Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Nov. 24, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Nov. 24, 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 1 p.m. the day of publication (Nov. 24).
****Buy an Arkansas Fishing License by clicking here. Your purchase of a Fishing License helps support the AGFC’s work in maintaining the fishing resources throughout the state.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
TOP AND LEFT: Dan Hicks landed this nice walleye while fishing the Rambo area of Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas last Saturday, Nov. 20. A lot of anglers are finding the walleye a little tougher to catch there, but that didn’t stop Dan. Guide Jon Conklin, whose Beaver Lake report is below, says that stripers and crappie are really beginning to turn on now, and the lake turnover appears complete. He’s taken anglers who have caught anywhere from two to four stripers per trip. “They will stay from Monte Ne well up into river arms. This will be where you need to fish for striper from now and well into spring,” Conklin says of the striper fishing. Also, Beaver Lake continues on a slow fall below normal level. Read more below.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 11-24-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said that the lake has the normal stain and the lake level is back up to normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream fishing is hit or miss, falling under the “fair” description. Try to catch them on redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. Minnows will work, with the No. 6 medium shiners working best now. Also try a jig. Black bass are fair. Spinnerbaits and white/chartreuse swimbaits have been working best. Catfishing is good on trotlines and pole fishing with stink bait, nightcrawlers, trotline minnows and dough bait.
Little Red River
(updated 11-24-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said trout fishing is getting better with more water running. Use small jerkbaits in trout or white colors, Rooster Tails in brown or rainbow trout colors, pink/white Trout Magnets, and black and white marabou jigs in one-sixteenth-ounce or one-eighth-ounce sizes.
(updated 11-24-2021) Guide Mike Winkler, operating Little Red River Guide Service (501-690-9166, 501-507-3688), says the Southwestern Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers have been running minimal amount of water from the Greers Ferry Dam. With the lake below pool, expect multiple days without generation when the temperatures are mild. Always check the generation schedule to see if they are running power.
The brown trout are spawning this time of year, so be aware of the redds and avoid walking through cleaned gravel areas in and around the shoals.
Try fishing midges, egg patterns and sowbugs; they have been producing. Stripping Woolly Buggers and Cracklebacks have been productive as well.
“With the low flows and mild temperatures we have had, we’ve been seeing multiple days without generation. The fish have been concentrated in the deeper holes in and around the moss beds. With no current from days without generation, set the indicator about 3-4 feet deep and cast around the moss beds — no bite, then recast. The rainbow bite has been good.
Greers Ferry Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 455.69 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 11-24-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.69 feet msl and holding pretty steady, 6.35 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The turnover is going slow this year instead of all at one time and has not really affected the bite like it usually does. Black bass are eating well scattered on the shoreline out to 60 feet, The best consistent bite is coming in at 40-45 feet, and bigger fish as well, on a variety of baits. Crappie are holding in water column a little higher; try 10-43 feet for best bite around pole timber or brushpiles. No report on catfish or bream. Walleye are all over the place as well; try concentrating on 28-55 feet, drag crawlers, use spoons for best bite. Hybrid and white bass are eating on and off all day and night. Use spoons, inline spinners, grubs and Alabama rigs at 25-60 feet. Happy Bird Day to all and be safe out there.
(updated 11-24-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is low and clear. Bass are good in 15-20 feet of water on Alabama rigs, crankbaits in crawfish color, and finesse or football jigs in peanut butter and jelly or green pumpkin in half-ounce size. Crappie are good on spider-rigging in 15-25 feet of water around standing timber in the creeks and coves.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 11-24-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water is clear and is low, with stumps showing. The AGFC uses some of the lake water to help flood the nearby Harris Brake Wildlife Management Area and waterfowl hunting area, and without the lake’s water the area would be dry now due to lack of rainfall. Crappie fishing continues to be good this week. Crappie are 11-12 inches in size. Minnows and jigs (like the Bobby Garland Stingers) are working well, and crappie are also being caught on trotlines. Black bass have moved into deeper areas and the bite is fair. The bass are small in size, they report. No reports on catfish or bream.
(updated 11-11-2021) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is about 1.5 feet low, and surface temperature is around 62 degrees. Clarity is a little murky. Bass are doing well on crankbaits. They are chasing the shad. Bream are slow with the cooler weather. Catfish are doing well with yoyo’s using large crappie minnows at night. Crappie are picking up some. Anglers are catching some on minnows and jigs — more on minnows here lately. “Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop off Arkansas Highway 9 for all your needs. Thank you for your business.”
(update 11-24-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) said Tuesday afternoon that the lake clarity remains cloudy and the level is normal. Bream fishing is good with crickets. Bream are still on the banks and around brush. Crappie are good on No. 6 crappie minnows and on jigs. Focus on the brush. Black bass are good in the evenings in the shallow water. Use spinnerbaits or Rooster Tails. Catfishing continues to be good on the bottom using live bait.
(updated 11-11-2021) Hatchet Jack’s Sports Shop in Crystal Hill off I-40 (758-4958) says crappie are good here on minnows and jigs.
(updated 11-24-2021) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reports that water temperature is in the mid- to upper 50s. The lake is still low by 4-5 feet, so be cautious. Largemouth bass are fair. Some reports of the bass being found inside the grass, 4-12 feet early in the morning, and going deep after the sun comes out (scattered at all depths), some deep. Try using crankbaits, spinners and drop-shots. Kentucky bass are fair. Some reports of them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, and other reports of them being found on brushpiles. Try using Texas rig on brush, or jigs. White bass are slow. Reports of them being found shallow chasing shad. Try using swimbaits.
Crappie are good. Reports this week of the crappie being found suspended 22-28 feet deep on the move and aren’t stacking up yet. They were still deep this week over brush. They’re chasing shad, so if you find the shad, they’re there. Try using one-eighth-ounce jigs. Catch six to eight and move on. They’re easily spooked. Bream are slow. No reports this week. Try using worms if you’re wanting bream. Catfish are slow with no reports this week. If you’re going to go for cats, 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 0 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 0 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 11-11-2021) 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 1 cfs.
(updated 11-18-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said that crappie are good at Maumelle Creek in 10-12 feet depth off the rocks.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 31 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 0 cfs.
(updated 11-24-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said water is stained or muddy on main river and level is normal. Bass are a little tough, but the fishing is better on sunny days. Fishing is good on the main river around jetties using white, white/chartreuse and chartreuse/black square-billed crankbaits, and white and chrome Rat-L-Traps in the backwaters around grass and wood. Water is cleaner in the backwaters than in the main river. Crappie are good on pink/chartreuse, white/chartreuse and red/chartreuse crappie jigs with red or orange jigheads fished in 10-15 feet of water behind the jetties.
(updated 11-18-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said Wednesday that crappie are good at Maumelle Creek and on the main river in 10-12 feet depth off the rocks. Catfishing is fair below the Murray Park dam. White bass and stripers are good below the dam on white crankbaits and white jigs.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 11-11-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the water is coming up, so fishing is picking up some. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs about a foot off the bottom. Bass are good on topwater baits and plastic worms. Clear Lake is a private lake with public pay access just off Highway 161 west of England.
(update 11-18-2021) 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 11-24-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Some folks have been heard to say they’re tired of catching so many rainbows. Imagine that! Where else can you catch so many trout in a single day that hardcore anglers say they’re casting arms are sore?
“But that’s been the case this past couple of weeks here on the White River in the serene, beautiful Arkansas Ozarks. They say that most days the catch has been completed using live worms or a small amount of PowerBait and shrimp. For a little more challenge – but still bringing a lot of trout to the boat – anglers have cast some spinners (try a Rooster Tail with a gold blade, pink body or a Blue Fox with a rainbow blade, gold bell under an overcast sky) and are still having good luck with the No. 5 Rapala Countdowns. But when the sun comes out, put the artificial baits away and return to the scented or live baits.
“The water level has been around one unit for several weeks until Tuesday, with the dam dropping down to minimum flow. The brown bite remains fickle; your best bet is to get your hands on varying sizes of sculpins and work them near the bottom.
“Happy Thanksgiving to all and now … on to the Christmas season!”
(updated 11-24-2021) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, reports that the water in White River in Calico Rock continues to be low, averaging between 4.5 and 3.5 feet. Fishing in the low-water conditions has made fishing with copper or gold-colored spoons (either quarter-ounce or one-sixth-ounce) effective as the trout move up onto the gravel bars to feed. Drift-fishing with yellow, orange or sunrise colored Power Eggs with a piece of shrimp or worm continues to be effective on both the gravel bars and deeper holes. Fishing with sculpins has been slow, but when the browns or rainbows bite, the trout have tended to be larger (15 inches or more). Monday at the Calico Rock boat ramp the Norfork Hatchery stocked about 1,200 rainbow trout.
(updated 11-24-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter had no reports this week but will return with his weekly report shortly.
(updated 11-24-2021) 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 652.95 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 915.50 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 11-24-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that bass fishing has been fair one-half to three-quarters of the way back into the creeks, Look for wind and shad-surfacing action. Birds and loons have arrived around the shad. The deep bite is hot, and bass are keying in on the shad. That seems to be the predominant bite.
In stormy, windy conditions, power fishermen can key in on ledges, channel swing banks with chunk rock. On windy days, Rock Crawlers, square bills and WIggle Warts will work around the windy transitions. Offshore, the shad are starting to group up a lot better. Try a Jewel Scuba Spoon or drop-shot a Damiki Ice Jig. Fish the conditions.
Bull Shoals clarity is good, the surface temperature is 61 degrees. Water level is about 6 feet low.
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 553.40 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 11-11-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake fishing really has not changed a lot since my last report two weeks ago. The lake temperature has dropped a little and the thermocline has dropped to basically the edges of the old river channel. The deep water will eventually become totally oxygenated and the water temp will be consistent from surface to the bottom.
“I have mainly been fishing on the various flats in the mid to northern parts of the lake. Heading west of my resort, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, the flats are near Mallard Point, Cranfield Island, Cranfield Campground, Seward Point, Briar Creek and then up around the Red Bank area. Heading east of our resort are the 101 Bridge Flat, Big Sandy which is a little past 101 Boat Dock and the Cow Pasture, which is the area right before the 6B marker. (A few of the names have been given by local fishermen.) Striped and hybrid bass, white bass, largemouth and spotted bass, catfish and walleye can all be found on these flats at some point during the day and sometimes multiple times during the day. The bait moves onto the flat and the predators move in to feed. The best fishing depth seems to vary based on the time of day. But it seems that 30-40 feet of water has been the most productive depths during daylight hours. As the lake water cools the bait and fish will continue to move a little deeper. In the dark, the fish seem to move up shallower following the bait. My bait of choice for flat fishing has been to vertical jig a ½- to a 1-ounce spoon. The fish are currently feeding on 1½ inch to 2-inch thread fin shad. This does not mean they won’t attack a bigger bait and at times they may prefer a little heartier meal. I have also been casting out a 5-inch swimbait, as well as, my ½ ounce Kastmaster. Other styles of blade baits, such as a cicada, are working very well. Trollers are also picking up some nice striped bass by trolling umbrella or Alabama rigs. Other areas where these species are showing up or will very soon, are back in the major creeks, such as; Big, Brushy, Float, Panther and Fall Creeks, as well as Bennett’s Bayou and up river around the state line.
“I can not personally talk about crappie fishing as I have been spending the majority of my time locating and catching the species talked about above. From what I have been told by the crappie guides is that the bite has been good. The bigger slabs are starting to move into the brush and small jigs and minnows are working very well. I will take some time off from my striped bass fishing and check out the crappie bite myself before long.”
Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was in the mid-60-degree range. The lake has become fairly stable with just slight variations either up or down and currently sits at 553.62 feet msl. The lake is slightly stained from the mid-lake area and heading north, but there has been a slight clearing starting to happen. The lake continues its slow progression to a total lake turnover. “I am starting to mark bait and a few fish 75-80 feet deep, which tells 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. This year the turnover process has been virtually unnoticeable.
“Happy fishing, and enjoy Norfork Lake.”
(updated 11-24-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) had no reports this week but will return with his weekly report after Thanksgiving.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 11-24-2021) 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 1,118.70 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 11-24-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Happy Thanksgiving from NW Arkansas! Beaver Lake is lowering a little each week and fishing is getting good. Stripers are moved up to mid-lake area. They will stay from Monte Ne well up into river arms. This will be where you need to fish for striper from now and well into spring.
“We have been catching two to four stripers per trip. Their size has been from 8-22 pounds as of late. Brood minnows and shad will work. Fish have been hitting shallow flats less than 20 feet deep.
“Crappie are really turning on this last week. A couple of days were tough, but for the most part it was a good week for crappie. Crappie are being caught on brush and any structure in 15 feet of water and shallower. The usual jigs and minnows are working. Black and chartreuse and red and chartreuse are good colors now. Look from Hickory Creek up into river arms.
“Bass are fair. Walleye are tough.
“Have a great Thanksgiving and take a young family member fishing on their week off.” Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 11-24-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported that stripers are good on brood minnows. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs, or by trolling minnows or crankbaits. Black bass are fair. Crankbaits are working as well as Alabama rigs and jerkbaits. No reports on bream or catfish. The lake is clear and the surface water temperature is in the high 50s. Water level is normal.
(updated 11-18-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that this past week has been an active one. Most of the trout are being caught between Houseman Access and the Highway 62 bridge. Quarter-ounce spoons have really helped with the bite. Add a little Fire Gel and that increases the bite. Furthermore, various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle are producing nice numbers. The walleye bite has slacked off a little, so targeting those pesky fish may take some time. If you happen across a few, work the entire area. The best method so far has been jigging with live minnows, if you can find them.
“Winter is just about here and the days are becoming colder. That doesn’t mean the bite will slow, so get out and catch some fish!” Check out Austin’s fishing Facebook Page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for fishing videos and tips on the tailwater.
(updated 11-24-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that the lake is pretty clear and at a normal level. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on topwater baits and plastic worms. Catfish and bream are poor.
(updated 11-24-2021) 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, but the fishing is hit or miss. Redworms and crickets are being used. The crappie bite is good, with the fish in deeper water. Use minnows and jigs, and make sure to try for crappie off the old bridge. Black bass fell off this past week with poor results/ Catfish turned it around though with good results. Cats are in deeper water and biting on cut bait and bream.
(updated 11-18-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the surface water temperature on Sunday was 56.4 degrees and the level is normal. The clarity is the usual murky. But for the second straight week, Shelly had no fishing reports. Two weeks ago, anglers were catching some “pretty nice” black bass, she said, though they didn’t report the bait used. Bream and crappie were fair, and there were no reports on catfish or white bass. Anglers should experience good days based on the moon forecast for through Nov. 23, she said. Waterfowl season is starting around the area, but give Lake Charles a look. Some of the water there is used by the AGFC to help flood nearby Shirey Bay Rainey Brake, a popular duck-hunting destination.
(updated 11-24-2021) t Lake Poinsett is in the process of refilling, but is rainfall dependent and the region hasn’t had a lot of rainfall lately. 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 11-24-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) has closed for the season and will reopen in mid-February.
(updated 11-24-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said the Spring has very low water conditions at 260 cfs (350 average) and clear. On the overcast days the fish are on the bite. On the bright sunny days the trout can hide out.
Overcast day flies have been big nymphs and Woollies. Olive has been the go-to for browns. The white Woolly can be hot also to imitate the shad. On the bright sunny days, Mark says he has seen dries work and smaller nymphs will usually produce the numbers. Dries with droppers are the fun ticket when there’s no action. And some days when it’s sunny, go with anything with gold or silver flash like the Guppie pattern to imitate minnows.
Trout Magnets in hot pink, black and white have been hot. Set the float for just off the bottom and don’t forget the split shot. Trout Magnets have no flavor and are great for catch-and-release. Gold and silver spoons are hot on good days with a steady retrieve.
Mark says, “Still catching some bigger trout, with a 25-incher landed by our guide Benjamin last week. The cold temps get the bigger trout moving.”
Smallmouth tend to move upriver as temperatures fall in the winter. With lead eye Woollies being the Flav fly. Olive, brown, white and black. “A great time to get out and fish, but bundle up!
“Much easier wading with low water, but do be careful on the slick rocks. Getting wet this time of year is not good. Get to warm conditions quickly.”
(updated 11-24-2021) 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 6.43 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at its lowest point on a Thursday morning this year, 3.77 feet, also well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is fairly steady at 15.00, 11 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-24-2021) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville reports that walleye are fair around Locks 2 and 3 on live bait and jigs.
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 55 cfs. Further upriver at the Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 345 cfs.
(updated 11-24-2021) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team says water temperatures in upper 50s. Water clarity 1-1.5 feet. There is little to no flow on river. Water level is several inches low consistently. Black bass are biting very well on shallow and lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, bladed jigs and topwater walking baits in shad colors over sandy flats with baitfish present, and along adjacent rocky banks especially with some wind blowing into/over those flats. On calm days, target docks, woody cover and brushpiles with dark-colored jigs. November to early December is one of if not the best times of the year to fish the harbor (Lake Langhofer) for black bass; there is very low fishing pressure and active fish are feeding up for the winter.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 11-18-2021) Cane Creek State Park had no new reports.
(updated 11-24-2021) 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, which will mostly be done by rainfall collection. 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 258.87 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 11-24-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was about 3 inches below normal pool and on a slow rise. Little River water clarity was stained and improved. The oxbows’ clarity improved at 10-20 inches depending on location. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 224 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 165 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, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Surface temps dropped slightly this week, ranging in 50-56 degrees depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken or floating timber. Lots of Little River buoy markers along the main lake channel MAY HAVE MOVED with recent gate changes at the Millwood Dam. Use caution in navigation on main lake river channels where river buoys may be out of channel from recent high winds.
As for the fishing specifics this week, Mike said:
* Largemouth bass continue feeding randomly as they have over the past few weeks. Best feeding cycles shifted over the past week or so, to midday and afternoon. Threadfin shad are roaming in the shallow flats with pads, other times over drops from 9 feet to around 15 feet of depth. The black bass are continually roaming and following the huge pods of shad in the oxbows along Little River from White Cliffs campground to Cemetery Slough and Browns Creek. Shad have been surface-breaking randomly 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. “Their feeding cycles seem to fluctuate wildly — some days we are catching over 40-50, other days its like they’re not feeding at all, and we catch less than a dozen,” Mike says.
The surface-breaking with the schools of shad can simply happen anywhere, from the flats and into over 14-16 feet of depth, then they chase and break inside lily pads and grass and stumps. Watch your electronics for huge shad pods ranging 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 feet depths, and the surface activity will diminish. Other days it’s like the bass are flipping a switch on and off again when its time to feed. The feeding binges can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes, and then they flip the switch off again.
The best responses over the last couple of weeks have been on custom-painted Little John Crankbaits, Flat-A’s, Rat-L-Trap Echo 1.75 and Bill Lewis Lure’s MR-6 crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Ghost Shad, Chrome/Blue (sunny days) 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/Blue Back and Chartreuse Silver Shad continue to catch random fish roaming and following the shad schools. “Whenever the largemouth push the Sshad to the surface, we found a Bill Lewis 4-inch Stutterstep to be extremely effective on surface feeders near pads and grass lines from 6-8 feet of depth underneath pads near vertical structure. Best colors of the Stutterstep this week have been the Millwood Magic Silverado, Ghost Shad or Pro Blue. The Stutterstep has caught good numbers of dual bass hookups simultaneously.”
White Chatterbaits with a Bass Assassin 3.5-inch Little Boss trailer in Crystal Shad, Snow Storm or Silver Ghost colors are randomly catching bass in the remaining lily pads and stems, and a Bass Assassin 3.5 Little Boss in a Houdini color on a swim jighead will draw a reaction randomly through the pad stems; seems to be better on cloudy days.
Southern Pro Flipping Tubes or Tournament Tubes in Black/Blue tail, Smoke/black/red flake with chartreuse-dipped tail and Smoke Purple flake with chartreuse-dipped tail have been taking 2- to 4-pound bass over the past week near pads, on stumps from 5-9 feet deep in Little River’s oxbow lakes upriver, near creek junctions and on tapering points where shad are moving into the creek channels.
* White bass have been randomly roaming along with the largemouths for the past few weeks. The whites were assembled and schooled up Little River this past week; we found them from White Cliffs campground all the way up to U.S. Highway 71 bridge over Little River, and where the Cossatot River intersects Little River. The white bass continue to randomly roam the oxbows and Little River. Hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail, Rocket Shads, Fat Free Shads in Tennessee Shad and Citrus Shad, half-ounce Rat-L-Traps, Bill Lewis’ MR-6 Crankbaits and Spin Traps in Chrome/Blue, Millwood Magic, Tennessee Shad, and Threadfin Shad colors were all randomly catching whites recently, with four anglers boating over 50 whites in around an hour or two. “This is a great time to TAKE A KID FISHING for these hard-fighting, late-freight-charging, locomotive slamming white bass!”
* Crappie are fair to good — slow one day, on fire the next. Best reactions have been on jigs, tubes and Southern Pro Little Hustler 1.5-inch Pro Series Little Hustler, and Crappie Stinger 2.0. Best colors have been Blue Silk, Smoke Shiner, Cajun Cricket or Tennessee Shiner. Bee Lake had some nice crappie biting late last week, but they seemed to turned off over the past few days. Upriver crappie seemed to be more aggressive in planted brushpiles than the main lake crappie this week.
* Channel catfish improved on yo-yos along Little River using King’s Punch Bait, cut shad or buffalo, and homemade blood bait. Catfish snglers we spoke with were catching some 2.5- to 4-pound channel Cats on yo-yos and trotlines near White Cliffs campground over the past couple weeks, and had a few healthy specimens in the boat to show us that looked to be around 4-5 pounds each.
(updated 11-24-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports that the lake is a little dingy and is low by 7 feet. The lake has been in a partial drawdown for several weeks. Crappie fishing is good using Bonehead plastics or hand-tied jigs. Catfish continue to bite well (good) on any kind of bait. AGFC biologists in their sampling of Erling in the past year or more note the nice array and size of channel, blue and flathead catfish there.
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 534.25 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.39 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-18-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says crappie are moving into their winter pattern. Fish with live bait or jigs over brushpiles near deep water channels.
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.12 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.96 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 11-11-2021) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) reports that crappie are good on minnows and jigs. The river is still down a lot, Curtis reports.
(updated 11-24-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said shad the lake is a little murky and the level remains low. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. In recent weeks, some larger crappie had been caught (some between 2-3 pounds). No reports on bream, bass and catfish.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 11-24-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 58 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Nov. 26, that extends through Thursday, Dec. 2. Anyone planning on navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to view these flow releases and plan accordingly. This schedule is posted weekly on the Entergy website for public viewing normally on Wednesday evening. The winter drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine was completed Nov. 10. Each lake has been lowered 5 feet and will remain at that level until March 1, 2022. The Carpenter Dam tailrace will be very dangerous to navigate during this time with numerous underwater obstructions now present. Wade anglers and boaters alike must use extreme caution when attempting to use the area.
Rainbow trout are now present in Lake Catherine and being caught. In past years, the fall stocking was placed in the lake for the week of Thanksgiving; however, the AGFC has moved that date up in recent times to the first two weeks of November. As a general rule, these early fall rainbows are quality fish and will provide anglers solid action and table fare. Wade anglers can now easily access areas that are holding numbers of trout. PowerBaits and waxworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater are working well along with nightcrawlers and redworms presented in the same manner. Trout Magnets fished shallow in moving or still water can produce excellent results while the drawdown is in effect. The November stockings of trout are difficult to pattern with rapidly changing weather patterns and low water levels. Bank anglers can stick to basic patterns of live and PowerBaits, while fly-fishermen should cast egg patterns in white or yellow under a strike indicator. Microjigs and Woolly Buggers have taken trout over 14 inches this week.
White bass have been observed breaking in the early morning hours chasing threadfin shad below the bridge. 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 2-pound class. Walleye thrive in the tailrace in the summer and early fall as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish.
The arrival of rainbow trout to Lake Catherine in November brings life to the Carpenter Dam tailrace and kicks off the trout fishing season. Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
As of Thursday at 1 p.m., the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 0 cfs. Elevation was 337.65 feet msl, with the tailwater at 284.87 feet msl.
(updated 11-24-2021) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 11-18-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says crappie are moving into their winter pattern. Fish live bait or jigs over brushpiles near deep water channels.
(updated 11-11-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water level down 3 or more feet so far for the annual drawdown. Water temps remain in the low 60s throughout the lake. Water clarity is good but slightly hazy. Bass have been a struggle over the last few weeks with the drastic temperature drop and the drawdown. The best approach for catching numbers has been to target breaking fish. Breaking fish can be found consistently around all bridges and narrowing of the channel at daybreak and dusk, give or take an hour. A Zara Puppy in a shad color or a small white Whopper Plopper have been excellent choices for breaking fish. Two other ways to grab a few bass are to throw a frog up and around shallow docks during the day and to use a jigging spoon in ditches and against hard cover like bridge piers and deep docks. White or chrome are the colors to use.
Hybrid bass have been very active throughout the day in the mouths of pockets where a creek channel enters the main lake. These feisty fish are way too much fun to catch, and eating is excellent! A small Spook or shad-colored Rat-L-Trap will get the paint knocked off when these fish get to eating. They break throughout the day but especially in the morning and evening in dim light conditions. Crappie have been good over brushtops in 30 feet of water in the lower lake areas on minnows with a slip cork rig, white fluke-style jigs and small flutter spoons on the “drop.” Good luck and go Greeson!
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 341.96 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 11-11-2021) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is clear while the surface water temperature has tumbled to 58 degrees. Water level is low by 1 foot. Bream fishing picked back up, with fair results reported. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. They are up in the river and being caught over the brushpiles in 3-5 feet depth. Use minnows or chartreuse jigs. Black bass are good. They are being caught shallow around the shoreline. A War Eagle Spinnerbait with gold willow lear and chartreuse colors, and a red shad Monster Worm are working best. Catfishing is fair; they’ve been caught on noodles baited with shad.
(updated 11-11-2021) 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 crappie are good on minnows and jigs.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 567.83 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-24-2021) 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 these fish. No reports on walleye, bream or catfish. Stripers are good on live bait or trolling an Alabama rig. Crappie are still good on small jigs or minnows. Try brushpiles in the 15-25 foot depth range. Water temperature is ranging 58-62 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. Lake level is 567.85 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 11-11-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says crappie are doing well on live bait. Watch for them to be transitioning toward deeper water for the winter.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.36 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 at 12.30 feet, nearly 14 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 11-24-2021) The lake at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) is closed November through February to serve as a waterfowl rest area, and will reopen in the spring when the water levels permit.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 11-24-2021) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers at Bear Creek Lake report having a little success catching bream with red worms. Bream have been reportedly caught between depths of 4-6 feet. Meanwhile, there is very little fishing activity present at Storm Creek Lake now. Tyler says they haven’t received any reports from anglers within the last month. If you’re vising the state park, pleast let the Visitor Center know how it’s going.
(updated 11-24-2021) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) had no new reports. Kent has turned his attention to hunting, but if fishing news arises from Horseshoe, he’ll let the readers know in this space.
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