Three state fishing records set in 2016
Three record catches were added to the Arkansas fishing records list during 2016. All were in the unrestricted tackle category. No records were caught by rod and reel during the past year, following a year in which four records changed in that category.
The most recent record was the 11-pound, 12-ounce shortnose gar caught on Cypress Bayou by Bryson Harpole of Ward. Harpole took his gar with a bow Nov. 2, and the weight was nearly twice the previous state record. Other unrestricted tackle marks that were set were both by bow fisherman Ross Martin of Cabot, who took in a 3-pound, 3-ounce quillback carpsucker on Aug. 8, just after he'd set the mark for river carpsucker with a 2-pound, 7-ounce fish on July 13. Both were taken on the Arkansas River.
Records that were set in 2015 were: Steve Lankford of Conway, spotted sucker, 1 pound, 15.9 ounces, Caney Creek, Jan. 28; Jessie Wilkes of Springdale, paddlefish, 104 pounds, Beaver Lake, March 2; Cory Beeson of Jonesboro, American eel, 5 pounds, 4.4. ounces, Spring River, July 12; and Mike Kierre of Beebe, tilapia, 3 pounds 14 ounces, private pond, Oct. 14.
A full list of Arkansas fishing records is available in the January-February issue of Arkansas Wildlife
. To subscribe to the magazine, click on the box below, or call 800-283-2664. If you believe you have caught a record fish and wish to have it recorded, follow the information listed here.
(updated 1-18-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water is muddy and the level is high. Surface temperature earlier this week was in the low 40s. Crappie remain good, especially around the Highway 89 bridge where several pelicans made a recent lengthy stopover. Minnows and jigs are working best for the anglers. Bass are fair. Catfish reports were excellent, with worms and cut bait working best. Bream are fair.
(updated 1-18-2017) Gold Creek Landing
(501-607-0590) reported that crappie have been biting well on minnows and jigs fished at various depths. Other species are slow. Reports on catfishing are good, though.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service wanted to remind anglers that some new trout fishing regulations have been introduced for the Little Red River beginning this year. These new regulations and changes can be found on the AGFC website. The Little Red is receiving power generation on weekdays and sporadic generation on weekends. With the current lake level below seasonal pool, this pattern is expected to continue. For fly fishing, Lowell recommends midges, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. For Trout Magnet fishing, he recommends white and cotton candy-colored bodies on gold jigheads. 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 1-11-2017) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said the cold weather has kept him off the river since Wednesday, Jan. 4. Greg said they had quite a bit of generation that day but by staying just ahead of the rising water his fishermen had a good day catching rainbows and a couple of browns. The best flies were a size 14 fox squirrel nymph and a No. 16 Prince Charming. The river is clear and generation has been reduced due to the warmer weather. On Tuesday of this week, evening generation was starting about 5 p.m. Check each day before your trip. Warmer weather is forecast through next week with a little cold snap on Friday. Rain is forecast during this time so watch for changes in water clarity.
Greg also said he would be offering a free fly-fishing class beginning Thursday, Feb. 16, and running for four consecutive weeks, with each class meeting on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The class is open to all beginning and novice fly fishing (older youths and adults). Younger youths are welcome if accompanied by an adult. No fishing tackle is required, but if anyone has a question about their personal rod, reels of flies, bring them to the class and Greg will answer any questions. The class will be held at First United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center in Heber Springs. Those planning to attend should contact Greg in advance to reserve a spot. If you cannot attend all the classes, Greg still urges you to register and feel free to attend the classes you can. There is no cost for the classes.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 454.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.04 feet and falling, some 7 feet below normal pool. It has the shad and fish hemmed up, so when you find the bait, the fish will be close, and most species are ready to chew as they have not saw baits in a while. The bass fishing is good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, drop-shot rigs, C-rigs and football heads at various depths. Look on points, humps and bluff walls for bait and fish. The crappie are eating on various days on minnows and jigs up to 50 feet deep and some as shallow as 15 feet on sunny days. They are suspended most days. No report on catfish or bream. The hybrid and white bass are eating well on spoons, in-line spinners, hair jigs and swimbaits or grubs; look for fish and baitfish in the 25-70-foot range. Walleye are showing up more and more now, with some being caught upriver and some in the lake. Minnows are working on the bottom, and they’re biting also on drop-shot rigs. Look in the 15-50 feet range for the best results.
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting great on BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, bone/chartreuse, Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and shad. Bass are hitting buzzbait, worms and minnows. White bass are biting Great Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’rs, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting crickets and worms.
(updated 1-18-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is normal, clarity is good. There was no recorded surface water temperature. Catfish are going well on yo-yo’s with bass minnows. Crappie are slow but anglers are still catching them on orange and chartreuse jigs. Depth varies from 1 to 3 feet. Nobody is fishing for bream these days, and also there were no reports on bass.
Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) had no reports.
(updated 1-11-2017) Jolly Roger’s Marina
reported black bass are good and are biting on wacky rig worms and jigs. Blacks can be caught in 25-30 feet on drop-offs and creek edges. Kentucky bass fishing has been excellent lately. Kentucky bass are being caught on jigs. They can be found in 30 of water, mixed in with the blacks. White bass are good. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons or deep diving Bandits and Bombers. They are mostly found at the east end of the lake and right off the lake. Crappie fishing excellent. Crappie are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (use chartreuse and white with very light line). Crappie are 20 to 30 feet deep, at the tops of structure near the edges of the channels, and on the old road beds. Lots of 11-14-inch crappie are being caught, should be so great winter fishing. Bream fishing has been slow and there have been no reports. If you’re going to find them, they should be in about 25 feet on the bottom; use crickets and live worms. Catfishing also is slow. The ones biting are being caught in 25 feet of water using stink bait, small bream or chicken livers.
(updated 1-11-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on Baby Shad, minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r baits. White bass are biting on Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said a few catfish anglers have been doing well on No. 12 bass minnows and nightcrawlers. Crappie are being caught on the size 6 crappie minnows. Bass have been hitting on brooder minnows.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said there have been a few reports of catfish hitting on Sonny's Dip Bait and bass minnows. Crappie are being caught on pink minnows. The catches are big in number, but not in size. Bass doing fair on brooder minnows.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said walleye have been doing great on brooder minnows. So also have the Kentucky bass and the smallmouth bass. Crappie have been hitting on the pink minnows.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said none of Lisa’s regulars have stopped in from out there in lately; hopefully soon it will break loose and she’ll have some good reports.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) wasn’t sure of the level of the lake of late. There have been no reports.
(updated 1-11-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said few people have been fishing due to the weather. Catfish are in deeper holes, mostly in the holes on the downstream side of jetties. Use skipjack and nightcrawlers for best results. Sauger are on the front side of Lock and Dam No. 9. Fish the jetty tips in the swirl. Throw downstream with a speck rig and pull through the swirl. Duck hunting has been really good this year with a great deal of all species. Mallards have moved in. I have never seen all the species as there has been all season. Please, hunters, pick up your shells and trash. Also, we had a truck and trailer slide off the ramp. Remember that when you get at the end of the ramp, where the water is, you can stop. Have a safe and happy new year.
(updated 1-11-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Cody Kelley Guide Service (501-733-5282), reported that the current river flows are fairly slow. Water temps have been hovering around 48-52 degrees depending on if you are in the main river or backwaters. As for bass fishing, slower flows have allowed some of the backwaters to clear up slightly compared to the main river. Many of the backwater areas will be slightly warmer and hold a few fish. Try slow-rolling spinnerbaits and squarebills to find areas with fish, then pick them apart with jigs and plastics. The crappie bite has been slow lately. Some can be caught on black and chartreuse tube jigs dipped around deeper backwater brush. The catfish bite is consistent right now. Most fish are holding in the deeper main river holes. Cody has been using cut bait mainly, but he says he’s sure other things would work. He adds, “It won't be long now until the bite really starts to take off for all species!!”
(updated 1-18-2017) River Valley Marina
(501-517-1250) said water is clear and the level and current are normal. Crappie are excellent. You’ll find them in 5-10 feet depth; use minnows and jigs. White bass are also on the bite and results have been excellent for anglers. No reports on bream, bass or catfish, however.
(updated 1-18-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie fishing is good near Murray Lock and Dam. Best success has been with white tube jigs. White bass are excellent and are biting twister tails.
(updated 1-11-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie were good in Maumelle Creek in 4-6 feet of water. Use minnows.
Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff
(501-834-5733) said crappie fishing is good off the jetties with jigs. Other than crappie, it’s slow for everything else. No reports on bream, bass or catfish. (updated 1-11-2017)
McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said anglers in the Clear Lake area were having good success catching crappie on minnows and jigs. Bass were fair on spinnerbaits. Bream reports were poor, but a little action was noticed on worms and crickets. Catfishing was poor. Behind the Terry Lock and Dam, however, catfishing was fair. Bass were fair there on crankbaits and using plastic worms, while crappie remained good on that end of the pool with minnows and jigs.
(updated 1-11-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie were good below the Terry Lock and dam in 10-15 feet of water. Minnows and jigs both were working. Catfish were fair on cut shad. No reports from inside the Little Rock pool.
(updated 1-18-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed until Feb. 6.
Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock
(870-435-6525) said this is the time of year when you can have a huge stretch of river all to yourself – and access to all those trout all for yourself. It's a great time to try out that Christmas gift you received (the new spinning rod, the latest Rogue in lime green and chartreuse, the flashy streamer …). The water level has varied each day for the last week, so you could try topwater lures in the morning, sinking countdowns in the afternoon and some silver/blue Cleos at noon. Catch some rainbows with the always popular shrimp/egg pattern mashup. Forget cabin fever; get outdoors and get moving!
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said that during the past week, Cotter had seen a trace of rain, brutally cold then warmer temperatures and very heavy winds (to include several days of lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.8 feet to rest at 9.5 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 45.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 7.9 feet below seasonal power pool and 23.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 feet to rest at 9.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 19.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had a mixed bag with levels of wadable water mixed with periods of moderate generation. The catch and release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The state park will be seasonal catch and release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (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 or 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 (my current favorite is a size 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it).
Berry adds, “As many of you know, the Sowbug Roundup is the biggest, most respected fly tying show in the Southeast and one of the most important fly tying shows in the United States. It draws tyers from all over the country and several other countries. It is sponsored by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers (our local fly fishing club) and the proceeds are used for local scholarships and other educational projects. It is scheduled for March 23-25 at the Baxter County Fairgrounds. I am a member of the Sowbug Roundup Committee and my job is to put on the fly-tying contest. The idea is to recognize the best tyers among us. Many times, there are great tyers out there that we just do not know about. This is a great way, for those tyers, to be recognized. I received the first submission to the Sowbug Roundup Fly Tying Contest this week. If you have been thinking about entering, then you need to get moving. Though the Sowbug Roundup is in late March, the deadline for submitting entries to the Fly Tying Contest is Feb. 15. The deadline is several weeks before the show because we need time to judge the flies and pick the winners. We also need time to take the winning flies and have a fly plate made to be auctioned off at the shindig on March, 24. The shindig is a party to thank our fly tyers on the Friday night at the Sowbug Roundup. It is a festive affair. You definitely need to get started now because the entry must be postmarked no later than Feb. 15. You should mail your entries to me, John Berry, at 408 Combs Ave. Cotter, AR 72626. If you would prefer to hand deliver them, drop them off at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop at 1343 E. Ninth St., Mountain Home. You need to tie two identical flies (same size, color and shape) and submit them along with tying instructions. You must tie the flies yourself. They cannot be purchased. You cannot use any insect parts to tie the fly. The flies must be in one of the following categories, dry fly, nymph, wet fly, streamer, warm water, smallmouth bass, bass, saltwater, and salmon/steelhead. We will award a winner in each category and a best in show. You can enter as many categories as you like. You can win in multiple categories. There is no fee for entry. The winners will receive a plaque commemorating their victory. This is the ultimate accessory to hang above your fly tying desk. My only regret is that as a member of the fly tying contest committee I am ineligible to compete. You still have a month to tie your flies and get them to me. You cannot win if you do not enter!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 649.71 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 1-18-2017) K Dock Marina
is closed for the season until March 3.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 548.01 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 1-18-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said Norfork Lake surface temperature had dropped to 48 degrees, and the stripers are on the feed. Multiple limits of stripers were caught this past weekend. Between Tom and his son, Sean, they caught 33 stripers from Thursday through Sunday. Not all were kept but our clients had a lot of fun reeling them in. The main bait was on creek chubs and shiners. We were fishing the Howard Cove area in 70-90 feet of water with our lines set between 35-40 feet. Stripers are also being caught under the U.S. Highway 62 bridge and back side of Henderson marina. Another tip, in addition to watching for sea gulls, is to locate large schools of fish by noting the loons. They hunt in packs, and when you see them in a big circle they are getting ready to feed on a large school of shad. There will be stripers and other predators around those schools. This bite should continue into February. Just keep looking in the main channels until you can find a consistent amount of shad. The stripers will show up. Tom Reynolds said he had a request from a guest named Tom saying he wanted to take his dad and grandfather striper fishing on Friday the 13th. Reynolds was booked, so Sean took them. The weather was wet so Tom’s grandfather took a pass and, as luck would have it, the rains never came for Tom and Bob. They hooked up within their first 10 minutes and continued to catch stripers until their trip ended. In all they caught 10 stripers and kept their limit of 6. Sean was fishing the Howard Cove area in 70-90 feet of water with the lines set at 35-40 feet with creek chubs. Striper fishing will be great for the next several weeks, so come out and give it a try. For the out-of-area folks, you might want to get your calendars out and start making plans now. Winter is here but spring is right around the corner. The stripers will begin their spring migration when the water stays in the mid-50s and the south winds blow. A good tool to use to make your plans with is on the web at www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake! For a real outdoor adventure, you might consider a striper fishing trip combined with a pheasant hunt. It's a blast!
(updated 1-11-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
said he has finally been able to get out on Norfork Lake. A holiday vacation and then cold weather kept Lou off the lake for a couple weeks, but he said he’s glad to be back. Fishing on Norfork Lake has entered the winter phase of the fishing cycle, meaning the shad are going into deep water and the fish are following. In mid-December, Lou said, he was catching fish on large flats in 40-60 feet of water. Over the last week he has found large schools of striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass out closer to the main river channel or main creek channels. He has been catching stripers in 60-100 feet of water and the fish are suspended 30-60 feet deep. Lou’s favorite winter time bait is a spoon. He says he finds the fish and drops a spoon down to their depth and starts jigging the spoon up and down. With cold water the jigging method should be slowed down. The fish are still active, but are starting to slow down and don't necessarily want to chase it. You can also troll with swimbaits or Alabama rigs. The hardest part about trolling is getting your bait down to the correct depth. Down riggers, lead core line or in-line weights are different ways to get your bait down while trolling. Live bait is also working very well. During the cold months Lou will use big shiners. The stripers seem to like them just fine. Over the last week Lou has found stripers in the major creeks such as Float and Panther. You will also find stripers from the Highway 62 bridge area down to the Howard Cove area. The best part of winter fishing is, you do not necessarily need to be fishing at the crack of dawn. Monday afternoon Lou found large schools of feeding fish at 1 p.m. and it lasted all afternoon.
Lou also said he’s been concentrating for the last week on striped bass, so the next report will have information on bass and crappie fishing. He adds that he did pick up a nice crappie 70 feet deep while striper fishing. They can be anywhere in the cold water. Norfork Lake surface water temperature Monday afternoon was 48.5 degrees. A slight rise in water temperature is expected over the next several days due to the warmer than normal days and nights. Norfork Lake level is falling slowing and currently sits at 548.53. Periodic power generation is occurring during a large portion of the day. The main lake is clear, but the creeks and coves are stained.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake dropped 0.8 feet to rest at 5.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 31.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation with much less wadable water. There has been much less wadable water on the Norfork. 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 eighteen 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. My favorite fly has been an orange egg. Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.
(updated 1-18-2017) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is navigable. With cold weather, the smallmouths are much less active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 1-18-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the creek is navigable. With cold weather, the smallmouths are much less active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is 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 1,110.96 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 1-18-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water clarity is good and the surface temperature is low to mid-50s. Water level is very low. Crappie fishing has been good on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were good, with crankbaits and jerkbaits working well. Striper fishing is really good these days. Catfishing was poor and there were no reports on bream.
(updated 1-18-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) said water surface temperature has been in the low 40s lately. Beaver Lake striper activity is good, and stripers are in the creek arms and on the feed. Some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, tree tops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing free lines and lightly weighted downlines will get you some fish. There has been some topwater activity from striper and white bass. Beaver lake striper fishing will be good with striper taken on live shad fished on free and downlines from the surface down to about 20 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water. 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’s website. Live shad as always on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers is the go-to approach. On the mid and lower sections of the lake, check out these hot spots and keep e yes out for surfacing fish: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine and Ventris. Check in 5-35 feet of water in Shaddox Hollow, and in these upper lake hot spots for striper and watch for surfacing fish: Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek and Mont Ne. Fish in 5-15 feet of water in Hickory Creek, War Eagle and the War Eagle/White River junction (Point 12).
(updated 1-18-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy
(479-244-0039) said that after taking some time off to let an injured shoulder mend, he found some time to fish the past week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is generating early in the morning and finishing up around noon. Water levels are low, so bank fishing is the way to go. Fishing between Spider Creek and the dam has produced the best results, with light terminal tackle and various PowerBaits. Throwing ¼-ounce spoons has
also produced some nice fish. Furthermore, if you can sneak in before daylight hours and generation, you have the opportunity to hook up with some nice brown trout around Spider Creek. Austin says he has not had the opportunity to fish Houseman, down to Beaver town yet.
(updated 1-18-2017) Beaver Dam Store
said the cold weather is keeping many fisherman out of the water. The trout don't seem to mind, though. You can still catch a limit; however, the take has slowed down considerably. Norfork Hatchery dumped trout last week. Water levels remain low and many areas are accessible for the individuals that wish to wade fish. Conventional fisherman can appreciate the abundance of river banks that are accessible. Midges, scuds, San Juans, Peach micro egg patterns, Hare’s ears and nymphs are working well. Good lures typically 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; WD40s; Trout Magnets; and San Juan worms.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water conditions as clear and at a normal level. Bream are fair and are biting small jigs and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms, grubs and jigs. Catfishing is fair using worms.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) had no report.
Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park
said it would appear that the crappie are starting to wake up. We have had a few anglers in to buy minnows, and there are starting to be anglers on the lake. The bass are biting OK on black buzzbaits and crankbaits at the north end. Catfish are still slightly slow, as are bream.
(updated 1-18-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said fishing is slow and there were no reports.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 250 cfs and water clarity is clear. The river is getting very low. Still catching the trout on Woolly Buggers on the strip back and with Y2Ks with a nymph dropper. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets have been hot-hot-hot! Find the deeper pockets to get into the bigger fish. Springriverfliesandguides.com website has been updated and improved. Check out the new video page for some awesome trout catching action. With a new blog page with daily updates that everyone has been asking for. Check us out!
(updated 1-18-2017) John Berry in Cotter
said the river is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 1-18-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team reported water temperatures are in the upper 40s to around 50. Water visibility is low throughout, up to about 1 foot at best. Black bass, as you'd expect, are slow. However, when you get a bite it is usually a quality-sized fish. Focus on the steeper rock banks next to deep water in Lake Langhofer. Dark-colored jigs and crankbaits worked very slowly along the rocks will get a few bites. The fish are more active mid-day when the water temperature increases slightly.
(updated 1-11-2017) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said the temperatures are warming up out at Cane Creek Lake. Afternoon temperatures Tuesday were pleasant. Wind was blowing hard in the area but was supposed to die down to 6 mph on Friday. The park has not seen many fishermen lately because of the cold weather, but you can always catch a catfish at Cane Creek Lake! If you would like to try your luck on a weekday, the fishing piers are recommended; two public fishing piers are located in great spots. If you would like to come out this weekend, the wind should have died down enough to easily take your boat out. The park bait shop has worms and stink bait available – great for catfish.
(updated 1-11-2017) Matthew C. Gillum, the ranger at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705), had no report.
(updated 1-11-2017) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.32 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said the lake level as of Monday was about 4.2 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. There is decreased current this week of Little River, with the gates releasing around 432 CFS as of Monday. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week, and are ranging 40-50 degrees. Navigation is cautioned for Little River as of Monday due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure. Tailwater level as of Monday at 225.4 feet msl. Clarity and visibility has been consistent over last couple weeks but as of Monday was ranging 3-5 inches due to high wind and rain over the last couple of days. Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point and the northeast quadrant remain stained. Little River’s visibility ranges 4-6 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity is ranging about 15-18 inches of depth. Bass are fair on warm days, from 2-4 pounds on jigs, crankbaits, and bulky tubes and 10-inch worms. Over the past few days this week, they were willing to roam up into the flats for short duration where a jig and a random crankbait and squarebill or slow moving tube or bulky worm would get their attention (during the highest sun/warmest period of the day). Most bass have slowed to fair feeding moods over the past few weeks. Good starting locations include points extending out into Little River during the warmest period of daylight, and working the deeper drops into Little River where stumps and any remaining lily pad stems may exist. Majority of hours of the daylight now the bass are spending more time in the 10-12-plus feet depths of deeper creek channels and Little River drop-offs. Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working with the best colors being Texas Craw, Candy Bug or Okeechobee Spice colors using black craw worm trailers. Berkley 10-inch Power Worms in black grape, or blue fleck continue working around any remaining vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. The 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits in Ghost, Sexy West or Millwood Magic colors are working on points and in creek channels, dumping into Little River during warmest period of daylight. The bite has slowed and aggressive levels tapered off over the past few weeks of cold nights and cool mornings. Best bites using crankbaits are with a very S-L-O-W stop-n-go retrieve with numerous pauses along the way.
Siefert also said that jigging spoons in 12-18 feet depths of Little River are still working for white bass. Deep holes in Little River just out of the current, or behind secondary points, continue to hold a few good schools of whites from 12-18 feet of depth. Keep sharp hooks on the spoons; the bite of whites this time of year is slow and methodical, and a soft touch rod helps keep in contact with a slow and soft bite. Crappie have improved along Little River. Fishing in planted brush in 12-16 foot depth is beginning to draw in some good slabs out of any remaining, reduced current. Cordell Paddle Tail Smoke Grubs on light wire jigheads, vertical jigging Blakemore Road Runners, and hair jigs continue catching some nice slabs in planted brush about 12-18 feet deep. Blues and channel cats continue to bite well in Little River. Best bets are trot lines set at 18-22 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using cut shad, Charlie or chicken hearts.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 543.49 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 402.78 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the high 40s and the lake is clear up to Point 14 and stained farther up. Overall fishing is fair but not many are fishing due to the rainy weather. The only fishing in the winter is up lake between Point 24 and Cox Creek. Bass fishing is good for those few fishing. Look for fish in the Shouse Ford-Point Cedar areas. Best pattern has been medium running crankbaits, both lipped and lipless, worked across secondary points in creeks and big coves. Because the water is stained in these areas, make sure there is some chartreuse in the lure. Quite a few nice Kentuckies are being caught on 4-inch finesse worms rigged Texas-style. Green pumpkin and red shad seem to work best. Crappie fishing is good and once again in the upper end of the lake. Look for brush attractors on points in the main lake at 20-28 feet. Drop a 2-inch tube lure vertically on a 1/16-ounce jighead to just below the top of the brush. Black with a chartreuse tail is best, and don't forget the crappie nibble. No need to jig the lure, just move around the attractor very slowly. Tip: If your sonar is adjusted properly, you should be able to see the lure. Just drop until the lure is just above the brush, then add about 2 feet and you will be in the fish. Using this method, you will very seldom get snagged like you would by just guessing where the lure is. Quite a few big bream are reported by crappie fishermen. Try redworms or crickets on a No. 8 hook and fish just like you would for crappie in the brush and sometimes on the edge of the attractor.
Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastics. Crappie are slow, but a few are being caught in lakes and the old riverbed. No report on bream or catfish.
(updated 1-11-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said a few crappie being caught on shiners. No reports on bass or catfish.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said Crappie are starting to school together and anglers are having some success on live baits fishing the edges of channels where there is structure (i.e. stumps). Fishing seems to be the best around 3-5 feet deep and the last report Jaret got was that bass minnows were doing the trick. No report on other species at this time.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
said fishing is very slow and there have been no reports.
(updated 1-11-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said catfish are biting minnows and worms. Bream are working with crickets and worms. The bass are biting of late.
(updated 1-18-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, rreports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 48 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The 5-foot winter drawdown is in place until early March so waders and boaters should use extreme caution when navigating the channels below the dam. Fast currents and slick rock structure make the entire area very dangerous especially when the turbines are running. Rainbow trout are plentiful in the tailrace from the dam to the bridge with thousands of fish thriving in the nutrient-rich water. Thousands more trout are scheduled to be stocked this month, which will make fishing opportunities excellent for area anglers. Fly fishermen are able to access areas that hold good numbers of trout and are recording limits by casting micro-jigs in black or white colors with a strike indicator. Current is key, so targeting the head and rear sections of shoals has produced the best results. Olive-colored Woolly Buggers and black midges have also taken trout in the 15-inch class. Egg patterns in yellow or white often will draw strikes from finicky fish that refuse other offerings. Bank fisherman have done well on live bait presentations such as wax and meal worms, redworms, crickets, and small live minnows. Whether fished just off the bottom or under a bobber, these baits are proven trout killers in slack or moving water situations. Spin fishermen have accounted for the largest trout caught in the last several weeks by using Super Dupers and Rooster Tails in white or silver colors. These lures imitate a dying shad and often attract larger rainbows that feed on the baitfish drawn through the turbines from Lake Hamilton. Trolling shallow running crankbaits against the current below the bridge is highly effective during periods of current flow. Shad killed from the freezing temperatures provide large amounts of food for all the tailrace gamefish and should be imitated by anglers serious about catching numbers of rainbow trout. No reports of striper or white bass caught near the dam. This can change overnight as more and more trout are stocked in the area. Shad are plentiful during freezing temperatures, which will attract numbers of bass in any weather or current flow. The walleye spawn will be begin the second week of February with the smaller males migrating in first to prepare the beds for the females. At present, rainbow trout are king below Carpenter Dam.
(updated 1-18-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479 647-9945) said water temperature is in the mid-to-upper 40s. Water clarity is good. Crappie fishing has been good in the creeks 40 feet deep up to 20 feet on black/chartreuse or chartreuse/white jigs and minnows. Success has been found in 8-10 feet depth in the river around brush, and bridge piers have been producing in the river. Bass fishing has been good on jerkbaits, crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, jigs and Bamboozie, and scram shad. Bream have been fair in some of the creeks with brush; use crappie jigs. White bass and stripers has been fair on Bucktail jigs, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits on an Alabama rig. Catfishing has been fair on River Point with cut shad and skipjack.
Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
reported he’s been catching black, white and yellow bass on spoons in 35-45 feet of water. Darryl has gotten reports that crappie are biting around docks. He planned on checking the crappie on brush piles at mid-week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 338.58 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 1-18-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) had no report.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no reports. Activity is very slow.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 569.86 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort
(870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said black bass are fair and being caught with pig-n-jigs fished near brush 12-25 feet deep or lip less crankbaits. No reports on walleye. Stripers are still fair on live bait or trolling jigs. The central area of the lake is the best area for these fish. No reports on bream. Crappie are fair; try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. There were no reports on catfish. Water temperature on Tuesday of this week ranged 44-50 degrees and the water is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – to book a trip or for more information.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.58 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00).
No fishing reports were recorded.
(updated 1-18-2017) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported water being clear and the level is low. No specific temperature was recorded other than “it’s cold!” Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass bite is good on spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfishing is good on worms and blood bait.