Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 8, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 8, 2021. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 11 a.m. the day of publication (July 8).
****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: Allen Middlebrooks got quite a Father’s Day surprise on Lake Hamilton, landing this massive striper that, he estimated, weighed between 50-55 pounds. Check out this week’s report from Greeson Marine in Hot Springs on the good fishing going on at Lake Hamilton further in the Fishing Report.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 7-8-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is the normal Lake Conway stain, but the water level still is low. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are biting fair and continue to be found scattered around cypress trees. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good and being caught on trotlines and limblines.
(updated 7-8-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) that with the Little Rock pool’s fishing conditions difficult with craft advisories and high flow, the crew took in Lake Conway, where the water is stained and at a normal level. Bass are good in the mornings (they can be hit or miss some days) on frogs and buzzbaits around lily pads and cypress trees. Bass will also be good on spinnerbaits if it’s windy around the lily pads and cypress trees. In the afternoon, look for a good bass bite if you’re throwing a Texas-rigged worm or wacky rig. Bream are pretty good in coves and around lily pads on crickets and redworms.
(updated 7-8-2021) 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, lake Winona). 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 active. Catfish are doing well along the bottom all over. Brewer and Barnett lakes are seeing a LOT of bass activity
Dennis also went to Lake Winona recently. “Fishing was very slow, BUT there’s a 6-mile ride to the launch ramp where the average speed will be 5 mph. BUT if you not in a hurry, well worth it.”
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 7-8-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers is running a bit more water from Greers Ferry Dam in the afternoons and water is fairly clear. They’ve been fishing for trout early in the morning, before water is running, on marabou jigs, Trout Magnets, Rooster Tails and size 5 and size 7 Rapala Countdowns between Lobo Landing and Swinging Bridge.
(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.”
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 468.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 7-8-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 468.29 feet msl, 5.75 feet above normal pool for this time of year (462.54 feet msl). “Crappie are still eating well if you can handle the heat. Fish straight up and down or troll for them, with crankbaits, crappie jigs – several things will work; jigs and minnows for vertical fishing is best in 12-35 feet.”
Catfishing is good all over lake and rivers as well, he adds. Hot dogs to soap are working for bait and all in between for all species. Bream are good, “just finding the bigger fish is the hard part,” Tommy says. Drag crickets or crawlers on drop-shot at 5-30 feet. Hybrid bass and white bass are chewing on and off all day and night; spoons, inline spinners and hair jigs are working as well as swimbaits in 25-55 feet. Black bass can be caught on top down to 55 feet dragging something: drop shots, C-rigs, Texas rigs, cranking, swimbaits, Alabama Rigs, spinnerbaits in the wind. “Just stay around bait,” Tommy said.
“Be safe while on water.”
(updated 7-8-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is clear and 6 feet high. Bass are spotty; it’s hit or miss. Best success is coming using topwater baits where the bass are chasing schooling fish in open water on the lower end of the lake around the Sandy Beach area all the way up to the dam site.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-8-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is clear and at its normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are still fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass started biting again, and the results this past week have been good. They’re being caught around shoreline with topwaters getting the action. A 50-pound blue catfish was caught on a trotline this week, with baby bream being used as bait. And, besides that monster, the overall catfish bite is good. Along with small bream, try stink bait and chicken liver as attractants.
(updated 7-8-2021) Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the clarity has turned dingy and the level is still low. Bream are good using redworms or crickets. Catfish are excellent; use the basic catfish bait. No reports on crappie or black bass.
(updated 7-8-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 7-1-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported 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.
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 140,360 cfs, almost twice as much flow as this time last week. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 144,946 cfs. The entire river system through Arkansas has flow from 130,224 to a high of 149,477 cfs as of midday Thursday.
(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 real good 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 7-8-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) had no fishing report this week. Last week, when the water was clear and at a normal level and current, the bream were good on redworms or crickets. Black bass were good early and late, with spinnerbaits and plastic worms the best bet. Catfish are fair on live bait. Crappie had gone into hiding.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 147,994 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 146,294 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 149,477 cfs. These are very high and dangerous flows, and a small craft advisory is issued.
(updated 7-8-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the flow is high and at small craft advisory level, keeping them off the river for fishing. They had no reports from anglers either this week.
(updated 7-8-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream are “really good” on redworms and crickets around the Willow Beach area. Crappie are good in 15 feet of water off the jetties on minnows around the old Cajun’s Wharf location. Reports on crappie are also good around the Burns Park area around jetties and pylons in 12-15 feet depth of water on the new bait Crappie Psychic. Bass are good in early mornings on topwaters, buzzbaits and Pop-R’s. White bass good below the dam on Vibric Rooster Tails in white and yellow colors. Catfish are good below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam on live bream.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-8-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the lake has is high now and they’ve heard no fishing reports this week.
(update 7-8-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reports that the lake is fairly clear and has dropped to low over the past few days. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie reappeared, with anglers getting a fair bite with minnows, jigs and trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are good on jigs. Catfish remain hungry for about anything you throw, she said. The bite is good on yo-yos, minnows, hot dogs and jigs.
(updated 7-8-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “The heat is on and people ask, “Is the fishing OK on the river in July?” The answer: “Yes, and yes!” The Cotter area get fresh flows of water from the bottom of Bull Shoals Lake to ensure the river is trout-loving cold; the fish are as frisky as in February.
“To attract the trout, tie on a gray/white Marabou Jig – 1/8 ounce is best – and jiggle it just above the bottom. Scented baits (garlic “flavored” PowerBait works fine) will increase your skill at reeling in those healthy, growing rainbows we’ve been blessed with. We’re seeing spectacular action between the U.S. Highway 62 bridge and just below Wildcat Shoals in the Cotter area.
“You can experiment with shrimp or with various colors of floating eggs and you’ll bag a bunch, but the action will be faster when you use them together.
“One of the best baits for a lazy drift down the river is the Berkley Pink Worm with or without the mouse tail. Tie on a red wiggler and catch a limit of pan-sized rainbows for supper.
“Drink plenty of water while you’re out there, keep the sunscreen applied to your skin but away from your trout bait and fishing gear, and keep enjoying the great outdoors in the Arkansas Ozarks.”
(updated 7-8-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday that fishing overall is still slow compared to last year at this time. The clarity is improving but the river level overall has been high with six to eight generators running “pretty much round-the-clock” at the dam, they report. This week’s bite grade is fair. Try pink PowerBait, Little Silver Cleo’s, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp for best results.
Many customers of Sportsman’s probably know Pete Cobb (photo left), affectionately known there as the “guide to the stars” who has been working on the river for 40-plus years. Sadly, Sportsman’s informs us, Pete passed away on July 6. Our condolences to Pete’s family and his Sportsman’s family and friends he’s made over the years guiding on the river.
(updated 7-8-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had two rain events totaling a half-inch in Cotter, warm temperatures and occasional moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 foot to land at 25.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.27 feet msl. This is 8.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.3 feet to rest at 2.6 feet above seasonal power pool and 11.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 5.9 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 15.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 556 feet msl and 8.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfolk 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 has slowed. The top spot has been Bull Shoals State Park. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8 and 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14 and 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16 and 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 says his current favorite combination is a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper).
John also talked this week about watching the quickly changing weather on the water, “While I get a few last-minute guide trips, most of my trips are planned well in advance, sometimes months before. When they are booked, I am often asked what the fishing conditions will be. In general, I have no idea. The water conditions change daily and I don’t get the prediction until the night before.
“Weather is even more unpredictable. I have fished in temperatures below 10 degrees and over 100. I have worked in rain, sleet, snow and ice storms.
“The one exception is lightning. It is just too much of a risk to fish during a lightning storm. I have been told that NASA uses graphite (the material that most fly rods are made from) for lightning rods. The idea of waving a lightning rod over my head, during a lightning storm, is frightening at best. Therefore, I head for shelter when the lightning begins. I don’t mind being uncomfortable during inclement weather, but the concept of being fried does not appeal to me.
“I had a guide trip last week that had been on the books for a couple of weeks. As the day approached, I was constantly checking the conditions. Our once low water was replaced with much higher water. More foreboding was the weather forecast. It called for thunderstorms and heavy rain.
“My clients were not overly concerned. They showed up with positive attitudes and good raingear. I put on my rainsuit, rigged up the fly rods and launched my boat. Just before I launched, it began raining hard. There were a few other guides at the ramp and we were all concerned about the weather.
“I motored downstream to my favorite spot on this level of generation. I made a couple of drifts and picked up a fat 17-inch rainbow. Despite the weather, things looked good. About that time I heard the crack of thunder. I looked up and saw a bolt of lightning. It looked close. I told my clients that it was time to go. They heartily agreed. They cranked in their lines and laid their rods down in the boat’s bait tray. I started my motor and headed for the ramp.
“The trip was rough, with the windblown rain stinging my face and lightning popping around us. I pulled up to the ramp and sent my clients to the Rim Shoals pavilion to shelter from the storm. I secured my boat to keep it from drifting away during the storm and then joined them.
“It was nice to be out of the weather. There were three other guides there with their clients. We were all seeking shelter and waiting out the storm. Unfortunately there was no letup. The lightning kept flashing around us for several hours. One by one the clients decided that it just wasn’t worth it and canceled their trip. My guys held out for a long time but finally gave it up. Lightning is nothing to fool with.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 686.50 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 919.06 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-8-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported Wednesday that limited parking and boat ramp access remains an issue there. Plan ahead, especially on weekends. Despite the flooding water, lake clarity is still good. There are still some fish up shallow. Get up early and look shallow on the flats in the creeks for schoolers. Fish with topwater baits, poppers, Lucky Craft Gunfish and the like. Once the sun pops up, fish a Beaver or a big worm in the laydowns. On windy and cloudy days, use a Whopper Plopper, a buzzbait or a Horny Toad. If it’s clear and flat, use blue birds and target smallmouth bass or spotted bass on long points and bluff ledges. Get vertical and drop-shot in 24-32 feet off the bluffs and on long points, or use the old Neg rig and target points, humps and islands in 15-20 feet depth. Keep the boat off the old shoreline, and FISH THE CONDITIONS.
Surface temperature is 80 degrees. The lake is 27 feet above normal conservation pool. Clarity is good. Check out Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 570.83 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 7-8-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 7-8-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 15.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 556 feet msl and 8.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfolk 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 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 and 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14 and 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. John says his 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.
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 7-8-2021) 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 1,127.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-8-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is slowly dropping, as it has been for the last few weeks. Water temps are in low to mid-80s. “Biggest change has been the striper bite last week,” he said. “The bite is really good last few days. Shad and booders are working, as are bream. Look from Rocky Branch down to the dam. The bite is early, and I would say you need to be out by 5:30 a.m. There is some topwater early and late. Bass fishing is good on flats and points. Crappie are mostly suspended in and around main lake points with flats nearby. If you have Garmin LiveScope, pitching to suspended fish is putting nice slabs in the boat.”
Walleye are still off and on. Look around points near the old white river channel. Crawler harnesses work well during summer. Catfish are good. Bream are good. This pattern will continue through August, he said. Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 7-8-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) says the lake is still high and slowly falling, and the clarity is clear. Surface water temperature is in the low 80s. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie dropped off somewhat with just a fair bite this week on minnows and jigs as well as for anglers trolling. Black bass also tailed off some. Anglers were having best success using finesse-style baits during the day and fishing worms and spinnerbaits at night. Catfish are good on chicken liver, live minnows or big worms.
(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).”
LEFT: Justin Toland caught his first walleye, fishing the Beaver tailwater.
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 7-8-2021) 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 are still interested, with a good bite found by anglers trolling in the channel and using crankbaits. Black bass are good early in the day and later in the evening on topwater lures. Also, there is a daytime bite on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good on chicken liver, cut bait and nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-8-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing continues to be good in all species at Lake Charles. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jibs. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and worms fished around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points. Bass are good on plastic worms, but anglers may be using other baits and not willing to divulge their secret. Find the bass around the brush or rocky points. Catfishing is good using worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver, minnows, cutbait and gold fish. The lake is always murky and is high. Surface temperature on the Fourth of July was 77 degrees.
(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 7-8-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) had no recent report. Check out Mark’s blog at springriverfliesandguides.com for the latest conditions on the Spring River.
(updated 7-8-2021) 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 9.67 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage continued to fall slightly to 12.05 feet, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is sitting at 23.92, more than 2 feet below flood stage of 26.00 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 7-8-2021) 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 7-8-2021) 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. Many artificial fish habitat structures have been created and put in place, awaiting the refilling of the lake when dam repair work is done.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.34 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-8-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that earlier this week Millwood Lake was 3 inches above normal elevation and continuing on a slow fall. The lake Tuesday was at 259.4 feet msl and falling; oxbows’ water clarity had improved. Little River clarity was heavy stain to muddy with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 237 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 10,000 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 the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
Navigation conditions on the lake are improved, he said, with reduced discharge rates and flow conditions in Little River. Still, use extreme caution anytime high gate discharge conditions exist and in the lake watch for random broken or floating timber. Lots of Little River buoy markers along the main lake channel may have moved with recent gate changes at the dam and with recent high winds. Rriver clarity is ranging 2-5 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of the oxbows is 10-15 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing have heavier stain/muddy inflow conditions. Clarity at Saratoga and Okay areas have improved drastically. Wilton Landing, Millwood State Park and numerous other campgrounds and boat launch ramps that briefly closed have been reopened. The Army Corps of Engineers reports that all campgrounds, parks and boat ramps are reopened except Paraloma and Saratoga, which are season closures and will reopen this fall. River Run east boat ramp below the dam has been reopened by the Corps.
As for the fishing specifics, Mike reports:
* Largemouth bass: Fishing is best early from daylight to around 10 a.m,, slowing in the heat of the day. Bass Assassin Shads and frogs in black, June Bug and white have been 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 also continue working early, fished fast and
rambunctious near the surface. Frogs like the Live Target hollow body, the Zoom Horny Toad and Bass Assassin Shads continue getting reactions in the pads early. The best reactions over the past couple 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; 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 seen after 10 a.m.
In recent bass tournaments over the past couple of weeks, two trophy-size largemouths were weighed in post-spawn at over 9 pounds each.
Bass Assassin Shad jerkbaits were working in the same flats and stumps with lily pads as the topwater frogs early in the morning. Pumpkinseed-chartreuse tail, Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom and Bluegill Flash in the 5-inch sizes seemed to draw best reactions. If you can find drops and vertical structure where the alligatorweed and lily pads converge on receding flats or deeper drops on secondary points, from 5-6 feet deep tapering out to 8-9 feet deep, custom-painted S-Cranks and Little John Cranks in bream and shad patterns were getting random reactions over the past few weeks. Bomber Fat Free Guppy in Splatterback and Citrus Shad colors worked. Heavy ¾-ounce 1-Knocker Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic and Splatterback caught some bass in the oxbows of McGuire where the water clarity has much improved over the past couple weeks.
Acres of floating alligatorweed mats in numerous areas of the oxbows up Little River are making fishing with many types of lures and crankbaits difficult and the navigation impossible. “The middle of Horseshoe Lake oxbow, inside the cypress tree line on the north and east sides, and the northeast pocket behind the northern peninsula, is completely matted,” he said. “We 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, made navigation and fishing impossible. Pine Island, Schall, Plum and Mine Creeks are beginning to mat completely over. The Corps of Engineers is currently monitoring and evaluating the excessive alligatorweed densities lake-wide. The Corps did conduct an alligatorweed beetle release several weeks ago and are monitoring success rates.
* Bream: They 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. Bream were biting crickets, earthworms, sweet corn and/or bread.
* White bass: Still roaming in Little River and her oxbows, and are stacked up behind points in deeper creek channels dumping into Little River and creekmouth junctions in the oxbows. Random reactions were fair, and best on chrome/blue spoons with a red bucktail. Rooster Tails, Bomber Fat Free Shads and Rocket Shads also caught a few whites 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 8-12 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best for jigs. Minnows caught a few 1.5- to 2-pound black crappie early, but were slow in the afternoon.
* Cats: Continue to move and feed well in 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 of weeks for some nice size 3- to 5-pound cats on trotlines and yo-yos set 8-12 feet deep near current flows in creek channels near the river.
In the photo, Stephanie Wheaton of Iowa caught an array of fish with Mike Siefert guiding, including this bass.
(updated 7-8-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported that lake clarity is dingy and the level has fallen below normal. Crappie were fair this past week.
They are at a depth of 16-20 feet and can be caught using minnows, jigs, hand-tied jigs and Bonehead Tackle Jigs in gray/silver and pink/silver colors.
Catfishing remain excellent on anything and everything, they report. Try worms, cut bait and bream for best results. Erling has a nice population of channel, blue and very large flathead catfish, per recent AGFC fish sampling.
No reports on bream or bass this week.
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 543.34 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.25 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-8-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at iron mountain marina says, “Anyone notice it is hot? Hydrate well, and often, my friends.
“The lake is changing fast. Water is clear for the most part all over. There is some tinting as you move past marker 34 toward Shouse Ford. Water temperature has actually cooled down a little (as of Monday) to the low 80s. Lake level is 405.26 feet msl and dropping. Lots of surface activity from Brushy to Point Cedar. Get there early. Use white grubs with a large head to allow for distance, or 2-ounce spoons. There are quite a bit of Kentucky/spotted bass in the surfacing fish. As for hybrids, not much on surface activity. However, good reports on catches with spoons. Use the river channel as a guide to find hybrids if they are not surfacing. Look for schools with electronics and fish accordingly to matching depth. Be there early with spoon, topwater and grub. Pray for calm winds.
“The crappie bite is slowing with the heat somewhat. You still can find them in 22-24 feet of water. Getting little response on slow-rolling jigs over piles. Lots of followers but few takers. Downsize if you are throwing jigs over piles. Twister tails attract more bites but lose tails to bream. Drop-shotting gets some big ones. Good luck, be safe, courteous, and hydrate.”
(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 437.21 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 543.72 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 7-8-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said the water remains a little muddy, but is at a normal level (out of flood stage). Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair in the river lakes on minnows and jigs. Black bass remain sporadic. Catfish are good; use shad, live bait or bream.
(updated 7-8-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and the water remains low. Donald had no fishing reports from this past week. The previous week, anglers had found the bream bite good and an excellent mid-June (this week’s full moon might spark the bream action again). Redworms and crickets are the usual go-tos. Bass were fair two weeks ago, biting 10- to 12-inch worms fished deep, or hitting a spinnerbait.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-8-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC in Hot Springs, builder of the toughest, best-looking, all-tied and all-American bass jigs, reports Lake Catherine’s water levels slightly up due to water release from Carpenter Dam. Water clarity is good even with the water release, and visibility is 3 feet or more with slightly stained water that is clearing rapidly. Water temps are in the low 80s on the downstream end of the lake and 60s once you get up to Catherine’s Landing on the upper end.
Catherine is a highly pressured and finicky lake, as we all know. It is critical that you go after bass in two different ways: One, fish where no one else does; two, fish offshore with no points of reference except electronics. Lots of areas on Catherine are overlooked because they are too junked up with debris, too shallow, too deep or too much current.
Some excellent patterns right now are, of course, the drop-shot rig and Ned rig. Watermelon or green pumpkin are the best color choices now. The Slycked Back Dirty Money Jig (watermelon) and the Hammer Slammer (black, blue, olive) are excellent for dragging in brushpiles and for letting them hop, drop and fall on steep rocky ledges in the shade, of which Catherine has an abundance. Don’t forget to throw topwater when the shadows get long in the day on points and shaded areas.
Bream have been excellent on the deeper docks on the riverbanks with worms and crickets, and catfish have also been good as of late on cheese, stink baits and cut baits.
Check out their site on Facebook at Slycked Back Fishing LLC for latest updates and more.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-8-2021) 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 posts its generation schedule on its 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 7-8-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 7-8-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, says Lake Hamilton is at full pool and the temps in most areas (except the river channel) hover around 85 degrees. Water clarity is decent but does have a stained look to it this year. Visibility is more than 5 feet. Bass have been fair to good in the mornings and evenings on topwater presentations like Spooks, small Whopper Ploppers and non-suspending jerkbaits that resemble small silver baitfish. It is imperative (unless night fishing) to downsize all presentations. Drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs and finesse jigs are holding their own right now in areas near or in current. Remember to be creative! Fish have seen lots of presentations on these pressured lakes already. Tweak your baits and lures a little!
Catfish have been good, and there is no surprise there. Cheese, cut bait and chicken livers have caught some nice fish lately! Depths of 15-30 feet on drop-offs have been the hot spots and will continue that way through the rest of the summer months. Bream are on fire with the hot water temps. Worms and crickets work great, but also small inline spinners like Rooster Tails are catching some nice panfish.
“Hamilton is a very congested lake even on the slow days. Use caution and keep your head on a swivel. Good luck and Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.63 feet msl (normal pool: 344.31 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-8-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that Nimrod is still clear and at a normal level. Surface water temperature is 78 degrees. Bream fishing is at a peak. The excellent bite can be found on redworms and crickets, though they say they can’t keep enough crickets in stock but have ordered more specifically for this weekend for the moon phase. Also consider using nightcrawlers.
Crappie also are excellent. The crappie are being caught in 4-5 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is excellent on limblines and trotlines baited with perch, bream and black salties.
(updated 7-8-2021) Masterbaiters Bait and Tackle on Highway 7 near Hot Springs reports that anglers at Lake Nimrod are catching lots of bream on crickets and redworms.
A benefit bass tournament is planned for Sunday, July 11, on Lake Nimrod to raise money for Curtis Priest and Alexis Nicole Sager, whose house burned in June.
“Some may or may not know my buddy’s house burnt to the ground Monday, June 21. Anyone that knows Curtis knows that he is a great guy and helps a lot of people!” Nick Lawrence said. “I’d like the bass tournament world to give back to a great family, great fisherman, and a even greater person! Anyone who would like to donate cash or prizes, please feel free to! Contact me, Nick Lawrence, or Johnny H. Ford (see phone numbers below) and we will take care of it!”
The tournament will take place on Nimrod and anglers will leave out of the Anderson Branch. Entry fee is $100 per boat, with two anglers per boat. There will be a 60 percent payback from entries for the top three placing teams, along with a $20 optional side pot for the Big Bass. The tournament will begin at safe light and run until 1 p.m. Each team will turn in up to a five-fish limit to be weighed, and all AGFC and Army Corps of Engineers lake rules apply.
“Please remember, guys, this is a benefit to help a fellow tournament angler and his family out,” Nick said. “Please share the heck out of this information. We need all the boats we can get. Thank you very much.”
Contact Nick Lawrence at 479-903-4457, Johnny Ford at 501-620-9707 or Carson Chandler at 501-276-4623 to enter the tournament or for more information, or to donate to the family.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 575.10 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.
(updated 7-8-2021) John Koestler at Masterbaiters Bait and Tackle (501-209-6538) on Arkansas Highway 7 reports that anglers fishing near Blakely Dam are catch walleye, and big ones, on Rat-L-Traps and jerkbaits.
(updated 7-8-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service (501-844-5418) said Thursday, “The crappie left me on the brushpiles on the other lakes, but they are loaded with bream 8-12 feet deep. Most recently, I’ve been hunting striper and walleye on Ouachita. We’re catching striper on live bait and large spoons from 21 feet to 52 feet deep near humps, points and inslands. We’re catching walleye on nightcrawlers on points and humps right at the 20 feet thermocline. Good luck, everyone, and stay safe.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.76 feet msl (full pool: 386.36 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 21.85 feet and more than 4 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 7-8-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) reports that the White River at Clarendon continues to drop, creating better fishing conditions for youth and mobility-impaired anglers during normal business hours. The best species to target right now will be largemouth bass. Any soft plastic that is black with red flake would be a great choice flipped to the banks or cypress trees. Bluegill were slow this past weekend but should pick up with the recent mayfly hatches. No reports on crappie; however, they should be in their normal hiding places near laydowns and hollow cypress trees. Try a jig or minnow in these areas.
All boats that were on the water last weekend caught some fish, Wil reports, with Cook’s Lake finally able to open after continuous flooding of the area.
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. Following 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 7-8-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said crappie are biting on Horseshoe Lake. Right now the most popular way of catching them is spider-rigging. Most folks are fishing in 12-18 feet of water and are catching fish. “As always there are fish around the piers, and some of those fish are in shallower than expected water,” he said. “On a recent trip, we did a single pole trip and found fish as shallow as 4 feet. Jigs were our choice for the day with an olive jig producing better than any other color.”
No reports on bass. Bream catches were just incidental catches while fishing around the piers. “We are seeing lots of bream around the pilings, so a mess of bream should not be tough to catch,” Kent said.
Nothing reported on catfish.
“It is summer and the pleasure boaters are out,” Kent notes. “Please be careful on Horseshoe right now as it can get pretty busy out there right now especially when it gets hot around noon.”
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 6-24-2021) 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.
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