Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Dec. 9, 2021
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Dec. 9, 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 noon the day of publication (Dec. 9).
****Buy an Arkansas Fishing License by clicking here. Your purchase of a Fishing License helps support the AGFC’s work in maintaining the fishing resources throughout the state.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 12-9-2021) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said that the lake has the normal stain and the lake level is normal. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream fishing has been good this week Use redworms or crickets. Crappie have been excellent. Minnows and jigs are getting nice response. Black bass are fair. Spinnerbaits, swimbaits and Chatterbaits are favored. Catfishing is good on trotlines and pole fishing with chicken liver, stink bait, nightcrawlers, dough bait and shad.
Little Red River
(updated 12-9-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is low and clear. Trout are good on an egg pattern or root beer/ruby midge and scuds for fly-fishing. Spin-fishing is also good; use a Rooster Tail and power rigs and small No. 3 or No. 5 Rapala Countdowns and Trout Magnets.
(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 455.44 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 12-9-2021) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.44 feet msl, or 6.6 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl and falling some with periodic generation, off and on. Catching is just about same overall, with it getting better every day. Walleye have rivers and creeks on their mind, the ones that go up; the rest are wanting to feed as well. Try dragging crankbaits, big and long or small, or a drop-shot with crawler or jighead with same, from super shallow out to 50 feet.
Catfish are eating. Blues are coming in and are under migrating shad up certain areas of rivers. Crappie are really chewing in 12-30 feet of water – there are several ways catching them. Black bass are chomping as well from the shoreline out to 60 feet on a variety of baits; stay with shad and remember, anything Right Bite Baits make will catch them here and abroad.
Hybrid bass and white bass are eating off and on all day. If you’ve got some wind and are around the shad, fish will be there. It’s like keeping a refrigerator in your house – same principle. Use inline spinners, spoons and topwater baits from 20-65 feet.
No reports on bream.
(updated 12-9-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said bass are good on Alabama rigs and crankbaits on main river points.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 12-9-2021) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water clarity has cleared. The lake is “very low,” they report. Water from Harris Brake Lake helps flood the nearby waterfowl hunting areas at Harris Brake WMA, which otherwise would be dry at this time with little rainfall recently.
Bream are fair. Anglers are catching some, but they are very small.
Crappie has picked up more this week with good results. Anglers are catching bigger crappie in deeper areas and around Crappie Cove. Minnows and jigs are working. Bass fishing is fair, with the bass also being very small these days. Bass have moved to deeper areas. Catfish are on sabbatical from the bite.
(update 12-9-2021) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) said Thursday he wanted anglers to know that Dad’s is a 24/7 self-serve bait shop for your fishing needs on Brewer Lake. He expects good fishing this weekend between the rains. The lake is fairly clear and at a normal level.
Bream fishing has been fair, with a few caught around the shoreline. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. They are being caught at 7-8 feet depth. Minnows and jigs will work, of course, while live bait and Bobby Garland Baby Shad in multiple colors also are working for anglers. Crappie are over the underwater brushpiles.
Black bass are good but they are in deeper water. Try using lures that can get 5-6 feet deep, along with live bait. Catfishing has been good. Catfish Charlie bait is working along with nightcrawlers on the bottom. On the yo-yos and trotlines, bait them with goldfish.
(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 10,960 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 10,277 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 12-9-2021) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river is clear and at a normal level. Bream reappeared last week and disappeared this week. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are still fair. Look for them in 5 feet of water. Crankbaits and plastic worms are working best. No reports on catfish.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 1,985 cfs.
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 12-9-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said there is not much flow right now. Bass are staying out in the channels in deeper water beside the rock jetties. Anglers are throwing crankbaits in red and shad colors and small swimbaits. Crappie are good on the river on black and chartreuse crappie tubes in deeper water on the main channel.
(updated 12-2-2021) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good on the river in 6-8 feet depth or around sandbar drops and brush on Bonehead Silver Shad, Stump Bug and Crappie Magnet (go with Butla Gold). Black bass are good off the rock jetties on crankbaits fished at medium depth.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 12-9-2021) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the water is low and clear. Fishing has been slow this week. Last week, crappie were good on crappie minnows and jigs.
(updated 12-9-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said that while many people are turning their thoughts and energies toward Christmas (and rightly so) and hunkering down for the colder months, anglers are still finding plenty of rainbows and browns willing to leave the comfort of their favorite hidey-holes. The water level below Bull Shoals Dam has been at minimum flow or below most of the week, “but now we’re seeing some water in pulses as the lake shows a little rise after a dry fall. Watch for the river rise later in the morning and stay ahead of it for the best fishing. Flashy silver Cleos should work well in this water, as well as the silver-blue hammered spoons. Orange PowerBait has been the popular bait for the rainbows to mimic the eggs from spawning activity. During the sunny parts of the late morning, dry flies have been doing well with many hatches occurring as the weather warms slightly; orange and yellow egg patterns have been successful when the clouds return.
“Catch a sculpin or two to put on your hook for brown trout bait; keep in mind it’s spawning season and many browns will be ignoring your bait unless it’s especially pesky.
“Kids will be looking for Christmas vacation adventures and the river answers that call. PowerBait and shrimp are reliable baits to help them catch a rainbow or five.
“The weatherman promises very mild daytime temperatures for the next week, so pick up your rod and reel, get outside and come join us on the river. Bundle up in the morning and enjoy the excellent wintertime fishing. Merry Christmas!”
(updated 12-9-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had just a trace of rain in Cotter, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.6 foot to rest at 4.9 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.9 foot to rest at 0.9 foot below power pool and 16.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 2 feet below power pool or 11.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had significant wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.8 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had less wadable water.
All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. The tailwaters have wadable water on a daily basis.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam until Jan. 31 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 Bull Shoals State Park. 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).
John also said, “Starting two years ago, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began stocking golden trout in the White and North Fork rivers. They are not the species of trout known as golden trout, the state fish of California. They are rainbow trout that have been bred in a hatchery to be very colorful. Their color is vivid. They are bright neon yellow with an equally vivid pink stripe. They are very easy to see in the water. I have clients occasionally catch one. They are highly prized.
“Recently my wife, Lori, and I have been out of action due to health issues. Lori broke her arm walking our big Lab, Ghillie. I had an operation to remove a cancerous growth from my mouth. These issues have caused us to cancel a few guide trips (the only time I have canceled a trip in 35 years of guiding). Lori’s arm is healing slowly and has also kept her from guiding. My recovery is taking longer than I’d like but I am now cancer-free.
“Yesterday, Lori took a long walk in an effort to build up her stamina for a return to guiding. She walked from our home in Cotter down to the trout sanctuary at Big Spring Park, in town.
“On her walk she observed a young man fishing in the sanctuary. This stream has the same fishing regulations as Dry Run Creek: catch-and=release for children under 16. Cortland was 14.
“She went over for a better look and noted that he was sight-casting at the biggest golden rainbow trout that she had ever seen, well over 18 inches long with a thick girth. Lori observed for a moment and noted that the lad was intent on catching the big trout and had been fishing for it for quite a while. His intensity and natural ability impressed her. He asked her if she would help him. The guide gene kicked in and she agreed to assist him.
“She had no tackle with her and asked to look at his fly box. She looked through it and chose a black hellgrammite, a tempting morsel. She tied it on. The water was shallow and gin clear. Lori figured they could easily see the take. She had him cast the fly a few feet above the trout and let it drift down to the fish. On the third cast the trout took the fly. Cortland lifted his rod to set the hook. Fish on! She carefully coached him on how to beach the trout without a net. This is always a dicey maneuver. It is really easy to lose a trout in this way.
“Cortland had a phone and they got a good photo. It was magnificent. Cortland went over to his mother. She could not believe that he had caught the big trout. She thought he had Photoshopped it. Lori convinced her that it was a righteous catch.
“Sometimes you just need a little coaching to achieve success.”
(updated 12-9-2021) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, reports that through Tuesday the river remained clear and low with lures such as spoons and Rooster Tails working well, as well as Power Eggs with shrimp, corn or worms.
Due to increased flow from Bull Shoals and Norfork dams on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the river rose to almost 7 feet and the rising water muddied the water and caused a lot of trash to float in the river. Due to the rising water and dingy water conditions on Wednesday the trout were not biting well.
(updated 12-9-2021) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said water is low and clear. Trout are good. They are catching a lot of numbers on Shad Raps in size 4 and 5, and jerkbaits (2-3 inches in white color) and white marabou jigs.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 654.59 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 913.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-9-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that patterns are steady, while the temperature drops a little on the lake. Bass fishing is still 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 in 40-70 feet. That seems to be the predominant bite.
In stormy, windy conditions, power fishermen can key in on ledges and 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 57 degrees. Water level is about 4 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 552.47 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 12-9-2021) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort reported Wednesday that the lake level is 552.64 feet msl and had dropped about 1 inch in the last 24 hours with both generators running about 4 hours. The White River at Newport is 3 feet. The surface water temperature was 55.5 degrees and dropping with the cooler weather this week when Steve went out fishing Tuesday. “There was a cool breeze from the northwest but it calmed at about 4 p.m. when the fish started to bite. It was slow before then. Very slow. The cold fronts just keep coming through about one or twice a week and do not help fishing any. I saw no other boats for the entire time I was out.
“I started out with the crappie jig and switched to the spoon when the wind quit. Crappie, Kentucky bass, bluegill and walleye are the best bite now with a few smaller stripers being caught trolling.
“Overall the lake is in excellent condition and at a good level for fishing. Work the bank for bass at sunset and brushpiles earlier at 25-35 feet the rest of the time. Winter bass fishing will pick up as the water cools. Some big crappie are being caught but not high numbers. Some white bass are on deeper brush.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.
(updated 12-9-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.8 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had less wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are below power pool. The tailwaters have wadable water on a daily basis.
There has been little 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 12-9-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and gin clear. With colder temperatures, the smallmouths are not 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 1,118.34 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-9-2021) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is still slowly dropping and still around 3 feet below normal pool. Water temps are staying above 50 still, which is a great temperature for catching. Stripers are schooling up from Prairie Creek all the way up past camp War Eagle. Sounds redundant, but use your electronics to search out bait schools and also look for birds working an area. Those two things combined will likely put you on some fish.
White bass have been schooled up Point 12 area and Natural Walk and have been good for boaters and bank fisherman. Crappie are better each week. “I have been having great success on some really nice-size crappie for Beaver Lake. Jigs are working well. Look for structure anywhere from 5-20 feet of water. River arms are producing well. Had not heard much on catfish, but I would assume they are good on shad in main river channels. Bass fishing is off and on. Schools of spots are mixed in the shad balls with stripers and whites. Good luck and stay safe!”
Check out Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 12-9-2021) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported that fishing overall is great. Stripers are good around the Point 12 area on live bait. Crappie are good in 8-12 feet of water. Try using jigs or small bream and target the brushpiles. Black bass are good and are being caught in 10-15 feet of water. Use crankbaits or jigs. Catfishing is fair, with prepared bait working best. The clarity is clear and the water level is normal.
(updated 12-9-2021) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that this past week, the fishing has been good. The water levels are a little lower and the Corps of Engeineers has the water flowing around 6 a.m. The majority of the trout that are being caught are in the deeper pockets. Most have been caught using light terminal tacakle with various Power and Fire baits. This time of year, sppons seem to do great. Try fishing with a 1/4 Colorado or something similar. You can still get a walleye here or there, but you really have to put in the work. With the water levels being down, try working a Rogue or similar hard bait. This week’s hot spot has been the Spider Creek area. Once again, try to fish the deeper pockets of water. “We are supposed to have a warm-up in hte weather. I would take advantage. Have fun and stay safe.”Check out Austin’s fishing Facebook Page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for fishing videos and more tips on the tailwater.
(updated 12-9-2021) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that the lake is looking slightly stained and is at a normal level. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good but have shifted their attention to topwater lures this week, along with plastic worms. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 12-9-2021) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said Thursday that the lake is clear and is low by about 1 foot. Bream are fair. They are in deeper water now and hitting redworms and crickets. The crappie bite is still good; use minnows or jigs, and fish in deeper water toward the channel around structure in 5-8 feet depth. Black bass improved a little with fair results this week. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jerkbaits are working. Catfish began biting again this week, but it was hit or miss. Anglers had fair results.
(updated 12-9-2021) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the surface water temperature Monday afternoon was 54.5 degrees and the water level is low (Lake Charles helps provide water to Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA’s waterfowl hunting). The clarity is the usual murky. There were no fishing reports from the past week following a pretty good week of activity among all species. Shelly says that “moon times’ indicate good fishing days coming up Dec. 17-23.
(updated 12-9-2021) 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 a year ago, 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 12-9-2021) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) has closed for the season and will reopen in mid-February.
(updated 12-9-2021) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said the Spring River is flowing at 250 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity has been very clear. The river has been very low for a few months now. Really in need of rain in this area. Guide trips have been in rafts lately. The drift boats have not done well on all of the rocks and low water areas.
Catching has been great over the last two weeks. Lots of blue-wing olives and caddis hatching, especially last week with the warm weather. Dries have been working on the spring, but beware the shad in the shallow areas. We’ve got big ones and they love dries! Nymphs and smaller Woollies have been great for numbers. White Lightning, a big white fly pattern sold in fly shop similar to big white Woolly, has been the producer many times for bigger rainbows and, of course, olive Woollies for the browns. Overcast days have been small streamer fun and nymphing on the sunny days. If the bite is not there, eggs or move!
Catching a few bass, but more largemouth than smallies. As the cold sets in, the smallmouth can start to bite. But slow presentations during winter months. The White Lightning was made for smallmouth during winter below a big hopper. Hopper during winter? Better than an indicator.
Work on the Jim Hinkle Spring River Hatchery is going well. The hatchery continues to stock the Spring weekly and has been doing great at working around the construction. The work is scheduled for a year before completion. Renovation of the hatchery is very exciting and shows how much Arkansas is investing in the area. Progress will be posted through the year.
With the river so low, wading is better, but please be careful – the river is all boulders and slick rock. Wading staffs are a lifesaver on the Spring.
(updated 12-9-2021) 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. 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 7.24 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 3.27 feet, also well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta has was up almost a foot from last week to 14.11 feet, still almost 12 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 68 cfs. Further upriver at the Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 355 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. Little to no flow on river. Water level 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; very low fishing pressure and active fish feeding up for the winter.
(updated 12-9-2021) 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 259.04 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-9-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake has returned to normal conservation pool level and continues on a slow rise. The lake Tuesday was at 259.2 feet msl and rising, and clarity has improved. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 227 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 170 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.
Surface temps were stable this week, ranging 48-55 degrees depending on location. 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. Current along Little River improved this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranged 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility in the oxbows is 10-20 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
As for this week’s fishing specifics from Mike:
* Largemouth bass continued roaming over the past week, following huge schools of shad and feeding randomly as they have over the past few weeks. The best feeding cycles have shifted 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 threadfin shad in the oxbows along Little River from White Cliffs campground to McGuire Oxbow, 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 seemed to fluctuate widely over the past several weeks.
The threadfin shad can simply break anywhere from the flats and into 14-16 feet of depth, then 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 foot depths, and the surface activity will diminish. Other days, it’s like the bass are flipping a switch on and off again when it’s time to feed. The feeding binges can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes, and they flip the switch off again.
The best responses over the last few 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 blowup reactions in the pads by rumbling over and pausing in gaps between lily pads. Rat-L-Traps in quarter-ounce 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 Shad 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,” Siefert said. “Best colors of the Stutterstep getting reactions 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; this 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 dip tail have been taking 2- to 4-pound bass over the past weeks 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 continue roaming all along Little River, and have been heavily schooled up all along Little River for several weeks now, found from White Cliffs campground all the way up to U.S. Highway 71 bridge, and where the Cossatot River intersects and dumps into 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 over the past several weeks.
Daily catches with two anglers have ranged from boating between 30-80 whites in a few hours fishing time. This is a great time to take a kid fishing for these hard-fighting white bass. “One day we are catching them along Little River, roaming and slamming those crankbaits; the next day they are hugging the bottom of the river just underneath the shad schools fighting over a dropped and vertical-jigging Cordell Spoons into the school. Watch your electronics for the mass of shad and whites from 12-22 feet of depth between White Cliffs Campground and Cemetery Slough along the river.
* Catfish have improved over the past week with cooler water temperatures and normal pool being reached on Millwood. Trotlines, yo-yos and limblines were working over the past week. Best results came from using chicken livers, cut buffalo, cut shad and homemade blood dough. Trotlines seemed to be working best, along Little River set from 14-18 feet deep.
* No reports on crappie or bream.
(updated 12-9-2021) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports that the lake is still a little dingy and is low by 7½-8 feet. The lake has been in a partial drawdown for several weeks. Crappie continue to produce an excellent bite. Hand-tied jigs and BoneHead plastics are the way to go about catching them. Black bass are fair in the afternoons. Catfishing remain excellent on any kind of bait. No reports on bream.
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 534.32 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.17 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-25-2021) 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 437.51 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.87 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 12-2-2021) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) reported Thursday that crappie are good on minnows and jigs.
(updated 12-9-2021) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake has cleared and remains about 3 feet below normal level. Crappie fishing is still good. Anglers continue catching the limit of crappie in the 10- to 11-inch range, and there are 2-3 pounders being caught. Use minnows or Bobby Garland-style jigs. 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 12-9-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports water temperature below the dam is 55 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Dec. 10, that extends through Thursday, Dec. 16. 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 is very dangerous to navigate during this time with numerous underway 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 quality numbers. Wading anglers can easily access areas holding schools of trout. PowerBaits and waxworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater are working 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 and December stockings of trout are often difficult to pattern with rapidly changing weather patterns and low water levels. Bank anglers should stick to basic patterns of live bait 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 week. 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 during this time as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish.
The arrival of rainbow trout to Lake Catherine in November and December brings life to the Carpenter Dam tailrace and kicks off the trout fishing season. Almost 3,000 rainbows are scheduled to be stocked below Carpenter Dam this month, and this additional influx of fish will greatly enhance fishing opportunities for the public. 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 flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam as 10,277 cfs. Elevation was 337.59 feet msl, with the tailwater at 286.46 feet msl.
(updated 12-9-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports that Lake Hamilton’s water level is still low by about 5 feet (the lake is drawn down 5 feet annually for the winter) and water temps are in the mid-50s and falling rapidly. Water clarity is fair to good due to recent rains.
Bass up to this point have been very good. Now that the cold wave of high pressure has moved in for a few days, the fishing has really dropped off. It’s easy to find the bass but they have a strong case of lockjaw some days and we have been dealing with that the last 48 hours. We as fisherman need it to get cold and stay cold. Go-to – and we use that term loosely this week – are vertical presentations of the Ned rig and Damiki rig at deeper depths than normal. The pressure seems to have pushed the aggressive fish out to 30 feet or more of water in ditches and sunken structures (brush, rocks, etc.) Shad silver colors as the plastic for both presentations has worked. Be prepared that the hybrid and yellow bass are mixed in with the deep bass. It’s normal to pull 10 hybrids to one bass in the conditions we have right now. Even an occasional walleye shows up to get the vertical drops.
Crappie have been fair but the pressure has messed them up, also. A live small minnow dropped over brush or sunken structure in 35 feet or more of water in the early morning gets results. Hybrid bass are pretty much in every main channel meeting ditch at 20-30 feet throughout the lake. These fish eat great, but it’s hard to get any decent slabs as most are all small ones. You can target these fish easily with a pink-headed crappie jig bounced off the bottom.
Wear those life vests at all times! The water is now cold enough to kill just by being in it. Good luck and go Greeson!
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 341.89 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 567.73 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-9-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are good. Try a three-quarter-ounce CC Spoon or a drop-shot rig for these fish. Still no reports on walleye, bream or catfish. Stripers, though, are very 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. The water temperature is ranging 54-58 degrees. The clarity is clear. Lake level is 567.78 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 12-2-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching plenty of largemouth and spotted bass vertical-jigging spoons near the bottom on flats. Roam around and watch for baitfish and you’ll find the bass.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.38 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl).
(updated 12-2-2021) Reports from the Lick Creek area on the south side of the lake, submitted to the Fishing Report, say that a couple of anglers this week caught 80 crappie using jigs, and most were 11 inches or longer. The Lick Creek area is somewhat projected from the constant wind on Blue Mountain Lake.
White River/Clarendon Area
The Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday reported the Clarendon gauge was slightly up from last week to 11.18 feet, still almost 14 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 12-9-2021) 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, please 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.
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