Jan. 17, 2018
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Jan. 17, 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 1-17-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that most of Lake Conway remained frozen Wednesday. Water level is low, at winter pool. No reports.
(update 1-17-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said there were no reports and no fishing to speak of due to low temperatures and snow.
(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 1-17-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said that due to the extreme cold, he has not fished this week. The generation has increased during this cold spell and the river is high. This should drop when the temperature moderates and this should happen over the weekend into next week. The forecast is for temperatures in the 50s next week. There are still some browns carrying eggs but the primary spawn is about over. Again, please take care while wading to avoid the redds (spawning beds). Wading thru these will destroy the eggs.
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 1-17-2018) 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 455.01 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 1-17-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake Tuesday was at 455.09 feet msl. That is 6.95 feet below normal pool and falling, and it will continue to fall with generation as the cold weather has caused much needed electricity. The 36th Annual Arkansas Marine Expo will be in Little Rock at the Statehouse Convention Center Jan. 19-21, being put on by DG Attractions. Hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. There will be a lot of good deals on boats, tackle and you just name it at the show; stop by our booth for any fishing information you need or for more about the show call Ken Griffey at 501-765-1423.
Tommy says the walleye bite looks like it will be a little off this year for the river fish if we do not start receiving some rain. It is just going to put them in places you have not caught them before, we just have to see what mother nature is going to give us. Try trolling big crankbaits and fishing live bait vertically for the pre-spawn fish now on edges of the river and creek channels, on the north end of the lake. The hybrid and white bass are feeding on and off all day; try jigging spoons, reeling inline spinners, dropping swimbaits or fish hair jigs vertically for them as a vertical presentations right now is the key for catching. Stay close to the shad and fish 50-80 feet. Crappie are eating vertical as well in 30-45 feet of water on jigs and minnows or a combination of both. Look for bait and fish slow. No report on bream. Catfishing is good on the lake for blues, as we understand. A lot of different live bait is working. The bass fishing is good on the lake, as it always is in the winter. Spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, jerkbaits, Alabama rigs, C-rigs and football headed jigs are doing the trick all over the lake, from real shallow out to 60 feet at various times and according to what the weather is doing that day. Stay around shad for best results.
(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 1-17-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water was stained and surface water temperature was near 40 Water level and current are normal. Vince heard from some anglers who had fair success with crappie. The fish were about 15 feet deep. Blue jigs worked best. No other reports.
(update 1-17-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie reports are fair. Anglers are using minnows and jigs. No other reports. The water is clear and the leven and current are normal.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(update 1-17-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is clear and the level and current are normal. Crappie are fair, and they're being caught on black and green jigs or on minnows. Bass are fair and biting crankbaits and plastic worms. No reports on catfish. No reports on bream.
(update 1-10-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) will be closed until February.
(update 1-17-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water was clear. River level is high. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, their were 70 fish caught at the resort. They were browns that were 16-22 inchyes long. Stickbaits and white jigs were used.
(update 1-17-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, they had three-quarters of an inch of rain, brutally cold temperatures (to include wind chill advisories) and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 feet to rest at 5.6 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 41.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 0.2 feet to rest at 5.4 feet below seasonal power pool and 21.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped 1 feet to rest at 6.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had little wadable 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 the Narrows. 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.
(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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 653.23 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 546.66 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(update 1-17-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the warming trend on Norfork Lake was short-lived this past week with temperatures going below freezing for several more days now. Tom said he was fishing the Fout Marina flats before it became cold for the shad. The water temperature had dropped down to 46 degrees and everything moved to warmer water. Tom said he had not fished for 10 days due the cold and their first sports show of the year. Tom went out this past week searching for stripers and found them on the Blue Lady flats in 40-52 feet of water. The water temperature was 48 degrees. The cold snap did move the fish far this time but Tom suspects this current one will move them to deeper water more near the mouth of 101 Boat Dock at Howard Cove and into the channel and toward Bidwell Point. We found large schools of stripers and hybrids roaming. The schools will not be stationary, so you have to keep moving and stay in the depth you have seen them and wait for the next school to come along. Tom and his group were using small shad and shiners with nine rods set out. Tom had two balloons set at 30 feet and seven down rods set at 20 and 30 feet. The bite is very strong when the sun is out and only a slight wind. This next week, Tom says, he would look for stripers in Float Creek, 101 Area, Bidwell Point, the flat above the 101 bridge, and the channel between the U.S. 62 and Highway 101 bridge. The shad will settle in depth ranges from 40 to 80 feet but most of the time the range will be 40 feet. You should see large shad balls with stripers on top and inside the ball. Set your bait right above the shad since most of the fish are staying inside the shad balls and then coming up in big bunches to feed. Small shad works great, but large shiners and spoons will also work now and thorough to spring.
(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 1-17-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.4 feet to rest at 6.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 32.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfock had more generation and less wadable water. 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.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(update 1-17-2018) 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 1,113.56 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(update 1-17-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the surface temperature has ranged from frozen to the low 40s. Clarity has been good. Water level is normal. No reports have been recorded this week, but last week there were excellent crappie reports. The fish are in 6-12 feet of water. Anglers are using bucktail jigs and plastic tubes and fishing them around brush piles. Bass reports were fair. Crankbaits and jerkbaits were doing best, with the fish mostly around the brush. No other reports.
(update 1-17-2018) 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 1-17-2018) 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 1-17-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) has reopened, but the lake was iced over Wednesday. Level is normal. Get a permit and come visit this weekend if it warms.
(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 1-17-2018) 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 1-17-2018) 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 1-17-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the surface temperature Wednesday was 40 degrees and the clarity was clear. The water level is low. No fishing is going on, they report.
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 1-17-2018) Park Interpreter Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said that with winter weather partially present during the beginning weeks of January and wildly fluctuating temperatures, fishing has somewhat slowed at Cane Creek Lake. Crappie still bite on shiners when the weather stabilizes out for a couple days and bass are still reported biting on intermittent days. With warmer and more stable weather coming, multiple fish species are expected to begin to bite more as a “wake up response” from the cold weather.
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 259.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(update 1-17-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said he has not been on the lake much over the past week, simply due to ambient conditions! Ramps have been iced over and more ice seen on Millwood and pockets and coves than was reported last week. Temps and lake levels also similar. Not many folks out on Millwood with the conditions and boat ramps froze up; Mike has seen ice lake-wide from multiple locations around the various ramps and overlooks, from Millwood State Park to Cottonshed to White Cliffs up Little River!
The lake level when checked a week ago was about 2 inches above normal conservation pool and slowly falling at 259.4 feet msl. There was current of 3,490 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The tailwater was about 231.2 feet msl. A warming trend is expected by the weekend, so check the 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.
Mike said that before the big freeze, the largemouth bass activity levels had acclimated to their normal winter patterns. Bass remained 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, were 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 537.71 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 398.68 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 437.29 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.19 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 1-17-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Entergy is only releasing water for a few hours every few days to maintain lake levels. Lake Catherine is now at a 3-foot drawdown until March 1, when refilling of both lakes Hamilton and Catherine will begin. Each lake will be brought back to normal summertime levels by March 15. Currently, rainbow trout are the main attraction below Carpenter Dam. Little fishing has taken place with the frigid temperatures of late, but those brave enough to endure the cold have caught quality limits of trout. From the dam to the bridge, rainbows are present and thriving as January is the first month for large stockings of trout in the tailrace. Periods of no generation are best for bank fishermen as these anglers are recording limits of fish using corn or waxworms with a marshmallow floater. Redworms and nightcrawlers used in the same manner have also produced nice catches. PowerBaits presented just of the bottom or under a bobber are also working well from the bank or boat. Spin fishermen casting small jigs across the current around exposed rock structure have taken the larges trout this past week. Jigs imitate the small threadfin shad that are drawn through the turbines during periods of generation. Opportunistic trout feed heavily on these injured baitfish and grow strong from this protein source. Rooster Tails in white or brown are also effective fished in the current or slack water. Super Dupers and Little Cleos are proven artificial lures and should never be forgotten when targeting trout chasing shad. Trolling the main channel with shallow running crankbaits is effective and far easier this year with only a 3-foot instead of a 5-foot drawdown. Crawfish or minnow imitations that run 3-5 feet deep will draw consistent strikes from rainbows looking to feed on injured shad. Fly-fisherman are able to wade to areas that hold good numbers of fish and are having success casting egg patterns in white or yellow under a strike indicator. Egg imitators are highly effective as all rainbow trout are born egg eaters. This technique will often catch fish when no other pattern will produce. Micro-jigs in white or black have quickly taken numbers of trout in the 12- to 15-inch class. San Juan worms in red or hot pink give fishermen a nice change in approach. Trout Magnets fished 3-7 feet deep have really racked-up fish numbers this week in the blistering cold. It seems that all colors are working with a slight edge in white being noticed. Overall, trout fishing is very good and will become even better as the month progresses into February. While white and hybrid bass have been caught the last several week, none have been seen feeding this week. Striper activity is very slow with no reports of fish feeding or being hooked in the last 10 days. The walleye spawn will begin around the second week of February as the water temperatures climb into the 50-degree range. Crappie will begin migrating into the tailrace in mid-March to spawn and will remain until the first part of May. Rainbow trout are king below Carpenter Dam and anyone wanting to enjoy some very good fishing and better tablefare should try their luck in beautiful Lake Catherine. Anyone navigating the tailrace must always wear a lifejacket and be aware of the generation schedules. Observing all park and boating regulations can insure a safe and memorable outing.
(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 342.57 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(update 1-17-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said surface temperature on Wednesday was 38 degrees. Clarity was clear and the lake was at normal level (342 feet msl). Crappie reports were poor. There were fish in the 3 1/2 feet range, though, and anglers were having a little success throwing minnows or red jigs. Catfishing has been poor. White bass reports were poor, but they were biting blue and black jigs.
(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 567.77 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 384.06 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).