Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 22, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 22, 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 22).
****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: The Spring River in northeast Arkansas offers a plethora of fish species for anglers to target, including this brown trout recently caught by an angler who was fishing with guide Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides. Even though water has been higher on the Spring River lately, but still on the drop with not a lot of rain of late, the fishing appears very good. The water clarity is always green tinted but mostly clear. He says te 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 Woolly Buggers in olive and brown. And the smallmouth bass have been hitting better with water levels coming down. Crayfish and baitfish streamers have been doing well. Clouser Minnows are always great for smallies, he says.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 7-22-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is at its normal stain and is back up to normal for the second week in a row. Fishing picked up after an off week last week. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair for anglers using small and medium-sized minnows or small jigs. Black bass are good; try spinnerbaits, topwater lures, frogs, poppers and 7- to 10-inch curly tail worms. Catfishing is good. Use stink bait, shad, skipjack, small bream or goldfish.
(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 7-22-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Wednesday that water was in the low 50s. Morning fishing is better because the Army Corps of Engineers shuts off the water at the dam for a while. Water is stained but clearing up. Trout are good on falling water in the morning on Marabou Jigs in olive color, Rooster Tails in brown trout color, jerkbaits and No. 5 Rapala Countdowns in rainbow trout color. Also, good bites are coming by drifting with PowerBait.
(updated 7-22-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said they are seeing generation starting early mornings and continuing until midnight each day. There are opportunities for wading by starting early on the upper section of the river and the middle section at midday. San Juan Worms, egg patterns, sowbugs and streamers for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing hot pink-colored body 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 464.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 7-22-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry lake is at 464.77 feet and falling. Wednesday it was 2.23 feet below normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet msl. It’s about back to normal and should be normal in a couple of weeks, if not sooner, and when it gets the rest of shad out of the bushes it will be on for all species if you anglers can stand some HEAT.
Catfishing is good all over using live bait and most other catfish baits, but soap is showing out right now — on jugs, trotlines and rods and reels. Walleye are biting if you’ve got a little wind on points, secondary points and little points in between those; drag crawlers on a drop-shot or jighead, and crankbaits and, of course, spoons in 25-45 feet.
Black bass are in bushes out to 45 feet and with some suspended in 60 feet; use baits that will cover top, middle and on bottom, dragging something. You make the choice and you can make it happen. Crappie are still being caught as shallow as 15 feet out to 45. You can troll for them or fish vertical using crankbaits, minnows or jigs; a beetle spin will do the trick as well.
Bream are on the prowl, of course, eating everything they can. Use crawlers, crickets, small cranks or inline spinners from super shallow out to 25 feet. Hybrid bass and white bass are chewing at will seven or eight times a day, just stay around the shad 30-50 feet and fish with hair jigs, spoons, inline spinners and Alabama rigs as well as single swimbaits. Enjoy and wear your life jacket.
(updated 7-22-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is clear and high (a couple feet) but on the fall. Bass are good. They’re catching a bunch of small fish on shad, small topwater lures or a silver CC Spoon. During the day, the fish are being caught out deeper on drop-shot or by deep trolling a crankbait, along with Carolina rigs and football jigs in 15-30 feet of water out on the ends of points, drop-offs or humps in the middle of the lake.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-22-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is still a little muddy and is low. The fishing remains fair to good, though. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie have reappeared, with a fair bite seen this week around the deeper areas of the lake. Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits. Catfish have been biting well for a few weeks; this week, stink bait is working on the rod-and-reels, and trotlines will catch them when baited with small bream, hot dogs and stink bait.
(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 7-22-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) had no report.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 84,980 cfs, twice as much flow as at this time last week. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 85,005 cfs, also about twice as much flow as at this time last week.
(updated 7-22-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had had no report.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 7-22-2021) 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 87,142 cfs.
(updated 7-22-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 83,173 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 82,484 cfs. Both of these flows are nearly double what they were at this time a week ago.
(updated 7-22-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is at 85,000 cfs and is muddy and high, but coming down. The conditions should be fine for the weekend for small craft. Bass are good on Texas-rigged worms, black/blue jigs, chartreuse/blue/black square-bill crankbaits, and white/chartreuse spinnerbaits during the day. In the early morning or late evening, the fishing has been good on Zara Spooks, frogs and buzzbaits. Catfish are biting well below the Murray Lock and Dam on stink bait, cut bait and nightcrawlers.
(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 7-22-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) checked in to noted that the lake is slightly stained this week and the level is low, but no stumps are showing. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs, and anglers are catching crappie by trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are good, but she’s not getting any clues from anglers as to the best baits. Catfishing is good with live bait. No reports on bream.
(updated 7-22-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake is 23 feet (684 feet msl elevation) above the established seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl, “so we’re seeing consistently higher water levels from the dam this week with little or no drop overnight. High water means the trout have lots of hiding places and lots of food to catch their attention — you’ll need lots of savvy. While challenging, higher water levels might mean fewer fish on the stringer but it also increases the odds of catching a full-sized rainbow or German brown trout.
“Use bright, fluorescent egg patterns (peach is a great color right now), steep your shrimp in garlic salt, and keep your bait nearer the bottom. Early morning is the best time to be on the river with crawdad tails or crawfish crankbaits cast toward the bank in the grassy areas. Add some Marabou Jigs to your arsenal (try the white skirts with white or pink heads) for some diversity and look for a rainbow Rapala Countdown (size 5 or size 7). Drift-fishing will still be the norm for the next month or two. Practice patience and wait for the bite. It’s summertime — time to take it easy, slow down, relax and enjoy life in Te Natural State on the White. See you on the river!”
(updated 7-22-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon that the rainbows have picked up this week, while anglers also reported catching a few browns. (They also hear that walleye fishing is good on Bull Shoals Lake). Clarity in the river is improving, they report, while the river level is high (30 feet) with four generators running and night and eight during the day. Trout are good on PowerBait, pink worms, bigger stick baits, Rooster Tails (in light green or brown), worms and shrimp.
(updated 7-22-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had several minor rain events that combined for a total of an inch and a half in Cotter, warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1 foot to land at 23.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 10.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.9 foot to rest at 0.1 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 5.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 12.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 11.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had some wadable water.
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 in the White River has slowed. The top spot has been Wildcat Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a San Juan Worm with an egg dropper).
John also said, “Yesterday, I was in our vegetable garden repairing a soaker hose while my wife, Lori, was harvesting heirloom tomatoes (my absolute favorite), when I saw a grasshopper. Most gardeners would say something they shouldn’t and reach for an insecticide to deal with this garden pest. I was actually glad to see it.
“When grasshoppers are not dining, on heirloom tomato plants, they are being blown into or falling in the river, producing what many consider to be the best topwater action in fly-fishing. I am a major fan. This chance encounter told me it was hopper time!
“I did what any serious fly-angler would do: I headed for the river. Lori was tied up with a dog-training class and could not join me. I was disappointed because she is my fishing buddy and I always enjoy spending time on the water with her. I hooked up my boat and drove to my favorite access on the White River. The water flow was about 13,000 cfs (about four full generators). The forecast high was 90 degrees with wind of 5-10 mph. It was near-perfect conditions.
“I selected one of the three 9-foot 5-weight client rods that I keep in the back of my Suburban for customer use. I actually prefer a 9-foot 6-weight (the heavier weight rod handles big flies a little better) but these rods were already in the car and I was a man on a mission to catch trout on grasshoppers.
“I attached a fresh 7.5-foot 4X to the fly line with a loop to loop connection. I then tied on a size 8 western pink lady grasshopper. This is my favorite hopper pattern. It is a foam pattern so it does not have to be dressed with fly floatant. It floats like a cork, on its own. It has rubber legs that give it a lively action and it has a bright quick sight on its back, making it easy to see when fishing it.
“If I encounter picky trout, I usually switch over to a Dave’s Hopper. It looks more like a real grasshopper and floats well. I have had success with selective trout in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park that would not hit anything else. I have also done well with it on Dry Run Creek where the trout there refused my western pink lady.
“I began my drift. I cast my fly as close to the bank as I could get. I would let it drift and would occasionally twitch the fly to make it look like my hopper, a land-based insect, was struggling in the water. I also let the fly hit the water with a solid kerplunk. Here again, I was trying to imitate a struggling insect. I got a solid take, I waited a second and then set the hook. It was a solid 21-inch brown that eventually came to the net. That was the first of many nice trout I caught on a hopper that day.
“It is hopper season. Get out there and enjoy some great topwater action!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 683.91 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 916.73 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 568.30 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 7-22-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 7-22-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 12.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 11.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had some wadable water.
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 flooding over recent past springs. 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 says his favorite combination now is a San Juan worm with an egg 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. 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 7-22-2021) 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 1,126.46 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is still above normal. “Biggest change this week is a fairly good rise on the White and War Eagle arms. If you are going to fish up there, expect muddy water the further up you go. Catfish up in those arms should be on fire! Anytime I have seen this kind of rise in summer, catfish go crazy. Stripers have been really good! Brooders and bream are working well. Lots of smaller fish in the 7- to 11-pound range are being caught. Crappie have been good and I trolled Arkies and Picos. Look on flats in 25-40 feet deep and they will be suspended in or around 15 feet. Bream are good near brush. Catfish should be really good! Good luck and be safe!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 7-22-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) says walleye are fair out deep around the points and channel swings, and they’re preferring the crankbait. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are being caught in good numbers on cranks, as well as shad and swimbaits. Catfishing is good; try stink bait or live bait. The lake is clear and the surface temperature early Wednesday afternoon was 83 degrees. The lake remains well above normal but is dropping.
(updated 7-22-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “This past week, we did some filming with Pautzke Outdoors on the tailwater. The trout bite was on fire. We got the best response drifting Yellow Jackets and Fire Bait, using light terminal tackle. The trout also hit on some homemade jigs coated in Fire Ge; as a matter of fact, the biggest rainbow was caught using this method.
“When the water is high, you can find a lot of really nice trout in the 5-plus-pound range. The hot spot this week has been between Spider Creek and Parker Bottoms. We also managed to get into some walleye as well. Try fishing deep water with suspended hard baits. If you want to get into some white bass, go toward Holiday Island and locate the bait. Late in the evening has produced the best fish. Hope you all enjoy the weekend and your able to catch some fish!”
Follow Austin on his Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service).
War Eagle/White River
(updated 7-22-2021) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting had no new reports. Visit the War Eagle Creek Outfitting LLC page on Facebook or call 479-530-3262 for up-to-date information.
(updated 7-22-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reminds its fans that, yes, the lake is “in fact open for fishing despite false news sources saying otherwise, and they have never been open for swimming.” The lake is stained and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. The crappie are fair but you’ll need search hard; anglers who know what they’re doing will get bites. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, plastic worms and Ned rigs. Catfish apparently had no interest in biting a hook this week.
(updated 7-22-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Wednesday afternoon that the clarity is clear and the level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair, with most being caught in about a 5-7 feet deep range above deeper water. Use minnows, jigs or try trolling with those baits. Black bass are good on various artificial lures. Catfishing are in shallow water in the weeds, and they’re biting well early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Try the usual catfish baits (stink bait, skipjack, etc.)
(updated 7-22-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said bream were good this week on worms, crickets and jigs. Crappie are fair. Black bass are good using spinnerbaits, plastic worms and fishing the brush and around rocky points. Catfishing is good on worms, blood bait, stink bait and Catfish Pro Blood. Looking ahead to August, Shelly says anglers should pencil in Aug. 5-11 as the best fishing days based on moon times, with good days coming Aug. 19-25. The lake remains its usual murky clarity and high. Surface water temperature Sunday morning was 79.8 degrees.
(updated 7-22-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that water clarity is stained and the water “may be a tad low” as of Wednesday midday. Surface temperature was not recorded. The bream bite is good. Fish are being caught around the docks on redworms and crickets. The crappie bite has shutdown for a while and remained poor this week. Black bass are good early in the day and then late in the evening. Spinnerbaits and topwater lures are the go-to baits now.
Catfish are good on stink bait or chicken liver.
(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 7-22-2021) 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 9.45 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 12.17, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is steady at 24.30, more than 1.5 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 7-22-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports this week.
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 7-22-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 7-22-2021) 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 259.75 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the mayfly hatch has been in full swing on Millwood over the past couple weeks. Huge numbers of mayflies have the crappie, bass and bream feeding actively. As of Monday, Millwood Lake was 7 inches above normal pool elevation and continued on a slow fall. The lake Tuesday was at 259.8 feet msl and falling; oxbows’ water clarity was improved. Little River clarity was heavy stain with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater continues a slow fall, with elevation near 229 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 5,000 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 Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
NAVIGATION CONDITIONS ARE IMPROVED on the 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 85-90 degrees depending on location. Current along Little River decreased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranges 2-5 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows is 10-20 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions. Muddy conditions exist on Little and Saline rivers, and worse further upriver past White Cliffs on Little River. Clarity at Saratoga and Okay areas has improved drastically.
The AGFC released another 40,000 Florida bass fingerlings into Millwood this week, Mike says. EXCELLENT ALLIGATOR POPULATIONS are being observed on Millwood this year, and Millwood Lake should be a good hunt this fall.
As for the fishing specifics:
* Largemouth bass continue to feed best early, from daylight to around 10 a.m., slowing in the heat of the day. Frogs in black, June Bug and white have been working near pads and grass early. Chatterbaits in chartreuse Sexy Shad and bream colors (pumpkinseed/black/orange) continue getting a few reactions. Brazalo Custom Lures Spinnerbaits in Millwood Mayhem Bream have been working well for the past couple weeks, 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 largemouth 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 4 pounds. In recent Bass Tournaments, two trophy-size largemouths were weighed in post-spawn over 9 pounds each and one of our guides, Ronald, caught a nice, healthy and rambunctious 10-pounder last week.
Several 1- to 2-pound Kentucky vass were found over the past few weeks hitting hammered chrome Cordell Spoons with white/red bucktail and Fat Free Shads in Snake Creek, Hurricane Creek and 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. The USACE is currently monitoring and evaluating the excessive alligatorweed densities lake-wide. The USACE did conduct an alligatorweed beetle release several weeks ago and are monitoring success rates.
* 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 were busy, and bream were biting crickets, earthworms, sweet corn and/or bread while also feeding heavily 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 creekmouth junctions in the oxbows. Random reactions were fair, and best on hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail. Rooster Tails, Bomber Fat Free Shads and Rocket Shads also caught a few white bass 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 livers have been working over the past couple of weeks for some nice-sized 3- to 5-pound cats on trotlines and yo-yos from 8-12 feet deep near current flows in creek channels near the river.
(updated 7-22-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday that lake clarity remains dingy and the level is low. The crappie bite improved to good this week. They’re being found in 8-12 feet of water. Minnows and jigs, particularly hand-tied jigs, are the best bet. Black bass are good. 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 541.94 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 403.87 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says water level is at 403.86 feet msl and lowering. Water temperature is around 86 degrees at the surface. “Little to change since last report. Bream would be the biggest story. Look for beds in the back of the coves in 6-10 feet of water normally. But they can bed a lot deeper. Use you side scan and look for “the waffle.” Remember to allow for boat movement when determining the bed’s exact location. You can then anchor lock or drop an anchor. Drop-shotting with crickets or worms produces fast results, but you can cork-fish the beds with small rods and a slip cork.
“Crappie are, for the most part, lethargic in the heat of the day. It takes patience and proper techniques to produce now. Drop-shotting laydowns at the edge of the thermocline is one tatic. Weedless hooks are a consideration when doing this. There is some bass action on the surface early and late. Seen schools from Arlie Moore to Shouse Ford. Topwaters like the Whopper Plopper are good when “chasing the schools.” Two-ounce spoons are still the best for covering ground and distance for schooling bass. Trolling baits like the Shad Rap will also produce well around Lenox Marcus.
“The water’s hot and you will b, too! Hydrate!”
(updated 7-22-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips
(501-844-5418) says white bass and black bass have been caught casting spoons and trolling crankbaits. A few hybrid stripers have been caught the same way but better and more on live bait fished 21-41 feet deep.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.36 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 538.09 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 7-22-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and the water remains low, but he’s seen some anglers out of late and got some decent reports. Bream fishing is fair with the bream now on their beds. Use crickets. Crappie went unreported. Black bass are fair, but they are also deep. Use your best deep, summer pattern baits. Catfish are fair, with the best action coming on noodles at nighttime.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-22-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC in Hot Springs, builder of the toughest and most durable, all-American-made jigs and fishing products in Hot Springs, reports Lake Catherine’s water levels at full pool with regular generation that produces current in the morning and evenings. Water temps at the lower end of the lake near Remmel Dam continue to hover in the mid- to upper 80s. “Catherine is a tough nut to crack! There are no set patterns from one day to the next this time of year, so we will share what we can! Bass can be had in shaded shallow areas with topwater frogs, Whopper Ploppers and buzzbaits throughout the day, but especially in the evenings. White color patterns seem to work the best. Drop-shot and Ned rig fishing techniques are getting the lion’s share of fish caught as of late. Green pumpkin Trick Worms on the drop-shot and seedless watermelon patterns on the Ned rig will catch fish (especially spotted bass). Most of these fish will not be good quality, but they do put plenty in the boat! The offshore bite is the main way (for us at least) to catch quality fish. Using the Ned rig and drop-shot on main channel ends of submerged gravel bars and deep drop-offs has been our go-to. The other option to fish these areas is a swivel head jig rigged with a watermelon craw. This heavy bait does great at getting down in current while staying weedless. It’s an excellent choice for covering large rocky areas quickly.
Walleye are still being caught regularly and accidentally by bass anglers dragging Texas-rigged black and plum worms by dock pilings and off points. Bream are good everywhere off deep rock faces and dock pilings in 15 feet with a water depth of 20 feet plus. Worms and crickets work best by far.
“Check us out on Facebook at Slycked Back Fishing LLC! “
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 7-22-2021) 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 posted a special generation schedule starting Friday, July 23, that extends through Thursday, Aug. 5. Anyone planning on navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to view these flow releases and plan accordingly. This schedule is posted weekly on the Entergy website for public viewing normally on Wednesday evening. Now that Lake Ouachita has been lowered several feet below flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are now at a level where fishing and boating are now safe to continue. Rainbow trout fishing below Carpenter Dam is extremely 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 have completed 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 one-eighth-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 7-22-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 7-22-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-aluminum, all-welded fishing boats in beautiful Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water levels slightly up due to rains. Water clarity is good but slightly stained with visibility up to 8 feet throughout and surface temps in the high 80s.
Lately it’s really been junk fishing for bass. It seems to get this way around August every year on Hamilton, and once again it has returned. Early mornings and night fishing are by far the most productive for bass of all species. In the early mornings, shallow points that stick out to the main channel will be best to target with topwater presentations like Whopper Ploppers, Spooks and shallow jerkbaits. Many breaking fish are being spotted in these same areas at the same time. At night, these same areas with lit docks can be targeted with the drop-shot rig. A green pumpkin or plum Trick Worm, nose hooked or wacky-rigged around dock pilings, is very productive at night but also during the day in shaded areas.
Bream have been excellent on deep dock pilings and brush. Slip corks set at 15 feet will put quality fish in the bucket. Worms work best and crickets are fair. Catfish are good in all creek channel drop-offs or hard bends in 20 feet. If you can find some sunken boulders, then definitely target those areas. Cheese cubes or cut bait seems to work the best!
“Please use caution on Hamilton. Pleasure boaters are everywhere and its very important to keep your head on a swivel when fishing congested areas. Good luck and Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.82 feet msl (normal pool: 343.93 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that Nimrod is clear and holding at a normal level. Surface water temperature was not reported. Bream have been excellent for a few weeks now. Redworms, crickets and nightcrawlers all will work. They’ve been fairly shallow lately as well. Crappie action fell back to good this week, with the fish now being found deeper in the channels. Use minnows, jigs or a crankbait.
Black bass are still good on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good 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 574.34 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-22-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports black bass are good. Texas-rigged Ole Monster Worm and a drop-shot finesse worm have been working. There have been good reports with jigging a three-quarter-ounce spoon, too. Walleye are still excellent 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 very good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep on brush. Crappie are still fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are still very good and being caught on rod and reel using nightcrawlers for bait near brush. Water temperature is ranging 84-88 degrees. Clarity is clear. Lake level is 574.46 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(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 7-8-2021) 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 389.73 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 was up slightly to 23.54 feet and about 2.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 7-22-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said this week he had little to report from Cook’s Lake. “We haven’t had many anglers in the last week but they have been catching them the same way as the report states from last week. The White River has also caused the lake to rise about a foot and a half in the last week, making conditions less than favorable.”
He said in the July 15 report that the largemouth bass bite has slowed down considerably. The best bait of choice was a 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 picked up a week ago and he expected them to only get better. Anglers should focus 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 7-22-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said there was nothing to report this week.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 7-22-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers at Bear Creek Lake report having success catching largemouth bass. The bass have reported to be biting at depths of 8-10 feet. Anglers report having success using various artificial baits as well as live bait. At Storm Creek Lake on the southern end of the State Park, Tyler reports very little fishing activity there. “We have not received any reports of fish being caught in this lake this month.”
One observer at Storm Creek did report to the AGFC that a couple of small bream were caught during the middle of last week, but not much was biting for them either.
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