We missed the heavy rains that went west of us on Tuesday evening. The forecast is for rain on Thursday evening and Friday morning. Hopefully the rain won’t be heavy and the river will remain clear over the weekend.”
The rainbows and browns are still looking for caddis, so caddis emergers and pupa are good choices.
Greg adds, “This is Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of the summer season with more people wanting to enjoy the lakes and rivers. Please use good river etiquette and safety. Common courtesy goes a long way, so pass it on.
“With the two-unit generation each day, plan your canoe, kayak and raft trips so you are off the river before the increased flow gets to the section of river you are floating. Last weekend and another day this week, I noticed people drifting in plastic inflatable rafts during the high water. This is very dangerous due to the current. If the raft or any small watercraft is pushed against the upstream side of a dock or other obstacle it will be sucked under the dock before the person can get out of the craft. Life jackets will not help in this circumstance, so don’t think you are safe depending solely on the life jacket. Also, sharp rocks, limbs and sharp edges on docks can puncture these lightweight plastic inflatables. The lake seems a better choice if the river is high and fast. Enjoy our state’s lakes and rivers but respect dangerous water conditions. STAY SAFE and have HAPPY summer weekends!”
Check the Southwestern Power Administration (swpa.org) or the Army Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) or by phone (501-324-5551) each day for the generation.
(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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 470.14 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 463.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 5-27-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Wednesday the water level at Greers Ferry is at 469.94 feet msl and on its way higher. It looks like it may go to 10 feet high. The current reading as of Wednesday is 6.9 feet above normal pool of 463.04 feet msl; it is still coming up with generation going on. “With the holiday weekend, PLEASE wear your kill switch and life jackets and try to be super safe as anything can happen the instant you do not pay ATTENTION while on water.’
Crappie, like all species, are good and bad right now. Try trolled baits, or minnows and jigs straight up and down, in 12-30 feet. Catfish are eating all over a variety of baits. Black bass are still chewing good, with good fish showing back up in 30-45 feet now. Fish are still on the shoreline and the old bank as well eating a variety of baits a variety of ways.
Bream are spawning and doing so a little deeper this year, and hanging out a little deeper even; try crickets, crawlers, inline spinners or a bare hook. Walleye are scattered all over. Drag a crawler or crankbait until you get bit and fish slow to see if more are around; if not move on, and fish in 12-43 feet. Hybrid and white bass are eating when they want. Lots of factors are involved. To help get you dialed in, try spoons, inline spinners or swimbaits. Also fish topwater baits over 25-45 feet of water. A lot of mental work involved, just try and keep learning and you will win the race.
(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 5-27-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake clarity still is muddy but the level has dropped back to normal. Bream fishing is EXCELLENT. Anglers are catching good-sized bream “bigger than your hand.” The usual redworms or crickets are the bait to use. Crappie catching has fallen off. They have moved back into deeper water and aren’t biting after the spawn. Black bass are fair, mostly biting jigs. Catfishing is good on trotlines baited with baby bream or goldfish.
(updated 5-27-2021) Owner Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the clarity is very clear and the lake level has returned to normal. Bream are good using redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass have been fair this week using Live Action rubber worms and 3-inch live bream. Catfish are good. Some big albino fish have been caught this week. Try black salties on trotlines.
(update 5-27-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said the lake is fairly clear overall, though cloudy in spots. Water level is high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass continue to bite well; bass minnows and goldfish are the best bets. Catfishing is good using “live stuff,” David says, as well as Catfish Charlie bait, goldfish on trotlines, and bass minnows.
(updated 5-27-2021) The AGFC’s Randy Zellers reported from Lake Maumelle that over the weekend the water was 1.5 feet high. With water at that level, bass will run up in the shoreline brush. Anglers were fishing in that brush, typical when the lake floods up like it has. A lot of people went up shallow on Sunday.
There was a high school tournament held on the lake on Saturday, with about 12 pounds of bass winning the tournament.
Temperature was in the mid-70s and the water is fairly clear, settling out quickly. Most of the water willow was submerged. If the fish are under the surface in the water willow, anglers have to use their electronics. Lily pads were still visible, however.
He didn’t hear much about a crappie bite, but bass were biting pretty well. Topwater frogs worked in the lily pads that remained, and Zara Spooks fished over the submerged water willow were getting hit. Also, Texas-rigged soft plastics getting bit on the first drop to deeper water.
Bream were getting ready to bed up, the story for most all Arkansas lakes coming up on the first full month before summer. This should mark the best time of the year for adult anglers to take a kid out fishing this Memorial Day weekend.
Take note that at Lake Maumelle, bream will bed deeper than in the normal, dirtier water of other lakes such as Lake Conway. Here, start at 6 feet and go deeper all the way down to 15 feet for the bream bite.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 104,862 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 120,745 cfs. Small craft advisory on the river.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-27-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says clarity remains clear. Water level is low. Bream continue to improve in response as we close in on the full moon, with excellent reports this week. Use worms of cricket. Crappie action is poor. Black bass are good. Look for them in 2 feet depth and try a spinnerbait or worms. Catfish are good; use chicken liver or shiners.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 118,519 cfs. Small craft advisory issued.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 122,980 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 120,635 cfs. Small craft advisory issued.
(updated 5-27-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says water below the Terry Lock and Dam remains a little muddy, and the river current and level are high. Bass reports remained in the fair range, with reports of catches on crankbaits and worms. The best action will come around the jetties. Catfish have a good bite, but no baits were revealed. Bream and crappie remain poor in this portion of the river.
(updated 5-20-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said catfish are excellent below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam and below Terry Lock and Dam on cut skipjack, while snagging is good as well below the hydro plant and Terry Lock and Dam. White bass are good in the Little Rock pool on white Rooster Tails and white Sassy Shad below the dam. Bream are excellent in 3-4 feet deep around the Willow Beach area on crickets and waxworms. Crappie are excellent 8-10 feet deep on minnows in the main river around the rocks.
(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.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-27-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the lake is clear and back to a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass remain fair on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and worms. Catfish still haven’t bit much at all in the past couple of weeks.
(update 5-27-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reports that the lake has cleared and the level is normal. Bream are excellent on redworms or crickets. Crappie aren’t quite as active now, and results were fair this week on minnows and jigs. Anglers are getting them trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are good on jigs. Catfish are excellent on yo-yos, and using baits such as minnows and hot dogs, or fishing them with jigs. Donna suggests trying a little bit of everything to catch the cats.
(updated 5-27-2021) With the high water still making access to Cook’s Lake at the impossible for anglers where he’s based, the AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) made another trip to Peckerwood and reports that he filled out a limit of bluegill along with some bonus catfish in just a couple of hours. “I searched for beds in about 3 feet of water around grassy points. The rig of choice was a drop-shot, 3/16-ounce weight, No. 6 hook, and a redworm. I am sure crickets would be working great as well. This full moon has them in full spawning mode.”
(updated 6-3-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Even if the calendar tells us to wait until June 21 and even if the temperatures are more like April than June, we declare summer is here! Time to catch some rays and a rainbow or two for your creel.
“While the rainbow-hued spinners and spoons continue to attract a good share of trout, the overcast, mostly cloudy days this past week called for shiny silver blades and spoons. The silver Cleo was especially successful, so keep it handy during this first half of June when most days will see some gray skies. When the sun peeks out, change tactics: Look for chartreuse or lemon-lime-colored baits, either in an egg pattern or as part of a Rooster Tail or spinner (the body, blade or skirt). It’ll be easy to keep your bait near the stream bed because the White River water level near Cotter has remained fairly low during the past month. Bull Shoals Lake elevation is climbing but water releases through the dam have been minimal for the most part.
“Once the high water downstream is less a threat, we expect to see the Corps of Engineers begin to lower the lake, which increases the water level in the river. Don’t let that disappoint you; high water is terrific for growing trout into trophy fish and for experiencing new fishing techniques. Come on over and experience the beauty and hospitality found in our Natural State of Arkansas.
(updated 6-3-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Tuesday that during the past week they had several rain events (combined for 2 inches in Cotter), unseasonably cool temperatures and, at times, heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 4.3 feet to land at 25.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 7.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 2.5 feet to rest at 3.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 10.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 7.1 foot above seasonal power pool and 1.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 2.2 feet to rest at 13.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 9.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Anglers have seen wadable water below Norfork Dam. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains, with more expected. Expect high levels of generation in the near future.
On the lower flows, the fishing on the White River has been moderate! The top spot has been Wildcat Shoals, which had afternoon caddis hatches. 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).
John also said, “Last week I had a guide trip with two anglers from Texas. Jeff had never fished with a fly rod. Robert had fly-fished out West but had only fished with dry flies. He wanted to learn how to fish nymphs.
“They had chosen a good day for it. The weather was mild with little or no wind. The high was to be around 75 degrees. There was to be a cool start at around 60 degrees. The water was lightly stained from all of the rain we have had. The flows were relatively low, less than one full generator.
“I began with a casting lesson. Jeff picked it up fairly quickly. Robert wanted a quick tune-up. That also went quickly. I showed them how we were to fish. I had a couple of rods that were already rigged with a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper all below an AB split shot and a strike indicator.
“I launched my river boat and we motored upstream. I cast my line about 25 from the boat and I showed them how to mend line for a drag-free drift. I cautioned them to watch the strike indicator and to quickly set the hook whenever the indicator went down.
“Robert was soon into a good fish. On the next drift, Jeff landed one. The skunk was out of the boat! Over the next few drifts Jeff caught several. Over the next hour or two he managed to land a limit of trout. Robert was stuck at one. I knew from experience that these things often happen in streaks. One angler would catch several and then the other angler gets hot. Usually, by the end of the day, it all evens out. Or there could be a problem with his presentation. I observed his fishing and instructed him to go back to basics and concentrate on achieving a perfect drag-free drift.
“About that time, the game turned and Robert got hot. He caught six in quick succession and had the lead. What had made the difference?
“Presentation is something that a lot of anglers neglect. The trout do not see the cast. They see the drift. If you mend carefully and get a perfect drag-free drift, the fly appears more lifelike and is more likely to be taken as a morsel of food.
“We fished until noon. Robert caught the first trout and the last and also caught the most trout. Jeff did extremely well catching well over a limit of trout on has first day of fly-fishing.
“Basic skills like casting and mending make a big difference. In this case they learned quickly and caught some nice trout. Both caught more trout than they had expected. Life is good!”
John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter and has fished our streams for over 35 years. John can be reached at (870) 435-2169 or http://www.berrybrothersguides.com.
(updated 6-3-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river level is normal with one or two generators running the past few days. The rainbow trout bite is good. Try pink PowerBait, Little Cleo’s, Rooster Tails in salmon color and worms.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 688.27 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 918.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.42 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported Wednesday that parking remains limited there and boat ramp access is still an issue; plan ahead, especially on weekends. Bull Shoals is 28.7 feet above normal pool and rising as of midday afternoon Wednesday. Temperature of the water is ranging 72-78 degrees. The clarity of the water, and the fishing, is still good in spite of the high water. They are moving up with water, capitalizing on the perch spawn and some on the old shoreline and the backs of creeks. Smallmouth bass are mostly in mid-lake area; anglers should target long points and sunken humps and islands. The shad are moving. Fishing in the shad, try a fluke or swimbait (size 2.8). The topwater bite has been good on a poppers or small walk-the-dog baits, like Zara Spooks or Lucky Craft and smaller profile. Powerfish windy, cloudy days with Whopper Plopper, a buzzbait, bright spinnerbaits, or Chatterbait. If it’s clear and the water is flat, use green pumpkin shaky heads or the ol’ Ned rig, or a deep-diving crank or Carolina tub. Green pumpkin or watermelon red colors are best now. Target points and humps, and keep the boat off the old shoreline, 25 feet off. The backs of creeks have a little color change. You can always catch them on a jig in channel swings. Also go with a green pumpkin Beaver flipping the shallow laydowns 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 571.30 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 6-3-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 6-3-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 2.2 feet to rest at 13.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 9.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Anglers have seen wadable water below Norfork Dam. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains, with more expected. Expect high levels of generation in the near future.
The Norfork tailwater is fishing moderate. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during flooding 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 poorly. 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 and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 6-3-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off-color. 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 1,128.74 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake remains high and looks to stay above normal levels for some time. “Striper fishing is still hit and miss,” Conklin says. “One day you’re on them, the next they have moved. Move often and look for shad. Bream and shad will work.”
Crappie are moving and can be caught from shallow to suspended in 40 feet of water. When it warms eventually, they will suspend and it will be trolling crank season. Bass have been good. Bream are on the beds withe good action. Catfishing is good on all methods. “Looks like more rain coming up,” he said.
Check out Jon’s Facebook page for the latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 6-3-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) says the walleye bite remains fair this week. Bream are improving, however, with good results this week on redworms and crickets. Crappie also have picked up; use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good for anglers who were using swimbaits, worms and small soft plastics. Catfish are fair using shad, cut bait and stink bait. The lake remains muddy and the surface temperature is 72-74 degrees. The water level remains high.
(updated 5-27-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “Fishing has been back and forth in the tailwater over the last few days, depending on the weather and the species of fish being sought after. The walleye are pretty much done. If you want to get on those guys, you need to start heading to the lakes. The trout bite has been pretty good and some days on fire. Fishing with various PowerBaits with light terminal tackle, various spoons and Flicker Shads have been the way to go. This week’s hot spot has been toward Spider Creek and Bertrand Access. If you want to fish for white bass, you need to venture towards Beaver town. If you have a graph, try locating bait; if you find the bait, you will locate the fish.
“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.
(updated 6-3-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water has stain and is at a normal level. The full moon had the expected effect on the bream, and the bite has been excellent this week. Try redworms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass improved over the week with good catches on topwater lures. Catfishing is good; try regular worms, glow worms and basic catfish bait.
(updated 6-3-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is fairly murky and high by about 1 foot. The change in water has affected the bite overall. The bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Anglers report fair results. Minnows and jigs are best. Black bass are fair, with topwater baits working the best. Catfish have been unresponsive this week.
(updated 6-3-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said Lake Charles anglers and visitors enjoyed a beautiful, cool Memorial Day weekend, and she received lots of fishing reports on bream and catfish, with a few nice bass caught and some good activity seen with crappie. The bream bite is excellent on worms and crickets. Bream are up around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points and in shallow areas. Crappie are good. Try minnows, jigs and worms. Crappie are being caught around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Black bass are good, with anglers using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Anglers were targeting brush and rocky points for best success. Catfishing is excellent. Try worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver, shad and goldfish. The lake clarity is murky as usual and water is high. Surface temperature on Monday was 72 degrees.
(updated 5-20-2021) 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 renovation.
(updated 5-27-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that water clarity is “pretty clear” and the lake is high. Surface water temperature Wednesday morning was 73 degrees. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie action just disappeared over the week; no reports. Black bass are good; try using plastic worms.
Catfish got with it this week, biting well on chicken liver and nightcrawlers.
(updated 5-27-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 470 cfs and water clarity has been clear this week. River flows are still up some, “but thankfully we have missed most of the rain lately. A heavy rain could change river conditions this time of year. Be careful wading with the higher flow.”
The trout have been hitting great on olive and brown Woollies on cloudy days and Y2Ks and nymphs on sunny days. It has been tough getting the fly down, and an extra weight may help get the fly down to the fish. Smallies have been tough in the high water but have been hitting as the water clears. Big streamers or Clousers are the ticket to get them to bite around the big rocks and rocky shoreline.
For spin-fishers, Trout Cranks and Flicker Shad are working well. The crankbaits do a good job of getting down to the fish, and they’re also a good way to possibly catch a walleye.
During this time of year keep an eye on Mark’s blog at springriverfliesandguides.com for the latest conditions on the Spring River. A heavy rain can change things overnight.
(updated 6-3-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is high and off-color. 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 9.97 feet, 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage continued to fall to 17.44 feet, below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta slowly closes in on flood stage of 26.0 feet, sitting at 28.75 feet after being over 30 a couple of weeks ago.
(updated 6-3-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water remains muddy and at a high level. No reports.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 5-20-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperature is in the low 70s. Visibility is up to 1-1.5 feet with good plankton blooms in protected waters. Water levels and water velocity are variable. The shad spawn is underway; watch for them early in the morning and late in the evening along rock banks. Any shad-colored moving lure, topwaters to crankbaits, will work well for black bass at this time. Back off to brushpiles along sand ledges during the middle of the day or target cover that creates shade along the bank.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 6-3-2021) Sarah Reap, assistant superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said fishing activity at Cane Creek Lake this week has been on the downslope. There have been many reports of unsuccessful trotlines and shoreline fishing. Bream activity has remained steady with the bream being caught with crickets, while crappie are being caught with jigs and minnows.
(updated 6-3-2021) 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 260.02 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake level continues to fall from the recent flash floods and a 3-foot rise. The lake elevation on Tuesday was 11 inches above normal conservation pool at 260.1 feet msl and falling; oxbows’ water clarity is heavy stained, Little River clarity is muddy with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 247 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 17,500 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or on the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. NAVIGATION CONDITIONS ARE IMPROVED, but CAUTIONED on Millwood Lake with high discharge rates and heavy flow conditions in Little River. Debris fields are present. Use EXTREME CAUTION during current high gate discharge conditions.
Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging in 70-75 degrees depending on location.
As for the fishing specifics:
* Largemouth bass: slow to fair this week with falling pool levels, on Black/blue or Chartreuse Shad buzzbaits and Chatterbaits. Juvenile Bass from 12-14 inches seemed to be the most aggressive. Black grape or solid black, 10″ power worms have been working for a few Bass over the past couple weeks. Brush Hogs and magnum 4-inch Gitzit Tubes with a rattle inside were working, randomly. Water temperature stable, but there is still almost 1 foot of fresh water in Millwood over the past week. Largemouths were slower responsive, this past week. A few busted our Horny Toads and Yum Tip Toads up shallow in the pads and grass.
Pitching a Bass Assassin Jingle Bug in black/blue tail, or Okeechobee Craw colors got a few reactions on stumps in 8-10 feet deep a few days ago. Bass Assassin Shad jerkbaits got a few reactions, early in the morning and best color we got reactions continue to be the pumpkin seed-chartreuse tail, and Black Shad in the 5″ sizes. The Chatterbaits were slow, but a few largemouths around 12-14″ reacted. Best Chatterbait color was Millwood Mayhem Bream using the Bass Assassin HPC in Chico’s Red Ear, or the Skunk Ape in Blank Check. Berkley Pit Boss in Black/blue, June bug, or California 420 with chartreuse dip pinchers, got slow reactions on stumps near lily pads on receding flats from 5-6 feet deep tapering out to 8-9 feet deep.
Brazalo Custom Lures tandem Spinnerbaits in Millwood Mayhem Bream, and White/chartreuse continue to get reactions over the past few weeks using a trailer hook and burning the bait near the surface, making it wake and commotion at the surface, near stumps and floating alligator weed vegetation. Best water clarity we found over the past week was in back of Bagley Creek and Red Slough on the main lake, away from river current. South Hickory and State Park water clarity was heavy stain conditions over the past week, and we had a tough time buying a bite in those locations. Lots of floating alligator weed mats made fishing moving baits difficult in those areas. Very large grass mats are breaking loose and floating in those areas as well as in Little River this week. The USACE is currently monitoring and evaluating the excessive alligatorweed densities, lake wide.
* Bream: Appears there are a few bream in a pre-spawn mode, in a few areas with random bed making activities being seen. Bream bite should start to be good at Millwood State Park off the banks, or on the dock at Jack’s Isle in the next week or so.
* White bass: No report.
* Crappie: Improved with reduction of lake elevation and better water clarity last week. Areas further from current were best with clarity and activity. Fish 2-3 feet deep areas with grass and vegetation with minnows and jigs near vertical structure. One day they’re in the grass, next day they have pulled out to 10 feet of depth, but near grass.
* Catfish: continued to bite well again this week with the increased current along Little River. Limblines, trotlines, and yo-yos have been working for some nice Blues and Cats over the past couple weeks with the increase of discharge at Millwood Dam. Cut shad, hot dogs, spoiled chicken livers, gizzards, hearts, and soap have been working for the past several weeks for some nice size 4-8 pound cats on trotlines and yo-yos from 8-10 feet deep near current flows in creek channels near the river.
Siefert adds that current along Little River increased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 0-4 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows is at 10-15 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain/muddy inflow conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain, or thunderstorms. Muddy current was almost everywhere we went on the Little River this week, and worse further up river past White Cliffs on Little River. WILTON LANDING on Little River was recently re-opened after being closed due to HIGH CURRENT and pool elevation. Watch for broken timber, trees, and floaters with debris in Little River.
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 546.86 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.72 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “Summer is hear, but sure couldn’t tell it this weekend. Wow. Water temperature dropped 3-4 degrees depending on where you are. There is a lot of trash around Goat Island and Point Cedar. Lots of shad schooling up on the surface all over the lake. A little warm weather and calm days should flip the switch on the surfacing fish. Soon! Bream bedding should be in the slowdown/over stage. Crappie (my thing) are definitely in the brushpiles above the thermocline. I’m fishing about 20-24 feet. If your electronics don’t show fish, move on. Same scenario. Once fish are located with electronics, cast jigs first. It gets some big ones that way. After the bite dies, move in with minnows. In clearer water use shad-colored jigs. In muddy water you can brighten it up. Some of my favorite colors are blue grass, Tennessee Shad, Monkey Milk and, of course, ones like Popsicle, and other bright colors work also.
(update 6-3-2021) Local crappie angler Charles Abernathy said, “I fished a lot over Memorial Day weekend with my family. The water temp was mid-70s. Water was fairly clean throughout, even up past Point Cedar. We caught some good sized crappie on 1/16-ounce jigs (hand ties/Bobby Garland/Mr. Crappie Slab Slangers). The bite was pretty good over the weekend, even with all the traffic. The brighter colors worked good (pinks w/green char). When the sun got bright and the skies opened up, a gray bucktail did pretty good. Small profiles work good … even the micro sizes (1 inch).
This time of year, a crappie fisherman has multiple patterns to choose from (like most seasons). One method that I’m very fond of is to look for fish piling up on a stick of timber over deep water (I’m talking 40-50 feet). They’ll usually be in 15-20 feet range from surface. They’re easier to spot with Livescope/sidescan. When you find them take note. They’ll be very close by tomorrow, the next day, and even next week. Stay away from them and cast to them. I treat my crappie fishing a lot like deer hunting. I try to be as stealthy as possible. Most folks don’t tear off through the woods like a silverback gorilla while slip hunting deer haha … maybe crappie fishing should be approached the same way…slow and steady. If they stop biting, change baits or even change your angle on them. If they quit all together go somewhere else. Let them be for a couple of hours and come back. My main advise would be not let them know you are there.
DeGray is full of timber and it’s no surprise, a crappie can be caught on a stick of timber in this lake year around and it’s probably my favorite structure to fish. Navionics maps can help you to locate timber if you are not already using it.
“I appreciate you all reaching out and feedback you have provided. As always, feel free to ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. I have a YouTube channel where I share some fishing content and have already posted this trip. I hope everyone had a safe Memorial weekend. Lake DeGray is a wonderful resource and is big enough for us all to enjoy. I hope you are on it enjoying it whether you are fishing/skiing/swimming. Be safe. I look forward to seeing you on the water.”
(updated 6-3-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said the crappie are post-spawn and quickly transitioning into a summer pattern. You’ll find more crappie in brushpiles on points where deeper water is close by.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 454.17 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 547.72 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 6-3-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is somewhat clear and the level remains high. Bream are biting fair on worms and crickets. No reports on crappie. Black bass are fair. They are being caught deep. Buzzbaits and big worms in watermelon red or green pumpkin colors are working best. No reports on catfish.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-3-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC, manufacturer of the finest built and tied-by-hand fishing jigs in Hot Springs, reports that Lake Catherine’s water levels are slightly up due to rainfall and water releases. Temps vary from 75 degrees near Remmel Dam to 55 degrees near Catherine’s Landing. Bass are still on beds in Catherine in the cooler areas. Bedded bass will take a jig if worked correctly, and some monsters have been boated lately. Bass are transitioning to the summer patterns with many seeking cooler temps on main lake points or rocky areas next to current. Swim jigs, drop-shots and subtle topwater baits can and will usually get bites. Catherine is known for being a finicky lake to most anglers, and it’s true. Rivers like Catherine (it’s more riverine than lake with the Ouachita River running through it) change like the Arkansas weather with generation of power. Bream have been really good on docks and brushpiles in 15 feet or less using live worms or small Rooster tails. Walleye have been elusive lately due to water release but trolling a spoon with a live nightcrawler tipped in the main channels is still the preferred method. No crappie report. “Watch out for fog in the evenings, folks. It will blind you very quickly, so move downstream if possible.
“Check us out on Facebook at Slycked Back Fishing LLC.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-3-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports Lake Catherine below Carpenter Dam, reports that continued heavy rains have kept Lake Ouachita up into flood pool, which has forced Entergy to run huge amounts of water thru all area dams. Very fast flows have been the norm from Carpenter Dam this past week and this process has gone on for weeks with the unstable weather patterns of the past month. With more rainfall expected this weekend and continuing into next week, the tailrace flows from all our area dams will be extremely dangerous areas for anyone to fish or navigate. The general public is urged to read the weekly generation schedules for area dams each week to stay informed of lake conditions. No outing is worth the risk of injury or death so making good decisions based on accurate information is vital to the safety of everyone. June marks the end of the severe weather months and more stable weather will be on the way as the summer weather approaches.
(updated 6-3-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 6-3-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports water levels slightly high, due to the ongoing rains, and water color of slightly stained. Most areas of the lake remain in the low to mid-70s. Bass continue to be sluggish with the summer transition happening. Early in the morning is by far the best time to fish. Topwater walking baits, swim jigs and crankbaits in shad presentations do a great job at being breakfast for bass on rocky main lake points and backwater flats points until the sun sits high. During the day, deeper docks and secondary points do decent with fishing a drop-shot rig and small green seedless Zoom Trick Worm. Bream have been excellent on deep docks using live crickets or worms. Catfish are good all over on main lake points next to current; try cheese and cut baits. No crappie reports. “We will try to get out more this week if the weather cooperates. Be safe out there! Go Greeson!
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 359.25 feet msl (normal pool: 344.95 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake clarity is muddy and the water level is high, rising about an inch an hour was of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. Surface temperature is 75 degrees. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs (last week’s favorite color patterns were black/chartreuse and red/chartreuse are best colors). Black bass are good, with spinnerbaits and plastic worms continuing working best, and Chatterbaits also getting lots of action. They suggested using the white War Eagle spinner with gold leaf skirt. Catfish are good. Cut shad, whole shad, minnows, hot dogs, using noodles, limblines, just about anything is working for cats.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 579.01 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-3-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still good. Jighead worms and shad-colored swimbaits seem to be working best. Walleye are very good and are being caught on Shad Raps and Flicker Shad when trolling near/over points. Stripers are still good. These fish are being caught on jerkbaits and live bait in the central part of the lake near Bird Island and the Cedar Fouche mouth. Bream are still excellent and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are on beds 6-10 feet deep. Crappie are very good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are still very good and are being caught on juglines and trotlines with live or cut bait. Water temperature is ranging 70-74 degrees and the clarity is clearing. Lake level on Wednesday was 578.47 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.11 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge had dropped to 26.49 feet, still a half-foot above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 6-3-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers at Bear Creek Lake report having great success in catching crappie and blue catfish within the last week. Crappie have been reported to be biting at depths of 3-4 feet, particularly in coves. Artificial baits and minnows have grown to be the most popular for catching these wonderful tasting fish. Blue cats have also been on the menu. Anglers report having success catching blues in depths of 6-8 feet using mostly homemade baits.
Surveying has been completed for the construction of the spillway at Bear Creek Lake; however, the park is still waiting news from the U.S Forest Service on when the project will be started and an approximate date on completion.
At Storm Creek Lake within the state park, anglers report catching blue catfish within in the past week in depths of about 8 feet using homemade baits. “The fishing activity at Storm Creek Lake is starting to pick up, it seems,” Ball said. “We hope to hear more positive outcomes in these hot summer months!”
(updated 6-3-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said it continues to be the same story for Cook’s Lake due to the higher water from the White River, which ends up flooding the parking lot at the center. It will remain closed until water recedes enough, Hafner said.
He did make another trip over to Peckerwood Lake, just east from Slovak between Hazen and Stuttgart, this week; see his report under Central Arkansas.
(updated 6-3-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) had no new reports.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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