Tagged Catfish Contest Coming to a Close
Tagged Catfish Contest Coming to a Close
October 12, 2016
Illustration of a channel catfish by Joe Tomelleri.
Tagged catfish giveaway coming to close
Time is running out to turn in any tags from catfish caught at Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program sites, and you don’t want to miss the chance at the grand prize.
The FCFP’s latest promotion offers family fun at Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center in Hempstead County. The big prize is a nature getaway for up to 14 people, including a two-night stay at West Lodge at the education center. The prize also includes access to the education center’s shotgun and archery ranges, two fishing lakes and canoeing.
      Catfish were stocked at FCFP locations throughout the state during spring, and many of those tags are still swimming, waiting to be caught. Anyone 18 or older with a valid Arkansas fishing license who catches a tagged catfish at any FCFP location is eligible to enter. Simply mail the tag, postmarked by Oct. 21, to Family and Community Fishing Program, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205. Include name and contact information. Only one entry per household will be accepted. The winner’s name will be drawn Oct. 27, live on KTHV, Channel 11.
      Check the AGFC’s stocking hotline, 866-540-FISH (3474), or www.agfc.com/fishing/pages/fishingprogramsfcfstock.aspx for up-to-date information.

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(updated 10-12-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is stained and is at normal level. Bream are biting about 10 feet off the bank and about 5 feet below the surface. Anglers are using worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass have rated fair on crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfish are biting fair on worms, stink bait, shad and prepared bait.
(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is fair on limb lines and trotlines. Use slicks, shad and skipjack. No other reports were available.


(updated 10-12-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Little Red River is currently receiving a several hours of weekday generation with less generation on weekends. For fly fishing, Myers recommend streamers, midges, pheasant tails, and hare’s ear. For Trout Magnet fishing, we recommend white and cotton candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the U.S. Army 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 10-5-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said cooler weather seems to be agreeing with the fishermen and the fish. The river remains clear with afternoon generation. Weekday generation has been about 5 hours in the afternoon starting at about 1 p.m., and weekends have been the minimum generation of one unit for one hour in the afternoon. The best flies for Seaton’s fishermen have been small midge pupas and small emergers. There has been a blue-winged olive hatch in the afternoons. Small beadhead mayfly nymphs such as a beadhead pheasant tail have also been producing.



As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.52 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 10-12-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the black bass fishing has been tough as they are scattered from 0-40 feet of water. Try using a drop-shot rig ,a C-rig for the deeper fish and spinnerbaits and small crankbaits for the shallow fish. It will get better with cooler weather and some rain. The catfish are eating pretty much all over the lake, but catches are down some; try any bait of choice on jugs and lines, on flats close to deeper water. The crappie are eating Road Runners and jigs around pole timber and over brush piles in 12-25 feet of water fished real slow. No report on walleye. Bream fishing is still good shallow out to about 18 feet on crickets and crawlers. The hybrid and white bass are eating well on and off all day and some are blowing up on top for short periods all over the lake. Use small topwater baits, in-line spinners and spoons for the best results. Find the bait and the fish will be close.
(updated 10-12-2016) Cody Smith of Fish Greers Ferry guide service reports water surface temperatures are in the mid-70s and peaking each day around 77 degrees. These surface temperatures are about a month behind for this time of year. Coupled with warmer-than-average temperatures and no measurable rainfall in close to a month, our game fish are spread out with the shad and forage, utilizing depths of 0-30 feet. Small windows of feeding activities and roaming fish are what we are dealing with here right now in Greers Ferry Lake. As soon as we get a rain with some runoff, look for the bite to pick up in a hurry. Until they see the conditions and weather change, Cody say he looks for the lake to stay in a steady funk, with an abrupt upswing in the bite once they get the surface temps into the upper 60s. Right now the best bite is definitely coming on live bait offerings in the 12-18-feet zone with a mix of species coming in daily. They have a wave of walleyes starting to use some of the cover in shallower depths. Cody says he look for a much more consistent bite over the coming weeks. 


(updated 10-12-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is dark and the level has been high but is slowing dropping down to normal. Bream have been biting well on live worms and have even been nibbling on plastic worms. Crappie appear to be picking up, rating fair and biting minnows and crickets. Bass fishing has been good on plastic worms. A few catfish have been caught but they were not big.


(updated 10-12-2016) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is normal and temperature is around 78 degrees. Clarity is good. Bass are good in shallow water and around brush. They are hitting worms and crankbaits. Bream are good around grassy places away from the banks fishing 2-3 feet deep. Catfish are fair on hot dogs, nightcrawlers and bass minnows. Crappie are picking up but still slow, catching a few in 4-5 feet of water on jigs and minnows, The crappie range in size from 10-14 inches. 


(updated 10-12-2016) Fosters Four Seasons (501-868-9061) said water was clear and at a normal level. Bream bite has been steady and good on worms or crickets. Crappie are good on minnows. Bass fishing has been good using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfish are being brought in on limb lines and trotlines with chicken hearts and chicken livers. White bass reports have been good. All the fish species have been chasing shad in the lake and seem to favor all colors of shad-like baits, walking baits and flukes, according to one local angler. Fosters has all anglers’ needs in the way of bait and food, and also sells non-ethanol gas.
(updated 10-12-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina reported the cool weather has changed from fishing deep to shallow water, and fishing is really good! Black bass are excellent. They are biting on wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits both early in the morning and late in the day. Blacks can be caught in 3-10 feet. The cooler weather has activated the bass. Would be trying shallow lures and spinnerbaits. Kentucky bass are excellent and are being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 4-9 feet of water. They are mixed in with the black bass. White bass fishing is excellent. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons or deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. They are all over the lake. They are being caught schooling in the Main Lake on CC Spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails. Crappie fishing has been good. Rain recently has improved the crappie fishing. They are being caught on minnows and jigs. Crappie are 20 feet deep; try the edges of the channels and on the old road beds. Lots of 6-9-inch crappie being caught, so it should be great winter fishing. Bream are good and can be found at 15 feet on the bottom. They are being caught on crickets and live worms.  Catfishing is good and they are being caught in 15-20 feet of           water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers. 


(updated 10-5-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said lots of catfish are being caught on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp, due to the fact that it was stocked for a little derby two Saturdays ago. A few reports of crappie being caught on pink minnows. There are reports of some good-size ones, but not great in numbers. Bass have been hitting brooders and topwater scum frogs. Bream have been hitting on redworms and crickets. 


(updated 10-5-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said they need rain to get the level back up. A few people have been catching some catfish on trotlines with goldfish and black salties. Bream have been doing well on crickets. Bass are hitting bass minnows and brooders. No report on crappie. A few anglers have already been catching some nice walleye on brooders. 


(updated 10-5-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are still doing well on crickets. Bass are biting on bass minnows or plastics. Some nice crappie have been caught on size 6 crappie minnows and Kalin's 2-inch grubs in the Tennessee Shad color. Catfish are being caught using nightcrawlers and chicken livers. 


(updated 10-5-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the slab crappie were doing great on size 6 crappie minnows, but for some reason they just slowed down recently. The bass have been doing great, though, on minnows. Some catfish being caught on bait shrimp and nightcrawlers. Bream are biting crickets. 


(updated 10-12-2016) Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said the weather change and high flows kept most people off the river the past week. Black bass are scattered and mostly in the backwaters in ambush areas. Use a June bug or worm. Reports have been fair on bass. Catfish are in the backwater and the back side of jetties. They are feasting on shad. Reports were fair. Kentucky bass are fair and are on the back side of the jetty near grass. Try a small 1-inch to 2-inch crankbait for Kentucky bass.


(updated 9-28-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley reported that the cooler weather definitely has the bass fired up! The average size of the baitfish is smaller this time of year, so use smaller crankbaits.Cody said he really likes using 1-inch square bills this time of year. Numbers of fish can be easily caught this way. With the backwaters cooling off, be sure to check those areas for quality fish following the bait. Remember, this is the time of year to "junk fish." Throw everything and anything that replicates a small baitfish and stay on the move! As for catfish, Cody said he has personally not gone after cats lately, but reports from other anglers are coming in saying that it is fair to good. 


(updated 10-12-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and the current and level are normal. Bream are good on crickets. Crappie appear to be 4-5 feet deep and reports are good, with jigs working best. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwaters. Catfishing is good using chicken livers, shad and cut bait. White bass reports were good.


(updated 10-12-2016) Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said twater level is normal and the clarity is clear. He only heard reports in the past week from bass anglers, but the reports were excellent. Most bass were being caught at the ends of jetties on topwater lures, crankbaits and plastic worms. No reports on bream, crappie or catfish. Miller urged anglers to avoid fishing near the area where the Broadway Bridge is being renovated. The old bridge was brought down Tuesday in a lengthy process and work will continue there for several months.
(updated 10-12-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water is fairly clear in the pool and at a normal level. Bream are biting fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were good, especially coming from the backwater, with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms working best. Catfishing was good in Clear Lake on cutbaits and shad, while bass were fair in the back of Clear Lake.
(updated 10-12-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported fishing was consistent with last week, with white bass very active and being caught on Rooster Tails. Reports were good. Black bass are good on soft plastic worms. Catfishing is good on skipjack and shad. Crappie are being found in about 8-10 feet or water, with pink minnows working best. There were no reports on bream. Water was clearer than last week and the surface temperature was in the mid-70s. Water level is normal.
(updated 10-5-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfish reports from the David D. Terry Lock and Dam were good, with shad and skipjack working best. Largemouth and white bass both were good. Anglers are using crankbaits, topwater lures and chartreuse twin tail jigs. Crappie fishing near the dam is fair; try using an orange and white chartreuse bait, preferably a jig. Nothing reported on bream.


(updated 10-12-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said water is high, almost no stumps are showing. Just a few fish here and there have been. Mainly catfish are being caught on minnows and hot dogs. Anglers are using yo-yos, floaters. Bass are hitting crankbaits. No bream or crappie reports


(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bass are picking up on the stumpy side of the lake, with fair reports using topwater lures like Zara Spooks and buzzbaits. Try the levee side for catfish, where there were fair reports on catches. Baits used were chicken liver, nightcrawlers, shad and chicken hearts. 


(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie fishing has picked up, with crappie around the piers and fair catches reported. Use pink or regular minnows and white twister tails. Bass fishing has been fair, with still most of the catches coming either early in the day or late in the evening. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and black buzzbait seem to work best.


(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported excellent catfishing in the past week. Nightcrawlers and chicken hearts were the baits of choice.


(updated 10-5-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the back pond that is called Lake Charles was stocked two Fridays ago with catfish for a fishing derby. And people are still doing great on catching them on chicken livers. Bream are biting on redworms and crickets. Bass are hitting bass minnows and brooders. Haven't had any crappie reports from there lately. 


(updated 10-12-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said fishing was consistent with last week, with white bass very active and being caught on Rooster Tails. Reports were good. Black bass are good on soft plastic worms. Catfishing is good on skipjack and shad. Crappie are being found in about 8-10 feet or water, with pink minnows working best. There were no reports on bream. Water was dingy and the surface temperature was in the mid-70s. Water level is normal.
(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported tthat crappie were fair in the Maumelle River and throughout the pool, and the catches were deep. Baits used were pink and regular minnows, as well as various colors of tubes and jigs. Catfishing was reported fair on trotlines baited with chicken hearts, skipjack, shad and slicks.
(updated 10-12-2016) Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900), now run by new owners Larry and Shirley Walters, reported water surface temperature was 78 degrees this week, with normal level. Bream are around the shoreline and the bite is good on worms and crickets. Crappie can be found about 15-20 feet deep and reports are good with minnows and jigs. Bass are good; the bass are about 6 feet below the surface near the shore in the mornings and are hitting spinnerbaits, topwater lures and are after the shad. Catfishing is good on cut fish. 



North Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 656.26 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 10-12-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported another week of perfect water conditions with normal level, clear clarity and just two generators running. Trout bite is excellent overall, according to the resort. Specifically, rainbows were hitting great. Brown trout were biting slow. Use PowerBaits or wax worms. Smaller fish are also being caught.
(updated 9-28-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said they’re starting to see some nip in the air – autumn's finally popping out. Cool mornings, warm days, perfect weather for float fishing on the White for trout. The rainbow catch has been fabulous; they're snapping up the shrimp and worm combo. Good sizes among the catch, too; there were several rainbows measured at 16 inches or above. Catch-and-release certificates are being rewarded and soon the new pins will be available to show off on your favorite good-luck fishing cap. Ron is seeing grasshoppers out there now, so they know the hopper patterns and baits should lure some trout to the fishers; good for a try anyway. Ron says come out and spend some time with us on the river – you won't regret it.
(updated 10-12-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) reported that during the past week, they saw about an inch-and-a-half of rain, warm temperatures and moderate wind. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.8 feet to rest at 2 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 38 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 feet to rest at 6.4 feet below seasonal power pool and 20.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 1.5 feet to rest at 5 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation in the afternoon last week with lower generation in the morning and no wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. We cooler fall weather and lower lake levels we should see more wadable water. The bite here has been excellent. The hot spot has been Wildcat 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, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a size 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). 
John relates: “Last Sunday I had a guide trip with Mike, his brother Mark and his son Matt (monograms must be simple in that family). It was a close-knit family and all were accomplished fly fishers. As I have written about before, three-person guide trips can be troublesome (especially when in a boat) but this time it worked out incredibly well. After 25 years of professional guiding I have finally figured this thing out. The basic problem is that three people casting at the same time in a 20-foot-long boat is an invitation to disaster. The big problem is the back cast when your lines cross, when you cast at the same time. You are generally facing forward when casting and you don’t see the other anglers’ back cast. It can produce a bird’s nest that would make the Gordian knot look like child’s play. The solution is to have one of the anglers not fish, when the other two are actively fishing. This allows the two anglers to be farther apart and it is a lot easier to keep up with what one other angler is doing rather than trying to keep up with two other casters. It is important that everyone catch some fish so the idea is to change places from time to time. After one angler has had a very successful drift or two, where he or she has landed several trout, it is time to relax for a while and let the angler that was not fishing give it a try. If you do it right, everyone has caught plenty of trout and the catch is basically even, at the end of the day. The other problem is netting fish in the front of the boat. When the angler in the front of the boat hooks a fish, I have to move from the back of the boat from my seat by the motor to the front to net the fish. On the way, I have to move past the other angler in the back of the boat and the nonfishing angler in the center of the boat without tripping. The solution is simple, carry an extra net and have the nonfishing angler in the middle of the boat net the fish for the angler in the front of the boat. I figured this out, when I was preparing the boat to launch that morning.  I noticed my wife, Lori’s, boat net in the back of my Suburban. It is a big boat net like mine that she uses, when she guides on Dry Run Creek. We use it, when we fish together, in the boat, so that we can both net our own trout. If one of us hooks a big fish (over 20 inches long), we help the other one land it, of course. I put it in the front of the boat so that the noncasting angler could net the fish hooked by the angler, in the front of the boat, while I concentrated on the fish hooked by the angler, in the back of the boat. It worked flawlessly. It gave the nonfishing angler something to do and kept him in the game. We began early when there was a heavy fog on the river. I rigged them all a little differently but had all of them on a ruby midge dropper. The lead flies we used were a hare and copper, pheasant tail nymph and a cerise San Juan worm. It was quickly apparent that the cerise San Juan worm was working the best. I changed them all to a Cerise San Juan worm with a ruby dropper and we began to really catch fish. Half on the fish caught were on the ruby and half on the worm. The action was nonstop. We caught as many as 11 trout on one drift and had several doubles. The least trout caught on a single drift was three. I didn’t count but estimated the total number of fished brought to the net to be well over a hundred. The guys enjoyed it immensely. The highlight of the day was the banter between them as they fished or netted trout. It was a definite bonding experience and it will go down as one of my most enjoyable guide trips ever.”


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.93 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 10-12-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the Norfork Lake fall bite is now in full swing. Tom says he continues to fish around and above the state line and have been catching limits of stripers. There are many places on the lake you can stripers but Reynolds says when he finds a good place he will not risk his client’s time trying to catch a striper in a new place when he can catch them all morning long. Sure, it’s a long ride and you need both an Arkansas and Missouri fishing license, but it’s well worth the time and money. The heavy rain on Wednesday helped to bring the water temperature down. It’s a fun time of year, the trees are turning, the eagles are feeding, and the cold mornings make the fall a great time to be on the water. If you do not want to go north, look at the flats in Big Creek near 1C just past Hand Cove and Jordan, or Robinson Point along the river channel and flat, or Cranfield Island channel and flat. The fall bite started at just the right time for a group that scheduled two days of striper fishing. Jim, Woody, Dust and Justin have fished for stripers on other Arkansas lakes but never fished Norfork. They had scheduled two six-hour trips. The first morning the sky was clear with no fog. They made the 45-minute run up and started fishing around 6:50 a.m. It was not long before they had a first strike and miss. They then started connecting and by 10 a.m. they had 12 stripers boated with the biggest being 20 pounds. They also missed many; Tom says he started with 49 gizzard shad and finished with four. Sunday they had some fog and it took a little longer to get up there. The fog seems to slow the bite down but they still had over 20 strikes and boated nine stripers. The total for two days was 21 stripers boated. If you want to catch a fall striper your window is the next six weeks. 
(updated 10-5-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been a little tough the last couple of weeks, but there are bright spots. The lake is finally starting to cool off and is currently in the upper 70s, but still warm for this time of year. The panfish have moved back to the brush and the largemouth bass are starting to move in tighter to the shoreline. Fishing for crappie and bluegill is one of the better bites on the lake. The panfish are on 30-feet-deep brush piles. The crappie will be at all depths, but most will be 15-25 feet down. Vertical jigging a small spoon and jigging a grub are working very well. Live bait is also a very good choice. The bluegills are also 20-25 down over and around the brush. Crickets are one of the better baits to use to catch big numbers of bluegill.
Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are also a good bite. Lou says the main lake deep points have been among the best areas for him over the last couple of days. You will find these species at all depths down to 30 feet. There has been a little topwater action at sunrise and again at sunset, but they are still coming up for a Zara Spook even if you don't see them surfacing. Most of the bigger fish are suspended 10-20 feet down, and a few of them are lying on the bottom. A variety of baits have been working over the last week: deep-diving crankbaits, jig and pigs, and vertical jigging a spoon. Walleye are biting fairly well. Lou said he has caught walleye in almost all types of areas. You will find them in 25-35 feet of water on the bottom. Lou’s favorite bait has been a 1-ounce spoon jigged off the bottom. Lou has been catching walleye along the deep bluff lines, especially close to a point, on big flats and also on points on the shallow side of the lake. They are all over the place, but all at the same depth.
White bass are starting to school up. Lou has found small- to medium-sized schools of white bass in coves at sunrise and sunset. He has found these fish in 18-25 feet of water. Vertical jigging a spoon has been working well. These schools are moving and chasing shad, so you have to do a lot of looking, but when you find them you catch several. The striped bass and hybrid bass bite is still off. These fish moved from the dam area in the later part of September and have been very difficult to find, and when you do find them, they are unwilling to bite. They have scattered out but should start to school up very soon. As the water temperature continues to fall, the striper bite will continually get better. The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and is at 553.31. The surface water temperature is 77-78 degrees and falling very slowly. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake is clear.
(updated 10-12-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 0.2 feet to rest at 0.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 26.6 feet feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation all day with no wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. We cooler fall weather and lower lake levels we should see more wadable water. With no wadable water, 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 ruby midge.
Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.


(updated 10-12-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. John 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 10-12-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. His 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.



Northwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,115.23  feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 10-12-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is up a little in the lake. No reports on temperature or clarity. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Bass are fair; the bass are going after spinnerbaits early in the day, while favoring crankbaits or plastic worms after the sun is up. No reports on crappie or catfish. 
(updated 10-12-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said the lake turnover has begun. You will notice the green stuff building up on your line as you are fishing and this has got Beaver Lake striper are on the move using main lake structures and mouths of coves etc. Some Beaver Lake striper are using gravel bars, points, humps, tree tops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing 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 downlines from 10-60 feet deep, and 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. Water surface temps are in the mid-70s. On the mid and lower sections check out these hot spots: Dam (Hybrid Cove has fish), Point 1, Indian Creek (check past the marina near power lines), Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Point 4, Big Clifty, Point 5, Point 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch (especially bluff in front of marina, the island and smaller islands in front of Larue Cove), Ford and Cedar Creek and Larue. White bass have been seen surfacing at Prairie Creek, Beaver Shores (along with walleye being caught in numbers as well), Horseshoe Bend (walleye also), Mont Ne (walleye too), Hickory Creek (walleye), War Eagle and the War Eagle/White River junction (more walleye). 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 B's, Flicker Shad and Bandit 300 series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. 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 combination and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye. Check the daily lake level and flow data on Mike Bailey’s website. 


(updated 10-12-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that with the river at low levels, fishing from a boat has its limitations. However, trout are biting nicely on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Various spoons and Rapalas have produced some nice results as well. Walleye are still being caught between Houseman access and Beaver Town jigging live minnows. Safety reminder: With the low water conditions, folks are taking to wading to fly fish, etc. When you hear the dam horn, you need to exit the water to a safe location on the bank. This past week, emergency responders with Inspiration Point Fire Department performed a successful rescue of a stranded fisherman on a gravel bar just downstream from Spider Creek. Luckily there were no injuries; however, the water was moving and rising quite rapidly by the time responders reached the angler. 
(updated 10-5-2016) Beaver Dam Store reported fly fishing has been exceptionally good of late. There have been some large browns seen in the tailwaters of the Beaver Dam. It’s still a little early for the brown spawn; however, when it does occur, be respectful of the reds that are being laid. Now that the tailwaters have dropped, many new areas have opened up for the fishermen wading. Boaters beware of the low water conditions. Many new gravel bars have exposed themselves, causing dangerous conditions. Browns can be caught using midges and streamers. For rainbows, try drifting zebra midges, nymphing and swinging small soft hackles, scuds and cracklebacks. Good lures are 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 have been pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive and hare’s 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 10-12-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported normal water level and a surface temperature of 76 degrees with clear water. Bream have been fair on redworms. Crappie fishing is slow, with minnows and jigs bringing a few in. Bass fishing is good in spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and flukes. Catfish reports were fair; the fish were biting usual prepared catfish bait and goldfish. 


(updated 10-12-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported water conditions as clear and low (down about 5 inches at the dock). Surface temperature has ranged 68-75 degrees. In deeper parts of the lake, crappie are suspended about 8 feet and are good, biting minnows and jigs. Bass are good on topwater baits and plastic worms. Catfishing has been good on shad and chicken livers. No reports on bream.



Northeast Arkansas

(updated 12-5-2016) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett is known for its crappie. Ome says he understands anglers are catching them around 8 feet deep. The lake is low right now, so the best place to launch is at the dam. The bait shop is still getting calls for both the nightcrawlers and redworms. The cricket sales are slow, but the bream are so tasty the fish are still going after them. They do still have goldfish.  



(updated 10-12-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water is clear and the surface temperature is 71 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are good on crickets. Bass fishing has been slow in most reports, but a few are being caught. Catfishing is good on chicken livers. No reports on crappie.


(updated 10-12-2016) Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said said water levels are running at 340 cfs and water clarity is clear. The river is looking great. Y2K’s have been the go-to flies all week with a Woolly Worm with a chartreuse tail coming in second. Really nice weather this last week, foating the river with the only other company being eagles and ospreys. On the sunny days, get the fly down, and swinging the fly and stripping back a short distance can be very productive. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets work great on a fly rod and spinning rod. Super glue the bodies the day before to keep them in place. 
(updated 10-12-2016) John Berry in Cotter said the river is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer boats on the river. 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 10-12-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) was closed and no report this week.



Southeast Arkansas

No report.


No report.


No report.


No report.



Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 10-12-2016) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday the lake level was slightly above normal conservation pool; 3.6 feet high. There is consistent current of Little River with the gates releasing around 172 cfs as of Monday. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week, ranging 75-80 degrees. It appears the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers replaced some river buoys in the channel over the past 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 remain good from 2-3 pounds on Bass Assassin Shads, spoons, buzz baits, and other topwater baits at dawn. Tailwater level remains consistent with last week at 224.9 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks. Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point and the northeast quadrant remain stained. Little River's visibility ranges 8-10 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity currently ranging 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location.  
Largemouth bass continue responding well with the cooler nighttime low temperatures and dropping surface temps over the past week. Most bass are in good feeding moods over the past few weeks, best from 2-3 pounds on topwaters early along points and creek mouths dumping into Little River. Most bass are aggressive at dawn around lily pad stands and shallow vegetation where you can find the clearest water, as well as points, creek channels away from river current, flats and oxbows. Shad are beginning to relate to creek channels over the past couple weeks. Points and creeks are good target choices to start. Main lake grass beds are also a good choice early if there is good wind blowing on main lake grass. Flat surface conditions diminish shad and bass activity levels on main lake grass beds. Cordell Crazy Shads continue working well in chrome/black color, Heddon Spit'n Images in shad patterns, buzzbaits in black and blue, Bass Assassin Shads, soft plastic frogs, all good top water choices, early. Good reactions continue on the spoons using a white or smoke colored 2- or 3-inch curly tail grub trailer. Best colors of Bass Assassin Shads over the past couple weeks have been Silver Phantom, Salt & Pepper and Houdini. Whites and hybrids continue roaming Little River and the oxbows and are hitting the Citrus, Chartreuse Shad or Tennessee Shad-colored crankbaits in the back of the oxbows. Over the past few weeks, with the heavy cloud cover, the whites were surface-breaking on shad in back of Horseshoe and McGuire up Little river. Those fish were hitting small Ken Pops, Pop-R's and Chug Bugs with a rear feather tail hook, and Little Georges, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons, and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white, and small, ¼-size chrome/black Rat-L-Traps with abandon. Crappie continue to bite well, over the past week on Blakemore Road Runners and vertical jigging jigs in planted brush piles from 10-15 feet of depth. Blues and channel cats were biting well over the past week best on trotlines run in the river from 9-15 feet of depth using cut buffalo, shad and drum.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 539.03 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
(updated 10-12-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said Greeson has had plenty of crappie biting in 10-15 feet of water on brush piles. They’re biting jigs fair but the best bet is to go with live bait.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.73 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 10-12-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 70s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good for small fish early in the morning. The fish are feeding in the vast shad schools in the upper part of the lake. Look for "breaking" fish and throw most any smaller topwater lure along with flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. Best areas have been Big Hill and Yancey creeks, Alpine Ridge, Lenox Marcus and Shouse Ford. A few fish showing along the state park, especially around the marina. A few crappies showing in the Shouse Ford and Woodall Cove areas. Look for deeper attractors at 18-25 feet and drop a 2-inch grub or tube on a 1/16-ounce jighead to just above the thickest part of the brush. Use natural shad colors in clear water and chartreuse/black in stained water. Add a crappie nibble to the lure, it really improves the catch.
Hybrid fishing is good with quite a few schooling and feeding in the big shad schools. Look for the schools in the lower end of the lake around Iron Mountain and points 2 and 4. Throw most any small topwater lure along with spoons and in-line spinners. A few deep-water fish at 50 feet are still present, but they have really thinned with the cooler water. Use the sonar to locate the fish, which will be in 90-120 feet of water in the Iron Mountain area. Drop a heavy jigging spoon to just above the fish. Lots of small bream in the coves with some rock or wood cover. Fish water 5-10 feet deep and bait with redworms or crickets. Several nice catfish catches reported coming from Brushy Creek. Noodles and trotlines are working at night. Bait with hot dogs, chicken livers, cut shad, nightcrawlers and prepared stink baits. Also try live small bream and big minnows for bigger fish.
(updated 10-12-2016) John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina said it looks like its fall weather, falling water and falling fishing this week. Water level is at 398.73 due to some generation and evaporation. The water temperature is in mid-to-low 70s. The water is clear throughout the area. Very little catfishing is taking place now. Some trotlines along ridgetops and back of coves. You should fish 6-10 feet deep with live bait if possible. If not, try cut bait and weiners. If you want to rod fish for catfish, fish worms or small baitfish in the deepest brush piles you can find. Fish right off the bottom. Bream are scattered and the best place to find them is rocky points and deep brush piles. Full moon is coming soon. Crappie fishing has also suffered with low water and crazy weather. The crappie that are being caught from Shouse Ford to Brushy are in the deepest brush piles you can find. The problem is brush piles that were 15 feet deep earlier and now 5 feet deep. Fish minnow or jigs tipped with minnows in the deepest brush piles you can find. You will pick up a few in each good top but the fish are not concentrated in them yet. Schooling bass are being reported from Brushy to Point Cedar. Most of the fish coming up now are small black bass, Kentucky bass and white bass. Some hybrid activity but they don’t want to stay up long. Clear, chrome or blue topwaters are best for surfacing fish and use chrome and blue Rat-L Traps when fish are just below the surface. Good luck fishing; things should change as soon as the weather does.
(updated 10-12-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said he’s found ample crappie in 10-15 feet deep water on brush piles. Jigs are working fair; live bait is the best way to go.



South-Central Arkansas

No reports.


(update 10-5-2016) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are fair on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Crappie are good on the upper and lower river on jigs and shiners; make sure you have your crappie nibbles. No report on bream or catfish.


(update 10-5-2016) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said there were no fishing reports.


No report.



West-Central Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 337.28 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl). 
(updated 10-12-2016) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water was too low in their area for any fishing in the past few weeks.
(updated 10-12-2016) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) had no report.


(updated 10-12-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) had clear water with a surface temperature ranging 70-72 degrees earlier this week. The water is down 2.5-3 feet below  normal. Bream and crappie fishing have been poor. Bass fishing is slow but the ones being caught are in the 3-4-pound range. Best bets for bass are to use spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwaters and bass diver lures. Catfishing has been excellent the past week. Catfish are biting bass minnows on yo-yos and trotlines.


(updated 10-12-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperature is in the mid to upper 70s. Clarity is poor, with the current reducing. There are some stain along with some clear water in the creeks. Bass fishing has been hit and miss due to the rising and falling water. Bait of choice has been spinnerbaits and Rat-L Traps, with a squarebill and a soft plastic jerkbait bite occasionally. Pop-Rs, Zara Spooks, Whopper Poppers, buzzbait and Chug Bugs all have been working well on top. Stripers have been poor due to the muddy water. White bass have been poor due to the muddy water, but in some of the creeks you can still catch a few on sunny days with in-line spinners, Pop-Rs, Rat-L Traps and crankbaits. Crappie have been caught in 8 feet of water in backwater areas using jigs in Fire Tiger and black red colors and in submerged trees. Catfishing has been fair on cut perch, stink bait and large minnows just outside the buoy line and around the mouth of creeks. Catfish in the creeks has been good on live minnows and live perch.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 571.17 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 10-5-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said water temperature has fallen to 77-80 degrees on the surface of the lake, and the lake is clear. Black bass are fair to good and being caught by spybaiting or with crankbaits. Brush piles on main lake and secondary points are still producing the best results when fished with live crawfish for “spots.” Walleye are still good and are being caught jigging CC Spoons. Stripers are fair on live bait. The central and east areas of the lake are still the best areas for these fish. Bream are still fair. Crickets, maggots and red worms are best fished 20-25 feet deep. Crappie are slow. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 25-30 feet deep fished on the bottom near brush. Catfish are fair. Try nightcrawlers, trot line minnows or crickets in depths of 15-20 feet. Mountain Harbor’s guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean ( 501-282- 6104) – for more information.
(updated 10-12-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips reported that jigging spoons just off the bottom in the main channel will yield you striper, hybrids and walleye – check out the trip pictures on Darryl’s website.


(updated 10-12-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 64 degrees and rises to 71 degrees below the bridge. Clear conditions exist in the tailrace as the normal pool levels continue until November. Entergy is currently generating every few days to maintain lake levels. This pattern changes weekly, so anglers need to stay informed of the weekly emails to stay safe. Boaters should navigate the area slowly and always wear a life jacket. A 5-foot drawdown is scheduled for Lake Catherine in November, which will be in place until early March. 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 caught in the past few weeks. Bank fishermen have reported catches of blue catfish from the fishing docks on nightcrawlers. Most of these fish are in the 2-4-pound range. 
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 lack of game fish catches is normal for this time of year below Carpenter Dam. However, with the big numbers of shad in the area – schools of stripers and white bass can migrate into the tailrace at any time. Fisherman have to be patient and watch for schooling activity. The month of October normally brings good numbers of white bass into the area, along with hybrid bass. Until the fall weather pattern sets in, fishing below Carpenter Dam will be very poor.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.96 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
No fishing reports were recorded.



East Arkansas

No reports.


No reports.


(updated 10-12-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported anglers catching fishing the nearby lakes in the Refuge and in the bay. Crappie and bass reports were good. Minnows are working best for bass, along with crankbaits. Water is good, at a low level with good color. Surface temperature has been in the low 70s. A lot of fish are being pulled out of the lakes nearby by folks who are in the area also taking advantage of muzzle-loading season for deer when they aren’t fishing, we’re told. 



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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