Dec. 6, 2017
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Dec. 6, 2017. 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 11-29-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that crappie continues doing really well under the Arkansas Highway 89 bridge, in Gold Creek and in Wilhelmina Cove on jigs and minnows. You’ll find crappie in water from 1 feet to as deep as 10 feet depending on where you fish. They are not staging in one area; in Gold Creek you may catch them in 1 foot of water, and meanwhile anglers are catching them in 8-9 feet of water in the coves. It’s just different among the various go-to-spots. Bass are fair on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is excellent on shad and cutbait around the dam area. The bream are excellent on redworms and crickets. The water is down to winter pool and about 56 degrees.
(update 12-6-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red River continues to hope for much needed water release from the Greers Ferry Dam. My sources tell me that we will have the possibility of water release/generation over the next couple of days due to the colder temperatures and power demand. However, the expectation is that we will continue to receive small amounts of sporadic water release due to the low lake level. This water release pattern is creating good wading conditions, but challenging boating on most sections of the river. We are in the brown trout spawning season here on the Little Red River, so our browns are moving to their spawning areas on shoals. If you do wade in or pull a boat through the spawning areas, be careful where you walk and don’t walk on or disturb their redds (spawning beds). I can report the leading candidates for fly anglers are egg pattern, sowbugs, midges, soft hackles and Woolly Buggers. Pink- and white-colored Trout Magnets are the front runners for spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army 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 latest updates and information. GO HOGS!
(update 12-6-2017) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said that after receiving about an inch of rain on Monday, the river is clear with more water than last week. The colder weather has caused an increase in generation. On Tuesday, generation was three hours beginning at 5 p.m. The Wednesday the generation was scheduled for two hours beginning at 6 a.m. and again for three hours beginning at 5 p.m. Be sure to check the schedule before planning your trip. This can be found on USACE Little Rock app under SWPA Forecasts. Next-day forecasts are posted after 4 p.m. and on Friday the forecasts are posted for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Current generation can be found under releases on the same app. The bite is good using mayfly nymphs, sow bugs and midge pupa. Rainbows can be found in the slow and fast water, while the browns are more in the moving water The brown spawn is still going on but it has been sporadic this fall. Some browns that Greg and his crew are catching have spawned out while others are still carrying eggs. Greg urges anglers to please be careful while wading to avoid the redds! The eggs remain in these areas until about February.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 456.48 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 12-6-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 456.57 feet msl and falling as of Tuesday. It is 5.47 feet below normal pool of 462.47 feet msl. As we move closer to the new year, all species will be slipping into deeper water. The crappie fishing will continue to be good until it gets super-cold. Try a jig or minnow, or try slow-rolling a Road Runner in 15-25 feet of water over brush piles or in the standing pole timber. The walleye are moving toward spawning sites. The lake walleye are hanging around under hybrids and whites eating leftover and the rest of the lake fish are kind of roaming on the flats, looking for easy prey. Try dragging around a minnow on a jighead or fishing around some deep docks for the lake fish, or slow-trolling big crankbaits for the moving fish. The black bass are all over the place eating shallow and deep. In the shallow areas use topwaters, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps, jigs, small crankbaits. Out deeper try C-rigs and football heads for the best bite out to 40 feet as well as a drop-shot. The hybrids and white bass are eating it up on structure and some schooling is going on at various places all around the lake. Use spoons, inline spinner, hair jigs and swimbaits out to 40-45 feet of water. No report on catfish. No report on bream.
(update 11-29-2017) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said water is about 62 degrees. Water level is dropping, about a foot below normal. Clarity is clear to cloudy, about like the weather. We’ve had some people catching crappie but not a lot of people out here. Reports are fair. No reports on other species.
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 12-6-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) had no report.
(update 11-29-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the crappie are doing pretty good. Catching them on minnows and jigs. 6-8 feet and some are still on the brush top. If you can find a brush top that is 10-12 feet deep, you can catch a mess of crappie. Lake is down about 4.5 feet. Water temperature is about 54 degrees. Bass are doing pretty well in the coves. Catching bass on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and even big crappie jigs. Catfish have slowed down. Bream are being caught on worms and a few crickets (mostly worms, or little bream jigs), in 8-9 foot or water, with some in close. Reports are fair.
(update 11-29-2017) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said crappie are good. Crappie are deep, about 25 feet. They are around the main channel. Bass are good anywhere. You can catch them in 7 feet and some are 25 feet, depending on where you area. Anglers are using plastic worms, lizards, anything you can fish slow. White bass are fair. Bream are slow.
(update 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers have reported catching a few crappie in the mornings on No. 6 and pink minnows. The same customers tell us they are catching and releasing several bass while crappie fishing. Catfish have been slow to bite but some have been hitting chicken livers and worms.
Bishop Park Ponds
(update 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some small crappie are being caught on size 6 and size 4 minnows. Catfish have been biting slow on minnows and nightcrawlers. Bass have been hitting size 12 and size 6 minnows. Bream fishing has been slow.
Saline River Access in Benton
(update 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river is low and slow and fishing has been fair at best. Deep holes are producing some fish early in the mornings before bright sunlight hits the water. Minnows and light, clear line are the key when the water is this low and clear. Use larger bait for bass, catfish and walleye and No. 6 or No. 4 minnows for crappie. Bream will hit crickets or worms even after the sun is high and bright and are tons of fun to catch but small ones out number big ones 20 to 1.
(update 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said customers tell us all fishing has been slow.
(update 11-29-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says crappie have been on and off for a couple of customers using No. 6 minnows. They tell us no big numbers but a few big fish. Bass are biting about the same but seem to prefer the No. 12 or bigger minnows. Catfish are biting fair on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. No reports of anyone bream fishing at Winona.
(update 11-29-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said few fishermen are using the river. Changing weather conditions have kept fish from getting a good fishing pattern. Bass are active in the late afternoon. Fish the underwater jetties around 4 feet and 8 feet. Use crankbaits and spinners. Use worms early around wood. Reports have been fair. Catfish are moving to deep holes. Use skipjack fillets. Reports are fair. When you find shad schools in deeper water, use a CC Spoon vertical-jigging. This is good for white bass and Kentucky bass. Reports have been fair.
(update 11-29-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is normal and is very clear. The crappie are doing very well. They have really turned on in the last 3-4 days. They are being caught in water 7-8 feet in depth. Most are being caught on minnows. The crappie are any type of wood near the main channel. Anglers should be able to catch a limit of crappie right now. The bream are doing fair; some people catching crappie are also catching bream on jigs. If you were just trying for bream, you will catch them. Catfish are doing fairly well. Catching them around the docks on liver and minnows as well. Bass reports were doing fairly well about a week or so ago. No white bass or stripers are in the creek. The shad have not really come into the Little Maumelle yet, but when they do those fish will follow.
(update 11-29-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie is doing really well in 5-6 feet of water of the main river off the riprap. White/chartreuse Slab Buster jigs are the way to go. They were catching a few stripers below the dams on yellow bucktail jigs. Bream are fair. Not much is happening on bass right now. Catfish are fair on skipjack below the dams.
(update 12-6-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said reports were that water is stained and low. The crappie bite is fair, with jigs getting the best response. Bass reports were fair. Bass are biting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps. No reports on bream. No reports on catfish.
(update 11-29-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie are doing very well. Reports of nice catches of crappie off the river in the deeper water on minnows and jigs. Catfish are good and biting skipjack.
(update 12-6-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the level and current are normal. Crappie reports were good. Crappie are in 5-6 feet of water and are biting jigs as well as Fin Spin jigheads and curly jigs. Overall, fishing is slow but some catches are coming in. No reports on bream, bass, catfish or white bass.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(update 11-22-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is murky and at a normal level. Monday, the surface water temperature was 58 degrees. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is poor. Bream are poor but the bream that are active are biting worms.
Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) will be closed until February.
(update 11-29-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said that while many are turning their thoughts and energy toward Christmas (and rightly so) and hunkering down for the colder months, the folks there are still finding plenty of rainbows and browns willing to leave the comfort of their favorite hidey-holes to meet you where you're at – but you have to be somewhere on the river. The water level below Bull Shoals Dam down past Cotter and beyond is very low, at minimum flow or below, so find some attractive bait to lure the trout out. Flashy gold Cleos should work well in this water, as well as the silver-blue hammered spoons. Fish for a sculpin to put on your hook for brown trout bait, although keep in mind it's spawning season and many browns will be ignoring your bait unless it's especially pesky. Kids will be looking for Christmas vacation adventures. PowerBait and shrimp are reliable baits to help them catch a few rainbows. The weatherman promises very mild daytime temperatures for the next week, so pick up your rod and reel, get outside, and come join us on the river.
(update 11-29-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said not a lot of people of fish. Minimum flow all the way. Clarity was fair, not as clear as it normally is. Several fly-fishermen were wading and did pretty well. Most of the fish were caught in midges or Woolly Buggers. Biggest fish caught was a 15-inch brown. The drift fishing for rainbow, several were caught but they were small (9-10 inches, stockers probably). Browns will be headed for their spawn and once that’s done, things will pick up nicely.
(update 12-6-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week they had no rain, cool temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.6 feet to rest at 5 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 41 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 0.8 feet to rest at 1.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 17.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped 0.2 feet to rest at 2.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 11.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, anglers saw significant wadable water with little or no generation. The hot spot continues to be 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). Doublefly 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.
About this time of year, John starts eyeing Christmas. He says, “Last week was Thanksgiving, so it is now time to think about Christmas. The problem is always what to get the flyfisher on your shopping list. I spent a bit of time thinking about what I use or would like to get and thought it would be a good idea, to share that information, with you.
“The first thing that comes to mind is a new fly rod. There is a dizzying array of fly rods out there and there are some pretty high prices ($800 and higher) on some of them. I would like to suggest a reasonably priced one. I recommend the Lefty Kreh professional series. In a two piece rod, it is only $124.95 and a four-piece is $169.95. It comes with a lifetime guarantee. I own six of these and use them as client rods in my guide business. When my wife, Lori, and I fish together, we often use them because they are already in my Suburban and are usually rigged up and ready to go. I do not think the high-dollar rods I have fish or cast any better. It is the best rod for the money.
“Another great gift is a new net. My suggestion is the Fishpond Nomad net. They are a bit pricey but well worth it. They have carbon fiber frames, which are lightweight and impervious to damage from water. They even float. The net bags are clear rubber. This makes the light and flies do not get caught up in them as bad as cloth bags. They are great for fishing multiple fly rigs. Lori and I both have boat nets that feature a long handle and a big bag. They are perfect for the boat or Dry Run Creek. I also have a hand net with a big bag and a short handle for carrying on the back of my vest. We both love them and use them every time we fish.
“I wear gloves every time I fish, to protect my hands from the sun. I have a fair complexion and burn easily. When it is cold, I wear Simms fingerless wool gloves ($24.95), so that I can easily tie on flies. They really keep my hands warm. When the weather is a bit warmer, I use the Simms Solarflex guide gloves ($49.95). They are fingerless to allow me to tie on flies and still protect my hands from the sun. They have leather palms to help protect my hands from boat paddles. They are great for kayaking.
“Don’t forget your dog. Dublin Dog Collar makes a waterproof dog collar that features a trout skin pattern ($28). The make it in brown, rainbow or brook trout. Our English Labrador Retriever, Tillie, wears one in the brook trout pattern and we think it looks great. Since it is waterproof, we don’t worry when she takes a swim. I hope I have given you some ideas.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 653.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(update 11-22-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last Saturday that the lake level was at 652 feet msl and the surface water temperature was 62 degrees, give or take, depending on where you were fishing. The fish are moving around. Some of the creeks have tons of shad in them. If it’s warm in the back, then fish the flats. The water temperature is right and there’s a little bit of water coming in and there’s a ton of shad in the back. Those fish are relating to shad, isolated cover, brush piles – so, once you go back there, if the water’s dirty you can go spinnerbait, gold blades, War Eagle spinner. You’ll do fine in the brush piles back there. You want to be 2-10 feet or right off the shoreline or right by the bush, and the last bit of deep water will hold some fish. You can catch them on a jig. Del has been using half-ounce or 5/16-ounce jigs trailing with either a Rage Tail or straight Beaver. When Dell is flipping into cover, he sayd, you catch some of the fish in the middle of the brush piles. Any kind of wood is going to be holding a couple of fish right now. If it gets cold overnight, those fish will move back out early and then they’ll go back in throughout the day. The fish using the channels as they’re moving in and out of the creek are following the old channels and the channel swings. They’re sitting on the transitions of those channel swings, be it bluff rock or big rock, and any of those channel swings seem to be holding a couple of fish. Del is using Rock Crawler or Wiggle Warts in those areas. As for colors the Rock Crawler red crawl is working, green crawl is working as well. With a Wiggle Wart, you want to be parallel the bank, look for the wind and keep the boat relative to the wind in shallow water (10-15 feet). If it’s windy and cloudy you can be right up by the shoreline, he said. Those fish are keyed in on the bigger-size chunk rock of the shore. But don’t be afraid to go into a windblown pocket either. Just keep an eye on the shad, the birds and the wind. Del and other anglers have reported seen a lot of loons and seagulls move in, so if you’re going into the creeks, he says, keep eye out for those birds as they are going to be keyed in the shad. Your points in the back of the creeks are holding more of the drop-shot fish right now. Del is using either Dream Shot or shaky head; just use 5/16-ounce head with a green pumpkin and a Zoom worm, watermelon red, green pumpkin red. The shad-shape worms are working. Those drop-shot fish seem to be anywhere from 26-32 feet to as deep as 40 feet. That bite is not quite hot yet, but as the temperature drops, those fish will start congregating more and more.
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 551.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(update 11-29-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake had a great spawn this year. There are many white bass, largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass in this lake. When you are fishing you will catch many smaller fish, but you will catch your fair share of the larger hybrids, stripers, crappie, white bass and large and smallmouth bass as well. Lou says he had many of his family members there over the holiday and they got to fish most days. They caught many fish, not a lot of the big stripers and hybrids, but they did manage to land a few. “As you would guess, as soon as all had to leave I started to find hybrids early in the morning in the same areas where we were fishing,” he said.
Lou says he’s still fishing the flats and has found that at daybreak there are big fish feeding in shallower water. He landed big 10-pound hybrids the last two days sitting in 17 feet of water and casting out a Kastmaster. When he retrieves his bait he lets it sink about 6 to 8 seconds, then he reels a little, then jerk and let it sink a little, then start it all over again until it gets to the boat. The fish have typically hit the bait while it is falling. Lou guesses he is 8-15 feet deep with his bait. After this early morning bite he has been vertical-jigging with a spoon. He looks for the bait and typically will find the fish feeding. He drops a spoon to the fish and start jigging. Most of his fish are off the bottom, but he is seeing many suspended fish which appear to be the bigger ones. You want to reel up to the suspended fish and jig at their level. He has been fishing several flats, Big Sandy a little east of the Highway 101 boat dock, the flat in front of Fout ramp and campground, the flat before you get to 6B, which is called “the cow pasture.” Going west of the Gabric’s resort, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, Lou has fished the big flat in front of Mallard Point, Cranfield Island flat and heading up river to Seward Point flat. There are whites on all these flats and you will run into schooling hybrids and stripers at any time. Lou says he has had a friend fishing Big Creek with live shiners and doing very well back by 1C and Reynolds Island for striped and hybrid bass.
Crappie are biting fairly well. They are on brush in 20-35 feet of water and can be at any level depending on the time of day you are fishing. The crappie are mostly on the brush, but have been moving off the brush in towards the shoreline later in the day. Live bait is working the best, but spoons and small jigs are still picking up some nice sized fish. Bass fishing has not really changed from the last report. Lou is still finding them on the flats in 30 feet of water feeding on shad. Typically when Lou finds them they are on the outside edge of the flat which is coming close to a deep channel or an old creek channel. Jigging with a spoon works best to catch these fish, but casting out a heavy jig will also pick up these fish. You could also try a finesse Ned Rig once you locate the fish. Crankbaits are also picking up a lot of fish, most on the small side, but with several keepers. Look at casting on the windblown points along the bluff lines. Jigging around brush piles is also a very good area to pick up some nice fish. Bait is typically inside of the brush, so the bass will be hanging around the outside of the brush wait to ambush that stray shad.
Lou says he has had guests walleye fishing and doing well right before and just after dark, casting suspending jerkbaits up to the shore on the shallow banks. The moon is starting to get big, so the walleye bite will even get better after dark.
Norfork Lake level is falling very slowly, and currently sat at 551.73 feet msl as of Tuesday. The lake surface water temperature is 58-60 degrees and falling very slowly. The water is still stained both on the main lake as well as in the creeks and coves. The water clarity will get clearer the closer you get to the dam.
(update 11-22-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says stripers on Norfork Lake continue to feed during the day on flats in the 30-foot range. There are large schools of shad roaming the flats and the stripers are cruising within the shad. Tom said he pre-fished Friday on the flat pass Fout Boat Dock and found large schools of stripers and hybrids. What Tom found was large bait balls from 20 feet to the bottom in water depths of 30 feet. You may not see many fish while you are watching your depth finder. This is due to the fish staying inside the bait balls and then coming up in big bunches to feed. Tom had seven live bait rods out with lines set at 15 feet and 20 feet. Tom also had two free lines out with a small split-shot in the back of both about 50 feet. Tom said he was using small shad but large shiners will also work now and thorough to spring. The stripers will continue to feed for winter until the water gets cold enough to drive the shad to deeper water. Tom says he would concentrate on the flats in the mid-lake area. As it gets colder the shad and stripers will just move to their winter feeding grounds around Blue Lady, Float, Bidwell Point and between the bridges. The best places right now are the flat above Blue Lady, Fouts Flat and Bennetts Bayou although Tom says he has received reports of stripers and crappie being caught near the 1C area to the east of Hand Cove Resort and Jordan Marina. Modern gun deer and duck season are now open. So November is the best month for the Arkansas sports person. If you do not have a place to deer or duck hunt give STR Outfitters a call; they offer guided deer, duck and pheasant hunting trips.
(update 12-6-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.3 feet to rest at 2.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 28.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, anglers saw light generation and significant wadable water. The water is stained and the lake is turning over resulting in low dissolved oxygen. It has fished poorly. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit from 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. John’s 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 size 14 sowbugs, size 12 Y2Ks and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.
(update 12-6-2017) 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 cooler 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 1,117.82 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(update 12-6-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity is good and the surface water temperature is in the mid-50s. Crappie are fair. They are being caught around brush piles in 8-10 feet depth. Anglers are trolling crankbaits. They’re also th wing minnows and jigs. Bass reports were fair. Use spoons or topwater baits. Catfishing is fair. Try cut shad or prepared baits. Bream were reported poor to fair.
(update 12-6-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says topwater time is here. Beaver Lake stripers are using the backs of coves, creek arms and shallow gravel bars. They have also been seeing a lot of fish surfacing, so have your 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 deep in order to ensure you have a good spread, and you can also try trolling umbrella rigs with white or chartruese jigs/grubs or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors or 5-6-inch model Smithwick Rogues in similar colors 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 website linked above. Live bait as always is the go-to appraoch on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers. Mike says water surface temperatures are in the mid-50s. On the mid and lower sections of the lake, check out these hot spots, and check main lake structures, humps and secondary points in the area where the channel intersects: Big Clifty, Point 5, Point 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris and Shaddox Hollow. Also note Dry Creek, where fish are chasing bait near the tree line at different times throughout the day/night. In the upper section, the hot spots are: Highway 12, Prairie Creek, 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.
Mike says walleye are still in their fall migration and 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 in areas of stained water. Also try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B's, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 Series and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(update 12-6-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has very good this week. Most trout are being caught between Spider Creek and Parker Bottoms. Trout are biting on various quarter-ounce spoons, as well as various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. If you can find the right hole you can catch very nice fish in nice numbers. The water temperatures in the area mentioned above have been between 45 and 50 degrees. Hybrids are being caught between Beaver town and Holiday Island pulling various Rapalas and Berkley hard baits in 6-10 feet of water. The weather has been great, but this cold front will make for some chilly mornings. So get out there and catch some fish.
(update 12-6-2017) Beaver Dam Store said fisherman in boats are catching their limits while drifting with PowerBait and waxworm combos. Nightcrawlers are working well for catching trout. Fish the Bertrand Access 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 in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5 are also doing the job. Other good lures are gold and silver Colorado Spoons and red and gold Bouyant Spoons. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. When using flies, go with pheasant tails, midges in blue dunn, black, olive, hare’s ear, tungsten Copper Johns, WD 40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan Worms. Store hours for the winer are 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
War Eagle Creek
(update 11-22-2017) Loy Lewis of War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said smallmouth bass fishing good at times. Fishing the main channel is providing some action, as is sight fishing. Good baits would be anything resembling a minnow or crawdad, watermelon and black soft plastics.
(update 12-6-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is stained. Surface water temperature is 50 degrees. Water level is normal. Crappie are fair. The fish are in 8-15 feet of water. Use jigs. Bass are fair on plastic worms. Bream fishing was poor. Catfish were poor.
(update 12-6-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported that the water was clear and the surface water temperature was 52 degrees. The lake is low by 2 inches. Anglers had a very slow week and there was almost no fishing going on. All species reported poor.
(update 11-29-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park says most everyone knows by now that Lake Poinsett is completely drained due to a lot of repairs that need to be made by the AGFC. Please let others know that Lake Poinsett State Park is still selling bait. We stock live, frozen and artificial bait as well as a large variety of fishing supplies. It is too cold for crickets. We’ll start stocking crickets again in the spring.
(update 12-6-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) had no report. Activity is very slow.
(update 12-6-2017) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 248 cfs (350 avg.) and water clarity has been clear. The river is getting very low. Overcast days have been very productive with brown and olive Woollies and the big white fly has been a very hot baitfish imitation. On the sunny days when the bite is slow, a small nymph below an egg pattern can work great. Caddis and mayflies have been hatching daily on bright days. For spin fishers it will be hard to beat a hot pink Trout Magnet fished just off the bottom of the river.
(update 12-6-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the river is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over 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 size 10 olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash, size 10 cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and size 10 Y2Ks.
(update 11-22-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said surface water temperature was 56 degrees on Monday and the clarity is clear. Water level is low. The only reports came on walleye, and the action was good. No other details were available.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(update 11-29-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperatures are in the upper 50s, visibility is about 1 foot, water level is about normal. Black bass are biting fairly well on slow-rolled spinnerbaits and crankbaits in shad colors worked along steeper riprap banks. The quantity of bites isn't as high as some parts of the year, but the quality is certainly above average this time of year.
(update 12-6-2017) Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park had no report.
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 12-6-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) had no report.
(update 12-6-2017) 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 258.25 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(update 12-6-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said lake level Monday remained about 12 inches below conservation pool and was slowly rising at 258.2 feet msl; drawdown has ended and lake pool is slowly coming back to normal conservation pool, they just need more rain to continue to raise lake back to normal conservation pool. There is current of 179 CFS in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater as of Monday is approx 224.3 feet msl. Water temps dropped over the past week, with surface temps as of Monday ranging near 48 degrees early to 55 degrees later under full sun, depending on location. Continue to use extreme caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood, this week during drawdown conditions. Clarity and visibility continues improving. On the main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility Monday was moderately stained, ranging about 8-10 inches. Little River's visibility ranged 8-12 inches with moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity ranges 12-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Largemouth bass schooling activities have slightly diminished over the past couple of weeks. This heated activity remains best during mid-afternoon. The random schooling on shad and the surfacing breaking over the past two weeks by largemouths and Kentuckies (spotted bass) have been totally awesome, but it slowed this week. Bass have been randomly schooling on flats in the lily pads, in creek channels adjacent to these same flats, and in Little River, surface breaking on the schools of shad during heat of the day. These bass have been very good from 2-3 pounds on topwaters, Rat-L-Traps, Bass Assassin Shads, Stuttersteps, and squarebill cranks. Best colors of Rat-L-Traps and squarebill crankbaits are almost any shad pattern like the Millwood Magic, chrome/blue, or Ghost Sha, in the creek channels or where they dump in to the river. Bass Assassin Shads continue working well and best reaction Mike has had remains on the Grey Ghost and Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom colors. If topwater excitement slows, a shallow squarebill and Rat-L-Trap will still get bit in cuts, ditches and around the schooling fish in creek channels and lily pad stands. Best colors for squarebills and Rat-L-Traps over the past couple weeks have been shad imitations like Millwood Magic, Ghost Shad, Pro Gold (cloudy days) and Ghost Minnow (clear water/sunny days). The deep- and medium-diving crankbaits like the Bomber Fat Free Shads, Fat Free Fry or Fat Free Guppies still work from 5-10 feet deep in creek channels and across primary points along Little River with the best colors over the past couple weeks being Citrus Shad, White Pearl, Threadfin Shad and Citruse. The Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Echo squarebill crankbaits continue working in creek channel swings (outer bends and deflecting off stumps) and where creek mouths and sloughs feed and dump into the oxbows. Best colors over the past few days have been the Ghost Minnow or Millwood Magic in the better water clarity away from remaining current. War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working in and around vegetation and cypress trees on windy days. Colors drawing best reactions over the past few weeks were Mouse or Hot Mouse, Spot Remover or Chartreuse and Firecracker/chartreuse. Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs in Voodoo, black/purple/blue and Texas Craw are beginning to draw a few good reactions in creek channels on stumps and cypress trees from 8-12 feet of depth using a beaver bug for a trailer in green pumpkin or black. Big, bulky 10-12-inch Berkley Power Worms are also beginning to produce a good bite in the 8-10 foot deep areas of these creek channels and ditches along, and that dump into, Little River. Best colors are the blue fleck, black grape and plum or purple.
Mike said white bass and hybrid bass are continuing their schooling activities with the Largemouth and Kentucky bass as well. Stuttersteps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Rooster Tails, and Rat-L-Traps in black-chrome or Millwood Magic are still working. Crappie continue to stack up very nicely on planted brush piles, and continue improving. Big slabs are best near standing timber back in oxbows along Little River and planted brush piles in Little River. est response is from 12-16 feet deep on vertical-jigging minnows and jigs, a couple feet up/off the bottom. Catfish improved this week on trotlines using Punch Bait and chicken livers, gizzards and hearts.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 535.89 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(update 11-29-2017) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said Lake Greeson continues to fall and is about 11 feet below normal pool. Water is clear in most parts of the lake with the upper part of the lake having some color. Water temperature is in the lower 60s. Bass are biting well using a variety of techniques. Crankbaits, especially Bandit 200 and 300 in shad patterns, are working well in the 8-10-foot range around rocky points and drops. Some can also be caught on flats chasing shad with chrome Booyah One Knockers. Some good numbers have been reported being caught on CC Spoons on flats near creek channels. Booyah Finance Jigs are also catching fish on rocky breaks in 20 feet of water. Several fish can be caught using a shaky head or drop-shot on points as well in green pumpkin or watermelon colors. Crappie are good and can be caught in and around brush in the 15-20-foot depth range using Kalin’s Grubs or minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.80 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 12-6-2017) Local angler George Graves said he’s never seen DeGray this dead in terms of activity for this time of year and he had no new reports. He says that bass fishing should be good now because of the low water, which makes the fish bunch up more, but it’s been just the opposite, with the fish being really scarce. Crappie were good on the deeper attractors in October and early November. George says he thinks the water is now so low that it is virtually impossible to find a decent deep attractor. Hybrids have all but disappeared; George says he hasn’t made a decent catch since September. This too is unusually because November is typically a prime time for fish in the creeks, such as Big Hill and Yancey. Also, Lenox Marcus used to be a hot spot. Most of George’s angling buddies have stopped fishing for hybrids. Bream fishing is never considered good in the late fall and winter here. George says he seldom gets any catfish reports because those fishermen are "night owls" and he is sound asleep at night. Even the ducks are scarce now on DeGray. George recalls that when the lake had hydrilla, the canvasbacks would be thick in the coves around DeRoche Ridge. He said he hasn’t seen any since the hydrilla disappeared.
(update 11-22-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie can still be caught in the 8- to 12-foot range but they are moving toward deeper wintertime waters. Target brush piles where there is deep water close by, like points off primary and secondary channels. The white bass and hybrids are already migrating up-lake toward spawning territories. They are full of roe and milt and quite frisky most mornings. Watch your sonar and look for heavy concentrations of shad. Trolling seems to be the best method at present.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 436.72 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 524.07 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(update 11-29-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said a few bream being caught in the treetops at 6-9 feet. Crappie and bass are slow.
(update 11-29-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said reports of a few crappie being caught. No other reports.
(update 12-6-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is clear and the surface water temperature is 58 degrees. The water is low by about 2 feet. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were poor. Catfishing is poor.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(update 12-6-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no report.
(update 12-6-2017) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas bred and built Xpress aluminum fishing boat, reports water temperatures in the mid- to high 50s with crystal clear waters that will quickly change as the week progresses to stained and murky. With the dropping temperatures and the lakes becoming stained up, adaptation will be key here and in the Hot Springs Village lakes. Before this front came through, success was good with pumpkin-colored finesse jigs, pumpkin/speckled green shaky head jigs and craw-colored suspending jerkbaits. Using light line was key to feeling the soft bites. Now that we are seeing a cold front, look for the shallower water that is under sunlight most of the day to produce. Stained water heats up faster, so look for water coming into lakes (creeks) to produce more fish. Switch up the colors to chartreuse, blue/black or white in dirty water but still look to jigs, shaky heads and crank/ jerkbaits with a slow retrieve. Fishing should pick up if you can stand the cold. Crappie will be moving to the deeper range from 20-30 feet as the water temperature falls and approaches 50 degrees or less. You can’t go wrong with slip corks and minnows on a Snell hook setup. Good luck and keep warm!
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(update 12-6-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is holding at 54 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. December 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 12-6-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said river temperature is 54 degrees and dropping. River clarity is good with a few dingy places. Bass have been hit-and-miss with great possibilities of having your best day ever. A-rigs, Rat-L-Traps, squarebill crankbaits, jig and bamboozie, and jerkbaits all are working great over trees, rocks and shell beds. White bass and stripers have been good on Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and swimbaits off of river points and jetties. Crappie have been excellent on minnows, black churches, and black and pink jigs. Catfish have been fair on cut bait, shad and skipjack. Stick to the deep side of the drops and long steep rocky banks.
(update 11-22-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the crappie can still be caught in the 8- to 12-foot range but they are moving toward deeper wintertime waters. Target brush piles where there is deep water close by, like points off primary and secondary channels. The white bass and hybrids are already migrating up-lake toward spawning territories. They are full of roe and milt and quite frisky most mornings. Watch your sonar and look for heavy concentrations of shad. Trolling seems to be the best method at present. Have a great Thanksgiving, ya’ll.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 341.50 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 567.53 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(update 11-29-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still fair to good! Spots are still good on a drop-shot with a finesse worm. No report on walleye. Stripers are fair on live bait and picking up on Alabama rigs. The western and central parts of the lake are the best areas for these fish. No report 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 52-58 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(update 11-22-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports noted on US97 that one group over the weekend were using three-quarter-ounce silver and white spoons and caught a bunch of fish, though it was a total mixed back. After trying for the timber bite, they found some channel swings and that’s where they caught them, in 25-30 feet of water in the middle of the creek. Yellows, white bass, Kentucky bass, black bass, a red horse and a catfish all in that haul. Phillip adds that when you’re spoon-fishing, you might catch a smorgasbord. In another report, a group fought the wind and white caps and still did pretty well chasing crappie, he says.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.44 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).