Fake Trees Mean Real Benefits at Norfork Lake
Fake Trees Mean Real Benefits at Norfork Lake
August 17, 2016
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Fake Trees Mean Real Benefits at Norfork
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists are faking out the fish and anglers with a new habitat project on Norfork Lake by adding artificial cover to the lake in addition to standard fish attractors created from trees and brush.
During the last three years, the AGFC has been able to purchase nearly $40,000 worth of commercially developed cover and place it evenly throughout the lake, thanks to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration fund. So far, 126 artificial habitats have been placed at 14 sites, and more than 20 other habitats are left to sink. This is in addition to the 169 sites made of natural materials already maintained by fisheries biologists on Norfork Lake.
The artificial cover was purchased from Mossback Fish Racks, an Arkansas-based company specializing in environmentally friendly fish attractors. Each structure has multiple “trunks” and “limbs” that stretch 8 feet wide, creating a maze of excellent cover for baitfish.All habitats that are part of this project are being placed between 20 and 35 feet of water. As a stipulation to the permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, all artificial structures in Norfork needed to be at least 20 feet deep. This actually is ideal for fish habitat in Norfork, as this also is the range where summer anglers will find the thermocline, an area where oxygen-rich warm water and cooler water underneath meet to form a high-productivity zone.
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(updated 8-17-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said it was a very slow week with not many fish caught; maybe a few bream, crappie, bass and catfish were caught. The water is clear and at a normal level. No surface temperature was recorded.


(updated 8-17-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the rain over the past several days has caused most of the Little Red River sections to be stained and/or muddy. However, after they get a break in the rain the nightly generation should clear up the river quickly. If fishing stained/muddy water, think bright colors or something with flash along the banks. For fly fishing, Myers recommends streamers, sowbugs, midges and Woolly Buggers. For Trout Magnet fishing, we recommend candy cotton, hot pink and red-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. Mark your calendars for the annual Little Red River Cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 10. For more information on the cleanup, check the Little Red River Foundation and TU Chapter 722 Facebook pages. 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 (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.  
(updated 8-17-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said the amount of rainfall they received Sunday muddied up the Little Red. The river is muddy but clearing slightly with the increased generation. The lake level is now 463.3 and rising so we can expect the generation to increase. As of tomorrow they are projecting two units running from 1 p.m. till 7 p.m.  If the rain lets up, they may see reasonable levels and clearing by the weekend. With the stained water and higher levels, dark Woolly Buggers, size 14 to size 16 nymphs or micro jigs may be the best flies. Trout Unlimited and Little Red Foundation are co-sponsoring the Little Red River Clean-up and help is needed Saturday, Sept. 10. Call Seaton at the number listed here for more information or to sign up, or visit his website. 


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 463.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 8-17-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.38 feet it is 0.84 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet and has risen 3.54 feet as it has been 2.7 feet under pool before the rain. The black bass fishing has improved with a lot of fish moving back shallow and being easier to catch on topwater baits, spinnerbaits and small crankbaits. The deeper fish are eating Texas-rigged worms, C-rigs and football heads drug slow on the bottom on points and channel swings and around brush piles out to 40 feet deep. The crappie have moved a little shallower in the water column suspended in pole timber and over brush piles from 10-25 feet of water and eating jigs and minnows. The bream are guarding fry around beds again and will eat crickets and crawlers from real shallow out to 25 feet of water. The hybrid and white bass fishing has picked up as well, and it looks to be an early fall bite shaping up and a good schooling year up on top as a lot of threadfin shad are present now again. The schooling fish can be found from one end to the other at various places. And, of course, the structure bite happens year-round in 25-40 feet of water. Spoons, in-line spinners, small swimbaits and topwater baits are the best baits of choice for the schoolers or structure fish. Find the bait and the fish will be close. Catfishing is going well, too, as the dissolved oxygen has improved with the rain, and the bite will continue to be good. Any of your favorite baits will work, either on jugs, trotline or rod and reel. The walleye bite has improved but the fish are roaming around more; use crawlers or crankbaits to find them and just go back and forth as more will be bunched up together on points and small chunk rock flats close to deep water.


(updated 8-17-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is murky and the temperature has ranged in the low 80s on the surface. Overall, anglers have had a good, busy week. Bream fishing has been excellent. The bream are off the bank and biting worms and crickets. Crappie fishing is good. Bass fishing has been good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing rated fair with worms and chicken livers working best. 


(updated 8-17-2016) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is up 3 feet and muddy. Bream are good on crickets. Bass are schooling and good on bass minnows and buzzbait (black and chartreuse). Crappie are slow, but still catching good size in 6-8 feet of water on 2-inch umbrella jigs (orange/chartreuse sparkle.) Catfish are doing great on nightcrawlers and bass minnows with poles and bream on trotlines. One 20-pound blue was caught this week.
(updated 8-17-2016) Fosters Four Seasons (501-868-9061) said rainy conditions had slowed fishing activity considerably the past few days, with not many people out and not many good reports of catches. When it wasn’t raining last week, Fosters reported catches were being made all over the lake with the cooler weather over some of the weekend helped, and it should be cooler temperatures after the rain next week. Large, slab-size bream were reported two weeks ago, and bream overall were good on worms and crickets. Crappie were fair on No. 6 minnows, jigs and niblets. Bass fishing was good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Bass were in the brush and school and seemed all over. The catfish bite was good before all the rain using worms (nightcrawlers), and chicken livers. White bass were school in the lake and the action was good. Fosters has non-enthanol gas, sandwiches, tackle and more for anglers.
(updated 8-10-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina reported that black bass are good and are biting on wacky rig worms, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits early in the morning and late in the day. Blacks can be caught in 15-20 feet of water. Blacks are on the sharp banks and 15 feet off weeds. Despite the heat they are getting some good catches. Kentucky bass are being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 10-15 feet of water and are mixed in with the blacks. White bass fishing is excellent now. Use CC Spoons or deep-diving Bandits and Bombers; they are all over the lake. White bass are being caught in the main portion of the lake on CC Spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails when schooling. Crappie are slow. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs. Crappie are 20 feet deep; try the edges of the channels. Bream are excellent and can be found at 15 feet on the bottom. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfish are good, and are being caught in 15-20 feet of water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers. Roger Nesuda wanted to remind everyone also that Tuesday Black Bass Tournament season ends with the Fish Off on Sept. 17.
(updated 8-10-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported bream biting fair in 8-10 feet of water on crickets, as well as hand-tied bream jigs.


(updated 8-17-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said a couple of customers have fished Sunset this week from the covered dock and caught a few catfish on minnows and chicken liver. 


(updated 8-17-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the Saline is at or above flood stage at this time. Fishing, canoeing or activities of any kind are unsafe. 


(updated 8-17-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some residents on Norrell report catfish and bream have been biting minnows and crickets around and under the docks. 


(updated 8-17-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said one brave team fished Winona in the rain on Monday and caught a few crappie and some small bass on No. 6 minnows.  


(updated 8-17-2016) Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said that as of Monday afternoon the flow was just 12,000 cfs. All the bad weather was far as heavy rain has been east of us. Catfishing has been great in 20-40 feet of water. A local couple last week got two limits of fish from 5 pounds to 25 pounds, plus they were culling fish. They used whole shad and catalpa worms. Bream are  on the back side of jetties and on sand bars; use blades and Rooster Tails. White bass are good are biting early in the day and late in the evening on Baby Shads around schools of shad. Kentucky bass are good on timber in back of jetties on chatterbaits and also are chasing shad early and late. Stripers are fair below Locks 9 and 10; use wobble spoons or float a live shad or bream 4-6 feet deep. We had the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission up here about two weeks ago test shocking. They reported a good amount of new shad that were 1 to 1 1/12 inches long. Few people are fishing in between the rain showers.


(updated 8-17-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley reported, “Wow, what a difference a week can make!” Usually additional water flow and color help the bass bite, but this week served up just the opposite. Good numbers of Kentucky bass can still be caught on the main river jetties with chartreuse/black backed crankbaits. However, if you want to catch the bigger largemouths, it will most likely be a bit slower going. With the river coming up a little, look to the backwaters to catch a few better fish. Jigs and plastics around laydowns and stumps were the best producers this past week. Some other quality fish are being caught on the backwater sand with topwaters. The catfishing bite is still consistent, but the larger ones are almost entirely nocturnal at this point. Great numbers can still be caught in the main river current using Santee Cooper rigs and cut shad. Now is also the time to begin looking for those big flatheads around timber. Try dropping live bream or rice slicks just up current from big log jams. Don't forget to use your largest line and hooks as a trophy flathead will not be happy about being brought out of his home. 


(updated 8-10-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water was clear and at a normal level. Bream worked well; use worms and crickets. Crappie were good in 4-6 feet of water; use minnows. Bass were good, with spinnerbaits and plastic worms working best. Catfishing was good using minnows and cut bait. There were no reports of white bass being caught. 


(updated 8-17-2016) Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reported fishing in the pool has been tough. There is good bite on jigheads and Shaky Heads around the jetties, and topwater baits are working early on for bass. Bream are working around the grass lines. Crappie fishing has been generally poor. Catfishing has been pretty good around the sand bars with prepared bait or nightcrawlers. The shop hosted a couples tournament over the weekend but the reports on fish caught were just fair. The Murray Lock and Dam flow on Wednesday a.m. was at 33,000 cfs, which should be good for fishing, Vince said.
(updated 8-17-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water in Clear Lake is living up to the name, clear, and is at a normal level. Bream are biting fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass rated good, with plastic worms, spinnerbaits and crankbaits working best. Catfishing was all that fell off, rating poor this week. However, near Terry Lock and Dam, there were good catfish reports on worms. The water near the dam is clear and at a normal level. Bream were good on worms and crickets, crappie were good and working the backwaters away from the dam, and bass were good in plastic worms, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. 
(updated 8-17-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported the water is clear and at a normal level. Bream are biting redworms and crickets and have rated good. Crappie fishing is good on minnows and jigs. Bass are hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwaters in the early morning and late evening, and bass rated good for the week. Catfishing with trotlines and limb lines is good; use chicken livers for bait. No reports on white bass. Reports near the Terry Dam had catfishing also good there on worms and chicken livers. Same reports on bream, crappie and bass as the rest of the pool.


(updated 8-17-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported that the water is clear and the level and current are normal. There were no reports on bream, crappie or bass in the past week. Catfishing, however, was good on hot dogs, minnows and stink bait. 


No reports.


(updated 8-10-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said bass were good late in the day, after sundown. Bass were hitting Whopper Ploppers, buzzbaits and Shaky Head worms. Catfishing was fair on chicken livers or bass minnows. 


(updated 8-10-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported catfish biting fair on chicken livers and nightcrawlers.


(updated 8-17-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said no fishing reports this week. Two weeks ago, before all the rain, catfish were biting on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bream were biting crickets and worms. Bass were biting fair on minnows and small topwater baits early in the morning. A few crappie were caught on pink minnows.


(updated 8-17-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said water was clear and at a normal level. Bream are good these days and redworms and crickets are getting the most action. Crappie are biting minnows and jigs. Bass are working early in the day and late after sundown, hitting spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good on trotlines and limb lines; use worms.
(updated 8-10-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie were biting fair in the Maumelle River at 12-20 feet of water. Use red and white jigs. Bass were fair on Zara Spooks and buzzbaits. No other reports. In the Arkansas River, the report was that bass were fair using Sinkos and black buzzbaits around the jetty points and in the current. Catfish were fair with nightcrawlers, skipjack and minnows.



(updated 8-3-2016) Local angler Nicholas Karras said bass fishing is good on small creature baits and small finesse worms. Try natural colors to entice the bites near sharp drop-offs near deeper water. Bream bite is still good up on the banks. No report on catfish or crappie.



North Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 660.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).


(updated 8-17-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that the water was cloudy and at a low level. Trout were just fair this week. The bite on brown trout was slow, but there were fair reports of catches of rainbows. 
(updated 8-17-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said river levels have remained significantly lower the last few days and the fishing has been very good with fewer hiding places for the rainbows. Gamble said they had several folks working stick baits who came back with pictures of four browns, one weighed approximately 9 pounds. Larger stick baits were used in the deeper holes, suspending rogues with translucent and/or lime green tints were successful. While the rain kept some folks away from the river, those that braved the (mostly) misty skies had successful days with a steady stream of catches. Small spinners with a Colorado blade were popular this week; you'll also want to keep your spoons and Blue Foxes handy.
(updated 8-17-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that during the past week, Cotter has had a couple of rain events (a combined total of 2.25 inches), brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.5 feet to rest at a half-foot below seasonal power pool of 661 feet. This is 34.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 2.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 16.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 feet to rest at 2.8 feet below seasonal power pool and 12.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation in the afternoon last week with wadable water most mornings, and the bite has been excellent. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. 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 red San Juan worm with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). 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) on bigger water. You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great. 


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 8-17-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said striper fishing on Norfork Lake is hitting its summer peak. Norfork is different than other Southern lakes. The hotter it gets, the better the bite. This will continue into the middle of September, then the oxygen level is the lowest it will be and the bite slows down on the southern part of the lake. About that time Tom starts heading up toward Calamity Beach where the lake oxygen will begin to reach a higher level. Tom fishes up toward Udall until late November. The best bite on the lake is in the river. The striper bite continues to center around the dam area. You will find them from Shoal Creek to the front and back of Koso Point, Thumb Point, Dam Cove, Point One and then east toward Hand Cove. They continue to feed in the 30-35-foot range of water before light, then move out to deeper water. The evening bite has begun. That bite usually starts around 6 p.m. up to dark off the lake points. As the sun sets, the stripers will move onto the point flats and begin their evening feed. The rains this week should help the oxygen in the lower end of the lake, and with the work continuing on the dam we should not see much of a rise in the lake level. The best bait this past week has been gizzard shad. Reynolds has been fishing Norfork Lake since his first May vacation in 1982. His son Sean was just 18 months old when he was on Reynolds’ boat watching dad catch stripers. They fished together since then on their home waters in Indiana and Norfork Lake. In 1997, the Reynoldses moved down to Mountain Home and Tom began his guiding business. Sean helped out and when he was old enough began to guide part time through school. He became very busy on his own with his restaurant and only could help out occasionally. Since he sold the business he moved to Knoxville, Tenn., and began guiding there, but Mountain Home called him back, and now that he is getting married in September he is starting a new journey. Sean will be joining Tom full time as his partner in their fishing and hunting business. Sean is an excellent fishing, duck and deer guide. Tom says he’s very proud of him and very excited that he has decided to join him. So now when you call to book a trip Tom will not have to turn you down since they will have two boats to take you on your striper experience. The fall bite will be starting soon as the water starts to cool down so make your plans on the web with www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake. Be sure to read Reynolds’ Fall Striper tactics; the article can be found on the NorforkLakeChamber.com website.
(updated 8-10-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said surface water temperature earlier this week was 87-89 degrees. The lake level is holding fairly stable with a few hours of power generation, and was sitting at 553.11. The main lake is clear and most creeks and coves are stained. The fishing continues to be good for most species. The summer fishing pattern is in full swing and will more than likely last throughout August and into the beginning of September. The better bite for striped bass is located from the Point 2 area to the dam. You can locate stripers on long points, as well as, on big rounded points. Before sunrise they are feeding in 30-40 feet of water, and as the sun gets over the tree line they move out to deeper water 50-70 feet deep and even into the old river channel. Live bait is working the best for Gabric, he said, but he did jig up a few the other day with a spoon. He said he’s been finding small schools of fish and most days they are aggressive, but over the last week he had a few days that they had over 30 short bites with very few takers, and that’s why they call it fishing. There have also been many big stripers being caught over the last couple of weeks in the 20- to the mid 30-pound range. Gabric said he thought he was going to be spooled with the 25-pounder he caught a few days ago.
If you are looking for other species of fish, you're in luck. The white bass, largemouth and walleye are in 28-35 feet of water. The best time to fish for them is from sunrise until about 9 or 10 a.m. and then again about an hour or so before sunset until it gets too dark to see. Minnows and nightcrawlers are working. Lou says he enjoys vertical and/or horizontal jigging with a spoon. He’s been using a ¾-ounce spoon with white as the main color. You need to bounce the jig off of the bottom and set the hook once you get hammered. Look for these fish on the large shallow flats or the shallow side of the shoreline. You can find the whites and the largemouth on your depth finder, but the walleye have been hard to see. Catfish are in the same target depth as the white bass and they are biting really well. Vertical jigging and crawlers are working well.
(updated 8-17-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 0.2 feet rest at 2.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 26.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had reliable wadable water every morning, when it was a bit cooler. The Norfork fished better on the lower water last week and has not been as crowded with wadable water on the White. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). 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 the Green Nutt. Dry Run Creek has not fished as well but is still yielding some trophy trout. 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 8-17-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that with the weather warming, smallmouths are more active. John Berry's favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the river. There are no dams and the river is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.


(updated 8-17-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the river is navigable. Try John Berry's favorite lure for smallmouths, the Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering. There are no dams, there are large drainages and the creek prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.



Northwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,117.44 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 8-17-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported the lake level and current as normal for this time of year, and the clarity was clear. Fishing are schooling around Point 12 and are being caught. Crappie are fair on minnows, jigs and trolling with shad. Bass are fair both early in the day and late using black spinnerbaits, crankbaits, dark plastic worms, topwater baits and Shaky Heads. Catfishing is good on trotlines with live bait and goldfish.
(updated 8-17-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) reported striper activity forecast for the week is good. Mike has been seeing some topwater activity from white bass and stripers in the 5-15-pound range, so make sure you have a swimbait, spoon, jig or favorite topwater like a Zara Spook tied on and ready for blasting fish. They are chasing bait up from about 30 feet deep, pinning them to the surface, and will hit anything thrown into the fray while moving at a fast pace out of it. Hang on when they hit! Beaver Lake stripers are on main lake structures and mouths of coves, etc. Some Beaver Lake stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing weighted-down lines will definitely get you some fish. Striper will hit live shad fished on down lines 30-60 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on downriggers. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Fish are greatly influenced by lake level and current flow, and current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure; check Bailey’s web site for daily lake level and flow data link. Water surface temps are in the mid-80s. Chuck out these hot areas on the mid- and lower sections: Dam and Hybrid Cove, Point 1,  Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty and Point 5. Walley are on the main lake in numbers and on the feed. They can be found in 10-20-feet depth depending on where you fish. Use 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 8-10-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing in the tailwaters this past week was very pleasant in the morning hours. Trout are still very active between U.S. Highway 62 bridge and Spider Creek. Most trout are being caught on light terminal tackle with various PowerBaits. Spoons are also producing nice numbers. Walleye, mostly males, are still being caught in the tailwaters as well. Most are being caught by jigging live minnows and soft grubs in various colors. The hot spot has been between Spider Creek and Parkers Bottom. Smallmouth bass is still hitting from cover, chunk rock and drop-offs. Rapalas and soft plastics have had the best response. 
(updated 8-17-2016) Beaver Dam Store reported the fly fishing has been pretty good. Fishing the tailwaters of Beaver Dam should remain good. Norfork hatchery dumped trout last Friday around 11:30 a.m. Fishing should be excellent Saturday and Sunday below the dam. The browns can be caught using midges, streamers, hopper patterns. For rainbows, try drifting zebra midges, numphing and swinging small soft hackles. Good lures have been gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons, Flicker Shad in pro series sizes 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies continue to be pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive or hares ear, tungsten copper Johns, WD 40s and Trout Magnets. Catfish are biting on Wicked Sticky catfish bait along with Magic Bait crawfish/chicken blood bait.


Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said he closed the bait shop the remainder of the year.


(updated 8-17-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported the water conditions as clear and a surface temperature of 80 degrees. Bream are good and biting worms and crickets. Crappie fishing is poor. Bass are hitting early in the morning and late in the day on spinnbaits and crankbaits and rated good for the week. Catfishing is good on trotlines and limb lines, with chicken livers working best.


(updated 8-17-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported water conditions were clear and at a normal level, with water surface temperature at 87 degrees. Bluegill were being caught in good numbers on worms and crickets. Crappie were good in 10-12 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Bass were biting topwater in good numbers. Catfishing was good on live bait and chicken livers. 



Northeast Arkansas

(updated 8-17-2016) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett has been doing well with minnows for crappie. They are in the deeper channels in the lake. The bass have been doing well on bright buzzbaits. Catfish are doing well on goldfish. Bream are still doing great on crickets.
(updated 8-10-2016) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said the biggest seller for bait these days is the crickets. The bream love them and we love the bream. They are boney, but delicious. We are selling a fair amount of the minnows to those that like to crappie fish. No news on the catfish and bass



(updated 8-17-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water was clear and at a normal level and current.  Water surface temperature was in the 80s this week. Bream fishing was good on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing was poor. Bass was good early in the morning and late in the day using topwater lures. Catfishing was good on chicken livers. 


(updated 8-17-2016) Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 400 cfs at the spring and water clarity has been mostly clear. There was a steady rain for the last few days. The river did not flood. The forecast was for over 10 inches of rain and it did rain about 4½ inches over several days. The brown trout have been hitting small ostrich herl emergers near the surface and black ants. Guppies and Woollies have been hot on the main river for trout. White and hot pink Trout Magnets and white and silver Rooster Tails have been working well on spinning rods. Cooler weather this week has made for some nice days on the water.
(updated 8-17-2016) John Berry in Cotter said the Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is in full swing and there are a lot of boats on the river. You should fish during the week, if you can. 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 8-17-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had very few fish have been caught the past couple of weeks and activity is slow. Water level and current are high. 



Southeast Arkansas

(updated 8-10-2016) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures are around 90 in the main channel and in the lower 90s in backwaters and in Lake Langhofer. Water visibility is a little less than one foot all around. There is some muddier water mixing with cleaner water being flushed from backwaters in places. The river is creeping along, just enough to position fish in likely current-related spots. Black bass are slow throughout the pool. Your best bet is to fish shallow brush with jigs and soft plastics early in the morning, then use small shad-colored crankbaits on pieces of wood and brush on the first break away from the bank for the rest of the day. Although better quality can be caught from offshore brush piles, there are not many fish out there to be caught. High temperatures, abundant food supply and heavy pressure are keeping the bite pretty slow lately.


No report.


No report.


(updated 7-27-2016) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) said the water level is normal the clarity is murky. Bream are biting well on worms. Crappie fishing is poor, as is bass fishing. Catfish are good on redworms, nightcrawlers and chicken livers.



Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 8-17-2016) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the welcome rain has really cooled things off. As of Monday, lake level remains in drawdown, about 18 inches below normal conservation pool and falling. There is increase current of Little River with the gates releasing around 1,700 cfs as of Monday. Water temps were stable over the past week, ranging about 79 degrees early to about 90 degrees, depending on location. Navigation is cautious for Little River during drawdown conditions. Bass remain good from 2-4 pounds early in the morning with topwaters, spinnerbaits and frogs working best in Little River near creek junctions. Clarity and visibility has been consistent over last couple weeks, most areas on main lake and Little River due falling water during drawdown, ranging about 8-12 inches on main lake structure away from current. Cottonshed and northeast section of the lake remain stained.  Little River's visibility ranges 8-15 inches.  The oxbow's clarity currently ranging about 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Little River above McGuire Oxbow is semi-stained, while some areas have fair to decent clarity. Get as far away from the heavy discharge of the current and Little River as you can get for bass between from 2 to 4 pounds, and use topwaters early and late. Most bass are aggressive at dawn around lily pad standsand shallow vegetation. Buzzbaits, chatterbaits, Ken Pops, Chug-Bugs and plastic frogs remain a good topwater choice early. Working topwaters around pads and vegetation adjacent to deeper sections of the creek channels still draws good reactions at dawn. Good bites continue on the soft plastic frogs this week around pads in clearest water you can find. Johnson chrome spoons with curly tail grub trailers are taking some good fish in the lily pads. Bass Assassin Shads in Salt n Pepper Silver Phantom, Gold Shiner and Black Shad continue working best. Rat-L-Traps and 1.75 Echo cranks continue working in creek mouths, ridges and along vegetation growth and weed lines near deep water drops. Chartreuse Shad or Citrus Shad Bomber deeper diving crankbaits continue to be best reaction colors in the oxbows over the past week for largemouths and white bass alike. Magnum sized, 4-inch salty tubes and Berkley Craw Fattys in black neon, black/blue or grasshopper colors are working also in the oxbows, near stumps, cypress knees, and lily pads. Real Deal Custom Tackle Jigs are taking a few nice keeper size bass from 3-4 pounds.  Best locations are near creek channel swings with stumps or cypress trees, and best colors to get a response over the past week or two have been the Texas Craw, Watermelon Candy-Red and PB&J.;  
White bass and hybrids continue roaming the oxbows and continue hitting the Tenneessee Shad or citrus shad-colored crankbaits in the back of the oxbows. Several days over the past week, with the heavy cloud cover, the whites were surface-breaking on shad in back of Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows. Those fish were hitting small, Smokey Joe Pop-R's and Chug Bugs with a rear feathertail hook or Little Cleos, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white, and Rat-L-Traps. No reports on crappie. Blue catfish and channel cats remain good this week in Little River on trotlines about 6-9 feet deep, in creek mouths and outer bends of the river. Best trotline baits last two weeks have been chicken livers, cut shad and buffalo.  


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 542.51 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
No reports were submitted for this week.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 402.73 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 8-17-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Very few reports with all this rain. Fishing should pick up with the lower water temperature and higher lake levels. Bass fishing is only fair with most catches coming early in the morning on a topwater bite. Look for fish along the south side between the dam and Point 6. The fish will be chasing shad on points in the big coves. Throw topwater plugs, spinnerbaits and swimbaits. If "breaking" fish are hard to find, try working a Texas-rigged worm across the points in 10-15 feet of water. Hybrid fishing is good early in the morning at the south side in coves at points 2 and 4. The fish are down in the deep thermocline at 45-50 feet. Look for fish on the sonar and drop a heavy jigging spoon or big in-line spinner. If you have trouble finding fish on the sonar, just look for the guide boats, they are most always on the fish. Some schooling activity reported in the area of Alpine Ridge and the mouth of Yancey Creek early in the morning. Some big shell crackers reported coming from the deeper points at mid-lake in 15-20 feet of water. Tight line a redworm or cricket to just off the bottom.
(updated 8-17-2016) John Duncan with yoyguideservice.com said it’s that time of year. Fishing is slower and the water is warmer. Water levels are up slightly to 402.49. Water is clear throughout and water temperature is 86 degree mid-lake. Catfishing is still going on with reports being marginal at best. Most of the catfishing is being done on noodles. Live bait is the best. There are schools of surfacing fish from Point Cedar to Iron Mountain. The majority of these are whites and smaller blacks. Small shad-colored topwaters, spoons like the War Eagle spoon and small shad-imitating crankbaits work well on these surfacing fish. Hybrids are surfacing in some locations. The reports say they seem to be in the mid-lake area. They can be caught on shad-colored-and-sized topwaters, spoons and crankbaits. Swimbaits work well on the hybrids as well. The issue with hybrids is being where they are when they surface. Early morning and very late is critical along with somewhat calm water surface. Bream are still biting but are spotty and more difficult to find. Deep brush piles are always a good place for bream. The crappie bite is slowing due to the warm summer atmosphere. You have to fish the deepest habitat you can find to locate them. No black bass reported.
(updated 8-17-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips reported shad are everywhere, and random schools of white bass are breaking early in the mornings. The latest bouts of rain should cool the water and help with catching all species.



South-Central Arkansas

No reports.


No reports.


No reports.


No reports.



West-Central Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 337.25 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl). 
(updated 8-10-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported the water was at low level. The surface temperature was 93 degrees. Bream were good on worms. Crappie were found in the river channel at about 7 feet and were biting minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was good with 10-inch worms working beset. Catfishing was excellent and the fish were found mostly in shallow water. Worms worked best for the cats. 
(updated 8-17-2016) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said there was no fishing with too much water, flooding them out. 


(updated 8-17-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported fishing being very slow in the past sevedral days. Water level is normal, though. Bream are fair on worms. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are biting fair on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is fair on worms. .


(updated 8-10-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperature is in the low to mid-90s. Water clarity is good in creeks and rivers. Bass fishing has been good on points with wood, on shell beds, and drops with brush piles. Crankbaits swimbaits and worms have been working well with a topwater bite occasionally. Striped bass have been good on swimbaits, spinnerbaits and Rat-L Traps. They also have a topwater bite going occasionally with Zara Spooks and poppers. White bass have been active off main river points, with crankbaits Rat-L Traps and topwater baits working well. Bream have been good with worms and crickets around down trees along the main river. Catfishing has been good in the main river in the deeper holes on shad.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 573.28 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 8-17-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191) said water surface temperature has been 82-88 degrees. The water is stained. Black bass are still fair and still being caught with Texas-rigged worms, pig-n-jigs and buzzbaits. Brush piles on main lake and secondary points are producing the best results when fished with Texas-rigged plastics or jigs. Drop-shot finesse worms are working well for “spots.” Walleye are still excellent and are being caught trolling shallow running crankbaits and jigging CC spoons. Stripers are fair to good on live bait. The central and east areas of the lake are the best areas for these fish. Bream are good. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 20-25 feet deep. Crappie are fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 25-30 feet deep near brush. Catfish are fair to good. Try night crawlers, trotline minnows or hot dogs in depths of 15-20 feet. Call Mountain Harbor fishing guides Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) for more information. 
(updated 8-10-2016) David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said fishing for striper on Lake Ouachita has been tough. They are seeing fish from Crystal all the way to the east side from 20 feet to 70. As a live-bait fisherman, Draper said, he has tried everything and nothing seems to help. Bottom line is, if you find a couple of hungry fish, they will bite, but that is few and far between. Draper said he doesn't know if artificial baits are working or not. 


(updated 8-17-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips reported shad are everywhere, and random schools of white bass are breaking early in the mornings. The latest bouts of rain should cool the water and help with catching all species.


(updated 8-17-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 64 degrees and rises to 67 degrees below the bridge. Clear conditions exist in the tailrace as the normal summertime pool levels continue until November. Recent heavy rainfall has caused Entergy to schedule heavy generation below Carpenter Dam this week in an effort to keep area lakes at normal pool. Flood gates have also been opened to aid in this effort. Rain is forecasted for the rest of this week and into early next week, so flow times below the dam could be longer than scheduled and increased flow rates are possible. Until normal conditions return, anyone navigating the tailrace should use extreme caution and only when the flood gates are closed. Sadly, the rainbow trout season is over until mid-November when the stocking program begins again. The vast majority of trout have either been caught or migrated away from the dam. The few fish that remain are extremely wary and almost impossible to catch. This absence of trout occurs every year in the summertime. However, thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the tailrace in search of cooler water to spawn. Interestingly enough, few white bass or stripers have moved in to feed on the baitfish. No topwater activity has been observed and few bass were caught in the past week. No catfish or drum have been taken in the swift conditions. Until lake conditions return to normal, fishing in the Carpenter Dam tailrace will be very poor. 


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.10 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
No fishing reports were recorded.



East Arkansas

(updated 8-10-2016) Natalie Carter, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said crappie, bream and bass all increased considerably in activity this past weekend with the cooler temperatures. Crappie and bream were biting well at moderate depths on live bait, while bass were responding strongly to various jigs and lures. With temperatures rising again this week, activity is expected to drop back off to minimal. The Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center located in Marianna, off of Hwy 44 is selling bait and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. 


(updated 8-10-2016) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) reported that crappie picked up considerably this past weekend, hitting mostly on crickets. Bream activity still reported as slow from the fishing pier, with most activity being in the early morning hours after the rains. No reports on bass or catfish. With temperatures rising again this week, activity is expected to drop back off to minimal. 


(updated 8-17-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported that action was slow but it was evident fish are still abundant. The water was stained but the level in the bay was normal. Bream fishing is good on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing is good on minnows and jigs. Bass are biting spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and topwaters. Catfishing is also good. 



Arkansas and White river levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt  
For water quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality  
Family and Community Fishing Program: All Family and Community Fishing Program ponds are stocked with catfish and ready for fishing. Visit hwww.agfc.com/familyfishing for up-to-date information about pond stockings, events and locations.
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