Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Aug. 26, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Aug. 26, 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 (Aug. 26).
****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
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 8-26-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Tuesday afternoon that the lake is the usual stain but the water has dropped to low. Bream are good on fly jigs, redworms and crickets. Crappie are good at night using small minnows and small jigs. Black bass reports are good; crankbaits, 7- to 10-inch Ol’ Monster Worms, soft plastic crawls and lizards are working best. Catfishing is good with stink bait, big minnows, goldfish, small bream and dough bait.
(updated 8-26-2021) 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. I am disabled/retired and fish six days a week, so if you see me, stop me and tell me what you caught and how. I’m fishing Lake Beaverfork, Brewer Lake, Lake Cargill, Lake Conway, Lake Winona, Nimrod, Overcup, Harris Break, Galla, Kingfisher, and the Arkansas River west from Toad Suck to Cypress Creek Landing. The river is fun to fish this week with calm water and lots of fish.
“Here’s what I’m finding around these spots:
Crappie: Typical locations around the lakes, they are active around 10 feet, use normal stuff.
Bream: Look for their beds and try normal baits; they are being caught a bit away from their beds.
Bass: They are lurking IN THE GRASS; use weedless.
Cats: No reports.
Gar: These guys are fun, but I need to invent a way to clean them. They are the armadillo of the lakes.
Hybrids: Choctaw, they are being caught, go find them.
For more info specific to Beaverfork, check out https://www.facebook.com/Conways-Lake-Beaverfork-Fishing-Reports-111202737334235.
Also, 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 8-26-2021) 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 caught fish and get the fish back in the water quickly, spending a little extra time reviving when releasing.”
Midges, pheasant tails, sowbugs and Woolly Buggers are recommended 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 8-26-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, now operating Little Red River Guide Service (501-690-9166, 501-507-3688), says the Little Red River has a fairly consistent generation schedule throughout the week Monday through Friday, running 4-6 hours a day starting in the afternoon (about 1 p.m. and running until 6 p.m.). The weekend’s generation is minimal with excellent wading opportunities for the entire river. Concentrate on fishing the deep holes and oxygenated shoals. Pheasant tails, sowbugs in size 14 and 16, and midges in size 18 are working well.
(updated 8-19-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is normal, running generators in afternoons (water is lower in the mornings), and clear water. Trout fishing has been consistent. There have been groups of fish caught above and below the shoals on Marabou Jigs (natural colors like olive or brown). Trout is also good on one-sixteenth-ounce Rooster Tails and Trout Magnets in brown, pink, black/green and black/chartreuse colors.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.34 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.54 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 8-26-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Thursday morning the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.35 feet and falling with evaporation and generation of about four hours a day at present; it is 2.19 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl. Catfishing is good all over lake and rivers; live bait, cut bait, lots of baits working. As for walleye, some are on points eating drop-shotted crawlers and crankbaits; some are in 60 feet and can be caught on spoons, crawlers and inline spinners. Some black bass are schooling on top, some on the bank chasing bream, and a lot are in between and out to 60 feet on bottom or suspended. A variety of baits are working under different conditions. Bream are guarding fry around the shoreline out to 25 feet; use crawlers and crickets, small crankbaits or spinners. Crappie are eating in 18-50 feet of water depending on where you are on lake, on minnows and jigs. Hybrid and white bass are eating spoons, inline spinners and live bait, and some are on top in 25-60 feet of water.
(updated 8-26-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is a little low and clear. Bass are a little slower at midday, but anglers are doing well early and late on small CC spoons (half-ounce), topwater (Spooks and Pop-Rs), and small swimbaits. Walleye are good trolling crankbaits in 20-25 feet of water across points, as well as drop-shotting nightcrawlers and bottom bouncers in 25-30 feet at the ends of points or on humps.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 8-26-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is clear and the water level remains low. Bream fishing is good in the early morning, and again later in the evening. They’re on the shoreline and biting redworms and crickets. Black bass are good and also being caught around the shoreline. Catfishing is good. Work the shoreline with nightcrawlers and chicken liver. Crappie reports remained poor.
(updated 8-26-2021) Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said Thursday morning that the big news is that catfish are very good now on chicken liver and shad. Bream are also good in the evenings on redworms and crickets. No reports on bass or crappie. The lake clarity is dingy and the level is fallen to low.
(update 8-19-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) 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 8-26-2021) 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 grass line and swimbaits. Kentucky bass are relating to rocky banks that drop sharply to 16-20 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 15-18 feet of water on swimbaits. Crappie are biting fairly well and are relating to the tops of brush piles in 10-15 feet of water. Bream also are holding in brush in 10-15 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 Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 4,054 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 0 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 8-26-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said Wednesday afternoon that the river is clear and at a normal level. Bream are still fair on redworms and crickets. Black bass are good, both early in the day and late in the evening, with best success coming on shad-colored crankbaits. Catfish are preferring to feed at night, but it’s a good bite on the usual catfish baits. Crappie aren’t biting.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 3,640 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 2,182 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 3,463 cfs.
(updated 8-26-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is stained and current is low, level is normal. Bass are good at the ends of jetties and sandbar drops on half-ounce chrome Rat-L-Trap, Carolina rigs, shaky head, Texas-rig worm, jigs and square-bill crankbait (10-12 feet). Also early/late on topwater (Spooks and buzzbait)
Catfish are good below the dam on cut bait and stink bait.
(updated 8-26-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream are good on crickets and redworms around the rocks around Big Dam Bridge area (Murray) and Burns Park area on the river off the rocks. Bass are good early morning on topwater around the sandbar drops and rock jetties around the Willow Beach area on Pop-Rs and Zara Spooks. Late in the day the bite is good on Senkos at 10-15 feet deep. Crappie are being caught out deep off the end of the jetties around 18 feet depth on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in full moon color. Catfish are fair below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam on cut shad. The white bass are fair below Terry Lock and Dam on Vibric Rooster Tails.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 8-26-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says that this week it’s been too hot to fish there. The previous week, though, crappie were good on minnows and jigs. No other reports.
(update 8-26-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says the clarity remains “pretty clear” at Peckerwood and the level is low. Bream are good on the redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair; anglers are trolling and using minnows and jigs. Black bass are good. Catfish are good on hot dogs and worms.
(updated 8-26-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake, at 670.75 msl, is less than 10 feet from the seasonal power pool goal of 661 feet msl, and “we’re on the cool side of the final heat wave of the summer (hopefully), so if you’re wanting to catch some fat, sassy rainbows, now’s the time to fish the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks.
“We are still experiencing continual generation from Bull Shoals Dam and the catch has been plentiful and healthy – quick bites drifting Berkley pink worms, sometimes tipped with a white power egg. The shrimp/PowerBait combo is always a great fallback bait when others aren’t getting attracting attention. It may help to add a little salt your shrimp supply to keep your bait on the hook between bites.
“The brown trout bite has been exceptional for August, with catches in the double-digits some days. Shiner river minnows have been the ticket this week with several good keeper browns reeled in. Keep several colors of PowerBait on hand – chartreuse, orange, pink and/or sunrise – and change up your bait if you don’t get a hit soon enough. Gold spoons and white bodies are this week’s top choice for spinnerbaits.
“Visit Cotter and find out why we’re called Trout Capital USA. Hope to see you at the river!”
(updated 8-26-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said brown trout and rainbow trout were both doing OK this week. The river level remains high at 30 feet above normal most of the time; eight generators are running at the dam round-the-clock. Best bait for trout is PowerBait, while pink worms, stick bait, Yakima Vibric Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp are also working.
(updated 8-26-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had three minor rain events that combined for a quarter of an inch in Cotter, to go along with hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.8 feet to land at 10.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 23.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 1.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 7.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 5 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 19.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has 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. Expect high levels of generation for the next few weeks.
“The hopper bite is a bit slower, but there are still some good days,” 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 more moderate flows, the fishing has improved a bit. 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 says his current favorite combination is a San Juan Worm with a girdle bug dropper).
John also said, “I don’t know about you but I will be glad when summer is over. I am fortunate enough to live in a 99-year-old field stone bungalow in Cotter that I have lovingly restored. My main strategy when remodeling it was to make it as energy-efficient as possible. I made sure it was well insulated, had energy-efficient windows, a high-efficiency air conditioner and no less than five Hunter ceiling fans. Because of this I can relax in relative coolness on even the hottest days.
“The problem comes in when I have to leave the house. Unfortunately my two biggest hobbies – working in my yard and fly fishing for trout – require me to go outdoors. I love to be outside but not when the temperature is hovering near 100 degrees.
“Working in my yard is quite manageable. I get an early start usually before 7 a.m. I work in the cool of the morning and stop when it gets warm, usually around 10 a.m. I then hit the shower and have a late breakfast. If it is not too hot, I will follow the shade around the house to work, where I am shielded from the sun.
“My nemesis with yard work is cutting the grass. Years ago I parked my riding lawn mower and began mowing with a rear-bagger push mower. It gives me a good work out and I can put the grass clippings in my compost. The problem comes when I have to wait until after noon because the grass must be dry to be effectively cut. By then it is brutally hot, especially on sunny days. This takes me two and a half hours. I wear my lightest shirt, straw hat and sun gloves. I take breaks and drink plenty of water.
“The fishing is basically the same. I start early and just fish a half day. I want to be on the water by 7:30 a.m. It is always pleasant then; I frequently have to wear a wind shirt because it is so cool. There is usually a dense fog that is chilling and frequently blocks the sun. It is great until the fog burns off, which is around 11 a.m. I generally fish till noon when it begins to really warm up. The challenge occurs if my client wants a full-day guide trip, when it is brutally hot and sunny. In a boat, there is no place to hide.
“Last week I had such a trip. It was four straight full days on sunny, 98-99 degree days. You know you are in trouble when The Weather Channel has heat advisories out for each day. The mornings went well. We caught several trout and even managed to catch a trophy brown. The trouble spot was the afternoon when the temperature climbed and the sun beat down on us. It was mean. The fishing slowed and it just got hotter and hotter. We were dressed properly and drank lots of water. It was tough. Quitting time finally came and I was glad to go home and enjoy an icy gin and tonic.
“The main thing that keeps me going now is that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fall is just a few weeks away!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 670.21 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 8-26-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock urges anglers to 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 water dropping, fish on the points in 15-25 feet depth. 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. Clarity is good, the surface temperature is hanging around 86 degrees and the lake is a little over 9 feet high at last check, and dropping. Check out Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 559.88 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 8-26-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 5 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 19.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has 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. Expect high levels of generation for the next few weeks.
“The hopper bite is a bit slower, but there are still some good days,” 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 flooding over 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. 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 8-26-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek remain 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 1,122.10 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Well, folks, the heat is on the last few days! Water levels continue to inch toward normal level. Lake temps have come up to around 84 degrees. The thermocline is set up in most areas around 27 feet, depending where you are located. With the warming waters and full moon, the stripers are a very-early and late-night bite. They still are scattered from Point 6 up to the dam. We have fished lately by the dam and the bite is early as mentioned, but one guide noted that we have gotten some fish when the dam horn sounds, designating generating is going to start. This creates some current and fish seem to respond for the first hour or so when fishing close to the dam area.”
“Walleye are fair to good, just depends who you ask. Personally, it has been fair at best. Look at the main lake points and flats from Monte Ne to Rocky Branch. Crawler harnesses and swimbaits fished slow will trigger some bites. Crappie are suspended in the thermocline near bait. Look for bait on your graph and troll around them and you should do well. Bream are for the taking. Get some crickets and have some fun in this under-utilized fishery. Catfish are good up in river arms using live shad.
“Stay hydrated and stay safe. It is really hot.”
Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 8-26-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reports that walleye are fair on the big end of Beaver Lake, biting on live minnows and worms and bottom bouncers. Bream are good and being found in 12-18 feet depth. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie continued to bite well again this week; anglers are finding them with LiveScope or by trolling. Use minnows and jigs. Black bass are good. Finesse baits are the way to go during the day; deep cranks are best before dark; jigs, worms and dark spinnerbaits are the best bets at night. Catfishing is fair on trotlines, jugs and limblines with live bait. Beaver Lake is clear and the water level is a little high.
(updated 8-26-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing the tailwater has been good this week. The trout bite is good in some places and better in others. Most have been caught on light terminal tackle using Pautzke Fire baits. “Another method that has been doing good is drifting Fire eggs, during generation, under a float,” he says. “Adjust your float to the preferred strike zone. This application works great in slackwater areas.
“If you have not seen it already, on my fishing Facebook (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) page there is a new video out on how to jig for trout. I highly recommend it; it can be a game changer for sure.
“There are still some walleye being caught further toward Beaver town. Even though the majority of the walleye retreat back to the main lake, there are some nice schools that hang year-round in the river. Crawler rigs and jigging live minnows have been the ticket for these guys.
“This week’s hot spot has been between Parker Bottoms and the dam. I hope you’re able to get out and catch some fish!”
(updated 8-26-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported with good fishing news this past week on a couple of fronts. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Catfishing is good using live bait. AGFC has stocked the lake with catfish recently. Black bass are fair, but crappie were poor. The lake clarity is murky and the water level is normal.
(updated 8-26-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported lake clarity is just “fair” while the level is normal. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie picked back up this week with good reports from fishing the channel; use minnows or jigs. Black bass were fair, but that was all reported. Catfishing is better, with good reports using nightcrawlers. The AGFC has recently stocked catfish.
(updated 8-26-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the water level is normal at Lake Charles, and fishing for the main species ranged from fair to good this past week. Bream were good on worms. Crappie were fair on minnows, jigs and worms, and the crappie have moved deep. Black bass are good on live worms and plastic worms. Catfish are good on worms, blood bait, Catfish Pro Blood and chicken liver. The clarity is murky and the surface water temperature Sunday morning was 81.7 degrees. Look for the best “moon times” of the month to be coming up Sept. 3-9, she said.
(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 8-26-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that lake clarity is clear and the water level is normal, but the water is 90 degrees. And, with the air temperature what it’s been earlier this week, they conclude it’s “too hot to fish.” Nevertheless, a few anglers are braving it in the early mornings and having good results with bass. There were no other reports.
(updated 8-26-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said had no new reports.
(updated 8-26-2021) 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 9.15 feet, more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 12.31, well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is steady at 23.81, more than 2 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet. All readings have been steady for several weeks.
(updated 8-26-2021) 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.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 8-26-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 8-26-2021) 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 Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.70 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake is back on a slow fall from recent thunderstorms that saw the lake rise almost 12 inches, and on Tuesday was at 259.9 feet and falling; oxbows’ water clarity was stained. Little River clarity was stained with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 233 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 5,400 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 NORMAL on Millwood Lake with reduced discharge rates and flow conditions in Little River. Use EXTREME CAUTION anytime high gate discharge conditions exist.
Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging 85-90 degrees depending on location. Current along Little River increased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of the oxbows was 10-18 inches depending on location. Mud lines were observed flowing into Horseshoe oxbow this week. 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 area) has improved drastically.
As for specific fishing suggestions:
* For the past several weeks, various largemouth and other black bass have been randomly schooling at daybreak in the oxbows up Little River for a few hours in early mornings. The best feeding periods have been early, from daylight to around 8-9 a.m., slowing in the heat of the day. Surface strikes continue randomly 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 in the day on plastic frogs in black, white or pumpkinseed/pearl belly worked near pads and grass. 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 Clear Lake, Mud Lake and McGuire near vertical structure where the flats drop off into 8-15 feet of depth.
Reaction strikes are good during the mornings until around 10 a.m. on Little John custom-painted crankbaits, Bill Lewis Square-bill SB-57 and MR-6 crankbaits in Chartreuse Shad, Tennessee Shad, Millwood Magic and Threadfin Shad colors, as well as spoons, three-quarter-ounce 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps and Tandem Bass Assassin Rigs, all catching these surface schooling 3- 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.
Kentucky bass (spots) were found inside the main creek channels just out of river current, where the creek mouths dump into Little River, near Snake Creek, Jacks’ Isle and White Cliffs Creek over the past few weeks. They’re hitting hammered chrome Cordell Spoons with white/red bucktail, custom-painted Little John Cranks, and Fat Free Shads; they’re also working 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 randomly working in the oxbows – the same flats and stumps with lily pads as the topwater frogs – early in the morning. Best colors over the past couple weeks 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. Bandit 200 Cranks in Splatterback, LA Shad, Chartreuse Root Beer and Citrus Shad colors have been randomly working for several weeks for largemouth and white bass.
No reports on bream.
* White bass continued roaming Little River over the past few weeks, but have been random in locations. Last week, two anglers found large schools of whites in McGuire oxbow, schooling with the largemouths near vertical structure, and in creek channel dumps into the oxbow near back of McGuire in front of standing timber. Random schooling was taking place from daylight until around 9 a.m. with shad pods breaking as the whites were pushing them to the surface. Hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps and Little Cleo’s were all randomly catching fish over several days in McGuire.
* Crappie over the past week were random in strikes – on a solid bite one day, and flip a switch off the next day. The best bite seems to have shifted from jigs and Mizmo Tubes to minnows fished in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on main lake, from 8-12 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best for jigs a week or so ago, but minnows seemed to work best randomly over the past week early, but the bite was slow in the afternoon.
* No report on catfish on the main lake, but several anglers told us they were having some decent bites below the 13-gate spillway, off the steps and rocks using chicken gizzards, hearts, livers and King’s Punch Bait as long as they were chumming the tailwater in current. Blues and channel cats up to 8 pounds were being randomly caught off the concrete steps and rip-rap.
(updated 8-26-2021) 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 Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 538.48 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 400.60 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching fair amounts of white bass trolling crankbaits. Watch for the schooling shad and surface activity of feeding fish. Be ready to cast spoons at the surface feeding schools.”
(updated 8-26-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Welcome to summer. Kinda hot, ain’t it? Water is clear with little debris. Water temperature is in the high 80s everywhere and warmer if you stay out long enough. Lake level is 400.6 feet msl and lowering.
“Let’s start with schooling fish. They are usually up around 7 a.m. If the water surface is calm they are pretty well showing up all over the lake, from Iron Mountain to Point Cedar. Same drill: Whopper Ploppers, Spooks, Chug Bugs and poppers for surfacing fish. Crankbaits in shad color (Shad Raps, bone-colored crankbaits and spoons) when they are under. The advantages of spoons is distance. There is plenty of action for surfacing fish if it’s calm and you get there early enough.
“Bream fishing is in the brush. Lots of brushpiles are full of bream. Crappie seem to be at 22 feet just above the thermocline in the timber. Downsize and be patient. Brushpiles are pretty well done, or slow at least.
“Hydrate, seriously, and watch for people in need. Be courteous. Good fishing!”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.36 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.29 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 8-26-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC in Hot Springs, producer of the toughest fishing products and built by Arkansans (who actually fish!), Lake Catherine still is proving to be a great fishery week after week, even in the heat. Water temps are in the mid-80s near Remmel Dam and progressively drop cooler heading toward Carpenter Dam where the temps are in the mid 50’s. Bass are good to fair most days but are very active in the morning early on topwater and especially when the wind blows. Catherine during the daylight has proved very tough. Fish go deep and seek current (oxygen). Catherine unfortunately does not have tremendous amount of cover (again because of the current). However, at night the fish move shallow to feed, and this is where they can be had. Intersecting the bass in between shallow areas as the sun sinks low with Texas-rigged worms and lizards, swim jigs and drop-shot rigs and targeting shallow areas during the darkness. Good bags are being caught on jigs, bladed jigs, buzzbaits, topwater walking baits and large Texas-rigged worms and lizards on grass lines and shallow areas in general. Covering water is key and also fun! It is a power fishing paradise when the sun goes down. When you are on them, you are on them! “Check us out on Facebook @SlyckedBackFishingLLC”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 8-26-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam rose to 74 degrees by the bridge early this week with several days of zero generation from the dam. Clear conditions currently are the norm in the tailrace. Entergy has posted a special generation schedule starting Friday, Aug. 27, that extends through Thursday, Sept. 2. 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 safe to continue.
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 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.
Rainbow trout fishing below Carpenter Dam has long been over as the season was marred by flooding. Very small numbers of rainbows now remain in the tailrace, 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 starting in late June and early July mark the end of the trout season on Lake Catherine until the AGFC’s stocking program begins again in mid-November.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
(updated 8-26-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 8-26-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Hamilton’s water levels at full pool and water temps in the mid-80s throughout, with exception to the upper river channel down from Blakely Dam. Bass have been very active in the early mornings and be seen heavily school feeding on small shad and baitfish. These schoolers can be located off main lake points and off main bridge piers. Whopper Ploppers, Spooks and jerkbaits retrieved quick and erratically put good numbers in the boat with some fish in the 2-pound range, but most were 12 inchers. Once the sun rises, fishing really slows down. Bass can still be caught by working deeper shaded areas with a drop-shot rig. It is important to mention that downsizing your plastics is crucial for getting a bite. Cut worms in half or less and consider swapping to a Ned rig if you prefer.
“The nighttime is the right time for catching big bass. A bladed jig, Whopper Plopper, buzzbait or Spook fished down edges of hard structure in the shallows – I repeat, shallows (less than 4 feet). Running these baits down seawalls, grass lines and dock edges have been producing wonderfully if you can stand the mosquitoes and bad depth perception.”
Bream have been so good lately and a person can really lay it to them on bridge piers and docks at 20 feet. A live worm simply dangled over the side and set at 20 feet will have a fish fry in no time at all. Crappie are sluggish at best and no report of walleye.
“Arise fisher-folks! The pleasure boat traffic has dropped off significantly! Good luck and go Greeson! Gogreeson.com.”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.39 feet msl (normal pool: 343.93 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake is clear and surface temperature is back up to 90 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream continue to bite well, especially in the river. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good; the best depth for the bite is 7 feet. Minnows are working, as well as pink/chartreuse jigs, Road Runners, and chartreuse Arkie in 2-6 deep trolled at 1 mph. Black bass are good on black spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and worms. Catfishing is good; try black salties in 8-10 feet of water.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 571.61 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-26-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching ample numbers of catfish on the drop-off near deep water channels. Fish the bottom with worms, cut bait or shrimp.”
(updated 8-26-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are good. The topwater bite is still working and a drop-shot rig is working well for spotted bass. Walleye are good and being caught on spoons and drop-shotted nightcrawlers near brush on points. No report on stripers. Bream are good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep relating to the brush. Crappie are slow. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are very good and being caught on rod-and-reel using nightcrawlers for bait near brush. Water temperature in Lake Ouachita has inched back up, ranging 86-90 degrees. Clarity is clear. Lake level on Thursday was at 571.59 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, 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 20.80 feet and more than 5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 8-26-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said the action on Cooks Lake has really heated up. Anglers have reported having great success with largemouth bass, quantity and quality, however they have been pretty tight-lipped on the lure selection. One group said they were biting so good one day, it did not matter what you threw! Wil says they have not had any reports on any other species the last few weeks.
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 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.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 8-26-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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