July 11, 2018
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for July 11, 2018. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Conway will be in effect through March 1, 2019. The irrigation restriction will allow the AGFC to apply Environmental Protection Agency-approved aquatic herbicides to treat and reduce the spread of alligator weed, a non-native, invasive aquatic plant. Herbicides used will not cause harm to aquatic organisms, such as fish, and are not harmful to people or wildlife that may come into contact with treated vegetation or water. Herbicides that will be used have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. Therefore, the AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners DO NOT irrigate water from Lakes Conway for lawn or garden use during this period.
(updated 7-11-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) says the water level is down about a foot from normal. The clarity is clear and the surface temperature was a whopping 98 degrees. Therefore, what is typically a great crappie lake has no crappie to report this week. They’re hiding from the heat. Bream are fair with worms, particularly nightcrawlers. Bass reports have been fair. Anglers are having best success with spinnerbaits and frogs. Catfishing is fair with nightcrawlers and shrimp. Pretty much, they say, the fishing overall hasn’t changed from last week.
(updated 7-11-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said they continue to see typical summertime generation of early afternoon and evening generation, providing wading opportunities on the upper river in mornings and lower river in afternoons. For fly-fishing, he recommends midges, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. Hot pink and purple bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin fishing. Remember to practice your best boating, canoeing/kayaking and wading etiquette and be safe while enjoying the Little Red River. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 7-11-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said Tuesday, “Well, today was one of those days. As a guide, I sometimes think I’ve got these trout all figured out. Wrong!! Just when you think you have it all going your way and you know what the fish want and how they want it, up pops a day when the fish humble you. Gary and Joyce fished with me today and as we were starting Gary saw a ‘mop’ fly in my fly box and asked if I had any luck using the fly. I told him I had tied some but had not had much success using them. As the morning progressed we were having trouble getting the fish to hit any of the flies I had been successfully using the last several days. Gary asked if he might try one of the mop flies and I tied it on. You guessed it! First cast and he caught a fish. The rest of the morning was productive with Gary and Joyce getting strikes and landing several rainbows.
“If all else fails, try something new and different. I learn something new on the river each day. It never hurts to try something out of the ordinary when your standard flies aren’t working. Fish may also be curious about something they don’t see every day. Thanks, Gary, for a suggestion that saved the day!”
Greg says the river remains clear with afternoon generation.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.09 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 7-11-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 460.19 feet msl on Tuesday and falling with generation and evaporation. It is 2.35 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl for this time of year. The catching is off as it is all around the South right now dealing with this strong weather pattern of front after front and east and northeast wind blowing all the time. It will break the cycle soon and the catch rate will go up quite a bit. You can catch one or two from an area and then they disappear and or won’t bite anymore. Switching tactics helps sometimes, but it is best to stay with what has always worked – just be patient and move to another area. Timing is a big issue right now catching them on the feed. We also have a late shad spawn and some of the fry they are eating are tiny, very small bait fish. Just stick with what brought ya’ to the dance. The catfishing is steady around the lake with catches coming in on a variety of baits on a variety of methods; that bite has been most consistent of all. The crappie are down about 18-20 feet on down to 40 feet suspended in pole timber or over or around brush piles; use minnows or jigs tipped with minnows for the best bite. The bream are shallow out to about 20 feet eating crawlers and crickets the best. Walleye fishing and catching is not good at the moment. Conditions are not favoring the bite very well, but a few are being caught because they have to eat. They’re biting crawlers in 18-28 feet of water. The bass fishing is going with the windblown shad; try spinnerbaits, chasing the west banks where wind has piled the shad up, or drops off of points, humps, ledges in 15-40 feet of water with a big worm Texas-rigged or a C-rig. The hybrid and white bass are eating on and off all day all around the lake, as catch rates are down right now as well. Some are schooling, some are not. Try spoons, inline spinners and swimbaits for the best success in 28-55 feet.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 7-11-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is clear and the temperature of the water is a hot 94 degrees. The water level is a little low, they say. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. No reports on crappie. Bass are fair, early in the day and late in the evening, on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair with worm.
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Overcup will be in effect through March 1, 2019. The irrigation restriction will allow the AGFC to apply Environmental Protection Agency-approved aquatic herbicides to treat and reduce the spread of alligator weed, a non-native, invasive aquatic plant. Herbicides used will not cause harm to aquatic organisms, such as fish, and are not harmful to people or wildlife that may come into contact with treated vegetation or water. Herbicides that will be used have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. Therefore, the AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners DO NOT irrigate water from Lakes Overcup for lawn or garden use during this period.
(updated 7-4-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said crappie are being caught in deeper water. Not a lot have been caught, but some really nice ones are being hooked. Bass are doing well around brush tops and structure with topwater baits and plastic worms. They are chasing the new spawn of shad and hitting topwater baits. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotlines using perch and trotline minnows. Bream are doing well on crickets, but you have to find them and then you will catch some good-sized ones. Water level is about normal and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 87 degree. “Everyone be safe and have a great 4th of July,” he said.
(updated 7-11-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the lake is clear and the surface water temperature is ranging 85-90 degrees. The level is about 4 feet low and they need rain, Larry says. The fishing is good, though, and Larry notes that the parking lots are now paved. Bream reports have been fair. Crappie are fair in about 5-7 feet of water and are biting minnows and jigs. Bass are fair; best bet is to work the shoals with spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfish are good. They appear to be spawning and will bite chicken livers or crappie minnows, plus the shad. Look for them close to the bank. Anglers are having fair success catching white bass.
(updated 7-11-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said the largemouth bass bite is excellent. With water temps in the 80s the bass are about 10-20 feet deep. Some are just outside of the grass. Try using Zoom Trick Worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs in 6-8 and 10-15 feet of water. A few can also be caught in shallow water on Pop-Rs, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Largemouths continue to bite more during dusk and dawn. Last Tuesday (July 3) anglers enjoyed a good bass bite, with Matt Hedrick and Brandon Crain hauling in the Big Bass of 4.24 pounds and winning the tournament with an 11.12-pound stringer, edging Lee Brizzo and We Louder with 10.92 pounds. Kentucky bass are off the grass line and also about 8-12 feet deep. Rocky banks or points are best with a crankbait or jig. The bite is good. White bass are excellent. There have been reports of whites schooling near the dam from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits, and Bombers. Crappie are good. More reports of crappie being found near brush piles and structures anywhere from 12-20 feet deep. Try using spider rigs and minnows early in the morning or later in the evening. Bream are good. Bream are being caught 6-12 feet deep and on brush piles. Try using crickets, worms or jigs anywhere from 3-12 feet depth. Catfish are excellent. More reports this week of the channel cats starting to move out and the blues coming in. Try stink bait and bream around 8-10 feet and 20 feet deep. Had another 40-pound catfish caught last week off the banks.
(updated 7-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said people have been hitting Sunset pretty hard because it was stocked twice just last month. One stocking was with tagged catfishranging from 5-40 pounds and somewhere between 10 and 20 tagged ones with prizes for the tags ranging from tackle boxes, to rod-and-reel combos, to gift cards to a water board and a kayak. As for bait, you name it, they have been taking it there, from fresh chicken livers, to nightcrawlers, to various kinds of stink baits. Bream have been doing great on crickets and redworms. Bass have been doing well on brooder minnows and white and chartreuse buzzbaits. Crappie have been slow on crappie minnows. Lisa says she heard that the turtles have been plentiful out there, too.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 7-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that from what she has been hearing it has been pretty slow over there. An occasional small bream or so. We just need some rain to get the levels back up and also to maybe wash some of those out of the creek over into the ponds.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 7-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been doing great on brooder minnows, with small split shot and using a No, 2 plain shank hook. Catfish are being caught on trotlines using black salties and goldfish. Crappie on Kalin's Tennessee Shad Grubs and crappie minnows. Bream are doing great on crickets.
Lisa adds about hot spots outside her usual coverage that Lake Ouachita provided great big crappie for one of my customers and his family using small crappie minnows. And another customer been doing great on catfish at Lake Sylvia using fresh chicken livers. He said his kids love this lake for the swimming area, too.
(updated 7-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been slow on crappie minnows. Bass have been good on brooder minnows and various crankbaits. Catfish have been hitting bass minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bream have been biting deep using a crickets.
(updated 7-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said a customer of hers been doing great on catfish using fresh chicken livers. He said his kids love this lake for the swimming area, too.
(updated 7-11-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been good on small crappie minnows. Bream are good on crickets. Bass have been hitting brooder minnows and buzzbaits. Catfish are doing well on chicken livers and bait shrimp.
(updated 7-11-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said they’ve had a few kayaks come in. One couple dropped off here and went to Toad Suck. Good to see kayaks using the river. Black bass are biting well early and late when the water is up on the grass line and when down on the wood structure. Lots of shad around. Use shad-colored crankbaits for good results. Catfish are good and are biting early by the grass, too. Use shad. Later during the day, fish with catalpa worms in 8-20 feet depth. White bass are chasing shad schools. Go with shallow-running shad-colored crankbaits. Crappie have been caught in the Petit Jean River. Try floating a jig in 6-12 feet water. Red and chartreuse is the color. Reports are fair. There has been a great shad hatch.
(updated 7-11-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 84 degrees as of Monday morning. Water level and current are normal. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms, both early in the morning and after the sun sets. Catfish are excellent on trotlines. They’re biting worms and stink baits. No reports on bream.
(updated 7-11-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the level and current are normal. Surface temperature is in the high 80s. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappiereports are good on minnows or jigs. Black bass are good, with the best bites coming early in the morning before the heat rises and late at night. Catfish are fair.
(updated 7-11-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that near Murray Lock and Dam, the catfishing is fair using skipjack or slicks. No other reports.
(updated 7-11-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is clearing up from its previous stained look. The temperature is in the mid- to high 80s. Water level and current are normal. Reports on bream catches were good. They’re biting redworms and nightcrawlers. No reports on crappie. Bass are fair. Fish for bass in 6-8 feet of water with crankbaits. Catfishing is fair below the dam using stink bait.
(updated 7-11-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the surface temperature has been in the high 80s. The water level and current are normal. Bream are fair on worms or crickets. You’ll find them in the backwater around Willow Beach. Crappie are fair. Use hot pink jigs or minnows, and also try Fin Spins jigheads off the jetties. Look for them in 10-12 feet of water. Bass are good. They’re at a depth of 10-12 feet and are hitting spinnerbaits and crankbaits, as well as plum apple watermelon candy Trick Worms and shaky head worms. Closer to the Terry Lock and Dam, go with spinnerbaits and the Trick Worms or some type of plastic worm. Catfishing reports have been fair.
(updated 7-11-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said that near the Terry Lock and Dam, water clarity is good the current and level are normal. No temperature was reported, but rest assured it's hot. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good using worms.
(updated 7-11-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that near Murray Lock and Dam, the catfishing is fair using skipjack or slicks. No other reports.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 7-11-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water clarity is good, though it is hot. Water level and current are normal. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits, topwater lures and plastic worms. Nothing reported on catfish.
(updated 7-11-2018) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the water is clear, and while the water is low there are no stumps showing. No temperature was available; it's just hot, Donna said. No reports on bream. Crappie are fair. Anglers are trolling minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair. Overall, she said, things are slow there.
(updated 7-11-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “The Fourth of July holiday brought some longtime friends to the White River and allowed us to introduce some new anglers to the fishery.” Bull Shoals Lake is nearly 2 feet below the seasonal power pool target, so anglers have seen lower water levels throughout most of the day, between 2,500 to 3,100 cfs on average. Heavier generation in the late afternoons requires staying ahead of the rise or turning back on it and running upriver to clearer waters. The quality of rainbows exceeds the quantity, and many days the quantity rises above expectations. River minnows and soft-shell crawdads worked close to the bank captured the attention of more than a score of browns over the past seven days. Rainbows looked for their treat of shrimp and made for lots of happy anglers. Summertime temperatures can be brutal, so bring lots of water and electrolytes to stay hydrated. It's fun to see so much wildlife come to the river to cool off, get a drink and find refreshment in the heat, too. Visitors have shared the river with deer, eagles, foxes, mink, otters, herons, turtles and other animals this week. “We hope to see you there, too.”
(updated 7-11-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that during the past week, they have had no rain, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.2 feet to rest at 0.8 feet below seasonal power pool of 661.3 feet msl. This is 34.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.5 feet to rest at 0.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 0.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 7.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had less generation but no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1 foot to rest at 0.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 556 feet msl and 24.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of power pool. With warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the afternoons, but there is a possibility of wadable water in the cooler mornings.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. There are sulphurs coming off. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10) and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a size 14 bead-head pheasant tail with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
John also shares this lesson about equipment, “As a guide, I frequently am called on to provide loaner rods for my clients. Either they are new to the sport and don’t have one yet, they are traveling and did not want to bother with carrying one, or the broke their rod recently. I need to supply good reliable equipment that is durable and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
“I have three loaner rigs and my wife, Lori, has two. They are all the same. The rod is a Temple Fork Outfitter Lefty Kreh Professional Series two-piece, five-weight, 9-foot rod. When I bought them, they retailed for around $100 each. They have a lifetime guarantee that I have taken advantage of on several occasions. They are abused on a regular basis.
“The reels are old Orvis Battenkill 5/6 disc-drag reels. They retailed for about $80 when I bought them. They came with a lifetime guarantee and I have sent one back for a major repair. They have been beat up and a lot of the finish is missing. They still perform beautifully. I have an extra spool that is set up for left-handed fly-casters so that, when I have one, I can quickly switch the reel over to right-hand retrieve. I have a top-of-the-line fly line for each rig that retails for about $75. The whole rig cost a bit over $250, but I paid substantially less with my guide discount. I consider this to be the best rig for the money that I have found. When Lori and I fish together from the boat, we generally use our loaner rods because they fish well and are always in the back of my Suburban already rigged from my most recent guide trip.
“They were put to the test (last Thursday) on a guide trip. Lori was guiding Christi, a C.P.A. from Georgia. Christi said that she wanted to catch a lot of fish, so Lori took her to the White River. I was not working so I went along to run the boat and Lori could concentrate on landing trout.
“I got to the river a little early and I fished for a few minutes with a client rod before Lori and Christi arrived. I managed to catch a nice trout. When they got there, I motored over to the ramp and picked them up. Christi brought an Orvis Helios 3 fly rod with a Mirage Reel and a topnotch fly line. It was the same size and weight fly rod as the loaner but cost a bit over $1,500. While Lori rigged the rod, Christi used the loaner so that she could begin fishing sooner. She was into a trout almost immediately. It was a fat 18-inch rainbow. A few minutes later it was another rainbow and then another. It took Lori quite a while to rig the Helios because she was busy netting trout. When she got it rigged, Christi opted to continue fishing with the client rod because it was working well.
“Later in the day she was fighting a really big trout when the fish slipped the hook and the line came back and tangled around the rod. While Lori was dealing with the tangle, Christi took the Helios and began fishing. She wasn’t doing as well casting it and went back to the client rod when Lori got it untangled. She finished the day using the client rod.
“Christi landed 35 trout. The biggest was a 20-inch rainbow. They were all caught on the client rod. It is more important that a rod fish well than be expensive.”
(updated 7-11-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the clarity the past week has been wonderful, even it it's hot weather. Two generators are running at the dam. The trout bite is good.Rainbows are biting PowerBait and Power Worms.
that with the weather so hot, the fishing has rated only fair of late. The water clarity is clear and there are 2-3 generators running regularly at the dam. The trout bite is fair to good. Rainbows are preferring PowerBait. Not many browns were reported caught.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 659.88 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-28-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said lake level Thursday was at 661 feet msl, still about 2½ feet over the normal pool for this time of year. Temperature is about 84 degrees up to 90 depending on where you’re at. It’s been hot; Thursday was the hottest day of the year. The Corps been generating quite a bit of water, running about eight units a day, to get the lake level back down. And it’s summertime, the fishing’s pretty much going to stay the same for a while here. Expect a report every two weeks or so unless something major changes. Early in the morning there’s a good topwater bite still. You can throw a Zara Spook, you can walk the dog, throw a Sammy, Gunfish, anything of that nature. “There’s a small feeding window there, so if you get up really before the sun comes up and get ready beyond the water when it happens, it'll definitely pay off that first hour, hour and a half, sometimes two hours. We've had a lot of fronts come through lately, so if you can get it out before one of those storms come in without getting in trouble you'll do good,” Del said. Now, definitely you want to follow the shad around, he says. If you can find the bait, you're going to find the fish, so pay attention when you're out there. The main lake definitely has been better and it will continue to be as they generate water. The lake still has those fish out on the points, so as the sun comes out you want to fish the main lake points, secondary points, humps, islands, docks and brush piles anywhere in that 20-25 feet range. There is a drop-shot bite that's working, you can spoon them; get up around the docks as the spoon bite’s been pretty good. If you want to go in the back, you can do that if you get some runoff. You can definitely go in the back after one of the storms and get into the fish, but it's going to be hit or miss, that's for sure. Del and other anglers are still catching fish on the Whopper Plopper; they’re catching them in the bushes, those largemouth are relatively shallow early and it's hot out. Del says he’s fishing half-days now, and you can line up a trip with him. “Also if you want to get out and catch some fish you've got other options: the White River, which is right here, we’ve got bowfishing, we got the Fourth (July 4) coming up, the scuba guys have been out on the lake spearfishing for walleye and the walleye guys that are fishing are doing really good dragging bottom-bouncers. The last week was anywhere in the 20- to 28-foot range.”
(updated 6-27-2018) K Dock Marina on the Missouri side of Bull Shoals Lake said lots of fish were caught the last few weeks. Anglers are still doing great on almost all species of game fish. Water is hot and dropping fast, but the bite is still on if you can stand the heat and humidity. (The Army Corps of Engineers has now made this current lake level the new summer power pool after implementing the Minimum Flow Act several years ago.) Unfortunately the boat launch near K Dock will still not be usable at this level. This launch was designed to be used for a power pool of 654 feet msl. This launch was never raised before they changed the lake to the current level. “We believe it’s time to make some noise and tell the Corps that we need a high water boat launch! I will be posting a separate blog on this site about this project very soon.” Scott says the water temperature is ranging 87-90 degrees and the water is stained. Black bass are good on a variety of baits – topwater early morning and evening; jigs on points and steep rock bluffs, peanut butter and jelly are working good; large crankbaits and 8- to 10-inch plumb or blue fleck plastic worms. Walleye are good on trolling medium crankbaits. Keep the boat in about 20-25 feet for suspended walleye in the 12-18 feet range. Some walleye are being caught on larger crankbaits and bottom bouncers in the 20-30 feet range. They will really start to go deep if the surface temperature jumps above 90 degrees. Lots of 5- to 6-pound walleye were caught on white or silver spoons, vertical-jigging, around 20-25 feet of water off the points. Crappie are good to fair on live minnows in brush piles. Also some very large crappie are being caught trolling small to medium crankbaits a few feet from the high bluff sides of the lake.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 555.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-11-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is in its summer pattern. Fish are going deeper as the thermocline continues to drop. The thermocline appears to be in the 22-30 feet range, depending where you are located on the lake. Striped bass fishing continues to be very good. The best artificial method has been vertical-jigging with a spoon. If you are trolling, use a large swimbait or an umbrella rig with the same swimbaits attached to it. Live bait (threadfin or gizzard shad and large shiners) has been working the best for him, Lou said. “I am catching stripers 40-70 feet deep in 45-100 feet of water. Most of the fish I've caught over the last week that were 40 feet down have been hybrids. The striped bass has been deeper. Locations for the striped bass have not really changed much since my last report. I am finding them on the main lake as well as in some of the creeks. Channel swings where the water drops off to 80-plus feet very close to shore are one of the best areas. Long points where the channel is close are also holding some really good fish. I am finding striped bass from the 62 bridge area all the way down towards and beyond Hudson Point, a little east of the dam.”
Largemouth bass fishing has also been good. There is still some good topwater action right before sun up and as the sun is setting. Other times of the day you need to look for these fish on or slightly below the thermocline. Brush piles near the thermocline are also holding some nice fish. Catfish and walleye have also been biting very well. Lou says he has caught some really nice-sized channel and blue cats on live shad while fishing for striped bass. Most of the catfish came from 60-70 feet deep close to the bottom, especially when he has found deep bait. The same, as above, holds true for the walleye. You will also find nice walleye below the thermocline especially early and late in the day. Crawler harnesses are work very well, as well as live larger minnows.
Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable and currently sits at 555.28 feet msl. Periodic power generation is occurring to hold the level close to the current normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature is in the 86-90-degree range. The main lake is clear with some of the coves and creeks slightly stained.
(updated 7-11-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the striper bite on Norfork Lake is still strong for the first two hours in the morning. “I have yet to find a secondary bite after 7:30 but will spend time this week finding new fish to catch. This week we have multiple days where both Sean and I have limited out in less than two hours. In any given morning we will have enough bite to use over 40 shad apiece. Some bites happen so fast the client cannot react to hook the fish and others are just plain misses.” He says there is still an afternoon bite but most times it really starts at sundown and only lasts for less than an hour. Now that we are in the summer pattern you will find them feeding in 40-120 feet of water. In the 40-foot range they will be on the bottom feeding. In deeper water the fish can be found in the 35-40-foot range feeding on shad. Tom and his anglers are catching stripers using 3- to 5-inch gizzard shad. The lower end of Norfork seems to be where the better bite is. Tom says he’s seeing striper guides from the upper portion of the lake fishing near us. This tells me that the fish are moving south looking for cooler water with more oxygen. Some places to start looking are the channel off Point 2 from Diamond Bay to the Bluffs, Georges Cove, Koso Point, Dam Cove and Thumb Point. “Remember, we now in the summer period of striper fishing so you should stop releasing legal stripers caught on live bait. The slogan for the summer is ‘Grow Trophies, Catch Your Limit and Go Home.’ Catch your limit and quit for the day or change your target species. Save some fish for your next trip and watch them grow into trophies.”
(updated 7-11-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that last week Norfork Lake fell 1 foot to rest at 0.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 556 feet msl and 24.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of power pool. With warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the afternoons, but there is a possibility of wadable water in the cooler mornings. The Norfork has fished well. There have been some nice midge, caddis and sulphur hatches that have provided some good top water action. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during flooding over the past year or more. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, Copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a red fox squirrel nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has cleared and is fishing much better, though there are fewer fish in the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).
(updated 7-11-2018) vJohn Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable but low. The smallmouths are active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,120.81 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 7-11-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says stripers are making their way north and are scattered throughout the lake. They are still using mouths of coves and tree lines adjacent to the channel. Some stripers are still making their way out of the river to the main lake. For you diehard live baiters, fishing with green lights at night and using weighted lines, balloons and downlines between about 20-40 feet deep during daylight hours should get you some stripers. For the artificial baits you can try trolling umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse jigs/grubs or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors, and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in the 5-6-inch model on planer boards to stagger your presentation. Downrigging said baits will be effective, too. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper, hybrid or combination of the two. Know your species and make sure you identify any fish you keep. There is no limit on white bass. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike Bailey’s website. Live bait as always is the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers. Water surface temperatures are in the mid-80s. Mike suggest checking out these hot spots in the mid- and upper sections: Beaver Lake Dam, Point 1, Lost Bridge South, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow. At the Highway 12 bridge and Prairie Creek,pay attention to areas around the islands and Point 10, a lot of fish are coming out of the river late due to high water.
(updated 7-11-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity of the lake is clear and the surface water temperature is 83 degrees (as of Monday). Bream are fair on worms or crickets. There are lot of ways to get to the crappie, and reports have been good. Some anglers have been trolling. Arrive really early, or wait until just before dark, for the bass bite, which they rate as fair. Spinnerbaits, topwaters and Texas-rigged worms are working best. Catfish are good on prepared bait and live bait.
(updated 7-11-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been spot-on this past week, and the weather over the weekend was fantastic for fishing. The trout have been hitting the PowerBaits hard. The hot spot has been between Spider Creek and U.S. Highway 62 bridge. Fishing various PowerBaits under light terminal tackle has been the best combination. The trout have also responded well to spoons of various colors in the quarter-ounce range. Smallmouths were hitting on soft plastics and hard jerkbaits fishing structure and chunk rock. Austin says, “We have some rain forecasted in the upcoming week, but it should not be enough to slow things down. Speaking of slowing things down, over the weekend there were some folks in big boats (too big for the tailwaters) who had a complete disregard for the safety of kayakers and fishermen in smaller boats. These bigger boats were speeding past the kayakers and smaller boats, causing them to be swamped. Folks, it is imperative that safe boating operations are practiced. With the conditions in the tailwaters, along with heavy boating and kayaking traffic, very serious injury or death can easily occur. I implore anyone who observes unsafe boating to report that boat to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department and the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission. As always, were your life jacket, have fun, stay safe and catch some fish.”
(updated 7-6-2018) Beaver Dam Store said bait fisherman are catching numbers of trout using PowerBait, nightcrawlers and waxworms. The Bertrand ramp area has been fishing well. Fish upstream from Parker Bottoms in the Trophy Management Area as well as Campground C, Riverview walk-in areas as well as the turnaround. Always be attentive to rising water conditions. Nymphs and midges are working well along with white or olive PJ Jigs. Typical good lures in this area are gold and silver Colorado spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive, hare’s ear, tungsten Copper Johns, WD 40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms.
(updated 7-11-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water clarity remains cloudy. The surface water temperature was deemed HOT. Water level was normal. Bream are good on worms or crickets. Crappie are fair, and anglers are trolling minnows or jigs. Bass are fair on the plastic worms and topwater plugs. Catfishing is fair; no baits were specified.
(updated 7-11-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water lake is about 5 inches low and the water is clear. Surface temperature is 83 degrees as of Monday. Bream are excellent. Catch them in 4 feet of water with worms or crickets. Bass are good early in ithe day. They're hitting spinnerbaits and topwater plugs. Catfish are good on chicken livers, shad and live bait. No reports on crappie. Note: During July, the boat dock will be open all night on Friday nights.
(updated 7-11-2018) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said they are “missing the fisherman traffic and are anxiously looking forward to the time that Lake Poinsett is ready for you all. Meanwhile, we are keeping all you fishing needs in stock. That includes live bait and other supplies.” There are other lakes in the immediate area for anglers to check out, including Lake Hogue and Lake Charles. Also, the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program is now stocking the pond at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
(updated 7-11-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water clarity is clear. Water level is a little below normal. The surface water temperature is 90 degrees. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Nothing to report on crappie. Bass are good, but get on them early before the sun gets up or wait until late in the evening. Use topwaters. Catfishing is good with chicken livers or nightcrawlers.
(updated 7-4-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 320 cfs and water clarity has been clear. The catching has been great early with the bite tapering off when the heat rises. Olive and black Woollies, El Diablos and Guppies have been hot. Some mornings have had good hatches and a hopper dropper with the dropper being a hare’s ear, pheasant tail or a prince working well. Hot pink and white Trout Magnets are working well. Have to fish them just off the bottom! Adjust float as depth changes.
(updated 7-11-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is here and there are many boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 7-4-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water clarity is clear and the surface water temperature was 88 degrees. The water level is low by 8 feet. No reports on bream. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair using spinnerbaits or plastic worms. No reports on catfish. Walleye catches were fair; use jigheads.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 7-4-2018) Park Interpreter Houston Wynn at Cane Creek State Park said fishing at Cane Creek has been fairly slow, considering. The water level is low due to the hot conditions, and the bite for most fish is scarce. The bass action hasn’t been great over the past couple weeks. Any reports that have come in have said that the bite is decent in the late evening. You can find these fish chasing schools of shad in the channels along the surface. Try any bait that swims shallow and resembles shad. Crappie can be found if you can map out structure on the bottom. These fish are holding up on brush piles in deeper water. If you find them, pretty decent-sized fish are being reported. The catfish bite has been fairly consistent throughout the summer. They can be found in deeper waters during the heat of the day, and the bite turns up during the night in shallow waters. Stink baits, large minnows, cut bait or liver will work great for bait. One fish that you will not struggle to find is bream. They’re biting in full swing and can be found along the banks at all times of the day! They will bite almost anything you put in front of them.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 7-11-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said, “It’s middle of July now, and southwest Arkansas is still HOT, folks.” Millwood Lake is about 3.5 inches above normal conservation pool and steady as of Monday at 259.5 feet msl; the discharge was near 650 cfs for Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers The tailwater below the dam and gates as of Monday remains very low, about 225 feet msl. Water temps continued climbing over the past week. Surface temps as of Monday ranged near 86 degrees early to 94 later under full sun, depending on location. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. No-wake zones are in effect at White Cliffs Campground on Little River and marked with buoys. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random, broken, or floating timber. Clarity and visibility continue improving over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially upriver. Mike says that all this mid-summer heat, the best bite of the day for largemouth bass continues to be from dawn to around 10 a.m.; during mid-day until dusk the bass are dropping off the flats into the depths of Little River where the thermocline resides between 12-18 feet. Largemouth bass over the past couple weeks have been good early up to 3-5 pounds on topwaters (and cloud-cover mornings are seeing best activity) early at dawn. Feeding activity levels have slowed during the heat of the day with the increase of surface temperatures in the mid to upper 80s and low 90 range over the past couple weeks. Best baits over the past couple weeks have been buzzbaits, plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads on a light wire hook working in new lily pad growth. Best color of frogs have been black or June Bug in new lily pads. Buzzbait colors drawing best reactions lately are Hot Firecracker Chartreuse, Cotton Candy, Bleeding Bream and black. A good spinnerbait bite is working on shallow flats early, near lily pads and vegetation like pond weed and alligator grass, randomly, near stumps and laydowns close to creek channel swings. Slow-rolling the spinnerbaits off points, ditches and creek mouths dumping into Little River from 8-12 feet will yield a few random bass. The buzzbaits are also working across flats with stumps and laydowns near creek channels, and around lily pads. StutterSteps, Cordell Crazy Shads, Arbogast Jitterbugs, Heddon Crazy Crawlers and Moss Bosses in the slop are all getting fair to good reactions from largemouths in creek channels near stumps. Topwater activity levels slow considerably after 11 a.m., with very little topwater activity until dusk. Once the topwater bite subsides, go with a big, bulky, 10-12-inch worm around stumps on points and deeper in the creeks, and on points dumping into Little River and secondary points along Little River. Berkley Power Worms and Zoom Ol’ Monster 10-12-inch worms in June-Bug/Red, Black, Blue Fleck, Red Shad and June Bug colors are drawing random reactions from largemouths along steeper vertical washouts, ledges and stairsteps along Little River and near creek mouth junctions, points and intersecting feeder creeks dumping into Little River. Vertical-jigging spoons will connect with a few Kentucky (spotted) bass and schools of largemouths in Little River behind points and washouts. Schools of Kentuckies and largemouths feeding on river shad will hit vertical-jigged spoons with abandon once the topwater bite subsides late in the morning. Mike says they have been using Cotton Cordell hammered spoons over the past week or two, with added bucktails. Some mornings a white bucktail is best, and seems like cloudy mornings that a red bucktail works better. Between Jack's Isle and Hurricane Creek along Little River, in 10-15 foot of depth where broken timber and stumps are located, you’ll find the most aggressive spoon-bass feeders. Also, the mouth of Snake Creek gave up a few spoon bass over the past week.
White bass were biting vertical-jigging 1-ounce slab spoons in Little River under the U.S. Highway 71 bridge next to bridge pilings. No reports on crappie. As for catfish, blues and channel Cats have been biting minnows and cut bait on yo-yos set around 8-10 feet deep and hung from cypress limbs in very back of Mud Lake oxbow, along Little River, over the past few weeks.
(updated 7-11-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) report that a few bass being caught. Crappie are being caught at night. No report on bream and catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 544.17 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-11-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is almost 4 feet below full pool of 548 feet msl and holding pretty steady. Water temps have made it to the upper 80s. The bass have transitioned to their summertime patterns and have slowed down considerably. Super Spook Jr’s and Booyah Hard Knockers are seeing some action on main lake points early and late. Shaky head Yum finesse Worms and drop-shots rigged with Yum Kill Shots or Sharpshooters are working OK on main lake points as well. Night fishing has been decent lately using black Booyah Spinnerbaits or Yum Ribbontail worms. Crappie are slowing down, but still good. They can be caught in 15-25 foot brush with minnows.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 403.90 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 7-11-2018) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina said, “I think it is gonna get hot. Great Fourth, thanks to everyone on DeGray for being safe for the holidays.” The water level on Tuesday was 403.91 feet msl. Water temperature is in the high 80s. Water is clear throughout. The heat has really slowed down the fishing. White bass and black bass are breaking throughout the lake from Piney to Iron Mountain. They don’t stay up long. Be ready and get there early with spoons, Whopper Ploppers, Zara Spook Jrs and get them. It has been pretty windy for a while and that makes surfacing fish less likely and harder to see. Hybrids are spotty at best. Spoons still are working. You have to use your electronics to find them and then count your spoons down to that depth. They move like cattle, so stay with them. Be early! Trolling deep-diving crankbaits is a good bet after early morning. Crappie fishing is slow. Fish deep, 15 feet or more. Minnows are best. Like all of the other fish, be early. Deep brush piles around Alpine and Shouse Ford are good areas. Black bass are in their summer pattern except for the surfacing ones. No bream report. Stay hydrated and be early again.
(updated 7-11-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Overall fishing is pretty good providing you get out there early – that means even before sunup. Bass fishing is fair with quite a few small fish reported but the big ones are hard to come by. Look for surface-feeding fish in the lower end in the big coves between points 2 and 4. Also try around the state park, especially at the marina. Use most any topwater lure or soft plastics such as Zoom Flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. There’s a little activity at mid-lake between Edgewood and Caddo Drive. Try working a Texas-rigged worm across main lake points where there is some cover. Also try a medium-running crankbait in a natural shad pattern. Crappie fishing is fair with the fish holding tight to cover on attractors in 20-25 feet of water. Drop a 2-inch Kalin's Curly Gail Grub to the thickest part of the brush down about 15 feet. Tennessee Shad on a 1/16-ounce jighead is the best rig. Be sure to cover the entire attractor because the fish will be only in one spot. Once again, early morning is best. Hybrid fishing remains slow with a few fish showing in the lower end at DeRoche Ridge and the big coves between points 2 and 6. Look for surface-feeding fish and throw most any small topwater lure. When the surface activity subsides, try a jigging spoon because the fish are probably still present, just down deeper. White and chartreuse are best colors for the spoon. Lots of white bass reported coming from the same areas. In fact white bass and hybrids will schoo