Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Jan. 13, 2022
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Jan. 13, 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 10 a.m. the day of publication (Jan. 13).
****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: David Stott caught this 8-pound bass at Lake Maumelle on Saturday, part of a five-bass stringer totaling more than 17 pounds in winning a bass league tournament out of WestRock Landing. Mike Hammett finished right behind Stott with a five-bass stringer that weighed more than 16 pounds. Large black bass are biting at Lake Maumelle. Photo provided by WestRock Landing.
Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
(updated 1-13-2022) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake has the normal Lake Conway stain and the water level remains low. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. Pink minnows are still working, as are jigs in Monkey Milk or chartreuse colors. Black bass are fair. Spinnerbaits, plastic worms swimbaits or anything else resembling baitfish appear to be the way to go. Catfish picked up with good results this week. Use stink bait, nightcrawlers, dough bait or jumbo trotline minnows.
Little Red River
(updated 1-13-2022) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said both generators at the Greers Ferry Dam are currently down for maintenance. This means no generation/water release is expected anytime in the near future. Currently the middle and lower sections of the Little Red are still stained from recent rains and no generation to flush it out. No generation provides good wading conditions on all sections of the river. Midges, small soft hackles and Woolly Buggers are recommended for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use pink-colored body on chartreuse or gold jigheads. 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 461.78 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl, top flood elevation 487.0 msl).
(updated 1-13-2022) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.77 feet msl and on a slow rise. It is 0.27 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. The Corps of Engineers at Greers Ferry Dam is reported to be having generator problems, and if the lake gets over pool level they are going to release water through the gates to keep it from getting too high.
All species have moved somewhat from where they were two weeks ago, either vertical or horizontal, according to species. We are settling into winter pattern as well. Catfish, no one is really fishing for them, but some are coming in on baits fished around shad for other species. Crappie are getting settled in, suspended around pole timber or over and around brushpiles. Fish around any wood at 15-40 feet, and try beetle spins, spider-rigging grubs or crankbaits, and fishing straight up and down with grubs and/or minnows.
Black bass are eating Wiggle Warts, Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and jigs up around the banks, while the schooling fish will eat Alabama rigs, C-rigs, jigs and hair jigs. Stay close to bait in 6 inches to 60 feet. Jigging spoons also work.
Hybrid and white bass are doing their winter, prespawn thing. Use spoons, swimbaits, Alabama rigs and inline spinners in 25-80 feet in the lake or rivers, as long as you stay around shad. They are close and will feed on and off all day some days and some days not.
New water made walleye respond to moving onward and upward to spawn. Lots of traveling going on, not so much lake fish. They will stay put pretty much and can be caught with a slow-dragged crawler with some flash on it, as well as and bottom bouncers, deep cranks trolled or jerkbaits trolled down to 28-50, or a jigging spoon. With the moving fish, try deep cranks or deep trolled jerkbaits as well as bottom bouncers with a crawler or piece of plastic that resembles a crawler, or use Alabama rigs. With bream, try dragging a small cricket (if you can find them) at 25-50 feet.
(updated 1-13-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said bass are good in 12-18 feet depth on drop-shots with Roboworm.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 1-13-2022) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says the water is muddy but the level has jumped up to about 1 foot high. Bream started biting again. The bream bite is fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie remain good on minnows and jigs. The crappie are good around the docks, with large-size fish being caught on both minnows and jigs. Also, some small white bass are being caught around the shad. No reports on black bass or catfish.
(update 1-13-2022) David Hall at Dad’s Bait Shop (501-289-2210) said the lake is still 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 1-13-2022) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reported that water temp is ranging 50-52 degrees. Fishing for largemouth bass is good. Some reports of the bass being found STILL scattered at all depths and some deep. Try using crankbaits, spinnerbaits or drop-shots. As for other black bass, Kentucky bass (spots) are also good. Some reports of them being found near drop-offs around 16-20 feet and off rocky banks, while other reports have them being found on brushpiles. Try using Texas rig on the brush, or go with a jig. The big bass were biting big this past Saturday in the Lake Maumelle Bass League. David Stott weighed in over 17 pounds on his stringer with a Big Bass of 8.06 pounds. Mike Hammett came in second with 16.22 pounds on a five-bass stringer.
White bass are slow; there were no reports this week. But you might could find a bite using a swimbait. Crappie are good. Reports this week of the crappie being found deep still suspended, 22-28 feet deep and on the move. They were still deep this week over brush. They’re biting better on jigs this week. There were no reports on bream or catfish, but the catfish might take a liking to chicken liver, worms and crayfish thrown their way.
(updated 1-13-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said crappie are good on Monkey Milk crappie jigs and Bobby Garland Jigs in 10-15 feet depth around underwater brushtops.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam was 7,052 cfs. Flow further upriver at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was 19,005 cfs.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 1-13-2022) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river is stained after the rain. Water level is normal. Bream are good. Fish with redworms near the bottom, Ray suggests. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good; try a crankbait. 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 9,417 cfs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
On Thursday, the Corps of Engineers said water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam was 14,201 cfs. Flow at the Terry Lock and Dam was 13,820 cfs.
(updated 1-13-2022) 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 were caught below the dam on white swimming minnows. Catfish are fair below the Murray Lock and Dam and hydroelectric plant on shad and skipjack.
(updated 1-13-2022) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are good in 5-10 feet on green pumpkin shaky heads and shad-pattern square bills.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 1-13-2022) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the water is low and anglers are having trouble getting boats in an out. The river is muddy, and fishing is slow.
(update 1-13-2022) 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 1-13-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the White River never disappoints – whatever the weather, whatever the water levels, whatever the season. You most always find what you’re looking for, even when you didn’t know you were looking for it!
The Corp of Engineers has been pulsing lake water through the dam very generously, but not consistently. During a typical 24-hour period, we’ve been starting the day with about one unit (3,500 cfs) running through Bull Shoals Dam. Generation begins early in the morning; some days it rises to nearly 18,000 cfs over several hours, then returns to roughly 3,000 cfs for the remainder of the day. The lake is sitting at 658.6 feet msl. The rain received in late December moved the lake level up several feet but it still remained very near (or below) the seasonal power pool level of 659 feet msl.
This month has given us frigid nights and some fairly warm days – and steady catches of rainbows with a brown or two (or more) brought in for pictures and a thrill. River traffic is slow in January and you may not see another angler for hours. Tie on fluorescent or translucent orange egg patterns during the spawn season for a sure catch. Use smaller baits than you normally would (an old angler’s gut reaction to the cold weather and the brown trout spawn). Black and yellow Rooster Tails showed some success, and don’t leave the wriggly redworms behind for the early morning hours of rising water. Dress appropriately for the winter temps; stop in for a cup of coffee to warm up if you’re in the Cotter area.
(updated 1-13-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, says fishing has been consistent over the last week with river levels varying between 5-9 feet. The river levels and dinginess of the river have made artificial lures marginally effective with Rapala Countdowns working best. If you are looking to catch a limit of trout, the best bait continues to be Power Eggs with shrimp or worms. Both drift-fishing and fishing from the bank have worked well. With the reduced fishing pressure the trout have been eating and growing. Now is the time of year to catch better-than-average trout. If you are lucky you may hook into one of the 5-pound-plus trout (to include a large golden trout we’ve seen).
(updated 1-13-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said during the past week they had a trace of rain in Cotter, frigid temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.2 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 36.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below power pool and 16.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 foot to rest at power pool or 9.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 0.3 foot over power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we have had a bit more wadable water.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. Most of the lakes in the White River system are at or slightly above power pool. With the current lake levels, expect more generation.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park is 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 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).
With the cold weather that’s descended on the area recently, John also said, “At my usual guide starting time yesterday, 7:30 a.m., it was 16 degrees with winds 10-15 miles per hour. This resulted in a wind chill below 0. When I sat down to write this article, my wife, Lori, told me that it is forecast to snow here in Cotter tomorrow. This tells me that summer is long gone.
“This has occurred just as the lakes have risen a bit due to some heavy rainfall. As a result, we have generation on both the White and North Fork rivers. This means that these rivers are not currently wadable.
“The best way to survive brutally cold conditions is to wade fish. I know that this sounds counterintuitive. You have to remember that the water temperature is a constant 57 degrees, which is over 50 degrees warmer than a wind chill of zero. If you get cold, wade a little deeper.
“I remember a guide trip on the Spring River during brutally cold conditions several years ago. We had been fishing comfortably all morning. When we got out of the river for lunch, we were much colder. We quickly finished lunch and returned to the river to warm up.
“One way to overcome this is to start a fire. There are always rocks for a fire ring and drift wood for fuel. My favorite fire starter is a bag of Fritos. They are in a sealed waterproof bag and are quite flammable.
“If you are in a boat, there is nowhere to hide from the wind. One trick to beat the wind is to wear your waders. They are quite windproof, as is your rain jacket. Be sure and not wear studded boots. They will not only mar the deck of your boat but will slide over the deck like a pair of roller skates. Rubber soles without studs would provide the most secure footing.
“You can keep your body and head warm with multiple layers of wool and fleece clothing under your waders and rain jacket. At temperatures this low, you will have more trouble keeping your hands warm. If it is above 32 degrees, I can do well with fingerless wool gloves. That way I can tie knots and untangle fly lines.
“Below 32 degrees I have to wear full gloves that are well insulated. If I need to untangle a line or tie a knot, I have to remove them. To keep my hands warm in this situation I carry disposable hand warmers. I recently acquired a rechargeable electric hand warmer that functions well. I keep it in my pocket and warm my hands when needed.
“One last thing to worry about in frigid temperatures is icy ramps. The best answer is a reliable four-wheel-drive vehicle. When I acquired my latest Suburban, I made sure that it was four-wheel drive because I did not want to end up in the river on a frigid day in my Suburban instead of a river boat.
“Keep these things in mind and you can be out there on a frigid day.”
(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.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 658.48 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 914.67 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 swings and 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 553.28 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 1-13-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort reported Wednesday that the lake level was 553.30 feet msl and had dropped a half-inch in the last 24-hours with just a few hours of generation. The White River at Newport was at 19 feet, which limits the discharge. “I just got back in from fishing and the conditions have changed with the warm weather. The surface water temperature has risen a little in the last couple of days and is now about 51.5 (degrees) and the lake is clearing and it needed to. It is now stained green and you can see your lure down 3-4 feet, and the brown water is gone but it is now a good color for fishing.
“Blackburn’s has several fishermen in now and they are doing well and it is improving. Today the striper fishermen caught some nice ones trolling, the bass fishermen caught some near the bank this evening and the crappie fishermen did the best using Bobby Garland Blue Ice Baby Shad on main lake brush at 25 feet. It was busy here this evening and everybody caught fish. It was a great day and a beautiful sunset. It makes life almost worth living. A great January day on Norfork. Thanks Arkansas Game and Fish for managing the lake so well.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve’s Blog.
(updated 1-13-2022) Lou Gabric, at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, winter fishing has arrived on Norfork Lake. Cold fronts seem to be arriving weekly followed by a warming trend until the next cold front. These extreme changes in the weather do tend to affect the bite, but the positive side is that it does not last long. The striped bass bite has been fair to good, largemouth and spotted bass bite has been good and the crappie bite has been fair to good.
The lake surface temperature has dropped to the low 50s, so the bait has started to move to their cold water locations. You can find large balls of bait in deeper water, as well as in the old river channel. If you are looking for striped bass, you will find them hanging around the bait balls. Vertical-jigging a spoon, an ice jig or jigging a plastic bait has been working. Live bait is always a great choice. Stripers have been being found from the Cranfield Island area up to the mid-lake bridges, and also from the mid-lake major creeks to the Bennett’s Bayou area. The stripers have been suspended in the water column from 25 feet down to 60 feet in 70 to 100-plus feet of water.
The largemouth and spotted bass bite is probably the best bite on the lake at this time. You can find them in different types of areas and depths. “I have found some nice size fish in 33-40 feet of water out on a long chunk rock point. The fish were lying on the bottom. Vertical-jigging a 1-ounce spoon very slowly right on the bottom was catching some nice fish. You will also find this species close to the shoreline in shallow water early in the morning feeding. Rock Crawlers and square bills are working great. Largemouth are also scattered out in deep water chasing the shad. They will be at all depths, from 10 down to 50 feet deep.”
Crappie are doing their winter thing. There are some nice-size fish in deeper water, 35-45 feet on or near brush. Jigging a small spoon, plastic jig or live bait will work well. You will also find them feeding near the shore inside of brush. You can also find them on the tops of brush 10 to 20 feet down. You will need to keep checking different depths the find the best location.
Norfork Lake level is dropping very slowly and currently sits at 553.3 feet msl, which is slightly below normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature is around 51 degrees. The lake is stained but is starting to show signs of clearing.
“Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.”
(updated 1-13-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 0.3 foot over power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we have had a bit more wadable water.
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. Most of the lakes in the White River system are at or slightly above power pool. With the current lake levels, expect more generation.
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 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.
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 1-13-2022) 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 1,120.27 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl; top flood elevation is 1,130.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-13-2022) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is steady at normal levels. The lake is slowly clearing in the river arms and down to Prairie Creek. Lake water temps have dropped into low 40s. Fishing is fair to good for all species. “Stripers are scattered and are a tough bite right now. I would assume that this weekend they should be in and around Monte Ne and Horseshoe Bend. I would also think that as the water clears they should be found up in War Eagle near Point 12 up to Camp War Eagle.
Crappie are still good. Look on main river channels in and around 15 feet deep.
“The White arm as of yesterday is the clearer of the two river arms. We have been catching lots of bass, both blacks and spots, on the same brush as crappie. I have really been looking for some walleye but for me they have proven elusive. That should change in coming weeks as they push for prespawn staging.
“Weather is still fishable, so I would say, ‘Get up and outside and take advantage of this mild winter as of late.’”
Check out Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.
(updated 1-13-2022) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported Wednesday afternoon that the stripers were fair on live bait. Anglers are catching a few walleye on spoons and trolling in the river arm. Crappie are good, with anglers using minnows, jigs and plastic bodies on jigheads. Black bass are good; try crankbaits, a CC Spoon or a jerkbait. No reports on bream or for catfish. The lake is clear and the water level is normal.
(updated 1-13-2022) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been hit or miss this past week, but if you can drift the flowing water, you should do pretty well. Most trout are being caught between Parker Bottoms and Spider Creek. “We have had great success with quarter-ounce spoons coated in Fire gel. Light terminal tackle, fished with various PowerBaits, has also done nicely as well. You will need to cover water to stay on the bite.
“This past week we only focused on the trout. In about a month, I will have a better idea how them walleye are doing! Try to stay in the deep pockets and you should do just fine! This weekend might have some winter weather, so try to get out Friday. Good luck and catch some fish!”
Visit Austin’s fishing Facebook Page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for fishing videos and tips on the tailwater.
(updated 1-13-2022) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) is closed for the holiday break.
(updated 1-13-2022) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reopens on Saturday.
(updated 1-13-2022) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the water at Lake Charles is back up to normal (Lake Charles water is used to help flood the nearby Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA for waterfowl season) but the fish bite is not normal. There was no bite this week, she reports. Nothing from any species, or at least no reports from any anglers. The water temperature Monday afternoon was 47.1 degrees. Clarity is murky. Based on moon times, though, there should be good fishing through Jan. 17, she notes, if the weather holds up.
(updated 1-13-2022) 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 1-13-2022) 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 1-13-2022) 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 8.27 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at 18.55 feet, 7.5 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is way up, to 30.36 feet, which is more than 4 feet above the flood stage of 26.00 feet.
(updated 1-13-2022) 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 20,237 cfs. Further upriver at the Maynard Lock and Dam near Redfield, the flow was 19,356 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 1-13-2022) 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 259.39 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-13-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was about 2-3 inches high at 259.4 feet msl and falling, and clarity is good to fair stain in a few areas. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 228 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 4,000 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 webpage linked above, or the US Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
Surface temps stable this week, ranging 43-45 degrees, depending on location and the 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 is 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.
As for fishing specifics, Mike said:
* Not much change over the past several weeks with largemouth bass. The largemouth activities slowed with the colder water temperatures, 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 appear suspended near large pods of threadfin shad in the oxbows along Little River and in mouths of the creeks that junction and dump into the river. Keep an eye peeled for egrets and herons feeding on the shad. Bass will continue to suspend with current water temperatures, roaming shallow on warm afternoons up onto flats for a few hours albeit, sluggish, with the cooler water temperatures. The Shad schools have moved onto primary and secondary points and into the deeper depths of creek channels. Their feeding cycles seem to fluctuate widely over the past several weeks.
Before the last cold snap and frontal passages, the past few weeks, we were finding schools of Shad staging on creek channel points and in deeper creek channels that began moving deeper into creeks that junction Little River and the oxbows. Watch your electronics for huge Shad pods ranging from 6 to 14 feet deep on primary or secondary points. The screen will go completely solid mass, when you locate the shad schools. Bass are holding and suspending 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 flip the switch off again. Snake Creek, Hurricane Creek, White Cliffs Creek, all the way up to Brown’s Slough have been holding Shad schools over the past several weeks.
The best reaction bites over the past few weeks continue to be on custom painted Little John Crankbaits in shad colors, 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, continue getting a few random reactions on flats with the remaining lily pads. Rat-L-Traps in quarter-ounce size Spin Traps and half-ounce size Traps in Millwood Magic, Chrome/Blue Back, and Chartreuse Silver Shad, continue to find random fish that are roaming and following the Shad schools over the past several weeks.
When fishing the points dumping into Little River, the Rat-L-Trap 1-Knockers in three-quarter-ounce sizes will get down deeper on the points with stumps present, and drop off into the river with a different vibration and presentation than the smaller Rat-L-Traps, and connect with larger schools. One point may hold all Largemouth Bass, the next point may hold all White Bass. Both species are following the Shad all along Little River and they are staging on the points, with some of the Largemouth Bass pulling into the creek channels where deep access to the river, stumps, and points, are attracting the shad.
Southern Pro Flipping Tubes or Tournament Tubes in Black/Blue tail, Smoke/black/red flake w/ chartreuse dipped tail, Smoke Purple flake w/ chartreuse dip tail, have been taking 2-4lb Bass, over the past several weeks near dead pad stems, on stumps from 8-10 feet deep in Little River’s oxbow lakes upriver, near creek junctions and on tapering points where Shad have moved deeper into the creek channels. Berkley Power Worms in 10-12 inches caught a couple decent bass last week with black, blue fleck or black grape working best colors for a reaction bite.
Real Deal Custom Jigs caught a few largemouth up Little River in McGuire oxbow last week around 2-3 pounds; best colors were Texas Craw, black/blue/purple or pumpkinseed/chartreuse with a Hog Craw as a trailer.
* 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. Daily catches with 2 anglers, have ranged from boating between 30-80 Whites in a few hours fishing time. Great time to TAKE A KID FISHING in these hard fighting, White Bass!! One day we are catching them along Little River, roaming and slamming those crankbaits, next day they are hugging the bottom of the river just underneath the Shad schools fighting over a dropped and vertical jigging Cordell Spoon 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.
* Crappie “have been slow for us, as well as everyone we spoke with on the lake, for the past 3-4 weeks, with nothing consistent to report. Scattered and random bites on jigs in black/chartreuse, or Southern Pro Little Hustler tubes.
* Catfish are good to fair over the past couple weeks with an increase in current along Little River. Trotlines, yo-yos and limblines were working randomly, slow one day, and good the next, over the past few weeks. Best results were using chicken livers, cut buffalo, cut shad, and cottonseed mill dough cake. Trotlines seemed to be working best along Little River set from 14-18 feet deep.
(updated 1-13-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reports that the lake is still low by about 7 feet but the clarity is “pretty good.” Crappie are good using hand-tied jigs and plastics, and limits are being caught on Silver Minnow. Bass fishing has picked up with good results this past week. Use a crankbait. Catfish continue to bite well on any kind of bait.
(update 12-30-2021) 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 536.78 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.48 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 437.38 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.57 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake Area
(update 1-13-2022) Curtis Willingham at River Rat Bait in Camden (870-231-3831) had no report.
(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 1-13-2022) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam below the dam is 50 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Jan. 14, that extends through Thursday, Jan. 20. 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 5-foot winter drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine continues until March 1. The Carpenter Dam tailrace is very dangerous to navigate with numerous underway obstructions now exposed. Wade fisherman 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 everywhere in the Carpenter Dam tailrace and thriving in the nutrient-rich waters of Lake Catherine. Wade fishermen 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 with the drawdown 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 fishermen 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. White bass have been observed breaking in the early morning hours chasing threadfin shad below the bridge. Casting spinner baits 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.
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 resumes. 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 19,005 cfs. Elevation was 337.91 feet msl, with the tailwater at 286.83 feet msl. (Top navigation pool is 338.2 and bottom pool is 336.0.)
(updated 1-13-2022) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water temps right at 50 degrees and water clarity stained in all areas north of the Highway 7 South bridges. All species are turned off due to the heavy rains, cold temperatures and bluebird clear skies.
The fish will normalize by next week, but right now they are messed up and have lockjaw. Fish are scattered at all depths. This would be a good week to clean the boat or do something else. Eight hours on the water and one tiny bite – no report!
(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 12-30-2021) 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 342.37 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 373.0 feet msl).
(updated 1-13-2022) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said Thursday morning has a “decent” clarity and the water level is normal. Crappie fishing is good. Crappie are being found in 3-11 feet depth up in the river. Minnows will work, along with jigs (black/chartreuse, Monkey Milk, blue and silver colors). Try in and over brush. Black bass are good. They’re biting shallow, around 3-5 feet deep. The War Eagle Spinnerbait is a favorite here, along with crankbaits and jerkbaits now. Bream and catfish are poor.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 569.72 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 1-13-2022) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) had no new reports. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 12-30-2021) 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 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 slightly up from last week to 26.55 feet, a half-foot above 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 1-13-2022) 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.
Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report
Dec. 6, 2023
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