Big Browns on the Little Red
Big Browns on the Little Red
Jan. 20, 2016

Big Browns on the Little Red

The tailwater below Greers Ferry Dam was home to the world-record brown trout for nearly two decades. Just because that record was broken doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of big fish and big action to be had on the Little Red River. Check out this “Talkin’ Outdoors” segment of anglers chasing the big bite on the Little Red.
Arkansas and White river levels are available at:
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For water quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:  
Family and Community Fishing Program: All Family and Community Fishing Program ponds are stocked with catfish and ready for fishing. Visit for up-to-date information about pond stockings, events and locations.
Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is about a foot low and stained. No anglers have been out with the near-freezing conditions. No report.  
Daniel Zajac at Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) had no report.

Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said expect continued heavy water releases for the foreseeable future. This pattern will eliminate any wade fishing opportunities and those planning to drift fish should exercise caution. Egg patterns, San Juan worms, micro jigs and weighted nymph patterns tend to work well. Streamers are an effective pattern during high water conditions. For Trout Magnet fishing, use long leaders and heavy weight with hot pink, cotton candy and purple colored bodies on silver and chartreuse jig heads. Key for both fly fishing and Trout Magnet fishing during heavy generation is the ability to get and maintain a good presentation of the fly or Trout Magnet using long leaders and heavy weight.  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 ( for real time water release and the Southwest Power Administration ( to see forecasted generation schedules.   
Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said generation continues to be one unit around the clock.  This will change to the equivalent of two generators (using the flood gates and one unit) as soon as the White River at Georgetown reaches a stage of 22 feet and will continue until the lake returns to normal. This could take 50 to 60 days, without any more large rains. Drift fishing is the only option during this time. The river is clear to slightly stained according to the distance below the dam and the areas around feeder creeks. Large weighted flies, such as microjigs, San Juan worms, large nymphs and egg patterns are the best choices.  Please use care when drifting the higher water.
James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Company (501-207-1770) said the fishing has been steady throughout the high water. Fish will continue to adjust to the flow and will be feeding more regularly. Excellent fishing can still be had, you just have to work a little harder for it during the high water. Still expect to see the high water for coming weeks. The best fishing is from a boat, but always be extra careful during these high, swift currents. Bigger, brighter flies have been the key. Pink San Juan worms or egg patterns are always a good bet.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 472.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 462.04 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level is 10.26 feet above normal pool and falling. The surface water temperature has been rather warm for this time of year; it is the low to mid-50s. Bass fishing is day-to-day with some being caught with a drop shot, football head and Carolina rig out deep and some fish caught shallow on a spinnerbait. Crappie are moving up and down the water column; try fishing a jig or minnow at 15-25 feet of water around any wood. No report on catfish. Some smaller male walleye are being caught up the rivers; try using jigs tipped with minnows and bream or trolling Wally Divers. No report on bream. Hybrid and white bass fishing is on and off throughout the day as with the current flow can feed at any time very easy. Try points and humps around any schools of shad you find; use spoons, swim baits, in-line spinners and hair jigs when you find the fish. 

Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is high, cold and muddy. The water level is 3 feet above normal. No report on bream, bass or catfish. Crappie are fair on minnows around the resort docks in about 6 feet of water, but it has been sporadic.
Whiskers Sporting Goods in Perryville (501-889-2011) said the crappie are biting on minnows and Bobby Garland Baby Itty Bit Swim’Rs in monkey milk, pennyback shad, blue ice shimmer and Cajun cricket in 4 to 10 feet of water. Catfishing is good on worms, shad and minnows. Bass are biting buzzbaits and worms. White bass are biting well on Johnson Silver Minnows and Bobby Garland Itty Bit Swim’Rs. Bream are biting on crickets and worms.  

Overcup Landing had no report.

Jolly Roger’s Marina said the water is 0.5 feet above the spillway and the surface water temperature is 44 degrees. Bass are biting well in 10 to 15 feet of water on spinnerbaits, jerk baits and dead-sticked wacky-rigged worms. Spotted bass are biting well on jigs and crankbaits in 10 to 15 feet of water. White bass are biting well west of Arkansas Highway 10. They’re hitting deep-diving Bomber and Bandit crankbaits on the east side of the bridge and Rooster Tails and a jig-and-grub combo on the west side of the bridge. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished around brush on the edges of river channel bends in 20 to 25 feet of water. Bream are slow. Catfishing is fair on chicken livers, live bream and stinkbait fished in 15 to 20 feet of water.  
Sunset Lake

Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) had no report.

Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) had no report.

Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) had no report.

Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) had no report.

River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) the water has cleared up and the surface water temperature is 45.5 degrees at the marina. Bream are biting well on worms and micro jigs in 7 to 8 feet of water. Crappie are biting well on jigs fished in 8 feet of water around the edges of the channel. Bass are biting well on crankbaits and soft plastic worms in 7 to 8 feet of water. No report on catfish or white bass. 

The folks at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is high, swift and muddy to put a boat on right now. 
McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is extremely high, swift and muddy. No report.  

McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is high and muddy. Crappie are fair to good on minnows. No report on any other species.

Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed until Feb. 8, 2016.

North Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 684.66 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
Bull Shoals Boat Dock had no new report. K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) is closed until March 4, 2016.

Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water coming through the turbines has been stained. No one is fishing with the bad weather. No report. 
Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the White River has seen heavy generation all week with no wadable water. All of the lakes on this system are well above seasonable power pool and we should encounter lower levels of generation, on our tailwaters, with some wadable water, until flooding clears downstream, when we will encounter high levels of generation. The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from Nov. 1, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016, 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. The hot spot has been Bull Shoals State Park. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8-10), Y2Ks (sizes 12-14), 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).

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 569.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the Army Corps of Engineers has begun lowering Norfork Lake about 6 inches per day, but they are increasing the release to about 9 inches per day. This will continue unless we have a significant rain. The surface water temperature is in the high 40s. Stripers continue to bite, with the best bite late in the afternoon in the 101 area. Schools of stripers and hybrids are feeding and moving very quickly. They are there, will hit the baits, and then are gone. Just keep moving and waiting for the next school to show up. 
Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new report.
Guide Steve Olomon had no new report.
Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Norfork has seen heavy generation with no wadable water. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18-22)  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). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (size 18 elk hair caddis). My favorite combination has been a cerise worm with a Sunday Special dropper. 

Northwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,128.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120 msl).
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is murky and the surface temperature is in the mid-40s. Black bass are fair on jigs and spoons around bluff ends and deep drops. Walleye are being caught in the river arms right now. 
Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said stripers are using deep water next to road beds, gravel bars, tree lines and bluffs. Stripers up in the White River and War Eagle arms of the lake are in clear water pockets or close to the banks and on the bottom along gravel bars. Use the mud line to your advantage as it will often concentrate stripers along its edge. Try dragging baits close to these areas including along the bottom on gravel bars will get you some fish. The mud line is in the Rocky Branch area, but is beginning to settle. Fishing is good ahead of this mud line. Fishing is good on live shad fished from the surface to about 30 feet deep. Small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs or flat-line trolled crankbaits such as no. 14 Husky Jerks or Smithwick Rogues are working well. Striper are also being caught at night by trolling main lake points with large surface lures like Redfins and Rapalas on bottom bouncers or three-way rigs. The hot spots for stripers have been main and secondary points in Indian Creek, Rocky Branch, Ford Creek, Cedar Creek, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris and Shaddox Hollow. In the upper section of the lake, stripers have been good around the Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Horseshoe Bend and the War Eagle/White River Junction.

Beaver Dam Store said the tailwater is rolling with a lot of water. Fishing white, red, chartreuse or pink Power Bait tipped with a wax worm might catch a fish or two, but there is no wadable water with all the releases in the system. Fly-anglers are better off using this time to break out the tying vise and restocking their fly boxes. 

Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said the bait shop at Duck Camp is closed for the season.

Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is cold, muddy and at normal level. The dock is open again, but there have only been a few people brave the cold. No report.  

Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is clear and at 38 degrees with ice around the edges of the lake. Crappie anglers have been the only ones out in the last week or so. The crappie seem to be biting on minnows and jigs in 8 feet of water on the deeper end of the lake. 

Northeast Arkansas

Lake Poinsett State Park said the rain and cold has kept most anglers off the water. No report.

Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is clear and the surface water temperature is 44 degrees. Crappie are fair on minnows in deep water. Bass are biting well on slow-moving crankbaits in deep water. No report on catfish or bream. 

Lake Frierson State Park had no report. 

Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are at 500cfs at the spring and the water has a green color to it. The river has been slowly clearing up. It’s still a bit high for wading, but some can be done with extra care. White woollies and old yellers have been hot with Y2K’s doing well as always. Hot pink and red Trout Magnets and gold spinners have been working well spin fishing. It’s getting cold, so layer up and be safe. If you slip and get wet, get to a warm area as soon as possible.

Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is murky and high. No report.  

Southeast Arkansas

(Updated 12-16-2015) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures are in the low 60s and water clarity is about 1 foot of visibility. Black bass are biting very well, thanks to cooler temperatures and reduced fishing pressure. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits worked slowly along steep rock banks are producing very good-sized fish with relative ease. Black/blue jigs worked in these same areas can also be effective on sunny, calm days. We have a few more weeks of good fishing before everything shuts down and gets difficult around mid- to late January.

(Updated 12-16-2015) Seth Boone at Cane Creek State Park said right before the cold front, Crappie were biting very well on minnows in the beaver pond. Bass are biting well in the early mornings on watermelon worms. Catfish and bream are biting fairly well on live bream and worms.

Lake Chicot State Park had no report.

Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.63 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said as of Monday, the lake level is 1.7 feet above normal conservation pool, but it is still very hazardous for navigation because of swift current and debris. There is heavy current in Little River with the gates discharge level around 29,000 CFS as of Monday, but was further reduced on Tuesday to around 22,000.  Water temperatures dropped during the last week, and are ranging from 37 to 44 degrees, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location, and time of day.  Very few anglers have been out because of the bad conditions.  Several boat ramps and parks campgrounds have re-opened from recent high water. Water clarity improved slightly, and visibility ranges from 5 to 12 inches away from current. Bass have been lethargic over the past couple weeks with the colder temperatures, increased current and muddy water. There also have been few anglers on the water with the flood conditions.  Bass are slightly more aggressive during the warmest time of the day, typically noon-3 p.m.. They will hit very slow targets like crankbaits and large, ¾-oz. War Eagle spinnerbaits in firetiger, hot mouse and chartreuse/white. Bomber medium-diving crankbaits in Tennessee shad, citrus shad or citruse colors, and Echo 1.75 Squarebills in chartreuse shiner or gold will get a few random bites during the warmer days in flats close to deep creek channel swings. Magnum 3- to 4-inch tubes and gitzits with rattles continue to get a reaction bites on cypress knees in 9 to 12 feet of water in backs of the oxbows where you can find any clearer water sections. Black/blue tail, smoke/black/red flake, and pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail colors continue to be best color selections. Large, tail-thumping, Bang Die Dappers are working on a swim jig head or weighted swimbait belly hook rig in grey ghost, melon shad, Houdini, and trickster colors with dipping the thumper tail in chartreuse JJ Magic dye.  Working the swim baits in pockets of vegetation and along edges of grass lines and dead lily pad stems 5-9 feet deep will pick up random, cruising, solitary bass in the 3-6 pound class. Bang Fat Jobs are working, wacky rigged in the same areas as the Die Dappers, in blueberry, junebug, and watermelon/red and green glitter. White bass and crappie have disappeared with all the recent high water and heavy current.  Catfish continue to improve in Little River on trotlines baited with cut shad, buffalo, and chicken livers set 12 to 18 feet deep.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 541.91 feet msl (Flood pool – 548 msl).
Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had no report. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.34 feet msl (flood pool – 408 msl).
Local angler George Graves had no report.

South-Central Arkansas

Stacey Jackson at White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) had no report.

Local angler Jaret Rushing had no report.

Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said the river is still 8 feet high. A few bass have been caught around current breaks. Crappie and catfish are slow.

Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said the cold has things very slow right now. A few crappie are being caught on shiners. A few bass are being caught on jigs. No report on catfish or bream. 

​Local angler Jaret Rushing said the water level is back to normal, but fishing reports have been slow due to the weather and few anglers on the water. 

West-Central Arkansas

Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) had no report.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 370.41 feet msl (full pool – 342 msl). 
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is high and muddy. Crappie are biting excellently around the dam and backwater areas upstream on minnows and jigs. No report on catfish, bass or bream. 
Whiskers Sporting Goods in Perryville (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on minnows and Bobby Garland Slab Slay’Rs, Baby Shads and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’Rs in pennyback, monkey milk, blue ice shimmer, Cajun cricket and barbecue chicken in 4 to 10 feet of water. Catfishing is good on minnows, worms and shad. Bream are fair on worms.  

Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said surface water temperatures are in the low mid-40s. The river and some bays are still muddy, but a few creeks have cleared up. Bass fishing has been hit-or-miss with some really good days on jerk baits and jigs in the clear water. Sweet Beavers and Bamboozie Craws are catching fish in the dirtier water. Work these soft-plastics very slowly and don't lose contact with the bottom. The dirtier the water is, the closer to the bank the bass seem to be. Crappie have been slow, but a few have been caught in deeper sections of clear water on minnows and black/chartreuse jigs. Catfish have been fair around the mouths of creeks on worms, crayfish and cut bream. No report on any other species.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 579.33 feet msl (full pool – 578 msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort said the water is stained and the surface water temperature is 44 to 48 degrees. Black bass are biting well on jigs and crankbaits. Stripers are fair on Alabama rigs fished around major creek channels. Crappie are biting well on small spoons, minnows and crappie jigs fished around brush in 20 to 30 feet of water. No report on catfish, bream or walleye. 

Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service said Entergy has stated that Lake Ouachita should fall out of flood pool in the next five days provided that the area doesn't get any additional rainfall. The big lake is falling quickly and local dam flows could be reduced this weekend. This is great news for anglers below Carpenter Dam that haven't been able to safely fish or boat in the tailrace for almost two months. Presently, very high generation flows and partial flood gate openings are in place until Ouachita falls below flood pool. No one should attempt to navigate Lake Catherine until flows are greatly reduced.  Once current reduces to safe levels, anglers should be able to catch plenty of rainbow trout on redworms, corn, crickets, mealworms and nightcrawlers presented with a marshmallow floater in areas protected from the current. Fly fishermen should be able to record limits casting egg patterns with a strike indicator over sandbars and exposed rock structure from the bridge to the dam. Micro-jigs in black or white perfectly imitate injured shad and will produce solid strikes. San Juan worms in red or hot pink are a good choice of colors when trout actively search for food. Jerk baits in a black/silver pattern are deadly when used over submerged rock where rainbows ambush shad in the current. All fishermen are advised to continue to wait until lake conditions improve later this week to fish or wade the area. Dangerous flows will continue and should not be dismissed as harmless. Always wear a life jacket and be aware of constantly changing water conditions.

East Arkansas

​Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no report. 

 ​Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no report.

Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the water is well above flood stage and the current is swift. No report.

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