Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Jan. 6, 2022
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Jan 6, 2022. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at noon the day of publication (Jan. 6).
****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 1-6-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake has the normal stain and the lake level is low. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. Pink minnows and jigs are your go-to baits. Black bass are fair. White spinnerbaits and white swimbaits will work best. Catfish are fair. Use stink bait, nightcrawlers, dough bait or trotline minnows.
Little Red River
(updated 1-6-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said sporadic generation from the Greers Ferry Dam is creating low water conditions most days on the Little Red. This provides good wading conditions on all sections of the river. Midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ear and Woolly Buggers are suggested for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, pink and white-colored bodies on chartreuse or gold jigheads are best. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the 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 459.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 1-6-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said creeks have a little color but main lake is clear. Bass are good on Rock Crawler crankbait and on a Wiggle Wart (green and red crawl colors) in 8-12 feet of water. Bass also are good on spinnerbait on windy shoreline in 6-8 feet of water and Alabama rigs in 20 feet of water or any standing timber and brush.
(updated 1-6-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.00 feet msl, which is 2.04 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The lake has risen 4.55 feet with recent rains. The water is in good condition, everything is healthy and most species are eating well off and on throughout the day.
Crappie are stacked up from 10-30 feet most places around brushpiles and pole timber; use jigs, minnows and check for water generation as to where they will be set up. No reports on catfish. Bream have continued to come in on crawlers, but crickets are working best in 25 feet of water. Walleye are eating along and up rivers, with a lot of traveling fish; use crankbaits, or use deep-diving jerk baits from super shallow out to 40 feet. Hybrid and white bass are chewing at will all over the lake and rivers; spoons working well from 25-60 feet. Black bass are scattered all over. Some are loners, while others are grouped up from shallow on the shoreline out to 60 feet. Spinnerbaits, jigs and Rat-L-Trap-style baits are working.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 1-6-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water is clear and the level is low. The only reports coming in are with crappie, but those reports are good! Minnows or jigs will work. Nothing reported on bass, catfish or bream recently.
(update 1-6-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) said the lake remainsis clear and is low by about 1 foot. Bream fishing has been fair with smaller bream going for the hook near the shoreline. Larger bream are being caught in deeper areas around brush. Redworms and crickets are best. Crappie are good and being caught in deeper water. Try minnows, jigs or live bait. Black bass are fair. They’re also active in deeper. The usual deep-diving bass lures and live bait are best. Catfishing is good using stink bait and live bait.
Dad’s is a 24/7 self-serve bait shop.
(updated 1-6-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water temperature is in the mid-50s. Largemouth bass fishing is good. Some anglers report that bass are being found still scattered at all depth, and some deep. Try using crankbaits, spinnerbaits or drop-shots. Kentucky bass are good. There have been 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 a Texas rig on brush, or jigs. Some bass anglers got on Maumelle last Saturday for the WestRock Landing Winter Series Tournament, with Noah White catching 13.33 pounds of bass on a five-bass stringer, including a big bass of 3.29 pounds. Every angler caught a five-fish limit.
White bass are slow. There were no reports recently. See if you can entice them with swimbaits. Crappie fishing is good. Reports this week have crappie being found suspended 22-28 feet deep and on the move; they still aren’t stacking up. They were still deep this week over brush. Use jigs and minnows. No reports on bream or catfish. But the cats might be interested in chicken liver, worms or crayfish if you want to try them.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 30,268 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 29,780 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 1-6-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said, first off, that he’s hearing that white bass and stripers are being caught on the Little Maumelle now. The water is stained and is at a normal level. Also, bream are good; try fishing redworms near the bottom. Crappie are excellent! Use minnows or jigs. Black bass are deep but biting well on crankbaits. 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 36,097 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 39,269 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 37,560 cfs.
(updated 1-6-2022) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good on the river on minnows and jigs in the backwaters around Burns Park and White Oak Bayou and around the old Cajun’s Wharf area. A few white bass are being caught below the Murray Lock and Dam on white swimming minnows. Catfish are fair below the dam and the hydroelectric plant using shad and skipjack.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 1-6-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says fishing has been slow.
(update 1-6-2022) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) 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 1-6-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “We’re looking ahead to the new year and seeing lots of opportunities for trout anglers, young and old. Water releases from Bull Shoals Dam have been variable, going from around two units (5,600 cfs) to over five units (16,000 cfs) pretty regularly this last week. The lake is just below its normal power pool of 659 feet mls. These past weeks, with significant weather fluctuations we’ve seen, we’ve been catching rainbows with a mashup of shrimp and corn; the browns have responded well to jigs and river minnows, especially redfin minnows if you can find them.
“Lunker brown fishing is just around the corner as the end of the spawning season is upon us. Anglers have the opportunity during the high-water times to cast those big stick baits now. Get out your No. 7 and No. 9 Rapala Countdowns, gold and black or the rainbow pattern, and the 3-inch and 4-inch Smithwicks; try the blue back, orange bellies first. If you’re fishing from a jon boat, drift a live worm or a bright pink plastic 2-inch worm toward the bank and near the bottom. It’s all about variety; if you don’t get a bite after several casts with one bait, change locations, change your bait, or both.
“Hope to see you in 2022. Catch a not-too-cold winter day to come over to the White; the coffee’s on and the trout are biting.”
(updated 1-6-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, says the rain on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day caused the river to rise to almost 11 feet and become muddy. By Tuesday of this week the water was clearing with some remaining dinginess and river levels varying between 7 and 9 feet. During these conditions the best bait has been Power Eggs with shrimp, worms or corn. There has been some limited success throwing Rapala Countdowns or similar lures.
Being aware of the rise and fall of the river will increase your chances of catching fish if you can stay ahead of the rising water or move upriver to where river conditions have stabilized.
(updated 1-6-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood water is clear. Trout are good when the Corps is running water; use a jerkbait and a No. 7 Rapala Countdown. When water is lower, use Trout Magnets in pink, white or mealworm gold colors on top and below shoals. Trout are also good on quarter-ounce and eighth-ounce spoons in trout or silver colors.
(updated 12-30-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that on the White River in his area, the hot spot has been the Rim Shoals. 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 sid, “I am different from the other fly-fishing guides around here. Maybe it is my past history as an Army officer in Viet Nam or long career as a CPA. I tend to be conservative and tight with my money. Most of my fellow guides have high-dollar river boats with big jet motors. They trade in these rigs every year so that they are always fishing with a new boat and motor. On the other hand I am fishing from a 2003 second-hand Supreme with a Honda prop motor. I also drive a second-hand Suburban.
“Years ago I was offered a deal with a local boat manufacturer to buy a new boat each year at a discount and then sell it at the end of the year and to do this year after year. It was a kind offer but it just didn’t appeal to me. It takes me a while to get used to things. I have had my latest Suburban for over a year and I am still figuring out all of the controls. How to operate the cruise control and the rear window wipers remain a mystery to me.
“I like to buy good gear, take care of it and use it for a long time. My waders are top of the line Simms that I have been wearing for 10 years. They look a bit ratty, but they do not leak. My favorite fly rod is an over 20-year-old Sage Light Line that I inherited from my brother, Dan. It casts like a dream and I have literally caught thousands of trout with it.
“My Honda outboard motor was a similar deal. I bought it used over seven years ago with a used boat and trailer. I would never have bought a Honda on my own but it came with the deal. I was a Mercury man. I quickly grew to love it. The motor was quiet, reliable and just sipped gas. It required little maintenance.
“Just like everything else, it could last just so long. It was built in 2003 and was getting a little long in the tooth. It was beginning to have reliability issues. Last week it broke down on me during a guide trip. That is a situation that I could not accept. After 18 years of service, it was time to replace it.
“I went to Tracy Area Boat and Motor to buy a new Honda outboard motor. My sister, Ernestine, had graciously offered to give me one for Christmas. I was flabbergasted. I had never gotten a gift like that. I accepted as quickly as I could. I had to cancel several trips due to my cancer diagnosis this year and this helped me a lot.
“I tried to trade my old motor in but they told me that the Honda was in bad shape. I have a reputation here in Cotter that I am not the guy to buy a used car from. When I trade them, they are used up. I guess the same is true on buying used outboard motors.
“Thank you Ernestine!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 658.95 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 915.25 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-6-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said bass fishing has been fair. No need to get out early, especially if it’s cold. There’s been a good afternoon bite one-half to three-quarters of the way back, 60-75 feet, into the guts of creeks. Look for wind-shad surfacing action. Birds and loons have arrived around the shad. That seems to be the predominant bite. In stormy, windy conditions, power fishermen can grind it out; key in on wind ledges, channel swing banks with chunk rock. Use Rock Crawlers, square bills or a Wiggle Wart on windy transitions. Cover water. Offshore shad have been moving. Try a Jewel Scuba Spoon, drop-shot and Damiki Ice Jig. Fish the conditions. The clarity of Bull Shoals Lake is good. Surface temperature is 53 degrees. Water is below normal pool.
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 553.69 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 1-6-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort reported the lake level is 553.80 and is stable “with just enough generation to keep up with the 3-inch rain we received last week. The surface water temperature was 52.5 degrees and the water was stained green and you could see your lure down 2-3 feet on the main lake and less than that when I went out yesterday afternoon. The ambient temperature was in the early 40s and it was partly cloudy with winds just short of whitecaps. Cold fronts have been moving through at least once a week and slowing fishing but not stopping it.”
Open water anglers are finding temperate bass anywhere from 45-80 feet on shad with white bass approaching 2 pounds, but the stripers are small. Bank and brush anglers are catching about everything but not in high numbers. Green stingray grubs and spoons are the best lures. The fish on the bank are on the main lake on their winter banks in chunk rock in about 10 feet of water and hitting the grub. Crappie in the 10- to 11- inch range are in brush at 25-30 feet on the jigging spoon along with some big bluegill and Kentucky bass. The best bite is from about 3:30 p.m. until dark. The wind usually lays about 4 p.m., if it is going to. The lake in general is in excellent condition and at a good level for fishing but overall fishing is just fair.
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.
(updated 1-6-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said there has been some 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 on vacation 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. Be sure and carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 1-6-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are still navigable. 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 1,120.38 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-6-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Happy New Year from beautiful Northwest Arkansas and Beaver Lake. The lake has come up a bit from last report. Some major changes have occurred of late. Winter showed up with our first snow. Last report we were dealing with mid-70s and water temps in mid-50s. Fishing was really good. Now we’re smack dab in winter and water temps are dropping like a rock.
“Once the lake stabilizes, fishing will set up in a winter pattern. Stripers will be located from Prairie Creek all the way up the river arms. Crappie will load up on structure 15-30 feet deep. Before the cold, we were catching crappie in 3 feet of water, but I am fairly sure that’s done for a few months.
“Not too many people have been out last few days as it has been cold with some gusty winds. I am hopeful that next week will be better with fishable weather. Light winds and above 40 is my choice.
“I wish everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year and hope you catch your personal best on Beaver Lake!”
Check out Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 1-6-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported Thursday morning that stripers are good up the river. Crappie are good in 6-10 feet of water. Minnows and jigs are working; target the brushpiles. Black bass are fair on jerkbaits and CC Spoons. No reports on bream or for catfishing. The lake is clear in spots and stained in the river arms. Water level is normal.
(updated 1-6-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said had no new post-holiday reports. Check out Austin’s fishing Facebook Page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for fishing videos and tips on the tailwater.
(updated 1-6-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is closed for the holiday break.
(updated 1-6-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) had no report.
(updated 1-6-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the surface water Tuesday was “cold!” and the level is normal. Shelly says the water is back up after all the rain last week. Clarity is the usual murky. Bream were good this week on worms and jigs fished around brushpiles or rocky points. Crappie are excellent. Try small minnows or jigs on brushpiles and around rocky points. No reports on black bass, catfish or white bass. She says anglers should find the next few days through Jan. 17 as the best days to fish based on moon times.
(updated 1-6-2022) 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 this year.
(updated 1-6-2022) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) has closed for the season and will reopen in mid-February.
(updated 1-6-2022) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels have been above average with recent heavy rain. Over the last two weeks the river has had poor clarity from rain. This week, clarity is improving with a heavy green tint, and water flow is at 360 cfs.
“Great time to chase bigger fish,” Mark says. “Woollies and big nymphs have been doing well most days, with Y2ks being a good backup plan. There has been more dry fly action lately, especially when the water is clear. Always watch for rising fish! Just remember on the Spring River we have big shad that love dries. They usually rise in the shallows along the shore.
“For spin-fishing, this is prime time for walleye fishing all winter on those overcast, cold dreary days only the dead of winter can provide. Rattling Rogues are the most recommended stick bait in black or blue.
“It’s tougher wading with the flow up a bit. So be careful wading! And try to stay warm!”
(updated 1-6-2022) 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 9.55 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 19.31 feet, below the flood stage of 26.0 feet but 15 feet higher than in mid-December. The stage at Augusta is way up, to 29.61 feet, and expected to crest at 30 feet, which is 4 feet above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 1-6-2022) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) in Batesville had no reports. Water is high.
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 40,877 cfs. Further upriver at the Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 36,233 cfs.
(updated 1-6-2022) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team says water temperatures around 60 degrees, visibility about 1 foot in protected areas. Black bass were very active in December with the warmer weather. Lipless and shallow-diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits and bladed jigs have been producing well on sand flats where bass have schooled and around brushpiles near drop-offs during cloudy/windy weather. In calmer, clear weather, jigs in the same areas have done well with more emphasis on woody cover and docks. The cold snap this week will begin the significant reduction in black bass activity common for this pool this time of year. There should still be some decent fishing left, but when the water starts dipping into the upper 40s here it’s usually best to go somewhere else for black bass.
(updated 1-6-2022) 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. The gates on the dam are now closed and the lake refilling is underway. 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 began.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.49 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-6-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lakewas about 3-4 inches high and was at 259.5 feet msl and steady. Clarity has improved. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 228 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 1,000 CFS in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake.
Surface temps are stable this week, ranging 43-50 degrees, depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River improved this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranging 5-10 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows was at 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.
The Millwood State Park MARINA has CLOSED FOR THE WINTER SEASON. The Millwood State Park IS OPEN for camping, and the State Park Office can be reached at 870-898-2800 for availability or additional information. USACE Campgrounds ARE OPEN for camping. Millwood Lake’s various USACE parks current status, information and reservations may be made by calling (877) 444-6777 or the Millwood Tri-Lakes office at 870) 898-3343.
Be aware of sudden gate changes fishing the rocks below Millwood Dam and spillway.
As for Mike’s fishing details, he said:
* “We haven’t been out much over the holidays, spending time with all our families. Prior to the Christmas/New Year’s celebrations, the largemouth bass activity diminished with the colder water temperatures. The best feeding cycles shifted to midday and afternoon. Threadfin Shad were still roaming in and out of the shallow flats with any remaining lily pads, other times over drops from 9 feet to around 15 feet of depth. The black bass continually roaming and following the huge pods of threadfin shad in the oxbows along Little River and in mouths of the creeks that junction and dump into the river.”
Watch for egrets and herons feeding on the shad. Bass will continue to roam with the cooler water temperatures, following the shad schools on primary and secondary points and into the creek channels. “We found several schools of 2-4 pound largemouths staging on points and a few decent bass were already deep into the creek channels where the shad began moving into the backs of several creeks. Their feeding cycles seem to fluctuate widely over the past several weeks.
“Over the past few weeks, we were noticing huge schools of shad staging on creek channel points and creek mouths, and they began moving deeper into creeks that junction Little River and the oxbows. Watch your electronics for huge shad pods ranging 6-14 feet deep on primary or secondary points. 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, its 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. Snake Creek, Hurricane Creek, White Cliffs Creek, all the way up to Brown’s Slough have been holding dhad schools over the past several weeks.”
The best reaction bites over the past few weeks continue to be on custom-painted Little John Crankbaits, Bomber Flat-A’s, Fat Free Guppy’s in Tennessee Shad or Citrus Shad and Bill Lewis Lure’s MR-6 crankbaits in Millwood Magic, Ghost Shad, Chrome/Blue (sunny days) and Splatterback colors. H&H Spinnerbaits in yellow/black, white/green or white/chartreuse are getting a few good reactions on flats with the remaining 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 that are roaming and following the shad schools over the past couple weeks.
* The white bass continue roaming all along Little River, and 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 all have been working catching whites, over the past several weeks.
* Crappie have been slow over the past 2-3 weeks, with nothing consistent to report.
* Catfish improved over the past week with an increase in current along Little River, and normal pool being reached on Millwood. Trotlines, yo-yos and limblines were working over the past week with best results for those 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.
(updated 1-6-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports that the lake low by more than 7 feet and a little dingy, and they urge boaters to not get in the boat lanes. Crappie are good using hand-tied jigs and BoneHead plastics. Catfish are good on any kind of bait.
(update 12-30-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) made his way down to Lake Columbia for some crappie fishing this week. He reported Wednesday afternoon that crappie are good on minnows and jigs in the early morning.
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 535.958 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 397.58 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
De Queen Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.36 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.50 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 1-6-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) reported Wednesday afternoon that crappie are good on minnows and jigs
(updated 1-6-2022) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake is clear and low by 3-5 feet. Crappie are good. Best success is coming in the bay area, he said. Use minnows or jigs. Anglers are trying for bass but reports are poor. No reports on bream or catfish.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 1-6-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 51 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Jan. 7, that extends through Thursday, Jan. 13. 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 underway through March 1; each lake has been lowered 5 feet and will remain at that level for the next eight weeks. The Carpenter Dam tailrace is very dangerous to navigate with numerous underway obstructions now exposed. Wade anglers and boaters alike must use extreme caution when attempting to use the area. Flow from the dam hides many of the shallow water dangers so boating becomes increasingly more treacherous as fishermen approach the dam.
Rainbow trout are now present in Lake Catherine and being caught in quality numbers. Wade anglers can now easily access areas that are holding schools of trout. PowerBait 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. January fish numbers are scheduled to be 9,300 trout, so opportunities are much more likely for fishing success. Bank anglers should stick to basic patterns of live bait and PowerBait, while fly-fishermen should cast egg patterns in white or yellow under a strike indicator. Micro-jigs and Woolly Buggers have taken trout over 15 inches this week, although there has been a huge influx of smaller trout this past week as well.
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 prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish.
While this information has been reported for several weeks running, anglers should expect some dramatic changes in bite patterns as cold fronts move in and out of our area. Temperatures can change as much as 30 degrees or more in less than a day. Rapid temperature change shuts down many fish species until consistent weather takes over. The arrival of rainbow trout to Lake Catherine in November and December has brought life to the Carpenter Dam tailrace and kicks off the trout fishing season. Quality fishing for rainbow trout is now happening and anglers need to take advantage while the bite is solid. 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 9,376 cfs. Elevation was 337.84 feet msl, with the tailwater at 285.40 feet msl.
(updated 1-6-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water temps in the low 50s as of Tuesday. Water levels are slightly up due to heavy rains over the weekend and water clarity of 2 feet or less and stained brown in color. Fishing has been on fire up to this point once we finally figured out the strange phenomenon of fish migrating to deeper water during the recent warm front. Now that a cold front is setting in, the bite has slowed considerably. Black bass (spotted) have shifted to rip-rap areas away from current but still near it on main lake points. Targeting spots is best accomplished with a drop-shot presentation and a fluke or small drop-shot worm fished at 12-22 feet. Adjust colors accordingly to watercolor. Largemouth are still biting relatively well in 32-37 feet of water in ditches that meet the main channel and are best taken on a jigging spoon. Chrome colors on sunny days and white or chartreuse on overcast days. As secondary bait choice is the Ned rig casted out to deeper water and retrieved slowly back. Again, adjust colors to water clarity.
Walleye have been up until recently outstanding! A flutter spoon or live minnow on a split-shot rig fished in slack water areas right next to strong currents like bridge piers have boated some large fish up until recent.
As conditions normalize over the next week fishing should improve. It is important to try and be on the lake early! The afternoon bite is very weak compared to the mornings.
“Use caution on the water! The water temps have returned to dangerous levels and life vest need to be always worn. Good Luck and Go Greeson!”
(updated 1-6-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood ventured over to Garland County to check out the post-holiday fishing and said creeks are muddy but main lake is clear. Bass are good on jigs and on Alabama rigs on top of brush in 10-20 feet of water, as well as on the flats on crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps in red crawfish color.
Crappie are good in 15-25 feet of water on Monkey Milk crappie jigs and pink and chartreuse crappie jigs around any brush or drop-offs
(updated 12-30-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said water temp is 56 degrees and the crappie and bass are holding roe and milt like it is early March. We’ve been catching crappie and bass 16-22 feet deep near deeper water channels.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 344.26 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-6-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon that the lake is murky and the water temperature is 41 degrees. The water level is a little high but falling. Now is a great time to get to Nimrod for the crappie, they report. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs. Try the chartreuse, Monkey Milk and clear and blue colors of jigs now. Crappie are in the 5-10 feet depth range. Black bass are good and shallow, in the 3-5 feet depth. Use spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish and bream are poor.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 569.11 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 12-30-2022) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says water temp is 54 degrees and crappie and bass are schooling on flats that are 22-42 feet deep. Move around slowly and tightline a jig or minnow or set out multiple rods and slow troll.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 388.07 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 slightly up from last week to 23.71 feet, about 2 feet below the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
Bear Creek Lake/Storm Creek Lake
(updated 1-6-2022) Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers are Bear Creek report having success catching largemouth bass between depths of 4-6 feet using mostly artificial baits. Sunfish have also been reportedly caught between depths of 2-3 feet using redworms. Down at Storm Creek Lake on the south end of the state park, anglers report having success catching crappie between depths of 1-4 feet, using mostly redworms.
(updated 1-6-2022) 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.
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