Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water surface temperature was in the low 60s. The crappie bite has been excellent. Crappie are best under the Highway 89 bridge but are really good all over the lake. Bream fishing is good on worms and crickets. Bass have been fair, with plastic worms working best. Catfishing is excellent; use shad or minnows.
(updated 12-14-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Little Red is receiving morning and afternoon generation on weekdays and sporadic generation on weekends. For fly fishing, we recommend midges, soft hackles, egg pattern, sowbugs and streamers. For Trout Magnet fishing, we recommend 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 12-14-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said the river remains clear with morning and evening generation during the week and little or no generation on the weekend. Morning generation usually begins at 6 a.m. and runs 2-4 hours. Evening generation usually begins about 5 p.m. and runs 4-5 hours. With this pattern, wade fishing is limited to Winkley Shoal until about 9:30 a.m. and then JFK Park from about noon till 5 p.m. on the weekdays. The brown spawn has been hard to read this year. As much as 3-4 weeks ago my fishermen were catching browns that had spawned and we’re still catching a few that are carrying their eggs. It seems this year the spawn has been spread over a lengthy time and no large concentration of browns on the shoals at one time. Catching the larger fish has been that same old story of “being on the river at the right time and place.” Midge hatches the last couple of days are the main attraction for the trout, and matching the size and color of the hatch is the key to success. Try a pupa or emerger that sinks slowly. This is for the lower water ahead of the rise. If you're considering a first time fly fishing trip or know someone who is thinking of giving it a try, you might enjoy watching this video. Laura Monteverdi is a news anchor for THV11 in Little Rock: http://www.thv11.com/news/thv11-s-laura-monteverdi-learns-how-to-fly-fish/349794789. Greg also wishes everyone “A blessed and Merry Christmas to all!”
(updated 11-30-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing lately has been great. James said they have been getting water releases from the dam each day, which has made drift fishing from boats excellent. Wading opportunities are best on the weekends when water release is scarce. The hot flies have been egg patterns, midges and sowbugs. Trout Magnets have been producing good numbers of fish as well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 456.77 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 456.86 feet and falling it is 5 feet below normal pool and the lake is going through a turnover, so it will be about 2 weeks getting over this and the catching should be real good again all over the lake until it gets super cold, and that will be the only thing that slows the bite. The bass fishing is still good ahead and behind the turnover on spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, football heads and C-rigs as well as a wacky rigged Right Bite Cinko, from real shallow water out to about 40 feet. The crappie are floating around suspended mostly in 5-18 feet of water around any wood and are biting jigs and minnows as well as Road Runners. The bream have slowed but some can be caught in about 27 feet on a drop-shot with a cricket or crawler. The turnover has turned off the catfish, but they should return to eating on points and edges of flats after it is finished and will be in 25-35 feet of water biting just about any of your favorite baits. The walleye, Tommy has been told, are eating up the rivers pretty good on staged places from the mouth up about halfway on live bait. The lake fish are scattered with the turnover and some can be caught dragging a minnow on a drop-shot rig in 25-40 feet of water. Some have even gone shallow and can be caught on a jighead worm and C-rig. The hybrid and white bass are eating well on the outskirts of the turnover as well on top and down, off and on all day. They’re hitting topwater baits, spoons, in-line spinners, swimbaits and hair jigs down to 25-40 feet of water. After the turnover, look for some to be hanging out in the 70-foot range.
(updated 12-7-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort
(501-889-2745) said water is clear but the level is low. Crappie fishing is good on minnows and jigs, but anglers are advised to go to the deepest parts of the lake. Bream reports were poor. Catfishing is fair. There were no reports on bass.
(updated 11-30-2016) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is normal and clarity is good. surface temperature is around 60 degrees. Shad are moving in around the docks and walkways. Bass are doing great on crankbaits all around the shore and walkways. Bream are slow, but anglers are still catching them on crickets and worms, and are still bringing in some good-sized ones. Catfish are doing good on yo-yos and jugs using bass minnows. Crappie are picking up around walkways and around the shoreline, mostly 10 to 11 inches, but some are around 2 pounds. Anglers are catching them early morning and evening fishing 3-4 feet on bottom and coming back up about 6 inches from the bottom, using jigs and minnows.
(updated 12-14-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina
reported the black back catch has been very good of late. Black bass are biting on wacky rig worms and jigs. Blacks can be caught in 18-22 feet on drop-offs and creek edges and on the windy banks. The cooler weather has activated the bass. Fishing for Kentucky bass has been excellent. Kentucky bass are being caught on crankbaits and jigs and can be found in 20 feet of water. They are mixed in with the blacks. White bass are fair. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep diving Bandits and Bombers. There are mostly at the east end of the lake. Crappie fishing is excellent. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (chartase and White with very light line). Crappie are 16-22 feet deep, at the tops of structure near the edges of the channels and on the old road beds. Lots of 8- to 13-inch crappie being caught, should be so great winter fishing. Bream are slow, there have been no reports. Catfishing is slow. They’re being caught in 25 feet of water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 12-7-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said some crappie have been biting late at night and before daylight. Catfish have been biting fair on minnows and chicken liver. Bream fishing has been slow. Bass have been biting fair.
(updated 12-7-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said bass fishing has been fair with minnows and small artificial baits. Catfish are biting fair on minnows and black salties. Bream are biting crickets and redworms. Crappie are biting pretty well on size 6 and pink minnows.
(updated 12-7-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting fair on minnows and goldfish. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms. Bass have been biting slow. No recent reports of crappie being caught on Norrell.
(updated 12-7-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting fair on size 6 and size 12 minnows. Catfish have slowed the last few days but are still biting minnows, chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bream have been slow to bite anything. Bass have been hitting minnows.
(updated 11-30-2016) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said catfish have been fair. Fish with live bass minnows about 1-2 feet from the bottom. Crappie are fair. They are back in coves like Coppers Gap, Point Remove Creek or the Petit Jean River. Use a chartreuse jig with a redhead. Black bass are fair. They’re on the jetty tops at midday. Fish them with black or blue jigs. Charley says there have been few people fishing the pool, but they had a good first split season on ducks. Charley says he saw more different species than he’s seen in many years – mostly puddle and diver ducks.
(updated 12-7-2016) River Valley Marina
(501-517-1250) had no report on the clarity, surface temperature or level, but said bream fishing reports were good, and crappie were being caught in good numbers on minnows and jigs.
(updated 12-14-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water conditions in the Clear Lake area were murky and water level and current were normal. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing has been good, with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms all bringing them in. Catfishing has ranged from poor to fair. However, at the Terry Lock and Dam, catfishing is good. Bass fishing on the lower end of the pool is good on crankbaits and plastic worms worked around the jetties. Bream are good on worms and crickets and crappie are good throughout the pool on
minnows and jigs.
Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff
(501-834-5733) said crappie were being found in the backwaters suspended about 10 feet and were biting well on minnows. Bass fishing is good; use a black and blue jig. No reports came in on catfish or bream.
(updated 11-30-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that near Murray Lock and Dam, catfish are fair and biting skipjack. White bass are fair; use twin tail jigs.
Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported water being dingy. Crappie were biting in 5-6 feet of water on pink minnows. Bass were fair with soft plastic worms getting bites. White bass were good on yellow Vibric Rooster Tails. Catfishing was good near Murray Dam on cut bait. Bream reports were poor. At Terry Lock and Dam, crappie reports were fair with fish in about 6 feet depth and around the rocks and jetties. Minnows and red jigs were working. Bass reports from there were excellent. Anglers were using spinnerbaits, topwaters and other baits.
(updated 11-30-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed until Feb. 6.
(updated 12-7-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bass have been biting fair on minnows and small plastics. Catfish are slow but some have been biting minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream have been biting crickets but have been scattered. Crappie have been biting off and on, on pink minnows.
(updated 11-30-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported water being dingy. Crappie were biting in 5-6 feet of water on pink minnows. Bass were fair with soft plastic worms getting bites. Catfishing was good near Murray Dam on cut bait. Bream reports were poor.
Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said activity was very slow at the lake, with no catches being reported at the bait shop.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 652.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock
said the lake is about 20 feet lower than last year at this time. Quite a few things are going on. A major cold front came through. Two weeks ago it was in the 80s, looks like they’ll be in the 60s for the next week or so, he said. Lows are getting down in the 30s. Fishing has been pretty good. With the temperature change, the baitfish (shad) are still in the back and in secondary points going in there. A couple of things are still working. Still a topwater bite early. Throwing a Sammie for the topwater, they’ll just randomly find them throughout the day. A squarebill is hitting in these huge balls of shad. You know you’re in the right place when the whole graph lights up white, or you’ll throw your bait in there and they’ll just scoot out on the water. The Wiggle Worm bite is starting to pick up. Wiggle Worm or Rock Crawler working parallel to the bank. If you’ve got bluebird skies, you can always catch fish on a jig. The spoon bite is starting to get going here, it seems to be working off the secondary points, going into the creek channels, getting in that 30-35 feet of water. Using shad-style spoons and just jigging with the spoon. Watch your graph. Also using a shad-style drop-shot bait with an 18-inch leader. That seems to be doing a little bit better than the worm. They seem to be keyed in on the shad pretty good. In back the fish seem to be sitting more on the bluffier style banks; that’s where he's been having most of the luck there, with the jig on those kinds of shoreline. Also in the back areas you can pick up some quality fish on the wake-style baits or the bigger gizzard-style shad baits. Look for the wake caused by the baitfish and that’s what you’re trying to imitate back there. It’s crystal clear out here, the visibility is as clear as he's seen it in a while. Up the lake some in the creeks there is some color in the water. Try getting into that dirtier water, and wind will also help. It’s getting cold, wear a lot of layers.
(updated 12-7-2016) K Dock Marina'
s owner reported he'd been away from the lake for a week or so, but had some good reports from several anglers last Friday. The water temperature dropped significantly in the past few weeks. However, the lake level has also been on the decline very rapidly. All species have improved, but not to the late fall bite that they expect for this time of the year. Crappie are really starting to hit in the coves around brush piles. Bass are going to be found on the points and steep bluffs using crankbaits and jigs. The lake has not turned over yet, (in my opinion), which will bring the fish up into their winter pattern. Need some input from friends that are fishing for Walleye. Hope to get a good report from them. With rain and cold temps last weekend, it was a great time to fish for walleye! Water level was 651.7 feet msl (7.2 feet below normal) last Friday. Water temperature ranging 52-54 degrees. Water is stained.
(updated 12-14-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that fish are jumping, but there has been no fisherman and therefore no catch reports in the past week. Water temperature was 40 degrees.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said he spent a couple of days on the river last week guiding a corporate group for River Ridge Inn. He said, “As luck would have it, the weather has taken a change, for the worse. As I watched The Weather Channel, I noted that it was going to be pretty cold on the days I was going to be guiding. The thought kept running through my mind was: How am I going to stay warm under these conditions? To complicate matters, one day I was to fish from a boat on the White River and the next was to be spent wading on the Norfork. Each situation calls for completely different clothing.
“You would think that it would be colder wading in a trout stream than fishing from a boat. That is not the case. I have found it to be much colder to fish from a boat. In a boat, there is no place to hide from the wind and the wind chill is what gets you. Even if the wind is not blowing, a long run up or down stream can be quite chilly at 15 miles an hour. When you see a boat making a long run on a cold day, the clients are facing the back of the boat with their hoods up to keep their face warm and their hands are stuffed in their jacket pocket to keep them toasty. The guide is facing forward with his non-steering hand in his pocket hoping that his face and tiller hand don’t freeze off, before the day is over. On the other hand, when you are wading, you have to remember that the water is a constant 55 degrees and is probably at least 20 degrees warmer than the air. There have been several occasions, in my 20-plus years of guiding, where I waded deeper to get warmer. The fact that you are moving around more helps to generate a bit more heat. If things get too bad, you can get on the bank and start a fire. Of course, you could also do that, if you were fishing from a boat.
“On the first day, when fishing from the boat, I wore polypropylene long underwear, a tightly woven wool sweater, a pair of light fishing pants, a heavy pair of fleece lined pants, insulated boots, heavy socks, fingerless gloves, an insulated cap with pull down ear flaps and a heavy-duty down jacket (a Patagonia, no less). When we got there, the wind came up with a vengeance. My body core was getting cold. The wind was blowing right through my jacket. I stopped and put my rain jacket on over the down jacket. That did the trick and I was comfortable for the remainder of the day. The next day I waded with my clients. It was a bit warmer but still very windy. I wore the polypropylene long underwear, heavy wool socks, pile pants; a pile-lined fishing shirt, and a short pile jacket with a nylon shell under my waders. I also had a pair of fingerless gloves and a baseball cap. I was quite comfortable when we were fishing below Norfork Dam. Around 10 o’clock, we drove to the Ackerman access to try our luck there. As we got there, the sun came out and it was deliciously warm. I got so carried away that I put on my polarized sunglasses and traded my baseball cap for my straw cowboy hat. We walked far upstream into the catch-and-release section. As soon as we got there, the sun disappeared behind the clouds and the wind picked up. It blew my straw hat off my head and into the river. I retrieved it and put it back on my head. The chill set a shiver down my spine but it dried quickly in the wind and was soon comfortable again but was never as warm as my baseball cap. I managed to finish the day. It is getting cold out there. Don’t let the weather keep you from fishing. Take care in choosing your clothing and enjoy a day on the water."
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 12-14-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
said it has been a fun week fishing Norfork Lake. Lou says they have had several fishing guests at the resort this week and all were catching fish. The bite for striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass is good. Vertical jigging with a spoon is a good method to catch these species this time of year. Big schools of fish are roaming large flats in 44-55 feet of water. Once you find the fish all you need to do is drop your spoon and jig it up and down bouncing it off of the bottom. If it is a school of feeding fish, it won't take long until your spoon has been taken, then you need to make sure you give your rod a good jerk to set the hook. Electronic fish finders are very helpful this time of year as you are looking out in the middle of the lake for these fish. Sometimes Mother Nature helps you out and you find a flock of seagulls diving into the water feeding on shad. More than likely there is a school of feeding fish under the feeding birds. This only happens during the late fall and winter months as the seagulls are a migratory bird. Live bait is also working using either gizzard or thread fin shad. If you don't want to go out and net your own shad, you can purchase brooder shiners. They will work very well in the coldwater months. If you are live-bait fishing, you need to set your baits 30-40 feet deep. Trolling is another method of striper fishing, but you need to get your baits down to the same depths as the live bait. Best places to look for stripers/hybrids and white bass are the big flats near the 101 bridge area, Big Sandy back in the 101 Marina area and back past Fouts Boat Dock. Lou says his bite really hasn't started until around 8 a.m. and it can last till noon or later, as it did earlier this week. Later in the day the fish start to move to mouths of creeks and coves as well as out to the river channel in 60-plus feet of water.
Lou adds that largemouth and spotted bass are also schooling. He has found large schools of fish in similar areas as the stripers, as well as partway back into creeks out in the middle. Look in 40-50 feet of water for these fish. When he can find a slight drop-off on a flat that is near or on an old creek channel he has typically found a lot of fish and they don't move off this area as fast. One morning, Lou says, he caught over a dozen largemouth in the 2½ - to 3½-pound range. Some bigger largemouth are starting to move in shallow to feed early and late in the day. This is a good time to break out your jerkbaits and give them a try. On windy days a spinnerbait is working great, but the old standby, a jig and pig, will always pick up some nice fish. Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and at this report sits at 552.44. The lake surface water temperature is also falling and is in the 54-55-degree range. The lake is still stained, but is a great fishing color.
(updated 12-14-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said the Norfork Lake surface temperature is still in the mid-50s as of last week and the shad and stripers are staying in the creeks and on the flats. With the current cold weather, the lake temperature is dropping and that will force the shad and stripers to move into the river channels. Look for them between the bridges and the Howard Cove area. Stripers are being caught in the Crystal Cove area using shiners and the flat right above the 101 bridge. Other areas to look are Float and Panther creeks. These two areas are the best before January. The live bait users are catching stripers using shad and shiners and the artificial users are catching stripers and white bass on spoons. Find the shad and you will find the fish. Tom says he and a group went searching for walleye up by the U.S. 160 bridge. The water level was normal and it was at 45 degrees. The problem was the water is very clear. They moved down to Bryant Creek and found 55-degree water that had color. They marked lots of fish but had only a couple of bites. The cold weather will get the walleye into their pre-spawn mood within the next couple of weeks. That’s when the fishing will be up. Stripers and bass are being caught on the flat by Blue Lady Resort. The stripers are roaming and moving fast, so just keep moving slowly with your live bait and have a spoon ready. The stripers are feeding, so right now is a great time to get out and catch some fish. The bass and white bass are also very active right now. Spoons are working best for them in the 50-feet range. For you out-of-area folks, you might want to get your calendars out and start making plans now. Winter is here and it’s a wonderful time to be on the lake. The stripers will begin their winter feed patterns as the air and water temperatures drop along with the other predator species. A good tool to use to make your plans with is on the web at www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake! By the way, did you know Norfork Lake offers thousands of acres of hunt-able land to the public? The deer hunt has been very good this season. For a real outdoor adventure, you might consider a striper fishing trip combined with a pheasant hunt. It's a blast!
(updated 12-7-2016) Guide Steve Olomon of Steve’s Guide Service
said Norfork Lake has finally turned over. It took longer than usual due to the warmer weather we had in November. Look for stripers suspended around 30 feet on flats. Find the bait fish and they will be close by. When you find them, sometimes your screen on your depth finder will be full from the top to the bottom of bait fish. Other times you can see them 10-30 feet thick. Drop a jigging spoon and if you don’t get bite within a few minutes, they aren’t feeding. Then move on and find another school. They have moved up to the banks at night so you can throw stick baits and remember the thing is to reel it in SLOW. You can pick up walleye doing the same thing. They can be close to main points with deep water close by or in coves. Look in the major creeks, too. Some bass are hitting spinnerbaits and crankbaits. The bite is better if there is some wind blowing. There are some holding deeper 10-30 feet and will hit a jig. If you mark a school, drop a jigging spoon. The water temperature is in the mid to upper 50s and the lake level is 552.8, just a little below normal for this time of year.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake remained steady at 1.1 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation late in the afternoon with much less wadable water. There has been less wadable water on the Norfork. The lake has turned over and there is a sulfur smell on the upper river and with lower dissolved oxygen, in that area, the bite has been slow there. 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 an orange egg. Dry Run Creek has been less crowded lately. 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 12-7-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is navigable. With cooler water, the smallmouths are 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 12-7-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the creek is navigable. With cooler water, the smallmouths are 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 1,112.40 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 12-14-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is clear and surface temperature is 50 degrees. Water level is low. Bass are fair to good on crankbaits. Crappie are good on minnows, jigs and soft plastics. Crappie are mostly up in the river arms. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Catfish reports were poor.
(updated 12-14-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) said water temperature is in the low 50s 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 definitely 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, or use 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 plane boards with snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Topwaters like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks and Pencil Poppers need to be tied on and ready to use. These are the most recent hot spots on the lower and middle sections: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris and Shaddox Hollow. In the upper section, the hot spots are the Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, Mont Ne, Hickory Creek, War Eagle and the War Eagle-White River junction (point 12).
Also, Bailey said, walleye are making their way out of the main lake in numbers in fall migration mode but can be found scattered still around the lake and are on the feed. Walleye can be found from 10-30' feet deep depending on areas you fish. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble Bs, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange and/or chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination, as well as a variety of jigs, are also producing walleye.
(updated 12-7-2016) Beaver Dam Store
said water levels continue to be low during nongenerations. For the fisherman wading, this is good as many areas are aaccessible. Be aware of the off-hour generations as water levels will rise quickly.Trout are still in the feeding mode after the spawn. Many nice- sized rainbows have been caught as well as the occasional brown. Midges, scuds, San Juans, Peach micro-egg patterns, Hare's ears and nymphs are working well. Good lures continue to be gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive, hare's ear, tungsten copper Johns,WD 40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms. Catfish are biting on Wicked Sticky catfish bait along with Magic Bait crawfish/chicken blood bait.
(updated 12-7-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy
(479-244-0039) has been off the water and will resume fishing closer to the end of the year.
Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat has closed his bait shop the remainder of the year.
(updated 12-14-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water surface temperature was 43 degrees and the water level normal. The clarity is stained. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Bream fishing poor. Catfishing is poor.
(updated 11-30-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported water about 3 inches below normal level, with clear conditions and a surface temperature of 54 degrees. Crappie are fair. The fish are suspended about 8 feet deep and are biting both minnows and jigs. Bass are good and are favoring spinnerbaits. Catfishing has been good on chicken livers.
Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park
said this weather is a bit confusing. Bait sales are almost at a standstill here at Lake Poinsett. It is too cold for crickets. Not a lot of fishing going on right now.
(updated 12-14-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water is clear and the level is low. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good and biting minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is poor, and catfish reports have been poor.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 289 cfs and water clarity is clear. The river is running really low lately. Easier wading and some days more technical fishing with the low clear water. A downstream cast with Woollies and Crawford’s Guppies and a fast trip back upstream will get the brown trout chasing the fly. Mayfly and caddis emergers, copper Johns and prince nymphs are working well during hatches. Chartreuse has been a hot color this week. Whether it is an egg pattern or a Trout Magnet, the trout like the color.
(updated 12-7-2016) 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. There are fewer boats on the river now. 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 12-14-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said no one is fishing, but the fish are out there. Clarity is clear and the water level is low.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team had no report.
(updated 12-14-16) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said it has been windy at Cane Creek Lake, and the water is rapidly cooling down. Water visibility is good right now —up to 3 feet for the silver or brightly colored lures. The fish are starting to slow down for the winter, so fishing is best under the fishing piers and among the lake’s beautiful standing timber. Live bait is working best for crappie off the piers and near shore; even the egrets are fishing from our piers! Catfish are being found in the standing timber near the bottom, using a variety of baits. Worms and minnows are available at the park bait shop.
(updated 12-14-16) Matthew C. Gillum, the ranger at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705), had no report.
(updated 12-7-16) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) said the lake as been all quiet based on no reports coming into the bait shop. Most are hunting or, if they are fishing, are going to Cane Creek.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.58 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.32 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said the lake level is about 3 inches above normal conservation pool and rising. Little River has increased current this week, with the gates releasing around 2,993 cfs as of Monday. Tailwater level was 226.4 feet msl. Clarity and visibility remain consistent; as of Monday on the main lake structure away from current, the clarity and visibility ranged 4-8 inches due to high wind and rain over the past couple of days. Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point and the northeast quadrant remain stained. Water temperature dropped slightly over the past week, with surface temps ranging 50-55 degrees. It appears the Corps of Engineers continue working to replace some river buoys in the channel week; however, several are either out of place or missing in the main lake body. Use caution in navigation on the Little River throughout the main lake body. Bass are fair from 2-4 pounds on Rat-L-Traps, jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
Bass are in migration to their wintering spots and deeper creeks and Little River over the past few weeks, but roaming during the highest sun/warmest period of the day back to shallow flats and creeks. Bass Assassin Shads in Panhandle Moon, Bad To The Bone and Grey Ghost colors are still working by dead-sticking on light wire hook in remaining lily pad stems and vegetation. Sexy West or Ghost colored Echo 1.75 crankbaits are working. Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working this week with the best colors being Habenero, Black/blue and Texas Craw colors using black craw worm trailers. Berkley 10-inch Power Worms in black, black grape and blue fleck continue working around vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. The bite has slowed and aggressive levels tapered off over the past week of cold nights and cool mornings. Best bites using crankbaits is a stop-and-go retrieve with a few pauses along the way. Deeper diving Bomber cranks in Citruse, Citrus Shad and Tennessee Special colors continue to be best choices in the oxbows and in the deeper creek channels over the past several weeks for largemouths and white bass alike. These same cranks and squarebills are also working in creek mouths and points extending into Little River at various times during the day. Magnum sized, bulky 3-5-inch big Fatbutt Gizzit tubes are working in creeks next to stumps and standing timber. Best colors over the past week include black neon, pumpkinseed/chartreuse or black/blue. Placing rattles in the tubes are best way with the stained water conditions, and adding scent pads, for the bass to locate the slow moving tubes. Pitching and shaking the rattling tubes near stumps in 8-9 feet of creek channel depths, are getting some good responses from lethargic bass on colder days/mornings.
Siefert adds that whites and hybrids continue roaming Little River, mouths of creek channels and the oxbows, and are hitting the Citrus, Chartreuse Shad or Tennessee Shad-colored crankbaits, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white. Crappie have scattered over the past week due to wind, rain, incoming fresh water and increased discharge and current in Little River. Blues and channel cats continue to bite good with the increase of current in Little River over the past couple weeks. Best bets are trotlines set 10-15 deep along outer bends of Little River using cut bait and chicken gizzards.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 540.03 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
Phillip Kaster of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports
in Hot Springs said on US97
radio that it's not only good crappie fishing in the area lakes now but it's also crankbait season for the bass. Recent rain has put some needed color back into the water. He heard an excellent report on Kentucky bass and black bass from last weekend on Greeson after the rain. Now is the time to be fishing a crawfish-colored bait, or maybe try a 3/8-ounce or 1/2-ounce jig and swim it down the flatter banks. Throw a spinnerbait around brush, newly exposed brush, and that is also working. You can’t go to Greeson and not have a white chartreuse spinnerbait tied on and ready to go right now.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.73 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 50s and the lake is clear throughout. Overall fishing is good with the bulk of the fish in the upper end from Shouse Ford to Cox Creek. Lots of good reports of bass catches coming from Shouse Ford and Point Cedar. Look for fish on main lake and secondary points in big coves. Best pattern has been both lipped and lipless crankbaits fished across the points. Use natural shad in clear water and something with chartreuse in dingy water. Lots of Kentucky bass showing along the bluff banks. Try a Texas rigged 4-inch finesse worm in green pumpkin. Crappie fishing is good on the deep attractors at 20-25 feet. Drop a 2-inch tube or curly tail grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead in black/chartreuse to just above the cover, which will be about 15 feet. Note: If your sonar is adjusted properly, you should be able to see your lure. No need to jig the lure, just move around the brush very slowly. You probably won't feel the bite, so it is important to keep slowly raising the lure; if you feel weight, you have a fish. Also be sure to add a crappie nibble, your catch rate will improve dramatically. Hybrid fishing is fair in the Shouse Ford area. Best pattern is trolling the small 5-arm umbrella loaded with 4-inch white swimbaits. Also try medium-running crankbaits in natural shad. Make sure the lures are running just above the fish, which will be suspended about 15 feet down. The mouth of Beaton Creek and the big flat west of Goat Island are productive most all winter. Remember, in this cold water, troll slowly, at about 1.5 mph. Lots of big bream reported coming from the crappie attractors. For bream, fish the outside of the brush and near the bottom. Try redworms and crickets. Also, some are using crappie nibbles on a No. 8 hook.
Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on crankbaits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits. Crappie are biting in the river and old river bed. Bream are being caught in treetops.
(updated 11-30-16) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said there were good reports on crappie the past week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 337.63 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 12-7-2016) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that the lake has not come up and there were no fishermen through early this week.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no reports.
(updated 12-7-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
said fishing was very slow for the week, no one fishing, and no reports were available.
(updated 12-7-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479 647-9945) said water temperature is in the 40s warming to the 50s. River and creeks are dingy. The bass bite has picked up for the big ones. Use Rat-L-Traps, jigs and Bamboozie along the rocks and bluffs, and in the back of some pockets around the dying shad. Crappie fishing has been very good around bridges and brush in 8-10 foot of water. Use white jigs, Electric Chicken, pink minnows. Catfish have been good in the creek on live crawfish and perch. White bass have been good on spoons.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 569.59 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 still good and being caught with pig-n-jigs fished near brush 12-25 feet deep. Stripers are still fair on live bait or trolling jigs. The central area of the lake is the best area for these fish. Crappie are still fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. There were no reports on any walleye catches, bream or catfish. Water temperature at the lake is ranging 44-48 degrees and the clarity is clearing. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) and Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 11-30-2016) David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said the group Lake has noticed that the lake level is a little low. The surface temperature is a little over 60 degrees and the water is clear. David said he was able to do some fishing on Sunday but did not have a lot of luck. He said he was encouraged by marking a lot of striper and they were at all different depths from 15 feet to 45 feet. The problem was they did not seem interested in eating. He was fishing with minnows and his party caught several black bass but only caught one striper. David said he thinks the striper are starting to move into the channels, and once the water temp drops a few more degrees the fishing could be good.
Phillip Kastner at Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports
said on US97
that he got a good report from one angler out of Lake Ouachita who caught a mess of crappie on just a jig and a spoon. He was using a small, 3/8-ounce chrome spoon around brush piles and caught 5-6 crappie off every brush pile he stopped at. Saw the pictures and he had a bunch of good crappie. So this cooler weather seems to have spurred on a pretty good crappie bite. You can also use a grub or a jig around those same brush piles and get you some crappie. Also some walleye and bass, as they'll hit anything now.
Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports
said on US97
that quite a few people were running up and down the lake Thursday morning, several crappie fishing but also for bass, as it's crankbait season. The recent rain put a little color in the water and that's what anglers were waiting for; the lake had just been too clear. Kastner said Trader Bill's got an excellent report from Hamilton from Wednesday, a bunch of guys were out there throwing a crankbait on the rocks. So you're seeing more bass fishermen out there as well as crappie fishermen. The wind on Wednesday was a struggle, but Thursday it had died down and the lake was like glass. There was a good layer of fog Thursday morning and whenever it's foggy and no wind, it just plays into a crappie fisherman's hands. Also, with the drawdown, this is what guys wait for all year long, when you talk about draw-down fishing. That's what's going on -- you're throwing a crawfish-colored crankbait. Also you can take a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce jig that's colored like a crawfish and swim it down those banks, the 60-degree banks, not the vertical ones, but more like the ones that are almost flat. And a spinnerbait around newly exposed brush is also working. Hamilton is very shallow, but that's OK if the water's warm, and the water's been in the lower 60s. It may end up cooling off here, but it's fairly warm now and that's what's creating all that early morning fog. So fish around the brush piles. The sun is shining right down on the water, just hovering and the good thing is it really pushes them into the brush piles, makes them predictable, makes them tighter. And don't forget the boat docks on Hamilton. That’s the best shade they’ve got. Throwing a bubble cork right around the edge of a boat dock will catch as much crappie as it will for a brush fishermen. Things are going to change, but that’s OK. that water was entirely too clear; now we’ve got some color in it and we’ll get more in it. You'll have to change some things you’re doing but right now they’re biting good.
(updated 12-14-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, reports that the winter drawdown for Lake Catherine is complete. A 5-foot draw will be in place until early March 2017. Water temperature is 51 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. Boaters need to use extreme caution when navigating the area since the low water conditions have exposed many underwater hazards. Rock and sand bar dangers are numerous and made more life threatening by fast water conditions. Life jackets should always be worn by boaters and waders alike when on the water. Presently, Entergy is currently running a 3 hour per day generation schedule until further notice. Usually in the evening time, but if cold temperatures occur in the morning - the flow will likely be scheduled then. The rainbow trout season has begun with the Game and Fish Commission stocking 1,525 trout below the dam. Rainbows have been absent in the lake for months and this influx of fish always jump starts the fall fishing below Carpenter Dam. December stocking will place another 3, 000 trout n the Carpenter Dam tailrace which will help fishing greatly before Christmas. Bank fishermen can use wax or meal worms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms and nightcrawlers also well work when using this same technique. Live bait presentations give anglers the best opportunity to catch trout as artificial lures are often ignored by finicky trout. Spin fishermen will have success casting Rooster Tails in 1/16- or 1/8-ounce weights over sand bars and exposed rock structure. Brown or white colors are best and most effective during periods of generation. Trout adapt quickly to feeding on available forage and will begin feeding heavily on the shad population. Small jigs in gray or white will draw strikes from hungry trout along with small silver spoons fished in the current. Fly fishermen can easily access areas that hold numbers of trout. Shoals are a target area with the head and tail regions normally holding the most fish. Micro-jigs in black or white casted with a strike indicator will catch trout holding in and around current flow searching for prey. San Juan worms in hot pink or red will also work well along with small streamer in sliver. Baitfish provide a huge part of the diet of rainbow trout below Carpenter Dam so matching the forage is critical to fishing success in Lake Catherine. Stripers will move into the tailrace as the rainbow trout stockings become more regular. Alabama rigs,
C-10 Redfins, and heavy jigs are deadly lures to use when attempting to catch these large predators. Heavy rods and lines are recommended. Topwater activity will increase with the presence of trout and fishermen need to watch and react quickly when feeding begins.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.62 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00).
No fishing reports were recorded.
(updated 12-14-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported that water is clear and at a low level and current. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were poor. There were no reports on catfish.