Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Oct. 14, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 14, 2021. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 11 a.m. the day of publication (Oct. 14).
****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 10-14-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is the normal stain and the lake has leveled off to normal. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair, with anglers catching them in pink minnows, small minnows and medium shiners, along with jigs (the best are white/chartreuse or Monkey Milk colors). Black bass are poor, but you should still give them a go and maybe you’ll have some good luck with crankbaits, swimbaits, poppers and worms. Catfishing is good on stink bait, large minnows, dough bait and night crawlers.
(updated 9-30-2021) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) says it has heard that things are picking on bream here.
(updated 9-30-2021) Angler Dennis Charles said there has been little to no change from last week. The lake is 3 feet below normal and very clear, and the fish are becoming more active. “Follow the lake edge and use your imagination. I am getting reports of anglers catching fish on nontraditional lures and modified lures.
Crappie: Typical locations around the lake, they are active around 10 feet, use normal stuff. Some folks have been discreetly dropping fish habitat Keep your eye on your sonar.
Bream: Look for their beds and try normal baits; they are being caught a bit away from their beds.
Black bass: They are following their food.
Yellow bass: Look for them schooling and largemouth bass below them.
Catfish: Look for deep spots and around the docks.
Dennis suggests checking out the Arkansas Bass Fishing Facebook page, as well as
https://www.facebook.com/Conways-Lake-Beaverfork-Fishing-Reports-111202737334235. Also, visit Dennis’ Facebook page (Arkansas Fishing Adventures) for more information from lakes around the area.
Little Red River
(updated 10-14-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, operating Little Red River Guide Service (501-690-9166, 501-507-3688), says Southwestern Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers have been consistent with the generation schedule at Greers Ferry Dam, running 2-4 hours a day on weekdays usually starting around 3 p.m. The weekend’s generation schedule has been minimal with excellent wading opportunities for the entire river. Try fishing the deep holes and oxygenated shoals. Blue-wing olives have been coming off in the evening.
Nymphing under an indicator with pheasant tails, sowbugs and egg patterns along with midges has been effective. A two-fly rig with a midge dropper has been working as well.
Stripping small streamer patterns like a bunny leech, Woolly Buggers or Cracklebacks have been producing.
(updated 10-14-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red has settled into a fall generation pattern with 2-4 hours of generation on weekdays with less on weekends. Midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ear and Woolly Buggers are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, try pink and white-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jig heads. 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 10-14-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout
are good when there is flow on marabou jigs and Rooster Tails.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 457.19 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 10-14-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Wednesday the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 457.25 feet msl. It is 4.79 feet below normal pool for this time of year (462.04 feet msl). “We are experiencing generation for about 3 hours every afternoon, and on weekends 1-3 hours during the middle of the day as of right now. Remember, wind is your friend, but anything over 20 mph should be considered to be hazardous. Be safe. The wind helps reoxygenate the water as the fall breakdown of matter in water robs it of oxygen and wind and rain are the only things that will replenish it.”
Crappie are eating if you can stay with them or over them. Use jigs, crankbaits and live bait in 16-45 feet of water. Black bass are eating well from super shallow out to 60 feet on a variety of baits, on points, secondary points, guts and creeks, and major flats. Catfish seem to be going better with hot dogs for bait at this time. A lot of walleye are scattered swimming around other schools of fish and eating what they regurgitate; the rest can be caught on a drop-shot with crawlers, on points, humps, etc., in 18-60 feet. Bream are eating crickets super shallow out to 25 feet. Hybrid and white bass are eating at will; stay around the shad, keep an eye out for birds as well. Topwater baits, spoons and inline spinners working best in 25-60 feet.
(updated 10-14-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said bass are good on topwater walking baits and jigging spoons.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-14-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is muddy and low with stumps showing. Bream have not been reported for a while. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair for anglers using plastic worms. Catfishing is good on the trotlines.
(updated 10-14-2021) Phil Thomas at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) had no new reports.
(update 10-14-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) said Wednesday the clarity is slightly stained and the water level is normal. Bream fishing continues to be good around shoreline and brush. Use redworms and crickets. Crappie are shallow in about 5 feet depth and the bite is good over underwater brushpiles. Minnows and jigs are being used. Black bass are being found shallow in the afternoon and are going after live bait with good results. Catfishing is good on the bottom on live bait.
(updated 10-14-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) said surface water temperature is in the mid- to low 70s. Largemouth bass are fair. Some reports have come in of the bass being found in the coves due to the cooling water temps. Try using at Texas rig on brush, or drop-shots. Kentucky bass (spots) have been slow this week. Some anglers report them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, while other reports have them being found on brushpiles. Try using jigs. White bass are poor. There are reports of them being found chasing shallow shad. Try using swimbaits.
Crappie are good. Reports from the last two days (Monday and Tuesday of this week) have the crappie being found suspended on the brush with anglers fishing in depths of 17-22 feet. They’re catching a few and then the bite stops, so keep moving to find them. Bite is best early and in the evening. Try using jigs.
Bream are slow. Some are saying they can be found 7-15 feet around the beds and others being found 14-16 feet off of windy points, while others are catching a bunch of small ones from the banks. Try using crickets and worms. Catfish are good. Trotlines are being set at 12-15 feet depth. Try using chicken liver, worms and crayfish.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 48,236 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 61,515 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 10-14-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river is clear and at a normal level. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on cut bait or bream. As for bream fishing, he’s had no reports in a while.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 2,928 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 39,870 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 32,906 cfs.
(updated 10-14-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are good on shaky heads with watermelon red, as well as on Strike King 3XD lures.
(updated 9-30-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Thursday morning that crappie are good around the Burns Park area on minnows and jigs. They are fair below Terry Lock and Dam on pink minnows off the jetties. Bream are fair in 4-5 feet deep water around Murray Lock and Dam, just off the rocks, and in the backwater around Willow Beach; use redworms or crickets. Black bass can be caught in good numbers using a topwater lure; there is an early bite in the main river. Bass are responsive to Whopper Ploppers and buzzbaits around rocks.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-14-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) reports that Clear Lake is still low and is clear. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass continued to bite well on worms and crickets. No reports on catfish.
(update 10-14-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says the lake level is low and the water remains clear. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs and are relating to the stumps. Black bass are good on crankbaits. Catfishing is good on floaters and live bait. No reports on bream.
(updated 10-14-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said trout fishing near Cotter on the clear, cold White River in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks proved to be spectacular this week. Generation from Bull Shoals Dam has been low during the day, with slight increases in the late afternoon. Lake level is 3 feet below power pool now (the established goal for the lake level), sitting at 656 feet msl. These water releases are friendlier to wade fishers and still navigable for the jon boats, but the channels are narrower, which calls for a return to our longtime river etiquette: more patience and an understanding of other anglers needs. Bank anglers are enjoying the easier access, too.
Anglers this week showed us once again that we can hook a trout with any of a number of baits — spoons, Smithwick Rogues (yellow bellies), sculpins or minnows, sowbugs and jigs, spinnerbaits and egg patterns with shrimp. What worked best this week? Our recommendation is the three-sixteenth-ounce blue-sliver Thomas Buoyant cast toward the bank, then using a slow and steady retrieval.
The German Brown bite continues to be slower than we’d like, but don’t be surprised if you attract one or two with shrimp and PowerBait. The annual spawn is heating up, so be careful and gentle when returning the females to the river. We have seen fewer browns and cutthroats during the last week, but those we’ve been able to bring to the boat have taken sculpins rather than stick baits. Try a peach/olive marabou jig on overcast days to change up your fishing technique and keep the interest high.
“The days have been weather-perfect. We’re finally feeling some autumn in the air, especially early mornings, but the days warm up nicely and you’ll have to look long and hard to find a more beautiful place to visit. Come see for yourself. We look forward to seeing you on the river!”
(updated 10-14-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they have had two rain events (totaling about an inch and a half inch in Cotter), cooler temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1 foot to rest at 2.6 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 38.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 1.8 feet below power pool and 15.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.6 feet below power pool or 11.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had marginal wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water every day.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. There has been wadable water on a daily basis.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. On the low water, the bite was excellent! The hot flies were Y2Ks, prince nymphs, zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), pheasant tails, copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan worms, gold ribbed hare’s ears and sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise).
Some anglers have been fishing large streamers on the heavy flows the White has been getting later in the day and having success. This requires heavy sink tip lines (250 grain), heavy rods (8-weight or better) and advanced casting skills. The hot flies have been large articulated streamers in various colors.
“Hopper season is on the wane. These are tempting morsels for large trout. You need a stiff 6-weight rod and a 7.5-foot 4X leader. My favorite hopper patterns are the western-style foam hoppers with rubber legs and a bright quick sight patch,” he said.
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. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
(updated 10-14-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) had no new report this week. The river continues to run mostly low. Rainbow trout fishing overall has been good. Just 2-4 generators are running at the dam on average. PowerBait, pink worms, stick bait, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp all will get a good response from the trout.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 656.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 915.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-14-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday the lake level is normal and clarity is good. Surface water temperature is down to 73 degrees. He says bass fishing fallen off slightly to fair. “Shad are moving up and so are the fish,” he said. Get up early for the topwater bite using poppers and Zara Spooks one-half to three-quarters of the way up in the shallow creeks, and look for wind and shad-surfacing action, as well as the birds. Bass are also good on Chatterbait, buzzbait or a Whopper Plopper covering water if it’s cloudy.
Once the topwater bite slows down, use a Peewee jig or Beaver-style bait on shallow ledges and laydowns, and if it’s sunny use shaky head worm on ledges and channel swing banks with chunk rock. Transitions with water stabilizing, fish on the secondary points in 10-20 feet depth. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, bluffs and ledges in 24-34 feet depth. Shad are starting to group up a little better, but they are spread out and moving into the creeks. Fish the conditions.
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 553.54 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 10-7-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake has been a lot of fun fishing during the last week. “Nothing has really changed much since my report last week except that the lake surface temperature has dropped another degree. The best bites on the lake have been for crappie, other panfish, largemouth and spotted bass, and walleye. The striped bass are still scattered out all over the lake, making it very difficult to come up with any pattern.
Crappie fishing has been really good. You will find this species on brush in 24 feet of water out to 40 feet of water. They can be at any depth over the brush. The last couple of days, I have been catching some nice slabs 30 feet down over 40 feet deep brush. The best bait for catching large numbers of fish is live crappie minnows. Find the depth of the fish and slowly drift over the brush and hang on. Small eighth- to quarter-ounce spoons have been my choice of bait and I have been vertical-jigging the spoon over the tops of the brush. A few days ago, I could only get a bite if the spoon touched the brush and as soon as the spoon hit the brush a crappie attacked it. Small curly tail or paddle tail grubs are also working and sometimes tipping the grub with a small live minnow gets the fish a little more aggressive. I have mainly been catching white crappie on the brush with only getting a few small black crappie. This morning I started fishing a few 40-feet-deep brushpiles and only found a few crappie. I then started trolling a No. 7 Berkley Flicker Minnow on a shallow shoreline with many small cuts and points. I was getting my bait down to about 30 feet and was staying in 30-38 feet of water. I only made two passes of this shoreline and landed three nice 14-inch black crappie. It appears the big slab black crappie are still scattered out, but they will move into the big brushpiles shortly.
Bass fishing has also been very good. This species is mainly being caught in very shallow water, but can also be found out in deeper water. Texas-rigged long dark-colored artificial worms have been working the best. Pitch the worm up to a shoreline that still has sunken brush. The largemouth seem to be hiding next to the brush, then come out to ambush the worm as it passes by. Other baits working in the very shallow water are square bill crankbaits, spinners and Chatterbaits. Some topwater baits are also triggering bites on occasion. Two days ago, I was scanning a large flat that had some brush out in 40 feet of water. When I got into about 28 feet of water, I started to mark large schools of fish. I dropped a three-quarter-ounce white spoon and immediately the bait got hammered as it hit the bottom. It was a nice 17-inch largemouth. For the next 45 minutes I got to land many nice largemouth bass. The fish were spitting up very small threadfin shad and crawdads. This type of largemouth schooling in a feeding frenzy out in deeper water has been historically common this time of year. They do seem to move around, but when you happen to find them, you will have a blast.
Walleye can also be found feeding very close to the shoreline out to 40 feet of water. The depth they can be found in seems to change daily so it does take some graphing to find them. It appears for me that 30 feet deep on the bottom has been the best depth. My best method to catch walleye is trolling a No. 7 or a No. 9 Berkley Flicker Minnow. You need to get the bait down to 30 feet, so either use a downrigger, lead core line or an inline weight. Each method is a learning process.
Norfork Lake surface water temperature was slightly less than 77 degrees. The lake has become fairly stable with just a very slight drop. We are currently at normal seasonal pool. The lake is slightly stained from the mid-lake area and heading north.
“Happy fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake!”
(updated 10-14-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water every day.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. There has been wadable water on a daily basis.
There has been wadable water on the Norfork and it fished well some days and poorly on others. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Grasshoppers have produced fish, particularly when used in conjunction with a small nymph dropper (try a size 20 black zebra midge). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). The fishing is much better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.
Dry Run Creek has fished well. School is back in session and now is a great time to fish it, particularly during the week. Weekends can get a bit crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.
John also said, “Last week I got a call from Kevin. He is a friend and client that I have guided several times over the years. Over 10 years ago I taught his son, David, to fly-fish on Dry Run Creek. He landed a 16-pound brown on his first day of fly-fishing. They wanted to have my wife, Lori, teach LuAnn, David’s girlfriend, how to fly fish. I told them that Lori had a broken arm (a dog walking accident) and would be unable to do it. I told them I would do it.
“We scheduled a wade trip on the North Fork River. When we arrived, the water was on the bottom. It was cool and threatening to rain. I told Kevin and David that I would take LuAnn upstream into the catch-and-release section. They decided to fish near the access so they would not interfere with our class. I told her that my goal for the day was for her to catch more trout than the guys. She told me that her goal was to catch a bigger fish than them.
“LuAnn, a former serious soccer player, is young, tall and fit. The wading was easy for her. The weather was also no problem. When it began raining, she continued fishing and did not pull up the hood on her rain jacket to keep her hair dry. We began with a brief casting class. She picked it up quickly. She was a natural.
“We started fishing with a Woolly Bugger but that just did not work. I switched over to a nymph rig, a pheasant tail with a ruby midge dropper. I worked on her presentation and she was soon into a nice 16-inch rainbow. The next trout was truly spectacular. It was a fat 13-inch brook trout. For a brookie, this is huge. It gave her a good fight but finally surrendered to the net. We caught another three trout with the nymph rig. It was time to learn a new technique.
“I took off the nymph rig and tied on a partridge and orange soft hackle. I taught her how to fish it and worked on improving her cast. We were rewarded with four nice trout. By this time it was time to walk back to the access and see how the others did.
They had each caught one small trout each. She had out-fished both of them on her first day fly-fishing both in numbers and size. They were in awe of her. They were especially impressed with the brook trout. It had been a great day of fishing and she had done extremely well.
“Was this beginners luck? I don’t think so. LuAnn is a natural.”
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-14-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and gin clear. Both are receiving a lot of pressure. With summer coming to an end, the smallmouths are still active. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown 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 1,118.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-14-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is on the cool-down. Water temps for the most part in low 70s. Tuesday there still was a thermocline and most areas and it was at 35 feet. So the lake has not turned over yet but is getting close, which will bring some good fishing. Stripers remain fair with fish scattered throughout the north end. They will start a move toward mid-lake soon. Walleye are fair to good some days and still can be caught on deeper-diving cranks and crawlers. “Crappie have made the biggest improvement the last two weeks. We are catching limits off brush in 15-25 feet of water. Jigs and minnows will work.
Mid-lake is holding the most fish right now and the river arms will get better after lake turns. Oxygen levels up in the river are lower than in the mid-lake region and the bite shows that. It is harder to fill a limit way up the White and War Eagle, and a better bite is around Hickory Creek down to Horseshoe Bend. Bass fishing is fair to good depending on who you’re talking to.
“Stay safe and enjoy the fall weather this next week.” Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 10-14-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported Thursday morning that Beaver is clear and at a normal level. Crappie are fair, with best fishing around the brushpiles using minnows or jigs. Black bass are fair. Try topwater baits early in the day and late. Daytime fishing is still working for anglers targeting schooling fish and using small topwater lures and spoons. Catfishing is good; use chicken liver. Bream reports are poor. No other reports.
(updated 10-14-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has been great both above and below the U.S. Highway 62 bridge this past week. The method of choice has been light terminal tackle, fished with Firebait and Fire Balls. With that being said, hit it early on those clear, sunny days. When the sun starts to get high in the sky, start focusing on the deeper water.
If you’re still hunting the walleye, you need to be down toward Holiday Island. Pulling Flicker Shads in 10-15 feet of water has produced some nice numbers. Also, jigging live minnows has been hot as well. If you have a graph, locate the fish and start working that area. This week’s hot spot for the trout was around Houseman Access.
“I hope you able to get out and catch some fish!”
(updated 10-14-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that the lake murky but the level returned to normal. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on topwater baits and plastic worms. No reports on catfish.
(updated 10-14-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake is clear and is at a low level. Bream are still biting; anglers report good results on redworms and crickets. Crappie, though, are poor with no reports. Black bass are good on plastic worms. Catfish will bite fair on worms fished deep.
(updated 10-7-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fishing fell off somewhat this past weekend. She had no reports on bream, crappie or bass. The good news, though, is that catfishing was excellent this past week. Anglers were using blood bait, stink bait or chicken liver and catching nice cats. Moon times indicate a good next couple of days, though Saturday, she says. Also, the week of Oct. 17-23 looks good as well.
(updated 10-14-2021) Seth Boone, park superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reports that Lake Poinsett is still in the process of refilling. The fishing now is predominantly catch-and-release for bream. They seem to be biting on crickets and worms. Small boats, kayaks or canoes are the only watercraft that can launch at this time.
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 10-14-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports that lake clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is ranging 70-75 degrees. The water level is low by a foot and a half. Bream remain good on redworms and cricket. No reports on crappie. Black bass are good on topwater baits now. Catfishing is good using stink bait.
(updated 10-7-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels have been at 300 cfs and water clarity is clear. The river has been very low over the last month. Rain would be very helpful. With the low clear water, wading is at its best. It is still slick on the rocks, so be safe.
Heavy stocking from Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery over the last few months has the river full of rainbow trout lately. For the bigger bows, large Woolly Buggers are the ticket in white, olive and brown. If the bite is slow, hopper droppers rigs with nymphs works great. Lots of smaller browns that are holding near the banks love hitting the hoppers.
“Catching smallmouth bass here and there,” Mark adds. “The trick is to fish for them with heavy weighted flies. The bass love to hit the fly on the drop. Then a fast, short strip back to get them to chase it. This also works well for our brown trout.”
Mark notes that renovations at the Jim Hinkle hatchery have begun, and over the next year work will be going on there to expand the size of the silos and reconstruct them. Once completed it will allow for much higher capacity and allow for more types of trout to be raised, like the tiger trout.
(updated 10-14-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water level on the Spring River is fishable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Canoe season is over and the canoes are mostly gone. Fish the upper river at the Lassiter Access to avoid them or fish Dam 3 late in the afternoon after they have left the area. 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, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 6.82 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 5.92 feet, also well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta easily slightly down over last week, and is now at 17.95 feet, nearly 8 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 10-14-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no new report.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 10-14-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 10-14-2021) Dam repair work has been completed 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, and the AGFC is pumping several of the small ponds and planning to add rotenone to those areas for the elimination of unwanted species (i.e. grass carp, yellow bass), before the refilling of the lake begins.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 257.57 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-14-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the Army Corps of Engineers’ 2-foot drawdown of Millwood Lake has ended, and the lake is currently near 20 inches below normal conservation pool and on a slow rise. The lake Tuesday was at 257.5 feet msl and rising; Little River water clarity was heavy stained. Oxbows’ clarity is improved, light stain, with pollen and surface film. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 224 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 175 cfs in Little River, according to the 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 on Millwood is cautioned with the elevation almost 2 feet low and the slow rise in effect through at least Oct. 22.
Surface temps rose slightly this week, ranging in 70-77 degrees depending on location. Current along Little River decreased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranges3-5 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of the oxbows was 12-15 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 area has improved drastically.
As for fishing specifics:
* Over the past several weeks, the largemouth bass have been slow to fair for any topwater bites. Several weeks ago, along points and ditches connecting Little River, oxbows and back flows, we found various largemouth and Kentucky bass randomly schooling at daybreak in the oxbows up Little River for a few hours in early mornings, but topwater action slowed down again this week.
When good schools were surface breaking for several weeks ago, we were getting decent reactions using the Bill Lewis Stuttersteps, Cordell Boy Howdy’s, Clear Baby Torpedoes, Heddon Dying Flutters and Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black back. Blowup reactions slowed also in the lily pads, but were good on plastic frogs in Junebug, white or pumpkinseed/pearl belly, near pads with timber and stumps until just recently. The schooling bass were chasing large pods of threadfin shad to the surface and blowing them out of the water at daylight in the oxbows near vertical structure where the flats drop off into 8-15 feet of depth until the past couple weeks, and that schooling activity has ceased again.
Over the past 3 weeks, anywhere the creek mouths dump into Little River, near Snake Creek, Jacks’ Isle, and White Cliffs Creek, the Kentucky bass were stacked up inside the main creek channels just out of river current, and 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 that were working for some 2- to 3-pound largemouth and white bass has been slow this week.
* Bream were fair at Millwood State Park and Jack’s Isle over the past 2-3 weeks on grasshoppers, redworms and crickets.
* White bass disappeared over the past week. Johnson Beetle Spins, hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail, Rocket Shads, three-quarter-ounce 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps and Little Cleo’s were all randomly catching whites over the last 3-4 weeks in McGuire and Horseshoe Lake oxbows, but slowed again this week.
* Crappie improved over the past couple weeks. Best reactions have been on Southern Pro Tubes and minnows in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on the main lake, from 9-12 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best for the tubes and minnows this week. Best reaction time shifted to mid-morning for crappie, and best Southern Pro tubes have been the Little Hustler in the 1.5, and the Pro Series Little Hustler in the pumpkinseed/chartreuse, orange core/chartreuse pepper, Tennessee Shiner and Blue Shiner.
* No report over the past week on catfish.
(updated 10-14-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports that crappie are really good in 10-12 feet of water on hand-tie jigs. Black bass are good in the creeks on topwater baits. Catfish are good on stink bait.
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 534.26 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.86 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-14-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, DeGray…The crappie are in their fall feeding frenzy. Start early at first light and expect them to shut off by late morning. Live bait has worked best fishing 8-12 foot deep over brushpiles in 16-20 foot of water where deeper channels are nearby.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 435.81 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.98 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 10-7-2021) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) reports that crappie are good on minnows and jigs. The lake is clear and at a low level.
(updated 10-14-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said Lake Atkins on Wednesday was clear with a surface water temperature of 80 degrees in the early afternoon. The level is 3 feet low. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on 10-inch worms. Catfish started biting again this week with fair results on goldfish. No reports on bream.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-14-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 67 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Oct. 15, that extends through Thursday, Oct. 21. 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 10 feet below flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are now at a level where fishing and boating are safe but being aware of the flow releases are always advised. Rainbow trout fishing below Carpenter Dam was marred by flooding this spring and summer. Very small numbers of rainbows 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. The trout season on Lake Catherine will resume with the AGFC’s late fall-winter stocking program starting in mid-November.
Catfish had been caught on a regular basis this summer in the tailrace, but that action has slowed considerably in the last two weeks. The majority of fish caught had 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. Huge schools of threadfin shad can be observed moving in and out of the tailrace. 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 was dominated by these fish species with migration in and out of the tailrace a weekly event. This pattern is 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 10-14-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 9-30-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at normal water levels with excellent clarity throughout the lake and temps in all areas except the river channel below Blakely Dam at 75-78 degrees. Pleasure boat traffic continues to be heavy all times of day due to the never-ending summer heat. Bass fishing is trying its best to transition to the fall patterns, but the ongoing warm temps are not letting that happen effectively, so we would call fishing “fair.”
Bass have slowed down during daylight hours and have become hesitant to bite much at all. Drop-shot rigs with small worms in Watermelon Seed and Watermelon seem to work best in luring fish out of brush and main lake points in 18-25 feet of water. White Zoom Horny Toad Frogs skipped under docks and retrieved in or around shady grass lines will work. Typically, this time of year the “Frog is King” but it’s just not cool enough yet.
Night fishing for bass is good to excellent right now, however! During the nighttime hours bass really pick up and can be readily caught in very shallow areas near main lake creeks and channels. Buzzbaits in dark colors with a large profile trailer bait like a Craw- or Beaver-style bait. Run this or a Chatterbait down dock edges and let the fun begin. Good fish and good numbers can be caught right now!
No crappie report, but we have seen good packs of crappie on the electronics hovering on or near brush piles or dock pilings at 14-22 feet in the main channels and mixed in with Bream.
Hybrid bass are being caught regularly now when they break in the opening to creek channel pockets. Spooks, spoons and crappie jigs in white/chartreuse slow rolled under a cork at a depth of 5 feet will get a nice mess in the cooler at certain times of the day (usually early morning and an hour before dusk). “Good Luck, and Go Greeson!”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.16 feet msl (normal pool: 343.93 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-14-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake remains clear and has fallen below normal. Crappie are good, but they are being caught deep. Use minnows, regular crappie jigs and hair jigs. Black bass are good. The War Eagle Spinnerbait is a go-to, as well as worms. Catfishing fell off some to fair this week. They are being caught on minnows while the anglers are crappie fishing; and cats also are being caught on noodles with cut shad and whole shad. Bream fishing has turned poor, but you can still give them a try with redworms or crickets.
(updated 9-30-2021) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) says its anglers who stop in on the way to Lake Nimrod report that bream and crappie are doing well.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 567.90 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-10-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are good. Try a Carolina-rigged finesse worm or a drop-shot rig for this fish. Walleye are fair to good and being caught with bottom bouncers tipped with crawlers on main lake points and humps 18-22 feet deep. Stripers are fair to good on live bait. This fish are primarily on the east end of the lake. Bream are good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep on brush. Crappie are fair on small jigs or minnows. Try brushpiles in the 12- to 20-foot depth range. Catfish are fair and being caught on rod and reel using nightcrawlers for bait near brush. Water temperature has continued to fall and is ranging 72-76 degrees, about an 8-degree drop from two weeks ago. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 567.98. 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 384.39 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 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 steady this week 15.64 feet, more than 11 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 10-14-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) said this week found water at Horseshoe in the low to mid-70-degree temperature range. The water is somewhat clear but is showing signs of turnover. We should see some falling water temperatures with the strong cold front that is forecast to move in this weekend. As the water temperatures fall, look for fish to start feeding heavily on the abundant shad in the lake.
Kent said he found a few bream in 3-7 feet of water but he was searching for crappie and didn’t stay with them. Crickets or a worms should entice a bite from a bream pretty quick.
No reports on bass. No reports on catfish.
Crappie were found 9-12 feet deep in 10-14 feet of water. These were in open water and suspended near the bottom of the water column. Hand-tied deer hair jigs were the bait of choice. Look for fish to follow shad onto the shallower flats as the water cools.
(updated 10-14-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said fishing was “less than stellar” last week but there is still time to give it a try.
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. Cook’s Lake’s fishing will continue until waterfowl season opens in November.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 10-14-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said that at Bear Creek Lake, anglers have reported having great success catching bream and black bass. The numbers of bass being caught has increased over the past few months. Bass have been mentioned being caught at depths of 6-8 feet using various artificial baits. Bream have been reported at 4-5 feet while using mostly red worms.
In the south end of the state park at Storm Creek Lake, anglers are having success catching striped bass! This is great news, as it has been kind of slow all season, Tyler said. The striped bass are reportedly being caught at depths of 6-8 feet, mostly using redworms.
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