May 24, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 470.84 feet ,its coming up and going down with generation ,it is 8.3 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet . The catching on the lake is good all over and will continue to be until it gets super-hot. The Walleye are in places that are hard to fish, on the inside and outside of the old bush line, try dragging crawlers close to those on pea gravel flats. The bream ,most are pretty shallow out to 12 feet eating small crank baits,crawlers,crickets very well. The Crappie are hanging around the old bush line as well and in the standing pole timber grouped up and can be caught on beetle spins, jigs and minnows 12-15 feet of water. The Black bass fishing is good on top water baits, buzz baits, flukes ,crank baits and spinner baits shallow, most of the fish that went out deep have moved back shallow, until the water gets warmer. The Hybrid And White bass are feeding off and on all day ,and the generation helps as well as wind, use spoons, in-line spinners, swim baits, Alabama rigs, stay around the shad in 25-45 feet of water for the best results.

May 23, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 22 May, the lake level is approximately 12 inches above normal conservation pool and falling.  Recent rains raised the lake elevation over the end of last week and the weekend, and now is beginning to fall back to normal with increased current at the dam.  Monday, there is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 3000 CFS.  Largemouth Bass continue roaming toward summer haunts, but are feeding early and late in the flats.  White Bass remain scattered in large schools along Little River.  Crappie have scattered with the rise and drop of lake elevation, and muddy water increased current over the past couple weeks.  Gar remain shallow, making great opportunities for bow fishermen.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 67ºF early to 75ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 260.2 mfsl with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 3000 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 229 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 for approximately over 1 mile, and being enforced by AGFC in Little River.  This no wake zone is being strictly enforced and is no tolerance for wake boaters or barges.

Clarity and visibility remain heavy stained and muddy, this week depending on location, more-so the further up Little River.  The oxbows have fair to good, and improved visibility as of today, over last week.  As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges approx 3-8 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 12-20 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 consistent over the past week.  Largemouth Bass remain postspawn, and continue to move to deeper water, but early morning top water activity continues to improve.  Largemouth Bass from around 2 to 3 pounds each, are fair to good most days, feeding near flats adjacent to creek channels.  Hatched baby bass fry have been noted over the couple weeks.  Buzz baits, Chug Bugs, Spit'n Images, and soft body plastic frogs are working around standing lily pad stands and pond weed, vegetation.  As the sun rises, switch to big bulky magnum lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, for a good bite in the same areas near drop offs in the creeks.  Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits are working on windy flats early in the morning hours before the sun gets high, and are catching 2-3 pound Bass near ditches and stumps adjacent to deep drops in the oxbows and deeper creek channels.  

The clearest water you can find away from muddy current in Little River continues to produce the best bite for bass over the past few weeks.  Bass continue to transition to deeper water drops, but are relating to flats adjacent to creek channels early, moving horizontally toward deeper drops in creeks later in the day.  Buzz baits best colors over the past couple weeks drawing reactions are black, lime, or firetiger colors.  Bass Assassin Shads in Gold Pepper Shiner and Mississippi Hippie colors in the off-colored, stained water clarity are working around lily pads and alligator mats.  Big, bulky, magnum Lizards, or Berkley 10" Power worms are working with the best colors over the past week with the stained to muddy water are chartreuse pepper, black grape, blue fleck, or Blackberry.  The chatterbaits working best continue to be the spring bream, lime, or firetiger colors, over the past couple weeks.  The further from Little River muddy current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce the most aggressive bite for Largemouths. 

Magnum 3-4" big bulky tubes and gizzits, in black neon, pumkinseed/chartreuse, or black/blue colors are drawing good reaction bites 3-5 feet away from trees in 8-10 feet of depth in the oxbows.

Medium diving, Bomber Tennessee Shad & Citrus Shad colored Fat Free Shads, and Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Squarebills in Oxbow, Chartreuse Flash, and Pinch'n Peach colors are all randomly catching bass working erratically in creek channels up river.

White Bass:  Disappeared with all the muddy water and current over the past week. 

Crappie:  Nothing to consistently pattern, or report this week.

Cats:  The cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River. Trot lines are best using cut bait or buffalo, and homemade cheese bait in 10-15 feet depths of Little River.

May 20, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 5/20/2017

During the past week, we have had a rain event (about an inch here in Cotter), warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell eight tenths of a foot to rest at thirty feet above seasonal power pool of 660.57 feet. This is three feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has opened ten flood gates one foot to release 10,800 cubic feet per second to augment generation and lower the lake. Upstream, Table Rock fell three feet to rest at ten and two tenths feet above seasonal power pool and four and one tenth feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose four tenths of a foot to rest at seven and two tenths feet above seasonal power pool and one foot below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable water with high generation. Norfork Lake six tenths of a foot to rest at twenty and three tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 555.32 feet and three feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has closed the flood gates and returned the dam to normal generation.  On the Norfork, we had some wadable water at night.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation with little if any wadable water in the near future.

On the White, the water below Crooked Creek and the Buffalo has cleared up some. 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 going fast. 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 but high. 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.

On the Norfork there was flooding but the river is back in its banks and the flood gates have been closed. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond. 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). 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 affected by the flooding but has returned to its banks. 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 high and off color. 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.

May 16, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 470.10 it is falling and is 8.06 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet and looks like will come back up soon due to rain fall, lots of sediment and stained water and with the generation will be that way for a while. All species are eating well and healthy. The Hybrid and White bass are eating throughout the day at various time in 25-40 feet of water use in-line spinners,spoons,swimbaits and top water lures for the best action, stay around the bait and the fish will show up. The crappie are eating in pole timber and the old bush line in 15-25 feet on minnows jigs and shad with the shad spawn going on. The catfish are eating anything they can find all over the lake , use the bait of your choice from 3 – 20 feet. The walleye are eating crawlers drug around in 12-14 feet some on the inside of old bush line and some on the outside. The bream have finished their 1st spawn of the year and are eating small crank baits, crawlers and crickets. The black basses are scattered shallow too deep with some of the bigger fish roaming the shallows eating bream, a variety of baits working on them as well.

May 16, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. - It has been a real roller coaster ride on Norfork Lake for the past 2 weeks. On April 29 the lake started to rise until it reached the top of the flood pool. Missouri had devastating floods which eventually ended up in Norfork Lake. The lake became muddy from north to south, but the muddy water is finally starting to fall out and the lake is stable. The high water will be with us for quite a while, but high water is not a bad thing. Most species had completed their spawn prior to the high water so the newly born fry will have plenty of places to hide making future fishing even better. Fishing will continue to improve daily over the whole lake as the mud settles out and the water turns to a great stained color for fishing.

I have traveled most of the lake over the last week and have found good fishing water starting in the midlake area down to the dam. It appears that the brown water is falling out from the backs of the creeks and working its way out to the main lake. The farther south you travel on the main lake the clearer the water gets.

Overall the fish are on the shoreline inside of the newly sunken brush and trees. Live bait has been working exceptionally well. Threadfin shad and large shiners are both working. I have been using a number 6 kahle hook with no weight and pitching the bait into openings between the trees. I have also been moving slowly right outside the trees in about 15 - 20 feet of water and dragging the baits behind the boat, again with no weight. Today I was fishing on a point down in the dam area and hooked into a big fish. The fish started to run for deep water and I knew I had a big striper. This fish came very close to spooling me. After about a 20 minute battle, I landed a 40 inch 30 pound striped bass. I was only using a 7 foot medium light action rod with a spinning reel filled with 8 pound monofilament line. Light tackle makes the battle a lot of fun. Friday I fished the midlake major creeks. I was about half way back in a creek where the water became clear to stained. I fished channel swing points pitching live bait up in the brush. I was fishing with several of my guests and we landed almost every species in the lake. I have also been using some artificial baits. Today I landed a nice striper on a 5 inch swim bait with a 3/8 ounce jig head. I cast the bait into opening and try to get it as close to the new shore as possible and then reel back to the boat. Jerk baits, either soft plastics or hard baits will also be working well up in the brush. The best bite for me is early morning. I've been told that the afternoon bite seems to be slow. As our lake water warms look for the stripers to move away from the shoreline and go to a little deeper water. Monday morning a couple of our guests found some really good topwater action for striped bass. They got to their fishing spot and could see the fish exploding as they approached. Once the topwater stopped they put away their Zara spooks and proceeded to pitch live bait into the shore and continued to catch fish.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also improving. These species are located in the same areas as the striped bass, you will find them inside of the sunken brush and trees. I have had the best luck catching fish by finding sunken buck brush in about 10 to 15 feet depths, letting my bait sink down to the tops of the brush and then working it back to the boat. I have caught many fish on the fall of the bait. Creature baits worked along the brush will pick up some nice fish. Again find the stained to clear water and start fishing.

I have not heard anything about crappie, but I am sure they are inside of the brush feeding on shad. You may need to pull out your 12 foot long cane pole to be able to get to the crappie inside of the brush along the banks

The Norfork Lake level is holding steady at 577.03. The Corps of Engineers is running all generators for the major part of the day to keep up with the inflow and hold the lake stable. The water surface temperature is in the low 70's. The lake is muddy (but clearing slowly) from the Robinson area to the Cranfield area and up river, as well as from the bridges up to the Bennetts area. The lake is stained, a little south of the Robinson area and continues to become clearer the farther south you go. There is still floating debris in the lake, mainly concentrated around the Mallard Point area though Cranfield and up river as well as back in the Fouts area. We are to have a strong South wind so a lot of this debris will be pushed to the shore until a north wind or no wind happens. As always, be careful when on the lake.

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters. http://www.stroutfitters.com/
The rain has stopped and Norfork Lake has stabilized and the fishing has improved. The threadfin shad spawned this past week and the stripers and bass were in the brush chasing the baits. We saw lots of fish being caught early in the week but the water has warmed up and some the stripers are moving back to deeper water. I have not seen the top water action I expected. Usually when the shad get in the brush the top water action heats up but not this year yet. The lake is starting clear up. The back of Bennett’s Bayou is now clear and the main channel from Robinson Point to the dam has cleared significantly. It should be several more weeks before we see blue water on the lower end of the lake. The Corps has scheduled May 20th as Lake Norfork clean up they are asking for your help in moving debris to the boat ramps for pickup and also are providing garbage bags in designated areas for drop off so if you have some free time come on out and help make Norfork Lake beautiful again. As for fishing, don’t let the high water turn you off. Now is the time to come fish Norfork. I received a request from Robert about taking his daughter Amy fishing on Mother's Day. It seems that Robert’s wife request for her Mother’s day present was being home staying in bed. I said sure but our wires got crossed and we got a late start. I had pre-fished the day before on a main lake points and caught stripers as fast as I could get a line in the water. I was expecting the same the next morning but a late start and heavy fog changed the conditions. Miss Amy did catch her first two stripers but the action slowed and we only had a few more bites but no more stripers. However it was a fun father/daughter morning and seeing the expression on Miss Amy’s face said it all.

May 15, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 15 May, the lake level is approximately 14 inches above normal conservation pool and rising from all the recent thunderstorms and rain.  Monday, there is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 5,300 CFS.  Lake level continues rising, and water temps jumped up this week.  Largemouth Bass are in transition.  White Bass are scattered in large schools along Little River.  Crappie finished spawning over the past couple weeks, and gar are extremely shallow in large groups making great opportunities for bow fishermen very shallow.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 68ºF early to 76ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 260.4 mfsl with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 5,300 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 234 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 for approximately over 1 mile, and being enforced by AGFC in Little River.  This no wake zone is being strictly enforced and is no tolerance for wake boaters or barges.

Clarity and visibility is heavy stained and 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 2-3 inches.  Little River's visibility ranges 2-3 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 8-12 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.

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 jumped up over the past week.  Largemouth Bass are mostly in the postspawn blues mindset, and continue to move to deeper water.  Largemouth Bass from around 2 to 3 pounds each, are fair to good most days, running in and out of flats adjacent to deeper drops into creek channels.  Baby bass fry have been noted over the couple weeks, already hatched.  Buzz baits, magnum bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, chatterbaits and Bass Assassin Shads continue to work randomly, catching 2-3 pound Bass near ridges, ditches, and flats adjacent to deep drops in the oxbows and deeper creek channels.  

The clearest water you can find away from muddy current in Little River continues to produce the best bite for bass over the past week.  Bass continue to transition to deeper water drops, but are relating to flats adjacent to creek channels early, moving horizontally toward deeper drops in creeks later in the day.  Buzz baits are drawing random reaction strikes in black, lime, or firetiger colors.  Bass Assassin Shads in gold pepper shiner in the off-colored, stained water clarity, magnum Lizards and baby brush hogs are working with the best colors over the past week with the stained to muddy water are June bug, chartreuse pepper, California 420 or Blackberry.  The chatterbaits are still working with the better reactions coming on spring bream, lime, or firetiger colors, over the past couple weeks.  The further from Little River muddy current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce the most aggressive bite for Largemouths. 

Magnum 3-4" big bulky tubes or gizzits, in black neon, pumkinseed/chartreuse, or bream colors are drawing hard hits on cypress trees in 4-8 feet of depth in the oxbows. The Bass Assassin Shads continue working around new lily pad growth and grass or vegetation by deadsticking and working on a light wire hook extrememly slow. Best colors for the past week include Hammertime, Limetreuse Ghost, gold pepper shiner, or Houdini in the off-color water clarity.  Work these in and around new growth of vegetation lines, new bloom stands of lily pads, and buckbrush.  

Squarebill shallow to medium running crankbaits are beginning to work sporadically with a stop-and-go retrieve in the oxbows, upriver, and creek channels where you can find stained to fairly clear water, depending on location.   Medium diving, Bomber Tennessee Shad & Citrus Shad colored Fat Free Shads, and Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Squarebills in Oxbow, Chartreuse Flash, and Pinch'n Peach colors are all randomly catching bass working erratically in creek channels up river.

White Bass:  in large schools continue roaming, but have been hard to locate with much consistency over the past week. 

Crappie:  Continue to remain elusive in the muddy current of Little River, and not much of any consistent pattern to report this week.

Cats:  The cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River on Yo-Yos and trot lines using spoiled chicken livers and hears, cut drum or buffalo, and homemade cheese dough along current of Little River.

May 12, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 5/12/2017

During the past week, we have had a several rain event (about a half inch here in Cotter), warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose three and six tenths feet to rest at thirty and four tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 660.57 feet. This is two and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell five tenths of a foot to rest at fourteen and three tenths feet above seasonal power pool and one and one tenth feet above the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has opened several flood gates to release an additional 13,800 cubic feet per second in an effort to lower the lake. Beaver Lake fell six tenths of a foot to rest at seven and two tenths feet above seasonal power pool and one and four tenths feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has closed the flood gates and returned the dam to normal generation. On the White, we had no wadable water with more generation. Norfork Lake fell two and seven tenths feet to rest at twenty and nine tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 555.32 feet and two and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has closed the flood gates and returned the dam to normal generation.  On the Norfork, we had no wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation with little if any wadable water in the near future.

On the White, the water below Crooked Creek and the Buffalo has cleared up some. 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 going fast. 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 not 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 was flooding but the river is back in its banks and the flood gates have been closed. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#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). 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 affected by the flooding but has returned to its banks. 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 high and off color. 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.

20170506010127_IMG_2614May 11, 2017 - Norfork and White RiverDally's Ozark Fly Fisher -

Carolyn Hardin with a tall Bull Shoals brown last weekend: image from guide Steve Dally

Well, with all this warm weather and sunshine its hard to believe that less than two weeks ago we were experiencing a very serious rain event. As of Wednesday, Table Rock was still releasing a combined spillway/turbine release of around 24,000 cfs which does continue to slowly raise Bull Shoals lake level. However, whether or not the spillway gates will need to be opened or if there will simply be an increase in the turbine release has (to my knowledge) yet to be determined.

As would be expected, there have been a number of folks calling the shop asking about water conditions. Well, the truth of the matter is that the White has been, and continues to, fish great! Also, as Crooked Creek and the Buffalo have continued to drop and clear, it has increased the amount of fishable water below the confluences. So, if you have any questions, just call, or better yet, come by the shop.

Again, Crooked Creek and the Buffalo have dropped quite significantly, but are not quite to the optimal wading stage yet. At the rate that they are both dropping out, we should see some great float/wade water within the coming days.

And just as Steve wrote in last weeks report, our guides continue, just as they always do, to work hard and put their clients onto some great Ozark fish!

20170504214520_IMG_2570Lance from California returned to the White River after a decade for this brown and 7 more: image from guide Steve Dally

With that, lets talk about what’s been working.

Michael Jr

White River:

With the clear water we now have, fish caddis and midges on the upper river. Devil Jigs, Prince Jigs, Fat Cadass, Pulsating Caddis, and Psycho Princes are great lead flies to Ruby Midges and Wotton Super Midges.

San Juan Worms and egg setup are worth while with some creeks inflow still adding a tint to the water.

When we see flows over 7,000 cfs, try throwing streamers such as CJ’s Sluggo, Dally’s Twerkin Minnow, Schmidt’s Double Deceiver, Lafkas’ Super Cougar, and Pierce’s Cheech Leech.

There is going to be some solid streamer fishing to come with some consistent flows in the offing later this summer.

20170510_201513.jpgRobin Brewer with a great White River rainbow. Guide: Gabe Levin.

Norfork:

The floodgates have again been turned off, but the Norfork Dam will continue to generate wide open until the inflow to the lake falls further. As of now, there is no word on when the Corps of Engineers ramp at Quarry Park, or the AGFC ramp at the confluence will be cleared.

 

 

May 10, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
The rain has stopped and Norfork Lake is slowly going down. The northern part of the lake is full of debris and mud but that will start to disappear in the next several weeks. Blowing wind helps the lake by moving the debris to the shoreline where it gets stuck and as the lake goes down the debris will remain in place. The mud will disappear has the water up north returns to normal. The lower part of the lake from Diamond Bay south and from Big Creek to the dam is mostly free of trees, limbs and other debris, and water color is clear to stained. It is a good place to start your day. What most people do not realize was the lower end of the lake did not receive the major runoff from the flood. The water rose from the water coming to the dam therefore the southeast part of the lake is the place to fish. The stripers are continuing to feed heavy on threadfin shad and should keep this up for the next several weeks. We had some dear friends Alice, Dennis, and Logan came down this past weekend for two days of striper fishing. They wanted to introduce their grandson Logan to the lake and fishing. Saturday we got a late start but did manage to put 5 of the 7 stripers we hooked. Logan who is 6 caught his first striper and his limit. Logan keep telling his grandpa that his fish was bigger and he caught more than grandpa. A true fisher person was created that day. Sunday Sean came along to help out. We started earlier and they caught 7 of the 9 we hooked. Alice who never had caught a fish caught 2 which made her day. Again Logan caught the most and biggest and made sure everybody knew. The grandparent’s mission was accomplished. They created some lasting memories of their grandson’s first fishing trip on Norfork Lake. We were using threadfin shad on long lines with just a split shot and leader way back from the boat over deep water 60 plus feet.

May 9, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 8 May, the lake level is approximately 7 inches above normal conservation pool and rising.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 7,000 CFS.  Lake level is falling, water temps dropped this week.  Largemouth Bass are in transition.  White Bass are scattered in large schools along Little River.  Crappie finished spawning over the past couple weeks, and gar are extremely shallow in large groups making great opportunities for bow fishermen very shallow.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 64ºF early to 70ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 259.8 mfsl with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 7,000 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 236 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 for approximately over 1 mile, and being enforced by AGFC in Little River.  This no wake zone is being strictly enforced and is no tolerance for wake boaters or barges.

Clarity and visibility is heavy stained and 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 2-3 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 12-18 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.

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 dropped over the past week from recent cold fronts.  Largemouth Bass for the most part, are postspawn, and moving horizontally out to deeper water.  Largemouth Bass from around 2 to 4 pounds each, are fair to good most days, running in and out of flats adjacent to deeper drops into creek channels.  Baby bass fry have been noted over the couple weeks, already hatched.  Buzz baits, magnum bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, chatterbaits and Bass Assassin Shads are catching healthy 2-3 pound, and a few 4-5 pound postspawn Bass near ridges, ditches, and flats adjacent to deeper creek channels.  

The clearest water you can find away from muddy current in Little River has been producing the best best bass over the past several weeks.  Bass continue to transition to deeper water drops, but are relating to flats adjacent to creek channels early, moving horizontally toward deeper drops in creeks later in the day.  Buzz baits are drawing reaction strikes in bream, or black, or firetiger colors.  Bass Assassin Shads in gold pepper shiner in the off-colored, stained water clarity, magnum Lizards in June bug, and chartreuse pumpkin; Brush Hogs in California 420, and Blackberry colors are working.  Throw chatterbaits in spring bream, lime, or firetiger colors that are working over the past week.  The further from Little River muddy current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths. 

War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working on windy secondary points. Spot Remover, white/chartreuse, or Coleslaw colors continue to work good for 2-4lb sized bass, in oxbows, up river.

Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice Bass and best colors for the past couple weeks, continue working in are the Gold Pepper Shiner, Panhandle Moon, and Hammertime, or Limetreuse Ghost colors in the heavy stained water clarity.  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, California 420, Blackberry, or chartreuse pumpkin colors are working on cypress trees in clear water.

Squarebill shallow to medium running crankbaits are beginning to work sporadically with a stop-and-go retrieve in the oxbows, upriver, and creek channels where you can find stained to fairly clear water, depending on location.   Medium diving, Bomber Tennessee Shad & Citrus Shad colored Fat Free Shads, and Rat-L-Trap 1.75 Squarebills in Oxbow, Chartreuse Flash, and Pinch'n Peach colors are all randomly catching bass working erratically in creek channels up river.

White Bass:  in large schools continue roaming, all but disappeared with the muddy water this week coming down Little River from Cossatot River inflow at Ark state Highway 71 bridge, all the way down to Yarborough Landing. 

Crappie:  The Crappie are also post spawn, and remain scattered with all the recent muddy current along Little River.  A few were caught over the past week near base of Cypress trees in the clearest water you could locate away from Little River current.

Cats:  Channel cats continue biting well, with the current in Little River on trot lines using cut bait, Charlie, chicken livers and gizzards along current of Little River.

May 9, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 470.03 feet and has just about leveled off it is 7.99 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet and we will remain over pool for a while. The Bass fishing is good all over the lake with lots of small fish seem to be the norm at present ,but the bigger fish are in kind of a post spawn funk, the bigger fish bite should pick back up over the next few days as they get acclimated to the rise and move back shallow to feed, try buzzbaits,spinner baits,soft plastics ,jigs and swim bait, or a gizit now in the old shore line, or a Carolina rig out in front, a lot of fish being picked up around shad spawn as well. The bream are bedding ,use crickets crawlers and small crank baits. The crappie are holding in the old bush line and around any wood eating minnows and jigs. Catfishing is very good overall all over the lake on jugs, trot lines and rod and reels, on a variety of baits. Walleye are a little slow as they are getting acclimated as well after the rise and when it clears the bite will be good on crawlers drug around in bald spots on pea gravel points and humps. The Hybrid and White bass bite is good around the shad spawn and in guts of creeks, points and humps in the lake look for clear water and shad, try in-line spinners ,spoons, swim baits and top water lures.

May 5, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 5/05/2017

During the past week, we have had several rain events (combined for five inches here in Cotter, which included a flash flood watch), warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose twenty two and two tenths feet to rest at twenty six and nine tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 660.57 feet. This is seven and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose twelve and two tenths feet to rest at fifteen and six tenths feet above seasonal power pool and six tenths of a foot above the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has opened several flood gates to release an additional 13,800 cubic feet per second in an effort to lower the lake. Beaver Lake rose two and seven tenths feet to rest at eight feet above seasonal power pool and six tenths of a foot below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has opened several flood gates to release an additional 3,700 cubic feet per second in an effort to lower the lake. On the White, we had no wadable water with some generation. Norfork Lake rose nine feet to rest at six and seven tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 555.32 feet and one tenth of a foot below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has opened several flood gates to release an additional 6,600 cubic feet per second in an effort to lower the lake. On the Norfork, we had no wadable water.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are over or near the top of flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation with little if any wadable water in the near future.

On the White, the water below Crooked Creek and the Buffalo is high and muddy. There has been some flooding. 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. 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 at flood and are not 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 flooding on the Norfork and the river level is quite high due to the flood gates being open in an effort to drop the lake level. The ramps have been closed due to flooding and debris on them. Navigate this stream with extreme caution. 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). 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 affected by the flooding but has returned to its banks. 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 high and off color. 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.

May 3, 2017 - Norfork and White RiverDally's Ozark Fly Fisher - You know I reckon we’d all get bored if the weather patterns were Southern California stable. Consider the last 18 months: we have lurched from almighty flood, to drought and back to flood. Since we opened the shop under the Dally’s banner in 2011 we have had 3 major flood events.

If the fishing wasn’t so damn good, low or high, it’s highly likely I’d have gone around the bend by now. So what are you going to do but go fishing.

Heck we had two serious trophies landed by guide customers this week and a bunch more browns boated. The sun even peaked out, which its scheduled to again this weekend.

Despite all the griping, the dams are doing their jobs, holding back the monsoonal spring rains we are wont to attract, and releasing them later. Norfork, Beaver and Table Rock all ran spillway releases as the inflows filled their capacity. Norfork is back down to normal high flows, and we are interested to see what changes the flood releases may have caused.

But the vast cauldron of Bull Shoals is quietly eating up the excess. Yes we will have some higher flows this summer, when the authorities can get a better price for power too, but it will be dispensed with so as to not cause flooding down stream.

Yep the fish will like it, and as always we will help you get onto the fish.

So here’s the rest of this week’s fishing report

 

WHITE RIVER: Overnight rain has the tributaries pushing in some stain to the river but it probably won’t last through an expected beautiful sunny  weekend.

Some quality browns were helping themselves to the run-off influx of worms. Ben and Jonathan in particular took advantage of this bite with a pair of 23″ browns earlier in the week.

As we saw over the weekend it doesn’t take long for the Upper White to clear. It was in good shape above Crooked Creek, by Monday, with the light flows helping flush the river clean.

Light flows are expected to continue while the Corp lets the wild-run tributaries downstream dispense with their run-off from last weekend’s flood.

Once the river clears Fish caddis and midges on the Upper River. Devil Jigs, Prince Jigs, Fat Cadass, Pulsating Caddis and Psycho Princes are worth lead flies with Ruby Midges and Wotton Super Midges trailing.

In the longer term we will see higher flows, and based on the liking the White River browns has for the flood fishing earlier this week, short lived it may have  been, I’d be stocked up on worms for any increase in flows this summer.

Extended periods of high water also make for some pretty fine streamer fishing as well, even in the bright says of summer if you can fish the low light periods at dawn and dusk.

NORFORK: The floodgates have been turned off but the Norfork Dam will continue to generate wide open until the inflow to the lake falls further.  As yet no word when the Corp of Engineers ramp at Quarry Park, or the AGFC ramp at the confluence will be cleared.

May 3, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 467.31 feet and on a slow rise and will probably come up some more with the forecast of rain, and we cannot dump any due to the lakes being full to the north of us we are 5.27 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet and should stay up until mid-summer at least it will help the fish spawn and the shad spawn as well. The Hybrid and White bass are on a tear eating all over the lake 25-30 feet deep on spoons, in-line spinners and top water baits. The bass are eating well ,they are still in all 3 phases of spawn ,with a lot of fish shallow eating top water baits, spinner baits, plastics and jigs. The crappie are in the old bush line eating jigs and minnows. The bream fishing is good with the warmer water, small crank baits ,crawlers and crickets working well. Catfishing is good all over the lake they are biting on a variety of baits with any method you choose. The main lake Walleye are starting to bite on crawlers on jig heads and drop shots.

May 3, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. - The last 2 weeks on Norfork Lake has been very interesting to say the least. We have gone from great spring weather, to cold fronts, to a major rain event which increased the lake level to the top of the flood pool. Fishing was fantastic up through last Saturday morning then the severe weather started to impact the lake. Norfork Lake started rising a foot an hour at around 5 PM Saturday and continued to rise until the flood gates on the dam were opened to increase water evacuation. As of today, the lake is stable and is slowly falling and is currently at 578.65. There is still some floating debris, but a lot of it is starting to blow into the shoreline and as the lake drops it will get hung up in the flooded trees. The lake is navigable, but when out on the lake be very cautious and observant of floating debris. The water north of the 101 and 62 bridges is still dirty and the clearer and stained water starts just south of the 101 and 62 bridge. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort is in great shape and open for business. Our dock is easily accessible with electric and the fish cleaning station still in operation.

Now for what I know about current fishing conditions on Norfork Lake. The flooding of normally dry land, has forced nightcrawlers to come to the surface and the fish are starting to have a feast. If you are a catfisherman or women the combination of dirty water and a large supply of worms is ideal to catch many cats. I have had guests fishing from the shoreline off of a flooded roadway below our resort and landing some nice catfish. Limb lines and trot lines will also be a great method to catch big numbers of cats.

Today a couple of our guests ventured out on the lake after sunrise and found some clearer water. They were fishing with shiners and caught a nice smallmouth and largemouth bass. If you can find a flooded field or cow pasture that had been grassy you will clean up on bass feeding on nightcrawlers and crawdads. Each stable day will help increase the bite and get the fish very active.
I have not heard a lot about striper fishing since last weekend's rain, but from prior high water experience you will need to find the clearer water. Shad will be in the trees and the stripers will be on the edges of the flooded trees feeding on the shad. It may take several days for the fish to get used to their new surroundings, but if it is similar to past high water years the fishing will become really good.

I myself have not been able to get out on the lake with all the new resort work this rain created, but I hope to get back at it towards the end or the week. I will keep you posted and give you updates as soon as I can.
The Norfork Lake level currently sits at 578.65. The water temperature this morning was in the mid 60's. A lot of the lake is dirty, but you will find some nice stained and clear water back in some of the major creeks and in the southern part of the main lake.

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
Let it rain and it did, although we did not directly receive much of the rain Lake Norfork received the results from all the rain that occurred north of us. The flooding was a disaster but the lakes absorbed the water which is what they were designed to do. The flooding below the dams would have been a major disaster without the dams. The main lake suffered little damage but the northern part of lake and creeks and bridges in Missouri suffered major damage that will affect travel for months ahead. On a bright side the high water will is a blessing. Each year we have had a high water event the spawn for bass and crappie has produced a great class of fish. Right now the threadfin and gizzard shad are spawning in the buck brush and the stripers and bass are feeding heavy on the shad. The next several weeks we will see fantastic action for both stripers and bass. Lots of top water and limits of each species. So don’t let the high water turn you off now is the time to come fish Norfork. By the way, the Big Creek arm is mostly free of trees, limbs and other debris, and water color is clear to stained. It is a good place to start your day. I took out Daniel and Julie who were just married and was honeymooning in the area. They plan on moving here and wanted to experience their first striper trip. It was cold, rainy and very windy but they wanted to go. I started off on point 1 because when they open the dam gates the stripers will be more active due to the strong current. The only problem we had was the wind was coming out of the west and we could not fish the area very effectively. I then moved up towards Woods Point out of the wind. We are now using both small threadfin and 7” gizzard shad for bait. I set out free lines with small baits and planner boards with the bigger baits. We were fishing in water depths of 60 to 100’ feet. The first bite was on a 8” gizzard shad and once the hookup was secure Julie started off fighting the striper but it was to much for her to handle so Daniel took over and together they caught their first striper, a fat 15 lb fish. We continued to fish and finished up catching 4 keeping 3 and missing several others. Overall a great day on the water for their first striper trip.

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!

May 3, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - The Overall Picture:

As of Monday, 1 May, the lake level is approximately 14 inches above normal conservation pool and rising.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 15,000 CFS.  Lake level is rising from all the recent rain and thunderstomrs over the past week, water temps continue a slow rise.  Largemouth Bass are in transition.  White Bass are scattered in large schools along Little River.  Crappie finished spawning over the past couple weeks, and gar are extremely shallow in large groups making great opportunities for bow fishermen very shallow.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging 70ºF early to 78ºF range, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.
 
Lake level as of Monday, is currently is 260.6 mfsl with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 10,300 CFS and increased to 15,000 Tuesday.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 241.01 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 for approximately over 1 mile, and being enforced by AGFC in Little River.  This no wake zone is being strictly enforced and is no tolerance for wake boaters or barges.

Clarity and visibility is heavy stained and 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 2-3 inches depending on location and current.  The oxbow's clarity is ranging approx 7-10 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, postspawn, and moving horizontally out to deeper water.  Largemouth Bass from around 2 to 5 pounds each, are fair to good most days, running in and out of flats adjacent to deeper drops into creek channels.  Baby bass fry have been noted over the last week already hatched.  Buzz baits, magnum bulky lizards, brush hogs, 10" worms, chatterbaits and Bass Assassin Shads  continue taking nice, 3-4 pound postspawn 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, but are relating to flats adjacent to creek channels early, moving horizontally toward deeper drops in creeks as the sun gets higher in the sky.  Buzz baits are starting to draw reaction strikes in coleslaw, bleeding pumpkinseed, and bream colors.  Bass Assassin Shads in gold pepper shiner in the off-colored, stained water clarity, magnum Lizards in June bug, Brush Hogs in chartreuse pumpkin, and bream colored chatterbaits continue working over the past several weeks.  The further from Little River muddy current and heavy stain water; and in deeper sections of creeks over the past couple weeks, will produce best Largemouths. 

War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working on windy secondary points. Spot Remover, white/chartreuse, and Aurora colors remain working fairly good for nice keeper, sized bass, in oxbows, up river.

Bass Assassin Shads continue catching nice Bass and best colors for the past couple weeks working in  are the Gold Pepper Shiner, Panhandle Moon, and Hammertime, or Limetreuse Ghost colors in the heavy stained water clarity.  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 California 420, Blackberry, or chartreuse pumpkin colors are working on cypress trees in clear water if you can find any left from the recent muddy rise of around two feet.

Baby brush hogs in Blue Flash, Sapphire, and California 420 are also working sporadically with the stained to muddy water depending on location.  

White Bass:  in large schools continue roaming, but are stacked behind points and secondary ridges and ditches with all the recent muddy water between McGuire Lake and Ark state Highway 71 bridge over the past couple weeks.  Oxbows up and down Little River were holding large schools of the White Bass and Hybrids since the recent influx of muddy water in Little River, Cossatott and Rolling Fork inflow.  Shad colored Bomber 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 couple weeks with all the rain and muddy water coming into Little River from the Cossatot and Rolling Fork rivers.

Crappie:  The Crappie are also post spawn, and have scattered with all the recent 1-2 feet rise of muddy water and current along Little River.

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 good on cut bait, Charlie, and ivory soap in the current of Little River.

April 28, 2017 - White River - Submitted by Berry Brothers Guides - JOHN BERRY FISHING REPORT 4/28/2017

During the past week, we have had several rain events (combined for five inches here in Cotter, with more on the way to include a flash flood watch), warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose nine feet to rest at six and three tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is twenty nine and eight tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose six and four tenths feet to rest at four and four tenths feet above seasonal power pool and eleven and six tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose nine feet to rest at six and three tenths feet above seasonal power pool and three and three tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had wadable water with some generation. Norfork Lake rose nine feet to rest at six and seven tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and nineteen and six 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 in the White River System are over power pool and rising. We should expect a lot of generation with little if any wadable water in the near future.

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). The water below Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River is high and heavily stained.

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. 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 at flood and are not 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 and 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 high and off color. 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 26, 2017 - Greers Ferry Lake - Submitted by Fish Finders Fish Service - The water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.96 feet and rising when there is no generation, a lot of good easy catching is here until it gets real hot. The crappie are in all 3 phases of spawn with some back out deep some in the middle and some on the bank, the deeper ones spawned long enough ago to start eating again on jigs and minnows, the midway fish can be caught trolling a crankbait, and the bank fish can be caught dipping a jig or minnow around any cover you can find in the water. The catfish seem to be on again and off again but the bite is getting more steady  all over the lake on a variety of baits. The Walleye ,up river is pretty much done with a few males still hanging out there and eating ,its time the lake bite picked up now on flats and humps dragging crawlers around in pea gravel. The Bream action has improved as well with a lot of fish up try small crank baits as well as crickets and crawlers 5 feet or less. All the black Basses are 20 feet or less in al 3 phases as well and you can pretty much pick your poison, and even a few schoolers. The Hybrid and White bass are eating well with some of them busting in places as well ,with the shad spawn they could be on the bank and out to 30 feet for the best action, top water baits,spoons,in-line spinners and swim baits or any metal bait of that matter.

April 25, 2017 - Norfork - Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters.
http://www.stroutfitters.com/
We have had significant weather change this past week on Norfork Lake. We started off with warm air temperatures raising the water surface temperatures in the back of some creeks to 74 degrees. By Saturday afternoon with the rain raising the lake level over 5 feet, the water temperature dropped to 64 degrees. The only major effect on fishing has been the change in were the shad is found and that crappie have moved off the banks to the 8 to 10 foot range. The stripers are feeding heavy on threadfin shad we caught stripers all week with the biggest fish being 33 lbs. On Saturday my son and I caught 20 stripers in the rain and Sunday we caught 15 stripers and hybrids while a major cold front moved into the area . Once the weather stays warm with south winds we should see a major feeding spree this next several weeks. Now is the time to get on Norfork Lake either with your boat or hire a guide to get on some of this great action.

Both my son Sean and I had fishing trips on Friday and Saturday in the rain. Our clients understood that we would be in the rain and still wanted to go. My clients were locals on Friday and when we left the dock it was raining, lighting with lots of thunder. We had to stay in a boat dock until the major portion had passed. My fishing was slow. We started off great with a 14 lb striper and then missed one. We had more bites but for some reason keep missing them. My son caught a 33 lb striper and his limit that day. The next day I had three ladies, Vern, Joyce, & Teresa who had fished for stripers many times and differently knew how to hook and fight the fish. We hooked 9 stripers and landed 8 in the a soft rain. We had a great time and they are looking forward next year.

April 24, 2017 - Millwood Lake - Submitted by Millwood Lake Guide Service - As of Monday, 24 April, the lake level is approximately 16 inches above normal conservation pool and falling.  There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 5,300 CFS as of Monday.  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 260.5 mfsl with current.  Normal consv. pool is 259.20 feet.  Discharge rate as of Monday was near 5,300 CFS.  As of Monday the tailwater level was 241.1 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 for approximately over 1 mile, and being enforced by AGFC in Little River.  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 2-3 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 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 continue taking nice, 3-4 pound postspawn 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 Grey Ghost, Rainbow Trout, and Black Shad 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 California 420, Blackberry, or chartreuse pumpkin colors are working on cypress trees in clear water if you can find any left from the recent muddy rise of around two feet.

Baby brush hogs in Blue Flash, Sapphire, and California 420 are also working sporadically with the stained to muddy water depending on location.  

White Bass:  in large schools continue roaming, but are stacked behind points and secondary ridges and ditches with all the recent muddy water between McGuire Lake and Ark state Highway 71 bridge over the past couple weeks.  Oxbows up and down Little River were holding large schools of the White Bass and Hybrids since 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, and have scattered with all the recent 1-2 feet rise of muddy water and current along Little River.

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 were biting good on cut bait, homemade dough balls, and blood bait in the current of Little River.

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.

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