April 21, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 4/21/2017

During the past week, we have had several rain events (combined for an inch and a half here in Cotter), warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell one and two tenths feet to rest at two and seven tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is thirty eight and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose five tenths of a foot to rest at two feet below seasonal power pool and eighteen feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose nine tenths of a foot to rest at two and seven tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twelve and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had wadable water with some generation. Norfork Lake rose six tenths of a foot to rest at two and three tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and twenty eight and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool.

On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

Caddis season is on the wane. This is our best hatch of the year and it is still here. I fished the caddis hatch on the Norfork, with great success. With the lower lake levels we should have perfect flows to target this hatch. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects use a soft hackle like my green butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to target insects, on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are a bit high and off color. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork but it has fished a bit better particularly if you can catch the caddis hatch. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 16 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been very crowded due to spring break. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

April 20, 2017 - Norfork and White RiverDally's Ozark Fly Fisher - Well, caddis are still consistently coming off, and at this point we are not sure when their gonna quit. IMG951777.jpgWe have had an exceptional caddis hatch this year, and many big fish have been brought to the boat on this tiny delicacy. The upper stretches of the White, now seem to be producing the larger concentration of hatches, while downstream areas have been more sporadic.

A couple of ideas regarding presentation, remember when fishing a pupa, don’t be in a hurry to pick up your cast, but allow the fly rise up towards the surface film at the end of the drift. Also, fishing a pupa pattern behind a caddis dry works especially well when the fish begin surface feeding.

With that, let’s talk more about what’s been working.

Michael Jr.

Casey Patterson with a big ol’ bucket mouth caught on the Buffalo. Guide: Jason Loyd. Photo Courtesy: Jason Loyd.

White River:

Releases, for the most part, have gotten higher as the day goes, but still allow for a decent amount of wadeable water at or a little above minimum flow (between 700- 1400 cfs).

Caddis patterns such as Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackles, Prince Nymphs, and Pupae Delectae are working well.

Caddis dries such as Elk Hair Caddis, E-Z Caddis, E-C Caddis, and CDC Caddis have been highly productive.

Midges (ruby, rootbeer, & redneck in size 18), pheasant tails (in sizes 14, 16, & 18), devil jigs (red and copper in sizes 14 & 16).

Also, try throwing a Strollis Quill Body Jig (size 14), or Devil Jigs (size 14) either by itself or in combination with a colorful attractor, such as a Y2K or Keller’s Hot Worm. The jigs also make a great lead fly ahead of midge pupa.

Highly productive big water streamers include CJ’s Sluggo, Dally’s Twerkin Minnow, Schmidt’s Double Deceiver, Lafkas’ Super Cougar and Lovechild Sculpin, and Lynch’s D&D.

On the lower flows, large olive woolly buggers, Sparkle minnows, FS Bunny Sculpins, Kreelex flies, and Lunch $ are all producing.

Norfork:

Nymph fisherman can expect to do well with Garrett’s Purple Death (size 18), Clint’s Sunday Special (sizes 16 and 18), midges (root beer and black & purple zebra in sizes 16 & 18), pheasant tails (size 16 & 18), prince nymphs (size 14 & 16), hunchback scuds (size 16 & 18), and tailwater sowbugs (sizes 16 and 18).

Small sculpin patterns like FS Bunny Sculpins, Slump Busters, and Cone Head Woolies, are also productive when stripped slowly over the bottom.

April 19, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Is at 459.85 feet and falling with generation it is 2.19 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet ,and looks like it will continue to fall with work on dam project. The fishing and or catching is good overall and will get even better with the more stable weather that is around the corner. The crappie are in all 3 phases of spawn some shallow, some deep and some even deeper, try jigs and jigs tipped with minnows or a spring craw grub for your best results. The walleye bite in the lake is picking up with crawlers and crank baits, and a drop shot or jig head being the norm for this time of year on chunk rock flats. The bass catching is good on all 3 species with a lot of 100 fish days on just about any bait you have in your tackle box at the right location for any given day or weather condition all over the lake. The bream are moving up strong and can be caught with crank baits, crawlers and crickets. The Hybrid and white bass are eating at various times all over the lake and rivers ,grubs, swim baits,spoons,in-line spinners and live bait working as well

April 19, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
Spring has sprung on Lake Norfork the water temperature has reached the desired degree for the crappie to hit the banks and begin their spawn. Stripers, hybrids, and bass are hitting on top water baits all over the lake. Walleye are being caught at night on Rouges on slopping points. The treadfin shad have begun their spawn which triggers the other fish to go on a feeding binge. The next couple of weeks should see lots of fish being caught. My son caught a 34 lb striper and another guide caught a 30 lb striper so the big fish are also moving into the shallows to feed. Now is the time to get on the lake either with your boat or hire a guide to get on some of this great activity.

I took Brian and Gerald out for their annual two day striper trips. Gerald has been fishing Lake Norfork for over 30 years and loves catching stripers. Fishing was slow for me before they arrived but with all the shad movement I knew she should have a great time. I went to one of my spring go to places and sure enough the stripers were in their feeding mood. We hooked 9 stripers but only boated 4 the first day. The boys were scheduled to trout fish the next day so we planned on striper fishing the following day. They were on their game that day and we had our limit in 1 hour. We then went out on the main lake to try and catch a big fish. We had one taker but it released the bait before we could set the hook. Overall they had a great father and son fishing outing.

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.

Norfork Lake springtime fishing is at its best. This is one of my favorite times to fish the lake. All species of fish are in shallow water and we get a lot of good topwater action for striped, hybrid, and white bass, as well as, largemouth and smallmouth bass. Artificial baits and live bait work equally well this time of year. Shad are spawning, as is typical for this time of year. The shad spawn really gets the fish excited!

Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing was on fire the last week. Once our lake temperature reached the mid 60's the fish became active. Today was a great example of spring topwater action. Several of my friends were out on the lake and we were all checking out different areas. One found the fish blowing up back in a cove at about 7AM. He gave me a call and we all had great fun for the next 3 hours. I was throwing a 5 inch pearl swim bait with a 3/8 ounce jig head, and a Zara Spook Jr. It is a blast to watch these fish blow up on topwater baits. Best places to look for topwater action is part way back into the creeks and in the secondary coves in the creeks. Right now I have heard of topwater action in all parts of the lake so get out there and have some fun. The late afternoon bite has been great one day, then very hard to find the fish the next, but when you do find them they very well could be busting the surface.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also excellent at this time. Look in the same areas that the stripers are in, but mainly look at the shoreline. You will find the water boiling with shad right up on the rocks. The fish are pushing the shad in tight to the shore then feeding at will. Today they were in the same cove that we found stripers in from 6 inches of water out to 6 feet. Both my Zara spook and my swim bait were picking up some very nice fish. The fish also wanted both of my baits worked very fast as they were in the chasing mood. As the day wears on the largemouth will move out into a little deeper water so a jig and pig or some other plastic bait worked along the bottom will pick up some good sized bass. At sunset look at the very shallow water again as they will start to feed heavily on shad. The after dark bite for large and smallmouth bass should be good. I haven't been out myself but typically they will be hanging around docks and shallow points. Dark colored spinner baits and tube jigs are some of my favorites.

Walleye, I bet you can guess, are in the same areas as the stripers and the largemouth. My swim bait is picking up some nice fish early in the morning and then again at sunset. The walleye are also starting to show up on the big shallow flats in 10 - 25 feet of water. Move slowly with your trolling motor with a bottom bouncer and crawler harness or a large shiner on a drop shot rig.
Crappie are showing back up on brush in 20 - 30 feet of water. Most times you will find them suspended over the brush so you need to keep testing different depths until you find the feeding fish. There will be a few nice fish still on the bank so casting a small Roadrunner will work and will also pick up other species. Hang on with your crappie rod because it is not uncommon the hook into a big striper while crappie fishing this time of year.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was 67 degrees. The water level has been fairly stable with a slight rise and currently sits at 551.36. The main lake is clearing and the creeks and coves are a little stained, but are clearing rapidly.

April 17, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 17 April, the lake level is approximately 15 inches above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 10,300 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has dropped slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass are wrapping up annual spawning rituals, most locations.  White Bass are scattered in large schools along Little River.  Crappie are also finishing spawning on beds and gar are extremely shallow in large groups making great opportunities for bow fishermen very shallow.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 69ºF early to 78ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 260.5 mfsl with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 10,300 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 237.1 mfsl. 

Be advised there are NEW NO-WAKE RIVER BUOYS AT WHITE CLIFFS BOAT RAMP AND THE NO WAKE ZONE EXTENDS FROM NORTH END OF PARK TO SOUTH END OF PARK, and being enforced by AGFC in Little River.  It's kinda like a Lock and Dam now, that you have to lock through.  This no wake zone is being strictly enforced and is no tolerance for wake boaters or barges.

Clarity and visibility stained to muddy, this week depending on location, oxbows are in fair shape for visibility as of today.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 3-5 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 15-20 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:   Water temperatures slowly rising.  Largemouth Bass continue wrapping up annual spawn activity, and moving horizontally out to deeper water.  Most bass have completed their spawning rituals already.  We continue to catching male and female Largemouth Bass from 2 to around 5 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas for the past few weeks and males guarding beds.  Baby bass fry have been noted over the last week already hatched.  Big, 7" bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow moving squarebill crankbaits and chatterbaits have been taking nice, 3-4 pound Bass near ridges, ditches, and flats adjacent to deeper creek channels.  

The clearest water you can find away from muddy river current has been producing the best best bass over the past several weeks.  Bass are continuing to move out horizontally toward deeper drops in the oxbows.  Bass Assassin Shads, magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs, chatterbaits continue working over the past couple weeks.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream with chartreuse, are taking nice 3-5 pound Largemouths.

War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working on windy secondary points. Spot Remover, white/chartreuse, and Aurora colors are taking nice keeper size Largemouths in oxbows, up river.

Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice Bass and best colors for the past week include Gold Pepper Shiner, Mississippi Hippie, and Grey Ghost colors.  Work these in and around new growth of vegetation lines, new bloom stands of lily pads, and buckbrush.  Bang Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter, and Red Shad/Green Glitter.  Bulky lizards in cotton candy color are working on cypress trees in clear water if you can find any left from the recent muddy rise of around two feet.

Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber are still holding a few Largemouths over the past week.   These bass continue hammering plastic lizards, chatterbaits, Bass Assassin Shads, and brush hogs in black/blue, black / purple, or plum.  Dead sticking senkos and Bass Assassin twitch worms are working very well for the post spawners. 

White Bass:  continue scattering in large schools, all along Little River, but disappeared with all the recent muddy water between McGuire Lake and Ark state Highway 71 bridge over the past couple weeks.  Points all along north end of Little River were holding large schools of the White Bass and Hybrids before all the recent influx of muddy water in Little River, Cossatott and Rolling Fork inflow.  Shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River up past McGuire Lake oxbow, continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.

Crappie:  The Crappie are also wrapping up spawning activities.  Good locations over the past couple weeks were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/chartreuse hair jig, and a flat tail grub in smoke w/ chartreuse tip, and minnows, and over the past week, we are seeing these fish on the move to deeper drops in creeks and ditches.

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River on trot lines, and in oxbows on yo-yo's. Cats continue biting on cut baits, chicken livers, hearts, and gizzards.

April 14, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 4/14/2017

During the past week, we have had no rain, warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell one tenth of a foot to rest at three and nine tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is thirty nine and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose four tenths of a foot to rest at two and six tenths feet below seasonal power pool and eighteen and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose four tenths of a foot to rest at three and six tenths feet below seasonal power pool and thirteen and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had wadable water with some generation. Norfork Lake rose one and nine tenths feet to rest at two and nine tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and twenty nine and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool.

On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Wildcat Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

Caddis season is upon us. This is our best hatch of the year and it is still here. I fished the caddis hatch on the Norfork, with great success. With the lower lake levels we should have perfect flows to target this hatch. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects use a soft hackle like my green butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to target insects, on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork but it has fished a bit better particularly if you can catch the caddis hatch. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 16 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been very crowded due to spring break. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

April 12, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.99 and falling with generation it is 2.05 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet and will continue to fall until the Corp. can get it to a workable level for the gate repair. The catching is good over all for all species ,some days are a little off because of conditions. The bass fishing is good for the shallow water fisherman especially with a lot shallow and more coming up every day ,whacky worms, floating worms, flukes ,Texas rigged plastics are doing the trick shallow now ,the deeper fish can be caught with c-rigs, jigs for the most part. The crappies are eating all over the lake with a lot shallow and more coming up every day, use minnows and jigs around any wood in the water. The catfishing is good as well over the lake on cut, prepared and live bait on the edge of deep holes in creeks and main lake. Walleye seem to be a little slow , the river fish are coming off span and working back to the main lake ,with the lake fish being more active and should get better in the next couple of weeks, try trolled crank baits, drop shot grubs,jigheads with minnows for the best results. Bream are moving up by the droves ,use small crank baits and crickets for the best catching. The Hybrid and White bass bite is good in the creeks and rivers as well as the main lake, a lot of whites are spawning ,some have spawned some have still not got up to spawn, not a lot of hybrids being caught in rivers and creeks, but some are shallow on main lake and can be caught casting grubs shallow, the rest are on structure ,the spawning whites can be caught on road runners,grubs,flies and even some top waters baits, the deeper Hybrids use spoons ,in-line spinners and swim baits or a slider grub.

April 11, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.

http://www.stroutfitters.com/

The Norfork Lake weather continues to wreck havoc on the fishing. You get on a pattern and think that the long waited spring bite is starting then the weather turns ugly and the fish go back into hiding. One day I catch a good bunch of stripers and my son only catches one or two. The next day it’s the opposite he catches a bunch and I do not catch anything. We both have great days and if the weather just stays consistent we will be bringing in limits everyday. The threadfin shad are in the early stages of spawning and the spawn will trigger all the fish to go on a feeding binge. I have fished both Bennett’s Bayou with little success, and fished Big and Brushy Creeks with better success. We were catching lots of fish in both creeks until the weather turned bad on Thursday and by Sunday we had very little success. Since the shad are moving shallow I decided to start fishing the main lake points and channel swings. I caught fish right away and have been since. The crappie are also wanting to spawn but the water temperature will not stay consistent for that to happen. One day we catch them on the banks when we are catching shad and the next day they are gone. Having watching the crappie fishermen all week tells me they are still fishing the deeper brush piles. I have not seen one crappie caught off a shallow log. That again will change when we get the water warmer.

One more bucket list item was checked off for Mike this past week. He booked a trip with us when we had a booth in Chicago and wanted to catch some stripers and hopefully a big one. Sean took him out and they caught a couple early then the bite died. Sean ask if he would like to try for a big fish and received a positive yes. Both Sean & I pre fished the day before on the main lake and Sean had a big fish explode on bait late in the morning but missed the bait. Sean has perfected a technique to get the stripers attention. He set out a 12” gizzard shad then a smaller 7” gizzard shad about 10” away from the big bait. Sure enough the big fish came up and looked at the big bait and took the smaller bait. The fight was on and in the end Mike had his big fish 35 lbs. Quick pictures were taken and it released for somebody else to catch.

For you out of area folks, you might want to get your calendars out and start making plans now. The stripers are in their spring migration and the bite is on. A good tool to use to make your plans with is on the web at www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake! For a real outdoor adventure, you might consider a striper fishing trip combined with a pheasant hunt. It's a blast!

April 10, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 10 April, the lake level is approximately 6 inches above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 3700 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has dropped slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass are wrapping up annual spawning rituals, most locations.  White Bass are scattered in large schools along Little River.  Crappie are also finishing spawning on beds and gar are extremely shallow in large groups making great opportunities for bow fishermen very shallow.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 67ºF early to 77ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.7 mfsl with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 3700 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 231.1 mfsl. 

Be advised there are NEW NO-WAKE RIVER BUOYS AT WHITE CLIFFS BOAT RAMP AND THE NO WAKE ZONE EXTENDS FROM NORTH END OF PARK TO SOUTH END OF PARK, and being enforced by AGFC in Little River.

Clarity and visibility stained to muddy, this week depending on location, oxbows are in good shape for visibility as of today.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 3-5 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-8 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 15-24 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:   Water temperatures slowly rising.  Largemouth Bass are wrapping up annual spawn activity, and moving horizontally out to deeper water.  Most bass have completed their spawning rituals already.  We continue to catching male and female Largemouth Bass from 2 to around 5 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas for the past few weeks and males guarding beds.  Baby bass fry have been noted over the last week already hatched.  Big, 7" bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow moving squarebill crankbaits and chatterbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches, and in creek channels.  Bass Assassin Shads are working on bass moving into and out of bedding areas, and on beds.

The clearest water you can find away from muddy river current has been the best location for best bass over the past several weeks.  Bass are beginning to move out horizontally toward deeper drops in the oxbows.  Bass Assassin Shads, magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs, chatterbaits continue working over the past couple weeks.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 3-5 pound Largemouths.

War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Cole Slaw, Spot Remover, and White/Chart continue taking nice keeper size Largemouths in Mud Lake, Horseshoe, and McGuire oxbows, up river.

Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice and fat prespawn  Largemouth Bass and best colors for the past week include Gold Pepper Shiner, Mississippi Hippie, and Grey Ghost colors continue catching good Bass along new growth of vegetation lines, new bloom stands of lily pads, and buckbrush.  Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter, and Red Shad/Green Glitter.  Bulky lizards in cotton candy color are working on cypress trees in clear water.

Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber are still holding a few Largemouths over the past week.   These bass are hammering plastic lizards, chatterbaits, Bass Assassin Shads, lizards, and brush hogs in black / blue, black / purple, or plum.  Dead sticking senkos and Bass Assassin twitch worms are working very well for the post spawners. 

White Bass:  continue scattering in large schools, upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals over the past couple weeks.  Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of the White Bass and Hybrids.  Shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River up past McGuire Lake oxbow, continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.

Crappie:  The Crappie are also wrapping up spawning activities.  Good locations over the past couple weeks were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/chartreuse hair jig, and a flat tail grub in smoke w/ chartreuse tip, and minnows, and over the past week, we are seeing these fish on the move to deeper drops in creeks and ditches.

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River on trot lines, and in oxbows on yo-yo's. Cats continue biting on cut baits, chicken livers, hearts, and gizzards.

April 7, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 4/07/2017

During the past week, we have had several rain events (combined for about an inch here in Cotter), warmer temperature and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories on several days). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose eight tenths of a foot to rest at three and eight tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is thirty nine and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose two feet to rest at at three feet below seasonal power pool and nineteen feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose six tenths of a foot to rest at four feet below seasonal power pool and thirteen and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had wadable water with more generation. Norfork Lake rose one and nine tenths feet to rest at three and eight tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Catch and Release section at Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

Caddis season is upon us. This is our best hatch of the year and it is still here. I fished the caddis hatch on the Norfork, with great success. With the lower lake levels we should have perfect flows to target this hatch. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects use a soft hackle like my green butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to target insects, on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high. With warm weather the smallmouths should be more active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork but it has fished poorly. Daphnia has been spotted on the upper river and could adversely affect the bite. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper.

 

Dry Run Creek has been very crowded due to spring break. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

April 5, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.72 feet it is 1.32 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet ,the work continues on the Dam gates. The bass fishing is good with a lot of fish being caught all over the water cilium and all depths, with fish in the bushes out to 30 feet , use spinner baits ,traps jigs ,c-rigs Texas rigs, whacky rigs small crank baits and flukes. The bream are moving up as well and can be caught on small crank baits, crawlers and crickets. Catfish are being caught all over the lake as the blue bite is best with them being caught on cut bait. The crappie have improved a lot and have moved up with the water level and fisherman can target the fish better around the bushes in the rivers and main lake on minnows, small crank baits and jigs. The river walleye are finishing up and headed out back on their journey back  to the lake , the lake fish will be more active from now until June as they will try and spawn in the lake, use jigs tipped with minnows, grubs and the like on drop shots ,crank baits as well. The Hybrid and white bass fishing is good all over the lake as a bunch of Whites have spawned and some Hybrids are trying to eat their young up the rivers and dump their eggs, the rest are in the lake trying to dump their eggs around the shore line bushes, and the lake whites a lot of them have moved into the smaller creeks and the rest of the fish are on structure , use grubs,flies,in-line spinners,topwater baits, for the river and creek fish and spoons, in-line spinners and swim baits for the others.

April 5, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 03 April, the lake level is approximately 5 inches above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 7500 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has dropped slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass on beds in multiple locations lake wide.  White Bass are starting to scatter in large schools in Little River.  Crappie spawning on beds and gar are extremely shallow in large groups making great opportunities for bow fishermen very shallow.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 69ºF early to 77ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.6 mfsl, and rising with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 7500 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 234.0 mfsl. 

Be advised there are NEW NO-WAKE RIVER BUOYS AT WHITE CLIFFS BOAT RAMP AND THE NO WAKE ZONE EXTENDS FROM NORTH END OF PARK TO SOUTH END OF PARK, and being enforced by AGFC in Little River.

Clarity and visibility stained to muddy, this week depending on location, oxbows are in good shape for visibility as of today.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 3-5 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-8 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 15-24 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:   Water temperatures slowly rising.  Largemouth Bass are in all stages of spawn activity, some on beds are being seen in spawning areas.  Some bass have completed their spawning rituals already.  We continue to catching male and female Largemouth Bass from 2 to around 7 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas for the past few weeks and males guarding beds.  Baby bass fry have been noted over the last week already hatched.  Big, 7" bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow moving squarebill crankbaits and chatterbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches, and in creek channels.  Bass Assassin Shads are working on bass moving into and out of bedding areas, and on beds.  Key continues to be finding water temps that are 3-5º warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions.   Several females in the 4-7 pound range full of eggs continue to be caught and released over the past couple weeks.

The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best location for big females over the past several weeks.  Bass are on beds in flats and spawning grounds in and behind cypress tree stands, for windbreaks.  Bass Assassin Shads, magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs, chatterbaits continue working over the past couple weeks.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Cordell Redfins and Smithwick Rouges are catching nice size Bass from 3 to 4 pounds each in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake by the golf course and the Millwood State Park.   Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 4-6 pound Largemouth females full of eggs along creeks and ditches.

War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Cole Slaw, Spot Remover, and White/Chart continue taking nice keeper size Largemouths in Mud Lake, Horseshoe, and McGuire oxbows, up river.

Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice and fat prespawn  Largemouth Bass and best colors for the past couple weeks include Houdini, Salt & Pepper, Grey Ghost, and Gold Pepper Shiner colors continue catching good Bass along old vegetation lines, dead lily pad stems, and buckbrush.  Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter, and Red Shad/Green Glitter.  Bulky lizards in cotton candy color are working on cypress trees in clear water.

Locating water temps 2-5 degrees warmer on sunny days, seems to be key in locating bass in a feeding mood over the past few weeks.  Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber will hold a few Largemouths on bright sunny days where the water will warm substantially over the mid-day hours as much as 8 degrees.   Spawning female Largemouths full of eggs are being caught and released in spawning areas on beds, coming in to the beds and leaving beds.  These bass are hammering plastic lizards, chatterbaits, Bass Assassin Shads, lizards, and brush hogs in black / blue, black / purple, or plum.  Key is finding these warmer water areas on sunny days for the most aggressive bite this time of year. 

White Bass:   have begun to scatter in large schools, upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals over the past week or so.  Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of the White Bass and Hybrids.  Shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River up past McGuire Lake oxbow, continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.

Crappie:  The Crappie continue spawning near cypress trees with the Largemouths.  Good locations over the past couple weeks were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/chartreuse hair jig, and a flat tail grub in smoke w/ chartreuse tip, and minnows over the past week have began to get bit good.

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River on trot lines, and in oxbows on yo-yo's. Cats continue biting on cut baits, chicken livers, Alpo dog food chunks.

April 5, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. - Norfork Lake fishing has entered into the spring phase and is getting exciting. With that being said, I need to clarify that early spring can bring many drastic changes in the weather. As a few weeks ago we went from the 80's to a 3 inch snowfall and cold for several days, followed by a return to summer like temperatures. This type of weather affects the water temperature which in turn affects the bite. These weather changes seem to be the norm for March. Temperatures typically stabilize in April. The lake water temperature has warmed back to the low 60's which is a perfect temperature for all species.

Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing is improving each day I go out. Today was no different. The clear skies made for a slow bite for me early, but by 10AM I found the stripers and landed 3 striped bass, 1 hybrid and 3 whites. I first started out on a large flat up river where the water had turned off color. (slightly greenish brown) My guests and I had been finding large schools of stripers, hybrids and whites at all different times of day, but today I could not locate them early. I also checked out several deep brush piles since I have found that the striped bass were relating to the brush that is holding baitfish, but again no takers. I moved to a deep water point at a mouth of a cove about 1/2 mile away from the flat and I found baitfish and lots of suspended feeding fish. I was in 55 feet of water and the stripers were anywhere from the surface to 25 feet down. I was vertical jigging and had one pole out with live bait and a very small split shot. This rod got buried and I finally landed a nice 14 pound striper. I decided to set out 2 live bait poles and continued to move around the point. I was also jigging a spoon at about 25 feet and hooked up to 2 white bass. After releasing the second white, I looked back and one of rods was doubled over. As I was fighting this fish the second rod took off. Fun and games a double. Ended up landing both of the stripers without any mishaps. :-) I have also been fishing back in a major creek, again where the water turns off color. I have found stripers on the deep water bluff line side just inside of the creek channel as well as on points that have deep water nearby. Some of the creeks have big flat areas where the stripers will be roaming in the shallower water early and late in the day. The stripers that I have marked and caught have been mainly from the surface to 25 feet deep in all my fishing spots. Vertical jigging with a spoon, live bait and trolling with Alabama rigs, swim baits and long stick baits will work.

Crappie fishing is also improving. My guests and I have been finding crappie on deep brush piles in 30 - 40 feet. of water. Several of us have been jigging with a 1/4 ounce spoon and some others have been using 1/16th and 1/8th ounce Roadrunners in white and white/chartreuse. I do believe the crappie are moving up to the shallow water to spawn. Many of the larger crappie are coming off the shoreline hitting roadrunners and small grubs.

Most of the walleye have finished their spawn and are moving onto the shallower flats, as well as, to brush piles. I have caught walleye on flats dragging a large minnow on the bottom and by vertical jigging with a spoon. Deep diving crank baits will also pick up some nice walleye on these flats. I have also picked up a few along the shoreline before daybreak throwing a white/ chartreuse Zoom Fluke. This bite will continue to improve during the morning and on through the day and after dark.

The largemouth bass bite finally starting to improve after the cold snap. I was starting to get into some nice top water action before our snow, but since that time I have noticed very few bass coming up. The water temperature has finally got back to the low 60's so top water action will take off very soon. There are some fish moving into the shallow water, but still I am marking lots of bass staging off of deep water points in about 20 - 25 feet of water, either on the bottom or suspended.

The Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning started out at 60 degrees at 6AM and ended up at 62 degrees at 11AM (main lake temps). The creeks and coves are stained and off color, the main lake is somewhat stained. The current level of the lake has risen to 549.07 which is a 5 feet increase over the last couple of weeks. This lake level is still about 5 feet below the current seasonal pool.

April 4, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
April is the Jekyll and Hyde of fishing month on Norfork Lake. Jekyll is when spring is early and the fish move up the creeks and the first couple of weeks your thinking this is gone to be the best spring ever then a freak snow storm comes along with cold wind and everything is gone and you have to wait for the warm weather and fish movement back to the creeks. Hyde is the opposite. You think we will never see warm weather, no south winds or warm nights to bring the fish up to the shore or creeks. Then about the time when you have given up everything explodes and you’re catching fish every time out. The normal pattern for April is warm gusty south winds that warm the northern banks and push the bait up into the creeks. The fish will follow the bait and once the water temperature hits the 60 degree mark the stripers will start their spawning cycle. The crappie will also be beginning their spawn. The white bass will be finished but their post spawn feeding cycle will be in full swing. The bass will be busting the surface chasing shad and the males will be getting ready making the beds and waiting for the big females.

Once we get the consistent April weather these patterns will work for stripers, bass, and crappie. The stripers will be staging up the creeks feeding on spawning shad. You can find them in very shallow water early and late afternoon and into evening. If the water is stained or off color and the wind is blowing into the bank you can catch stripers all day long. The night bite for stripers will be at its peak all over the lake. The best bite starts at dusk and is usually over by midnight. The best baits are 5 to 6” rouges thrown parallel to the bank and either twitched or slow reeled back. Sometimes the bite will be right at the boat. A bonus fish when night fishing is walleye. A lot of good size walleye are caught when anglers are fishing for stripers. My fishing technique in April and May for stripers revolves around shad. I like to use 4 to 6” gizzard shad and 4 to 5” threadfin shad. I use floats with no weight or a small split set far behind the boat. I then set out 2 planner boards that parallel the shore. The closest board to the shore will have a 6” gizzard shad, the next one will have a bigger shad on it, that one is my attraction shad. Stripers will come up to look at that bait then hit the smaller bait. I then set out free lines with small split shot, these lines have just a small split shot and bait. Again I let them out far behind the boat. I then putout a giant bait right behind the engine that I call a transom bait. A big striper will swipe at that bait and sometimes take it. The bait size will average 10” or bigger. Finally I will add 2 more free lines but they will be set out shorter than the others. The best places to fish in April and May are shorelines that contain old road beds, foundations, and brush piles. Stripers will hold in the brush piles waiting on bait. These techniques are tried and trued and will work on any body of water. If you cannot get shad try big shiners known as brooders or number 30's. They will also work but will not produce the numbers that shad does.

Crappie should have moved into shallow water spawning on small brush or shallow brush piles. As long as the weather stays warm and mild the spawn will continue until a heavy rain or sudden cold snap will push them off the banks into a little deeper water. Just move off the bank and fish the same method you were using but in deeper water. Once it warms back up you will find them on the bank. Minnows and small jigs are the best baits on the lake. Jig colors vary by the day but day in and out minnows is your best bait. Once the spawn is over spider rigging the deeper water will produce limits of crappie. The best creeks for crappie are Big Creek, Brushy Creek, Pigeon Creek, and Bennett’s Bayou on the main lake. The upper lake areas are Red Bank, Calamity, and Bryant Creek.

Bass fishing is very good in April. The bass will have moved up on shore and will be chasing shad. Throwing spinner baits on windward shore will catch you lots of active bass. If that bite slows try a jig and pig or worm on slopping points in the creeks. Early morning and late afternoon will see lots of top water action. Look in the bays heading into the creeks like the entrance to Bennett’s Bayou. It has a very large bay that holds whites and bass in the spring. This time of year you can catch bass on any bank on this lake. Some of my favorite spots are Big and Brushy Creeks. They get stained early and the water is usually warmer but don’t be afraid to pick a bank and start fishing. There is not a bad place on Norfork Lake that time of year. No matter when you fish in April you can expect very warm temperatures to very cold temperatures in the same day or week you’re here. You just have to be prepared for the weather and you will catch fish and have a great time doing it.

March 31, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - FISHING AFTER SOWBUG
BY JOHN BERRY
On Sunday, the day after the Sowbug Roundup ended; I had a guide trip with Al and Bob. I have guided them for several years. They always show up at Sowbug and the Federation of Fly Fishers Fly Fishing Fair in October. They are from Nebraska and at seventy three and seventy eight years of age respectively are a bit past wade fishing. We always fish from my White River Jon Boat.

On that day, the generation was at minimum flow, for over twenty four hours. Both Rivers, the White and Norfork, were lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. Since I have a propeller driven outboard and not a jet drive, I am limited to where I can drift fish under these conditions. I chose to fish at Rim Shoals, which has deep enough water to allow me to fish there, when there is little or no generation. The weather was pretty nice. It was to be partly cloudy all day with a high temperature of around seventy three degrees. There was a cool start, a bit over forty degrees but it got warmer, as the day went. By mid afternoon it was quite a bit warmer and I finally took off my down sweater.

I had begun the day fishing a red fox squirrel and copper nymph (a new favorite) with a ruby midge dropper on one rod and a cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge dropper (it had rained the night before and I always fish a San Juan worm after a rain). Early on it was evident that the red fox squirrel and copper nymph was outperforming the cerise San Juan worm. I took a few minutes to ensure that both of my anglers were fishing the same thing and that it was what was working the best.

In the morning, the going was a bit slow. They both caught trout but not as many as I am used to catching. We broke for lunch at around noon. It was good to relax for a few minutes. The rest recharged us and we were able to return to the river with a bit of confidence.

The fishing picked up and we were catching more trout than we had in the morning. Around three o’clock, Bob hit a really good fish. I got a pretty good look at it and quickly figured out that it was a good sized brown. I quickly pulled my drag chain into the boat so that the brown would not tangle itself in it, which could cause us to lose the fish. Though it tried to swim into a big blow down, we were finally able to land and release a fine twenty inch brown trout.

The next drift generated a nice fourteen inch rainbow for Bob. Then on the third drift our luck was significantly better. He hooked an even larger brown than we had previously landed. Once again, I pulled in the drag chain and we took our time landing our fish. Surprisingly it actually came in quicker than the smaller brown. At twenty two inches with a large girth, it was a spectacular catch.  In three drifts, Bob had landed two nice browns and a decent rainbow.

March 28, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.84 feet and rising looks like it may make normal pool before it is over in a few days especially with more rain coming ,it is 2.2 feet below normal pool at present of 462.04 feet .  The Heber Springs expo is this weekend at the event center in Heber Springs, there will be lots of tackle for sale at bargains and lots of fishing seminars to learn more about fishing Greers Ferry Lake and just fishing in general so come out out this weekend and enjoy the show. The river Walleye are just about done spawning and a lot already headed back to the lake ,now it will be the lake Walleyes turn to try and spawn, and the time to start catching some numbers of fish , try using a crank bait, drop shots and jig heads tipped with a minnow or a grub or small cinko for best results. No report on Bream. The bass fishing is good with a lot of fish being caught all over the water column on a variety of baits ,use spinner baits, small crank baits,jigs,whacky rigs and jig head worms, the rattle trap bite is going strong as well. The catfishing is good for the bigger fish as a tournament for the best 5 fish weighed 210 lbs., use bream, cut bait for the best results all over the lake. The Crappie are spawning at various places and on the move as well , use minnows and jigs in about 8 feet of water on do nothing banks or around anything sticking up in the water. The Hybrid And White bass fishing is good in the lake and rivers use rooster tails,grubs,top water baits spoons, road runners, for the best results from real shallow out to 35 feet of water.

March 27, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 27 March, the lake level is approximately 17 inches above normal conservation pool and rising.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 2300 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has risen slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass on beds in multiple locations lake wide.  White Bass are starting to scatter in large schools in Little River.  Crappie spawning on beds and gar are extremely shallow in large groups making great opportunities for bow fishermen very shallow.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 69ºF early to 77ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 260.6 mfsl, and rising with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 2300 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 231.0 mfsl. 

Be advised there are NEW NO-WAKE RIVER BUOYS AT WHITE CLIFFS BOAT RAMP AND THE NO WAKE ZONE EXTENDS FROM NORTH END OF PARK TO SOUTH END OF PARK, and being enforced by AGFC in Little River.

Clarity and visibility stained to muddy, this week depending on location, oxbows are in good shape for visibility as of today.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 3-5 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-8 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 15-24 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:   Water temperatures slowly rising.  Largemouth Bass are in all stages of spawn activity, some on beds are being seen in spawning areas.  Some bass have completed their spawning rituals already.  We continue to catching male and female Largemouth Bass from 2 to around 7 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas for the past few weeks and males guarding beds.  Baby bass fry have been noted over the last week already hatched.  Big, 7" bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow moving squarebill crankbaits and chatterbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches, and in creek channels.  Bass Assassin Shads are working on bass moving into and out of bedding areas, and on beds.  Key continues to be finding water temps that are 3-5º warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions.   Several females in the 4-7 pound range full of eggs continue to be caught and released over the past couple weeks.

The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best location for big females over the past several weeks.  Bass are on beds in flats and spawning grounds in and behind cypress tree stands, for windbreaks.  Bass Assassin Shads, magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs, chatterbaits continue working over the past couple weeks.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Cordell Redfins and Smithwick Rouges are catching nice size Bass from 3 to 4 pounds each in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake by the golf course and the Millwood State Park.   Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 4-6 pound Largemouth females full of eggs along creeks and ditches.

War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Cole Slaw, Spot Remover, and White/Chart continue taking nice keeper size Largemouths in Mud Lake, Horseshoe, and McGuire oxbows, up river.

Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice and fat prespawn  Largemouth Bass and best colors for the past couple weeks include Houdini, Salt & Pepper, Grey Ghost, and Gold Pepper Shiner colors continue catching good Bass along old vegetation lines, dead lily pad stems, and buckbrush.  Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter, and Red Shad/Green Glitter.  Bulky lizards in cotton candy color are working on cypress trees in clear water.

Locating water temps 2-5 degrees warmer on sunny days, seems to be key in locating bass in a feeding mood over the past few weeks.  Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber will hold a few Largemouths on bright sunny days where the water will warm substantially over the mid-day hours as much as 8 degrees.   Spawning female Largemouths full of eggs are being caught and released in spawning areas on beds, coming in to the beds and leaving beds.  These bass are hammering plastic lizards, chatterbaits, Bass Assassin Shads, lizards, and brush hogs in black / blue, black / purple, or plum.  Key is finding these warmer water areas on sunny days for the most aggressive bite this time of year. 

White Bass:   have begun to scatter in large schools, upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals over the past week or so.  Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of the White Bass and Hybrids.  Shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River up past McGuire Lake oxbow, continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.

Crappie:  The Crappie continue spawning near cypress trees with the Largemouths.  Good locations over the past couple weeks were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/chartreuse hair jig, and a flat tail grub in smoke w/ chartreuse tip, and minnows over the past week have began to get bit good.

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River on trot lines, and in oxbows on yo-yo's. Cats continue biting on cut baits, chicken livers, Alpo dog food chunks.

March 27, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
Our weather patterns continue to swing from cold rainy to hot and windy. One day striper fishing is good, then it slows down and on some days quits then picks back up. If my clients happen to pick the good days fishing is a lot of fun but those other days when you are scrambling to get a bait make for a long day. The stripers are moving up and down the creeks depending on the weather. We are still fishing near Fouts Marina. I have mainly fished near 6B and then down towards the flats. Others are starting in front of the marina and work the bluffs and points. All this is short term as the weather will improve and striper fishing will pickup all over the lake. My son did catch a 30lb striper pre-fishing. He took a picture and released it to fight another day. The crappie are hitting very good in the deeper brush piles. They are biting on minnows and jigs all over the lake. Find some off color water with temperatures in the mid-fifties and you should catch some nice slabs.

I took Bobby and Pat who flew in from California to catch their first stripers. This was their first guided fishing trip also. The bite starting off quickly with Pat getting the first hit he missed it but was very excited to see the fish chase the bait out of the water. Pat’s next strike was on the mark and the fight was on. Pat put that one in the boat and he took pictures to send back to his co-workers. Bobby was next and he caught a good one. We put 4 in the boat and missed a few more that would have gave them their limit. They both enjoyed the day and Pat had the best birthday present a brother-in-law could give.

March 21, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 20 March, the lake level is approximately 3 inches above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 2200 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has dropped slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass on beds in multiple locations lake wide.  White Bass are still stacked up Little River.  Crappie starting to build beds and gar are extremely shallow in large groups making great opportunities for bow fishermen very shallow.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 67ºF early to 74ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.7 mfsl, and falling with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 2200 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 227.0 mfsl. 

Be advised there are NEW NO-WAKE RIVER BUOYS AT WHITE CLIFFS BOAT RAMP AND THE NO WAKE ZONE EXTENDS FROM NORTH END OF PARK TO SOUTH END OF PARK in Little River.

Clarity and visibility stained but beginning to clear this week.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 3-5 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-8 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 15-24 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:   Water temperatures slowly rising.  Largemouth Bass are bed building, some on beds are being seen in spawning areas.  Some bass have completed their spawning rituals already.  We continue to catching male and female Largemouth Bass from 2 to around 7 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas for the past few weeks.  Big, 7" bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow moving crankbaits and chatterbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches, and in creek channels.  Bass Assassin Shads are working on bass moving into and out of bedding areas, and on beds.  Key continues to be finding water temps that are 5-8º warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions.   Several females in the 4-7 pound range full of eggs continue to be caught and released over the past week.

The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best location for big females over the past several weeks.  Bass are on beds in flats and spawning grounds using cypress trees for windbreaks.  Bass Assassin Shads, magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs, Rat-L-Traps, chatterbaits, and small squarebill cranks are working over the past couple weeks.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Cordell Redfins and Smithwick Rouges are catching nice size Bass from 3 to 4 pounds each in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake by the golf course and the Millwood State Park.   Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 4-6 pound Largemouth females full of eggs along creeks and ditches.

War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Cole Slaw, Spot Remover, and White/Chart continue taking nice keeper size Largemouths in Mud Lake, Horseshoe, and McGuire oxbows, up river.

Squarebill crankbaits in crawfish patterns, Echo 1.75's and large Rat-L-Traps continue working slow and deflecting off stumps and timber, deeper in the creek channels.  Best colors over the past few weeks continue to be the Spring Bream, Toledo Gold, Red Chrome on sunny days, around 5-10 feet depth ditches and flats near creek channel swings, deflecting off stumps in the clearest water you can locate away from muddy water or Little River current.   Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice and fat prespawn  Largemouth Bass and best colors for the past couple weeks include Houdini, Salt & Pepper, Grey Ghost, and Gold Pepper Shiner colors continue catching good Bass along old vegetation lines, dead lily pad stems, and buckbrush.  Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter, and Red Shad/Green Glitter.

Locating water temps 2-5 degrees warmer on sunny days, seems to be key in locating bass in a feeding mood over the past few weeks.  Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber will hold a few Largemouths on bright sunny days where the water will warm substantially over the mid-day hours as much as 8 degrees.   Spawning female Largemouths full of eggs are being caught and released in spawning areas on beds, coming in to the beds and leaving beds.  These bass are hammering plastic lizards, chatterbaits, Bass Assassin Shads and brush hogs in black / blue, black / purple, or plum.  Key is finding these warmer water areas on sunny days for the most aggressive bite this time of year. 

White Bass:   Still holding upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals in a spawning condition.  Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of the White Bass and Hybrids.  All along Little River were giving up a great number of Whites and Hybrids over the past couple weeks on shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps.  Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River up past McGuire Lake oxbow, continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.

Crappie:  The Crappie continue spawning near cypress trees with the Largemouths.  Good locations over the past couple weeks were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/chartreuse hair jig, and a flat tail grub in smoke w/ chartreuse tip, and minnows over the past week have began to get bit good.

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River on trot lines, and in oxbows on yo-yo's. Cats continue biting on cut baits, chicken livers, Alpo dog food chunks, and Punch baits.

March 21, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. - The term "March Madness" definitely fits Norfork Lake this month. 3 inches of snow a week ago, 90 degrees yesterday and some thunderstorms and cooler weather on the way. The changing weather patterns play havoc with the fish, but today the fish gave signs of getting back on track.  I saw sporadic surface activity for largemouth bass and striped/hybrid bass, crappie moving in tighter to the banks for their pre-spawn activity, and the white bass and walleye have started to move out to the flats which indicates the majority of the walleye and whites have completed their spawn.

Today was a very interesting morning of fishing. My game plan was to search a different area of the lake for striped bass. I didn't find striped bass, but I ended up catching fish on 5 different types of baits. In the dark I started casting a suspending stick bait to the shoreline. I landed largemouth and crappie on my Smithwick Rogue. As the sun was coming up I casted out my blade bait, Kastmaster, and landed some whites. As the morning wore on I started casting out a paddle tail swim bait to the shoreline and landed a largemouth, then in deeper water I dropped a spoon and landed a walleye. Live threadfin shad landed a second walleye and I broke off a big fish, maybe what I was looking for.

Striped bass fishing the last couple of days has slowed with the cool system that rolled though our area last week. The snow and cold temperatures dropped the surface lake temperature from 56 degrees to 50 degrees. This morning the lake had warmed back up to 56 degrees. A few days ago the stripers that had moved back into the major creek arms were biting aggressively and could be found anywhere from 20 feet of water to 50 feet of water. Most fish that I was catching and marking were suspended 15 to 35 feet down. Yesterday I did mark a few stripers, but they were not feeding. This will change with the warming water very shortly and the good bite will begin again.

Largemouth bass fishing has been good. This species is moving in close to the shoreline early and late in the day. This morning brought some of the best surface activity that I have seen so far this year. This is still early for topwater, but a very good sign. This morning I caught largemouth before sunrise on a suspending jerk bait, as well as, after sunrise largemouth were being caught on a 5 inch paddle tail swim bait by one of my guests. The topwater started just as the sun got above the horizon. Start carrying your favorite topwater bait as I believe this will become a little more common each day. Alabama rigs are also working very well rigged out with a 3.5 to 4 inch swimbait. The shorter baits are still working a little better than longer baits, but this will change as the water continues to warm.

I caught walleye this morning, one on a shallow flat in 18 feet of water and the other was out in 65 feet of water suspended down 55 feet. I marked bait from 40 feet to the bottom and saw 5 big arcs in the bait. I assumed the arcs were stripers so I dropped a 1/2 ounce spoon and landed a nice 23 inch walleye. You tell me what the current pattern of our walleye are? :-) The majority of the walleye have spawned and should be moving to the flats to feed. Deep diving crank baits, crawler harnesses and dragging live minnows will start to pick up some nice fish.

White bass have also completed the majority of their spawning activities. I am starting to find scattered fish on large flats suspended down 20 to 30 feet in 30 - 50 feet of water. I caught several nice whites on my Kastmaster bade bait. It will not be long until large schools of whites will be roaming shallow flats feeding heavily on shad. Topwater frenzies will erupt and make the water boil. Topwater baits, blade baits, spoons and swim baits will all pick up some nice fish.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was 55 - 56 degrees. The lake level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 545.25 which is approximately 1 ft drop over the last 2 weeks. The lake is somewhat stained but clearly is occurring.

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
What a week of swinging weather and fishing patterns. We stated off with snow and very cold weather and wound up sunny with sixty degrees. Fishing was outstanding all week without the sun being out. We caught over 55 plus stripers during that period. On Friday my son and I caught 22 stripers and were excited to know the sun and warm weather was coming Saturday. I told my clients that fishing was outstanding when they came on board, boy was I wrong. We were fishing near Fouts marina which is a narrow straight of water that does not have much room for heavy boat traffic. The sun came out and then the boats. We had a striper and bass tourney which caused heavy boating, the bass boats were flying up and down the lake and the striper guys was trolling. The stripers have been shallow and all the traffic shut them down. I fished 5 ½ hours and Sean fished 9 hours and between us we boated 4 stripers. Sean caught them all and I was skunked! Sunday we went to Big Creek trying to get out of the traffic and we both caught 1 striper apiece. I expect the pattern will improve with less boat traffic and consistent weather. On a bright note the walleye are hitting crankbaits up above Calamity Beach people are catching limits of walleye from shore in the evening. I had a call about fishing Thursday from Mike who had his trip canceled in Tennessee. Mike and his sons Levi & Luke along with their friend Harlan were on their first time striper fishing trip. They booked an eight hour trip. When we left the dock it was cold, overcast, and windy. We made it to Fouts so I began my setup which is 10 baited rods; 2 planner boards, 2 floats, 2 free lines, and 4 downlines. We started off slow but our first fish was a double headed. The young boys 11 & 12 were the first ones to catch a striper then the men took over and we kept this up for the next 6 ½ hours. We caught number 12 and the boys were cold so our trip was complete with their first limit of stripers. The boys had a trip they would soon not forget.

March 17, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 3/17/2017

During the past week, we have had rain and snow (combined for about half an inch here in Cotter), cold temperatures 9to include freeze advisories) and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose three tenths of a foot to rest at seven and three tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty three and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose two tenths of a foot to rest at eight feet below seasonal power pool and twenty four feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose eight tenths of a foot to rest at eight and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool and eighteen and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had significant wadable water with more generation. Norfork Lake fell five tenths of a foot to rest at seven and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty three and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Catch and Release section at Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

Caddis season is upon us. This is our best hatch of the year and it should arrive soon. I have already observed a few caddis on the Norfork tailwater and on the White. With the lower lake levels we should have perfect flows to target this hatch. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects use a soft hackle like my green butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to target insects, on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With warm weather the smallmouths should be more active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork but it has fished poorly. Daphnia has been spotted on the upper river and could adversely affect the bite. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been very crowded due to spring break. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

March 17, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
March showed it’s self on Saturday afternoon by dumping 4” of snow and cold weather on Norfork Lake. We will have the cold weather for the next several days and that will slow the fishing down. Look for the fish to slide back into deeper water and wait for the south winds to heat up the lake. The bass fishing has been outstanding this past week on crankbaits; I expect that to slow down some but not for long. Striper fishing has been good all week with an early morning bite then mid to late afternoon bite. We should see an up tick in fishing activity by mid-week as the warm weather will start to reappear. Now that the weather has warmed the lake up these setbacks will only slow the process but once started the fish will continue to seek the warm water and begin their pre-spawn activity.
Sean took 2 guys who drove down from Minnesota for their first striper trip on Norfork Lake. They started Wednesday morning by leaving the dock at 5:15 AM to catch the early bite. Sean has been fishing the Big Creek area and has found the stripers are very shallow early then they move off into the 30’ water. It took a little while to find the fish but once he did the bite was on after several misses the guys figured out how to hook the fish and the fun began. They wound up hooking 12 stripers and boating 9 and had their limit by 9 AM. The long drive paid off for them and are planning on their next trip to catch more stripers on Norfork Lake.

For you out of area folks, you might want to get your calendars out and start making plans now. The stripers are in their spring migration and the bite is on. A good tool to use to make your plans with is on the web at www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake! For a real outdoor adventure, you might consider a striper fishing trip combined with a pheasant hunt. It's a blast!

March 14, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is ta 456.99 feet it is 5.05 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet at this time and is rising , the temp has cooled somewhat ,it is 52-56 degrees . the Walleye fishing is on and off with all the cold fronts, it’s hard to get to most of the river fish unless by foot ,some coming and going can be picked up in places, with a drop shot or jig head tipped with a live bait, grubs, crank baits and rouges working at times, live bait for the lake fish is best in 25-40 of water. The bass fishing is pretty good with fish being caught real shallow or in 25 feet and some out in 40 feet of water, try spinner baits, crank baits, drop shots, spoons-rigs and football heads, a trap and whacky rigs are working as well. The crappie are eating all over the lake suspended in 10-15 feet of water over the deepest water you can find with some eating in the river channels on the bottom in 40 feet. No report on catfish. The Hybrids and White bass bite is good all day at various time throughout the lake on spoons, in-line spinners, some top water action is going on as well, on tough days a swim bait or hair jig dead stuck is working the best. No report on Bream.

March 13, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 13 March, the lake level is approximately 12 inches above normal conservation pool and rising.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 5000 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has risen slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass staging for prespawn.  White Bass are still stacked up Little River.  Crappie staging.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 58ºF early to 62ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 260.3 mfsl, and rising with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 5000 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 234.0 mfsl. 

Be advised there are NEW NO-WAKE RIVER BUOYS AT WHITE CLIFFS BOAT RAMP AND THE NO WAKE ZONE EXTENDS FROM NORTH END OF PARK TO SOUTH END OF PARK in Little River.

Clarity and visibility stained and muddy this week, due to high wind, thunderstorms, and incoming fresh water from the Tri-Lakes.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 2-3 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 10-15 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:   Water temperatures are slowly continuing to rise, and the Bass are staging, some beds are being seen in spawning areas.  We continue to catching male and female Largemouth Bass from 2 to around 7 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas preparing to build beds over the past few weeks.  Big, 7" bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow moving crankbaits and chatterbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches, and in creek channels.  Key continues to be finding water temps that are 5-8º warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions.   The pre-spawn females are moving into spawning areas, and several in the 5-9 pound range full of eggs continue to be caught and released over the past week.

The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best location for big females over the past several weeks.  Bass are continue roaming onto flats and spawning grounds.  Bulky worms, magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs, Rat-L-Traps, chatterbaits, Bang Fat Jobs, continue working well over the past couple weeks for staging female bass.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Rouges and Cordell Redfins continue taking nice size Bass from 2-4 pounds each in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake by the golf course and the Millwood State Park.   Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 4-6 pound Largemouth females full of eggs along creeks and ditches.

War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Cole Slaw, Spot Remover, and White/Chart continue taking nice keeper size Largemouths in Mud Lake, Horseshoe, and McGuire oxbows, up river.

Squarebill crankbaits in crawfish patterns, Echo 1.75's and large Rat-L-Traps continue working slow and deflecting off stumps and timber, deeper in the creek channels.  Best colors over the past few weeks continue to be the Spring Bream, Toledo Gold, Red Chrome on sunny days, around 5-10 feet depth ditches and flats near creek channel swings, deflecting off stumps in the clearest water you can locate away from muddy water or Little River current.   Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice and fat prespawn  Largemouth Bass and best colors for the past couple weeks include Houdini, Salt & Pepper, Grey Ghost, and Gold Pepper Shiner colors continue catching good Bass along old vegetation lines, dead lily pad stems, and buckbrush.  Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter, and Red Shad/Green Glitter.

Locating water temps 2-5 degrees warmer on sunny days, seems to be key in locating bass in a feeding mood over the past few weeks.  Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber will hold a few Largemouths on bright sunny days where the water will warm substantially over the mid-day hours as much as 8 degrees.   Prespawn female Largemouths full of eggs continue moving to spawning areas, and are hammering plastic lizards and brush hogs in black and blue or plum.  Key is finding these warmer water areas on sunny days for the most aggressive bite this time of year. 

White Bass:   Continue moving upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals in a prespawn condition.  Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of the White Bass and Hybrids.  All along Little River were giving up a great number of Whites and Hybrids over the past couple weeks on shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps.  Annual migration to spawning grounds for the Whites are continuing.  Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.

Crappie:  The Crappie are moving in right with the Largemouths.  Good locations over the past week were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/blue or white/chartreuse jig, and a flat tail grub in smoke w/ chartreuse tip.

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River and continue biting on cut shad, chicken livers, dog food chunks, and Punch baits.

March 10, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 3/10/2017

During the past week, we have had a couple of rain events (combined for about three quarters of an inch here in Cotter), milder then cold temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose three tenths of a foot to rest at seven and six tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty three and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock remained steady at eight and two tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty four and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose five tenths of a foot to rest at nine and three tenths feet below seasonal power pool and eighteen and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had significant wadable water with almost no generation. Norfork Lake rose five tenth of a foot to rest at seven feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty three and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Catch and Release section at Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

Caddis season is upon us. This is our best hatch of the year and it should arrive soon. I have already observed a few caddis on the Norfork tailwater and on the White. With the lower lake levels we should have perfect flows to target this hatch. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects use a soft hackle like my green butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to target insects, on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With warm weather the smallmouths should be more active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork but it has fished poorly. Daphnia has been spotted on the upper river and could adversely affect the bite. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been very crowded due to spring break. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

March 7, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
March’s first week of weather keeps pushing our spring up by 3 weeks for fishing. The trees are in full bloom the water temperature is climbing up and is now in the mid-fifties and the fish are biting all over the lake. Crappies, bass, stripers, and hybrids are being caught very shallow for this time of year. I have seen schools of stripers in waters less then 15’. If you present the right bait you will catch fish. Right now stripers are hitting threadfin and gizzard shad, Some days size does not matter but other days the stripers seem to want the small 3” baits. Find the warmest off color water with bait and you will find feeding stripers. Make sure your on the water before sunrise as it’s an early bite, this will change when the time changes but for now its an early rise to be in place to catch the stripers. All these things point to a very early spring. But a cold blast could send the bite back a week so let’s hope for a continuation of this weather. Some brave guys have started fishing for stripers at night with some success so get your stickbaits ready. The night bite will get in full force if the warm south winds continue.

My son and I have been doing some pre-fishing looking for active fish for our upcoming trips. I have been fishing the north section of the lake up around Fout Marina. There is lots of bait and schooling stripers and hybrids that feeding early. My son Sean has been fishing the Brushy and Big Creek areas and finding numerous schools of stripers. On Friday he took our friend Kyle out looking for stripers. When they shut the boat down they stopped right on a school of stripers. They started getting bites right away and caught 5 in a very short time, the bite lasted for 45 minutes and then the stripers shut down. They were still in the area but would only mouth the bait. They hooked up with 9 stripers but only boated 5 but for that short time they had a lot of action.

March 7, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - Sorry no report last week as had no power from storms. The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.74 feet and rising it is 6.3 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet, it is a slow rise as they are generating some. The fishing over all is good , and getting better, if you need a guide or map marking for your next tournament visit my web-site at www.arfishfinder.net or give me a call 501-940-1318. The crappie fishing and catching is good in or close to main channel in 40 feet of water using minnows or jigs. No report on catfish. The Hybrid and white bass bite is good with some top water action as well with shad being pushed out on to the bank at various places around the lake ,use top water baits, the deeper fish are in various places around shad in 25-45 feet of water ,use spoons, in-line spinners, swimbaits. And hair jigs. No report on Bream. The black basses are eating and very healthy with all 3 4 species eating well a lot of them are ganged up in 25 feet of water in guts in creeks and pockets, while some have moved shallow and some have stayed deep out to 45 feet, the shallow fish can be caught with traps, spinnerbaits and small crank baits, the mid fish can be caught with drop shots-rigs football heads, crank baits and whacky rigs, the deeper fish are good on football heads-rigs and spoons, a good jerk bait bite is developing as well for the mid-range fish and the old standby wiggle wart working as well. The walleye are eating on certain days, with the river fish trying to spawn and the rumor swirling of a 12 pounder caught down in the lake, try using live bait on a c-rig, drop-shot or grub, jerk baits and crank baits for the best results.

March 6, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 06 March, the lake level is approximately 5 inches above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 2400 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has risen slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass staging for prespawn.  White Bass continue running up Little River.  Crappie staging.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 59ºF early to 65ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.6 mfsl, and rising with current, above normal conservation pool.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 2400 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 229.3 mfsl. 

Be advised there are now NEW NO-WAKE RIVER BUOYS AT WHITE CLIFFS BOAT RAMP AND THE NO WAKE ZONE EXTENDS FROM NORTH END OF PARK TO SOUTH END OF PARK in Little River.

Clarity and visibility stained and muddy this week, due to high wind, thunderstorms, and incoming fresh water from the Tri-Lakes.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 2-3 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 10-15 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  Over the past couple weeks, as water temperatures are slowly continuing to rise, it is staging the Bass to move out of their deeper winter holes to the spawning areas.  We continue seeing and catching male and female Largemouth Bass from 3 to 8 pounds each, running in and out of bedding areas preparing to build beds over the past few weeks.  Big, bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, Rat-L-Traps, slow moving crankbaits and chatterbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches, and in creek channels.  Key continues to be finding water temps that are 5-8º warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions.   The pre-spawn females are moving into spawning areas, and several in the 5-9 pound range full of eggs continue to be caught and released over the past week.

The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best location for big females over the past several weeks.  Bass are beginning to roam onto flats and spawning grounds, out of the creek channels, yet still holding tight to cover.  Bulky worms, magnum Lizards, Brush Hogs, Rat-L-Traps, chatterbaits, Bang Fat Jobs, continue working well over the past couple weeks for staging female bass.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Cordell Redfins are working and continue taking nice size Bass from 3-7 pounds each in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake by the golf course and the Millwood State Park.   Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 4-6 pound Largemouth females full of eggs along creeks and ditches.

War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Cole Slaw, Spot Remover, and White/Chart continue taking nice keeper size Largemouths in McGuire Oxbow up river.

Squarebill crankbaits, Echo 1.75's and large Rat-L-Traps continue working slow and deflecting off stumps and timber, deeper in the creek channels.  Best colors over the past few weeks continue to be the Toledo Gold, Red Shad Zombie, or Red Chrome on sunny days, around 5-10 feet depth ditches and flats near creek channel swings, deflecting off stumps in the clearest water you can locate away from muddy water or Little River current.   Bass Assassin Shads in Houdini, Mississippi Hippie, and Gold Pepper Shiner colors continue catching good Bass along old vegetation lines, dead lily pad stems, and buckbrush.  Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter, and Red Shad/Green Glitter.

Locating water temps 2-5 degrees warmer on sunny days, seems to be key in locating bass in a feeding mood over the past few weeks.  Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber will hold a few Largemouths on bright sunny days where the water will warm substantially over the mid-day hours as much as 8 degrees.   Prespawn female Largemouths full of eggs continue moving to spawning areas, and are hammering plastic lizards and brush hogs in black and blue or plum.  Key is finding these warmer water areas on sunny days for the most aggressive bite this time of year. 

White Bass:   Continue moving upriver between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals in a prespawn condition.  Points all along north end of Little River are holding large schools of the White Bass and Hybrids.  Cossatot inflow ditch and creek channels protruding into Little River were giving up a great number of Whites and Hybrids over the past couple weeks on shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps.  Annual migration to spawning grounds for the Whites are continuing to move that direction.  Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.

Crappie:  The Crappie are moving in right with the Largemouths.  Good locations over the past week were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/blue or white/chartreuse jig, and a flat tail grub in smoke w/ chartreuse tip.

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River and continue biting on cut shad, Berkley Gulp chunks, hot dogs, and Punch baits.

March 3, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 3/03/2017

During the past week, we have had rain (just a trace here in Cotter), milder temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals remained steady at seven and nine tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty three and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock remained steady at eight and two tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty four and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell three tenths of a foot to rest at nine and eight tenths feet below seasonal power pool and nineteen and four tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had significant wadable water with almost no generation. Norfork Lake fell seven tenths of a foot to rest at seven and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty three and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Catch and Release section at Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

Caddis season is upon us. This is our best hatch of the year and it should arrive soon. I have already observed a few caddis on the Norfork tailwater. With the lower lake levels we should have perfect flows to target this hatch. Before the hatch when the trout are feeding on the surface but you see no insects use a soft hackle like my green butt or a partridge and orange. When the trout begin to
target insects, on the surface of the water, switch over to an elk hair caddis. Match your fly to the hatching insect based on size, shape and color.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With warm weather the smallmouths should be more active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork. Daphnia has been spotted on the upper river and could adversely affect the bite. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been very crowded due to the unseasonable warm weather. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

February 20, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
March on Norfork Lake is a great time for spring fishing. Here in the Ozarks our spring begins with the southerly winds which arrive in late February. The water warms fast and the stripers, crappie, bass and walleye all start their spawning migration. Once the water stays in the fifties the shad will move into the creeks to begin their spawn which triggers the fish to move up from the deep water and start heavy spring feeding. The major creek arms on Norfork are Pigeon, Bennett’s Bayou, Big Creek, and Brushy Creek. Float and Panther Creek will hold fish but they are short and the fish move in and out too fast to stay consistent. The major fishing patterns for Norfork are:

Stripers: I present the gizzard and threadfin shad using long lines with no weight, planner boards, and floats. Most of the lines will have no weight or just a split shot. I look for the most stained water in 30’ or less. This water will be the warmest and probably blowing to the north shores as the southern winds will warm that water faster. The great thing about March fishing is you can catch stripers every part of the day and night. The night bite begins again when the south winds warm the north shores. The main lures are Smithwick Rouges that are thrown parallel to the bank and reeled very slowly. The best bite is the first 3 hours after dark. Some of the biggest fish of the spring is caught at night.

Crappie: The crappie are in the final stage of their pre-spawn. Large schools are roaming the main channel and flats and in all the major creek arms. Depending on how fast the lake warms you can expect to catch crappies in stained shallow water and on the flats. The best technique is spider rigging, slow trolling with minnows and jigs. If the bite is slow move up to the stained shallows and probe the brush piles. Remember to look for the stain water with brush you will catch the most crappies there if they have moved off the flat.

Bass: March is one of my favorite times of year for bass. They are moving up to feed before their spawning cycle and can be caught on many different types of baits. My personal preference are spinner baits either chartreuse and white during the day or if its low light a black skirt with 1” or 3” black curly tail. Really if you’re into bass fishing you will be able to catch bass on any presentation. Look for the warmest stain water or find a creek arm where the wind has been pounding the shore you will find bass ready to take your lure.

Walleye: The walleye will be in their full spawning cycle in March. The best place to catch them using live bait is from Calamity Beach to the U.S.160 bridge. They will move into the shallows to spawn and slide back to the holes during the day. There are long stain water flats which hold the fish plus some deep holes from Bryant Creek up to the Udall boat ramp. The best bait is night crawlers on worm harnesses slow trolled using your trolling motor. Another great method is night fishing using rogues. You may catch a striper but if you target the pea gravel banks you should zero in on the walleye. Remember to reel slowly and keep changing your colors until you can find what they want. March can be a fun month to catch fish but you should be prepared to have lots of wind, rain and cold weather mixed in with those sunny days.

February 27, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 27 Feb, the lake level is approximately 8 inches above normal conservation pool and rising.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 3200 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has risen slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass staging for prespawn.  White Bass running up Little River.  Crappie staging.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 58ºF early to 65ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.9 mfsl, and rising with current, above normal conservation pool.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 3200 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 231.3 mfsl. 

Clarity and visibility stained and muddy this week, in most areas on main lake.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 2-3 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 10-15 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  Over the past couple weeks, as water temperatures are slowly continuing to rise, it is staging the Bass to move out of their deeper winter holes to the spawning areas.  We have been watching/seeing/catching males running in and out of bedding areas preparing to build beds over the past few weeks, and females are staging just slightly deeper.  Big, bulky lizards and 10" worms, Rat-L-Traps, and slow moving crankbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches, and in creek channels.  Key continues to be finding water temps that are 5-8º warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions.   The pre-spawn females are staging just a few feet deeper in the creeks, from the flats, and several in the 5-9 pound range full of eggs continue to be caught and released over the past week.

The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best method over the past few weeks.  Bass are beginning to roam onto flats and spawning grounds, out of the creek channels, yet still holding tight to cover.  Bulky worms, magnum Lizards and Rat-L-Traps, Salty Rat Tails, Bang Fat Jobs, and tubes continue working well over the past couple weeks for roaming males and female bass.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Smithwick Rouges continue taking a few good size Bass in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake by the golf course and the Millwood State Park.   Chatterbaits in black/blue/purple and spring bream colors are taking nice 4-6 pound Largemouth females full of eggs along creeks and ditches.

Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue catching nice female bass staging.  Best colors over the past week with the stained water clarity are Bruiser, Habanero, and grasshopper colors with a Black Bug trailer.  Prespawn female bass in the 5-7 lb range are eating in preparation for bedding activities.  War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover and White/Chart continue taking 2-4 pound Largemouths in McGuire Oxbow up river.

Large size Rat-L-Traps worked much slower and deflecting off stumps and timber, deeper in the creek channels, over the past few week are still catching Largemouths.  Best colors over the past few weeks continue to be the Toledo Gold, Red Shad Zombie, or Red Chrome on sunny days, around 5-10 feet depth ditches and flats near creek channel swings, deflecting off stumps in the clearest water you can locate away from muddy water or Little River current.   Bass Assassin Shads in Houdini, Mississippi Hippie, and Gold Pepper Shiner colors are catching good Largemouths along old vegetation lines, dead lily pad stems, and buckbrush.  Jingle Bugs are working in these same areas, and best colors over the past week or two have been the Okeechobee Craw, Black/Red Glitter, and Red Shad/Green Glitter.

Locating water temps 2-5 degrees warmer on sunny days, seems to be key in locating bass in a feeding mood over the past few weeks.  Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber will hold a few Largemouths on bright sunny days where the water will warm substantially over the mid-day hours as much as 8 degrees.   Prespawn female Largemouths continue staging in creek mouths, ditches, and deeper bends of creek turns will randomly react and smack a chartreuse/black Bomber Flat A slow moving crank bait, a slow wobbling Rat-L-Trap in Toledo Gold, or a plastic lizard in black, purple, and blue.  Key is finding these warmer water areas on sunny days for the most aggressive bite this time of year. 

White Bass:   Continue staging between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals in a prespawn condition.  Points all along Little River are holding wads of these nomads.  Cossatot inflow ditch and creek channels protruding into Little River were giving up a great number of Whites and hybrids over the weekend on shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps.  Annual migration to spawning grounds for the Whites are continuing to move that direction.  Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River continues to be heavy stain to muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.

Crappie:  The Crappie are moving in right with the Largemouths.  Good locations over the past week were around cypress trees in 5-8 feet of depth with a white/blue or white/chartreuse jig, and a flat tail grub in smoke w/ chartreuse tip.

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River and continue biting on cut shad, Berkley Gulp chunks, hot dogs, and Punch baits.

February 24, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 2/22/2017

During the past week, we have had rain (about an inch here in Cotter), milder temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell one tenth of a foot to rest at seven and nine tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty three and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose three tenths of a foot to rest at eight and two tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty four and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose two tenths of a foot to rest at nine and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool and nineteen and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had significant wadable water with little generation. Norfork Lake remained steady at six and eight tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty three feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Catch and Release section at Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

Streamer season is here. Unfortunately the generation has been a bit low for optimal streamer conditions. The idea is to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier). You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great. Some larger browns have been caught at night using mouse patterns.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With warm weather the smallmouths should be more active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork. Daphnia has been spotted on the upper river and could adversely affect the bite. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been very crowded due to the unseasonable warm weather. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

February 22, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers ferry Lake is at  455.32 it is 6.72 feet below normal pool of 462.04  feet and on a steady rise at present time ,the weather and water both have warmed making for a movement of all species toward being more active  and easier to catch, the weather will tell the story as we move forward, but the bite will be good from now until it gets super-hot weather . The low water will have the  river Walleye more ganged up in places they have not had to spawn on in a while , in the lower sections of the rivers and should be easier to target, try using a drop shot or a jig head tipped with a grub, minnow or a bream, jerk baits or crank baits will work as well on cloudy days they will be more shallower and more willing to eat or at night. The Crappie fishing is on and off and the fish moving around a little they are using depths from 7 or 8 feet out to 40  with most suspended , use jigs and jigs tipped with minnows or a beetle spin for the best catches around pole timber is a good place to start or any wood or brush piles you can find. No report on Bream. The Catfish are on the move feeding as well try using crawfish or small bream  on jugs or lines on flats next to deep water. The Hybrid and White bass bite is good all over the lake with them feeding on and off throughout the day with some even breaking the surface at times, just stay up with the bait and the fish will be close use spoons, in-line spinners, top water baits and swim baits for the best results. The bass fishing is good on wiggle warts, spinner baits, crank baits, football heads-rigs and whacky rigged worms all over the lake on main lake points and some secondary points as well as 45 degree banks.

February 22, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. - Fish on Norfork Lake are in transition from their winter pattern to an early spring pattern. Yes, this is very early, due to an abnormally warm winter which has kept the water temperature warmer than normal. The surface water temperature is 5 - 8 degrees warmer than the last 3 years at this time. The baitfish have started to move into shallow water which in turn makes the predators follow suit.

Striped bass can be found at all different depths. This morning I located a couple large schools of striped bass still out in 65 feet of water, following shad that was 50 feet down. Last weekend a couple of my Facebook followers (father and son) took my advice and headed back into a major creek and found some nice fish on the bottom in 35 - 40 feet of water, again chasing the bait fish. As the water continues to warm, the majority of the bait will move out of the deep water into shallow water which will make for a great spring bite. Assuming the weather pattern holds as is, we are due for a very early spring bite, but this is a very big assumption. Only Mother Nature will control what happens with our weather. I have started to see small signs of top water feeding fish, not much but it's still encouraging. Don't get your hopes up too much because this is really early for top water action. The best place to look for striped bass is halfway back in the major creeks. Live bait and vertical jigging a spoon have been my best way of catching stripers, but throwing stick baits and flukes at sunrise are starting to work. I have only fished after dark for striped bass once since my last report with little success. The water temperature is just right for the night bite to start, so I will be out more and more after dark here real soon.

White bass are moving back into the major creeks on their annual spawning run. Start looking for big females staging in 30 - 45 feet of water. The males are the first to move into the creeks and then the females will follow. Once they start their spawn you will find them close to the banks. Small spinners, blade baits and spoons are some of my favorites baits for the white bass.

Largemouth bass are also starting to move into shallower water. This morning I was live bait fishing for striped bass and moving slowly along a deep bluff line. I found a small cut in the rocks and started casting my Kastmaster to the shore and letting it sink about 10 feet. I ended up landing 5 largemouth out of this little pocket. They are getting very aggressive. Crank baits will be working, as well as spinner baits on those wind blown banks.

The Norfork Lake water level is currently at 546.92 with minimal power generation at this time. The lake surface water temperature was 53 degrees this morning and is rising slowly. The main lake as well as parts of the creeks and coves are clearing. Once you get half way back into the major creeks the water is stained making it great for fishing.

February 20, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 20 Feb, the lake level is approximately normal conservation pool and falling.  There is increased current of Little River with the gates releasing around 5200 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has dropped slightly over the past few days, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass staging for prespawn.  White Bass running up Little River.  Crappie playing hard to get.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 55ºF early to 60ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.3 mfsl, and falling with current, which is approx near normal conservation pool.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 5200 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 231.9 mfsl. 

Clarity and visibility stained and muddy this week, in most areas on main lake.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 2-3 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 10-15 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  Over the past week, we continue seeing increase in water temperatures, conditioning the Bass to continue staging.  We have been watching/seeing males running in and out of bedding areas preparing to build beds over the past few weeks.  Big, bulky lizards and 10" worms, Rat-L-Traps, and slow moving crankbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches, and in creek channels.  Key continues to be finding water temps that are 5-8º warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions.   The pre-spawn females are staging just a few feet deeper in the creeks, from the flats, and several in the 5-9 pound range full of eggs have been caught and released over the past couple weeks.

The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best method over the past few weeks.  Bass are beginning to roam onto flats and spawning grounds, out of the creek channels, yet still holding tight to cover.  Bulky worms, magnum Lizards and Rat-L-Traps, Salty Rat Tails, Yum Dingers, and tubes continue working well over the past couple weeks for roaming males and female bass.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Hard jerk baits like the Rouges are taking a few good size Bass in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake by the golf course and the Millwood State Park. 

Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs in Texas craw, VooDoo, or Bruiser colors with a Black Bug trailer continue taking a few prespawn bass in the 4-6 lb class.  War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover and White/Chart are taking 2-4 pound Largemouths in McGuire Oxbow up river.

Large size Rat-L-Traps worked much slower and deflecting off stumps and timber, deeper in the creek channels, over the past few week are still catching Largemouths.  Best colors over the past few weeks are Toledo Gold, Red Shad Zombie, or Red Chrome on sunny days, around 5-10 feet depth ditches and flats near creek channel swings, deflecting off stumps in the clearest water you can locate away from muddy water or Little River current.   Chatterbaits in Bull Bream, Spring Bream, black/blue, and shad colors continue working around dead lily pad stems and hydrilla.

Locating water temps 2-5 degrees warmer on sunny days, seems to be key in locating bass in a feeding mood over the past few weeks.  Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber will hold a few Largemouths on bright sunny days where the water will warm substantially over the mid-day hours as much as 8 degrees.   Prespawn female Largemouths continue staging in creek mouths, ditches, and deeper bends of creek turns will randomly react and smack a chartreuse/black Bomber Flat A slow moving crank bait, a slow wobbling Rat-L-Trap in Toledo Gold, or a plastic lizard in black, purple, and blue.  Key is finding these warmer water areas on sunny days for the most aggressive bite this time of year. 

White Bass:   Continue staging between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals in a prespawn condition.  Points all along Little River are holding wads of these nomads.  Cossatot inflow ditch and creek channels protruding into Little River were giving up a great number of Whites and hybrids over the weekend on shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps.  Annual migration to spawning grounds for the Whites are continuing to move that direction.  Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week, but the Little River got really muddy over the past week with all the rain and fresh water coming into the lake.

Crappie:  All the Crappie we were following over a week ago disappeared with all the muddy current in Little River, but they were beginning to stage around cypress trees and buck brush in 8-9 feet of water prior to the influx of muddy water.

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River and were biting on trotlines set around points and creek mouths from 8-12 feet deep on night crawlers, cut shad, and ivory soap.

February 20, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
Everything on Norfork Lake says its spring, warm air, breezes, fish biting, trees budding yet the calendar says February. I have been doing things liking catching fish in 30’ of water and catching bait in 2 1/2 ‘of water. The bait is all over Bennett’s Bayou. Large schools of threadfin shad and gizzards, crappie are being caught over brush piles in 8’ of water and the young male white bass are being caught from shore. All these things point to a very early spring. I just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, a cold blast and some ice. I hope not because this could be the greatest spring of fishing we have ever seen. Last year started off warm and then April turned into early March with very cold weather and lots of wind. Let’s hope not!
Late afternoon in Bennett’s Bayou the surface temperature had reached 55 degrees. With the warmer nights the lake should maintain some of the warmth and stay in the low to mid-fifties. There are some large schools of white bass in Float Creek feeding heavy on shad before they move up the creeks to spawn. You should be able to find them in most creeks as long as the weather stays warm. Its now time to move from the deep water and start looking on the flats for roaming schools of stripers. I found stripers by Fouts Marina in waters ranging in deep from 30 to 45’.
Friday I took Dick out for some pre-fishing vowing not to fish in any deep water. We went directly to Fouts Marina and started looking along the bluff and kept moving in front then parallel to Fouts. I found schools of stripers in 40’ of water and started fishing. We were fishing with threadfin and gizzard shad. I ran 2 floats, 2 free lines with a split shot, 2 planner boards, and 2 down lines. We fished all morning and boated 2, loss 3 at the boat, and had 6 other strikes. I continued to mark stripers all morning zig zagging back and forth between 30’ and 45’. With this warming trend I suggest getting out there and start your spring fishing in February instead of March.

February 17, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 2/17/2017

During the past week, we have had rain (about an inch here in Cotter), milder temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose three tenths of a foot to rest at eight feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty four feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock remained steady at eight and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty four and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at nine and seven tenths feet below seasonal power pool and nineteen and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had much more wadable water with little generation. Norfork Lake fell five tenths feet to rest at six and eight tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty three feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

Streamer season is here. Unfortunately the generation has been a bit low for optimal streamer conditions. The idea is to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier). You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great. Some larger browns have been caught at night using mouse patterns.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With cold weather the smallmouths are much less active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been less crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

February 15, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.07 feet and staying pretty steady it is 6.97 feet  below normal pool of 462.04 feet for this time of year , it is looking like the lake will stay low for a while with no big rains forecast ,it will change the way to approach the bite here on the lake in several ways good and bad. The Walleye are on the move and scattered all over the lake and rivers ,try using a jig head tipped with a minnow or a minnow imitation ,or a c-rig tipped with a bream ,or a drop shot rig with a grub or minnow for the best results or a crank bait if the area is conductive for it in 15-40 feet of water. The Crappie have spawning on their mind with the longer days, which they will probably have to spawn on stumps and pole timber limbs this year with the low water ,try beetle spins or grubs in the spring craw color or live bait on jig heads, in 10-40 feet of water. No report on Bream. The bass fishing is pretty fair on spinner  baits ,crank baits c-rigs ,football heads and whacky rigged cinkos, they are scattered from real shallow out to 70 feet of water. No –report on Catfish. The hybrid and white bass are eating well all over the lake on spoons ,in-line spinners swim baits, Alabama rigs, and hair jigs ,25-70 feet of water .

February 13, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 13 Feb, the lake level is approx 4 inches above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is increased current of Little River with the gates releasing around 434 CFS as of Monday.  Water temps rose over the past week.  There were good numbers of fishermen on the lake over the past week.  Lake level has risen slightly over the past few days.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 54ºF early to 58ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day. 
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.7 mfsl, and falling with slow current, which is approx 4 inches above normal conservation pool.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was decreased to near 434 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 224.9 mfsl.  

Clarity and visibility fair to stained this week, in most areas on main lake.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 5-8 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-8 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 15-20 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.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office.  To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers' main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  This past week, we saw a rapid rise in water temperature, putting Bass on the move again.  We have been watching/seeing males running in and out of bedding areas preparing to build beds over the past week.  Magnum Tubes in pumpkinseed/chartreuse, black/blue tail, or black neon with rattles, plastic lizards, Rat-L-Traps, and slow moving crankbaits have been taking staging bass on points, ditches, and in creek channels.  Key continues to be finding water temps that are 5-8º warmer than surrounding areas, and clearer water with the current conditions.   The pre-spawn females are staging just a few feet deeper in the creeks, from the flats, and several in the 5-9 pound range full of eggs have been caught and released over the past week or so.

The clearest water you can find away from river flow has been the best method over the past few weeks.  Bass are beginning to roam onto flats and spawning grounds, out of the creek channels, yet still holding tight to cover.  Rat-L-Traps, Salty Rat Tails, Yum Dingers and plastic lizards, tubes, and jigs over the past few week, have been the go to baits.  The further from Little River current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths.  Cordell Red Fins, Smithwick Rouges, and hard jerk baits are taking a few good size Bass in south Hickory pockets of the area of main lake and the Millwood State Park.  

Slow moving swim baits like the Yum Money minnow in hitch, hologram shad, or Tennessee shad are working randomly in creek channel swings by deflecting off stumps.  Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs in amber, Texas shad, or bruiser colors with a Berkley craw chunk or Yum Wooly Bullee or Wooly Bug trailer are taking a few prespawn bass in the 3-4 lb class.  War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover and White/Chart are taking 2-4 pound Largemouths in McGuire Lake up river.

Large size Rat-L-Traps worked much slower and deflecting off stumps and timber, deeper in the creek channels, over the past few week are still catching Largemouths.  Best colors over the past few weeks are Toledo Gold, Red Shad, Red Shad Zombie, or Red Chrome on sunny days, around 6-8 feet depth flats near creek channel swings, deflecting off stumps in the clearest water you can locate away from muddy water or Little River current.   Chatterbaits in Bull Bream, Spring Bream, black/blue, and blue glimmer shad are working around dead lily pad stems and hydrilla.

Locating water temps 2-5 degrees warmer on sunny days, seems to be key in locating bass in a feeding mood over the past few weeks.  Large flats near deeper creek channels with stumps and timber will hold a few Largemouths on bright sunny days where the water will warm substantially over the mid-day hours as much as 8 degrees.  Largemouths hiding near lay downs, cypress trees, stumps and timber will randomly react and smack a chartreuse/black Bomber Flat A slow moving crank bait, a slow wobbling Rat-L-Trap in Toledo Gold, or a plastic lizard in black, purple, and blue.  Key is finding these warmer water areas on sunny days for the most aggressive bite this time of year.  Salty Rat tails and Yum Dingers were catching some random bass over the past few days.

White Bass:   Continue staging between McGuire Lake and Patterson Shoals in a prespawn condition.  Points all along Little River are holding wads of these nomads.  Cossatot inflow ditch and creek channels protruding into Little River were giving up a great number of Whites and hybrids over the weekend on shad colored Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits, chrome/blue or Smokey Joe Rat-L-Traps.  Annual migration to spawning grounds for the Whites are continuing to move that direction.  Little Georges, Rocket Shads, Little Cleos, Spin Traps, Blakemore Roadrunners were all catching these whites over the past week.

Crappie:  A few more crappie fishermen were out over the past week, and have been catching prespawn Black and White Crappie around 8-12' depth creek channels with deep cypress trees, on jigs this week.  

Cats:  Blues and Channel cats were beginning to improve with the current in Little River and were biting on trotlines set around points and creek mouths from 8-12 feet deep on Charlie, chicken hearts, and hot dogs. 

February 13, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.

http://www.stroutfitters.com/

The Norfork Lake surface temperature had started to rise with this warm weather and south winds. I went looking for bait and found threadfin and gizzards in Bennett’s Bayou. The water temperature had risen to 55 degrees on Saturday. I also found lots of schooling crappies in 15’ of water. I was fishing for stripers using shiners and caught a 12” crappie. I then started looking for them and found large schools roaming the river channel. I expect the water temperature to get back into the high forties but with the expected warmer forecast you should expect to see lots of bait and fish movement in the next 10 days. The shad are moving and should start heading up half way in the major creeks. I still continue to fish Float Creek but with not much success. The stripers are deep along with the shad. I have been seeing fish at 75’ on the bottom in the shad schools. I do not expect this to last much longer as I have found some fish up the creek in waters less then 50’. On Friday I took Bob out for his first striper trip. It was the full moon and windy. I was using both threadfin and gizzard shad. I expected with that bait we would tear up the fish. We found stripers right away in Float Creek and had a bite right away but it was petty soft bite and the fish did not hook itself. We fished for over 5 hours and continued to have soft bites with no real takers. I ran across a friend who had fished the Tracy Marina area both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and limited out both days. He said the shad was in 20’ and thick outside the marina. We went down there but could not find any shad. I think it was before the full moon and the shad were staying out of the marina they normal stay because of the full moon. Anyway it just shows that you can have the best bait and still not catch a striper, but tomorrow is another day.

February 8, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.24 feet and staying pretty steady it is 6.68 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet and unless we get a lot of needed rain looking like it will be low all year and will affect the fishing and catching at different levels good and bad. The warm rain has and will continue to help the catch rate. The Walleye are on the move with the longer days and warmer rain and temps, the fish will be gathered up in different spots this year due to low water and access to them as well, try drop shots tipped with minnows-rigs with bream, crank baits, jerk baits and grubs, start out on gravel bars at the mouth of river and work your way up until ya get bit and then concentrate around those locations. The crappie fishing is better with the conditions but will remain father off shore and might even span in tree tops and stump fields instead of around buck brush, try minnows and jigs in 15-25 feet of water, with some being more shallow on sunny days. No –report on catfish. The Hybrid and white bass are feeding well throughout the day at different times on spoons, in-line spinners, grubs and swim baits try locating shad and the fish will be close. No-report on Bream. The bass fishing is improving every day , with some more of them on the move to outside ditches and more shallower water and starting to feed more ,try rattle traps, crank baits, spinner baits off ends of points or humps, the more shallow fish can be caught with jigs ,small crank baits and jig head worms, the deeper fish can be caught on Alabama rigs-rigs and football heads.

February 8, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Tuesday, 07 Feb, the lake level is approx 4" above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is reduced current this week of Little River, with the gates releasing around 644 CFS as of Tuesday. Water temps dropped over the past week, and are now back on the rise this week.  Navigation is improved for Little River as of Monday due to many river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure have been replaced.  Surface temps are ranging approx 48ºF early, to 55ºF late, depending on location.  Appears the Corps of Engineers replaced many river buoys in the channel over the past week few weeks.

Bass are good on the few warmer days, from around 3-6 pounds pounds on jigs, crankbaits, and swim baits.  Lake level is currently is 259.5 ft-msl, with decreased current from last week.   Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was approx 640 CFS.  Tailwater level at 226 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is improved over last week. 

As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 5-10 inches, over the past couple days.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-10 inches depending on location and current, with the heavier stain and muddy water in current above White Cliffs.  The oxbow's clarity currently ranging approx 10-15 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is stained but improved, approx 5-8", some areas have better clarity.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, current, rain, or thunderstorms.


The Details:

Largemouth Bass:   Bass are improving along Little River and the deeper sections of the oxbows and creeks with these warmer days this week.  Over the past several weeks, they continue roaming up into the flats for short duration where a random bite can happen anytime during the warmer hours of the high sun and random strikes during the warmest period of the day.  Majority of hours of the daylight most bass are spending more time in close proximity to 8-12 foot depths of deeper creek channels, off primary and secondary points, and drops in Little River.  The bass activity level over past couple weeks continues to be a mixed bag with the wildly fluctuating daytime temperatures.  Over the past week, best bite and most activity certainly remains from mid day through mid-afternoon, say 11am to 3pm when surface temps are at a high point this time of year.

Rat-L-Traps, crankbaits, Salty Rat Tails, Lizards, Brush Hogs, and Yum Dingers have been working well over the past week or so, working during majority of the warmest period of the day.  Largemouths were hitting the Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits with abandon, in 9-11 foot depths of creek channels (outer turns of the creek & deeper wash outs) with 4-6 feet flats nearby over the past few days.  The most productive colors of Rat-L-Traps over the past week or two, have been the Lectric Red, the Toledo Gold, and Red Chrome.  Spring Bream colored Rat--L-Traps have also been landing some shallow cruising male bass on flats.  Best colors of Bomber or Bandit crankbaits last week are the the Dance's Crawfish and the brown crawfish/orange belly. 

Several shallow roaming buck male bass have been caught on Smithwick rouges and Cordell Redfins and Echo 1.75 Squarebill cranks over the past 2 weeks just outside the deeper sections of creek channels.  These bucks have been cruising the 5-6 foot flats adjacent to creek channel swings in Mud Lake and in McGuire Lake oxbows up Little River.  Slow moving magnum size tubes in black/blue tail, pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail, or smoke/black/red flake continue randomly working on Cypress trees, knees, and stumps in 8-12 feet depths in the oxbows.  Chatter baits in electric shad, bull bream, or black/blue continue taking a few bass as well, in the oxbows around vegetation lines or dead lily pad stems.

War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover or sexy shad colors were working in the back of McGuire Lake over the past week in the clearer water away from river current.  Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs in Voodoo or Okeechobee Spice colors are still taking nice 15-17" Largemouths on cypress trees and knees in 4-8 foot depths. A green pumpkin or black craw trailer have been what we were matching on the back of the jig with good response from 3-4 pound Largemouths.

White Bass:  and Kentucky Bass continue moving up Little River, stopping on primary and secondary points extending into the river between White Cliffs and Highway 71 bridge at Wilton.  Numerous fishermen have been catching good numbers of Whites and Spots by using Rooster tails in white and red, Little Cleos, Rocket Shads (white / chartreuse), and Rat-L-Traps in Chrome / black and Millwood Magic.


Crappie: are beginning to return to planted brush piles, and were willing to bite minnows and jigs again, over the past week or so.  Fish the planted brush out of direct current in 8-15 feet of depth.  Cordell Paddle tail smoke grubs on light wire jig heads, vertical jigging Blakemore Roadrunners, and hair jigs were catching some nice slabs in planted brush between 8-12-15 feet deep.

Cats:   Channel cats were biting good in Little River over the past week on trot lines between 8-10 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using cut bait, buffalo, shad, and blood baits like chicken livers.

February 7, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. - The weather this winter has been amazing with only a few cool days. At 7 AM today, when I left our Norfork Lake dock, the air temperature was already in the upper fifties. Early spring like weather. I started checking my normal winter spots and found some stripers in 90 feet of water suspended 40 - 50 feet down close to the 62 bridge. I was vertical jigging with a spoon and hooked into 2 fish but both came off after a short run. My second spot was in Float Creek. I marked a few fish lying on the bottom at 70 feet. but they would not take my spoon. I decided to try an area that I normally fish in March heading up towards the Fouts area. I was finding fish in 55 feet of water, but again I could not get them to hit my spoon. I headed into shallower water and found some schooling whites, hybrids and scattered largemouth bass in 25 - 40 feet of water. Bait was scattered and the fish were feeding. I guess the warmer than normal water temperature is moving the bait fish into shallower water and the fish are following. Unless the weather turns cold for an extended period of time we should have an early spring bite. I will try out the night bite sometime this week to see if we can get a good February bite like we had several years ago. The water temperature is almost perfect for the after dark bite throwing a suspending jerk bait.

Over the last few days, I have found largemouth bass in 20 - 40 feet of water, as well as, large schools in 65 feet of water suspended 30 - 50 feet down. Look for the largemouth bass part way back in creeks on secondary points where the channel swings in close to shore. It looks like the bass are starting to transition to an early spring type bite a little earlier this year. I have landed bass on a spoon vertical jigging and by casting out a Kastmaster and letting it sink down to the depth of the suspended fish. Spinner baits are also working on the wind blown banks as well as jig and pigs worked though 30 feet of water. If the weather holds, jerk bait time will start earlier than normal.

The Norfork Lake water level is 547.76 holding fairly stable. The surface water temperature this morning was 48 - 49 degrees, which is 4 - 5 degrees warmer than normal. The main lake is clearing and the creeks and coves are still stained, but I can see the water starting to clear.

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
The Norfork Lake surface temperature had dipped down to 46 degrees in the creeks but warms during the day. Once we start getting warmer nights the lake will begin to warm up during the month of February. As the saying goes you cannot train an old dog new tricks, well I’m an old dog but I learned something new this weekend. I was fishing Float Creek in deep water like we always do this time of year. I usually fish waters 50 to 130’ from December to well into February, finding the shad and you will usually find the fish. This truth has been gospel since I started fishing Norfork Lake. While I continued fishing Float I noticed a troller way back in a cove. I knew him and he only trolls for stripers. I slowly trolled back knowing the water will get to be 30’ and shallower. When I got to 30’ I looked at my depth finder and found lots of stripers and we caught one right away. We continued to fish the area until the stripers left. I thought this was a fluke so I went back the next day and found even more stripers and caught some more. We went to another part of a creek and found lots of bait and stripers in 30’of water. This creek was 10 miles away. The moral is when you cannot find the fish in the normal fishing pattern look outside of the box and you may find the mother lode of fish.

I took out a regular client Howard who had his brother Bill and nephew Billy down for some winter fishing. We left the dock at 7 am and went to Float Creek and setup in 60’ of water and within 15 minutes we missed a couple of stripers and finally hooked up. Bill caught the first striper, then Billy caught the next one and Howard caught the third one. As I said previously we moved well into the cove and found the stripers in 30’ of water. I saw lots of fish but they only wanted threadfin shad, they would not hit my shiners or creek chubs but did hit the threadfin. I really think that we may have a good February now I know where to look for the stripers. If the weather stays warm I plan on try catching some crappie and walleye.

 

February 3, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 2/03/2017

During the past week, we have had no rain, milder temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose four tenths of a foot to rest at eight and six tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty four and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell four tenths of a foot to rest at eight feet below seasonal power pool and twenty four feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell three tenths of a foot to rest at nine and six tenths feet below seasonal power pool and nineteen and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had much more wadable water with less moderate generation. Norfork Lake rose one tenth of a foot to rest at five and nine tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty two and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had less generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

Streamer season is here. Unfortunately the generation has been a bit low for optimal streamer conditions. The idea is to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier). You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With cold weather the smallmouths are much less active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worms with a ruby midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with the colder weather. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

February 1, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
Norfork Lake surface temperature is steady at 48 degrees at night and early morning then rising up to 50 degrees with afternoon sun. The stripers are still not settled into their winter pattern of staying between the bridges but the last few days they are back where they were at the end of December and early January. I fished Float creek and found lots of shad and feeding stripers in depths of 50 to 80’ the 50’ water the stripers were on the bottom and coming up for the shad. In the deeper water they were in the 45 to 55’ range coming up to our lines set at 35 to 40’. I was using creek minnows for bait and used number 4 circle hooks. This bite should continue into February. Just keep looking in the main channels until you can find a consistent amount of shad. The stripers and other predators will show up.

George and Gene come to the area every year to try for some big browns and stripers. They fished with Ozark Fishing Adventures and caught several 10 lb browns. It was my turn to try and catch the big striper they wanted. We fished about 20 minutes when we had a triple on and caught 2 out of 3. It was a great start. The bite was strong for the first 3 hours then it slowed the rest of the day. We did catch 5 stripers but did not get the big one. That will be for another day. You should expect to find stripers in Float and Panther along with the Howard Cove area as long as we keep the warm weather. If it turns cold look for the stripers around the 62 bridge and the mouth of Henderson Marina.

February 1, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - The water level at Greers Ferry lake is at 455.36 feet it is 6.68 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet and staying pretty steady at present. The fishing and catching is good here and will improve every day as the sun warms the water and the days are getting longer. The Hybrid and white bass bite is good on spoons, in-line spinners, swim baits and hair jigs from 25-70 feet deep ,look for shad and the fish will be close. The walleye ,some are eating up rivers now as the river run fish will be spawning soon, try dropped shotted minnows ,crank baits ,jerk baits and grubs, the lake fish will eat the same just deeper on the edges of cuts and humps and points. No – report on catfish. The Crappie are suspended in 15-40 feet and some are on the bottom in 40 feet minnows and jigs working as well as beetle spins for the suspended fish. No-report on Bream other than a few being picked up around the Crappie. The bass fishing is good deep and shallow and around brush piles, up shallow use spinner baits, crank baits and small jigs in the warmer water, mid depths use jig head worms and football heads, and the deeper fish use a c-rigged lizard or cinko and a football head ,fish can be caught out to 70 feet.

January 31, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 30 Jan, the lake level is approx 8" above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is reduced current this week of Little River, with the gates releasing around 2,765 CFS as of Monday. Water temps dropped over the past week.  Navigation is improved for Little River as of Monday due to many river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure have been replaced.  Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging approx 43ºF early, to 49ºF late, depending on location.  Appears the Corps of Engineers replaced many river buoys in the channel over the past week couple weeks.

Bass are good on the few warmer days, from around 3-4 pounds pounds on jigs, crankbaits, and swim baits.  Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.9 ft-msl, with decreased current from last week.   Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was approx 2700 CFS.  Tailwater level as of Monday at 229 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks. 

As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 4-5 inches due to high wind, current, and rain over the past couple days.  Little River's visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current, with the heavier stain and muddy water in current above White Cliffs.  The oxbow's clarity currently ranging approx 10-15 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is heavy stained from rain and current, approx 3-4", some areas have better clarity.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, current, rain, or thunderstorms.


The Details:

Largemouth Bass:   Bass continue holding during the coldest parts of the day and nights deeper holes and ditches along Little River and the deeper sections of the oxbows and creeks.  Over the past few weeks, they continue roaming up into the flats for short duration where a random placed bulky spinnerbait, or a squarebill crankbait, or slow swim bait will draw random strikes during the warmest period of the day.  The past few weeks with the colder water temps have slowed reactions.  Majority of hours of the daylight now the bass are spending more time in the 10-15 foot depths of deeper creek channels, off primary and secondary points, and drops in Little River.

Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working over the past couple weeks, and Texas Craw, Candy Bug, or Okeechobee Spice seem to be best choice with the stained water clarity. Bass Assassin and Bang swim baits like the Die Dapper in Ice Breaker, Shiner, and Houdini colors are working on a swim bait hook.  The Bass Assassin Boss Shiner is also working on a swim bait hook or jig, swimming in 8-10 feet of depth, with the best colors being Mama's 14K, Houdini/Chartreuse tail, or Ripper colors.  Big bulky 3-4" fat gitzit tubes with rattles, are working in deep creeks with stumps and any remaining vegetation.

Deeper diving, 8-10 feet depth Bomber cranks in Tennessee Special, or Bandit brown craw/orange belly colors continue working in the oxbows and in the deeper creek channels over the past several weeks by Largemouths and White Bass alike.  These same cranks and squarebills are also working in creek mouths and points extending into Little River at various times during the day.

White Bass:   Jigging spoons continue working from 14-16 feet depths of Little River in deep holes just out of the current, or behind primary and secondary points.  These White Bass are holding in 12-18 feet just out of current behind points.  Some days they prefer a hammered spoon with bucktail, other days a copper colored or blue/chrome and no bucktail appears to draw more strikes.  Experiment to find best spoon working in your location.  Seems like the copper colored spoon works better with cloud cover and the chrome/blue on bright sunny days.

Crappie: are still scattered from our planted brush piles, and we have not put a decent bite pattern back together since they were willing to bite minnows and jigs prior to the recent increase in current over the past week or so.  Best action prior to the lake rise and current increase was in 12-18 feet as long as it was out of direct current.  Cordell Paddle tail smoke grubs on light wire jig heads, vertical jigging Blakemore Roadrunners, and hair jigs were catching some nice slabs in planted brush between 12-18 feet deep.

Cats:   Blues and channel cats continue to bite good in Little River over the past week with increased current.  Best bites on trot lines between 10-15 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using cut bait, Charlie, and homemade cheese baits.

January 27, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 1/27/2017

During the past week, we have had a minor rain event (a quarter of an inch here in Cotter), cold temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose three tenths of a foot to rest at nine feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty five feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock remained steady at seven and six tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty three and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose two tenths of a foot to rest at nine and three tenths feet below seasonal power pool and eighteen and nine tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had more wadable water mixed with periods of moderate generation. Norfork Lake rose two tenths of a foot to rest at five and eight tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty two feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 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 bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With cold weather the smallmouths are much less active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a yellow egg with a root beer midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with the colder weather. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

January 24, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake has come up some but is back falling it is 6.6 feet below normal pool of 462.04 it sits at 455.44 this morning ,looks like it will get back down to 7 feet below normal pool at least. The fishing over all is good ,most species eating well and the forecast is on the upswing as we enter all pre-spawn phase. The crappie are moving with the bait around the timber and brush piles, most are being taken 40 feet deep with some as shallow as 18-20 on warm sunny days, suspended ,they will eat minnows, jigs and road runners. The Walleye are responding to the sunny days feeding and moving, try as shallow as 10-15 feet and as deep as 40,use minnows, jigs and spoons. Some Bream are being taken along with the Crappie all over the lake on small minnows. No –report on Catfish. The Bass fishing is pretty good over all with it being the time of year to catch a few big species, some more have moved shallow with the rising water, use spinner baits ,small crank baits, the in-between fish can be caught on jigs and jig head worms, the deeper fish out to 70 feet can be caught with a drop shot,c-rig or a football head jig. The Hybrid and White bass are eating threadfins all over the lake at various times of the day and can be located close to the deeper bait as deep as 70 feet or some as shallow as 35-40, use spoons, in-line spinners, hair jigs and swimbaits.

January 24, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. - Norfork Lake's winter fishing pattern is in full swing. The bait fish are in the deep water channels of 80 - 100+ feet and the bait are suspended 50 - 70 feet down. Striped and hybrid bass can be found following the bait fish whether it is on the main lake or back in the major creeks. For most of last week I was fishing in the 62 bridge area, mainly to the south of the bridge. Later in the week the fish moved in between the 2 bridges. Today I was only marking a few stripers, so after a couple hours of looking and fishing with minimal success I decided to move into Float Creek. Immediately I was marking large balls of shad with small schools of stripers following. For the next hour it was total havoc on my boat. I was by myself with 4 live bait poles out. I had doubles on several times and ended up boating 5 stripers, but missed as many. I had bait set at 40, 50 and 60 feet deep, but all my strikes came from the 40 and 50 feet deep baits even though I was marking many fish 60 + feet deep. Today was the first day in over a week that vertical jigging with a spoon would have worked great since I saw multiple fish at one time at same depth. Large shiners, big river chubs and threadfin shad are the best choices for live bait. I had to clean one striper this morning since it could not swim away and found that its belly was full of 1 - 3 inch threadfin shad. If this winter is typical, the fish should stay at this depth and in these areas for the next 3 - 4 weeks. Towards the end of February and beginning of March the major creeks will be great places to look. The fish will start to go toward shallower water following the bait.
Small and largemouth bass, as well as, Kentucky bass fishing has also been good. The bass can be found along the deep water bluff lines. I have found many bass suspended 30 - 50 feet down in 60 feet of water. Early and late in the day they are moving in a little tighter to the shore line 15 - 25 feet deep, but still on the bluffs. You can vertical jig with a spoon, but this method can be difficult with suspended fish. Try casting out a grub, small spinners or blade baits to catch these suspended fish. On the windy days throw a spinner bait. Jig & pigs, other types of plastics and deep diving crank baits are also a good choice for the fish that move in tighter to the shore early and late in the day. Another good place for the Kentucky and Largemouth bass is near deep brush piles. Work the bottom with a spoon around the brush and you will pick up some nice fish.

Crappie are on and near the deep water brush piles. Look at sunken brush in 30 - 50 feet of water. The crappie will be inside of the brush (these are typically the bigger ones) as well as suspended over the brush. At times you will find them only 10 feet deep, but I have more success at 20 + feet deep this time of year.

The Norfork Lake level is currently stable, but has been falling slowly and sits at 547.88. The water temperature is fluctuating between 48 - 50 degrees. The warm days and nights are rising the water temperature slowly. The main lake is clear in most areas and the creeks and coves are stained. Currently Norfork Lake is in excellent fishing condition and the fish that I have been catching are fat and energetic. Make your plans now to come catch a few!

January 24, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 23 Jan, the lake level is approx 9" above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is increased current this week of Little River, with the gates releasing around 5,890 CFS as of Monday. Water temps were stable over the past week.  Navigation is improved for Little River as of Monday due to many river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure have been replaced.  Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging approx 45ºF early, to 52ºF late, depending on location.  Appears the Corps of Engineers replaced many river buoys in the channel over the past week couple weeks.

Bass are good on the few warmer days, from around 3-7 pounds pounds on jigs, crankbaits, bulky tubes and swim baits.  Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 260.0 ft-msl, with increased current from last week.   Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was approx 5600 CFS.  Tailwater level as of Monday at 233 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks. 

As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 4-8 inches due to high wind, current, and rain over the past couple days.  Little River's visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current, with the heavier stain and muddy water in current above White Cliffs.  The oxbow's clarity currently ranging approx 10-15 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is heavy stained from rain and current, approx 3-4", some areas have better clarity.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, current, rain, or thunderstorms.


The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  Bass continue holding during the coldest parts of the day and nights deeper holes and ditches along Little River and the deeper sections of the oxbows and creeks.  Over the past few days, this week, they continue roaming up into the flats for short duration where a jig and a random crankbait & squarebill or slow swim bait will get their attention, during the highest sun/warmest period of the day.  Most bass have slowed their feeding moods over the past few weeks with the lower metabolism and colder body temperatures in the cooler water.  Good starting locations include points extending out into Little River during the warmest period of daylight, and working the deeper drops into Little River where stumps and any remaining dead or dying lily pad stems and vegetation exists.  Majority of hours of the daylight now the bass are spending more time in the 12-15 foot depths of deeper creek channels and Little River drop offs.

Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working with the best colors being Texas Craw, Candy Bug, or Okeechobee Spice colors using black craw worm trailers.  Berkley 10" Berkley Power worms in black grape, or blue fleck continue working around any remaining vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks.  Bass Assassin and Bang swim baits like the Die Dapper in Ice Breaker, Shiner, and Houdini colors are working on a swim bait hook.  The Bass Assassin Boss Shiner is also working on a swim bait hook or jig, swimming in 8-10 feet of depth, with the best colors being Mama's 14K, Houdini/Chartreuse tail, or Ripper colors.

The 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits in Gold Shad, Millwood Magic, and Rayburn red colors are working on points and in creek channels, dumping into Little River during warmest period of daylight.  The bite has slowed and aggressive levels tapered off over the past few weeks of cold nights and cool mornings.  Best bites using crankbaits is a very S-L-O-W stop-n-go retrieve with numerous pauses along the way.

Deeper diving, 8-10 feet depth Bomber cranks in Tennessee Special, Tennessee Shad, or Bandit brown craw/orange belly colors continue to be best choices in the oxbows and in the deeper creek channels over the past several weeks by Largemouths and White Bass alike.  These same cranks and squarebills are also working in creek mouths and points extending into Little River at various times during the day.


White Bass:   Jigging spoons in 12-18 feet depths of Little River are still working.  Deep holes in Little River just out of the current, or behind secondary points continue to hold a few good schools of Whites from 12-18 feet of depth.  Keep sharp hooks on the spoons, the bite of Whites this time of year is slow and methodical, and a soft touch rod helps keep in contact with a slow and soft bite.

Crappie: were willing to bite minnows and jigs prior to the recent increase in current, but seem to have disappeared along Little River with all the muddy current over the past few days.  Best action prior to the lake rise and current increase was in 12-18 feet as long as it was out of direct current.  Cordell Paddle tail smoke grubs on light wire jig heads, vertical jigging Blakemore Roadrunners, and hair jigs were catching some nice slabs in planted brush between 12-18 feet deep.

Cats:   Blues and channel cats continue to bite good in Little River over the past week with increased current.  Best bites are on trot lines 12-15 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using chicken gizzards, livers, and cut bait.

January 23, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.

http://www.stroutfitters.com/

Norfork Lake surface temperature is steady at 48 degrees and the stripers are getting picky on the size of bait they want to eat. I have been fishing threadfin shad, shiners, and creek chubs. Up to the end of this week the bite has been very good, but starting Thursday they quit biting the smaller baits and now want the largest shiners you can find. These shiners are call brooders or number 30's by the bait shops. The stripers are biting on them much better than the small baits. I fished the Howard Cove area Wednesday and Thursday and caught stripers and hybrids but by Friday they had moved out into the main lake below the U.S. 62 bridge. The stripers are roaming the deep water chasing shad so you will need to stay with the bait fish to find and catch the stripers. The shad are in the 40’ range and the fish are being caught between 35 and 40’. This bite should continue into February. Just keep looking in the main channels until you can find a consistent amount of shad. The stripers and other predators will show up. I go to sports shows every year to visit and talk with potential clients that would like to fish lake Norfork Lake. The first one is in Collinsville IL and the other is in Schaumburg IL. Every year you meet clients and other fishing guides and start developing a relationships. One such relationship I made is with 2 crappie guides, Steve and Alan. Steve and Alan guides on Lake Shelbyville and Kentucky Lake. Alan is also the Lowrance Rep. Having them on my boat for 2 days gave me some great insights into electronics and how better I can use technology to locate bait and fish. The first day out was our best day. We caught 5 stripers and missed many more. In the 8 hours we fished we had some great stories and shared information on lots of topics. We fished the Howard Cove area in 70 to 90’ of water with our lines set at 38’. We were using shiners, shad, and creek chubs. The next day was slower and we only caught 3 but again missed a few. This time of year you have to just keep going out and find the bait. One day it will be great and then the next two days slow. But keep doing it and you will figure out the fish and catch them consistently.

January 20, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 1/20/2017

During the past week, we have had a few rain events (for a combined total of an inch here in Cotter), cold then warmer temperatures and very heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose two tenths of a foot to rest at nine and three tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty five and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose three tenths of a foot to rest at seven and six tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty three and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at nine and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool and nineteen and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had a mixed bag with levels of wadable water mixed with periods of moderate generation. Norfork Lake dropped six tenths of a foot to rest at six feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty two and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation with more wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 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 bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With cold weather the smallmouths are much less active. My 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.

There has been more wadable water on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a yellow egg with a root beer midge dropper.

Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

January 17, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 16 Jan, the lake level is approx 4.2" above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is decreased current this week of Little River, with the gates releasing around 432 CFS as of Monday. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week.  Navigation is cautioned for Little River as of Monday due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure.  Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging approx 40ºF early, to 50ºF late, depending on location.  Appears the Corps of Engineers continue working to replace some river buoys in the channel over the past week, however several are either out of place or missing in the main lake body.  Use caution in navigation on the Little River throughout the main lake body.

Bass are fair on warm days, from 2-4 pounds on jigs, crankbaits, and bulky tubes and 10" worms.  Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.5 ft-msl, with consistent current from last week.   Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was approx 432 CFS.  Tailwater level as of Monday at 225.4 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks. 

As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 3-5 inches due to high wind and rain over the past couple days.  Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point, and northeast quadrant remain stained.  Little River's visibility ranges  4-6 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity currently ranging approx 15-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is stained from rain and wind, approx 5-10", some areas have better clarity.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.


The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  Bass have completed their fall migration, and are now holding during the cold of the nights and most days in their deeper wintering holes along Little River and the deeper sections of the oxbows and creeks.  Over the past couple days, this week, they are willing to roam up into the flats for short duration where a jig and a random crankbait & squarebill or slow moving tube or bulky worm will get their attention, during the highest sun/warmest period of the day.  Most bass have slowed to fair feeding moods over the past few weeks.   Good starting locations include points extending out into Little River during the warmest period of daylight, and working the deeper drops into Little River where stumps and any remaining lily pad stems may exist.  Majority of hours of the daylight now the bass are spending more time in the 10-12+ foot depths of deeper creek channels and Little River drop offs.

Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working with the best colors being Texas Craw, Candy Bug, or Okeechobee Spice colors using black craw worm trailers.  Berkley 10" Berkley Power worms in black grape, or blue fleck continue working around any remaining vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. 

The 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits in Ghost, Sexy West, or Millwood Magic colors are working on points and in creek channels, dumping into Little River during warmest period of daylight.  The bite has slowed and aggressive levels tapered off over the past few weeks of cold nights and cool mornings.  Best bites using crankbaits is a very S-L-O-W stop-n-go retrieve with numerous pauses along the way.

Deeper diving, 8-10 feet depth Bomber cranks in Tennessee Special, Tennessee Shad, or Bandit brown craw/orange belly colors continue to be best choices in the oxbows and in the deeper creek channels over the past several weeks by Largemouths and White Bass alike.  These same cranks and squarebills are also working in creek mouths and points extending into Little River at various times during the day.

Magnum sized, bulky, 3-5" big fatbutt gizzit tubes continue working in the deepest creek channels of 8-12 feet depth on stumps or standing timber.  Best colors over the past couple weeks include black/blue tail, pumpkinseed/chartreuse, or green pumpkin/chartreuse.  Placing rattles in the tubes are best way with the stained water conditions, and adding scent pads, for the bass to locate the slow moving tubes.  Pitching and shaking the rattling tubes near stumps in 9-12 feet of creek channel depths, are getting some good responses from lethargic bass with the cooler water temps over the past week.

White Bass:   Jigging spoons in 12-18 feet depths of Little River are still working.  Deep holes in Little River just out of the current, or behind secondary points continue to hold a few good schools of Whites from 12-18 feet of depth.  Keep sharp hooks on the spoons, the bite of Whites this time of year is slow and methodical, and a soft touch rod helps keep in contact with a slow and soft bite.

Crappie:  have improved along Little River.  Planted brush in 12-16 feet are beginning to draw in some good slabs out of any remaining, reduced current.  Cordell Paddle tail smoke grubs on light wire jig heads, vertical jigging Blakemore Roadrunners, and hair jigs continue catching some nice slabs in planted brush between 12-18 feet deep.

Cats:   Blues and channel cats continue to bite good in Little River over the past couple weeks.  Best best are trot lines 18-22 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using cut shad, Charlie or chicken hearts.

January 17, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.04 feet and falling it is 7 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet . it has the shad and fish hemmed up so when you find the bait the fish will be close and most species are ready to chew as they have not saw baits in a while.

The bass fishing is good on spinner baits, crank baits,dropshot rigs,c-rigs and football heads at various depths, look on points, humps and bluff walls for bait and fish. The crappie are eating on various days on minnows and jigs up to 50 feet deep and some as shallow as 15 on sunny days and are suspended most days. No report on Catfish Or Bream. The hybrid and White bass are eating well on spoons, in-line spinners, hair jigs and swim baits or grubs, look for fish and bait fish in the 25-70 feet range. Walleye are showing up more and more now with some being caught up rivers and some in the lake on minnows on the bottom and on drop shot rigs, look in the 15-50 feet range for the best results.

January 17, 2016 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
Norfork Lake surface temperature had dropped to 48 degrees and the stripers are on the feed. Multiple limits of stripers were caught this past weekend' Between my son Sean and I we caught 33 stripers from Thursday thorough Sunday. Not all were kept but our clients had a lot of fun reeling them in. The main bait was on creek chubs and shiners. We were fishing the Howard Cove area in 70 to 90’ of water with our lines set between 35 and 40’. Stripers are also being caught under the 62 bridge and back side of Henderson marina. Another tip in addition to watching for sea gulls is to locate large schools of fish is the Loons They hunt in packs and when you see them in a big circle they are getting ready to feed on a large school of shad. There will be stripers and other predictors around those schools. This bite should continue into February. Just keep looking in the main channels until you can find a consistent amount of shad. The stripers will show up. I had a request from Tom saying he wanted to take his dad and grandfather striper fishing on Friday the 13th. I was booked so my son Sean took them. The weather was wet so Tom’s grandfather took a pass and as luck would have it the rains never came for Tom and Bob. They hooked up within their first 10 minutes and continued to catch stripers until their trip ended. In all they caught 10 stripers and kept their limit of 6. Sean was fishing the Howard Cove area in 70 to 90’ of water with the lines set at 35 to 40 feet with Creek Chubs. Striper fishing will great for the next several weeks so come out and give it a try. For you out of area folks, you might want to get your calendars out and start making plans now. Winter is here but spring is right around the corner. The stripers will begin their spring migration when the water stays in the mid fifties and the south winds blow.. A good tool to use to make your plans with is on the web at www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake! For a real outdoor adventure, you might consider a striper fishing trip combined with a pheasant hunt. It's a blast!

January 13, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 1/13/2017

During the past week, we have had a trace of rain, brutally cold then warmer temperatures and very heavy winds (to include several days of lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell eight tenths of a foot to rest at nine and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty five and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell three tenths of a foot to rest at seven and nine tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty three and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell three tenths of a foot to rest at nine and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool and nineteen and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had a mixed bag with levels of wadable water mixed with periods of moderate generation. Norfork Lake dropped eight tenths of a foot to rest at five and four tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty one and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation with much less wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 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 bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With cold weather the smallmouths are much less active. My 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.

There has been much less wadable water on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been an orange egg.

Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

January 11, 2016 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.http://www.hummingbird-hideaway.com/ - I have finally been able to get out on Norfork Lake. A holiday vacation and then cold weather kept me off the lake for a couple weeks, but I'm glad to be back!  Fishing on Norfork Lake has entered the winter phase of the fishing cycle, meaning the shad are going into deep water and the fish are following. In mid December I was catching fish on large flats in 40 - 60 feet of water. Over the last week I have found large schools of striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass out closer to the main river channel or main creek channels. I have been catching stripers in 60 to 100 feet of water and the fish are suspended 30 - 60 feet deep. My favorite winter time bait is a spoon. I find the fish and drop a spoon down to their depth and start jigging the spoon up and down. With cold water the jigging method should be slowed down. The fish are still active, but are starting to slow down and don't necessarily want to chase it. You can also troll with swim baits or Alabama rigs. The hardest part about trolling is getting your bait down to the correct depth. Down riggers, lead core line or in-line weights are different ways to get your bait down while trolling. Live bait is also working very well. During the cold months I use big shiners. The stripers seem to like them just fine. Over the last week I have found stripers in the major creeks such as Float and Panther. You will also find stripers from the 62 bridge area down to the Howard Cove area. The best part of winter fishing you do not necessarily need to be fishing at the crack of dawn. Monday afternoon I found large schools of feeding fish a 1 pm and it lasted all afternoon.

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
The cold weather the past few days will drop the Norfork Lake surface temperature a few degrees but I suspect it go back up with the warming trend that should take place this week. I fished Wednesday and Thursday and could not find any shad out in the channel of the lake. The shad are still in the main creeks like Float Creek, Panther Creek, and the Crystal Cove area. The shad are also in the marinas under the docks. I fished Float Creek and saw very large schools of stripers ranging in water 45 to 90’, the stripers were from 35 to 55’. Sometimes you could get 2 or 3 hits when the school passes by then other times nothing. The best approach is set your baits after you find some shad and just continue moving in a large circle. Most of the time you will see nothing on your locator but then a school will show up and the fun begins. The artificial users are catching stripers and white bass on spoons and the trollers are catching stripers on swim baits. Find the shad and you will find the fish. I had a Cast & Blast this past week with three generations, grandfather (Ray), son (John), and grandson (Henry). We fished Tuesday and Wednesday and pheasant hunted Thursday. Wednesday the stripers were very aggressive and we hooked our limit multiple times but only managed to boat 6 stripers, Wednesday the bite all together different we had over 25 strikes but many were nothing more than a pull down and the bait was gone we did manage to catch 8 stripers and missed a few more we should have had. Thursday the temperature was 19 degrees but felt warmer because we had little wind. When you can get together 3 generations it’s not about how many fish or birds you shoot it’s the time spent together and the memories you make that will last a lifetime. I was fishing Float Creek with the lines set at 35 to 40 feet with Creek Chubs. Striper fishing will great for the next several weeks so come out and give it a try.

January 11, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - The water level at Greers Ferry is at 455.23 it is 6.81 feet below normal pool of 462.04 for this time of year, as they are working on the dam, the temp is around 45 degrees. The black bass fishing is going good on spinner baits, small crank baits for these  shallow fish , c-rigs and football head jigs for the deeper fish as well as a drop-shot rig, the fish in-between can be caught with the same as the deep fish and some bigger crank baits coming in to play. Look for bait on points and humps, and concentrate in 25- 40 foot range. No report on Bream. The catfish are eating jugs and lines baited with crawfish and dog food. The crappie fishing is on and off day to day, with the best action around some wood whether it be pole timber or brush piles. Most will be suspended in the 25-45 foot range and minnows and jigs working best. Walleye are eating in the clearer areas of the lake better than the rest on small jigs. Drop shots and minnows on the bottom in the 40-45 foot range, some up by and in the rivers may be shallower on certain days . The Hybrid and White bass are eating well all over the lake on spoons, in-line spinners, hair jigs and swim baits, look for bait and schools of fish 25-70 feet of water .

January 9, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 9 Jan, the lake level is approx 3" above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is increased current this week of Little River, with the gates releasing around 2330 CFS as of Monday. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week.  Navigation is cautioned for Little River as of Monday due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure.  Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging approx 40ºF early, to 45ºF late, depending on location.  Appears the Corps of Engineers continue working to replace some river buoys in the channel over the past week, however several are either out of place or missing in the main lake body.  Use caution in navigation on the Little River throughout the main lake body.

Bass are slow to fair on warm days, from 2-3 pounds on jigs, crankbaits, and bulky tubes and 10" worms.  Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.4 ft-msl, with consistent current from last week.   Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was approx 2332 CFS.  Tailwater level as of Monday at 227.8 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks. 

As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 4-8 inches due to high wind and rain over the past couple days.  Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point, and northeast quadrant remain stained.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-10 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity currently ranging approx 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is stained from rain and wind, approx 5-10", some areas have better clarity.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.


The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  Bass have completed most of their fall migration, and are now holding during the cold of the nights and most days in their deeper wintering holes along Little River and the deeper sections of the oxbows and creeks.  Over the past couple days, this week, they are willing to roam up into the flats for short duration where a jig and a random crankbait & squarebill or slow moving tube or bulky worm will get their attention, during the highest sun/warmest period of the day.  Most bass have slowed to fair feeding moods over the past few weeks.   Good starting locations include points extending out into Little River during the warmest period of daylight, and working the deeper drops into Little River where stumps and any remaining lily pad stems may exist.  Majority of hours of the daylight now the bass are spending more time in the 9-15+ foot depths of deeper creek channels and Little River drop offs.

Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working this week with the best colors being Black/blue/purple, Texas Craw, or Spotted Tobasco colors using black craw worm trailers.  Berkley 10" Berkley Power worms in blue fleck continue working around any remaining vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. 

The 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits in Ghost, Sexy West, or Millwood Magic colors are working on points and in creek channels, dumping into Little River during warmest period of daylight.  The bite has slowed and aggressive levels tapered off over the past few weeks of cold nights and cool mornings.  Best bites using crankbaits is a stop-n-go retrieve with a few pauses along the way.

Deeper diving Bomber cranks in Citrus Shad, & Tennessee Special colors continue to be best choices in the oxbows and in the deeper creek channels over the past several weeks by Largemouths and White Bass alike.  These same cranks and squarebills are also working in creek mouths and points extending into Little River at various times during the day.

Magnum sized, bulky 3-5" big fatbutt gizzit tubes continue working in creeks next to stumps and standing timber.  Best colors over the past week include black/blue tail, smoke/chartreuse or bluegill.  Placing rattles in the tubes are best way with the stained water conditions, and adding scent pads, for the bass to locate the slow moving tubes.  Pitching and shaking the rattling tubes near stumps in 9-12 feet of creek channel depths, are getting some good responses from lethargic bass on colder days/mornings.

White Bass:   Keep a jigging spoon handy for these nomads.  Deep holes in Little River just out of the current, or behind secondary points will hold a few good schools of Whites from 12-18 feet of depth.  Keep sharp hooks on the spoons, the bite of Whites this time of year is slow and methodical, and a soft touch rod helps keep in contact with a slow and soft bite.

Crappie:  have improved along Little River.  Planted brush in 15-17 feet are beginning to draw in some good slabs out of any remaining, reduced current.  Cordell Paddle tail smoke grubs on light wire jig heads, and Blakemore Roadrunners continue catching some nice slabs in planted brush between 15-17-18 feet deep.

Cats:   Blues and channel cats continue to bite good in Little River over the past couple weeks.  Best best are trot lines 15-20 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using cut buffalo, cut shad, or chicken gizzards.

January 6, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 1/06/2017

During the past week, we have had a trace of rain, a trace of snow, brutally cold temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell two tenths of a foot to rest at eight and seven tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty four and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell two tenths of a foot to rest at seven and six tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty three and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell four tenths of a foot to rest at nine and two tenths feet below seasonal power pool and eighteen and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had a mixed bag with levels of wadable water mixed with periods of moderate generation. Norfork Lake dropped one and one tenth of a foot to rest at four and six tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and thirty and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation with much less wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 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 bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With cold weather the smallmouths are much less active. My 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.

There has been much less wadable water on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been an orange egg.

Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

January 2, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
The Norfork Lake surface temperature is staying in the high forties to low fifties depending on what part of the lake you are in. The shad can be found in the main creeks like Float Creek, Panther Creek, and the Crystal Cove area. The shad are also in the marinas under the docks. I have them under my dock at Tracy Marina. Sometimes you can find schools of stripers within the marinas so make sure you have your depth finder on when your leaving your marina The live bait users continue to catch stripers using shad, creek cubs, and shiners. The artificial users are catching stripers and white bass on spoons, and the trollers are catching stripers on swim baits. Find the shad and you will find the fish.

My cousins use the Christmas break to visit and striper fishing, we fished Wednesday and Thursday and caught stripers both days. The first day it was very cloudy but with a calm wind we fished for several hours without a bite. Then the sun came out and the stripers started feeding. We caught 5 within an hour, then the bite was over. Thursday the sun was out but the wind started early and pickup all morning long. Emily had not caught a fish the day before so it was her turn. My cousin Donald hooked the first striper but lost it at the boat. Emily hooked and landed 3 before the wind turned bad. The wind continued to pick up all morning so we finally had to quit. The waves were 2 ½ feet and it was unsafe to continue fishing. I was fishing Float Creek with the lines set at 35 to 40 feet with Creek Chubs. I could not hold the boat in place so we just floated down the center of the creek and hooked the stripers as we floated. Striper fishing will great for the next several weeks so come out and give it a try.

December 23, 2016 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 12/23/2016

During the past week, we have had a bit of snow (just a trace here in Cotter), bitterly cold temperatures and heavy winds (to include wind chill advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell eight tenths of a foot to rest at eight feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty four feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell two tenths of a foot to rest at seven and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty three and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell five tenths of a foot to rest at eight and seven tenths feet below seasonal power pool and eighteen and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had a mixed bag with levels of wadable water mixed with periods of moderate generation. Norfork Lake fell eight tenths of a foot to rest at two and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and twenty eight and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation with much less wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With colder weather and a higher demand for power, we should see less wadable water.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 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 bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. We have had some wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With cold weather the smallmouths are much less active. My 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.

There has been much less wadable water on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been an orange egg.

Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

December 21, 2016 - Greers Ferry Lake - The water level at Greers Ferry lake is at 456.05 and falling it is 5.99 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet, the fishing is ok,and the 10 day weather forecast is good other than a little rain, which we need to help clean up the turn over and things will be back to normal and all species should be back on the bite good before real winter sets in, happy holidays. The Hybrids and White bass bite is going around the lake good at places on top and down on structure and in the middle of no-where suspended around shad, try top water baits,spoons,in-line spinners, hair jigs and swim baits from 25- 70 feet of water. The crappie are suspended around any wood or just floating around in the middle of nowhere close to shad as well, use jigs and minnows as well as road runners slow reeled for the best luck in 12-30 feet of water. No report on Bream. Catfishing is off because of turn over as well. The walleye some are eating somewhat up the rivers and the lake is dirty for them to eat much, try crank baits and jigs tipped with minnows or hair jigs. The bass fishing is good in spots,try spinnerbaits and small crank baits up shallow and c-rigs and football heads out deep.

December 20, 2016 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 19 Dec, the lake level is approx 5" above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is reduced current this week of Little River, with the gates releasing around 878 CFS as of Monday. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week.  Navigation is cautioned for Little River as of Monday due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure.  Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging approx 45ºF early, to 50ºF late, depending on location.  Appears the Corps of Engineers continue working to replace some river buoys in the channel over the past week, however several are either out of place or missing in the main lake body.  Use caution in navigation on the Little River throughout the main lake body.

Bass are slow to fair on warm days, from 2-3 pounds on Rat-L-Traps, jigs, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits.  Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.6 ft-msl, with consistent current from last week.   Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was approx 878 CFS.  Tailwater level as of Monday at 225.8 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks. 

As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 4-8 inches due to high wind and rain over the past couple days.  Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point, and northeast quadrant remain stained.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-10 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity currently ranging approx 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is stained from rain and wind, approx 5-10", some areas have better clarity.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.


The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  Bass continue migration to their wintering spots and deeper creeks, and Little River over the past few weeks, but roaming during the highest sun/warmest period of the day back to shallow flats and creeks.  Most bass have slowed to fair feeding moods over the past few weeks, best from 2 to 3 pounds on crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps, jigs and spinnerbaits in deeper creek mouths and channel swings dumping into Little River.  Most bass continue their seasonal nomadic roaming over the past few weeks, following huge shad schools in and out of creek channels and up and down Little River. Points, creek channels away from river current, flats, and oxbows are good starting locations.  Shad continue relating to creek channels over the past couple weeks, moving in and out of the main creek channel to the points and back again, depending on surface temperatures.  Huge schools of shad are roaming in and out of creeks and points junction with Little River over the past several weeks, and the Largemouths are following them on a daily basis.  One day they maybe in the mouth of the creek dumping into Little River, the next day, gone, or moved to backs of creeks, depending on surface temps overnight.  Lots of migration and nomadic activity this time of year on Millwood.  Majority of hours of the daylight now the bass are spending more time in the 12-15 foot depths of deeper creek channels and Little River drop offs.

Bass Assassin Shads in Panhandle Moon, Bad To The Bone, and Grey Ghost colors are still working by deadsticking on light wire hook in remaining lily pad stems and vegetation. Sexy West or Ghost colored Echo 1.75 crankbaits are working. 

Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working this week with the best colors being Habenero, Black/blue, and Texas Craw colors using black craw worm trailers.  Berkley 10" Berkley Power worms in black, black grape, and blue fleck continue working around vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. 

Rat-L-Traps worked along points and in creek channels have been working well for several weeks.  The Rat-L-Traps continue catching 2-3 pound Largemouths in creeks, with the Chrome/blue tail spinners, Millwood Magic, and Tennessee Shad colors.  The 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits in Ghost, Sexy West, or Millwood Magic colors continue working on points and in creek channels, dumping into Little River.  The bite has slowed and aggressive levels tapered off over the past week of cold nights and cool mornings.  Best bites using crankbaits is a stop-n-go retrieve with a few pauses along the way.

Deeper diving Bomber cranks in Citruse, Citrus Shad, & Tennessee Special colors continue to be best choices in the oxbows and in the deeper creek channels over the past several weeks by Largemouths and White Bass alike.  These same cranks and squarebills are also working in creek mouths and points extending into Little River at various times during the day.

Magnum sized, bulky 3-5" big fatbutt gizzit tubes continue working in creeks next to stumps and standing timber.  Best colors over the past week include black neon, pumpkinseed/chartreuse, or black/blue.  Placing rattles in the tubes are best way with the stained water conditions, and adding scent pads, for the bass to locate the slow moving tubes.  Pitching and shaking the rattling tubes near stumps in 8-9 feet of creek channel depths, are getting some good responses from lethargic bass on colder days/mornings.

White Bass:   Whites & hybrids continue roaming Little River, mouths of creek channels, and the oxbows, and are hitting the Citrus, Chartreuse Shad or Tennessee Shad colored crankbaits, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons, and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white.

Crappie:  have improved due to reduction of current in Little River.  Planted brush in 12-18 feet are beginning to draw in some good slabs out of any remaining, reduced current.  Cordell Paddle tail smoke grubs on light wire jig heads were catching some nice 2-2.5 pound slabs over the past week in planted brush between 12-15 feet deep.

Cats:   Blues and channel cats continue to bite good in Little River over the past couple weeks.  Best best are trot lines 10-15 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using cut bait and cheese dough bait.

December 20, 2016 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
The Norfork Lake surface temperature is still in the mid-fifties but the cold weather should get the lake around the 50 degree mark. The shad and stripers will move to deeper water as the water gets colder. This time of year the best early place to fish is Float Creek and the Hand Cove area. Stay in those areas until the beginning of January then start looking at the 62 bridge area. This past week Stripers were caught north of the 101 bridge on the big flat, look for the sea gulls and you will find the stripers. The stripers are moving very fast so be prepared to keep moving. The live bait users are catching stripers using shad and shiners and the artificial users are catching stripers and white bass on spoons. Find the shad and you will find the fish.

I had Dan & Art scheduled for early October but both guys have serious back and shoulder problems so we rescheduled our 3 day striper trip for last week. Both guys could only fish about 4 hours a morning. We found stripers right away each morning and the bites were fast and furious the first hour. Both guys were new to this so they missed most of the fish but we had a great time each day. Art caught the most fish since he stood the whole time his back was preventing from sitting so he was better prepared to hook the fish. We found fish each day, the guys using spoons were doing better than us since the schools were moving so fast they could keep up with them by following the sea gulls. When you have 7 lines out in the water it’s hard to just pickup and move to the next fury of activity. We did catch stripers each day and overall had a great 3 day experience. They have all ready booked for next year. With the cold weather the striper bite will continue to improve for the next month.

December 16, 2016 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 12/16/2016

During the past week, we have had a couple of rain events (combined for a trace here in Cotter), bitterly cold temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell four tenths of a foot to rest at seven and two tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty three and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell eight tenths of a foot to rest at seven and three tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty three and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell six tenths of a foot to rest at eight and two tenths feet below seasonal power pool and seventeen and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had a mixed bag with levels of wadable water mixed with periods of moderate generation. Norfork Lake fell five tenths of a foot to rest at one and seven tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and twenty seven and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation with much less wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With cooler fall weather and lower lake levels, we should see more wadable water.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 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 bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. We have had some wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With cold weather the smallmouths are much less active. My 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.

There has been much less wadable water on the Norfork. The lake has turned over and there is a sulphur smell on the upper river and with lower dissolved oxygen, in that area, the bite has been slow there. Hopefully the colder weather will help this situation.The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been an orange egg.

Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

December 14, 2016 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 456.86 feet and falling it is 5.18 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet and the lake is going through a turn over , so it will be about 2 weeks getting over this and the catching should be real good again all over the lake until it gets super cold and that will be the only thing that slows the bite. The bass fishing is still good ahead and behind the turnover on spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, football heads and c-rigs as well as a whacky rigged right bite cinko,from real shallow out to about 40 feet. The crappie are floating around suspended mostly in 5-18 feet of water around any wood and biting jigs and minnows as well as road runners. The bream have slowed but some can be caught in about 27 feet on a drop shot with a cricket or crawler. The urn over has turned off the catfish, but should return to eating on points and edges of flats after it is finished in 25-35 feet of water on just about any of your favorite baits. The walleye ,I have been told are eating up the rivers pretty good on staged places from the mouth up about ½  way on live bait, the lake fish are scattered with the turn over and some can be caught dragging a minnow on a drop shot rig 25-40 feet of water, some have even gone shallow and can be caught on a jig head worm and c-rig. The Hybrid And White bass are eating well on the outskirts of the turn over as well on top and down off and on all day on top water baits,spoons,in-line spinners swim baits and hair jigs. 25-40 feet of water after the turn over look for some to be hanging out in the 70 foot range.

December 13, 2016 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.http://www.hummingbird-hideaway.com/ - It has been a fun week fishing Norfork Lake. We have had several fishing guests at the resort this week and we all were catching fish. The bite for striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass is good. Vertical jigging with a spoon is a good method to catch these species this time of year. Big schools of fish are roaming large flats in 44 - 55 feet of water. Once you find the fish all you need to do is drop your spoon and jig it up and down bouncing it off of the bottom. If it is a school of feeding fish it won't take long until your spoon has been taken, then you need to make sure you give your rod a good jerk to set the hook. Electronic fish finders are very helpful this time of year as you are looking out in the middle of the lake for these fish. Sometimes mother nature helps you out and you find a flock of seagulls diving into the water feeding on shad. More than likely there is a school of feeding fish under the feeding birds. This only happens during the late fall and winter months as the seagulls are a migratory bird. Live bait is also working using either gizzard or thread fin shad. If you don't want to go out and net your own shad you can purchase brooder shiners. They will work very well in the cold water months. If you are live bait fishing you need to set your baits from 30 - 40 feet deep. Trolling is another method of striper fishing, but you need to get your baits down to the same depths as the live bait. Best places to look for stripers/hybrids and white bass are the big flats near the 101 bridge area, Big Sandy back in the 101 Marina area and back past Fouts Boat Dock. My bite really hasn't started until around 8AM and it can last till noon or later, as it did today. Later in the day the fish start to move to mouths of creeks and coves as well as out to the river channel in 60 plus feet of water.
Largemouth and spotted bass are also schooling. I have found large schools of fish in similar areas as the stripers, as well as, part way back into creeks out in the middle.  Look in 40 - 50 feet of water for these fish. When I can find a slight drop off on a flat that is near or on an old creek channel I have typically found a lot of fish and they don't move off this area as fast. One morning I caught over a dozen largemouth in the 2.5 - 3.5 pound range. Some bigger largemouth are starting to move in shallow to feed early and late in the day. This is a good time to break out your jerk baits and give it a try. On windy days a spinner bait is working great, but the old standby, a jig and pig, will always pick up some nice fish.

Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 552.44. The lake surface water temperature is also falling and currently is in the 54 - 55 degree range. The lake is still stained, but is a great fishing color.

December 13, 2016 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 12 Dec, the lake level is approx 3" above normal conservation pool and rising.  There is increased current this week of Little River, with the gates releasing around 2993 CFS as of Monday. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week.  Navigation is cautioned for Little River as of Monday due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure.  Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging approx 50ºF early, to 55ºF late, depending on location.  Appears the Corps of Engineers continue working to replace some river buoys in the channel over the past week, however several are either out of place or missing in the main lake body.  Use caution in navigation on the Little River throughout the main lake body.

Bass are fair from 2-4 pounds on Rat-L-Traps, jigs, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits.  Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.5 ft-msl, with consistent current from last week.   Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was approx 2993 CFS.  Tailwater level as of Monday at 226.4 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks. 

As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 4-8 inches due to high wind and rain over the past couple days.  Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point, and northeast quadrant remain stained.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-10 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity currently ranging approx 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is stained from rain and wind, approx 5-10", some areas have better clarity.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.


The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  Bass are in migration to their wintering spots and deeper creeks, and Little River over the past few weeks, but roaming during the highest sun/warmest period of the day back to shallow flats and creeks.  Most bass are in fair to good feeding moods over the past few weeks, best from 2 to 4 pounds on crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps, jigs and spinnerbaits in deeper creek mouths and channel swings dumping into Little River.  Most bass continue their seasonal nomadic roaming over the past few weeks, following huge shad schools in and out of creek channels and up and down Little River. Points, creek channels away from river current, flats, and oxbows are good starting locations.  Shad continue relating to creek channels over the past couple weeks, moving in and out of the main creek channel to the points and back again, depending on surface temperatures.  Huge schools of shad are roaming in and out of creeks and points junction with Little River over the past several weeks, and the Largemouths are following them on a daily basis.  One day they maybe in the mouth of the creek dumping into Little River, the next day, gone, or moved to backs of creeks, depending on surface temps overnight.  Lots of migration and nomadic activity this time of year on Millwood.

Bass Assassin Shads in Panhandle Moon, Bad To The Bone, and Grey Ghost colors are still working by deadsticking on light wire hook in remaining lily pad stems and vegetation. Sexy West or Ghost colored Echo 1.75 crankbaits are working. 

Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working this week with the best colors being Habenero, Black/blue, and Texas Craw colors using black craw worm trailers.  Berkley 10" Berkley Power worms in black, black grape, and blue fleck continue working around vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. 

Rat-L-Traps worked along points and in creek channels have been working well for several weeks.  The Rat-L-Traps continue catching 2-3 pound Largemouths in creeks, with the Chrome/blue tail spinners, Millwood Magic, and Tennessee Shad colors.  The 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits in Ghost, Sexy West, or Millwood Magic colors continue working on points and in creek channels, dumping into Little River.  The bite has slowed and aggressive levels tapered off over the past week of cold nights and cool mornings.  Best bites using crankbaits is a stop-n-go retrieve with a few pauses along the way.

Deeper diving Bomber cranks in Citruse, Citrus Shad, & Tennessee Special colors continue to be best choices in the oxbows and in the deeper creek channels over the past several weeks by Largemouths and White Bass alike.  These same cranks and squarebills are also working in creek mouths and points extending into Little River at various times during the day.

Magnum sized, bulky 3-5" big fatbutt gizzit tubes are working in creeks next to stumps and standing timber.  Best colors over the past week include black neon, pumpkinseed/chartreuse, or black/blue.  Placing rattles in the tubes are best way with the stained water conditions, and adding scent pads, for the bass to locate the slow moving tubes.  Pitching and shaking the rattling tubes near stumps in 8-9 feet of creek channel depths, are getting some good responses from lethargic bass on colder days/mornings.

White Bass:   Whites & hybrids continue roaming Little River, mouths of creek channels, and the oxbows, and are hitting the Citrus, Chartreuse Shad or Tennessee Shad colored crankbaits, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons, and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white.

Crappie:  have scattered over the past week due to wind, rain, incoming fresh water, and increased discharge and current in Little River.

Cats:   Blues and channel cats continue to bite good w/ the increase of current in Little River over the past couple weeks.  Best best are trot lines 10-15 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using cut bait and chicken gizzards.

December 12, 2016 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
The Norfork Lake surface temperature is still in the mid-fifties and the shad and stripers are staying in the creeks and on the flats. With the current cold weather the lake temperature is dropping that will force the shad and stripers to move into the river channels. Look for them between the bridges and the Howard Cove area. Stripers are being caught in the Crystal Cove area using shiners and the flat right above the 101 bridge. Other areas to look are Float and Panther Creeks. These two areas are the best before January. The live bait users are catching stripers using shad and shiners and the artificial users are catching stripers and white bass on spoons. Find the shad and you will find the fish.We went searching for Walleye up by the US160 bridge. The water level is normal and it was at 45 degrees. The problem was the water is very clear. We moved down to Bryant creek and found 55 degree water that had color. We marked lots of fish but had only a couple of bites. The cold weather will get the walleye into their pre-spawn mood within the next couple of weeks. That’s when the fishing will be up. Stripers and bass are being caught on the flat by Blue Lady Resort. The stripers are roaming and moving fast so just keep moving slowly with your live bait and have a spoon ready. The stripers are feeding, so right now is a great time to get out and catch some fish. The bass and white bass are also very active right now. Spoons are working best for them in the 50’ range. For you out of area folks, you might want to get your calendars out and start making plans now. Winter is here and it’s a wonderful time to be on the lake. The stripers will begin their winter feed patterns as the air and water temperatures drop along with the other predator species. A good tool to use to make your plans with is on the web at www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake! By the way, did you know Norfork Lake offers thousands of acres of hunt-able land to the public? The deer hunt has been very good this season. For a real outdoor adventure, you might consider a striper fishing trip combined with a pheasant hunt. It's a blast!

December 7, 2016 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Steve Olomon of Steve's Guide Service.
http://www.fishingwithsteve.com/
Norfork Lake has finally turned over. It took longer than usual due to the warmer weather we had in November. Look for stripers suspended around 30 ft. on flats. Find the baitfish and they will be close by. When you find them sometimes your screen on your depth finder will full from the top to the bottom of bait fish. Other times you can see them 10-30 ft. thick. Drop a jigging spoon and if you don’t get bite with in a few minutes they aren’t feeding. Then move on and find another school. They have moved up to the banks at night so you can throw stick baits and remember the thing is to reel it in SLOW. You can pick up walleye doing the same thing. They can be close to main points with deep water close by or in coves. Look in the major creeks too. Some bass are hitting spinner baits and crank baits. The bite is better if there is some wind blowing. There are some holding deeper 10-30 ft. and will hit a jig. If you mark a school drop a jigging spoon. The water temp is in the mid to upper 50’s and the lake level is 552.8, just a little below normal for this time of year.

December 6, 2016 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 05 Dec, the lake level is approx 8" above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is increased current this week of Little River, with the gates releasing around 1987 CFS as of Monday. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week.  Navigation is cautioned for Little River as of Monday due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure.  Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging approx 50ºF early, to 56ºF late, depending on location.    Appears the Corps of Engineers continue working to replace some river buoys in the channel over the past week, however several are either out of place or missing in the main lake body.  Use caution in navigation on the Little River throughout the main lake body.

Bass are good from 2-3 pounds on spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps, jigs, and crankbaits.  Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.89 ft-msl, with consistent current from last week.   Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was approx 1987 CFS.  Tailwater level as of Monday at 228.1 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks. 

As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 4-8 inches due to high wind and rain over the past couple days.  Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point, and northeast quadrant remain stained.  Little River's visibility ranges 5-10 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity currently ranging approx 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is stained from rain and wind, approx 5-10", some areas have better clarity.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.


The Details:

Largemouth Bass:  Bass are responding to the dropping surface temps over the past week.  Most bass are in fair to good feeding moods over the past few weeks, best from 2 to 3 pounds on spinnerbaits, jigs, and crankbaits, at creek mouths dumping into Little River and relating to shad schools in the creeks.  Most bass continue their seasonal nomadic roaming over the past few weeks, following huge shad schools in and out of creek channels and up and down Little River. Points, creek channels away from river current, flats, and oxbows are good starting locations.  Shad continue relating to creek channels over the past couple weeks, moving in and out of the main creek channel to the points and back again, depending on surface temperatures.  Huge schools of shad are roaming in and out of creeks and points junction with Little River over the past several weeks, and the Largemouths are following them on a daily basis.  One day they maybe in the mouth of the creek dumping into Little River, the next day, gone, or moved to backs of creeks, depending on surface temps overnight.  Lots of migration and nomadic activity this time of year on Millwood.

Bass Assassin Shads in Panhandle Moon, Bad To The Bone, and Grey Ghost colors are still working by deadsticking on light wire hook in remaining lily pad stems and vegetation. Sexy West or Ghost colored Echo 1.75 crankbaits are working. 

Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs in Habenero, Black/blue, and Texas Craw colors with black craw worm trailers are taking nice 3-4 pound Largemouths.  Berkley 10" Berkley Power worms in black, black grape, and blue fleck continue working around vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. 

Rat-L-Traps worked along points and in creek channels have been working well for several weeks.  The Rat-L-Traps continue catching 2-3 pound Largemouths in creeks, with the Chrome/blue tail spinners, Millwood Magic, and Tennessee Shad colors.  The 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits in Ghost, Sexy West, or Millwood Magic colors continue working on points and in creek channels, dumping into Little River. 

Deeper diving Bomber cranks in Citruse, Citrus Shad, & Tennessee Special colors continue to be best choices in the oxbows and in the deeper creek channels over the past several weeks by Largemouths and White Bass alike.  These same cranks and squarebills are also working in creek mouths and points extending into Little River at various times during the day.

Magnum sized, bulky 3-5" big fatbutt gizzit tubes are working in creeks next to stumps and standing timber.  Best colors over the past week include black neon, pumpkinseed/chartreuse, or black/blue.  Placing rattles in the tubes are best way with the stained water conditions, and adding scent pads, for the bass to locate the slow moving tubes.  Pitching and shaking the rattling tubes near stumps in 8-9 feet of creek channel depths, are getting some good responses from lethargic bass on colder days/mornings.

White Bass:   Whites & hybrids continue roaming Little River, mouths of creek channels, and the oxbows, and are hitting the Citrus, Chartreuse Shad or Tennessee Shad colored crankbaits, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons, and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white.

Crappie:  have scattered over the past week due to wind, rain, incoming fresh water, and increased discharge and current in Little River.

Cats:   Blues and channel cats continue to bite good w/ the increase of current in Little River over the past couple weeks.  Best best are trot lines 9-12 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using cut bait and blood bait like Charlie.

December 6, 2016 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - Web-site is back up running sorry for the inconvenience of last couple weeks. The water level at Greers Ferry lake is at 457.73 feet and falling it is 4.31 feet below normal pool for this time of year of 462.04 feet . The fishing is good over all with not many people out doing it with hunting season and the holidays ,but if ya get a chance to cause some of the best catching goes on here at this time of the year , and will be real good until it gets real real cold ,so come and enjoy the  sincerity and beauty of god’s country. The Hybrid and White bass are eating very well all over the lake on top and down on structure and can be caught with spoons, in-line spinners, swim baits and hair jigs, as well as top water baits. Find the shad and the fish will be close,25-70 feet of water. The bream are slow and getting slower, try crickets and crawlers in 24-27 feet of water on a drop shot. The crappie are eating minnows and jigs 10-25 feet suspended in and around timber or brush piles. The walleye are eating spoons ,crank baits and crawlers dragged real slow in 25-40 feet of water around the shad. The catfish are eating on the edge of flats real close to deep water, on a variety of baits ,if they are not on the flat you fish bait with some dog food and that will draw them in . The bass fishing is good all over the lake shallow and deep ,use top water baits , spinnerbaits, small crank baits around stump flats, drag c-rigs and football heads for the deeper fish 25-40 feet for the best catches.

December 2, 2016 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 12/02/2016

During the past week, we have had a rain event (about three quarters of an inch here in Cotter), cooler temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell one tenth of a foot to rest at seven and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is forty three and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell one and four tenths feet to rest at five and five tenths feet below seasonal power pool and twenty one and five tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell one foot to rest at seven and three tenths feet below seasonal power pool and sixteen and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had moderate generation in the afternoon with lower generation in the morning and limited wadable water. Norfork Lake remained steady at one and one tenth feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and twenty seven and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation late in the afternoon with much less wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With cooler fall weather and lower lake levels, we should see more wadable water.

The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 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 bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. We have had some wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it).

The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With cooler the smallmouths are less active. My 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.

There has been less wadable water on the Norfork. The lake has turned over and there is a sulphur smell on the upper river and with lower dissolved oxygen, in that area, the bite has been slow there. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been an orange egg.

Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #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.

The Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer 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 (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).

Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.

 

- Norfork - - Norfork Lake Fishing Report By Scuba Steve from Blackburn's Resort -