Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report
BY Jim Harris
Jan. 10, 2018
Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Jan. 10, 2018. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.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.
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
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(update 1-10-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that most of Lake Conway was frozen. Water level was normal. Some anglers were trying their luck with crappie. The fish were reported in 4-7 feet of water, but results were poor. Use minnows or jigs. No other catches were reported.
(update 1-10-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said crappie reports were good. Anglers were have success around brush piles throughout the lake and were using minnows. Catfish are fair. Use worms, blood bait and live bait. No reports on bass, white bass or bream.
(update 1-10-2018) Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) reports that crappie are biting excellent. Use jigs and minnows. The crappie are in 6-10 feet depth. All other species are slow.
(update 1-10-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river remains low and clear with no generation on Tuesday and none scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 10). During the milder weather (until Friday) expect smaller amounts of generation during the morning hours. Friday we could see an increase due to the low temps. This will probably taper off over the weekend and begin again on Monday. Small tippet with midge emergers or pupa seems to be the best combination for taking trout under these conditions. There are a few browns still spawning but the majority have finished.
Please note that Greg will again be offering the free fly-fishing class at First United Methodist Church in Heber Springs beginning Thursday evening, Feb. 15. The class lasts for four weeks (each Thursday night from 7-9 pm). These dates are Feb. 15, Feb. 22, March 1 and March 8. Greg suggests it would be best to attend all classes, but if this not possible, come when you can. To register, please contact Greg Seaton at 501-690-9166. If he can’t answer the call then, he will return voicemails or texts.
(update 1-10-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 455.25 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(update 1-10-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is falling with generation. The lake is 6.8 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. There is a new boat show at Cook Convention Center in Memphis; stop by over the weekend and say high and see what this first-year show has to offer. The bass fishing is good with bass biting on a variety of baits at different times all over the lake. Try spinnerbaits and small crankbaits up shallow. The deeper fish can be caught on C-rigs and football heads out to 50 feet of water. No report on catfish. The crappie are eating jigs and minnows between 18-40 feet suspended in pole timber or over and around brush piles. No report on walleye other than they are on the move. The hybrid and white bass are eating on and off all day from 25-50 feet of water on spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits and hair jigs. An Alabama rig is working as well. No report on bream.
(update 1-10-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) had no report.
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Overcup using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(update 1-10-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the lake has finally thawed out, and the fishing continues. No one has been bass or bream fishing or catfishing. Water level is a little high, but clarity is good. Johnny said he was not sure about the surface temperature, though. Crappie are still in full swing and are being caught off piers and walkways on jigs and minnows from 3 feet to less than 12 inches. Most are 10 to 13 inches long. Johnny says to come see him for all your fishing needs at Overcup Bait Shop and RV park off Arkansas Highway 9 in Morrilton.
(update 1-10-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said last week that the water was 100 percent clear, and the lake was low. He said there had not been much fishing going due to the temps. However, when anglers were able to get out, Larry said they were having excellent success catching bass. Go with a plastic worm for best results. Also, white bass reports were excellent on minnows. No other species were caught.
(update 1-10-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass are good. Black bass are biting on shaky head jigs, warm-colored crankbaits, drop-shot, buzzbaits, wacky rig worms, and spinnerbaits. Blacks are in the weeds and off the edge line. They’re shallow during dusk and dawn. Drop 12-18 feet in deep water. Kentucky bass are good and being caught on hair and finesse worm jigs, spoons and minnows. They can found mixed in with the black bass. White bass are good. They are running in 14-20 feet of water off of the channels. Reports are coming in of them being on the east end furthest north side of the lake. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. They are mixed in with the crappie; you will catch six whites and one crappie. Crappie are excellent. They are being caught on crappie minnows and soft plastic bodies with a weighted jighead. Try using chartreuse, dark or plum colors. Lots of 11- to 15-inch crappie are being caught 8 feet off brush and 18-25 feet deep. Fish off channel or under water bridges. Bream are slow. Bream can be found near the brush piles but moving quickly. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfish are slow. The catfish are being caught in 15-25 feet of water but are moving into shallower water. Use stink bait, small bream, worms and chicken livers. Reports of cats near rocks on shoreline by the weeds.
(update 1-10-2018) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) had no report.
Bishop Park Ponds
(update 1-10-2018) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) had no report.
(update 1-10-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said that cold weather has put off most fishermen, but it has brought out the duck hunters on the river. Catfish have moved to the deep holes. Use a combo of skipjack and nightcrawlers. Charley says he has seen a 40-pounder caught recently. They are hitting about every two hours a day. Duck hunting is going strong on the river. Fields are frozen. The past two days hunters were getting limits, lots of mallards, teal, gadwalls and a golden eye was shot. Buffleheads, spoonies as well. Charley says hjis cove is half-frozen over but he can still get out to the river. A few sauger are being caught below the dam. Fish swirls with spec rigs. Remember, Arkansas Tech University is doing sauger and catfish studies on the river. They are putting tags on the sauger and need anglers’ help. These are worth $10 to $50. Please call the AGFC at 1-877-967-7577 for more information.
(update 1-10-2018) Professional angler Cody Kelley with Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282) reports that bass fishing is fair right now. Now is the time to focus all of your efforts on the backwaters that have deeper water and no or very little flow. This water will usually be slightly clearer. Try jigs, jerkbaits, and crankbaits in these back waters. Crappie can also be found in these same backwaters that have some brush and big laydowns in it.
(update 1-10-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said last week that the water clarity was clear and the level and current were at a normal level. No temperature was recorded. Anglers were having fair success catching crappie. They were using jigs. No other catches were reported.
(update 1-10-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said anglers last week reported that crappie were biting fair and fish were in about 6 feet depth. White jigs worked best. Water was clear and level and current were normal.
(update 1-10-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said anglers last week reported that crappie were biting fair and fish were in about 6 feet depth. White jigs worked best. Water was clear and level and current were normal.
(update 1-10-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water was stained and surface water temperature was in the low 40s. Water level and current are normal. Vince had no reports on any fishing in the past week.
(update 1-10-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie reports are good from the river. Anglers are using minnows and jigs. No other reports.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(update 1-10-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is muddy and the level and current are normal. Crappie are poor, according to anglers. The fish being caught are in the brush piles. Use minnows and jigs. No reports on other species.
(update 1-10-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) will be closed until February.
(update 1-10-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) owners said they’re looking ahead to the new year and seeing lots of opportunities for trout anglers, young and old. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has introduced a few new regulations to the White River trout management system hoping to answer the “We want bigger trout” demands, so it will be fun to watch and assist from the onset. Water releases from Bull Shoals Dam are remaining steady at just under 2,500 cfs the last few days, the lake is approximately 8 feet below power pool. This past week, with significant weather fluctuations, 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. Hope to see you in 2018 … the coffee’s on and the trout are biting.
(update 1-10-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water was not quite clear. River level is high. Generators are running periodically. No one has been fishing of late there.
(update 1-10-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, they had no rain, brutally cold temperatures (to include wind chill advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.2 feet to rest at 5.1 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 41.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 0.6 feet to rest at 5.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 21.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped 1.3 feet to rest at 5.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no water with more generation. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of power pool. With the brutally cold weather we should expect more generation to provide for increased energy demand.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam will be closed through 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 Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a size 10 Y2K with a size 14 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
John also said, “Recently we had highs as low as 14 degrees and lows down to 4. With wind speeds of 5-10 mph, the wind chill dropped below zero. The Army Corps of Engineers were running water, presumably to generate electricity needed to heat homes. There was little wadable water anywhere so all of the action was in the boat. Believe it or not there were anglers on the river. Several of us guides were on the clock. It was brutally cold. The only way to survive all day in conditions like this is to dress properly.
“The trick is to dress in layers. Next to your skin you should wear long underwear. There are several good choices. Polypropylene is a synthetic frequently made from recycled soda bottles and is machine washable. It wicks moisture away from the body and keeps you dry. Dry is warm. Silk is an organic fiber that also wicks moisture and has a soft luxurious feel to it. Wool is another organic fiber that has the advantage of keeping 60 percent of its insulating properties when wet. It can be a bit scratchy but merino wool is very comfortable and is machine washable. Cotton long underwear should be avoided. If it gets wet, it cools as the water evaporates. I am a big fan of wool.
“The next layer is the insulating layer. The favored materials here are fleece and wool. Fleece is basically the same material as polypropylene, only thicker and denser. It is very warm and comfortable. Wool is also great as it is warm even when wet. Down is a great insulating material but loses is insulating properties when wet. Cotton should be avoided. You can wear multiple layers. The colder it is, the more layers you wear as air is trapped between them.
“The final layer is the wind shell. This keeps the wind from entering the insulating layer or layers and robbing you of the stored heat there. A rain suit is a great choice provided it is breathable. If not, moisture could build up and chill you. Gore-Tex is a great choice, as is waxed cotton. Breathable waders work well. There are several garments that combine an insulating layer with a wind shell. I have a couple of jackets that are fleece on the inside and have a breathable windproof shell on the outside. I also have several pairs of pants that are similarly constructed.
“Pay particular attention to your hands. I wear wool fingerless gloves when the temperature is above freezing. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, I am looking for heavy wool or fleece gloves with a wind proof shell. This is a problem when I have to tie knots or attach a new fly. I have to remove my gloves and that hurts. Therefore I carry disposable hand warmers in my pockets to warm my hands when they get cold. I always require that my wind shells and waders have hand warmer pockets.
“Your feet can take a real hit. I wear sock liners made from polypropylene to wick moisture from my feet. I then wear heavy wool or wool blend socks. I have wader boots and winter boots that are sized to wear multiple pairs of socks. I have one pair of winter boots that are lined with Gore-Tex and Thinsulate, a synthetic insulating material that is great when the weather is brutally cold.
“Finally you need to keep your head warm. Wool is the fabric of choice here. A watch cap under a hood is good, and a hat with a brim is better to shade your eyes from the sun or any precipitation. Mine has a brim, earflaps and is lined with Gore-Tex and Thinsulate. To keep your face warm, you can wear a ski mask. I prefer a neck scarf that I can pull up over my face. I have a cashmere scarf that belonged to my brother, Dan, that I wear whenever it is cold. It is soft, warm and reminds me of him.
“If you keep all of this in mind, you can easily survive weather like this and be out there when everyone else is sitting the weather out.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 653.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the surface water temperature Tuesday was 49 degrees. Fishing has been hit or miss, kind of like the weather. There is a bunch of different going going on, a bunch of different bites that are working, so you can kind of catch them however you like to catch them. If you have some wind and clouds, but primarily wind, guys are still catching fish using the Rock Crawler or Wiggle Wart. Del said he is going about halfway back in the creeks and working his way out toward the the stepper banks, the chunk rock and and bluff-style banks. That seems to be it for the crankbait bite but you really do need the wind to do a little bit better than if it’s sunny and flat. If it gets sunny on you, you have some options, thoug. The jerkbait bite, Del prefers a little wind with it, but it’s good if sun’s out. He’s throwing the Mega Bass, throwing that up around the docks along the bluffs. Also anglers can pick up a few fish on a jig right now. There is also deep bite going on. Del suggests fishing the old channel to get out of the steeper banks, the chunk-style rocks, and work some of the points that have brush piles on them. There is a deep bite starting at 35-45 feet, if you like fishing a spoon. It’s been a crazy winter, he said. Del says he will be attending several boat shows in the region in coming weeks, if you want to visit about a new boat or to just talk some fishing. Check the website link above for some of the events he’ll be attending, as well as upcoming spring fishing tournaments on Bull Shoals. He also urges anglers that if you go out, be sure to bundle up.
(update 1-10-2018) K Dock Marina has closed for the season. It will reopen in March.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 547.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake’s fish have moved to their wintertime pattern. The lake water temperature Tuesday morning had dropped to 44.5-45.5 degrees in the main lake (near the resort) and cooler back in the shallower creeks and coves. With the drop in lake water temperature, shad tend to move to deep water. Lou has been marking a lot of bait in the main river channel predominantly 30- 40 feet deep in 70-100+ feet of water. Lou also checked out some flats and the bait typically started to show up when he got to 40-45 feet of water and was suspended from 30 feet to the bottom.
Lou says it has been a while since he last reported, and has actually been a couple weeks since he has been on the lake. Lou and his wife visited their grandkids in Texas over the holidays, but he is back fishing Norfork Lake. Over the last two days he spent a lot of time looking and graphing to see what the bait and fish have been doing. He mainly has been searching for striped and hybrid bass. On Monday, Jan. 8, he headed east out of their resort to the bridges. This is typically a great wintertime place to catch striped bass. He marked some bait but very few fish. He then checked north of the bridges and found bait in the mouth of the cove near the Highway 101 boat dock, but was not marking many fish. With the amount of bait in this area, there will be fish there very soon. Of course he checked out several areas between the resort and the 101 Boat Dock area, but nothing he saw was very exciting. One of his friends told Lou he had been trolling and catching stripers north of Cranfield, so Lou headed back toward the resort and went up river. Again he found bait, but this time he also marked fish. No schools, but a lot of 2-3 fish swimming together fairly consistently. He started fishing in about 50 feet of water in the mouths of several coves. He was vertical-jigging with a 1-ounce spoon and found fish suspended 30 feet down. He spooned up a nice hybrid and a striped bass. He then headed over to the river channel and started to head up river a little farther. Lou found bait 40 feet down in 80 feet of water and started marking fish on top of the bait, so he started spooning again. He got four big pulldowns, but missed them all. “I guess I need to practice more on my hook-setting technique for these deep water fish,” he said laughing. “The fish were actually inside of the bait. I had some guests fishing the same area, but slightly farther north in the channel and they landed three nice stripers with one over 20 pounds. My guests were using live shiners set at about 30 feet down.” Tuesday morning Lou headed back toward Cranfield and checked out several other areas, but ended up in the river channel and again found fish buried inside of the bait 40 feet down, but he had the same results as Monday: five great hits but missed them all. “Guess I will get them next time,” he said.
Lou says there are three very good methods for wintertime striped bass fishing. Vertical-jigging with a spoon is one fun method and a big thrill. You will be jigging the spoon up and down and all of sudden the rod decides it does not want to jig up and gets buried. Make sure you are holding on tight. One important tip for wintertime jigging is to slow down your presentation. Small twitches of your rod tip typically work better than the fast and large pullups. Live bait fishing is another good method to catch stripers. All you need is live brooder shiners, a 2-ounce weight tied to your line with a 3 – 4 foot leader, and a number 4 to a number 1 size hook. I try to match my hook size to the size of bait I am using. Set your bait right at the top of the bait you are marking, fish will come up for the bait, but typically will not go down after it. The third method that is currently working really well for some is trolling an umbrella or alabama rig. When I troll I like to use 5 inch swim baits (Reaction Innovation’s Skinny Dippers are one of my favorites). You will need to get your bait down to a 20 – 35 feet depth. Down riggers are the easiest method to get your bait down deep, but you can also use weighted umbrella rigs or you can use in-line weights.
Lou says he has not fished for bass or crappie yet, but will shortly. He did notice Monday morning, as he was heading out about 7:30 a.m., that there were a few fish coming up next to the bank. They looked small, but sometimes it is hard to tell. Might want to check out a jerkbait. Typically the bass that he catches this time of year are in deeper water, 30-50 feet down on the bottom close or near brush. The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 547.86 feet msl. The surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 44.5-45.5 degrees. The lake is stained.
(update 1-10-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report.
(update 1-10-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 5.8 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 32 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfock has had had more generation and less wadable water lately. The water is stained and has fished poorly. Navigate this stream with caution as things changed a bit last year during flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. 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 size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worm with a pheasant tail dropper (size 10).
Dry Run Creek is stained but still fishing well. The brown trout have moved in for the spawn. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). It is cold out there. Take frequent breaks, bring cocoa and dress your children warmly.
(update 1-10-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. With the colder weather the smallmouths are less active. John’s favorite fly is a 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 Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,114.56 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is clear and surface water temperature is in the low 40s. Water level is normal. Crappie are fair with best success around brush piles. Use jigs with plastic tails. Bass reports have been fair. Crankbaits and jerkbaits are working best, and brush piles are the best areas. No reports on catfish. No reports on bream.
(update 1-10-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says the striper activity forecast for the week is good. Topwater action is still ongoing. Beaver Lake stripers are using backs of coves, creek arms and shallow gravel bars. They have also seen lots of fish surfacing, so have spoons, jigs or topwater plugs handy in order to capitalize on a quick rush when they pin bait to the surface. Fishing free lines, balloons and downlines between the surface and about 10 feet in order to ensure that you have a good spread. You can also try rolling umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse jigs/grubs or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors, Smithwick Rogues in similar colors om the 5-6-inch model on planer boards to stagger your presentation. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper or hybrid or combination. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike Bailey’s web site linked above. Live bait is always the go-to approach when fishing for trophy stripers on Beaver Lake.
Water surface temperature is in the mid-40s. Check out these hot areas on the mid-and lower sections: Rambo Creek Arm (check the back near War Eagle Cavern), Rocky Branch (check the back of Larue near the boat ramp), Ford and Cedar creeks (check the backs of these and pay attention to where the tree line intersects the channel), Larue (check the main channel bends and cuts), Coppermine (check the back of cove), Ventris and Shaddow Hollow (check the back of these arms). Also hot is the Highway 12 bridge area (check the main lake structures, hmps and secondary points in the rea where the channel intersects), Prairie Creek (check the back of this and Avoca), Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, Escapalia Hollow/Falls Hollow, Horseshoe Bend, Mont Ne, Hickory Creek, War eagle, and the War Eagle/White River junction. Walleye can be found from 20-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Use three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors for areas of stained water.
(update 1-10-2018) Beaver Dam Store said the river is low. Nightcrawlers are working well for catching them trout. Fish the Bertrand and the launching ramp just below the dam using PowerBait. Also, try fishing the Parker Bottoms area. When water is flowing, throw quarter-ounce spoons. Flicker shad are also doing the job. Typical good lures here are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons, and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive, hare’s ear, tungsten Copper Johns, WD 40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms. Winter store hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
(update 1-10-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) had no report.
War Eagle Creek
(update 1-10-2018) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) had no report.
(update 1-10-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) will be closed through Sunday, Jan. 14.
(update 1-10-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) will be closed until Monday, Jan. 15.
(update 1-10-2018) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park says he’s happy to report that there is a little bit of water in Lake Poinsett with all the rain from the past few weeks. Unfortunately, the fish didn’t get the memo to fall from the heavens. That being said, Lake Poinsett State Park is still open and selling bait for the local lakes. Crappie have been doing well on Lake Hogue over the past two weeks, according to local anglers. They are biting on live bait such as minnows.
(update 1-10-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water was clear and the level was down about 2 feet. There have been no anglers.
(update 1-10-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said, “Well, the weather outside is frightening.” The river is low and clear with a flow of 235 cfs at the spring with 350 cfs average flow. The cold temps have had bigger fish biting. The big white fly, olive Woollies and black Woollies have been hot on the fly, and for spin fishers a hot pink or white Trout Magnet can really produce a lot of fish. Just remember to stay warm; layer your clothing and, if you do slip and get wet, find a warm place immediately. Check the blog for some of the pictures of the big trout we have been catching at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(update 1-10-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is low and fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. There are few boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(update 1-10-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said there was no fishing going on there. The water is clear and the water level and current are normal.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(update 1-10-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report. School is on break until next week.
(update 1-10-2018) Park Interpreter Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said that with extremely cold temperatures freezing a majority of the lake’s surface, fishing has slowed significantly. When fishermen do venture out onto the water, though, they experience the cold water bass season. Throw an erratic topwater or a shallow-diving crankbait knocked around brush to coax sluggish bass into striking. Crappie still bite on certain days when the weather is right. Fish with electric chicken jigs around structure. On Saturday (Jan. 13), the park will be holding an all-day program that allows participants to sink donated Christmas trees as brush piles for fish habitat and mark it with a GPS. Park interpreters will also discuss ways to better fish habitat in personal ponds, lakes and river fronts, clear up any unclear fishing laws, and discuss different techniques and weather patterns that affect fishing. Hot chocolate and coffee will be provided. For more information, call Cane Creek State Park at 870-628-4714 or email Austin at email@example.com.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will open a special commercial fishing season on Lake Chicot to target Asian carp from Nov. 1-Dec. 31. Chicot normally is off limits to commercial harvest. Commercial anglers will be allowed to keep any commercial fish other than alligator gar during the season, and all Asian carp caught must be removed from the lake. The 16-inch minimum length regulation on buffalo is removed during the season as well. Commercial anglers should contact the Monticello Regional Office at 877-367-3559 to obtain a free permit to participate in the special season.
(update 1-10-2018) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) had no report.
(update 1-10-2018) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.43 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level Monday was is about 2 inches above normal conservation pool and slowly falling at 259.4 feet msl. There is current of 3,490 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater as of Monday is about 231.2 feet msl. Water temps have continually dropped over the past few weeks, and on Monday were ranging near 32 degrees early to 40 degrees later under ful sun. Thin ice has been noted on northern bank outcroppings, points and numerous coves and shoreline areas. Check lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website “helpful links” page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. No wake zones are in effect at both northern and southern ends of White Cliffs Campground on the river, and marked with river buoys. Be advised: No tolerance of boat wakes within the marked area, and is being enforced by the AGFC along the river. Clarity and visibility are mostly stained heavy in places, especially up river. The main lake and lower secions of Little River are not quite as stained or muddy as the northern sectors. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility is moderate stain, ranging 4-8 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 3-10 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current The oxbow’s clarity currently ranges 12-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain or thunderstorms.
Mike says the largemouth bass activity levels have acclimated to their normal winter patterns. Bass remain slow but fair from 2-4 pounds, best during the heat of the day, using squarebill and medium-diving crankbaits, or dead-sticking Senkos and trick worms on a light wire hook for suspended bass. Smithwick Rogues and other suspending hard jerkbaits and slow-rolling heavy spinnerbaits in and near creek channels, where there is any remaining vegetation or lily pads stems, are taking a few stragglers. Heavy, large, 1-ounce Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Big O’s and Bomber Fat Free Shads crankbaits will pick up a random contender in the 3-5 pound class using any pumpkin seed, brown/orange craw, or crawfish pattern, in the creek channels or along points where feeder creeks dump in to the river. The main kicker of concern in the presentation getting a bite had to be using a really slow roll or stop-and-go type retrieve to entice a bite. Areas further upriver and into the oxbows away from muddy Little River current seemed to hold the most reactive bass, albeit deeper on secondary points and in standing timber. The primary points in back of the oxbows didn’t seem to be holding a large population of active fish as they were in the previous 2-4 weeks before the deluge of muddy and cold inflow of water along Little River. That water raised the lake over a foot a week ago. The big and heavy ¾- or 1-ounce knock-N Rat-L-Traps in Red Shad, Toledo Gold or Goldfire Craw with a super slow retrieve were working near standing timber on points in backs of the oxbows and deflecting off stumps with some 15-18-inch bass away from the river, where better water clarity was found without current. Also, heavy ¾-ounce War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working around cypress trees from 9-12 feet deep. Best colors drawing reactions over the past week were Spot Remover, or white/chartreuse and FireTiger. Magnum fat tube jigs, like Gizzits with internal rattles, are working in the heavy-stain areas where stumps, timber and any vegetation remain. Internal glass or brass, heavy knocking rattles are helping the bass locate the lure in the stained water clarity. Black/blue, black neon or pumpkinseed/chartreuse were getting the best reactions over the past 3-4 weeks. Real Deal Kustom Tackle jigs with a heavy craw worm trailer were picking up random, solitary bass on cypress trees and knees in 8-11 feet depth. Black/blue/purple, black/red or Texas Craw were the go-to colors, all with a black or green pumpkin craw trailer.
Mike added that whites and hybrids have disappeared with all the current and muddy water. Crappie continue to stack vertically along Little River behind points and in back slackwater depths of 12-20 feet deep, and were biting well on vertical-jigging jigs and minnows. No reports on catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 537.55 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said lake level is 537.55 feet msl and is still 10 feet under normal pool. Water temperature is 46-49 degrees with some color throughout the lake. Although bass are biting well using a variety of methods, quality bites are hard to come by. Booyah jigs in brown or green pumpkin colors are working well around brush and rocks from 10 feet to as deep as 30 feet. Bandit crankbaits in crawfish colors are catching several fish on rocky and windblown banks. Smithwick Rogue jerkbaits are also working well around windy main lake points. Crappie are fair to good around deeper brush using minnows or Kalin’s grubs.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.79 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Local angler George Graves said Surface water temperature is in the low 40s and the lake is mostly clear. Fishing is pretty slow right now mainly due to the inclement weather and not many fishing. Bass fishing is fair for those few fishing. Try throwing medium-running crankbaits, both lipped and lipless, across main lake points and secondary points in the major coves. Also try Texas rigged worms and lizards in the same areas. Go with natural shad with some orange or chartreuse on the cranks and green pumpkin for the plastics. Try between mid-lake and Point Cedar. Remember, in this cold water the bright part of the day is best and on the sunny (north) side. Like bass, not many crappie fishermen, but once again a few are being caught. Fish the main lake attractors and try to find some in 20-25 feet. Drop a 2-inch Kalin’s Grub, (black chartreuse), on a 1/16-ounce jighead into the thickest part of the brush and hope you get bit before the brush eats your jig. The fish are snuggled up right in the thickest cover and will not chase the lure very far. Try between Point 15 and Point Cedar. No reports on hybrids, and hopefully when this cold breaks some fish will start to show. A few bream are in the deep crappie attractors. Try redworms and crickets fished near the bottom just outside the brush.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.50 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.51 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
Hot Springs Village Area Lakes
(update 1-10-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born and bred all-weld Aluminum Xpress fishing boats, reports that during the winter holidays a few anglers tested their cold weather tolerances and were able to put a few good bass in the boat using finesse-style baits. Water temperatures hovered near or below the 50-degree mark. Zoom Fat Albert twin tail grubs in blue or green pumpkin and attached to a half-ounce shaky head jig produced good bites in 30-40 feet of water. The main channel and on drop-offs along the same channels were the target areas, with bait worked very slowly over chuck rock near those spots. With the oncoming of rain and a few warm days, most of us will revert back to a jerkbait or crawdad-colored crankbait fished very shallow until the cold front pushes through late in the week. Flats near creek and river channels should be our targets. Once the cold hits us again, it’s back to the grubs and half-ounce to ¾-ounce football jigs in blue and green pumpkin. They add, “No crappie report from us due to hypothermic conditions sitting still in a boat.”
(update 1-10-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said they have been closed for the past week or more because of the weather. Water is cloudy in clarity and the level is normal.
No fishing reports.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(update 1-10-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is holding at 44 degrees due to the cold nights of the last week. Entergy has completed the winter drawdown for both lakes Hamilton and Catherine at 3 feet. These levels will remain in place until early March when the refill is scheduled to begin. Much safer conditions will exist in the Carpenter Dam tailrace this year with a 3-foot drawdown as opposed to the 5-foot draw of the past two years. This area is shallow at normal summertime pool and becomes treacherous when the current is running over exposed rock and sandbars. November marks the beginning of the fall rainbow trout stocking. Trout are now in the tailrace with sizes perfect for fishing and great tasting tablefare. Bank fishermen are catching limits of rainbows on PowerBait, waxworms and mealworms, and whole kernel corn all fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Boaters have trolled shallow-running crankbaits in the main channel with success during times of current flow. Patience is key as small numbers of trout have been stocked and these fish are widely scattered throughout the tailrace. January will bring thousands more trout as the stocking program intensifies. Currently, white and hybrid bass continue to be caught by the bridge and close to the dam on live minnows tight-lined over deep water. These fish roam in and out of the area chasing shad and are caught year-round when few game fish are present in the tailrace during the summer months. During times of generation, jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern are effective over sands bars and exposed rock structure. Some striper activity has been observed in the early morning and late evening below the bridge. Little fishing has taken place in the last week; however, these fish can be caught on live shad presented under a balloon. C-10 Redfins and Super Spooks in white will draw vicious strikes from feeding stripers. A few walleye have been taken by anglers trolling shallow-running crankbaits close to shore in the morning before daylight. Sizes range from 1½ pounds all the way to 5 pounds. Numbers are few, but will increase as the new year begins. Good fishing is on the horizon with the coming of rainbow trout. Trout bring the tailrace to life, and quality angling will return this month to Lake Catherine. Anyone navigating the area must always wear a lifejacket and observe park and boating regulations.
(update 1-10-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature in the main river is 40 degrees, 55 degrees at the nuclear plant outlet, and 38 degrees in some of the smaller creeks. River clarity is good. Striper fishing has been good on jerkbaits, Rat-L-Traps and swimbaits. White bass have been good on Rat-L-Traps, small crankbaits, small swimbaits and Johnston silver minnows. Black bass have been good on Rat-L-Traps, jerkbaits and Alabama rigs. Crappie have been good on minnows and jigs, black chartreuse, black pink and chartreuse. Catfish have been good in the creek and river channels on shad.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.45 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the lake’s fishing areas remained frozen up earlier this week. There were some anglers getting out trying to fish for crappie, but reports were poor.
(update 1-10-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the lake was frozen over and no one was fishing. There were, however, duck hunters on the water. The water level is low.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 567.87 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still fair. Spotted bass have slowed but are still fair on a drop-shot with a finesse worm. No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair to good on Bama rigs. Major creek channels on the central and western part of the lake have been the best for these fish. No reports on bream. Crappie are still fair and being caught on minnows in 20-30 feet of water near structure. No reports on catfish. Surface water temperature is ranging 46-50 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. The lake level was 567.86 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.00 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
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