The AGFC is treating alligatorweed 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.
(updated 5-17-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said clarity of the lake is clearer than normal. The water level is normal. Surface temperature was unavailable. Bream have been excellent around the shoreline on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair. The fish are about 8 feet deep and mostly around the cypress trees. Use Bobby Garland crappie lures. Bass are excellent using crankbaits and soft plastic worms. Catfishing has been good on limblines and trotlines.
Little Red River (Greers Ferry Tailwater)
(updated 5-17-2017) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with two generators running between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. This allows a short window of wading at Winkley Shoal (Old Swinging Bridge) from 8 a.m. to about 11:30 a.m. One should check this schedule each day before planning their trip. Drift fishing is good by staying ahead of the new water each day. The bite is good on rainbows and browns using size 16 nymphs and size 20-16 midge pupas. Fishing has improved each day with the clearing water. The Army Corps of Engineers and Southwest Power have informed Greg that the generation will be same schedule through the weekend unless the forecast rain event later in the week was to cause flooding in the area. This would cause a reduction in the generation, with the river again becoming muddy. If in doubt, check the USACE Little Rock app and the SWPA Forecast for river conditions and generation. “Hopefully, we will miss any heavy rain and the river will be in good shape for the weekend,” he said. “Please take care when drifting the high water during the generation. Kayaks and boats will capsize when pinned against the upstream side of docks and logs. Plan ahead and move away from these obstacles. Only experienced kayakers should venture out on the high water! Be safe and good fishing!”
(updated 5-17-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Little Red River has been seeing two units of generated water release from the Greers Ferry Dam 10-12 hours each day over the past week. We expect this schedule to continue this week, but anticipate longer periods of heavy generation to begin very soon. When fishing higher water, use long leaders and add weight to get your fly or Trout Magnet down for a good presentation. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends San Juan worms, pheasant tails, sowbugs and streamers. Pink and red-colored Trout Magnet bodies on chartreuse heads are recommended 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 real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 469.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 462.04 msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 5-17-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 470.10. It is falling and is 8.06 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet and looks like will come back up soon due to rainfall. There are lots of sediment and stained water, and with the generation schedule, it will be that way for a while. All species are eating well and healthy. The hybrid and white bass are eating throughout the day at various time in 25-40 feet of water. Use in-line spinners, spoons, swimbaits and topwater lures for the best action, stay around the bait and the fish will show up. The crappie are eating in pole timber and the old bush line in 15-25 feet on minnows jigs and shad with the shad spawn going on. The catfish are eating anything they can find all over the lake; use the bait of your choice from 3-20 feet. The walleye are eating crawlers drug around in 12-14 feet, some on the inside of old bush line and some on the outside. The bream have finished their first spawn of the year and are eating small crankbaits, crawlers and crickets. The black bass are scattered shallow to deep, with some of the bigger fish roaming the shallows eating bream. A variety of baits is working on them as well.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-10-2017) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said the fishing activity has just been terrible of late because of the weather. But now that the weather is clearing, they are expecting better turnout. What anglers have been out report good results with bream. Worms are the choice of bait. No reports on crappie, bass or catfish.
(updated 5-10-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are good in deep water on Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Shiny Hiney, Gimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, bone/chartreuse, Pennyback Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting great on minnows and worms and shad. Bass are biting great on buzzbaits and minnows, worms, lizards, Brush Hogs, Whopper Plopper. White bass are biting on Slab Slanger, Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting great on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper.
The AGFC is treating alligatorweed 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.
(updated 5-10-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is still high but going down about 6 inches a day. Clarity is murky but is clearing up slowly. Temperature is around 74 degrees. Bream are doing well on crickets and worms around the shoreline and grass. Bass and catfish are doing great on limblines, yoyo's and poles. They’re hitting minnows, crickets and worms. Crappie are slow, but anglers are still catching them in deeper water on jigs and minnows. The bait shop is off Arkansas Highway 9 in Morrilton.
(updated 5-17-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the water level is normal and the surface temperature was 74-75 degrees. Bream are close to the shore and are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. They are in 8-20 feet of depth around brush tops and drop-offs. No reports on bass. Catfish are biting, but no reports on exactly what bait or where.
(updated 5-17-2017) Local angler Nicholas Karras said bream are still all over the lake. Use crickets or worms. The bass bite is good with natural-colored worms fished on Shaky Heads. Some are being caught on topwater and spinnerbaits.
(updated 5-17-2017) Jolly Roger’s Marina said water temperature is 65 to 69 degrees,
Roger also says that Kentucky bass are being caught on jigs. They can be found mixed with the black bass in the shallow water. White bass, meanwhile, are good on Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. They are in mid-lake. Crappie are fair and being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (use a chartreuse and white jig with very light line for best results). Bream are excellent. They’ve moved off the bed and are 10-14 feet deep. Lots of reports of big redear being caught. Use crickets or live worms. Catfish reports have been excellent. They’re being caught in 15-25 feet of water but look for some moving in as they begin their spawn.
(updated 5-17-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said bass are biting on topwater lures early in the morning. Bream are sitting on the beds and doing well on crickets.
(updated 5-10-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting well in deep water on Bobby Garland Baby Shad, Slab Slanger and minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting well on Slab Slanger, Baby Shad, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bass biting well on worms, lizards, Brush Hog and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 5-17-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Crappie are biting fair on No. 6 and pink minnows. Catfish are biting chicken livers, minnows, bait shrimp and nightcrawlers. Bass have been biting minnows and Texas rigged plastic worms and lizards.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 5-17-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting fair for customers using chicken livers, nightcrawlers and stink baits. Bream are biting worms and crickets. Crappie fishing has been slow. Bass have been biting fair for some fishing with minnows and red plastic worms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 5-17-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting well on minnows, black salties and crawfish. Bass fishing has been good with minnows, crawfish and small Texas rigged plastics. Crappie are still biting No. 6 and pink minnows fished around brush and logs. Bream are almost always willing to bite crickets or worms fished on a small hook and light line around any type of cover in the river.
(updated 5-17-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing is good with crickets and redworms. Bass are biting Texas and Carolina rigged plastics and topwater baits early in the mornings and at night. Catfish are biting minnows, black salties and cut shad late in the day and after dark. Crappie fishing has been slow but some are catching a few on size 6 and size 12 minnows around some docks.
Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne
(updated 5-17-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been biting well for customers using floating or Texas rigged plastic worms or lizards. Crappie are biting for some on size 12 minnows and Kalin’s grubs in a few different colors. Bream fishing is good with crickets and redworms.
Arkansas RIver (Morrilton)
(updated 5-17-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
(updated 5-3-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282), reported that the river is high with very fast flows. He advises to stay off the river until the flows get below 70,000 cfs. Keep an eye on the Army Corps of Engineers app to determine when it is at a safe level again.
Little Maumelle River
(updated 5-17-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water clarity is murky and the water level now is low. Bream fishing is very good. The fish are on their beds and are biting worms and crickets. Crappie appear pretty much done. The ones being caught are biting minnows in about 6 feet of depth. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish reports were good, but little other info was available.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 5-17-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that bream are fair in the backwater on crickets. Crappie are fair in the backwater in about 6 feet on jigs. Bass reports have been fair. Catfishing below the dam is excellent on skipjack, and snagging has been excellent as well.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-17-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported that bream are fair in the backwater on crickets. Crappie are fair in the backwater in about 6 feet on jigs. Bass reports have been fair. Catfishing below the dam is excellent on slipjack, and snagging has been excellent as well.
(updated 5-17-2017) Vince Miller from Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the river is still running at about 150,000 cfs and he says it’s still too dangerous for small craft. Vince recommends anglers on small craft just stay off the river for now.
(updated 5-17-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the bream bite is good on redworms and crickets. No reports on crappie. No reports on bass. Catfish are biting worms and stink bait. No temperature or clarity was available.
(updated 5-17-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the clarity was dirty. The bream are good, though, and worms and crickets are getting a lot of response. Crappie are still good, and they’re hitting minnows and jigs. Catfish are excellent. They are biting on about anything for bait, from hot dogs to worms. “They are biting on it all,” Donna Mulherin says. There was no report on bass. The water is too dirty for the bass, she says.
White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)
(updated 5-17-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the Army Corps of Engineers has begun to lower Bull Shoals Lake. The White River below Bull Shoals is running deep and navigating will take skill. The professionals are good at their job; let them do the driving, you do the catching. The area has been served a lot of rain this spring and they are now seeing the equivalent of eight "units" ("turbines", "generators") of water flowing past Cotter. They believe the Corps is managing the releases well, very coordinated, and hope they will be able to continue to do so. When the heavier releases first arrived, there was quite a lot of debris, but that will pass as the lake continues to lower. Catching fish can still be exceptional! Every guide around there has said, "The browns are tearing them up." The rainbow catch is slower, but anglers will soon see the benefit of high water in a higher quality of fish: healthier, stronger, more colorful (and really tasty rainbows). You get to try out all those lures you put away in low water: 6-10 feet deep-diving Rogues, orange bellies, black or blue backs, dark blue to gray backs and yellow/chartreuse sides. Some like the black and silver Rapala count downs or Husky Jerks, and the always favorite No. 7 or No. 9 brown trout count down. Drifting pink worms, redworms and nightcrawlers are good bets, too. Get a guide and catch your share. See you at the river.
(updated 5-17-2017) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that during the past week, they have had a several rain event (about a half inch in Cotter), warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 3.6 feet to rest at 30.4 feet above seasonal power pool of 660.57 feet. This is 2.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.5 to rest at 14.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.1 feet above the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has opened several flood gates to release an additional 13,800 cfs in an effort to lower the lake. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 feet to rest at 7.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Army Corps of Engineers has closed the flood gates and returned the dam to normal generation. On the White, we had no wadable water with more generation.
On the White, the water below Crooked Creek and the Buffalo has cleared up some. 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 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Caddis season is on the wane. This is our best hatch of the year and it is going fast. When the trout are targeting insects on the surface of the water, use an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.
As for fishing after a major water event, John says, “This week was the first time that I have been out on the water since we had all of that rain, which resulted in flood conditions in several areas. The main reason that I had not fished of late is that several of my clients canceled their trips due to the river conditions. I am not one that likes to be idle, and it was really nice to be back on the water. My first gig was a two-day corporate trip for River Ridge Inn. The lodge is on the Norfork and we could see the large amount of water flowing by. The turbine releases were augmented by the water coming through several flood gates. The two combined for a volume of about 18,000 cfs. Though that is a lot of water, the real problem was that the water was the color of chocolate milk. Conditions like this are dangerous. You cannot see obstacles in the water just below the surface and could easily hit something. With this much water, you would be in trouble before you knew it.
“The best bet was to fish the White River. Conventional wisdom for fishing the rivers after a big rain is to head upstream until you find clear water. Due to flooding on Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River, the closest place to fish the White was Rim Shoals. When these streams first flooded there was so much water coming down it could not flow downstream on the White quick enough and the White backed up and flooded the Rim Shoals area. Luckily for us the flood waters had receded and the area was fishable.
“The water was slightly stained and the flows were fairly low, about 2,500 cfs. Bull Shoals Lake is near the top of flood pool, as are Beaver Lake and Table Rock. They are not running water at Bull Shoals now despite generating a lot on the lakes above it. That water is being stored until the flooding downstream has cleared.
“With the water a bit off-color, we decided to fish a bright pink San Juan worm with a ruby midge suspended below it. I always fish a worm after a big rain because there are always a lot of worms that are washed into the river during a rain. One of my fellow guides told me that he had caught several trout recently that had absolutely gorged on worms. I like the bright pink worms because they show up in stained water and act as an attractor.
“We began fishing and caught three on the first drift. We caught 90 percent of our trout on the ruby ridge and the rest on the San Juan worm. The best trout we caught were a fat 19-inch rainbow and a stout 16-inch cutthroat. We fished until around 4 p.m. and it fished well all day.
“There is life after the rain.”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 692.43 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 5-17-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said late last week that the lake is almost full. Right now they have 33 extra feet of water and it’s relative clear unless you get in the backs of some of the creeks. Most of the debris is pushed up on the shores. You get a calm day, it will float out a little bit. Expectations were for the lake to crest last weekend. As it continues to fill up, the fishing is still good, but a little bit tougher on the bluebird days. As the lake starts to stabilize, the bass are post-spawn, some are starting to school up, and Del says he’s been catching more and more fish in the bushes. The Kentucky bass, the smallmouths, as the lake starts to crest and the Corps starts to generate more water, that will concentrate the Kentucky smallmouth bite out toward the points. Usually when there is generation, on the long points or secondary points coming out the fish will school up there pretty good. They can ambush the bait as the water starts pushing the bait fish over those points.
On the bluebird days with no wind, it’s tough, but you’re still going to catch a few. Del says the best bet for those days is to go fish the old shoreline. Drag a tube around, keep the boat in that 40 feet of water. Cast up into the old bushes; the points are holding fish, the pockets have some fish, the sides of the pockets. You can use a Carolina rig, you can throw a jig in there. Del said he was using a half-ounce green pumpkin orange. Use something you can get down there and just drag it through those bushes: a C-rig with a Brush Hog, or a lizard, green pumpkin, green pumpkin orange, green pumpkin red, something like that. The water is somewhat stained up top, but once you get down on that old shoreline it’s clears up. Del said he’s usually using an 8-pound fluorocarbon on either the drop-shot or the tub rod for the finesse bite.
The largemouth bass seem to have moved up pretty good, he said. He’s caught some pretty shallow. They seem to be on those channel swing banks or the bluffy banks where you can get in close to the shoreline. You’ll have to do some running around, but if you can find those channel swing banks or the those long points that go out toward the main channel or close to a channel swing, those are going to hold some fish on them right now. Also, the backs of the creeks can be pretty good. If there is some flow in there and bait fish – bait fish is what Del has been keying on when here’s going into the backs of creeks – you’ll be covering an extra mile and sometimes 2 miles in the back of the creeks. Del suggests staying on the old creek bed (that’s indicated on maps or GPS), as the fish will relate to the old creek channel, using it as a highway. In the creeks, throw a square bill to cover some water. If you see surfacing fish, throw a buzzbait around. You’ll have to cover some water to find where the baitfish are, as they won’t be popping. You almost have to run your bait into them. If there is wind, though, that will help push them to one side. If there are vegetation mats, this offers the rare opportunity to flip. Anglers can punch through it with a beaver-style bait (such as a D Bomb). A lot of fish are going to be using the mats for shade.
Del said he’s also seeing the perch come up. He likes to use a Keitech bait for giving a finesse spinnerbait type presentation. If there is a little wind and clear water and you can’t quite throw a regular spinnerbait, this will help you cover some water. You can also throw a stick bait or fluke around, or a Senko-style bait. Look for the last piece of vegetation, the last tree sticking out, and fish seem to be stuck in it. And, lastly, Del says he’s had the most fun fishing lately with blades. When it’s windy and cloudy, go find a windy shoreline and throw a blade.
(updated 5-17-2017) K Dock Marina reported it is closed until further notice due to flood conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 576.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 5-17-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says the rain has stopped, Norfork Lake has stabilized and the fishing has improved. The threadfin shad spawned this past week and the stripers and bass were in the brush chasing the bait fish. They saw lots of fish being caught early in the week, but the water has warmed up and some the stripers are moving back to deeper water. Tom said he has not seen the topwater action he expected. Usually when the shad get in the brush the topwater action heats up, but not this year yet. The lake is starting clear up. The back of Bennett’s Bayou is now clear and the main channel from Robinson Point to the dam has cleared significantly. It should be several more weeks before they see blue water on the lower end of the lake. The Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled May 20 as Lake Norfork cleanup. They are asking for your help in moving debris to the boat ramps for pickup and also are providing garbage bags in designated areas for drop-off, so if you have some free time come out and help make Norfork Lake beautiful again.
Tom says that as for fishing, don’t let the high water turn you off. Now is the time to come fish Norfork. He said he received a request from Robert about taking his daughter Amy fishing on Mother's Day. It seems that Robert’s wife’s request for her Mother’s Day present was being home staying in bed. Tom said, “Sure,” but their wires got crossed and they got a late start. Tom had pre-fished the day before on a main lake points and caught stripers as fast as he could get a line in the water. Toms said he was expecting the same the next morning, but a late start and heavy fog changed the conditions. Miss Amy did catch her first two stripers, but the action slowed and they only had a few more bites but no more stripers. However it was a fun father/daughter morning and seeing the expression on Miss Amy’s face said it all.
(updated 5-17-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said it has been a real roller coaster on Norfork Lake for the past two weeks. On April 29 the lake started to rise until it reached the top of the flood pool. Missouri had devastating floods, and much of that water eventually ended up in Norfork Lake. The lake became muddy from north to south, but the muddy water is finally starting to fall out and the lake is stable. The high water will be with them for quite a while, but high water is not a bad thing. Most species had completed their spawn prior to the high water, so the newly born fry will have plenty of places to hide, making future fishing even better. Fishing will continue to improve daily over the whole lake as the mud settles out and the water turns to a great stained color for fishing.
Lou says he has traveled most of the lake over the last week and have found good fishing water starting in the mid-lake area down to the dam. It appears that the brown water is falling out from the backs of the creeks and working its way out to the main lake. The farther south you travel on the main lake the clearer the water gets. Overall, the fish are on the shoreline inside of the newly sunken brush and trees. Live bait has been working exceptionally well. Threadfin shad and large shiners are both working. Lou has been using a No. 6 kahle hook with no weight and pitching the bait into openings between the trees. Lou has also been moving slowly right outside the trees in about 15-20 feet of water and dragging the baits behind the boat, again with no weight.
Earlier this week he was fishing on a point down in the dam area and hooked into a big fish. The fish started to run for deep water and he knew he had a big striper. This fish came very close to spooling him. After about a 20 minute battle, Lou landed a 40-inch 30-pound striped bass. Lou was only using a 7-foot medium light action rod with a spinning reel filled with 8-pound monofilament line. Light tackle makes the battle a lot of fun. Friday Lou fished the mid-lake major creeks. He was about halfway back in a creek where the water became clear to stained. He fished channel swing points pitching live bait up in the brush. Lou was fishing with several of his guests and they landed almost every species in the lake. Lou has also been using some artificial baits. Tuesday he landed a nice striper on a 5-inch swimbait with a 3/8-ounce jighead. He tries to cast the bait into an opening and try to get it as close to the new shore as possible and then reel back to the boat. Jerkbaits, either soft plastics or hard baits, will also be working well up in the brush. The best bite, Lou says, is early morning. He’s been told that the afternoon bite seems to be slow. As the Norfork Lake water warms, look for the stripers to move away from the shoreline and go to a little deeper water. Monday morning a couple of our guests found some really good topwater action for striped bass. They got to their fishing spot and could see the fish exploding as they approached. Once the topwater stopped, they put away their Zara Spooks and proceeded to pitch live bait into the shore and continued to catch fish.
He adds, the Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also improving at Norfork Lake. These species are located in the same areas as the striped bass; you will find them inside of the sunken brush and trees. Lou has had the best luck catching fish by finding sunken buckbrush in about 10-15 feet depths, letting his bait sink down to the tops of the brush and then working it back to the boat. He has caught many fish on the fall of the bait. Creature baits worked along the brush will pick up some nice fish. Again, find the stained to clear water and start fishing. Lou says he has not heard anything about crappie, but he is sure they are inside of the brush feeding on shad. You may need to pull out your 12-foot long cane pole to be able to get to the crappie inside of the brush along the banks.
The Norfork Lake level is holding steady at 577.03 feet msl. The Corps of Engineers is running all generators for the major part of the day to keep up with the inflow and hold the lake stable. The water surface temperature is in the low 70s. The lake is muddy (but clearing slowly) from the Robinson area to the Cranfield area and upriver, as well as from the bridges up to the Bennett area. The lake is stained a little south of the Robinson area and continues to become clearer the farther south you go. There is still floating debris in the lake, mainly concentrated around the Mallard Point area through Cranfield and upriver as well as back in the Fout Marina area. They are expecting a strong south wind in the coming days, so a lot of this debris will be pushed to the shore until a north wind or no wind happens. As always, be careful when on the lake.
North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)
(updated 5-17-2017) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that before last week, Norfork Lake fell 2.7 feet to rest at 20.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.32 feet and 2.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has closed the flood gates and returned the dam to normal generation. On the Norfork, we had no wadable water. 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 flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation with little if any wadable water in the near future. There was flooding but the river is back in its banks and the flood gates have been closed. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. 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 hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has been affected by the flooding but has returned to its banks. 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). 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.
Buffalo National River
(updated 5-17-2017) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo National River is not navigable. When it returns to navigable conditions, the warmer weather should make the smallmouths more active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the river. There are no dams, there are large drainages and the river is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 5-17-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Crooked Creek is not navigable. When it is, though, smallmouths should be more active with the warmer weather. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, there are large drainages and it’s 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 1,128.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 5-17-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said striper activity forecast for the week is good, with stripers back in the main lake. We are still getting topwater action. They are on the feed even with the stained water and most striper using 10-100-plus feet of water. The mudline has made it to the Larue area near Rocky Branch. The best action will be along the edge of this mudline and clearer water. Shad are spawning in the buckbrush, on tree lines near deep water and on floating debris. Night fishing under the full moon has also been productive in these areas. Some striper are keyed on the spawning shad and patrolling areas that the shad are spawning in. 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. Beaver lake striper fishing will be GOOD with striper taken on live bait fished on free lines and downlines from the surface down to about 25 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, and plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on plane boards with snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Topwater lures like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks, and Pencil Poppers need to be tied on and ready. 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 my website.
Mike says that these are the hot areas on the mid- and lower sections. Water surface temps in the low 70s: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks and Larue. Walleye are making their way back to the main lake in numbers in late spring/summer migration mode and can be found scattered throughout the lake and are on the feed. Walleye can be found from 10-30 feet deep depending on where you’re fishing. 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 and Bandit 300 series 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 a white or white/chartreuse combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 5-10-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said they haven’t seen many anglers out, but the ones that have report that bream are good on crickets. Crappie have been fair on minnows. Bass are in the shallow water and results have been fair with spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on trotlines and jugs. The water is up, still very high, but is beginning to recede. Clarity is muddy.
(updated 5-17-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing since their last deluge has been kind of tricky in the tailwaters. If you have a graph on your boat, use it! You will need to locate a school of white bass for instance and fish that school. All species of fish are widely spread out due to all this water in the river. All the usual bank fishing spots are under water and up to the tree line. Trout can still be caught, but Austin says he’s afraid you will have to have access to a boat to locate the pockets of fish. Fish for trout with light terminal tackle with PowerBaits. Only this time you need to make your leader about 3 feet long. There really isn't much more to report other than locating the fish on graph and fishing them.
(updated 5-17-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported that as of last weekend the flood gates were now closed at Beaver Dam. You can now get down to Parkers Bottoms and to the turnaround below the Pines campgrounds. Fishing has been very limited due to the high water except for some anglers on the river in boats. The campgrounds below Beaver Dam are open. Break out the snagging poles, the spoonbills are here. There was no generation Friday until noon, and the expectation was that they would continue to run one generator the rest of the day. Game fish may be snagged from the bank below Beaver Dam, from the Army Corps of Engineers "No fishing beyond this point" sign, downstream to the first Corps of Engineers boat ramp on the left descending bank, from April 15-June 15 ONLY. It also appears Table Rock Dam is releasing water, and Bull Shoals as well. Good lures in this area are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons, and Flicker Shad in Pro Series No. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black and olive; hare’s ear; tungsten copper John’s, WD40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms.
(updated 5-17-2017) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat (479-871-6305) reports that as of Sunday, May 1, he has closed the shop and has retired.
(updated 5-17-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported the water is murky and at a normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass reports are good, with anglers using crankbaits and plastic worms for the best action. Catfishing is good on just about anything thrown at them.
(updated 5-17-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the water is a little murky. Surface temperature is 71 degrees. The level is normal. The bream are biting and beginning to come up around the shoreline. They’re biting worms and crickets. Crappie reports were fair. Minnows and jigs are your best bet. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfish are biting well on shad and chicken livers.
(updated 5-17-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett water is high. They have been selling lots of crickets. Yes, the bream are hot. We have been buying a lot of minnows. They are in high demand. The weather is perfect and there are a lot of fishermen out on this lake. They are still carrying the rosy reds, goldfish, rice slicks, as well as the redworms and nightcrawlers. Don’t forget the “kids’ fishing derby” is this Saturday, May 20.
Bald Knob Lake
(updated 5-17-2017) Angler Nicholas Karris said the bream bite is best right now. Bass are good early and late.
(updated 5-17-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is dingy and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Few crappie are being caught now, but the ones being caught are deep on minnows. Bass has been really good of late. Trick worms seem to be working best, and anglers are bringing in lots of bass. They are starting to see a catfish bite on worms and chicken liver.
(updated 5-17-2017) Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 500 cfs (350 cfs avg.) and water clarity has been partly cloudy. The river is really starting to look good. Still a little high for wading, so extra care should be used. The trout have been biting great. High numbers on olive and brown Woollies and Y2Ks. Hot pink Trout Magnets are very hot right now.
(updated 5-17-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is high and off-color. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. 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).
White River near Newark
(updated 5-17-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported the water remains high and muddy. They are letting water out of all of the lakes in the system, and it’s just too high here for anyone to go out.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 5-10-2017) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team had no report.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 5-17-2017) Austin Davidson, a park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said fishing is finally picking up. The weather in the earlier part of the week was too windy, and the recent water levels have been too high. Within the last few days, sunshine and calmer weather conditions seem to have caused the lake to stabilize. Bass have started biting hard all over the lake. Reports have come in that they are hitting spinnerbaits and topwater baits extremely well, while frogs and soft baits are doing intermediately well. Bream are finally bedding and the bream bite is on. Large bream are being recorded from all over the lake, even bank and dock fishing are starting to become more successful. Worms have done better than crickets, according to most reports, but many fishermen say that they are seeing more success with crickets close to the shoreline. Catfish are the only fish that seem to be declining in activity, likely due to the fact that they are spawning. That does not mean they will not bite. Many fishermen fishing for food actually prefer this time of year for catfish due to the fact that smaller catfish do not seem to stay on spawn as long, and therefore begin to bite before larger catfish. Crappie are still hit or miss. People looking for crappie have spotted them in dense, brushy areas, but no reports of large crappie hauls have come in. Barring any massive downpours from the system of rain moving in late in the week, the fishing in Cane Creek Lake should stay stable for a good while.
(updated 5-10-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said that at Lake Chicot and on the river, catfish are biting on everything. This week, we’ve seen several anglers cleaning monster catfish in the park. People have also reported luck fishing for crappie and bream while fishing on the lake. Most reports have been that crappie are biting on minnows and the bream are hitting on red wigglers.
(updated 5-17-2017) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) reported the water has been very high so most of the reports they’ve heard have come from pond fishing. Lots of reports of the bream really being turned on now. Bream are biting redworms and crickets. Fishing is good on the lake in the backwater areas.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.08 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 5-17-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level Monday was about 14 inches above normal conservation pool and rising from all the recent thunderstorms and rain. There was current in Little River with the gates releasing around 5,300 cfs. Lake level continues rising, and water temperature jumped up this week; on Monday, surface temps were ranging 68-76 degrees. Largemouth bass are in transition. White bass are scattered in large schools along Little River. Crappie finished spawning over the past couple weeks, and gar are extremely shallow in large groups making great opportunities for bow fishermen. As of Monday the tailwater level was 234 feet msl. Be advised there are new no-wake river buoys at White Cliffs boat ramp and the no wake zone extends from the north end of the park to the south end for about 1 mile and is being strictly enforced by the AGFC. There is no tolerance for wake boaters or barges. Clarity and visibility is heavy stained and muddy depending on location. Oxbows are in fair shape for visibility as if Monday, while on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranges 2-3 inches. Little River's visibility ranges 2-3 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity is ranging 8-12 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
Largemouth bass are mostly in the post-spawn blues mindset and continue to move to deeper water. The clearest water you can find away from muddy current in Little River continues to produce the best bite for bass over the past week. Bass continue to transition to deeper water drops, but are relating to flats adjacent to creek channels early, moving horizontally toward deeper drops in creeks later in the day. Magnum 3-4-inch big bulky tubes or gizzits in black neon, pumkinseed/chartreuse or bream colors are drawing hard hits on cypress trees in 4-8 feet of depth in the oxbows. The Bass Assassin Shads continue working around new lily pad growth and grass or vegetation by dead-sticking and working on a light wire hook extremely slow. Best colors for the past week include Hammertime, Limetreuse Ghost, Gold Pepper Shiner, or Houdini in the off-color water. Work these in and around new growth of vegetation lines, new bloom stands of lily pads, and buckbrush. Squarebill shallow- to medium-running crankbaits are beginning to work sporadically with a stop-and-go retrieve in the oxbows, upriver and creek channels where you can find stained to fairly clear water. Medium-diving, Bomber Tennessee Shad- and Citrus Shad-colored Fat Free Shads and Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Squarebills in Oxbow, Chartreuse Flash and Pinch'n Peach colors are all randomly catching bass working erratically in creek channels upriver. White bass continue roaming in large schools, but have been hard to locate with much consistency over the past week. Crappie continue to remain elusive in the muddy current of Little River, and not much of any consistent pattern to report this week. The cats continue biting well with the current in Little River on yo-yos and trotlines using spoiled chicken livers and hearts, cut drum or buffalo, and homemade cheese dough.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 547.56 feet msl (Full pool – 548.00 msl).
(updated 5-17-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the muddy water is clearing up. Crappie can be caught 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water. Hybrids are bring caught 20-40 feet deep near the submerged timber in the cleaner water.
(updated 5-10-17) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoors Sports said on US97 radio that like the other lakes in the area, the water is noticeable dropping now, and he said it was weird for the lake to be dropping as much as it’s dropping and still be doing as well as it’s doing for anglers. One report was of a big mess Kentucky bass and black bass mixed together, with topwater lures bringing them in.
(updated 5-3-2017) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported lots of water in Greeson. No report this week. Before the heavy rain of the past week, crappie were nearing the end of the spawn and staging on fish shelters in 10-15 feet of water. Crappie bite was good on 2-inch grubs and tube jigs. Bass were in various stages of the spawn and the topwater bite was really picking up. Zoom Horny Toads, Pop-Rs, Spooks and buzzbaits were working well for the shallow bite. Texas-rigged worms, lizards and large tubes were working well for the deeper bite. Catfish continued to be good on trotlines and noodles along the main channel.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.97 feet msl (full pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 5-17-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-70s and the lake is clear up to Caddo Drive and a slight stain farther up. With the lake down to almost normal pool, all the ramps are now open. Bass fishing is good but most of the fish are on the small side. Look for fish on points in the big coves, and they are up pretty shallow at about 4-8 feet. Best pattern has been medium-running crankbaits, both lipped and lipless. Natural shad is best in clear water and some chartreuse in stained water. A few larger fish reported coming on double spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse. Quite a few nice Kentuckies are being caught along the bluff banks at points 14, 15 and 28. Also try the rock bluff on the west side of Goat Island. A Texas rigged 4-inch finesse worm in green pumpkin/red flake will do the trick. Best areas have been between Edgewood and Shouse Ford. Crappie fishing is fair at mid-lake. Even though not many fish have been reported, most are decent size with some going 16 inches. Look for brush attractors in 18-25 feet of water next to spawning coves. Fish a 2-inch curly tail grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead. Drop the lure to the top of the brush and just move it slowly around the attractor. Best color has been Tennessee shad. Best areas have been between Caddo Bend and Alpine Ridge. Not much going on at Shouse Ford due to the muddy water. But as the water clears, that will be one of the better areas. Hybrid fishing is picking up with some good topwater action reported early in the morning and late evening. The fish can come up most anywhere there are shad, but the most reliable areas at this time have been between Caddo Bend and Lenox Marcus. Also look for fish at the mouth of Brushy Creek. Most any small topwater lure will work just so you get it into where the fish “breaks.” Also, don't give up when the fish stop “breaking,” just fish deeper with a jigging spoon.
(updated 5-10-2017) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said they’re seeing a little break in the weather, he hopes. The lake is still being lowered daily. Water level is at 408.10. Water temperature is mid-70s mid-lake to high 70s in the Cox Creek area. John believes the best report is with bream fishing and catfishing. The full moon passed, but bream reports are still showing good harvests. Reports are from Arlie Moore to Brushy area. Fish the backs of coves in the bedding areas of Ozane, Arlie Moore and Caddo. Fish the edge of the brush just off the bottom. If you have electronics and can locate the beds, look in Ozane and in the shallow areas north of State Park Marina. Bass reports are still fair with wacky worms, Senkos, topwaters early, and after sun-up move to black spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Crappie fishing is a little slow. You can pick up a crappie or two on some brush piles, but they are scattered. Best a rea to fish is mid-lake from Arlie Moore to Iron Mountain. Jigs (Tennessee Shad) cast over brush piles get results. Water in upper river areas like Shouse Ford still show large effect from rain. Debris and dirty water are more prevalent in those areas. Hybrids are breaking around the State Park and DeRoche Ridge. Topwater shad colored-baits and spoons are your best bet. Some of the schools are fairly deep. Use your electronics to locate them and count down to correct depth. Shad-colored swimbaits or spoons can be counted down to correct depth. Best of luck. Hope coming rains are light.
(updated 5-10-17) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio that as the water falls out, with no moss line, a Carolina rig is probably going to be a pretty deadly weapon in the coming days, as well as a topwater bait. Those fish are going to be backed off of the guts of pockets, they’re going to be on secondary and primary points, and shaking a topwater lure on those primary points will be a very good way to fish it. Also, he said anglers were buying a lot of swimbaits for DeGray. He's talking about an individual, 4-inch swimbait on a quarter-ounce or bigger jighead and slow-rolling it down the sides of those saddle points. Bluegill should be spawning with the full moon.
(updated 5-17-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips said the muddy water is clearing up. Crappie can be caught 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water. Hybrids are bring caught 20-40 feet deep near the submerged timber in the cleaner water.
(updated 4-5-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on spinnerbait and soft plastics. Crappie are slow. Bream starting to bite in the river lakes.
(updated 4-5-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting on stick worms and flukes. No report on crappie or bream.
Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake
White Oak Lake
(updated 5-17-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported the surface temperature at 74 degrees. The top of the lake is covered in pollen. No report on water level. Bream are good. Anglers are catching them in boats not up close to the shoreline but in the lake. Crappie remain good on minnows and jigs. Bass reports have been good. Most of the bass have been coming in at 6 pounds or less. Catfishing is good on trotlines and noodles. Overall, fishing has been really slow of late and they lost 3-4 days of business with the weather.
Lake Bailey (Petit Jean State Park)
(updated 5-10-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said catfish are biting well on minnows and worms. Bream are biting great on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are doing well on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 5-17-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports heavy generation and muddy water has been the norm below Carpenter Dam for the last several weeks. The tailrace has been very dangerous to navigate and little productive fishing has been seen since the flooding conditions were present. However, Lake Ouachita has fallen below flood pool, allowing Entergy and the Army Corps of Engineers to greatly reduce flow at all area dams as lake conditions return to more stable levels. Slower flows and clearing water will allow fisherman to boat and wade to areas that hold fish of different species that are migrating into the tailrace to spawn or feed. Rainbow trout fishing has resumed as fish that were forced downstream due to the very heavy flows have now migrated back to areas below the dam. Bank fisherman are catching rainbows on redworms and nightcrawlers fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Wax or meal worms are also working well used in the same manner. Corn is an excellent bait since rainbow trout are natural-born egg eaters and corn closely resembles a fish egg that is easily digested by these hearty gamefish. Spin fisherman are not as fortunate, as thousands of threadfin shad are moving into the tailrace to spawn. Abundant baitfish have made artificial lures much less effective than earlier in the year. Fly-fisherman should use caution when wading now that the lake is at normal summertime level. Concentrating on egg patterns in yellow or white, these anglers have accounted for good limits of fish that were located in calmer water out of the main flow. Trout fishing will remain solid until the end of June. Live bait presentations are key to success.
Shane adds that May begins the white bass spawn in Lake Catherine. These fish are present below the dam in good numbers and are preparing for a spawn that should last until the end of June. Jerkbaits in a silver/black pattern will draw vicious strikes over sandbars and exposed rock structure. Trolling shallow running crankbaits is also productive from the bridge to the dam. Alabama rigs perfectly imitate a school of shad and are an excellent lure to catch whites in current flow or slackwater. Hybrid bass are also mixed in with the white bass migration and are being caught with the same lures and locations. The majority of fish are in the 1- to 2-pound range. With the warming water temperature, big stripers will move toward the dam looking for cool water and baitfish. C-10 Redfins and Super Spooks are the baits of choice when targeting schooling stripers. Soft plastics casted weightless imitate an injured baitfish and are often a trigger for feeding bass. Strong lines and heavy action rods are recommended for these powerful fish that often weigh over 20 pounds, with some tipping the scale at over 50 pounds. Catfish will begin to spawn in early June and provide fisherman a nice change of pace from the trout/bass fishing that dominates the majority of fishing below the dam. Normal conditions are right around the corner and good fishing will return to our area lakes.
(updated 5-17-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479 647-9945) said the river is still high and muddy with a few clear bays and creeks. Water temperatures have been in the mid-70s. Bass fishing has been good to fair in the grass with jigs and Bamboozies, black hollow-body frogs, white scam shad weightless. Crankbaits have been working well in spawning bays and creeks bumping stumps around fry. Crappie has been fair in offshore brush piles and crappie shelters. Use minnows or brown jigs, pink jigs, and orange and chartreuse jigs. White bass and stripers are still in the creeks. Use Rat-L-Traps, spoons and spinnerbaits. Bream have been excellent on spawning beds and are biting worms and crickets. Catfish have been excellent on redworms and cut bait.
(updated 5-10-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports in Hot Springs said on US97 radio that he’d had some good and some not so good reports from anglers on Hamilton. The good news was that it took around 20 pounds for a team to win the bass tournament a few nights ago. “That’s incredible for Hamilton for this time of year, it really is.” But the fishing also fell off quickly after that, and it may have been one of those deals where one group of guys just got a good spot. He says Hamilton still has a lot of debris and trash floating in it, but the water is clearing up. Wednesday was the first day Kastner says he could look at it and could say this didn’t look like his cup of morning coffee. He says a lot of water is really being pushed through and that is helping clear the water clarity out. There is still a lot of trash, still a lot of logs floating around out there. So, if you go out there, pay attention and be careful. There had been a lot of guys night-fishing that were catching a lot of fish, though, he reported.
(updated 5-17-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the muddy water is clearing up. Crappie can be caught 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water. Hybrids are bring caught 20-40 feet deep near the submerged timber in the cleaner water.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 359.08 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 5-10-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported crappie are doing well on Shiney Hiney, Gimmer Blue, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, bone, Pennyback Baby Shad, Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting well on minnows and worms and frozen shad. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper. Bass are biting well on worms, lizards, Brush Hogs and Whopper Plopper.
(updated 5-10-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported the bream are biting really well. Crickets are working best. Crappie reports were not too good, but they are catching up to expectations. Bass reports coming in as pretty good below the dam. Also, they reported some bow fishing of far this past weekend and successful results.
(updated 5-3-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said earlier this there was too much wind and water on the lake and too dangerous for anglers to be out. No reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 578.00 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).(updated 5-17-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said surface temperature is 74-78 degrees. The clarity is clear. Black bass are good and being caught with frog-style baits, Texas rigged plastics and black spinnerbaits fished late evening and night. Main lake and secondary points have been the most productive. Walleye are good and being caught on small crank baits, spoons and green soft plastics on main lake and secondary points. Stripers are still good on Alabama rigs and live bait. The central part of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are excellent in water 10-15 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are still good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 20-25 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are very good on live bait and cut bait. Try depths of 10-20 feet. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 5-10-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports in Hot Springs said on US97 radio that he heard a good report of topwater bite. He said he knows they’re dropping the bottom out of these lakes high with water, but that just means it’s going to pull those fish further out to the points, and topwaters and swimbaits were working. These fish were caught within sight of the mouth of Crystal Springs, in the middle of the lake across from the mouth of Crystal, around the camper islands and around the side of Buckville. A lot of fish have moved out of the guts of pockets, they’re moving out more toward the lake because the water is dropping. Kastner said he also had a report of a bunch of stripers caught on the lake as well, and those fish came up breaking.
Kastner adds, “Thank goodness the majority of spawn is over for bass. I don’t see the water falling out as much of an issue because the black bass spawn is over.” He expects this to end up being a good spawn. The fry have plenty of places to hide, plenty of water up in the buckbrush, and on Ouachita there is still a great stand of moss in 5-6 feet of water, giving the fry plenty of places to hide and survive the big predators.
The bluegill spawn is starting to swing. The full moon of May is typically the big month for the bream to move to the bank and make beds. Kastner said he was really worried about the high, muddy water messing that up. If you're still looking for bream beds, you need to be in the middle to the lower part of the lake. He believes the upper part of the lake is messed up because of all the color, the mud, in the water. If you're going to go bream bed fishing this weekend, you need to be on the lower half of the lake, look in the guts of pockets where the water is fairly clear, you ought to be able to see them. From Brady down is where he plans to focus.Also, a lot of times when the bream move up on the banks, the catfish are going to chase them up there too because they are a food source. The bass are going to be biting on them as well because the bass are guarding fry and the bream is a natural predator, so a bream-colored crankbait, a bream-colored jig, anything like that will play into fishing for bass, too.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.72 feet msl (full pool – 384.00).
No fishing reports were recorded.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 5-3-2017) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said there was not much great to report from the state park. Fish were biting decently before the big rains over the weekend. At Bear Creek, bream had been biting well on live bait. Nobody has had good news since the weekend. The forecast was calling for more rain later in the week, so advising everyone to stay safe and be smart. Hopefully it will pick back up this weekend.
The bait shop reporting from here has closed.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 5-3-2017) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said that bream were good on live bait before the weekend storms, but no one had gotten out after the weekend. With more rain forecast, it’s best to stay in or, at the least, check with the park before heading that way.