Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
July 29, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 29, 2021. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 11 a.m. the day of publication (July 29).
****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: David Sample caught this monster striped bass at Lake Ouachita July 23. David and his buddy David Craft, who gets credit for manning the net to help bring in the fish, launching from the Bradey Mountain ramp. The two Davids were trolling with 10XD crankbaits, about 22 feet down, when Sample hooked this fish.
“The fish hit very close to 8 a.m., with my drag screaming for a good 20-30 seconds before the first ‘pause.’ I was using a 2500 size Shimano spinning reel spooled with 30-pound braid, but had about 18 feet of 20-pound Fluoro leader tied to that, so could only apply so much pressure! The fish made maybe 5-6 screaming runs, with the last one being straight down. When it stopped, I glanced at my sonar and it had gone 80 feet down!
“My buddy David Craft did an expert job with the net, which was barely large enough to get half the fish in. It took approx 12-14 minutes to land. After taking a few pics I put the fish back in the lake, held it upright by the tail and got it revived. It took about a minute, but it made one hard sweep of the tail and disappeared into the depths!”
Sample said the fish measured every bit of 48-50 inches.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 7-29-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is at its normal stain and is at a normal level. Bream have improved with a good bite this week on redworms and crickets. Crappie remain fair; go with small and minnows and small jigs. Black bass are good; try spinnerbaits, jigs, frogs, small swimbaits and 7- to 10-inch curly tail worms. Catfishing is good. Chicken liver, stink bait, cut shad, skipjack, nightcrawlers, black salties and goldfish all will work.
(updated 7-29-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said that fishing for everything is slow here, and Dennis has spent more time exploring more AGFC lakes and other fisheries. The small lakes seem to be more active than the large ones, he says. In particularly, he he’s had some success fishing Galla Lake north of Pottsville, Kingfisher in the Petit Jean WMA, and the Petit Jean River.
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 7-29-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said they continue to see generation starting early mornings and continuing until around midnight each day. There are opportunities for wading by starting early on the upper section of the river and the middle section mid-day. San Juan Worms, egg patterns, hare’s ear, sowbugs and streamers are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, a red or hot pink-colored body on chartreuse and gold jighead is best. 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.
(updated 7-29-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said Wednesday that water is running from 9 a.m. until about midnight every day, clear, and pretty consistent with levels higher in the morning and falling off during the day. The fishing for trout in the morning is better with Rapala Countdowns in size 5 or 7 and in Firetiger or rainbow trout colors, as well as with size 5 Rapala Shad Raps and with crankbaits in deeper parts of the river. Use Marabou Jigs in olive or orange colors and Rooster Tails in shallow shoals.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 7-29-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.13 feet msl and falling. It is 0.59 feet above normal pool for this time of year of 462.54 feet msl. It’s just about to normal a little sooner than expected and when it gets the rest of shad out of bushes it will be on for all species if 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. They’re being caught 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 at 30-50 feet and use hair jigs, spoons, inline spinners and Alabama rigs as well as single swimbaits. Enjoy and wear your life jacket.
(updated 7-29-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says water is clear and 1 foot high. Bass are good in the early morning on clear topwater or Zara Spooks on schooling fish at the lower end of the lake from Sandy Beach to the dam. Also, bass are good with finesse fishing using Ned rigs, drop-shots and shaky heads in any natural color or watermelon colors in 15-20 feet of water.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-29-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake has cleared but it remains low. The fishing continues to be good for bream, bass and catfish, but stay out of the heat. Bream are will bite well on redworms and crickets in the early morning. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits. Catfish are good at night on goldfish.
(updated 7-29-2021) Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said there are big schools of shad everywhere. The clarity is relatively clear and the water level is normal. Bream are good using redworms or crickets. Crappie fishing has been good at night; use minnows or jigs. Catfish are good, with black salties working best. No reports on black bass.
(update 7-29-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said had no report.
(updated 7-29-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 7-29-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water temperature is in the mid-80s. Largemouth bass fishing is rating fair to good. There are some reports of largemouths being found deep in their typical summer patterns, so everyone is throwing different baits. Try using drop-shot, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are fair. Some reports have them being found near drop offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks. Try using jigs. During WestRock Landing’s Tuesday night black bass tournament, Josh Baker and Josh Jeffers brought an an amazing 17.51-pound five-bass limit with a Big Bass of 6.90 pounds, their five-bass total being more than twice that of the second-place team.
White bass are fair. Reports have come in of the whites schooling but not staying up for long. Other reports have them being found on the sides of the channel 15-18 feet deep. Try using swimbaits. Crappie are fair to good. Anglers this week report crappie being found 20-22 feet deep above structure. Use jigs and minnows. Bream are ranging fair to good. Some anglers are saying the big ones can be found at 10-15 feet around the beds while other bream are being found at 14-16 feet off of windy points. Try using crickets and worms. Catfish are fair. Most are being caught off shoreline at about 12-15 feet. Use 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 64,364 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 71,847 cfs.
(updated 7-29-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) 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 67,301 cfs.
(updated 7-29-2021) 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 63,348 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 64,679 cfs. Both of these flows are nearly double what they were at this time a week ago.
(updated 7-29-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is at 65,000 (really good current level), a little high, and muddy. Bass are good in the early morning on Zara Spooks, buzzbaits and frogs around wood, rock and grass. Bass are also good on black/blue or white swim jigs. Later in the day, use chartreuse and black square bills and target main jetties. A good bite can also be had using a black/blue creature bait. Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, cut bait and stink bait.
(updated 7-29-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Thursday morning that crappie are good around brush and laydowns on the river, 10-12 feet deep, and biting on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in glitter critter color. Bream are good on crickets in the backwaters in 3-4 feet of water. Catfish are good below the dams on cut shad. Black bass are good in the early morning on topwater baits on the main river. White bass are good below the dams; use Vibric Rooster Tails.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-29-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says bream are biting here. Reports are the bream are good using redworms or crickets. The water level is low. No other reports.
(update 7-29-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says the clarity is “pretty clear” at Peckerwood, and the level is low but there are no stumps showing. Bream have picked up with good reports this week; use redworms or crickets. Crappie, however, were not biting this week. Black bass are good, and catfish are good on live bait.
(updated 7-29-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Lots of things in our world are different today, but there are some things that remain the same: Trout fishing on the White River in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks continues to produce a great catch of fish and as much action as you could ask for.
“Browns have been hiding in the deep holes and biting on sculpin and crawdad tails. The rainbows are hitting gold spinners and pink PowerBait worms topped with white (mousetails), and the ever-popular red/gold hammered Thomas Buoyant Spoon is adding to the count. There’s been a late afternoon surge in the brown bite during this past week, which is a little uncommon but might be attributed to the changing pressure systems and the occasional pop-up showers. A cup of nightcrawlers or redworms is a must during the higher water right now; play them close to the banks just a foot or so below the surface. Grasshopper season is approaching quickly. Tie on a yellow or green hopper and skip it along the top of the water to attract even the more passive trout that are laying low.”
Bull Shoals Lake elevation measured 682 feet msl Wednesday with generation continuing round-the-clock; daytime releases average 12,000 cfs (four generators) as we near the power pool goal of 661 msl. “Time on the river provides refreshment and renewal as only being in the great outdoors can. Take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen family bonds, spend quiet time with an old friend or just find yourself again.”
(updated 7-29-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon “it’s way too hot to fish, but the fishing is good.” They note that more rainbow trout were stocked on Wednesday. Brown trout are doing well, too, with the browns biting shrimp. Rainbow fishing is really good, they say. Clarity is improving. The river level is 30 feet high. Four generators are running at night at the dam, and eight during the day. Overall trout bite is good. Use PowerBait, pink worms, bigger stick bait, Rooster Tails in light greens and browns, worms and shrimp.
(updated 7-29-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they have had several minor rain events that combined for a trace in Cotter, hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.2 feet to land at 21.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 12.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 4.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had a short period of wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 11.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 12.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had some 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. We can expect high levels of generation in the near future.
The hopper bite is in full swing. Bang the bank with a hopper. John says his favorite fly for this technique is a western pink lady in a size 8. Add a midge dropper to increase your catch.
With the higher flows, the fishing on the White has slowed. The top spot has been Rim 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, “As a guide and serious fly-fisher, I have been fishing from a boat for several decades. Over the years I have become quite comfortable with almost all aspects of handling a boat. The one thing that still concerns me a bit is backing a boat particularly when entering a ramp to launch or put a boat on a trailer.
“This is not an easy thing. The trailer is pretty big to accommodate a wide (60 inches), long (26 feet, 6 inches) heavy boat. My car is also quite large. I drive a Suburban. They don’t make cars much larger. I can’t really see much in my rearview mirror, so I rely on my side mirrors. Most guides have the same problem that I have large boats and large vehicles. Trucks and SUVs have a limited view of what is behind them. A lot of them open their tailgates or raise their hatch rear doors to give them a better view. I would try it but I carry so much gear in the back of my car (wading bag, spare rods, extraneous fishing gear and a cooler) that I fear that I would dump it all when backing down the ramp. My previous fishing car had clam shell doors that were even worse.
“When I got my newest car, it featured parking assist (a backup camera). I thought my troubles were over. I must say that I find it great for backing out of tight parking spaces or my own driveway. I am especially impressed with how easy it is to link up my trailer connector with the ball on my trailer hitch when connecting my boat trailer to my car. I can clearly see both pieces on the camera. That is where the convenience ends.
“Once the boat and trailer are connected to the car, the only thing I see on the TV screen on the dashboard is the boat and trailer. I cannot see beyond it. I also get an error message that the parking assist is blocked. When I begin backing, the parking assist is beeping to warn me that there is something behind my car, the boat and trailer. At best this is annoying. At worst it is a major distraction when I am trying to do something that requires my undivided attention.
“My car is still new to me and I am technologically challenged. After owning Suburban for nine months I am still learning the functions of all of the buttons and switches. When turning on the air conditioner the other day I accidently discovered the switch that turns off the parking assist. Now I can turn it off when backing my trailer down a ramp. It doesn’t help anyway. What I do is use my side mirrors to guide me back. It worked before and it still works now.
“Like many problems in life, it is something that I just have to live with.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 681.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-29-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday morning that for bass fishing, get up early and use topwater baits, poppers and Zara Spooks in the creeks. Look for surfacing action. Use buzzbaits or Whopper Plopper if it’s cloudy. Once the topwater slows down, use a Beaver-style bait and big worm on points 15-25 feet deep. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, bluffs and ledges in 20-35 feet depth. Fish the conditions. Surface temperature is 86 degrees. The lake is on the fall at 22 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 567.21 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-29-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.
(updated 7-29-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 11.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 12.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had some 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. We can expect high levels of generation in the near future.
The hopper bite is in full swing. Bang the bank with a hopper. John says his favorite fly for this technique is a western pink lady in a size 8. Add a midge dropper to increase your catch.
The Norfork tailwater is fishing moderately. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. John’s current favorite combination is a 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 River, Norfork Dam tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-29-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. 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 1,125.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-29-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is remaining above average levels. Water temps are in the mid-85 range. Fishing is good for all species. Striper fishing is best from Rocky Branch to the dam. Early and late are the best times. Trolling live bait is best option. Fish are suspended from 45 feet and up depending on time of day. Crappie are good on trolled cranks and on jigs tipped with minnows above brush in 30 feet of water. Walleye are fair to good. Trolling deep divers and worm harnesses are working. Catfishing is good.
“Beaver Lake hosted a world championship spearfishing tournament last week. I think I need to pick that up!,” Jon said. “Numerous big stripers were taken. On that note, Beaver Lake is an awesome lake to scuba dive and or snorkel. There are seasons that you can spearfish game fish. Look at your AGFC handbook for regulations that apply. Another way to utilize this beautiful lake. If you have never spent time on this lake, you should plan a trip. The water clarity on the dam end of lake is breathtaking! Be safe and respectful out there!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 7-29-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) says walleye continue to bite well on the channel swings and in deeper water on crankbaits and minnows. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good using worms, jigs and live minnows. Catfish appear to be on the bottom where they are biting. Chicken liver and cut bait were working best. The lake is clear and the surface temperature has soared about 10 degrees from last week, to about 93-94 degrees. The lake remains a little high but is getting closer to normal.
(updated 7-29-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite below the dam has still been pretty good. Most are being caught with various dough baits fished with light terminal tackle. Quarter-ounce spoons and shallow-diving crankbaits have also picked up quite a few fish. “When we have these clear skies, try to fish some shaded areas,” he says.
This week’s hot spot has been between Spider Creek and Bertrand Access. There are still some walleye to be had, downriver toward Beaver town. Pulling Flicker Shads have been the ticket this week, he said. “I hope you all are staying cool and hydrated in this heat. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!” Follow Austin on his Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service).
War Eagle/White River
(updated 7-29-2021) 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 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 7-29-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said bream remained good over the past week. Use worms, crickets or jigs. She heard no reports this week on crappie or black bass. Catfishing is good on blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver and chut bait. The lake is the usual murky clarity and is high. Surface water temperature Sunday was 80.6 degrees.
(updated 7-29-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that water clarity has cleared but the water continues to drop and on Wednesday afternoon was 8 inches below normal. Surface temperature was not recorded. The bream continue to bite well around the docks; with redworms and crickets working great. The crappie have been poor for a while now. Black bass are good early in the day and then late in the evening. Spinnerbaits and topwater lures remain the go-to baits.
Catfish are good on chicken liver or cut bait.
(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 7-29-2021) 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 9.44 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 11.74, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is steady at 23.68, more than 2 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 7-29-2021) 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 7-29-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 7-29-2021) 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 259.41 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-29-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the mayfly hatch has been in full swing on Millwood over the past several weeks. Huge numbers of mayflies have the crappie, bass and bream feeding actively. As of Monday, Millwood Lake is near normal pool, 1-inch high and stable on a slow falll. The lake Tuesday was at 259.3 feet msl and stable; the oxbows’ water clarity has improved. Little River clarity has improved with current discharge this week. NAVIGATION CONDITIONS ARE IMPROVED on Millwood Lake with reduced discharge rates and flow conditions in Little River. Millwood Lake tailwater continues a slow fall, with elevation near 229 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 2,700 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 Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging in 85-90 degrees depending on location.
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. Surface strikes have been good on plastic frogs in black, June Bug and white near pads and grass. 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 few weeks. The best reactions over the past couple weeks or so have been from the adolescent bass from 10-15 inches and 2-3 pounds in the pads early on the Zoom Horny Toads and Live Target hollow body frogs. Ten-inch Power Worms in black/blue tail, Black Grape and Plum colors continue 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 week before last.
In the mouths of Snake Creek and Hurricane Creek, the Kentucky bass were found over the past few weeks hitting hammered chrome Cordell Spoons with white/red bucktail, and Fat Free Shads and behind points extending into Little River above Jack’s Isle.
Acres of floating alligatorweed mats are making fishing many types or lures and crankbaits difficult and navigation impossible in numerous areas of the oxbows up Little River. The middle of Horseshoe Lake oxbow, inside the cypress tree line on the north and east side, and northeast pocket behind the northern peninsula, is completely matted and choked out. Bagley Creek, Red Slough and South Hickory pockets are vegetation-matted thick, made navigation and fishing impossible. Pine Island, Schall, Plum and Mine creeks are beginning to mat completely over. The Corps is monitoring and evaluating the excessive alligatorweed densities lake wide. The Corps did conduct an alligatorweed beetle release several weeks ago, and are monitoring success rates.
Bass Assassin Shad jerkbaits were working in the oxbows, same flats and stumps with lily pads as the topwater frogs, early in the morning. Best colors over the past week or two have been Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Bluegill Flash in the 5-inch sizes. If you can find drops and vertical structure where the alligatorweed and lily pads converge on receding flats or deeper drops on secondary points, from 5-6 feet deep tapering out to 8-9 feet deep, custom-painted S-Cranks and Little John Cranks in bream and shad patterns are still getting random reactions. Bomber Fat Free Guppy in Splatterback and Citrus Shad colors have been working for several weeks.
Heavy three-quarter-ounce 1-Knocker and half-ounce Rat-L-Traps in Chrome/Black back, Millwood Magic and Splatterback caught solid 3- to 4-pound bass in the oxbows of Clear Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire where the water clarity has much improved over the past couple weeks. Bill Lewis Lures SB57 Square Bills and MR-6 Crankbaits picked up some healthy 1- to 3-pound largemouth in McGuire the last few days. Best colors working in the oxbows have been the Millwood Magic, Sneaky Shad, Tennessee Shad or Threadfin Shad over the past few weeks.
* Bream have been in a feeding mode for a few weeks and very aggressive on mayflies underneath overhanging willow trees along Little River. Bream in a few areas near Jack’s Isle, and at Millwood State Park off the banks, 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 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 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 the 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 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 7-29-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday morning that lake clarity has cleared and the water level is low by 3 feet. The crappie bite has slowed due to the heat, with fair results this week. Go with minnows or jigs. Black bass are good. Black buzzbaits and black spinnerbaits are working at night; Brush Hogs are best during the day. Catfishing is excellent “on any bait you put on a hook and drop on the bottom.” 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 541.39 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 402.82 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-29-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Its here! Summe, that is. Wow. Water is hot. High 80s for the most part. Water level is 402.98 feet msl and lowering. Water is clear with little trash to deal with.
“Let’s start with the crappie: slow, slow, slow. There was a tournament last weekend on DegGray and there was a smaller catch generally than last time. Most of the contestants were sniping with LiveScope. this technique is very popular on the tournament trail. I won’t start to explain that here but you can YouTube it for explanations. The brushpile fishing is slow. if you want to do this method, downsize and slow down. Fish just above the thermocline. Tight-lining or drop-shot seem to produce better.
“Bream bedding should be coming to an end soon. Most of the bream beds I have found are from Caddo Bend upriver toward Point Cedar. Look for the waffle on side imaging. Allow for boat travel while electronics display beds. Drop-shot with No. 4 line, or slip bobber, both will work.
“I guess the most active fish are hybrids, whites and Kentucky bass. Reports of surfacing fish from Iron Mountain to Point Cedar. Same drill: topwaters (Zara Spook and Whopper Plopper) when on top, crankbaits or spoons for deeper action. Shad Raps or other shad-looking baits are good. Spoons are always good and you can throw them a country mile. Remember, white and green seem to be good colors for spoons and soft plastics. You can always troll a rigs and hold on.
“And remember: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Watch out for others. This is not a time to be stranded on the water. Go early or late. Good fishing!”
(updated 7-29-2021) 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 437.35 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 534.43 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(updated 7-29-2021) Curtis Willingham of River Rat Bait (870-231-3831) said the water remains high and muddy, and he had no recent reports.
(updated 7-29-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said that after one decent week of fishing biting, the heat just took it out of the bite and he had no reports from the past few days. Atkins is clear and the water level is low. In last week’s report, which saw fish finally pick up a bit, Donald had said bream fishing was fair with the bream now on their beds and favoring crickets; black bass are fair but deep; and catfish were fair 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 7-29-2021) 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 that began 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 over 4 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 and below the dam 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 7-29-2021) 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 344.12 feet msl (normal pool: 343.93 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 7-29-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon the fish don’t seem to be biting now for anglers with all the heat. He had no reports from this week. The lake has clear clarity and is at a normal level. Before this push of major heat indexes, bream were shallow and biting excellent on redworms, crickets and nightcrawlers, Crappie were deep in the channels but still biting well on minnows, jigs or a crankbait. Black bass were still good on spinnerbaits. Catfishing was good on limblines and trotlines baited with perch, bream and black salties.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 573.81 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-29-2021) 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. Water clarity is clear. The lake level continues to drop and is 573.91 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.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.02 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 22.42 feet and about 2.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 7-29-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said Wednesday afternoon, “Unfortunately this heat has kept people off the water at Cooks Lake. Therefore, I once again do not have an updated report. The water is a little high but the fish have not been pressured so there is always a chance!”
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 7-29-2021) 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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