Proposed 2017 fishing regulations survey online
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking the public to provide feedback on the state’s proposed 2017 fishing regulations. A 10-inch minimum length on crappie at Lake Atkins and the ability to harvest some largemouth bass with a protected slot limit at Lower White Oak Lake are among the topics being discussed. There also is an open section at the end of the survey for any comments or suggestions anglers may have. Click the button below to start the survey.
(updated 5-11-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water was stained and at normal level, while the surface temperature was mid 60s to low 70s. Fishing was good with the exception of crappie. Bream fishing was good with worms and crickets. Bass were biting in shallow water. Some 35-pound flathead catfish were being pulled, and the catfishing overall was good with chicken liver. Crappie was best around cypress trees in the shallow water with minnows and jigs, but overall the bite was poor.
Dan Zajac at Gold Creek Landing said bream are biting well on crickets, red worms or wax worms. Bass are doing fairly well on spinner baits and soft plastics. Crappie are biting fair on jigs fished around the cypress trees. Catfishing is good.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said recent rain caused the middle and lower sections of the Little Red River to be muddy. Daily generation should clear these sections before the weekend. The river still has low water conditions with one to two hours of one unit daily generation. Wading and drift- fishing opportunities are both plentiful. Hot fly patterns are emergers, soft hackles, hares ear nymphs and midges. For Trout Magnet fishing, use hot pink and white bodies on silver and chartreuse jig heads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the 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 (www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (www.swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 5-11-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said his area missed most of the rain and storms early this week and the river remains clear with generation in the afternoon for three to four hours starting about 2 p.m. The lake level is 462.3 which is in the normal range for this time of year. The caddis hatch seems to be over at this time. Seaton has not seen many caddis in the last few days and the fish are not as active. Fishing has been slow with the fish moving off the shoals back into deeper pools. Sowbugs and micro jigs seem to be the best flies now.
(updated 4-27-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Company
(501-207-1770) reported great fishing, with low flows allowing anglers a rare opportunity lately to wade. Trout are keying on the strong caddis hatches. Hot flies are the caddies emergers and soft hackles, with pink and white trout magnets also working well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.26 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 462.04 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.24 feet msl, or 0.8 feet below normal pool for May-June of 463.04-462.54 feet that is where they try to keep it for that period of time. The water temp is in the high 60-mid 70s .The fishing all around is good all over the lake and rivers, from 0 feet out to 40 feet deep. The bass fishing in good in the bushes, in front of the bushes and out on flats and humps and points, try using Texas-rigged baits up shallow, to c-rigs out deep and mid-depths as well as a lot of other baits are working as well, you can pretty much pick your own poison, the fish are scattered from real shallow out to 40 feet deep. The bream are eating well on crickets, crawlers and small crank baits and in-line spinners, they are bedding a little deeper because of the low water we have had, try from shallow out to 20 feet. The catfishing is good all over on jugs and lines, a few people are catching them on rod and reel, using a big variety of baits. Walleye, anglers are still catching a few males and resident fish up the rivers, the lake Walleye bite should be on fire soon with the water warming, try dragging crawlers and crank baits in 5- 20-foot range. Crappie up the rivers ,some are still spawning and they are spawning all over the lake as well in the pole timber and around brush, the post spawn fish are out suspended in about 15 feet , try grubs and minnows. The Hybrid and White Bass some are still up rivers and creeks doing their thing, and the lake fish are trying to school a little and are on the move a lot, it is real hard to stay over them, the best way is to find then and just sit still and they will be back under you pretty soon after they make a circle; use spoons, in-line spinners, swim baits, hair jigs, and some live bait is working as well.
(updated 5-11-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort
(501-889-2745) reported a fair week of fishing. Water was clear and at normal level, with a surface temperature of 75 degrees. Bream fishing was good with worms and crickets. Minnows and jigs were working the crappie and the fishing was good. Bass, too, was good with crankbait and plastic worms. Catfishing was good with worms and chicken liver.
Overcup Landing had no report.
(updated 5-11-2016) Fosters Four Seasons
(501-868-9061) said the fishing has been good to excellent in the past week with water clarity being fair and water at normal depth. Bream fishing was excellent using crickets. Crappie also were hitting crickets and the fishing was good. Bass were hitting spinners in shallow water. The catfishing was good as well with crickets. White bass fishing was poor.
(updated 5-11-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina
reported that water is 0.9 feet above the spillway and the water temperature is 75 degrees in the mid of lake and 79 at west end. The past week’s activity was not much different from last week. The weights on the Tuesday night black bass tournament were much higher, while the catfishing has been excellent, several 50- to 80-pound flatheads. The catfish are being caught in 15 to 20 feet of water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers. As bream move to shallower water, the catfishing will improve. Black bass are excellent and are biting on wacky rig worms, spinner baits, jerkbaits and just about everything else shallow. They can be caught in 3 to 6 feet of water. Best area is the north side of the lake. The temperature is about 70 on the banks. The black bass spawn is over. Kentucky bass is good and being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 3-10 feet of water. Use the same lures as with black bass. White bass action is good to fair. The white bass are moving back into the lake. Some will still be in the river. Use dee-diving Bandits and Bombers on this side of bridge and on other side (west) on grubs, Rooster Tails and jigs. They also are being caught (in the Main Lake) on CC spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails when schooling. Crappie fishing is fair and the crappie are moving off the bank. Use minnows and jigs. Bream fishing is good and fish can be found in 20-25 feet of water around brush. They are being caught on crickets and live worms.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting well on night crawlers and chicken livers. A few bass are hitting on live crawfish. Bream are biting on crickets and redworms. A few small crappie have been caught on pink crappie minnows.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said the rain has pushed the river up. The water is too muddy and high to fish
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said large redear sunfish are still biting excellently on redworms fished near the bottom. Catfishing is good on live crayfish and nightcrawlers. Some crappie are being caught on no. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin’s Tennessee shad-colored grubs. A few bass have been caught on brood minnows.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said crappie are biting fairly well on no. 6 crappie minnows. Catfishing is good on live crayfish and Sonny’s Super Sticky Dip Bait. Bream are biting well on redworms and crickets. Bass are biting well on no. 12 bass minnows.
(updated 5-11-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley said recent river flows have kept many people off the water, but the flow has begun to come back down and the fishing is heating up. Bass fishing is excellent as the majority are recovering from the spawn and making their way out to the main river. Intercept them on the jetties perpendicular to the bank by using your favorite crankbait or spinners. Many will often set up near current breaks like the “blow holes” in the jetties. Good numbers of bream and crappie are being caught by dipping red worms (for bream) and tube jigs/grubs (for crappie) around backwater stickups. The catfishing is fairly good still, but often goes into a lull during the spawn. Try your favorite cut bait for numbers and live bait for the larger cats. Please watch the river conditions before heading out. The Corp of Engineers has a great app that will allow you check the flow before heading out.
River Valley Marina (501-517-1250)said the area had a fair week of fishing. The water clarity was good and the water temperature was 70 degrees. Catfishing was excellent with stink bait and chicken liver. White bass were also excellent, with most being caught on Rooster Tails. Bass fishing was good in shallow water, with spinners, crankbait and plastic worms all working well. In deeper water, crappie fishing was fair with minnows and jigs, while bream were found in shallow water, with worms and crickets bringing in fair hauls.
Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff
(501-834-5733) said water was running high, resulting in poor fishing across the board. What bream were being caught were hitting worms and crickets. Crappie was hitting minnows and jigs. Bass worked some with spinners and crankbait. Catfishing was poor.
McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water level is high and the water clarity is muddy, with only a few fish caught last week. Bream fishing was fair with worms. Crappie were hitting minnows and also were fair. Bass fishing was poor and catfishing was poor.
(updated 5-11-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water was dingy with a surface temperature in the 60s last week, and the fishing was very good for everything but bass. Bream fishing was excellent with worms and crickets. Crappie were excellent with minnows and jigs. Catfishing was excellent with worms, blood bait, stink bait, minnows, jigs, hot dogs and liver. Bass fishing was poor with topwater lures having the best success.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 659.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) K Dock Marina
(417-334-2880) said the surface water temperature is 63 to 65 degrees degrees and the water is stained to clear. Crappie, walleye and black bass are all biting extremely well around K Dock lately. Bass are biting best on shaky head finesse worms, spinnerbaits and Zoom Baby Brush Hogs fished around buckbrush in coves and around points with small gravel on the bank. Cast right up to the bank and fish back out. Crappie are biting very well on live minnows in the coves. Some really nice crappie are being caught and if you find the right tree, you can load the boat quickly. Late afternoon has been the best time to fish lately. Walleye are biting well on small crankbaits, such as Berkley Flicker Shad in sizes 6 and 7. Troll shallow in 10 to 15 feet of water near points and rock bluffs.
(updated 5-4-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock
said fishing continues to be very good. Many bass are still on the beds around the marina. There is lots of catching going on. The walleye seem to have moved out a little into 10 to 15 feet of water. They usually do this when they are done spawning. Anglers are still catching a few around dark, but they seem to be in that transition period. Some white bass and crappie are being caught, but the bass fishing is so good most people are concentrating on them.
(updated 5-11-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort
(870-453-2424) said the river level was low with a lot of moss. Fishing for rainbow trout was fair, but overall it was slow.
(updated 5-11-2016) Cotter Trout Dock
said the best bait this past week for browns was sculpin (although a couple were brought in with power bait). Bright, white baits worked well (think white zig jigs or Maribou jigs) when the moss was at its worst. Conditions are improving and the catch of rainbows is increasing using shrimp and florescent power baits and egg patterns. With the recent rain event, turn to worms as your first choice and, until the water clears, a darker bait.
(updated 5-11-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424)said his area experienced an inch and a half of rain last week, warm temperatures and heavy wind. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.6 feet to rest at 2.5 feet below seasonal power pool of 660.6 feet msl, or 36.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 1.2 feet to rest at 0.2 of a foot below seasonal power pool and 8.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are currently at or below seasonable power pool, meaning lower levels of generation on tailwaters with limited wadable water. The White River saw moderate generation last week with some wadable water, but the bite was a bit slow. 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 (Berry’s current favorite is a hot fluorescent pink or cerise San Juan worm with a hare and copper suspended below it). The caddis hatch going on now usually provides the best dry fly fishing of the year. While Berry has observed a few caddis on the White, he’s heard reports of a spectacular hatch at Wildcat Shoals. The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24-30-foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) with an 8 or 9 weight rod.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 554.26 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(updated 5-11-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
said said fishing has been great over the last week. It has stayed fairly consistent, but the fish are starting to move around some. One day they are on the west side of the lake then the next they may be on the east side. Scan areas with your fish finder, and when you start to see some bait, stop and fish. All fish species seem to be relating to points, whether a shallow long point or a deep bluff line point. Striped bass fishing has been outstanding, moving from the deep bluff line side of the lake to the shallow sloping bank side of the lake. There has been good topwater action in early mornings, and a Zara Spook is working well. Other good artificial baits are a silver Kastmaster with bucktail, rattle traps, Rooster Tails and swimbaits. Live thread fin shad has also been an outstanding bait and it really has not mattered what size the live bait is, he has caught stripers on 3-inch baits up to 6-inch baits. Look for stripers in very shallow water starting just before sunrise. Anglers are finding them in 5-40 feet of water and the fish are near the surface. As the sun comes up, go out to deeper water and look for the fish to be suspended 20-30 feet down. White bass fishing is also becoming very good. Topwater has worked early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Whites have been in the same location as the stripers, but also on occasion in very deep water chasing shad on the surface. The same type baits for stripers are working for whites. Walleye fishing is picking up and in the same areas as the stripers and whites in the early mornings. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also very good. They are chasing shad in the same areas as the stripers and can be caught on similar type of baits. As the sun comes up, start using some sort of plastic bait worked slowly along the bottom. Pan fishing has also been good. Look for bluegills along bluff line cuts in 20-30 feet of water. Wax worms and earthworms are working great. Crappie have moved onto the brush. Look for brush in 20-30 feet of water and the fish are hanging around the tops. Use small grubs tipped with minnows or just minnows. Norfork Lake level is falling slowly with constant generation. The surface water temperature was 68-70 degrees on May 11. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake is clearing.
(updated 5-11-2016) Guide Steve Olomon
said stripers are still coming up early and just before dark and only last for about an hour. This should last till the end of the month, then the water will be too warm and they will start to go deeper. Olomon likes to throw a Zara Spook, or you can use a jointed red fin, soft jerk bait or try a swim bait. The night bite is over for the stripers. The water temperature is too warm. There are some bass and whites coming up early and also in the evening. Bass are also hitting jigs, swim baits, Texas rig worm and drop shot rigs. The shad are done spawning and the fish have moved out off the banks. There are still some walleye hitting stick baits at night but that has also been a slow bite. It's best to fish where the wind is blowing in on the bank or in a cove, but check the points with deep water close by.
(updated 5-11-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said the bite continues to be inconsistent. One day the stripers are feeding heavy and surfacing all around you, and the next they are totally inactive. The lower portion of the lake seems to have less surface action then the mid-lake and above. The threadfin shad continue to spawn but not every night. The first spawn of the year is about over. The stripers are feeding on 2- and 3-inch threadfin shad; white bass and crappie are also feeding heavy on the small shad. Reynolds has been fishing the main lake points near the dam with some limited success, and also has seen great action but hookups have been less than 50 percent. The first-time striper client most times has a hard time setting the hook on the fish when free-lining the bait. The bait is usually 50 feet behind the boat and the stretch of the line causes many misses, plus trying to set the hook before the striper has really taken the bait. He’s using gizzard shad ranging from 4-8 inches and it takes some effort for the striper to get the bait and hook in its mouth, therefore a lot of patience is required to let the striper run with the bait before trying to set the hook. Some walleye are being caught trolling stick baits in 10-20 feet of water at night. Lots of crappie are being caught in the Bennett’s Bayou slow-trolling live minnows and using spider rigs.
(updated 5-11-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 0.3 of a foot to rest at 1.9 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.61 feet msl and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The tailwater had some some wadable water. The water has cleared to somewhat stained and has fished better. 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, Berry’s favorite. 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). 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 and late afternoon and tapers off midday. Dry Run Creek has cleared some and fished well. There is on ongoing repair project at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery, but the creek is accessible. 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 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the river is navigable, and warm weather has made the smallmouths active.
(updated 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the creek is navigable and smallmouths are more active as the weather has warmed. Watch for sudden flooding during rain events such as the mass of rainfall that hit the state last weekend.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,121.26 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120 msl).
(updated 5-11-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported the white bass fishing to be good in the past week. Water was clear and the surface temperature was near 70 degrees. Meanwhile, other fishing was only fair to poor. Bream were fair along the banks using worms and crickets. Crappie also were working the banks and were fair with minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was fair in the brush with spinners, crankbait, spooks, while topwater lures were working in the mornings. Catfishing was poor, and the best bets were using live bait on trot lines.
(updated 5-11-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) said with water surface temps are in the high 60s-low 70s, stripers are making their way back out of the river/creek arms feeding on bait and the forecast for this week’s catch is good. There has been some nice topwater action. Some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Stripers that are up in the White River and War Eagle arms are feeding heavily throughout the day, gorging on shad and are full of spawn. Try lightly weighted lines, free lines, balloons and planer boards in presenting your baits and it will definitely get you some fish. The white bass run is finishing up; they are making their way back toward the main lake and can be caught using a variety of methods, including grubs, spoons, Rooster Tails. Use colors such as orange, chartreuse, white or combinations of. Also, fishing will be good using live shad fished on free lines and down lines from surface to about 20 feet deep, and also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, plugs, flat lines or slightly weighted lines like Rapala size 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model. Jerkbaits like flukes will also produce. Indian Creek, Big Clifty, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, the Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, Escapalia Hollow/Falls Hollow, Horseshoe Bend and Mont Ne areas are all hot spots. Walleye are in the creek and river arms finishing their spawn. Walleye can be found from 5-15-feet deep depending on areas you fish. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink pro scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 4-13-2016) Beaver Dam Store
said water levels are returning to normal levels and many areas are accessible for anglers. Fly-fishermen are doing well on egg patterns, big nymphs, hare’s ears, midges and pheasant tails. It won't be long until the white bass make their way into the tailwater. These fish make for a great meal, so bring the kids, neighbors and family out to the tailwater. While fishing for trout, try Power Bait in white, red, chartreuse or pink, tipped with wax worms or night crawlers. You can also troll downstream from Bertrand Boat Launch with Berkley Flicker Shads and Rapala Original Floating Minnows. Colorado spoons also have been producing numbers of fish.
(updated 5-4-2016) Austin Kennedy of Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service
(479-640-8733) said white bass are hitting well. You must locate the schools between Beaver and Houseman Access, but once you find them, start pulling through them. Trout are biting well on various power baits with light terminal tackle. Walleye are still being caught, mostly males, but they keep, too. The crappie spawn is almost over, but they’re still catchable around brush piles and stick ups in 6 feet of water. The generation schedule is limited, allowing for calm water to fish. Watch for the thermoclines and bait, you will find the fish.
(updated 5-11-2016) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said the lake was still a foot below normal, with visibility about3 feet or so and the surface temperature was 68 degrees. Bluegill fishing has taken off big-time, with several being caught in the Goose Island area and on up in brush creek along the high bank side. Mike and June Oal of Garfield kept 25 big ones Sunday, and Mike Fields of Elkins was back Friday scoring a 30-head count of mixed blues and reds, stating that many were bulging with eggs, and had bloody tails. Others were caught throughout the week in various locations, with crickets fished at 2 feet deep being the most common method. The crappie seem to be confused a bit by the continued cool nights, stalling off their spawn. A week ago, a Cave Springs man, Darrel Dickey, and his son, Hunter, were fishing a drop-off using nightcrawlers and managed to land a 2½-pound crappie. The best place for crappie are the flood discharge, mouth of Keeper Cove, and on the deeper side of Goose Island. Use minnows at 10-feet deep until the nights stay warmer and they move up a bit. Fish over any brush piles and drop-offs you can find. The bass fishermen have been plentiful here, but with the bedding going on along many of the shorelines, the catching was slow. Use a green or brown pepper lizard and pitch it right in the bed. A bass won't eat the lizard, but will pick it up and carry it out of its nest, then blow it out. Lizards will eat the undeveloped eggs. Watch for line movement and make a quick hook set. Minnows, chicken liver and power bait, have worked on the catfish. Rod-and-reel fishing and set hooks along the shore have produced a few small catfish, but no big ones have been reported. Lake Elmdale is a "NO WAKE" lake, and boating courtesy should be used, especially on this small of a body of water. Several complaints of rude boaters horsing around have been brought to my attention. Please slow down when approaching other boats.
(updated 5-11-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported the water at normal level and murky about half the time last week with surface temperature in the low 60s. All that led to a good week for fishermen. Bream were good in 4 feet of water around stumps, using worms and crickets. Crappie fishing was good around brush piles using minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was good in the more shallow water and around the rocky points using crankbait. Catfishing was good with worms, blood bait and chicken liver.
(updated 5-11-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported that water was normal level and dingy with a surface temperature of 73 degrees, and while bream and crappie fishing were both slow and poor, it was better for bass and catfish. Bass were biting in shallow water and the fishing was fair, with spinners and topwater baits working best. Catfishing was good on chicken liver or shad.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lake Poinsett State Park said that crickets are catching a lot of bream, and the park is selling lots of medium and large minnows as the bait of choice for crappie. Some bass are hitting mostly artificial bait. Redworms and nightcrawlers are available at the park for sale. The park will play host to a free Kids Fishing Derby for ages 12 and under Saturday, May 21, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until noon. Game and Fish personnel will net the catchable-size catfish, and lots of prizes will be handed out.
(updated 5-11-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported the water was dingy, at normal level and with a surface temperature of 71-72 degrees, and it led to a pretty good week of fishing. Catfish rated excellent and were working worms or chicken liver in shallow water. Bream fishing was good, and fish biting in shallow water. Crickets were working best. Crappie were also good in water ranging from shallow to 15-feet in depth, hitting mostly minnows. Bass fishing was good in shallow water using spinners and topwater bait.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 440 cfs (300-350 normal) and water clarity is poor. Strong storms overnight Monday brought water levels up. The river clears quickly due to being spring feed. Updates on river conditions will be posted daily on my blog page at springriverfliesandguides.com until the river clears. Y2K’s, olive woollies and Guppies were hot all last week. Hot pink trout magnets and white and yellow rooster tails have been hot for spin fishers.
John Berry in Cotter said the river is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 5-11-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water was running clear and high, about 6.8 -7 feet, and the water temperature was in the low 60s. Bream fishing was fair around the creeks with crickets. Crappie were working the creeks and were fair with minnows. By fishing the mouth of the creeks or the river, fishermen using soft plastic baits were having a fair time of the bass. Walleye fishing was poor. Overall, it was a slow week with few catches.
(updated 5-4-2016) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures on the main channel and in backwaters was in the low to mid 70s. Water clarity was low throughout; only inches in the main channel to a max of about 6 inches in Lake Langhofer. The water level was rising throughout last weekend and was about 2 feet high by the end of the day Sunday. Black bass are biting fairly well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Use caution navigating the main channel of the river, as logs large enough to cause damage were present. Floating debris was light.
(updated 5-11-2016) Cane Creek State Park said bream are starting to bite really well on crickets and worms. A few were caught last weekend with eggs in them. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Crappie have slowed down but are still biting well on minnows. Catfish are picking up on live bait such as bream and chicken liver.
(updated 5-11-2016) Matthew C. Gillum, the ranger at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said bass can be found in shallow water biting chartreuse, white or pink spinnerbaits as well as frogs. Catfish can be caught using live bait such as night crawlers or minnows. Crappie are slow but bright colored jigs such as chartreuse, white and green attached to a pink or blue jig head works fairly well in the muddy water of Lake Chicot. Bream are biting better on wax worms than they are on crickets.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 261.70 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said the lake level continues falling with high river current. Heavy current exists in Little River with gate discharge around 30,000 cfs. Water temps rose slightly, and surface temps ranged 63-75 degrees Monday. Navigation is considered hazardous. Several boat ramps and parks campgrounds have reopened from recent high water flooding and the Millwood State Park has reopened boat ramps, the marina, and one circle drive of campsites, and are back in operations. Clarity and visibility has remained much the same over the past week in most areas on main lake from past few weeks fluctuating water levels and rapid 5 foot rise. Little River's visibility is heavy stain to muddy depending on location and ranges from 3-6 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity ranging approximately 5-10 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Warmer days, sun and more stable weather patterns have the largemouth bass in a feeding mood. Most largemouth are now finishing up their annual spawning rituals, and majority are now post-spawn and recuperating. During the late morning and throughout the afternoon, spinners and chatterbaits continue working in Firetiger, black/blue, or Texas Craw colors. Over the past couple weeks, the chatterbaits, spinners and big 10-inch worms have been working well for largemouths from 3-4 pounds. Bang Die Dapper and Boss Shiner swim baits are working rigged on a swim bait belly hook using 3/16- or 3/8-ounce weight in Smokin Shad, Grey Ghost and Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse Belly colors. Bass Assassin Shads in Mississippi Hippie and Bad To The Bone colors are catching nice 3-4-pound largemouths in newly sprouting lily pad stems and shoots near cypress trees in the cleanest water you can find away from the river current. Fat Jobs are working wacky rig, up river in the oxbows in the same areas. Best colors of Fat Jobs over the past couple weeks has been Houdini and Blueberry. Lightest wire hook you have will give best action around fresh vegetation, and wacky rigged will get hammered. Red Shad, Toledo Gold, and Millwood Magic colored Rat-L-Traps are working on sunny days in creek channels deflecting off stumps and timber, near spawning flats around cypress trees/knees. Echo 1.75 squarebill crankbaits are working outside spawning flats where creek channel bends wind near the bank and out again.The Echo 1.75 crankbaits are catching good numbers of largemouths and white bass equally well. Best color of Echo 1.75 squarebills over the past couple weeks with the muddy and stained water have been the Chartreuse Flash, Red Crawfish or Oxbow color patterns. War Eagle spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white, and Firetiger were taking nice largemouths up to around 4-5 pounds out of current, along vegetation lines and dead lily pad stems in Mud Lake and Horseshoe. Several largemouths in the 4-5 pound class were caught over the past few weeks near stumps and cypress trees hopping and swimming the jig in 2-3 feet of best clarity we could find of 8-12-inch visibility. Crappie disappeared over the past couple weeks with the rising muddy water. Catfish continue biting consistently over the past week in Little River on trot lines using cut bait, chicken hearts, and gizzards, set 8-12 feet deep. Schools of white bass are still roaming the creek channels and oxbows, out of the heavy current in Little River between White Cliffs and Cemetery Slough. Backwater sloughs feeding Little River, just out of the main river current, were holding some good schools of whites over the past several weeks. White bass have wrapped up their annual spawning run up Little River and are starting to scatter in large schools.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 549.60 feet msl (Flood pool – 548 msl).
(updated 5-11-2016) Dustin Holmes of Action Fishing Trips
reports that the water level is 550.15, which is 2.15 feet above normal pool. The water temp is 70.3 at the surface. The water is still far up in the buck brush. Crappie are being caught in brush piles with the top of the brush being 10-15 feet down and the brush piles setting in 15-25 feet of water. We are doing the best with live minnows and Tennessee scad crappie jigs. You can jig the brush or cast around the brush piles and do quite well. Bass are mostly being caught on points from 5-20 feet deep. The bass are being caught on a Carolina rig, a shad colored crank bait running 12-15 feet deep, and a spinner bait. Catfish are being caught on chicken liver and worms on north end of the lake from 10 to 25 feet of water. Bream are being caught on crickets and worms up next to the bank by the buck brush.
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
noted little change in the fishing; however, conditions will vary only a few days around rain events. He says to fish deeper in the same spots and scout shallower areas that are now deeper. As the lake levels fall, the bass and crappie will move back to their comfort zone for depth and cover.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.95 feet msl (flood pool – 408 msl).
(updated 5-11-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is around 70 degrees and the lake is clear up to Caddo Bend and somewhat stained farther up. The lake is almost back to normal level and all the ramps are now open. Bass fishing is fair with some good numbers reported but as has been the case lately, the fish are small. Best pattern has been a medium running crank bait or spinner bait fished in the back or coves at mid lake. During the bright part of the day, try a Texas-rigged 6 inch worm worked across secondary points in the same coves. A few crappies reported coming from up lake in the Shrouse Ford area but the high water scattered most of the fish. It is near the end of the spawn, so look for fish on the deeper attractors at 18 to 25 feet. Drop a 2 inch curly tail grub or tube on a 1/16 ounce jighead and work just above the brush. Tenn. shad and black chartreuse work best. Hybrid fishing is very slow, looks like the high water scattered the fish, and no schooling activity. Things will pick up once the water stabilizes. Look for fish at mid lake now and in the coves along the State Park. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 5-11-2016) John Duncan with yoyguideservice.com
had no report this week.
(updated 5-4-2016) Stacey Jackson at White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) said bass are hitting on crankbaits, Zoom Brush Hogs and spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting well on trotlines using live and prepared catfish baits. Tight lining using worms and catfish baits also is working well. Crappie are biting on minnows and jigs in the upper lake. For lake information or a camping reservation please call White Oak Lake State Park at 870-685-2748 or stop in at the Visitor Center.
(updated 5-11-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said the water still 13 feet high, bass are slow, no report on bream or crappie, catfish being caught in the backwater.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said the torrential rains of last weekend slowed angling tremendously on the Ouachita River oxbows. Some angers are still running yo-yos and trotlines to catch catfish, but sportfishing opportunities are limited. River reports indicate a steady water rise for at least a week, making accessibility to the oxbows and tributaries almost impossible.
(updated 5-11-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are fair, bream starting to bite. No report on catfish or crappie.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said Tri-County has been rather productive after the drawdown from this past summer. Anglers are starting to catch bass in the channels of the lake again and crappie tend to be staged around wood structures and artificial structures. Bass are feeding up after their spawn. Baits that resemble their food sources will increase your chance of landing a boat-load. Crappie are finicky as the strikes seem to be staggered. Keeping a lighter-colored jig in the strike zone for the crappie will increase your chances of landing a few slabs as well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 352.86 feet msl (full pool – 342 msl).
(updated 5-11-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025)
said the lake was looking dirty while surface temperature was 71 degrees. Overall the week was slow, but catfishing was excellent in the river channel with worms and chicken liver. Bream fishing was fair with worms. Crappie fishing was poor, and bass fishing was poor.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) reported no fishing for the week.
(updated 5-11-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
said the water level is at normal depth but the water is murky, and the lake experienced a slow week of fishing. The surface temperature was 73 degrees. Only catfish rated better than poor last week. What bream were caught were brought in on worms and crickets. Bass were in shallow water and occasionally biting a spinnerbait or crankbait. Catfishing was fair.
(updated 5-4-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperature was in the upper 70s to lower 80s. The river was muddy and high creeks were dingy. Catfishing has been excellent on worms, cut perch, shad and Skip Jack. Stick to the mouth of the creeks and the drops from the spawning flats. Bream has been excellent on spawning flats and around stumps and treetops in creeks with worms, crickets, flies and jigs. White bass are way up at the heads of the creeks; try tandem white jigs or small white crankbaits and inline spinners. Stripers are in The Creeks. Use topwater poppers, swimbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Crappie is hit-and-miss, but if you are in the right area you can find some slabs. Try black chartreuse, black pink and minnows. Largemouth bass has been excellent using frogs, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs and bamboozies in the shallow backwater. Scam shad has been working well along the grass line. Flipping beavers around stumps has been good, and bumping Square Bill crankbaits off of the same stumps has been working well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 579.22 feet msl (full pool – 578 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort
said lake water temperature was 70-74 degrees with stained water and a lake level of 581.36 feet msl. Black bass fishing was good, and they’re being caught with flukes, top-water spooks and perch-colored crank baits. Main lake and secondary points are producing the best results. Walleye are fair and are being caught with shallow running crankbaits or small jerkbaits. Stripers are still very good on top-water C-10 redfins. The central area of the lake is the hottest right now. Bream are still excellent. Crickets, maggots and red worms are best fished 8-15 feet deep. Crappie fishing is good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 8-15 feet deep near brush. Catfish are still very good. Try live bait or cut bait in depths of 15-20 feet. .
(updated 4-27-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
is hearing reports from anglers saying the fishing is slow. Best production, he said, should come from dock fishing for bass or crappie.
(updated 5-11-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, reported that recent flooding has forced Entergy to schedule heavy generation periods and flood gate openings below Carpenter Dam. Area lakes have been brought back to normal levels; however, Lake Ouachita is still almost 2 feet into the flood pool and all area dams will run large amounts of water thru the system until the big lake falls out of flood pool. This process may take another week or longer as more rainfall is forecasted for this week. Tailrace water is high, but clearing nicely from the dam to the bridge. Fast water is the norm combined with a dangerous cross current created from flood gate openings have made the area dangerous to fish and navigate in any way. Anyone attempting to navigate the tailrace should do so with extreme caution and only for an emergency situation. It is very important to note that although present conditions are dangerous, the tailrace is full of rainbow trout and white bass. When the flood gates close and the generators are shut down for slack water periods- some great fishing opportunities will present themselves to area anglers. Little or no fishing pressure has been applied for weeks and the fish will feed heavily as lake conditions return to normal. May is an excellent month for fishing below Carpenter Dam so excellent fishing is on the horizon.
(updated 5-11-2016) Mississippi River State Park
(870-295-4040) said the crappie and bream activity has been moderate, mostly in deeper depths (10-25 feet). They are hitting better on jigs and very small spinnerbaits. Live bait hasn’t been producing as much activity. Bass have been responding to live bait both in deep water and from the bank, but activity has only been mild.
(updated 5-11-2016) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) crappie have moved off their beds, and are responding well to jigs and worms. Bream are on their beds and are hitting well on crickets. No reports on substantial bass activity – mostly small bass caught from the bank.
(updated 5-11-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the water was dingy and at a high level, and the surface temperature was in the low 60s, leading to a mostly bad week of fishing. Catfish were the best bet by using trotlines. Bream, crappie and bass all rated poor.