Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 15, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 15, 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 10 a.m. the day of publication (July 15).
****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: Doyce, Karissa, and Hannah Garner (left to right) had a big day catching crappie on DeGray Lake with guide John Duncan, who provided the photo. The crappie bite had been described as close to amazing for this late in the year, but Duncan and other guides note that the crappie bite is slowing down. I have been drop-shooting the brushpiles up to now. However, that is slowing down also. Trolling has mixed reports pulling Bandit 300s. The problem is you have a hard time catching crappie for the Kentucky bass, whites and hybrids. The best approach as of now is to use LiveScope and search the standing timber and laydown areas. Slow down your presentation and downsize your offering if you are jigging. Go to a 1/32-ounce or so. Use a split-shot above the jig to get you down quickly and to help find it on LiveScope. Stay just above the thermocline.”
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 7-15-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Thursday morning that the fishing is really slow this week. The lake has its normal clarity, stained. And the level has risen to normal. Surface temperature, though, is a hot 92 degrees. Poor reports across the board: bream, crappie, bass and catfish.
(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 7-15-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Thursday that trout are really good, drifting with PowerBait in 6-7 feet of water and using Rapala Countdowns size 3 or 5 in brown trout or rainbow trout colors. Also using Trout Magnet with Lucky Strike Trout Worm on it, Marabou Jigs in olive colors, and Rooster Tails in tiger brown trout or rainbow trout color.
(updated 7-15-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said, “We continue to see 15-plus hours of generation each day starting early to mid-morning. With this generation pattern there are opportunities for wading by starting early on the upper section of the river and the middle section midday. It also provides good drift-fishing from a boat on all sections of the river. Use San Juan worms, egg pattern, sowbugs and streamers for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, hot pink and red-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 466.24 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 7-15-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 466.27 feet msl, 3.73 feet above normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet. Crappie are still eating well if you can handle heat, straight up and down or trolling for them, with crankbaits, crappie jigs – several things will work. Jigs and minnows for vertical fishing are best in 12-35 feet. Catfishing is good all over lake and rivers as well. Hot dogs to soap are working for bait and all in between for all species. Bream are good, just finding bigger fish is the hard part. Drag crickets or crawlers on drop-shot at 5-30 feet.
Hybrid and white bass are chewing on and off all day and night. Spoons, inline spinners and hair jigs 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 wind. Just stay around bait.
Be safe while on the water.
(updated 7-15-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is 4 feet high and clear. Bass are really good. They are up shallow in bushes biting on shaky head or topwater lures early in the morning. Groups of fish are forming, making it spotty out deep in 18-25 feet of water. Find the groups and use deep-diving crankbaits, Carolina rigs, drop-shot and football jigs. Walleye are being caught drop-shotting nightcrawlers off the ends of points in 15-20 feet of water and trolling crankbaits.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-15-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is muddy and has fallen to low level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. They’re biting along the shoreline. No reports on crappie. Black bass are still up active around the shoreline and the bite is good. Throw a topwater bait. A 50-pound blue catfish was caught on a trotline a week ago, with baby bream being used as bait. This week, the overall catfish bite remains good with anglers using stink bait, chicken liver and bating their trotlines with small bream.
(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 42,854 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 42,515 cfs. The entire river system through Arkansas has seen a big drop in flow from last week, with a high being 55,847 in southwest Arkansas as of 10 a.m. 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 7-15-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said Thursday morning that fishing picked up this week. Clarity of the river is clear and the water level and current are normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports are poor and there had been no crappie bite of note for a while now. Black bass are fair early in the morning and late. Try spinnerbaits or plastic worms. Catfish are fair on chicken livers.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 46,914 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 48,131 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 50,542 cfs. Both of these flows are about one-third of what they were at this time a week ago.
(updated 7-15-2021) Fish ‘N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the flow is back down to 45,000 cfs, water is muddy and normal flow (stabilizing out). Bass are good on black and black/chartreuse square-bill crankbaits on the main river around jetties, and are good on black buzzbaits, black/blue finesse jigs, white/chartreuse spinnerbaits, and Texas-rig worms on tips of jetties and in backwaters. Catfish are good below the dam on stink bait and nightcrawlers. White bass are good below the dam on white hair jigs, silver spoons and white grubs.
(updated 7-15-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Thursday morning that bream are excellent in 3-4 feet in backwaters on waxworms and crickets. Catfish are good below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam and below Terry Lock and Dam on cut shad and skipjack. Crappie are good off the jetties and dikes off of the main river in 12-15 feet of water on minnows and jigs.
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 7-15-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “The White River flowing past Cotter, Trout Capital USA, has seen Bull Shoals Lake slowly dropping from its heights near flood pool earlier this year. Expect medium to high water levels for the remainder of July and probably through August — you might find this is the perfect time to experiment with new jerkbaits. Rapalas are still a little hard to come by these days, so try a 4.5-inch Headhunter translucent lure (as close to white as I can find) or a Wee Craw crawfish crawler.
“The X-Factor shrimp pink is a new favorite, and the live red wigglers are working well, especially on the rise. The rainbows have been reluctant to hit on a lot of our baits, but we’ve had success with all things white: white skirts on jigs, white Rooster Tails with gold or silver blades and white egg patterns.
“The brown bite has been outta sight this week with sculpins and pink worms (believe it!).
“Everybody wants to be on the river where the water temperature is a near-steady 57 degrees and, even in the midst of a 90-degree day, you might float through a mist that drops the temperature 15 degrees. Leave the burdens at home for a time and come over to the river for some therapeutic downtime where a little breeze will pick up a hint of cool air off the river and make these dog days of summer much more tolerable.”
(updated 7-15-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon that the brown trout have been a little sporadic this week. The clarity is improving but the river level overall is high. They report that four generators are running at the dam at night, and eight are running during the day. Overall trout bite is good. The best baits are pink worms, PowerBait, bigger stick baits, Rooster Tails in light greens or browns, worms and shrimp.
(updated 7-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they have had several minor rain events that combined for a quarter-inch in Cotter, warm temperatures and, at times, moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.4 feet to land at 24.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 9.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.8 feet to rest at 0.8 foot above seasonal power pool and 13.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 5.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 14.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 10 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater 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 White Hole. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper).
John also discusses the return of the Sowbug Roundup in 2022. “The Sowbug Roundup is back. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sowbug was canceled at the last minute for 2020 and was later canceled for 2021. Now that there is a high level of inoculation with the various vaccines, we feel that it is safe to again schedule the return of this successful event. The Sowbug Roundup is scheduled for March 24-26, 2022. Admission is $10 for all three days.
“This is the best fly-fishing event in the area and arguably one of the best such events in the United States. It is primarily a fly-tying show. Next year we will have over 100 tyers from all over the country, literally from coast to coast.
“The Sowbug Roundup is put on by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, our local Fly Fishers International affiliate club. It has always amazed me that a local fly-fishing club in such a small town could put on a fly-tying show that has achieved such national prominence. It is a tribute, to the hard-working volunteers of the North Arkansas Fly Fishers. I am proud to be a member of the Sowbug committee (I am chairman of the fly-tying contest). We meet year-round to ensure the success of the show.
The Sowbug Roundup is the North Arkansas Fly Fishers’ sole annual fundraising event. The income from the raffles and silent auctions allow NAFF to finance its environmental and philanthropic activities. NAFF allocates $10,000 every year for scholarships to students majoring in the fishery or environmentally related field.
“The big draw is the fly-tyers. Some of the tyers are true artists, and every fly they produce is worthy of being framed. Then there are those tyers like myself that just tie down-and-dirty guide flies. They don’t look so pretty, but they catch fish. If you take the time to sit and watch some of them, you will learn a lot. I always learn how to handle materials better of see a new pattern that I want to tie.
“In addition to the tyers, there are several vendors representing a number of fly-fishing-related companies. Dave Whitlock, Duane Hada, local fly shops and my company, Berry Brothers Guide Service, will be there. Unfortunately, one of my favorite vendors from years past, the Golden Rule Fly Shop, is currently not scheduled to attend.
“There are seminars presented by a host of fly-fishing professionals and free fly-casting classes presented by my wife, Lori Sloas. She is the top fly-casting instructor in the area. In addition, there are auctions and raffles to help raise funds for conservation and education.
“The Shindig (the casual banquet held on Friday night) is the gathering event for all of the fly-tyers. This is also where the winners of the fly-tying contest are presented. It is a full schedule and an awesome event. I hope to see you there.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 685.22 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 917.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2021) 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 26 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 569.45 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 7-15-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 7-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 14.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 10 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater 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 in the past few seasons. 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
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-15-2021) 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 1,126.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Beaver Lake is in its summer glory! The water is super clear toward the dam and is just spectacular color. Fishing has been pretty good, also.
“The stripers are on a roll lately with fish hitting shad, brooders and bream. Look from Point 6 to the dam. Best way to catch them is troll your bait at 1 mph or less, light weight and a fluoro leader. Using a leader of 15- to 20-pound test will increase bites as the water clarity is super clear and stripers need a presentation that looks as natural as possible.
“Walleye have been hit or miss. Look for flats adjacent deep drop-offs. Troll crawlers or deep-diving crankbaits. Bass are on main points and some schooling is happening early and late. You can catch all the bream you want; look for brush in 10 feet of water. Kids love doing this. Catfish are hitting jugs and noodles. Crappie are good on trolled crankbaits. Picos and Arkies are working trolled at 1.3 mph with 70 feet of line out on flats in 25 feet of water up the White and War Eagle arms.”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 7-15-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) says the lake is edging closer to normal level now, with clear clarity and a surface water temperature in the high 80s. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair again this week on minnows and jigs as well as for anglers trolling a crankbait. Most of the catches will come around the brushpiles. Black bass are fair early and then late. Use spinnerbaits or finesse-style baits. Catfish are fair on chicken liver or prepared bait.
(updated 7-15-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been great this past week. “If you’re able to get in a boat, I would recommend fishing between Parker Bottoms and Spider Creek. Most fish were caught using Pautzke Fire Gel, coated on crankbaits or Firebait, fished with light terminal tackle.
“The flow has been pretty consistent this past week. For the bigger fish, try fishing in the afternoon and look for them deep pockets. There are still a few walleye to be had if you’ve got a graph and can locate them. The white bass are more towards Beaver town, just follow the bait fish. I hope you’re able to get out and catch some fish.” Follow Austin on his 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 7-15-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) wants folks to know that the lake “is in fact open for fishing now, despite false news sources saying otherwise, and they have never been open for swimming.” The lake has a stained clarity and is at a normal level this week. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. The crappie are slow unless the angler knows where to find them, and overall it’s fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on plastic worms and topwater lure. Catfish are good on worms and cut bait.
(updated 7-15-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Thursday morning that the lake is clear and has dropped about 1 foot below normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets, with anglers catching them in 3-4 feet depth of water. Crappie require some hunting for a fair bite, as they are scattered. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are good on crankbaits and creature baits. Catfish are starting to show themselves on a regular basis with a good bite on worms or stink bait.
(updated 7-15-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said anglers should keep a lookout for July 19-25 as good times to fish Lake Charles, based on moon times. Bream and crappie are biting now. Crappie are harder to find, however, and the size being caught are small to medium. Bream are good on worms, crickets and jigs. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and worms. No reports this week on black bass. Catfishing is good; try using blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver, shad, goldfish or cut bait.
(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 7-15-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 440 cfs at the spring, 350 cfs is average flow, with water still up above average but steadily dropping. Water clarity has been good lately. Always green tinted but mostly clear. Not much rainfall in the area over the last few weeks.
The trout have been focused on bugs lately, with hare’s ears and prince nymphs working great. If you see a trout rising, then try a dry fly. Some dry fly action can be had lately during evening hatches. Caddis and mayfly hatches have been heavy most days when it’s sunny. On the dreary overcast days the catching has been excellent on Woollys. Olive and brown are always great.
Smallmouth bass have been hitting better with water levels coming down. Crayfish and baitfish streamers have been doing well. Clousers are always great for smallies.
Check out Mark’s blog at springriverfliesandguides.com for the latest conditions on the Spring River.
(updated 7-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. 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 9.22 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 12.23, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is slightly on the rise at 24.31, more than 1.5 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 7-15-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperatures in the upper 80s, water level variable, moderate to high flow on the main channel. Visibility 6-12 inches in Lake Langhofer, less on the main channel. Black bass are biting fairly well for this time of year. River flow is positioning fish in predictable places near the ends of jetties and around points and holes in jetties. Brushpiles and submerged woody cover in Lake Langhofer are also producing. Square-bill and lipless crankbaits, bladed jigs and swim jigs worked around and through woody cover are working well with some wind. Soft plastic worms, ribbon-tailed and finesse, on Texas rigs and shaky head jigs work well in the same cover when there is no wind or the fish are inactive.
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 7-15-2021) 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 259.57 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the mayfly hatch is in full swing on Millwood over the past week or so. Huge numbers of mayflies have the crappie, bass and bream feeding actively. As of Monday, Millwood Lake is 5 inches above normal pool elevation and continues on a slow fall. The lake Tuesday was at 259.6 and falling; oxbows’ water clarity is improved. Little River clarity is heavy stain with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater continues a slow fall, elevation near 235 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 7,000 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 at the Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. NAVIGATION CONDITIONS ARE IMPROVED on Millwood Lake with reduced discharge rates and flow conditions in Little River. Use EXTREME CAUTION anytime high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging in 85-90 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. Clarity/ visibility of oxbows is 10-15 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain/muddy inflow conditions. RIVER RUN EAST BOAT RAMP BELOW MILLWOOD DAM HAS BEEN REOPENED BY the Army Corps of Engineers.
As for fishing specifics this week:
* Largemouth bass: Continue to be best early, from daylight to around 10am, slowing in the heat of the day. Frogs in Black, Junebug and white have been working near pads and grass early. Chatterbaits in chartreuse sexy shad, and Bream colors (pumpkinseed/black/orange) are getting 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 1-2 pounds. 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 pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail, purple smoke/chart tail, or black and blue. Largemouths were slightly lethargic in the hot sun of the midday, and not much response or activity after 10 a.m. In recent bass tournaments, two trophy-size largemouths were weighed in over the past couple weeks, post-spawn over 9 pounds each.
“Some folks say Millwood Lake is fished out, and no good bass are left,” Mike says. “We tend to support another theory, that proven hypothesis that is shown above, you gotta know where to go, and what to throw at the giants! Lots of good bass remain in Millwood Lake, and if you know how to catch those, they are some nice-sized largemouth bass in Millwood Lake, no matter what ‘they’ say, and we’ll just leave it at that. One of our guides, Ronald, caught a 10-pound post-spawn largemouth on a Rat-L-Trap in 12 feet of water. That bass was gorging herself silly on shad.
“Several 1- to 2-pound Kentucky bass were found over the past week hitting hammered chrome Cordell Spoons with white/red bucktail, behind points extending into Little River above Jack’s Isle.”
Acres of floating alligator weed mats are making fishing many types or lures and crankbaits difficult and navigation impossible, in numerous areas of the oxbows, up Little River, Mike added. 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. “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, making 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 is monitoring success rates.”
* Bream: Bream have been in a feeding mode for a few weeks, and very aggressive on mayflies underneath overhanging willow trees along Little River. A few areas near Jack’s Isle, and at Millwood State Park off the banks, had bream that were biting crickets, earthworms, sweet corn and/or bread and have been heavily feeding on the mayfly hatch.
* White bass: Were still roaming in Little River stacked up behind points in deeper creek channels dumping into Little River and creek mouth 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.
* Catfish: 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 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 size 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 7-15-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday that lake clarity is still dingy and the level is low. The crappie bite remains fair on minnows and jigs, though they are biting more on Bone Head plastics than the hand-tied jigs this week. Black bass are good and appear to be schooling. Try a black buzzbait and black spinnerbait at night, and throw Brush Hogs during the day. Catfishing is excellent on any live bait and on stink bait. Erling has a nice population of channel, blue and very large flathead catfish, per recent AGFC fish sampling.
No reports on bream.
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 542.42 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.55 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at iron mountain marina says the water level is at 404.67 feet msl and falling. Water temperature is in the high 80s. Water is clear and clean. There is little change in the report except for surface activity. Whites and Kentucky bass (spotted bass) are surfacing around 7:30 a.m. Whopper Ploppers, Zara Spook Jr. (in blue) and Chug Bug (shad) for the topwater action. Once they go down, use shad-colored crankbaits, grubs (white or green) and spoons. “Sam Richardson makes the best spoons I know of for hybrids. There is little hybrid activity but that is expected because stocking may be reduced lately with COVID and other things affecting numbers. Catch and release helps keep numbers up.”
He adds, “I’m seeing surface action at Arlie Moore, Shouse Ford and Brushy. Go get ’em.”
John says crappie “are another story. The bite is slowing down. I have been drop-shooting the brushpiles up to now. However, that is slowing down also. Trolling has mixed reports pulling Bandit 300s. The problem is you have a hard time catching crappie for the Kentucky bass, whites and hybrids.
“The best approach as of now is to use LiveScope and search the standing timber and laydown areas. Slow down your presentation and downsize your offering if you are jigging. Go to a 1/32-ounce or so. Use a split-shot above the jig to get you down quickly and to help find it on LiveScope. Stay just above the thermocline.”
He said there were no reports on black bass or bream. “Night fishing should be considered in these now dog days of summer. Hydrate often and be courteous. Good fishing!”
(updated 7-15-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “The crappie left me on the brushpiles” as far as DeGray Lake fishing, though he adds that they are loaded with bream in 8-12 feet depth.
“Most recently, I’ve been hunting striper and walleye on Lake Ouachita. We’re catching striper on live bait and large spoons from 21-52 feet deep near humps, points and islands. We’re catching walleye on nightcrawlers on points and humps right at the 20-foot thermocline. Good luck everyone and stay safe.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.41 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 539.55 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 7-15-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and the water remains low. He’s had no reports for the past couple of weeks.
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 7-15-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 60 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has scheduled generation on Friday, July 16, through Sunday, July 18, to be 3,600 cfs from the hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. below Carpenter Dam. On Monday, July 19, through Thursday, July 22, to be 7,200 cfs for 5 hours. 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 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 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 7-15-2021) 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 344.75 feet msl (normal pool: 344.31 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that Nimrod remains clear and at a normal level. Surface water temperature was not reported. Bream fishing continues to rate excellent. Bream are in shallow water, being caught at 2-6 feet depth. They say crickets are in high demand, while redworms and nightcrawlers also will work.
The crappie bite remains excellent as well. Crappie are being caught in 4-5 feet of water on minnows, jigs and crankbaits. Black bass are good on white 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.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 574.58 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-15-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “The crappie left me on the brushpiles on 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 21-52 feet deep near humps, points and islands. We’re catching walleye on nightcrawlers on points and humps right at the 20-foot thermocline. Good luck everyone and stay safe.”
(updated 7-15-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still good. Texas-rigged Ole Monster worm and a drop-shot finesse worm have been working. There have been good reports with jigging a ¾-ounce spoon, too. Walleye are excellent and being caught on spoons and drop-shot night crawlers near brush on points. Stripers are still 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 fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are very good and being caught on rod and reel using nightcrawlers for bait near brush.
Water temperature is ranging 82-86 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level on Wednesday was 574.77 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.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.60 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 7-15-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) reports that the White River at Clarendon has made a small jump in the last week but is holding fairly stable, creating favorable fishing conditions for youth and mobility-impaired anglers during normal business hours. In the last week, the largemouth bass bite has slowed down considerably. The best bait of choice has been 3.5-inch black and red flake tube, Texas rigged with a ½-ounce weight pitched into hollow cypress trees. A coleslaw-colored spinnerbait should also receive some strikes. Bluegill have picked up in the last week and should only get better. Try your luck by focusing on laydowns near steep banks in about 3 feet of water. Crickets have been the bait of choice. A few crappie have been caught on brushpiles about 6 feet deep using white/chartreuse crappie magnets with a pink jighead.
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 7-15-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said the crappie bite has fallen off in the past week. There was another big rain and the fish didn’t respond well. Spider-rigging with a mixture of curl tail jigs and minnows was the ticket this week. Some folks are dragging crankbaits and were doing well until the last big rain. Expect the bite to pick back up in the next few days.
According to the anglers I spoke with, the bass fishing is slow as well. One angler said he caught five fish but all five were small. No report on bream. No report on catfish; we are not seeing anyone targeting catfish. Someone may be jugging at night but they sure aren’t fishing in the daytime. Horseshoe has a lot of catfish in it, however.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 7-15-2021) 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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