Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 1, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 1, 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 11 a.m. the day of publication (July 1).
****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: Cooper Jester, who was fishing with his sister, Avry, and guide John Duncan on DeGray Lake, found the crappie still biting well there this week. John says he nicknamed the pair Toad Thumper (for Cooper) and Slab Slayer (for Avry, see her catch below in the DeGray Lake report from John). The crappie bite has been unusually good into late June at DeGray, though it may finally be slowing down. Still, there’s action to take in, and other species are become quite active on the southwest Arkansas lake near Arkadelphia. Photo provided by John Duncan.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 7-1-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is the normal Lake Conway stain, but the water still remains low as the gates on the dam are shut.
Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie improved this week to fair. Fish around the cypress trees, wherecrappie seem to be scattered. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good and being caught on trotlines and limblines.
(updated 6-24-2021) Angler Dennis Charles visited Beaverfork as well as several other lakes in the area with similar conditions (Lake Brewer, Lake Cargile, Woolly Hollow and Lake Barnett). Water level has been above normal and somewhat clear, the bite increased and the bass are making fishing a LOT of fun. The crappie are slow in mid-level water; use floating lures with dive, as well as jigs. Bass are all over chasing food. “Use everything in the box and think outside the box,” Dennis says. Bream are slow. Catfish are doing well along the bottom all over. Brewer and Barnett lakes are seeing a LOT of bass activity.
Visit Dennis’ Facebook page (Arkansas Fishing Adventures) for more information – send Jim Harris, the AGFC’s Arkansas Wildlife Magazine managing editor, a photo of your catch and Jim just might post it here with the other photos.
Dennis adds, “Anglers, please remember, we can only add reports if you anglers let us know. I’ve asked many and a few are hesitant to divulge their catch info.”
Also, for anglers looking for additional information about bass fishing around the area, Dennis suggests checking out the Arkansas Bass Fishing Facebook page.
Little Red River
(updated 7-1-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said Thursday, “We haven’t seen consistent times of generation or amount of water being released this past week. Be sure to check the generation schedule before heading to the Little Red River over the holiday weekend 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.
“San Juan Worms, egg pattern and streamers are best for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use hot pink and red-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads.”
(updated 7-1-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said earlier this week that water was clear and fluctuating, and generators are consistent (11 a.m.- 11 p.m.), while the temperature of the water is in the high 40s-low 50s. Trout are good on size 5 and 7 Shad Raps, Lucky Strike Trout Worm, and size 5 and 7 Rapala Countdowns.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 469.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 463.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 7-1-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry lake is 469.85 feet msl and falling with generation and evaporation. It is 7.31 feet above normal pool for this time of year (462.54 feet msl), and about every four days the Army Corps of Engineers is able to lower it 1 foot; so in about 1 month it should get to normal pool under current conditions with generation and evaporation.
Bream catching is good all over lake and rivers. Use crickets or crawlers from super shallow out to 25 feet on a drop-shot rig for best action. Black bass are on top roaming, or in bushes or edge of bushes, or out deeper on main structure. Use crankbaits, Texas-rigged worm and topwater baits; on windy days try spinnerbaits, drop-shots. A lot of things are working, just stay around the bait.
Crappie are going good trolling with crankbaits, jigs or vertical-fishing jigs or minnows in 15-30 feet, but it could be over 60 feet of water. Walleye are getting more predictable, setting up on edges of pea gravel flats, eating crankbaits or crawlers or deep jerkbaits fished in 15-40 feet.
Anglers are catching catfish on jugs, lines and rods and reels, with a lot of different baits. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating hair jigs, topwater baits, spoons and inline spinners in 30-50 feet of water. Again, stay around the bait for best catches; like the rest of game fish they are eating seven or eight times a day at some point.
(updated 7-1-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is 8 feet high and clear, and the surface water temperature is in the high 80s. Bass are fair (better in the mornings) on topwaters, Spooks and Paw Paw in shallow water around the bushes. In deeper water, fish the bass schooling on Spooks and CC Spoons.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-1-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reminds everyone about the Free Fishing Derby scheduled to take place Sunday, July 4, for children ages 5-16 years old; the derby will run 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call for more information. This week the lake is clear and back to a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie picked up with fair results; anglers are finding them in deeper areas. Use minnows. Black bass have been poor this week. The catfish have been good at night on nightcrawlers baited on the trotlines.
(updated 7-1-2021) Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the clarity is fairly clear and the lake level remains low. Bream are good using redworms or crickets. Crappie are picking back up with some fair catches in the mornings on minnows and jigs. Black bass went into hiding, with no reports this past week. Catfish are excellent; use black salties.
(update 7-1-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said the lake has been clear, but as of Wednesday afternoon there were areas that were a little cloudy. The lake is high by 1 foot. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on size 6 minnows and on jigs. Brushpiles seem to be where they’re hanging out, and anglers are still finding them by trolling down the middle at a slow pace.
Black bass are good, with bass coming up into the shallows in the afternoons. Use a spinnerbait, bass minnows or a white buzzbait. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, worms, Catfish Charlie’s bait and on trotlines baited with goldfish.
(updated 6-24-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 7-1-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported Thursday that water temperature is mid- to low 80s. Largemouth bass have been fair to slow. 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 bass (spotted bass) are fair. Some reports have them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks. Try using jigs.
In WestRock Landing’s Tuesday Night black bass tournament, Josh Baker and Josh Jeffers caught 11.39 pounds of bass, including the 4.34-pound Big Bass. Rick Easter and Shane Curtis had a five-bass stringer of 10.25 pounds. But only seven of 19 teams caught five bass, indicative of the recent slow black bass bite.
White bass also are slow. Some reports have white bass being found on the sides of the channel 15-18 feet deep. Try using swimbaits.
For the good news, though, crappie fishing is great! Anglers this week report crappie being found 20-25 feet deep above structure. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream, meanwhile, are ranging fair to good. Some people are saying the big ones can be found 10-15 feet deep around the beds and others are being found 14-16 feet off of windy points. Try using crickets and worms.
Catfishing is fair. Off the shoreline they are being caught out at about 12-15 feet. Try using chicken liver, worms and crayfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 88,009 cfs, about half the flow of this time last week. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 107,798 cfs.
(updated 7-1-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had said the people that catfish in his area of the river are “doing excellent. Noddle fishing and rod fishing, they are doing excellent. They’re catching them mainly on skipjack and then shad with a nightcrawler combination.”
He says the catfish are around the jetties; when there was heavier river flow, it was the backside of the jetties, avoiding the flow. “When the water was up, they’d go back in these bays and sit. Now, they’re spreading out and you’ll find them in about 10-15 feet of water and around any type of structure at all. The tips of the jetties are doing realgood with it. Some might still try to get on the back side, you know, doing their thing, but it seems like it’s awful late for any more spawn.”
He says the river flow has been so bad that most black bass fishing has been hampered of late and have kept anglers off the river, but there have been some tournaments of late in the area, including a big one last weekend. The tournament anglers are catching bass, and he had seven or eight boats through his area last weekend. Crankbaits are mostly being used, and early in the morning they’re using topwater baits going underneath the overhangs and other structure.
That has made up the most fishing reports of late, he said.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-1-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says that the water is clear and at a normal level and current. Bream are good on redworms or crickets. Black bass are good both early in the day and late in the evening; anglers were catching them on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are fair on live bait. No reports on crappie.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 89,691 cfs.
(updated 7-1-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream are good on redworms and crickets in 4-5 feet of water.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 90,057 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 93,359 cfs. The flow has risen by more than double what it was at the same time last week.
(updated 7-1-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is above small craft advisory level, but starting to fall. They had no catch reports.
(updated 7-1-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream are good on redworms and crickets in 4-5 feet of water on the main river and in the Maumelle Pool. Crappie are good on the main river off the end of jetties at 12-15 ft depth on minnows and jigs. Bass are good early in the morning on the main river on Whopper Ploppers and irritator buzzbaits.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 6-24-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the lake has cleared and the level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Catfish reports have been good; use goldfish or skipjack. No reports on crappie or bass.
(update 7-1-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reports that the lake is clear and now back down to normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie still weren’t seen this week. Black bass are good on jigs. Catfish are good on yo-yos, minnows, hot dogs and jig, the usual “a little bit of everything” she says.
(updated 7-1-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Celebrate Independence Day on the cold, refreshing White River in the Ozark Mountain territory.Add some trout fishing to the day and you’ll make memories to last a lifetime.”
Bull Shoals Dam has been averaging 12,500 cfs daily over the last week; that equals roughly four generators/units, if you use that method to estimate water levels. The good news is that the flow has remained fairly constant, which causes less stress to the trout than frequent changes to the generation amounts.
“The rainbow catch is looking healthy and they seem to be looking for bigger baits. We brought two nice browns to the boat (Wednesday) afternoon – a 22-inch and an 18-inch – drifting the bubblegum pink worms mid-depth. The browns left the crawdad tails and sculpins to the rainbows.
“Maybe it was the front moving in that made for the change, but for the most part we expect lots of sun and clear skies this week. That will require bright-colored bait (fluorescent yellow, white and maybe some glitter), finding deeper holes and adding more weight to your line. Don’t forget your sunblock, but apply it away from your fishing area, keep your hands and tackle free from sunscreen, and enjoy the freedom of fishing this Fourth of July.”
(updated 7-1-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they’ve had two rain events in Cotter that totaled 1 inch of rainfall, along with brutally hot temperatures and, at times, heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1 inch to land at 26.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.53 feet msl. This is 7.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.6feet to rest at 3.9 feet above seasonal power pool and 10.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at 6.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 16 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.28 feet msl and 7.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water at night. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains. Expect high levels of generation in the near future.
With the higher flows, the fishing on the White has slowed. 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, North Fork tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water.
(updated 7-1-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon that the brown trout are perking up while the rainbow trout are good, especially for those drift-fishing. River conditions and clarity are improving, they say. The river conditions and clarity are improving, though the river level remains high. The Army Corps of Engineers are running six to eight generators on the dam. THe overall trout bite is good, they say. For baits, try using pink Powerbait., little Silver Cleo’s, Rooster Tails (light greens and browns), worms and shrimp.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 687.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.90 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 920.31 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported Bull Shoals is dropping a little, with the most recent reading at 29 feet above normal pool. Temperature of the water is 80 degrees, depending on location. Clarity is good, and the lake is about 28 feet above normal pool. Limited parking and boat ramp access is an issue. Plan ahead, especially on the weekends. Despite the flooding water, clarity is good. The fishing is fair. Warmer temps are bringing more boat traffic. Some fish are up shallow with the high water. Get up early and look shallow on the flats in the c reeks for largemouth bass. For smallmouth, look mostly toward the m ain lake area. Target long points and sunken humps and islands. The shad are moving. In the shad, try fluke or a 2.8 swimbait. The topwater bite has been good early or late using poppers or small walk-the-dog, Spook, Lucky Craft or some other smaller profile.
If it’s clear,use blue birds and get vertical with a drop-shot 24-32 feet on bluffs on long points. The backs of creeks have a little color change. If they are running water, fish the points. You can always catch them on a jig in channel or channel swings.
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 571.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.65 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is transitioning from the spring bite to the summer bite. In essence, the fish are going deeper as the water warms. “Thursday morning the surface temp was 84, but I don’t think this temp extends too far down at this time. As the warm water goes deeper, a thermocline will form and continue to go deeper as the water temp continues to rise.
“Overall, the fishing for most species on Norfork Lake has been very good. There is still a very good topwater bite for largemouth bass, as well as for striped and hybrid bass. I would assume the topwater activity for striped bass will not last much longer unless we get some cooler weather. It does not look like that will happen.
“I have mainly been using two different baits for topwater activity: my Kastmaster (blade-type bait) and a Zara Spook Jr. Today I strictly used the Kastmaster, as there was a lot of small debris floating and that is not conducive to using a Zara Spook. When I see fish chasing shad on the surface, I try to cast my bait just past the activity. When the bait hits the water. I count down 2 seconds, then I start the retrieval with a jerk, then pause, then reel, then pause and start it all over again back to the boat. You have to see what the fish are looking for speed-wise. The topwater activity for the striped bass starts around 5:30 a.m. and may last until about 6:30 to 7 a.m. Once the fish stop chasing shad on the surface, they start going deep. I am marking fish anywhere from 30 feet to 80 feet deep. Forty feet down seems to be a good place to set up your bait. Live bait is definitely working the best, but vertical jigging a ¾- to 1-ounce spoon is starting to pick us some nice fish.
“If you like trolling, an umbrella rig is working really well. Keep the bait 35-45 feet down and you will catch some nice stripers. A-rigs, deep-diving crankbaits and large swimbaits are also working well, but you will more than likely need to add some inline weight to get deeper. Using a down rigger would be the easiest.
“The largemouth bite has been very good. There are lots of fish up in the sunken brush, but many of them are shorts. The topwater for this species also starts at sunrise and typically has lasted longer than the striped bass topwater activity. I have found that the fish chasing shad close to shore are predominantly shorts, but if you look out in the same area in deeper water and notice fish chasing shad, you’ll find the bigger fish. Today I caught some real nice bass in 120 feet of water, roughly 50 yards away from the bank. The bass also are going deeper as the sun gets high in the sky. Start working the bottom when they go down, in 15-25 feet of water.
“Best areas for me have been main lake points in the mid-lake area. I have always had the best luck finding fish on the points that have a deep-water channel swinging in close to the point. The fish are also back in several of the major creeks that are located in several different areas of the lake.
“If you are looking for almost daily fishing activity on Norfork Lake, go to our Facebook page for Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. I post daily fishing reports of what I am doing, as well as our guests. Norfork Lake level is fairly stable at this time and is rising less than 1 inch per day. The level is 573.02 feet msl. The surface water temperature was 84 degrees (Thursday) morning and the clear is fairly clear. If you are looking for a great vacation, call Hummingbird Hideaway Resort at 870-492-5113. Norfork Lake is all about fishing, playing or just relaxing on the water. Happy fishing.”
(updated 7-1-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 16 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.28 feet msl and 7.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water at night. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains. Expect high levels of generation in the near future.
The Norfork tailwater is fishing moderately. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22)like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. John’s current favorite combination is a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing moderately. There is increased pressure with warmer weather. Fish early or late to avoid the crowds (the creek is open to fishing from sunrise to sundown). The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is open but the restrooms are still closed. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10), mop flies and egg patterns.
John also said, “One of the things that can happen when you are wading is to fall into the river. I always say that it is not a matter of if, but when. Over my almost 40 years of fly-fishing this area, I have had the opportunity to fall into just about every stream around here. A couple of days ago I was able to fall into Dry Run Creek. It was not my first rodeo.
“My wife, Lori, had booked a trip guiding Kennon, a 13-year-old girl. Her grandparents brought her up to learn how to fly-fish. They also brought a couple of chairs to sit in on the bank so that they could also enjoy the trip.
“It was a warm sunny day. The high was 95 degrees. Dry Run Creek is in a tight little valley. There is a lot of tree cover that offers a lot of shade. On a day like this, it can be 15-20 degrees cooler on the creek than in the parking lot. It was quite pleasant there despite the high temperature.
“Kennon was doing very well. Lori worked carefully with her. I was walking the creek all of the way to the confluence with the North Fork River to identify any new spots to fish. When I finished that, I joined Lori and the grandparents to watch Kennon fish. She caught several nice trout, including a stout 24-inch cutthroat.
“We moved to a different spot a bit upstream to try our luck. Kennon hooked a big, heavy, brightly colored rainbow. This thing was huge. Lori stayed with Kennon to coach her on how to land the big trout. She asked me to net the monster. I agreed.
“I picked up the big boat net we use on Dry Run Creek and stepped into the water. Despite wearing studded felt-soled wading boots, my foot slipped and I fell backwards into the water. I was not overly concerned. In fact, I found the cool water refreshing. I quickly remembered that I had a job to do. There was still a big fish on the line. Of course, I was directly in front of Kennon’s grandparents. I am sure that they were impressed. I got on my feet and walked over to the trout and scooped it into my net. We got some good photos and gently revived and released the trout.
“I had been prepared for the situation and there was little damage to me. I was wearing waist-high waders and I had a wading belt tightly fastened around my waist. This prevented much water to get into my waders. My socks were still dry. My slacks were damp but dried quickly. My shirt was soaked. It is a quick-dry long-sleeved tropical shirt and dried before we left the creek. My polarized prescription sunglasses were securely fastened to me by a cord. The cigar in my pocket was wrapped in cellophane and was dry enough to smoke. Life is good!
“If you are going to wade, always wear a wading belt and clothing that dries quickly. Don’t forget to attach those sunglasses to you with a cord (I have bought that lesson several times). It can make a difference.”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-1-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the 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 1,127.59 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake remains above normal levels,albeit slowly dropping. Water temps are in lower 80s throughout the lake. Summer patterns are in full swing with early morning and dusk the more productive times. Stripers are good, with fish scattered from Prairie Creek down to the dam. They are moving every day, so you have to move also and check areas and move if nothing is there. Bream and brooders are working, as are trolled umbrella rigs. There has been some topwater in early a.m. and right at dark. Have a pole ready because they do not stay up long. Crappie are fair to good. You can troll or fish brushtops in 20 feet to 30 feet with jigs. Walleye are best in the mid-lake area with some decent results on cloudy days. You still have to work through shorts, which seems to be the case all year. Bass are good on all main lake points. Catfish are good. Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 7-1-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) says the walleye are good on the points and channel swings for anglers using minnows anddeep-diving crankbaits. Bream are good and have moved shallow; use redworms and crickets. Crappie ares good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are excellent now; anglers have been catching them using worms on the bottom, swimbaits and topwater lures.
Catfish are good on chicken liver, live minnows or big worms. Beaver Lake is clear and has a surface water temperature of 84 degrees. The water level, high for several weeks, is beginning to come down.
(updated 7-1-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has been outstanding over the past few weeks in the tailwater. Most have been caught on light terminal tackle, fishing with various PowerBaits and Pautzke Fire Baits. This week’s hot spot has been between Houseman and the Highway 62 bridge. With the high water, try looking for the “slime line” and fish close to it. Fishing spoons and shallow divers have also produced some very nice fish. To get on the Kentucky bass, fish toward Beaver town and Holiday Island. Try fishing chunk rock and structure, in 10-15 feet of water. Most are being caught on soft plastics worked in different sections of the water column.
“I hope you able to get out and catch some fish. Enjoy your Independence Day, stay hydrated and wet some lines. And remember, if you have a question, please feel to reach out to me via phone of my Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service).”
War Eagle/White River
(updated 7-1-2021) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting said War Eagle Creek water conditions are lowering upstream. Withrow Springs State Park Highway 23 north bridge access to the AGFC Access (7-mile float), from AGFC to Smallmouth Rapids Access (7 mile float) has free parking and free access. Great smallmouth bass fishing. Watermelon plastics and crawdad crankbaits get good results. Shuttle options are available for upstream and downstream floats. The water is fine. Note that the USGS water gauge was damaged and hasn’t been replaced, per the USGS. Canoe, kayak and flat-bottom boat rentals available.
Kings River shuttles are available for AGFC Marble Access, Alabam Marshall Ford private overnight parking available, AGFC Rock House Access, if there are floatable water conditions. Visit the War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC page on Facebook or call 479-530-3262.
(updated 7-1-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the lake is still murky from the algae, while the water level is normal. Bream remained excellent on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are being caught in good numbers on plastic worms and topwater lure. Catfish are fair.
(updated 7-1-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday afternoon the lake is clear and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets, with anglers catching them in 3-4 feet depth of water. Crappie became more active this week and the bite was fair on minnows. Black bass are good; try spinnerbaits, topwater lures and Chatterbaits. Catfish are fair on chicken liver and cut bait.
(updated 6-17-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing remains good for most species, as the surface water temperature passes 80 degrees (it read 81 degrees Monday morning) and the water level remains high with murky clarity. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs. Looks around the brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Crappie are fair. They’re bitting minnows, jigs and worms around brushpiles, stumps and points. Black bass are good; try spinnerbaits, topwater lures and plastic worms. Catfishing is good using worms, stink bait and cut bait.
(updated 6-17-2021) Ben Batten, chief of the AGFC Fisheries Division, reported to AGFC commissioners this week that Lake Poinsett is about 7 feet away from being at full pool (Lake Poinsett at its deepest point is about 40 feet deep, and filling the lake is rainfall dependent, though this particular area of the state didn’t get quite as much recent rainfall as other areas, he said) as the Poinsett rebuild project continues. Plans are to stock the lake with channel catfish soon, but Fisheries is planning to ask the AGFC Commissioners in July to OK a temporary plan to limit catfish to 5 per angler, half of the normal catfish limit, through this year. Catfish will give anglers an immediate opportunity for fishing for take. Otherwise, angling in the lake will be catch-and-release until the lake population is rebuilt. Since March, the lake has been stocked with prey fish to build a forage base before the introduction of crappie and bass through stocking next year. Among the stockings this spring were thousands of 4- to 7-inch redear and 4- to 6-inch bluegill that you can catch and release.
The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed Dec. 1, following the completion of a three-year renovation projection, and the lake began to refilling. 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.
Other forage species that have been stocked this spring include fathead minnows, golden shiners and threadfin shad have been added in huge numbers to the lake to build up the food supply for the predators.
(updated 7-1-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that water clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Surface temperature is ranging 83-85 degrees. Bream continue to bite well on redworms and crickets. Black bass are good on topwater baits both early in the day and late in the evening. Catfish are biting well on chicken liver. No reports on crappie.
(updated 6-17-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 475 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity has been a little cloudy. The river is up about a foot above average flow. Still can be tricky wading. The trout are biting great on nymphs and streamers on cloudy days. The sunny hot days can be slow. “The fish are there, just gotta get it down deep,” Mark says. “The smallmouth bass are starting to bite better. Definitely streamers with lead eyes to get the fly down quick. They love to hit on the drop. Ned rigs and tubes have been working well with spinning equipment.
“It is hot out, so hydrate and don’t forget, the Spring River is ice cold.”
Read Mark’s blog at springriverfliesandguides.com for the latest conditions on the Spring River.
(updated 7-1-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing better. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. The canoe season is upon us. Look out for the aluminum hatch! Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 9.71 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage continued to fall to 12.23 feet, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta has fallen below flood stage of 26.00 feet for more than three weeks, sitting at 24.34 feet.
(updated 7-1-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) report that the river walleye have been fair this week on crankbaits. Black bass are fair using crankbaits. That’s all they’ve heard on catches. The water remains muddy and high in current.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 7-1-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team is on summer break and had no recent reports.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-1-2021) Jeff Shell, superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said Cane Creek Lake water temperatures are running in the high 80s to mid-90s. Water clarity is about 1.5 feet. Crappie are in their summer pattern and can be found around brush and structure with minnows and crappie jigs. Bass are in their summer pattern and can be found suspended around structure and along the bank in early morning and evening hours. Topwater, spinners and soft plastics are great for working the shoreline, and medium-diving crankbaits and Texas-rigging soft plastics are producing results for suspended fish. Catfish are being caught on trotlines and limblines using large minnows and various attractant baits such as chicken liver.
As water temperatures are on the rise, please be mindful when running trotlines and limblines as the higher water temperatures can lead to increased mortality rates for fish that are left on the lines for too long.
(updated 7-1-2021) Kris Nault, AGFC district fisheries supervisor in Monticello, says dam repair work is underway by the city of Monticello’s contractor, 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 259.30 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday, Millwood Lake is 4 inches above normal pool elevation and continues on a slow fall. The lake Tuesday was at 259.5 feet msl and falling; oxbows’ water clarity was improved. Little River clarity was heavy stain to muddy with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 242 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam of around 16,000 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
NAVIGATION CONDITIONS ARE 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 84-88 degrees depending on location.
Current along Little River decreased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 2-5 inches visibility depending on location. Oxbows’ clarity and visibility are 8-12 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 conditions are found on Little River and Saline River, and worse further up river past White Cliffs on Little River. Clarity at Saratoga and Okay area has improved drastically.
The Army Corps of Engineers says that all campgrounds and parks, and boat ramps ARE REOPENED EXCEPT PARALOMA AND SARATOGA, which are in seasonal closures and will reopen in the fall. RIVER RUN EAST BOAT RAMP BELOW MILLWOOD DAM REMAINS CLOSED DUE TO HIGH WATER.
EXCELLENT ALLIGATOR POPULATIONS are being observed on Millwood this year, and Millwood Lake should be a good hunt this fall.
As for the fishing specifics this week:
* Largemouth bass: Over the past several weeks with fluctuating pool levels, fishing for largemouths has been best early from daylight to around 10 a.m., slowing in the heat of the day. Black/blue-colored buzzbaits and frogs in June Bug and pumpkinseed/white were working near pads and grass early. Custom-built Chatterbaits in Firetiger, chartreuse Sexy Shad and bream colors (pumpkinseed/black/orange) got a few reactions. Brazalo Custom Lures Spinnerbaits in Millwood Mayhem Bream have been working early, fished fast and rambunctious near the surface. Frogs like the Live Target hollow body, the Zoom Horny Toad and Bass Assassin Shads were getting reactions in the pads early. The best reactions over the past couple of weeks or so have been from the adolescent bass from 10-15 inches and 1- to 2-pound largemouths. Ten-inch Power Worms in black/blue tail, black grape and plum colors have been working for a few bass up to 3 pounds. Bulky 4-inch Gitzit Tubes with a rattle inside have been working; the best colors were pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail, purple smoke/chartreuse tail or black and blue. Largemouths were slightly lethargic in the hot sun of the midday, and not much response or activity was noticed after 10 a.m.
Acres of floating alligatorweed mats are making fishing many types of lures and crankbaits difficult and navigation impossible in numerous areas of the oxbows up Little River. The middle of Horseshoe Lake oxbow, inside the cypress tree line on the north and east side, and northeast pocket behind the northern peninsula, is completely matted. Mike said they noted some large grass mats floating in Little River this week with debris. Bagley Creek, Red Slough and South Hickory pockets are vegetation-matted thick, making navigation and fishing impossible. Pine Island, Schall, Plum and Mine creeks are beginning to mat completely over. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently monitoring and evaluating the excessive alligatorweed densities lake-wide. The Corps conducted an alligatorweed beetle release several weeks ago and is monitoring success rates.
* Bream: Have been in a spawning mode for a few weeks in a few areas near Jack’s Isle, and at Millwood State Park off the shoreline, and were biting crickets, earthworms, sweet corn and/or bread.
* White bass: Were again roaming in Little River and stacked up behind points in deeper creek channels dumping into Little River. Random reactions were fair, and best on chrome/blue spoons with a red bucktail. Rooster Tails and Little Georges also caught a few over the past two weeks.
* Crappie: Improved on jigs and tubes in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on main lake from 10-15 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best with tiny spinning Rat-L-Traps (1/4 ounce) and jigs. Minnows caught a few 1.5-2 pound black crappie, but were slow in the afternoon.
* Catfish: Were fair this week with the current along Little River. Limblines, trotlines, and yo-yos have been working for some nice blues and channel cats over the past couple of weeks with the increase of discharge at Millwood Dam. Cut buffalo, hot dogs, chicken hearts and catalpa worms were working over the past couple weeks for some nice-sized 3- to 5-pound cats on trotlines and yo-yos from 8-12 feet deep near current flows in creek channels near the river.
(updated 7-1-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported that lake clarity is clear, while the the water level is low (water is being released from the lake). Crappie fishing is good. The fish are 10 feet deep. Minnows and jigs were working, along with hand-tied jigs and Bonehead Tackle Jigs in gray/silver and pink/silver colors). Catfishing is excellent on anything and everything, they report. Erling has a nice population of channel, blue and very large flathead catfish, per recent AGFC fish sampling.
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 544.00 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.02 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at iron mountain marina says the lake level is 406.10 feet msl and water temperature is back up to 86. “The bite has slowed down but still catching some nice fish,” he said. “Lots of smaller crappie in brushpiles in the 22- to 12-foot depth range. A few larger ones will
be caught mixed in with the small ones. Most of the piles have groups of smaller fish on the top, such as bream, Kentucky bass and 8- to 9-inch crappie. Most of the bigger ones we are catching are near the bottom.
“We are having less action on casting jigs. Drop-shotting for us is producing the biggest and most crappie. It’s been my experience that when the water temperature reach 86 or above, the crappie bite slows on brushpile fishing.
“Bream still biting, but the bed fishing is in the rears compared to a couple of weeks ago. People are still noodling for catfish. Sorry, no reports on catfishing.
“Well, with the bad news comes some good news. Surface activity is on the upswing. On Tuesday I saw whites on the surface at Cedar Point and hybrids around Goat Island. Topwaters like Zara Spook, Whopper Plopper, and a popper/chugger bait are good. Looks like early morning runs and chasing the schoolers is the best action.”
Photo Left: Avry Jester with another slab crappie caught with guide John Duncan.
(updated 7-1-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said Wednesday, “It’s truly amazing, but I’m still catching ample numbers of crappie 8-12 feet deep in 15-24 feet of water on live bait.
“However, not all the brushpiles are holding crappie and it’s getting thinner each day. So, in transition, I’m seeing some surface activity from the spotted bass and I’m still watching for the whites and hybrids to start breaking and doing their morning feed. Have a great and safe Independence Day.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 445.08 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.18 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 7-1-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said that the water is finally out of flood stage and at a normal level. The water is a little muddy, but is at a normal level (out flood stage). Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair in the Ouachita River lakes on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair with the bite being a little sporadic. Catfish are good; use shad, live bait or bream.
(updated 7-1-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and the water is low. Bream continue to bite fairly well, though this week’s bite fell back to good from last week’s excellent action. Redworms and crickets are the usual go-tos. Crappie aren’t to be seen, though. Bass are fair. THe best way to catch them this week was to fish deep with a 10- to 12-inch worm, or throw a spinnerbait. Catfish were not biting.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-1-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 58 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is currently scheduling generation from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day starting today and continuing through Thursday, July 8. This schedule is posted weekly on the Entergy website for public viewing normally on Wednesday evening. Now that Lake Ouachita has been lowered several feet below flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are now at a level where fishing and boating are now safe to continue. Rainbow trout fishing below Carpenter Dam is very slow as the season was marred by flooding. The past three years have been adversely affected by high water as trout despise muddy conditions. Summer water temperatures of late June and early July mark the end of the trout season on Lake Catherine until the AGFC stocking program begins again in mid-November.
Catfish have been caught below the bridge in the main channel on cut bait and live minnows as these fish are nearing the end of their spawning cycle. The majority of fish caught have been in the 4- to 8-pound range. Blue catfish are the dominant species in the tailrace area. White bass have been observed breaking in the early morning hours chasing threadfin shad. Casting spinnerbaits and jigs in ⅛-ounce weights has been the best presentation to catch these fish the past several weeks. Hybrid bass school alongside white bass and are being caught on the same techniques. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current has been productive catching white bass and hybrids, as well as walleye in the 3-pound class. Walleye thrive in the tailrace in the summer months as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish. The summer months will be dominated by these fish species with migration in and out of the tailrace a weekly event.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
(updated 7-1-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 7-1-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, had no reports.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.87 feet msl (normal pool: 344.65 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that Nimrod remains clear and is now at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms, crickets and nightcrawlers. Crappie are good, with the catching coming in 4-5 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good, mostly hitting spinnerbaits. Catfishing os good; they can be caught on noodles as well as trotlines using live bait or cut shad.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 575.77 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-1-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are good. Jighead worms and a drop-shot finesse worms have been working. Walleye are very good and being caught on spoons and drop-shot nightcrawlers near brush on points. Stripers are good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the eastern half of the lake. Bream are good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are on beds 6-10 feet deep. Crappie are good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are good and being caught on juglines and trotlines with live or cut bait. Rod-and-reel fishing is producing some good stringers using nightcrawlers for bait near brush. Water temperature is ranging 80-84 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level on Wednesday was 575.85 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 386.79 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 22.41 feet and more than 3.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 7-1-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) reports that the White River level at Clarendon has finally dropped enough to access Cooks Lake; the lake is now open for youth and mobility-impaired anglers during normal business hours. The best species to target right now will be largemouth bass, Wil says. Any soft plastic that is black with red flake would be a great choice flipped to the banks or cypress trees. No reports yet on bluegill; however, they should be near laydowns and willing to bite a cricket or redworm.
Cook’s Lake is a 2-mile long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Due to current guidelines, Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing during normal business hours Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers, and up to two helpers who may also fish. Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat. To comply with current guidelines, please call ahead at least a day in advance to register to fish. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center, and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, call the center at 870-241-3373.
(updated 7-1-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said he had no report from Horseshoe Lake this week but has been fishing some other lakes along the Mississippi River and had some success. Midway Lake has produced some decent crappie. “We aren’t catching a lot of fish but the quality has been good. Spider-rigging has been the ticket.
“Bream on Midway have been a hot item as well with some really nice fish being caught. They are scattered through the brush on the island side. Catfish have been biting all over the lake and we have caught several catfish spider-rigging.”
Kent added that he hoped everyone “has an enjoyable Fourth of July, and we appreciate all of our men and women that serve and protect this great country!”
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 7-1-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no fishing reports. He says 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.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails
Don't miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!