Trout Fishing Derby Set for Little Rock
Trout Fishing Derby Set for Little Rock
Jan. 27, 2016

Trout Fishing Derby Set for Little Rock

Oaklawn isn’t the only place to find a derby in The Natural State. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be hosting a special trout-fishing derby Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at MacArthur Park Pond in Little Rock. Derby participants should bring their own bait and tackle. Door prizes and gifts will be given away during the derby to keep things lively. The derby will begin at 9 a.m. and last until noon. 
A special trout-fishing clinic also will be held from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center to help new anglers learn new tricks to catch trout. Call 501-907-0636 to register for the clinic. Registration is not required for the derby. 
Arkansas and White river levels are available at:
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit:  
For water quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:  
Family and Community Fishing Program: All Family and Community Fishing Program ponds are stocked with catfish and ready for fishing. Visit for up-to-date information about pond stockings, events and locations.
Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is stained. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets fished on the bottom in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs in 3 feet of water around Gold Creek and Caney Creek. Bass are fair on dark-colored jerkbaits and jigs. Catfishing is excellent on minnows and worms hung from yo-yo’s and limblines around live cypress trees.  
Daniel Zajac at Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) had no report.

Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said anglers should expect continued heavy water releases for the foreseeable future. This pattern will eliminate any wade-fishing opportunities, and those planning to drift fish should exercise caution. Egg patterns, San Juan worms, micro jigs and weighted nymph patterns tend to work well. Streamers are an effective pattern during high water conditions. For Trout Magnet fishing, use long leaders and heavy weight with hot pink, cotton candy and purple bodies on silver and chartreuse jig heads. The key for both fly fishing and Trout Magnet fishing during heavy generation is the ability to get and maintain a good presentation of the fly or Trout Magnet using long leaders and heavy weight.  Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website ( for real time water release and the Southwest Power Administration ( to see forecasted generation schedule.  
Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said the river continues to be high and swift. The Corps is releasing 8,400 cfs by combining the one generator with flood gate discharge.  This is keeping the river about 1 to 1½ feet above the normal two generator level. The lake is dropping at the rate of 4 tenths of a foot per day from the current level of 469.50 as of noon Tuesday, January 26, 2016. This flow will continue until the lake reaches 463. At this time a determination will be made to either continue this pattern until a lake level of 458 ft. or one generator around the clock until the lake reaches 458 ft. This is the lake level which will allow completion of the work being done on the second generator. This should be completed within a couple of weeks from the time this lake level is reached. Use extreme caution on the river at this time due to the swift currents. The river is clear and the best chance for fishing is the slower backwater areas and bends of the river.
James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Company (501-207-1770) said the fishing has been steady throughout the high water. Fish will continue to adjust to the flow and will be feeding more regularly. Excellent fishing can still be had, you just have to work a little harder for it during the high water. Still expect to see the high water for coming weeks. The best fishing is from a boat, but always be extra careful during these high, swift currents. Bigger, brighter flies have been the key. Pink San Juan worms or egg patterns are always a good bet.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 469.06 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 462.04 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake has come down quite a bit in the last week. The lake is only 7.11 feet above normal pool and continues to fall. Bass fishing is good shallow and deep. The shallow bite is best on spinnerbaits and small crankbaits. The deeper fish can be caught with a drop-shot rig, a football head jig and a Carolina-rigged lizard. The crappie are suspended from 15 to 30 feet deep, depending on where the baitfish are, try using minnows or a jig in the spring craw color. Hybrids and white bass are around the shad; some are shallow and some are as deep as 70 feet. Try using in-line spinners, spoons and swim baits; a hair jig and an Alabama rig are working as well. The walleye bite is picking up in the rivers. Small males are eating bream, minnows and grubs, a lot of fish are traveling right now and some are staging in mouths of rivers. Try bridge pilings and points using crankbaits. 

Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is clear and greenish. Fishing has been very slow with the cold weather. A few anglers were able to catch some crappie, but it should pick up with this weekend’s predicted warmer weather. 
Whiskers Sporting Goods in Perryville (501-889-2011) said the crappie are biting on minnows and Bobby Garland Baby Itty Bit Swim’Rs in monkey milk, pennyback shad, blue ice shimmer and Cajun cricket in 4 to 10 feet of water. Catfishing is good on worms, shad and minnows. Bass are biting buzzbaits and worms. White bass are biting well on Johnson Silver Minnows and Bobby Garland Itty Bit Swim’Rs. Bream are biting on crickets and worms.  

Overcup Landing had no report.

Jolly Roger’s Marina said the water is 0.5 feet above the spillway and the surface water temperature is 44 degrees. Bass are biting well in 10 to 15 feet of water on spinnerbaits, jerk baits and dead-sticked wacky-rigged worms. Spotted bass are biting well on jigs and crankbaits in 10 to 15 feet of water. White bass are biting well west of Arkansas Highway 10. They’re hitting deep-diving Bomber and Bandit crankbaits on the east side of the bridge and Rooster Tails and a jig-and-grub combo on the west side of the bridge. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished around brush on the edges of river channel bends in 20 to 25 feet of water. Bream are slow. Catfishing is fair on chicken livers, live bream and stinkbait fished in 15 to 20 feet of water.  
Whiskers Sporting Goods in Perryville (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on Bobby Garland Baby shad and minnows in 4 to 12 feet of water. White bass are being caught on Cajun Spins and Johnson Silver Minnows.

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

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

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

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

River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 39 degrees. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs in about 8 to 9 feet of water. Bass also are biting well on live minnows in deeper backwaters.

The folks at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is high, swift and muddy to put a boat on right now. 
McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said no anglers have been on the water recently with the cold weather.   

McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said no anglers have been on the water recently with the weather. 

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

North Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 681.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
Bull Shoals Boat Dock had no new report. K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) is closed until March 4, 2016.

Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said 10 generators are running and the water is very high and cloudy. No report on angling.  
Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the White River has seen heavy generation all week with no wadable water. All of the lakes on this system are well above seasonable power pool and we should encounter lower levels of generation, on our tailwaters, with some wadable water, until flooding clears downstream, when we will encounter high levels of generation. The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from Nov. 1, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal Catch and Release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. The hot spot has been Bull Shoals State Park. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8-10), Y2Ks (sizes 12-14), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead, sizes 16-18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16).

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 565.46 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the lake has dropped 4½ feet. The quick drawdown will change the fish movements. The current has increased, so the fish will relate to that more than anything else. Look for them in the river channel of the lake. Stripers now can be anywhere from Robinson Point up to Mallard Point, and in the Howard Cove area. February is a hard month to fish for stripers. In normal years the first part of the month the pattern is the same as January, however with the high water, high water temperature for this time of year, and the lake draw down all bets are off on what and where the stripers will roam. They must feed, that’s one sure constant. Find the shad and you will find the stripers. As the month proceeds, the weather will turn warmer and we should start getting some south winds. That’s when the shad and stripers start moving. Start watching the water temperature and once it’s in the middle to high 50s, start moving up the creeks starting half way up. The shad will start moving and the stripers will follow. If we get a warmer period the second half of February the night bite will start. 
Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new report.
Guide Steve Olomon had no new report.
Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Norfork has seen heavy generation with no wadable water. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18-22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14-16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise, size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (size 18 elk hair caddis). My favorite combination has been a cerise worm with a Sunday Special dropper. 

Northwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,128.65 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120 msl).
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the main lake is stained, but the lower end and the river arms are clearing up. The surface water temperature is in the mid-40s. Crappie are fair to good on minnows and small jigs in the clearer water of the White and War Eagle arms. Bass are fair. The lake is in its winter patterns and it’s time to throw Alabama rigs, jigs and jerkbaits.
Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said stripers are using deep water next to road beds, gravel bars, tree lines and bluffs. Stripers up in the White River and War Eagle arms of the lake are in clear water pockets or close to the banks and on the bottom along gravel bars. Use the mud line to your advantage as it will often concentrate stripers along its edge. Try dragging baits close to these areas including along the bottom on gravel bars will get you some fish. The mud line is in the Rocky Branch area, but is beginning to settle. Fishing is good ahead of this mud line. Fishing is good on live shad fished from the surface to about 30 feet deep. Small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs or flat-line trolled crankbaits such as no. 14 Husky Jerks or Smithwick Rogues are working well. Striper are also being caught at night by trolling main lake points with large surface lures like Redfins and Rapalas on bottom bouncers or three-way rigs. The hot spots for stripers have been main and secondary points in Indian Creek, Rocky Branch, Ford Creek, Cedar Creek, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris and Shaddox Hollow. In the upper section of the lake, stripers have been good around the Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Horseshoe Bend and the War Eagle/White River Junction. The runoff is beginning to clear, so consider moving upriver of the mud line. Walleye are moving into the creek and river arms to spawn. They can be found 5 to 30 feet deep depending on area's you fish. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water has worked. Try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse as well. Bink pro scale 1-oz jigging spoons in white or white/chart combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.

 Austin Kennedy of Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service (479-640-8733) said water levels are starting to go down in the tailwaters and fishing has been steady. Trout have been biting on light terminal tackle with various Power Baits. Pulling spoons and Rapalas have also produced some nice results. Water temperatures are in the mid 40s from Houseman access to Spider Creek. With the high water, boats are able to make it all the way up to Parker Bottoms with ease, which should provide for some great trout fishing. Bank fishing is still an issue in some locations, but as the water starts drop more, that should allow more access.
Beaver Dam Store said the tailwater is rolling with a lot of water. Fishing white, red, chartreuse or pink Power Bait tipped with a wax worm might catch a fish or two, but there is no wadable water with all the releases in the system. Fly-anglers are better off using this time to break out the tying vise and restocking their fly boxes. 

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

Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is clear and at normal level. Crappie and bass are fair. Crappie were best on hand-tied jigs. Bass have been caught on soft-plastic worms and soft-plastic crawfish around the rocks.   

Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 38 degrees. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs in 10 feet of water around cover. Bass are fair on jigs with soft-plastic or pork trailers. 

Northeast Arkansas

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

Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is very clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 42 degrees. Bass are biting well on crankbaits and jigs in 20 feet of water. 

Lake Frierson State Park had no report. 

Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 455 cfs and water clarity is mostly clear. The river is looking great, and the trout have been hitting hard. Y2K's and woolly bugger's have been working great for fly-fishermen. Silver and gold spinners and white and red Trout Magnets are working great for spin fishers. Wadability is good with the river levels now, but use a wading staff and avoid really swift water with the slick bedrock.

Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report this week because of the cold and duck season.   

Southeast Arkansas

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said the water level is back down to about normal and boat ramps are open again. However, no anglers have been out and there isn’t much to report on the fishing.

Seth Boone at Cane Creek State Park said one brave soul tried to fish last week. The crappie slowed down a bit, but the bass were still biting fairly well on crankbaits. Catfish and bream are very slow. 

Lake Chicot State Park had no report.

Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said as of Monday, the lake level is 9 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. Heavy current remains in Little River with the gates discharge level around 17,500 CFS as of Monday.  Water temperatures range from 40 to 45 degrees. Several boat ramps and parks campgrounds have re-opened from recent high water flooding. Some have not yet reopened and the Millwood State Park remains closed for repairs. Water clarity improved to 5 to 10 inches of visibility in the lake away from current and 5 to 8 inches in the river. The bass have been slow over the past couple weeks with the colder nights, increased current and muddy water. They are slightly more aggressive during the warmest time of the day, typically noon-3 p.m., hitting very slow-moving targets like crankbaits and large, ¾-oz. War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Firetiger, Hot Mouse and chartreuse/white.  Bomber and medium-diving crankbaits in Tennessee shad, citrus shad, or citreuse, and Echo 1.75 Squarebills in chartreuse shiner or gold will get a few random bites during the warmer days in flats close to deep creek channel swings. Vertical jigging Johnson chrome/blue Splinter Spoons, Thinfisher, or Cordell jigging spoons with bucktails has worked around standing timber in 10-17 feet of water. 
Magnum size tubes with rattles continue to get a reaction on cypress knees in 9-12 feet depth in backs of the oxbows where you can find any clearer water sections.  Black/blue tail, pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail, and black neon colors continue to be best color selections. Crappie and white bass disappeared with all the recent high water and heavy current. Catfish continue bite well on trotlines set near current in 8 to 14 feet of water baited with cut shad, buffalo and chicken livers.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 540.68 feet msl (Flood pool – 548 msl).
Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had no report. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.72 feet msl (flood pool – 408 msl).
Local angler George Graves had no report.

South-Central Arkansas

Stacey Jackson at White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) said catfish are biting well on trotlines using live bait and catfish baits, and tight lining using worms and catfish baits. No report on crappie, bass or bream at this time. 

Local angler Jaret Rushing had no report.

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

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

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

West-Central Arkansas

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

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 366.95 feet msl (full pool – 342 msl). 
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report.
Whiskers Sporting Goods in Perryville (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on minnows and Bobby Garland Slab Slay’Rs, Baby Shads and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’Rs in pennyback, monkey milk, blue ice shimmer, Cajun cricket and barbecue chicken in 4 to 10 feet of water. Catfishing is good on minnows, worms and shad. Bream are fair on worms.  

Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperatures are in the mid-40s. The river has been hit-or-miss, but the creeks and bays are clearing nicely. Jerk baits, Alabama rigs and jigs have been producing fish in the clear water near channel swings and drops with stumps. Near the river, fish jigs and plastics very slowly in 4 to 5 feet of water out in front of the spawning flats. Crappie have been good in deep water on minnows and jigs. Striped bass and white bass are biting around the outlet of the nuclear plant on swim baits, spinnerbaits, bucktail jigs and grubs. Catfish haves been good around the mouths of creeks on worms, crayfish and cut perch.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.50 feet msl (full pool – 578 msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort said the water temperature is 42 to 46 degrees. Black bass are biting well on peanut butter-n-jelly jigs and trailers. Stripers are biting well on brood minnows and Alabama rigs near major creek channels. Some white bass and spotted bass are mixed in near these fish as well. One angler reported catching some good bream while fishing for crappie over brush with rosey red minnows. Crappie are biting well on minnows, crappie jigs and spoons fished near brush in 20 to 30 feet of water. 

Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service said high flows continue, but Ouachita is out of flood pool, so releases should settle down by the weekend. No one should attempt to navigate Lake Catherine until flows are greatly reduced.  Once current reduces to safe levels, anglers should be able to catch plenty of rainbow trout on redworms, corn, crickets, mealworms and nightcrawlers presented with a marshmallow floater in areas protected from the current. Fly fishermen should be able to record limits casting egg patterns with a strike indicator over sandbars and exposed rock structure from the bridge to the dam. Micro-jigs in black or white perfectly imitate injured shad and will produce solid strikes. San Juan worms in red or hot pink are a good choice of colors when trout actively search for food. Jerk baits in a black/silver pattern are deadly when used over submerged rock where rainbows ambush shad in the current. All fishermen are advised to continue to wait until lake conditions improve later this week to fish or wade the area. Dangerous flows will continue and should not be dismissed as harmless. Always wear a life jacket and be aware of constantly changing water conditions.

East Arkansas

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

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

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

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