Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Nov. 4, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Nov. 4, 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 11a.m. the day of publication (Nov. 4).
****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
(updated 11-4-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is featuring its expected, normal stain and is a little low in water level. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on redworms. Crappie are excellent. Anglers are finding best success on the northern part of the lake and around the Highway 89 bridge, on minnows and jigs. Black bass were fair on white spinnerbaits and swimbaits. Catfishing is good on trotlines and pole fishing with stink bait, chicken liver, dough bait, shad, skipjack or brooder minnows.
Little Red River
(updated 11-4-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said the Army Corps of Engineers is running more water; the river level is higher and water is clear. Trout are good on marabou jigs (olive, black, brown/orange colors in one-sixteenth-ounce sizes) and pink and white Trout Magnets and on trout-colored Rapala Countdowns and Rooster Tails.
(updated 10-28-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, operating Little Red River Guide Service (501-690-9166, 501-507-3688), says to always check the Southwestern Power Administration’s website (swpa.gov) to see if they are scheduled to generate power for the day. Look for low flows and sometimes multiple days without generation. When SWPA is generating power they usually run 1-4 hours a day weekdays starting around 3 p.m. Weekend generation has been minimal, creating excellent wading opportunities for the entire river. While wade fishing this time of year be aware of the redds are brown trout are spawning in the shoals. Don’t walk through cleaned gravel areas where the fish are spawning. With the low flows try fishing the deep holes and oxygenated shoals. Fishing under an indicator with egg patterns and midge’s have been producing, along with pheasant tails and sowbugs. A two-fly rig with a midge dropper has been effective.
If you like to strip flies, try stripping small streamer patterns and Cracklebacks along with swinging soft hackles in the shoals.
(updated 10-28-2021) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said that with Greers Ferry Lake below pool and with cooler air temperature, we can expect a pattern of only small amounts of generation weekly. Midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ear and Woolly Buggers are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, Lowell recommends pink and white-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.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 456.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 11-4-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 456.16 feet msl, or 5.86 feet below low normal pool of 462.04 feet msl and falling with generation one or two times a day. “We can rest assured it will stay low until next year’s spring rains, pretty much. The overall bite is good and should continue unless this sudden cold makes it turn over, then when that happens it could be up to three weeks before it gets back to as good as it is right now. Enjoy while ya can.”
Catfishing is good all over; the blue bite should be good until it gets super cold. Use your favorite bait and you should be good all over lake and rivers.
Bream are pretty active out to 25 feet on crickets and crawlers fished several ways. As for crappie, a lot of better fish are showing up again on lake and rivers, fishing horizontal and vertical as well with live and artificial baits. Still marking a lot of walleye deep, 60 feet; some are set up on flats with the rest following other fish around eating what they spit up. Try dragging a crawler or crankbait 28-45 feet.
Some big black bass are being caught shallow and some all in-between and out to 70 feet suspended roaming; pick your poison and stay with program for best results. Hybrid and white bass, you can about call your shot before you get bit sometimes. It’s easy and sometimes hard. Stay with the bait and you cannot go wrong. Use spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits or topwater baits from 25-80 feet.
(updated 11-4-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is clear and almost 6 feet below normal elevation. Bass are fair on topwater lures (Zara Spooks, buzzbaits, Whopper Plopper) around the banks, and their biting jigging spoons (white and chrome colors in half-ounce sizes) in deeper water. Crappie are good on natural shad color and white jigs and spider-rigging around standing timber in 10-15 feet of water, as well as trolling crankbaits (Bandit 300s are a good choice).
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 11-4-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the lake is clear and back up to normal level. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. The best bite is found around the shoreline. No reports on black bass, catfish or bream.+
(updated 10-28-2021) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is down by 1.5 feet. Clarity is murky and the surface temperature is around 68 degrees. Bream are slow but anglers are still catching some. Black bass are doing well on crankbaits. Catfish are doing well on yo-yos and noodles baited with bass minnows and broilers. Crappie are still in the deep water toward the Highway 95 side. “We are still catching a lot of smaller crappie on Highway 9. With the fresh rainwater and cooler temperatures, it should pick up, Johnny said. “Come see me at Overcup Bait Shop off Arkansas Highway 9 for all your fishing needs.
(update 11-4-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) said Wednesday the clarity is still a little stained and the water level is normal. Bream fishing is fair with crickets. Crappie are still being caught in good numbers in the 3- to 6-foot-depth range. Focus on the buckbrush with your minnows or jigs. Black bass are good in the evenings in the deeper water. Use spinnerbaits and white Rooster Tails. Catfishing is good on the bottom using live bait.
(updated 11-4-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) had no new reports.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 25,832 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 40,270 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 11-4-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river is clear and at a normal level. The crappie bite is continuing to pick up. Anglers had good reports using minnows and jigs. Black bass fell off some to fair, with spinnerbaits and plastic worms being the best baits of late. Catfishing has been good chicken liver and minnows. No reports on bream.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 25,025 cfs.
(updated 11-4-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Wednesday that crappie are good in Maumelle Creek. They are being caught 2-3 feet deep around laydowns and cypress trees on minnows or jigs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 15,166 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 14,745 cfs.
(updated 11-4-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is stained and muddy, at a normal level, and the flow is 17,000 cfs as of early Wednesday afternoon. Bass fishing is a little tough. The best response has come on chartreuse spinnerbaits or crankbaits along the jetties and using solid black jigs around wood or laydown logs. Crappie are picking up behind the jetties or entrances to backwaters. They’re in 8-10 feet of water and biting white/chartreuse and solid chartreuse crappie jigs.
(updated 11-4-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Wednesday that crappie are fair in the main river around the rock jetties using chartreuse jigs. Catfishing is fair below both dams.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 11-4-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Catfishing good using chicken liver, worms or shad. Clear Lake is a private lake with public pay access just off Highway 161 west of England.
(update 11-4-2021) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) says Herman’s Landing is closed for the season, as private Peckerwood Lake is turned over to waterfowl with the upcoming season. Herman’s will reopen in February.
(updated 11-4-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake remains below established power pool elevation even with the rain this week. The lake is currently at 654.74 feet mls, which has provided early mornings with pretty low water and some wading opportunities. Releases have averaged 3-4 units for a few hours in the morning and late evening during this past week. Keep your eye on the water level if you’re out wading; it can sneak up on you and make reaching the bank a little tricky.
Several days of rain and cool temperatures have kept some folks off the river, but the trout catch remains great. Cold mornings and warmer afternoons will pull anglers back to the river, and sunshine is forecast for the next week with perfect fall days predicted. Flashes of gorgeous autumn colors are seen throughout the Cotter area.
Nightcrawlers and red wigglers have been flying off the shelves as they’ve proven successful for many of our bank anglers as well as our float fishermen. Sculpins continue to get some attention from the browns, but as the spawn begins the browns will mostly ignore your bait. Annoy them repeatedly and you might get some action. Favorite artificial bait this week is any rainbow trout lookalike or stick baits with orange bellies. Keep your midges tied on if you’re casting flies: ruby midges and others (red/silver, black/silver), and Copper Johns were a hit over the last week or two. Come join the action and enjoy the changing of the season.
(updated 11-4-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had a bit over an inch and a half of rain, cooler temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.2 foot to rest at 4.1 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 0.4 feet at 1.6 feet below power pool and 15.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 1.4 feet below power pool or 11 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had marginal wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.1 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had less wadable water during the day.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through Jan. 31, 2022, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period.
On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat 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 we have 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.
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also said, “On our last fishing trip (a few weeks ago just before she broke her arm), my wife, Lori, broke a fly rod while we were fishing. It was one of our client rods that I keep in my Suburban. Though we have expensive Sage, Winston and Orvis rods, we often grab our inexpensive client rods when we go fishing. They are readily available, usually already rigged and fish well. In fact, I cannot tell the difference between the way the client rods and our personal rods cast.
Our client rods are Temple Fork Outfitter professional series rods. Brand new they cost $129. Mine are about 15 years old. These are the rods I loan to clients who don’t have or didn’t bring their own rods. We also regularly use them on Dry Run Creek. Because of this they suffer a lot of abuse. They are really beat up. Their best feature is that they have a lifetime warranty.
“When I got home, I remembered that I had another client rod that was broken. It was time to send them back to TFO to be repaired. I gathered the rods up and put them in the box they came in (I had kept the box in the garage for this purpose). I enclosed my address and a check for $80. That is $40 for each rod. I sent the box to TFO.
“Two weeks later I received a box from TFO. In it there were two brand-new fly rods. I can only assume that the people at TFO were so impressed that I had used the rods so much or felt sorry for me because the rods I sent in for repair looked so beat up.
“I used the rods the next week. My clients were so impressed with the way that the rods cast and fished they decided to buy the same rods for themselves.
“At the same time that I sent the TFO rods in for repair, I returned an Orvis rod. This was an expensive ($800) rod that I use for fishing streamers. Orvis comes with a 25-year warranty. I had to get a return authorization from Orvis. I enclosed the broken rod, my address and a check for $60. I mailed everything the same day as the TFO rods. I have not received the rod back yet.
“While the best idea is not to break a rod, the reality of the situation is that rods are broken in doors, in ceiling fans, fighting huge fish and a thousand other places. Most rod manufacturers offer some sort of warranty. TFO has one of the best; it is quick, inexpensive and easy to do. The idea of receiving new rods was a definite plus. The Orvis warranty is limited, cost more and takes longer.
“I have long been a TFO fan and this just reinforces it.”
(updated 11-4-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said nothing much has changed in a while. 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 654.70 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 915.77 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 11-4-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday afternoon that bass fishing has been fair, and that the fall turnover of the lake appears to be over. Chatterbaits, buzzbaits or Whopper Ploppers are the ways to go covering water if it’s cloudy. Post-frontal, a Peewee Jig or Beaver-style bait on shallow ledges and laydowns; when it’s sunny go with a shaky head on ledges and channel swing banks with chunk rock. On windy days, a Rock Crawler, square-bill, Wiggle Wart on the windy transitions. Offshore, shad are starting to group up a lot better. Try a Jewel Scuba Spoon, drop-shot or Damiki Ice Jig. Fish the conditions, and these days that’s a surface temperature of 64 degrees with clearing skies. Clarity of the lake is good. The water level now is low by 4 feet.
See 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 553.55 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 10-28-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake fishing has been pretty good for me over the last week. Striped bass is the one species that was slow to bite during September and the first part of October, but the bite has now improved dramatically. A slower bite for stripers in the latter part of summer is not uncommon, because warm water is not what the stripers want, so they just go deep to the cool water and wait for their preferred water temperature of 60-70 degrees. We are to that point and they are starting to become aggressive. There is a good after-dark bite for striped/hybrid bass and the morning bite is starting to take off. Various Norfork Lake flats have been the areas where fish are being found. The best depth for the after-dark bite has been anywhere from 25-33 feet of water. Trolling crankbaits that dive roughly 16 feet has been productive for a couple of our guests. Last weekend, several other guests found nice fish feeding early in the morning on a large flat. The fish were in roughly 32 feet of water and vertical-jigging a spoon worked best. I have been graphing various flats and have found feeding stripers each morning since last weekend. The fish have been in 30-35 feet of water cruising around at all depths. Some fish are suspended 15 feet down to the bottom. I have noticed that the larger fish seem to be suspended up in the water column and the smaller ones are laying on the bottom. In the same areas you will also find large schools of white bass. Most are on the bottom feeding, but some may be suspended.
“The news even gets better: feeding alongside of the striped/hybrid and white bass are many channel and flathead catfish lying on the bottom. It will not be long until walleye move into the same area.
“Vertical-jigging a 1-ounce spoon has been my best method to catch all of the above species. In order to catch these fish, I have had to experiment with presentation methods. I have caught fish casting the spoon out and letting it drop to the bottom. I then retrieve the spoon in a jerking motion, usually trying to keep the bait close to the bottom. Vertical-jigging has been productive, but on a few occasions I had to move slowly with the trolling motor and let out more line until the spoon hits the bottom. I then give it a hard forward jerk and then let it settle back to the bottom. Sometimes the fish hammer the bait as I am jerking it and a few times they have picked the spoon up on the fall and the line goes slack. You’ll need to reel the slack up very fast until you feel the fish and set the hook.”
Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was close to 70 degrees. The lake has become fairly stable with just slight variations either up or down and currently sits at 553.26 feet msl. The lake is slightly stained from the mid-lake area and heading north. The lake continues its slow progression to a total lake turnover. “I am starting to mark lots of bait a little below 60 feet, telling me the good cool oxygenated water is continuing to fall lower and lower until eventually it will reach all depths and the lake will be totally turned over. Some years it is an obvious abrupt turnover, but typically it is a slow unnoticeable process.
“Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”
(updated 11-4-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.1 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had less wadable water during the day.
There has been less 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.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 11-4-2021) 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. 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 1,118.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 11-4-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is holding steady a few feet below normal level. “Had a blast of colder air and lot of rain. Good news is that it soaked in and really didn’t blow out the river arms. It did inject some fresh water, which finished up the turnover. The water still has a pretty good stain on south end and that will clear up fairly quick now that the water temps are in the 50s.
“The biggest thing going on is the improvement in crappie. Each week it is better than the last. We have caught them very shallow and still fairly deep. Look for structure and mud flats. I have been catching them buried in the mud. When you pull them up the belly has mud on it. I did well casting a one-sixteenth-ounce Roadrunner head-reeled slowly across flats in 20 feet of water the other day.
“Stripers are somewhere and moving towards the mid-lake region. We guides are having a hard time finding them. I did hear of a report of some topwater happening in the Natural Walk area on the War Eagle, which makes perfect sense for this time of the year. There is massive amounts of bait from Point 12 up into both river arms. The fish should follow with water dropping temps this last week. Walleye are scattered and are a tough bite.
“Good luck! Fishing is rounding the corner. This month should be fire!” Check out Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 11-4-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported Wednesday that stripers are moving up the lake. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs and are staying around cover. Black bass are fair; anglers are using a hodgepodge of baits and the fish are scattered. No reports on catfish or bream. Beaver Lake is clear and at a normal level.
(updated 10-28-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said, “Things have been a little different this past week. The Army Corps of Engineers has not been generating much at all, so that has brought the water level down a little and increased the water temperature. This has caused the trout to spread out a little and find cooler temps. However, if you have a graph, you would notice the baitfish and fine some really nice trout.
“This past week we used spoons coated in Pautzke Fire Gel, which, as you guessed it, mimicked the baitfish. We got a great response. Quite a few 2- to 3-pound rainbows were boated and released. Because I fish from a boat, I could not get up to the hot spot, which would be Parker Bottoms. However, there are still great numbers and quality of fish downstream. Light terminal tackle, fished with Pautzke Fire Bait, produced the higher numbers when fished on bottom.
“About 15 walleye were caught jigging live minnows and pulling Flicker Shads in the Beaver town area. Now, most of the ones caught were juvenile fish, but that is still good numbers for the river and the fall bite. That’s all I have for now, remember to visit my fishing Facebook Page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for fishing videos and tips on the tailwater. Have fun and catch some fish.”
(updated 11-4-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that the lake is clear and at a normal level. Bream remain fair; use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good use plastic worms. Catfish produced no reports.
(updated 11-4-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake is clear and at normal level. Surface water temperature was not reported.
Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Catfish are good on bream and cut bait. Crappie and black bass are poor.
(updated 11-4-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said fish began biting on Sunday at Lake Charles. Anglers were catching some “pretty nice” black bass, she said, though they didn’t report the bait used. She rated the catches good. Bream and crappie were fair, and there were no reports on catfish or white bass. November’s best “moon times” for fishing are underway now through Sunday, Nov. 7. Good days because of the moon are forecast for Nov. 17-23, she said. Give Lake Charles a look before waterfowl season, when the water is drawn down some to help at nearby Shirey Bay.
(updated 10-21-2021) 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 11-4-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) has closed for the season and will reopen in mid-February.
(updated 11-4-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are at a very low, 290 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity is clear. Very dry conditions have the river very low. Low water can make for easier wading, but be careful — the Spring River has a very slick bottom.
On the sunny days with heavy hatches of tan caddis and blue wing olives makes for great nymphing and, at times, dry-fly action. Still catching some browns on hopper dropper setups. Streamer action on cloudy days in the deeper pools can be a lot of fun.
“For spin-fishing, I’m still using the Trout Magnets and they are doing great in this low clear water. Hot pink is the go-to color, and white and red doing well some days. Ran across a guy doing well with little Cleo’s, a spoon lure, the other day.”
Mark says most of the campgrounds have closed for the season, with Riverside Resort remaining open. Saddler Falls Resort has a pay box, also. Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery is stocking weekly, lower numbers during the winter season and that is because of less pressure. Cold temps gets the big fish in the Spring moving. So bring on the cold!
(updated 11-4-2021) 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 7.15 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 5.84 feet, also well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is fairly steady at 16.86, more than 9 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam at Pine Bluff was 14,996 cfs. Further upriver at the Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 16,101 cfs.
(updated 10-21-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team says water temperatures around mid-70s, visibility 1-1.5 feet in most places. Light current on the main channel. Black bass are pretty slow right now without wind or cloudy weather. Focus on the main channel jetties, wooden structures and laydowns on calm sunny days while there is still current. Spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, lipless crankbaits and square to medium-diving crankbaits and jerkbaits in shad colors will get bites. Keep an eye on shallow flats for baitfish activity as schoolers should be roaming those areas until the water cools substantially. Finesse jigs and shaky head/Texas-rigged worms in green pumpkin to darker colors will produce when a tight-cover application is needed. Fishing will improve here as boat traffic and water temperatures continue to decline going deeper into the fall.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 11-4-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 11-4-2021) 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 has pumped several of the small ponds and has added rotenone to those areas for the elimination of unwanted species (i.e. grass carp, yellow bass), before the refilling of the lake begins. The city will determine when the gates are closed on the dam to begin refilling.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 258.68 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 11-4-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was near 6 inches below normal conservation pool and on a slow rise. The lake on Tuesday was at 258.61 feet msl and rising; Little River water clarity is heavy stain. Oxbows’ clarity is improved. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 190 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 the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Continue to use extreme caution when navigating the lake.
Surface temps dropped slightly this week, ranging 59-65 degrees depending on location. Current along Little River decreased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranged 3-5 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows was 10-12 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. The Corps of Engineers recently completed adding an additional 25-plus river buoys along Little River main lake channel for improved navigation.
As for fishing specifics this week:
* Cooler weather, rising lake level and much improved visibility and water clarity have the largemouth bass roaming and following the huge pods of threadfin shad in the oxbows along Little River from White Cliffs campground to McGuire oxbow. Shad have been surface-breaking again with the bass pushing the huge schools and pods of shad to surface. Watch for egrets and herons feeding on the shad. Bass will be roaming, with the cooler water temperatures, following the shad schools and randomly breaking on surfacing shad near stumps and grass and lily pad lines.
The surface breaking bass continue roaming and following the large pods of shad anywhere the flats drop off into 9-16 feet of depth, sometimes breaking inside lily pads and grass and stumps. Watch your electronics for huge shad pods ranging from 6-14 feet deep. The screen will go completely solid mass when you locate the shad schools. Bass are holding near and underneath these huge shad schools. Some days with lots of wind gusts, the shad will drop vertically into the 10-15 foot depths, and the surface activity will diminish.
The best responses over the last week have been on custom-painted Little John Crankbaits, Flat-A’s, Rat-L-Trap Echo 1.75 and Bill Lewis Lures MR-6 Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Ghost Shad and Splatterback colors. Johnson chrome Silver Minnow spoons with a white 3-inch curly tail grub trailer are still getting a few blowups and reactions in the pads by rumbling over and pausing in gaps between lily pads. Rat-L-Traps in quarter-ounce size Spin Traps and half-ounce Traps in Millwood Magic, Chrome/Black Back and Chartreuse Silver Shad are catching fish following the shad schools.
Over the past week, anywhere the creek mouths dump into Little River, near White Cliffs Creek, Cemetery Slough and Cossatot inflow ditch, the Kentucky bass were stacked up with a few white bass inside the main creek channels, or primary and secondary points jutting into Little River where stumps are present. These bass 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 improved in response this week for some 2- to 3-pound largemouth and white bass.
* White bass reappeared over the past week. Hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail, Rocket Shads, half-ounce Rat-L-Traps and Spin Traps were all randomly catching whites over the last week and improved this week up Little River near Wilton Landing and the U.S. Highway 71 bridge down river to Cemetery Slough.
* Crappie have been tough over recently — on one day and off the next. The best reactions have been on Southern Pro tubes and minnows, or hand-tied hair jigs in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on main lake, from 9-12 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best for the jigs, tubes and minnows this week. Best reaction time is 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 reports on catfish or bream.
(updated 10-28-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports that crappie are “getting better every day” in 10-12 feet of water on the regular crappie jigs. Catfish are great on any live bait. Black bass are still schooling on some of the shallower points. The lake is clear and is 8 feet low and in a drawdown to help with eradication of invasive vegetation in some coves.
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 534.08 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.54 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching double limits of small/medium crappie on live bait fished 8-12 foot deep on brushpiles in 16-24 foot of water.”
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 435.52 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.84 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 10-21-2021) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) reports that crappie are good on minnows and gray jigs in shallow water during the evenings.
(updated 11-4-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and still at low water level. Crappie are good on minnows or chartreuse/white or pink/black jigs. Black bass are biting fair and are mostly small-size bass. Try using Chatterbaits. No reports on catfish or bream.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 11-4-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam below the dam is 49 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Nov. 5, that extends through Thursday, Nov. 11. 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. The winter drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine began Nov. 1 and will be completed Nov. 10. Each lake will be lowered 5 feet and will remain at that level until early March 2022. A 6-inch daily fall is scheduled for each lake. The Carpenter Dam tailrace will be very dangerous to navigate during this time with numerous underway obstructions present. Wade anglers and boaters alike must use extreme caution when attempting to use the area.
Rainbow trout fishing will resume below Carpenter Dam in early November as the trout stocking program is scheduled to begin. In past years, the fall stocking was placed in the lake for the week of Thanksgiving; however, Game and Fish has moved that date up in recent year to the first two weeks of November.
Catfish have been caught in the tailrace of late, but that action has slowed considerably in the last few 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. Casting spinnerbaits and jigs in one-eighth-ounce weights has been the best presentation to catch these fish the past several days. 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 and early fall months as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
As of Thursday at noon, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Dardanelle Lock and Dam 40,532 cfs. Elevation was 338.12 feet msl, with the tailwater at 287.61 feet msl.
(updated 11-4-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 10-28-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water levels at normal pool with temperatures throughout the lake at 70 degrees (except the upper River channel). Bass are breaking regularly throughout the lake in certain areas. In between main lake points, around the main lake bridges and sometimes even the main channel itself where it narrows up near Treasure Isle are prime areas for spotting breaking bass. The best bait by far is a Zara Puppy in a silver pearl color scheme with NO RATTLE. This Spook is the right size, the right color and being rattle-less gets 10 times the attacks. (Side note: Keep pliers close as the fish will choke the Spook).
The secondary pattern right now is the frog bite. Frog eggs are all over wooden docks in the shallows. A white Zoom Horny Toad skipped under docks and in shaded areas near (shallow) docks will tug a larger largemouth out of their hiding spots.
Bream and bluegill are good to very good on points with deep bridge pilings and rocky bottoms. A worm or a cricket still can fill buckets. No crappie report but seeing lots of boats fishing submerged brush above Hill Wheatley and they sure aren’t bass fishing.
Hybrid bass should be starting to binge feed at any time where main creeks meet the main channel. The heat has kept them away, but with colder weather this week hopefully they make their presence known. The Zara Puppy listed above works equally as well on hybrids as it does black bass.
No catfish reports.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 341.95 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 10-28-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is clear and, before the line of rain had passed through the state, the water level had fallen to low. Surface water temperature is 70 degrees. Crappie are good and keep moving shallower; they are being caught a 2-3 feet depth in the river. Use minnows or black/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are good. The bass continue to be caught in 3-5 feet depth. A War Eagle Spinnerbait and a crankbait (such as a Bandit 200 Series in chartreuse color) are the go-to baits. Catfishing is good on trotlines baited with shad. Bream fishing is poor.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 567.76 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-4-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still good good. Try a Carolina-rigged finesse worm or a drop-shot rig for these fish. No report on walleye. Stripers are fair on live bait. These fish are primarily on the east and central parts of the lake. Bream are slow but can still be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep on brush. Crappie are good on small jigs or minnows. Try brushpiles in the 15-25 foot depth range. No report on catfish. Water temperature has really dropped from last week, now ranging 62-67 degrees. The water clarity is stained. Lake level is 567.72 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.<meta charset=”utf-8″>
(updated 10-28-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching half to full limits of nice crappie on live bait fished 8-12 foot deep on brushpiles in 16-24 foot of water. We’ve also been trolling Bandit 300 Crankbaits later in the mornings and catching some spotted bass and a few scattered walleye.”
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.32 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 down this week to 13.58 feet, about 12.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-4-2021) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) said fishing has ended for the season at Cook’s Lake. The lake will be closed November through February to serve as a waterfowl rest area, we will reopen in the spring when the water levels permit. Call the center at 870-241-3373 for more information.
(updated 11-4-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) had no new reports.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 11-4-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no new reports.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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