Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Aug. 19, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Aug. 19, 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 9 p.m. the day before publication (Aug. 18).
****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: Phil Capel of Sherwood had a big day crappie fishing at Millwood Lake recently with Josh Jones out of the State Park at Millwood. Capel landed some terrific slab crappie, as seen in this photo. Our regular reporter from Millwood Lake, guide Mike Siefert, has been noting a good crappie bite with nice-sized crappie (up to 2 pounds) being caught for several weeks now, biting jigs and tubes in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on the main lake. They’ve been found at a depth of 8-12 feet. Try vertical-jigging, Mike says. Read more about the fishing at Millwood under the Southwest Arkansas section below.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 8-19-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Tuesday afternoon that the lake is the usual stain and is at its normal level. Bream continue to have a good bite on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair using small minnows and small jigs. Black bass reports are good; use an assortment of lures to fish them, such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwaters, frogs, Rat-L-Traps, jibs and curly tail 7-inch worms.
Catfishing is good; stink bait works on the rod-and-reel, or use minnows, dough bait, nightcrawlers, goldfish or bream on trotlines.
(updated 8-12-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said, “I again have visited many lakes in the past two weeks; all lakes and large ponds that are within an hour’s drive of Conway are getting my attention. Anglers having very little luck in this heat, but best luck they are having is at sunup or sundown, and look for schools of baitfish with game fish under them. I noted that the U.S. Forest Service has graded many of their roads, including those that go to Lake Winona — it’s now a 30 mph road instead of 5 mph.
“Of the lakes I have visited, what anglers I ran into and talked with said all fish are slow. Beaverfork, Kingfisher, Cargill, Brewer, many are schooling in Brewer. Galla Lake is basically a kayak-only lake, BUT lots of fish being caught. And for more info on Beaverfork, check out https://www.facebook.com/Conways-Lake-Beaverfork-Fishing-Reports-111202737334235
“A lot of anglers read these reports but these reports are only good if you share your info with us. So, please post on the Facebook page linked below or ask Jim Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can send him reports from where you fish.
“Here’s a tip to consider while fishing in these hot days of summer: Be innovative and think outside the tackle box; it works. Some of you have reported to me some strange catches. I myself have caught many cats hunting bream on the grass edge. Yes, a 4-pound cat caught with a tiny bream hook on braid. And some of you have caught a few cats on traditional bass lures. I also caught a few bass with a popper trolling with a 4-ounce weight using a 6-foot leader, fishing it 4-6 feet down.”
Visit Dennis’ Facebook page (Arkansas Fishing Adventures) for more information. 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 8-19-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, who is operating Little Red River Guide Service (501-690-9166, 501-507-3688) that had been owned by the late Greg Seaton, says the generation schedule on the Little Red River has been fairly consistent with two units generating for 4-5 hours a day starting around 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays. Weekend generation has been minimal with excellent wading opportunities for the entire river. Concentrate fishing in the deep pools and oxygenated shoals. Pheasant tails, hare’s ear, nymphs and sowbugs in sizes 14, 16 and root beer midge’s in size 18 have been working well.
(updated 8-19-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said, “We continue to see a summertime generation pattern with 4-6 hours of afternoon generation on weekdays and less generation on weekends. With hot air temps and limited generation, we are seeing warmer water temps, so be careful not to overstress the fish you catch, and get the fish back in the water quickly, spending a little extra time reviving when releasing.” Lowell recommends midges, pheasant tails, sowbugs and Woolly Buggers for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use pink and red-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 8-19-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is a little low (running 4-5 hours in afternoon) and clear. Trout are good from daylight until about noon on an eighth-ounce Rooster Tail, a No. 3 Countdown, a Marabou Jig or drifting PowerBait. Fly-fishing is working in the afternoon with a midge, small pheasant tail or dry flies.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 8-19-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.85 feet msl and falling with evaporation and generation. It is 1.69 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. Some species have moved shallower and some deeper following baitfish. The best consistent bite for crappie is going to be 25-30 feet. Trolled baits or straight up and down with jigs or minnows will work; stay with the bait.
Walleye are roaming under a lot of other species eating leftovers, or some can be found on points, humps, etc., dragging crawlers on a drop-shot 30-40 feet deep. Bream are eating shallow out to 25 feet on crickets and crawlers all over the lake and in the rivers. Catfish are feeding at various times and the bite should pick up in the next week with the expected weather; use live or prepared baits. Black bass are still all over the place — more and more are waiting to stay shallow here all of their life, but you still have schooling fish that are at 25-50 feet. Stay around shad or bream.
Hybrid bass are using deeper water, out to 60 feet, and roaming and searching up to 28 feet. Use spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits or hair jigs, fish conditions and stay around shad. White bass are using more of the shallower water column from 25-35 feet. Again, stay around the shad and use spoons, inline spinners, small swimbaits, hair jigs and topwater baits.
(updated 8-19-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is normal and clear. Black bass are good in the early mornings or late evenings chasing schooling fish in the lower end of the lake on spoons, topwaters like Zara Spooks and Pop-Rs. Walleye are good in deeper water, at 25-30 feet, on trolling crankbaits and bottom bouncer rigs with nightcrawlers. Target the humps or tapered points.
Crappie are good in 25 feet of water on blue/white or shad-colored crappie jigs.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 8-19-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is clear and the water level has fallen to low. Bream fishing is good in the early morning, and redworms or crickets will work. Black bass are being caught around the shoreline in fair numbers; no baits were suggested (but we’d think topwater early or late). Catfishing is good at night on trotlines baited with goldfish or baby bream. Crappie reports this week were poor.
(updated 8-19-2021) Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said the lake is high and dingy. He adds that what fishing there is, is better in the evenings. He had no specific reports on catches this week. A couple of weeks ago, crappie were being caught at night on minnows and jigs. Catfish were good with stink bait or black salties.
(update 8-19-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-977-0303) said conditions and fishing are about the same. The lake is a little cloudy, like it’s been for a couple of weeks. Lake level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports are good, with anglers still trolling in 6-7 feet of water down the middle of the lake for best catches. Also, use size 6 crappie minnows. Black bass are good, with best results coming in the evenings in the weeds. Bass minnows, buzzbaits and Rooster Tails work best. Catfishing is good using stink bait, goldfish and nightcrawlers.
(updated 8-12-2021) See Angler Dennis Charles’ report under Lake Beaverfork.
(updated 8-19-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said the water is cooling slightly with the most recent rain, and has a surface temperature around 82 degrees in the mornings. Largemouth bass and Kentucky bass are fair to good. The largemouth are being found deep in their summer patterns, and anglers should try using drop-shotted soft plastics, heavy spinnerbaits along the grassline and swimbaits. Kentucky bass are relating to rocky banks that drop sharply to 16 to 20 feet of water and are biting on jig-and-plastic combinations. White bass are fair with some sporadic surface schooling activity, but the fish aren’t staying at the surface long. Some anglers also are catching white bass along the sides of the river channel in 15 to 18 feet of water on swimbaits. Crappie are biting fairly well and are relating to the tops of brush piles in 10 to 15 feet of water. Bream also are holding in brush in 10 to 15 feet of water. Minnows are working best for the crappie, while redworms and crickets are always a go-to for bream. Catfishing has been good with many blue catfish being caught on trotlines in the approved trotline-fishing area. A 31 and 53.5-pound blue cat were both caught last week.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 10,044 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 26,043 cfs.
(updated 8-19-2021) Charlie Hoke at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) says that the catfish are doing really well. They’re being caught on whole shad and anglers catching them are going to secondary drop-offs near the channel. There is about 25-28 foot of water in that area. The catfish they are catching are an interesting hybrid, Charlie notes. They are called white cats in that area: the look like a blue catfish body with a smaller, channel cat head. “They also are called humpback blues,” he said, “because they had that real small channel cat head and the body is so big.”
He adds that bream have been biting well. “People were out bass fishing with ultralight along the grass lines; early, early in the morning; using 1/32- and 1/16-ounce black Rooster Tails and catching the heck out of pan-sized bream.
“I haven’t had that many black bass fishermen, but the ones we’ve had, what they’re doing is going down there where there is wood and using shad-colored crankbaits — we’ve got so much shad up here, it’s unreal. What’s being caught are not big fish, really just anywhere from three-quarter pound to 3 pounds, just banging those crankbaits against the wood.”
He said the white bass are schooling early in the mornings, and are around the mouths of creeks such as the Petit Jean River and Point Remove Creek. Anglers are catching white bass on Rat-L-Traps and shallow-diving crankbaits in shad or pearl color. They are also catching white bass below the Ormond Dam on spoons.
“Things have just begun to pick up a little around here in the last 10-12 days,” he said. There is little to no flow in the river this week. “It’s just like a lake out there. We need it up to 35 (thousand)-40 (thousand), 60 (thousand cfs) flow to really get the fish going. The water is gorgeous, though. It’s still a little bit hot now, but in three or four weeks, if you want to head downriver, say in the second week of September, it will be cool enough to camp out and travel up and down the river and see how beautiful this area is.”
Little Maumelle River
(updated 8-19-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said Wednesday afternoon that the river is clear and at a normal level. Bream remain fair on redworms and crickets. Black bass are good, with best success coming on shad-colored crankbaits. Catfish continue to bite well at night, Ray said. Try the usual catfish baits. Nothing reported on crappie.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 27,424 cfs.
(updated 8-12-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) had no reports.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Wednesday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 26,647 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 18,229 cfs.
(updated 8-19-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river flow is cut off, and now there is very little flow. The water is stained, but it should start clearing up soon. Water level is normal. Bass are good around or on the sandbars and end of jetties on the main river; try a topwater like a Zara Spook, a buzzbait, and also use a crankbait. During the day the bass are biting well on jigs and shakey heads. At night, bass anglers are fishing a little deeper, around 8-10 feet.
Catfish are good below the Murray Lock and Dam on nightcrawlers, stink bait and cut bait.
(updated 8-19-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said catfish are good below Murray Lock and Dam on cut shad. Bream are shallow and biting well on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good in 10-12 feet off the rocks on minnows and jigs. Bass are good in the early morning on topwater baits and black Bandit Crankbaits on the main river.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 8-19-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says crappie are good on minnows and jigs. No other reports.
(update 8-19-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says the clarity is “pretty clear” at Peckerwood and the level remains low. Bream are good on the usual redworms or crickets. Crappie returned to activity with a fair bite; best results will come with trolling cranks. Black bass are good. Catfish are good on hot dogs and worms.
(updated 8-19-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said fishing from Cotter on the tailwater of Bull Shoals Dam produced a good quantity of fighting browns and healthy rainbows this week. All of the browns were less than trophy size but fought hard and gave the anglers a thrill. Minnows and live crawdads were once again the favored bait for browns.
Generation continues round-the-clock with a steady output of at least 11,500 cfs and higher in the late afternoons. Bull Shoals Lake level is just 12 feet above power pool and is dropping more rapidly as it approaches that desired seasonal elevation goal of 661 feet msl.
“This week, a mixture of baits was called for: One day we had luck with the silver Cleo, the next day the red/gold spoon won the bite, then white Rooster Tails; so keep a variety of smaller artificial baits on hand. Always be ready with some shrimp and scented egg pattern baits for a good limit of rainbows. Try adding a little garlic and salt to your shrimp for variety. The guides still like the Berkley Pink Worm — better when drift-fishing from a boat — on high water. Live worms are great when the water first comes up in the afternoon. Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never used before. If it doesn’t work, change what you’ve got on your hook and dangle something new.
“Keep your sunscreen away from all baits and tackle. I’m not smart enough to know why, but I know that you’ll lose a lot of fish if they detect sunscreen. Stay aware of your surroundings with the higher water and keep on angling.”
(updated 8-19-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said that this week there was not a lot of people fishing. The river level remains high at 30 feet, they reported Tuesday. Eight generators have been running round-the-clock. The overall trout bite was good, however. PowerBait is one of the main baits of choice, but anglers were also using pink worms, stick bait, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp.
(updated 8-19-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had a minor rain event totaling a quarter of an inch in Cotter; cooler, then hot, temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.3 feet to land at 13.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 20.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock remained steady at 0.3 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.3 feet to rest at 2 feet above seasonal power pool and 6.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 2.1 feet to rest at 6.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 17.4 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 still high due to spring rains but have dropped substantially from their highs. Expect high levels of generation to continue for the next few weeks.
“The hopper bite is in full swing,” John says. “Bang the bank with a grasshopper. My 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 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 says his current favorite combination is a San Juan Worm with a girdle bug dropper).
John also explains what goes into a typical guide’s day: “Most of the people who know me think I have it pretty easy as a fly-fishing guide. They think that all I have to do is take someone fishing. There is a bit more to it than that.
“My day begins the night before. I put ice packs in my Yeti cooler so that it will be cool enough to keep my lunch cool the next day. While I am doing that, I also inventory my food for the next day’s lunch. I make sure that I have mustard, mayo, bread, cold cuts, cheese, cookies, chips, soft drinks and bottled water. I am lucky that my wife, Lori, does the shopping. I gas up my motor to make sure that I have plenty for the next day. I then hook up my boat to my Suburban. I go to bed early because my day begins early.
“My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I rise, shower and make coffee. I drink a couple of cups and fill up a large Yeti tumbler for later in the day. I pull out my iPhone and check the weather for the day. I dress according to the forecast. Today the forecast is 99 degrees and sunny. I am dressing in the coolest clothes I have that still offer maximum sun protection. I then check my Corps of Engineers Little Rock app to determine what the flows will be. That helps me decide where to fish that day. I then check on the current generation on the same app to ensure that the Corps is doing what they said they were.
“I head out to the guest house, where I keep all of the supplies for my shore lunch. I load the stuff that requires refrigeration into my Yeti cooler. The rest along with paper plates, napkins and a table cloth goes into a tote. While I am there, I feed the three feral cats we have adopted. I put the lunch into my Suburban and then remove the cover from my boat. I grab my sunglasses and Yeti tumbler full of coffee and head out at about 7 a.m. to meet my clients. If I have time, I stop at McDonald’s for a quick breakfast.
“As soon as I reach the access I begin preparing my boat to launch. I remove the ratcheting tie-downs on the rear of the boat. I hook up my motor to the gas tank and pump gas into my motor with a squeeze bulb. I connect my launch rope to the boat and put my boat net and paddle in the boat.
“I am now ready to rig my client’s fly rods. My clients are using my rods; they are still rigged from the last trip. I inspect them and load them. If my clients are using their own rods, I take time to rig them. I generally put on a fresh leader, fresh tippets, flies lead and strike indicator. I launch the boat and begin fishing. I run the motor, keep the boat straight with a paddle (this is tough on a windy day like yesterday), net fish, change flies as needed and untangle fishing knots.
“At noon, I find a picnic table on the bank and in the shade. I put a table cloth on the picnic table and put lunch out. At the end of the meal, I put away any uneaten food, fold the table cloth and bag any trash. We return to the river and continue fishing. At the end of the day, I return to the access and trailer my boat. I put away my gear and secure the boat to the trailer. I drive home and cover my boat. If I have time, I tie flies before supper. I then start the process all over again.
“It is a busy life but I love it!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 673.20 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl), a drop of 3 feet from last week and a steady fall from the lake’s high this summer near 690 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.59 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-19-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said that conditions are the same as they’ve been, though the lake continues to fall: Get up early for bass fishing and use topwater baits, poppers and Zara Spooks in the creeks. Look for shad-surfacing action. Use a buzzbait or Whopper Plopper to cover water if it’s cloudy. Once the topwater bite slows down, use a Beaver-style bait and a big worm on ledges and channel swing banks. With the lake on the fall, fish on the points in 15-25 feet deep. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, the bluffs and ledges in 20-35 feet depth. Shad are starting to group up a little better. Fish the conditions.
Check out Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake. The clarity is good, the lake has dropped to about 12 feet above normal pool level, and the surface temperature is about 86 degrees.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 561.95 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 8-19-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 2.1 feet to rest at 6.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 17.4 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 still high due to spring rains but have dropped substantially from their highs. Expect high levels of generation to continue for the next few weeks.
“The hopper bite is in full swing,” John says. “Bang the bank with a grasshopper. My favorite fly for this technique is a western pink lady in a size 8. Add a midge dropper to increase your catch.”
The Norfork is fishing moderately. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding in the past few years. 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 current favorite combination is a San Juan worm with an egg dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing poorly. There was increased pressure with school out, but that should ease up with school resuming. Weekends will still be busy. 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 North Fork 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 8-19-2021) 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 Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,123.07 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-19-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is still closing in on normal pool level. Water temps are in the lower 80s. “Fishing hit the dog days last week,” Jon said. “Fish are there but are very fickle from day to day. Stripers are fair. Look from Point 6 to the dam. The key as always is to find bait. Brooders and shad, if you can get them, are the ticket. Walleye are fair on crawler harnesses. You need to move and look for the fish off main lake points in 25-35 feet of water. Slow trolling and getting out early or staying late is key. Crappie are still good on brush in 20 feet or trolling around the 15 feet depth range in and around bluff walls. Catfishing is good. Any method will work. Look for an uptick in the bite next month. Good luck and stay safe!”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 8-19-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reports that Beaver has come down to only about a foot-and-a-half above normal summer pool. The clarity is clear. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie picked up this week, with anglers getting a good bite using minnows, and trolling 10-20 feet deep with crankbaits. Black bass are good at night; use worms or hair-tie jigs. Catfishing is fair on PowerBait.
(updated 8-12-2021) 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. 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.
“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).
(updated 8-19-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is open for fishing, but it had no new reports.
(updated 8-19-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the lake is clear and at a normal level. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie really fell off the past week with poor results, as did black bass. Catfishing is fair on nightcrawlers.
(updated 8-19-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing was good for bream and crappie but fell off for black bass and catfish this week. Surface water temperature was 80.6 degrees earlier this week, with the water level back to normal. Clarity remains murky. Bream were good for anglers tossing worms or jigs. The active, biting crappie continue to be found in deep water; try jigs. Shelly fielded no reports on bass or catfish. She says that “moon times” indicate good fishing starting Thursday and running through Aug. 25. Plan to be at Lake Charles Sept. 3-9 when the best times fall for that month, based on moon cycles. And she adds that Sept. 17-23 will fall under good expectations as well based on the moon cycle.
(updated 8-19-2021) Seth Boone, park superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, says that while Lake Poinsett is still refilling, you can catch and release bream. Kayaks and canoes are recommended at this time, as the lake is still 8-8.5 feet from being at full pool. Poinsett is rainfall-dependent when it comes to refilling.
The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed last Dec. 1, following the completion of a three-year renovation projection, and the lake began to refilling. The lake has been undergoing an extensive renovation with a new water control structure, more than 10,000 linear feet of shoreline work, more than 100 habitat structures placed on the lakebed, and nearly 100 trees anchored for fish habitat.
Other forage species that were stocked this spring include fathead minnows, golden shiners and threadfin shad have been added in huge numbers to the lake to build up the food supply for the predators, which will be stocked in 2022.
(updated 8-19-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that lake clarity is clear and the water level is normal. Bream continue to bite well on redworms and crickets. Crappie have picked back up, and anglers are having good results with minnows and jigs, mainly targeting the brushpiles. Black bass went unreported this week, as did catfish.
(updated 8-5-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 380 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been mostly clear. “Last week with the heat it was kind of a bummer. This week has started off great with lower temps. Hope they last,” Mark said. “The streamer action has been excellent on the overcast days. Personal faves are big Woollies and Clousers. On the sunny days, nymphs can work great to get down in the deeper pools where the trout are hiding. Hare’s ears, princes and pheasant tails can work great in sizes 12-16. Hopper droppers can be a lot of fun, also. I like big bright hoppers in yellow and orange during the heat of summer.
“There has been a lot of smaller brown trout stocked in the Spring River this summer that will hit dries. For the smallies, big sculpin and Clousers can work great. If it’s hot out, fish early and late. If you get lucky and get a nice cool, cloudy day, full days are great.
“Saturdays have had heavy traffic on the river. We always recommend fishing through the week and on Sundays and leave the river to the canoe hatch on Saturday. Works out great for us. As always, be careful wading the Spring; it is slick out there!”
(updated 8-19-2021) 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 Wednesday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 9.61 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 12.18, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is steady at 23.45, more than 2 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet. All readings have been steady for several weeks.
(updated 8-19-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no reports this week.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 8-19-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperature is in upper 80s, visibility up to 1 foot in protected backwaters. Black bass are biting fairly well on dark-colored worms and jigs worked slowly through brush and wood in Lake Langhofer. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and bladed jigs will produce along and at the ends of jetties against current when the river is flowing. If the river is up more than about 1 foot during your trip, focus effort on flooded vegetation and wood along the bank in Lake Langhofer and backwaters with spinnerbaits, bladed jigs and swim jigs.
(updated 8-19-2021) Dam repair work has been 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 Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.61 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-19-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake Tuesday was at 259.5 feet msl and stable, slightly above normal pool level; the oxbows’ water clarity continues to improve. Little River clarity improved with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation near 228 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 435 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 Millwood Lake with reduced discharge rates and flow conditions in Little River. Use EXTREME CAUTION anytime high gate discharge conditions exist. Use caution in navigation on main lake river channels where river buoys may be out of channel from recent high winds.
Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging in 85-90 degrees. Current along Little River decreased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows was 15-20 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms. Clarity (at Saratoga and Okay areas) has improved drastically.
As for fishing specifics this week:
* Largemouth bass have been randomly schooling at daybreak in the oxbows up Little River for a few hours in early mornings over the last few weeks. The best feeding periods have been early, from daylight to around 8-9 a.m., slowing in the heat of the day. Surface strikes have been good on Bill Lewis Stuttersteps, Cordell Boy Howdy’s, Clear Baby Torpedoes, Heddon Dying Flutters and Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black back. Blowup reactions randomly continue in the lily pads, early on plastic frogs in black, June Bug and white. The schooling bass are chasing large pods of threadfin shad to the surface and blowing them out of the water at daylight in the oxbows of McGuire and Clear Lake.
Reaction strikes are good during the mornings until around 10 a.m. on Little John custom-painted crankbaits, Bill Lewis Square-bill Cranks, spoons and three-quarter-ounce 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps, and Tandem Bass Assassin Rigs are also catching these surface schooling 2- to 4-pound fish. Ten-inch Power Worms in black/blue tail, Black Grape and Plum colors continue working for a few bass up to 4 pounds when the surface commotion subsides.
In the mouths of Snake Creek, Jacks’ Isle and Hurricane Creek, the Kentucky bass found over the past few weeks were hitting hammered chrome Cordell Spoons with white/red bucktail, custom-painted Little John Cranks and Fat Free Shads, and behind points extending into Little River above Jack’s Isle. Vertical-jigging of the spoons near standing timber and stumps continue working for some 2- to 3-pound largemouth and white bass. Bass Assassin Shad Jerkbaits continue working in the oxbows, same flats and stumps with lily pads as the topwater frogs, and also 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.
* White bass were still roaming in Little River stacked up behind points in deeper creek channels dumping into Little River and creek mouth junctions in the oxbows. Random reactions were fair, and best on hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail. Rooster Tails, Bomber Fat Free Shads and Rocket Shads also caught a few whites over the past few weeks. A few whites were caught trolling Rat-L-Traps with the schooling largemouths in Mud Lake and McGuire oxbow up Little River over the past week.
* Crappie improved on jigs and tubes in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on the main lake, from 8-12 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best. Minnows caught a few 1.5 to 2-pound black crappie early, but were slow in the afternoon.
No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 8-19-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) had no new reports.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 539.38 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 400.82 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-12-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Hot, hot, hot! The lake is at 401.05 feet msl and is getting very low. Now is the time to be out there locating some of the shallow brushpiles. Lots of them starting to show.
“Crappie fishing is still slow. You may have some luck sniping in open water or the timber. Not much going on in the brushpiles. Downsize your bait. Watch YouTube for videos on how to snipe. LiveScope is a necessary tool to snipe. Fish in the timber seem to be in the teens up to 20 feet. Schools can be found in the timber (if you have some timber located that is deep enough). Trolling Bandit 300s, Rapala Shad Raps or A-rigs will produce a mixed bag of fish: hybrids, whites, Kentucky bass, walleyes and crappie. Pull over structure or channels where fish show up on your electronics. These fish are somewhat slow to bite, so stay with them. Bream can be caught on brushpiles and cover. From bottom fishing to bobber works.
“Well, it’s that time of year and the bass are schooling. Everywhere from Iron Mountain to Point Cedar. Get there early and look for the boats. Topwaters work great, but spoons give you bigger hooks and distance. Sorry this report is so short; activity is slowing down, waiting for the cooler weather. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Watch out for people in need.”
(update 8-5-2021) Local crappie angler Charles Abernathy said, “I’ve been back out on the water recently. I’ve been targeting crappie piled up on deep standing timber above the thermocline. The bite is not as aggressive as it normally is, but you can still have some fun if you don’t roast first due to the heat.
“I don’t use minnows just because of their inconvenience, but they have sure been on my mind. I’ve been having decent luck on a monkey milk Slab Slayer with orange or pink head. If the wind is not bad, I use a one-sixteenth-ounce without an added split-shot. I start throwing short of the mob of fish and catch those one or two willing to come after it. Then throw past the mob and you can usually pick up a couple more. Let that bait fall slow and watch that line for any bounce. Let that bait swing slow when you are coming over them. When the bite stops, and it will after a handful of casts, I move close to them and fish them vertical. Fish slow and methodical and when the bite stops, move fast to the next mob.
When it’s hot outside most of us slow down. Most of these fish seem to be that way, too. Remember that when you are burning a jig back to the boat … ha ha ha … slow. It’s a lot of work this time of year but persistence pays off (most of the time).
“I appreciate you all reaching out and the feedback you provide. I know it’s been a while since I’ve given a report. I appreciate your patience. As always, feel free to ping me at email@example.com for more info. I have a YouTube channel where I share some fishing content and have already posted this last trip from this week. Be safe; I look forward to seeing you on the water.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.85 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.32 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-19-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake clarity is clear but the water level is very low. He’s had no reports for a while.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 8-12-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC in Hot Springs, producer of the toughest hand-tied jigs and fishing products in Hot Springs, reports Lake Catherine’s water levels normal and temperatures in the Remmel Dam area up to Catherine’s Landing in the low to mid 80s. Water visibility is in excess of 3 feet. “We have had a peculiar summer so far in being that the water is water like most years but the fish (bass mostly) are not moving deeper in a lot of areas. Most years, fish will move deeper into the 15-20 foot range and suspend or move to deep structure with current blocking ability. This year is not that year. It seems like the oxygen levels are up and the fish simply never HAD to move. This could be due to our large rainfall numbers.
“Conveniently, for those shallow water fisherman, many quality largemouth and spotted bass have been shallow. The Slycked Back White Swim Jig is a great weapon to use in grass and dock areas. Simply throw it down a dock edge and let it pendulum back to you with a swimming fluke trailer. Frogs, Whopper Ploppers, buzzbaits and Texas-rigged large ribbon-tailed worms also work well. We have caught a few quality fish over 3 pounds offshore in downed submerged trees on the drop-shot with a Zoom watermelon Trick Worm, but it’s not a pattern by any means. Bream are aggravatingly good everywhere on worms in 2-15 feet of water, with bigger fish at the deeper depths. Simply find a deep wooden pier dock and back off it to the depth. Go get ’em, and watch out for pleasure boaters out enjoying the last days before school starts! Check us out on Facebook! Slycked Back Fishing LLC.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 8-19-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 65 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted a special generation schedule starting Friday, Aug. 20, that extends through Thursday, Aug. 26. 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 6 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 over as the season was marred by flooding. Very small numbers of rainbows remain in the tailrace currently, which is the norm for this time of year. 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. This pattern will be repeated almost every week until the summer heat is replaced by fall temperatures.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
(updated 8-19-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 8-12-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at full pool with water temps between 86-89 degrees throughout the lake, with exception of the river channel, which remains in the high 50s. Water is clear with a slight haze. Bass, especially largemouth, have been scattered but catchable. Bass are like humans when it’s hot: They seek shade, cooler temps and an easily accessible food supply. Point blank: They are lazy. We have done well lately with bigger fish in low numbers by fishing topwater in shaded areas. Frogs and Whopper Ploppers are a great 1-2 punch combination. By fishing the Whopper Ploppers down clear banks and corners of docks and covering a ton of water and by skipping the frog under docks and into brush and grass, it’s the most effective way to cover all areas of potential big fish. The drop-shot rig with a watermelon seed Zoom Trick Worm rigged wacky, or nose-hooked shad-collared fluke, produces the best numbers of bass (especially spotted bass). Bridge piers, submerged structure and dock pilings are excellent targets to fill the live well with 10- to 12-inch fish.
Bream have been aggravatingly good in the heat. They will attack everything in sight, but can mainly be concentrated on laydowns in 8-15 feet of water. A person can wear them out on worms or crickets under a cork. These feisty eaters can be caught in sun or shade, and don’t seem to care.
Crappie are fair at best under docks. Shooting a small fluke on a jighead up into and under structure can catch crappie, but don’t expect large numbers. Docks near current are best, as these predators exclusively eat baitfish. “Good Luck and Go Greeson!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.63 feet msl (normal pool: 343.93 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-19-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is clear and surface temperature is 86-87 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream picked up this week, with good success catching them in the river channels. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good, with anglers finding them in 8-10 feet depth. Use minnows or a black/chartreuse jig. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits, an orange Rat-L-Trap and on purple worms. Catfishing is good on trotlines baited with bream or shad.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 572.05 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-19-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still good. Topwater bite has been working. There have been good reports with jigging a three-quarter-ounce spoon, too. Walleye are still very good and being caught on spoons and drop-shot nightcrawlers near brush on points. No report on stripers. Bream are still good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep on brush. Crappie are fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are good and being caught on rod-and-reel using nightcrawlers for bait near brush. Water temperature in Lake Ouachita is ranging 84-88 degrees. Clarity is clear. Lake level on Tuesday was at 572.05 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 8-19-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says the catfish are doing great near brushpiles on flats near deep water channels. Drop-shot worms.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.61 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 20.47 feet and about 5.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 8-19-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said, “We are back up and fishing! For a summer pattern, the conditions have not changed much. With the heat, most fishermen are staying on the water until 11 a.m. or so with a few holding on a little longer. Pleasure boat traffic was not bad this past weekend. It is still summer, so be mindful of the ones enjoying the lake skiing and swimming. Be sure you have a clear view of your travel path as you move around the lake.”
Water temperature was in the low to mid-80s. “With bream, not a lot to report,” Kent said. “I tied on an eighth-ounce jig in black with a red head and caught a few around some of the piers. Nothing big, but they were fun! I’m sure a little looking and harder fishing would produce some better results.
“On crappie, we started in the mid-lake area in 18 feet of water and found fish from 6-10 feet deep. Our best bait was a blue and yellow CH Custom bait on a 1/16-ounce head. Spider-rigging was popular with several boats on the lake. If you like to pull cranks, do it. And, as always, you can catch some fish on the piers. Get those baits in the darkest place you can and be ready. The fish are feeding most of the day.”
He had no reports on catfish or black bass.
(updated 8-12-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said he had no new report from Cook’s Lake with the heat returning. The lake level “is getting right, though,” he added.
For anglers recently, before the latest heat surge, a few crappie were being picked off near brush in about 6 feet of water using black and chartreuse tube or minnows. A few black bass were caught in the hollow cypress trees on green pumpkin finesse jigs or Texas-rigged black and red flake tubes. Some bluegill were still hanging out near laydowns and can be caught with a cricket 2 feet under a cork.
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.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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