(updated 11-23-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said crappie fishing remains good using minnows and jigs. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Bass fishing is fair, with anglers having success on spinnerbaits and plastic blue or black worms. Catfishing is good with cut bait and prepared bait. Lake water is at its winter pool and low. Surface temperature is dropping.
(updated 11-16-2016) Gold Creek Landing
(501-607-0590) said the crappie are still biting pretty well. Use jigs or minnows, either one. They are being caught at various depths, shallow or deep, they're getting them both ways. Bass are still hitting fair on spinnerbaits. The water was dropped for the winter pool. Color looks fine. Water temperature has been below 70, averaging about 68 degrees.
(updated 11-30-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said they are receiving small amounts of weekday generation and sporadic generation (at best) on weekends. Lowell would encourage anglers not to fish over brown trout spawning areas this time of year, but if you choose to do so be sure not to step on the redds (spawning beds), land the trout as quickly as possible, keep the trout in the water and take the extra time to revive it. A good spawning season is the future of a great brown trout population year around on the Little Red. For fly fishing, Lowell recommends midges, soft hackles, egg pattern, sowbugs and streamers. For Trout Magnet fishing, he recommends 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 11-30-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said the Little Red was slightly stained at mid-river after Monday’s rain. It is beginning to clear after Tuesday’s generation. With the colder weather, early morning generation may be the rule since the demand is higher at this time. The morning and afternoon generation schedule restricts wading to a couple of hours at the Swinging Bridge in the morning and then at the dam beginning about 1½ hours after morning generation has ceased. The brown spawn seems to be an on again, off again-type affair with some of the browns still carrying eggs and others having already spawned. Please be careful wading to avoid the redds!
(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 458.07 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said the water level in the lake continues to fall. The bass fishing is good all over the lake on spinnerbaits, crank baits, umbrella rigs and C-rigs for all three species, try fishing real shallow out to 40 feet of water. The bream fishing is still good with the prolonged warm weather – use crickets and crawlers in 5-30 feet of water. The crappie fishing has picked up and they can be caught in the pole timber or over and around brush piles in 10-20 feet of water. The walleye are scattered out. Try dragging minnows and crankbaits in 28-40 feet. The catfishing is good as well with a lot of different baits working, not a lot of people utilizing the bite. The hybrid and white bass fishing is excellent all over the lake at different times of the day, with schooling fish and fish biting on structure as well. Use in-line spinners, topwater baits, spoons and swimbaits for the best catching. The service’s website has been down and until it’s back up, call 501-940-1318.
(updated 11-30-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort
(501-889-2745) said water is clear and surface temperature was 63 degrees earlier this week. The crappie bite is good. Use minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good late at night on stink bait.
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie is biting on BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets; Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk and Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and shad. Bass are biting on buzzbait and minnows, or topwater baits. White bass are biting Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper.
(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 11-16-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina
reported fishing has remained consistent of late, but the good news is that crappy should be really good this winter. Right now, crappie fishing is excellent. Crappie are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (chartreuse and white with a very light line). Crappie are in 12-18 feet of water, at the tops of structure near edges of the channels and on the old road beds. There are lots of 6- to 9-inch crappie being caught, so it should be great winter fishing. Good black bass are biting on wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits both early in the morning and late in the day. Blacks can be caught in 3-8 feet just off the weeds. The cooler weather has activated the bass. Roger suggests trying shallow lures and spinnerbaits. The Kentucky bass bite is excellent, and are being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 4-9 feet of water mixed in with the black bass. White bass are good; use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep diving Bandits and Bombers. They are all over the lake. They are being caught at the east end right off the point on CC Spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails when schooling. 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 the cats are being caught in 15-20 feet of water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on Baby Shad and minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting on Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow.
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting fair on pink and No. 6 minnows but most of them have been small in size. Catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream fishing has been slow to fair with crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting some minnows and small plastics.
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said that hopefully the rain will be enough to put some flow back in the river. Bass fishing has been OK with minnows, small plastic worms and lizards and small crankbaits. Crappie fishing has been good for some using No. 6 and pink crappie minnows. Catfish have been biting minnows, goldfish and black salties on trotlines and limblines. Bream will bite crickets or worms almost any time on the river.
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are still biting fair on crickets and redworms. Catfish have been biting well on goldfish, black salties and minnows. Bass fishing has been slow with the best bite coming on live minnows. Crappie fishing has just been fishing, no catching.
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said crappie are still biting well for some customers using size 6 and size 12 minnows. Bass have been hitting minnows as well and the crappie fisherman are catching them, too. Catfish have been biting well on nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream fishing has slowed but a few are still catching them on redworms.
(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 11-30-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley had no report.
(updated 11-30-2016) River Valley Marina
(501-517-1250) said clarity was muddy and the level and current were normal. Bream fishing was fair on worms and crickets. Crappie bite is fair on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is fair; use spinnerbaits, topwaters and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on worms and blood bait.
(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.
(updated 11-30-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water was muddy and the level was low in Clear Lake. Bream are fair. Crappie are biting fair on minnows and jigs. No reports on bass or catfish. At Terry Lock and Dame, the reports were fair to good on crappie, with anglers having success on minnows and jigs. Nothing reported on bream, bass or catfish. Clarity was also muddy at that end of the pool.
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 yelow 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.
Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff
(501-834-5733) said the only reports he was hearing from anglers were good ones catching bass. Anglers were having success using crankbaits
as well as throwing jigs in the grass areas. No reports on bream, crappie or catfish.
(updated 11-30-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed until Feb. 6.
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said pink minnows have been working for a few small crappie. Bream are biting crickets and redworms. Bass fishing has been fair with size 12 minnows and red plastic worms. Catfish have been biting chicken livers and 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.
Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900), now run by Larry and Shirley Walters, said water surface temperature was about 67-68 degrees and the water was clear. It's low by about 5-6 inches. Crappie fishing is good. The fish are at an 8-foot depth and are biting minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is good, with the fish about 8-10 feet under the surface and close to the shore; use a spinnerbait. Catfishing is fair. Worms, chicken liver and small catfish are working as good bait. Poor reports on bream and no report on white bass.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 652.09 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 kind of banks. 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.
Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock
said the river has dropped, and if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Southwest Power decide to keep it low, word on the river is that we just might see a nice spawn for the rainbows, too. With the water at minimum flow or just above, you'll need to leave the bigger baits in your tackle box and pull out the trusty spoons: gold Cleos and hammered red-and-gold spoons. You might try your KastMasters or even dust off the old-timers’ favorite: the SuperDuper. Hang a No. 4 Flat fish while anchoring over a deep hole and just watch for the action. Consistent water levels will allow the trout to settle down into some normal feeding habits, so early morning and early evening may be the best times for easy catches. Some folks tell Ron they're having the "other T-meat" for Thanksgiving. Whatever you cook, enjoy your holidays and keep fishing.
(updated 11-23-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported clear water conditions and the river and current normal for the second straight week. There are 2-3 generators running on the White. Rainbows are plentiful and the bite is good. Use PowerBait. No reports on brown trout.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) reported during the past week, they have had no rain event, cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.3 feet to rest at 7.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 43.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 6.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 20.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 6.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had moderate generation in the afternoon with lower generation in the morning and limited wadable water. The catch and release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31, 2017, 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. On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. 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 (Berry's current favorite is a cerise San Juan worm with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Berry also reminds fly tyers and trout fishing fans to take in the Sowbug, a three-day celebration of fly tying that is scheduled for March 23-25, 2017, at the Baxter County Fairgrounds. Fly tyers from throughout the United States will be there and the event usually draw a tyer or two from abroad.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.87 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 11-30-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
said the lake level has risen slightly and currently sits at 552.86. The surface water temperature is falling slowly and is currently 59-60 degrees. Most of the lake is stained with the main lake the clearest. Lou said he believes the lake has finally finalized its turnover so the lake clearing will begin. Lou also says Norfork Lake has entered its fall fishing pattern. The only big change over the last couple of weeks is that the fish have started to move into shallower water. Stripers, hybrids and whites are being found on 20-45 foot flats. The flats are holding baitfish at all different depths depending on the time of day and big schools of stripers, hybrids and whites are roaming at all different depths feeding on the shad early in the morning as well as in the evening. It is a big challenge finding the schools of fish and it will take some time watching your electronics, but when you find the fish it is a blast. They had four on at the same time a few times. His group has been vertical jigging with a spoon bouncing it off the bottom, but if you mark fish suspended, reel up to their depth and hang on. Areas where Lou has been fishing have not changed from his last report. Start looking on the flats around the Highway 101 bridge up to the Red Bank area, as well as from the Highway 62 bridge up to the Fouts area. Check out the Robinson flat as fish are starting to move in. There has been some isolated topwater action for striped bass and if you are in the right spot and ready you will pick up a few fish. Largemouth bass are starting to school partway back in creeks and coves. Lou found some nice schools of bass on the bottom in 30-35 feet of water. His group was vertical jigging and hooking up one after another. Nice 2½-4 pound fish were being boated. Spotted bass will also be schooling up this time of year. Spinnerbaits have worked well on the windy days and crankbaits are also working on main lake points, as well as, secondary points. Crappie are becoming more aggressive. Look at brush in 20-40 feet of water. You will find the bigger slabs in the deeper water inside of the brush and other nice fish will be suspended above the brush. Small spoons, grubs and live bait are all working at times. Live bait is still your best bet. Walleye are in similar areas as the stripers, hybrids and whites. They have been catching quite a few walleye in 30 feet of water vertical jigging, but the majority of the fish are short.
Lou added that he and his wife hosted a family reunion for her side of the family and they had a great time with 29 family members, and he had the opportunity to fish with many different family members during the week. They had a lot of fun but did get a little cold at times. They caught fish most days. Lou said it was a real joy watching the ones that don't get to fish often land a fish on their own. “No better feeling than seeing those big smiles and shaking arms.”(updated 11-16-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said the cooler nights have finally made the water cold enough to have a lake turnover. It takes about a week for the lake to settle down and the fish get active so by the middle of this week you should lots of top water activity all over the lake. Look on the flats and up the major creek arms for schooling fish. The stripers are still heavily at first light up and past the state line. If it’s foggy, expect lots of action until the fog lifts, then the bite dies. If there is no fog, then the bite is consistent all morning most days. The best bite continues to be the flat next to the river channel in 25 feet of water. There are huge schools of shad roaming the river. Just keep moving up and down the channel. We are catching stripers using down lines, weighted floats, and planner boards, the lines are set at 16 feet. My son Sean took out a couple Jeff and Christy that wanted to try striper fishing for the first time. They met at the dock and were fishing in 10 minutes and had strikes right away. It was a foggy morning and the bite was on, they caught four with the biggest being 17 pounds which they released. Once the sun came out it sure slowed down. Sean saw more and bigger schools of stripers but just would not hit. They had a few more bites but all the fun and action was in the fog. Jeff and Christy had a great first time experience and plan on another trip to Norfork. The winter bite will start soon so make your plans on the web with www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake! Be sure to read our Fall Striper tactics, the article can be found on the www.NorforkLakeChamber.com website.
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 wadable water every day. There has been wadable water every morning on the Norfork as well. 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. At Dry Run Creek, 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. Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber-soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
(updated 11-23-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) 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.
(updated 11-23-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the water is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. His 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 1,113.70 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 11-30-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water is clear and the surface temperature was 50 degrees earlier this week. Water level was low. Bream are fair. Crappie are good; you'll find them in the river arms in the upper part of the lake. Use minnows or jigs; Bass have been good on spinnerbaits. Catfish reports were poor.
(updated 11-30-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) said water temperatures are in the mid- to high 50s. Striper activity forecast for the week is good. The lake turnover has been underway and stripers are on the move using main lake structure and mouth of coves, while some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. There has been lots of topwater activity from stripers and white bass. Make sure you do not keep a striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper or hybrid combinations. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Good striper success will come using live shad fished on free lines and downlines from the surface to 30 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs for stained water; use plugs like Rapala’s No. 14 husky jerk in black back or purple back colors or 5-6-inch Smithwick Rogues in similar colors on downriggers. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs also will produce. Topwaters like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks and Pencil Poppers will also work. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow, current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check Bailey’s website for daily lake level and flow data. Check out these hot spots on the mid- and lower sections of Beaver Lake: 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, Highway 12 bridge is hot, and Prairie Creek is hot and has white bass surfacing. White bass are surfacing and walleye are being caught in numbers as well at Horseshoe Bend, Mont Ne, Hickory Creek, War Eagle and at the War Eagle/White River junction (Point 12). Walleye can be found from 10-30 feet deep depending on the area you’re fishing. 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 11-30-2016) Beaver Dam Store
said water levels continue to be low during nongenerations. For the fisherman wading, this is good as many areas are accessible. 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 11-16-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy
(479-244-0039) said trout fishing has been great in the tailwaters this week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started generation early this week, but it slacks off toward the afternoon. Trout are biting on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Various Rapalas and Spoons are also producing some nice numbers. A few nice browns have been caught between Parkers Bottom and Spider Creek using floating Rapalas. Remember, if you are fly fishing or fishing from the bank, if you hear the dam horn, you need to exit the water to safety.
Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat has closed his bait shop the remainder of the year.
(updated 11-30-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water conditions as murky in clarity but water at a normal level. Surface temperature was 55 degrees. Crappie reports were excellent. Anglers were catching on both minnows and jigs. Bass fishing also was excellent. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits were working well. Catfishing was poor, and bream reports also were 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 it’s a very busy time of the year, except for the bait sales here at Lake Poinsett. The lake is very low. The dam is the best place to put a boat in and/or to fish off the bank.
(updated 11-30-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said fishing picked up over the Thanksgiving holiday. Water conditions are clear and the water is at a normal level. Surface temperature has ranged 54-57 degrees. Crappie fishing is good on minnows. Bass reports were fair, but no bait information was reported. There were no reports on bream fishing as well as catfish.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
Water levels are running at 268 cfs and water clarity is clear. Low and clear water conditions have made for technical conditions on the river. Small nymphs and Woollies have been the go to flies. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets and silver spinners are working well for spin fishers.
(updated 11-23-2016) 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 11-30-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said it was a bad week for fishing, with poor reports across the board for all species. No other information was available on conditions.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team had no report.
(updated 11-30-16) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said the fishermen have been out on the lake this week, but the bait shop has not sold many minnows, likely since the bass and crappie are reported to be biting on jigs right now. Catfish are fair. Early morning and evening have been the best times for fishing this week. However, going forward into this next week, the weather is supposed to warm up significantly, so afternoon fishing may pick up.
(updated 11-30-16) Matthew C. Gillum, the ranger at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705), had no report.
(updated 11-23-16) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) said the lake as been all quiet based on no reports coming into the bait shop of late. 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 260.42 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.32 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said that as of Monday (Nov. 28) the lake level was about 9 inches above normal conservation pool and rising. There is increased Little River current this week with the gates releasing around 435 cfs as of Monday. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week, ranging 52-62 degrees. Navigation is cautioned for Little River as of Monday due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure. Tailwater level as of Monday was at 225.06 feet msl. On main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranges about 4-8 inches due to high wind and rain over the past couple days. Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point, and northeast quadrant remain stained. Little River's visibility ranges 5-10 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity ranges about 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location. The cooler daytime temperatures and dropping surface temps over the past week continue to boost the bass feeding mood, and bass are best from 2 to 3 pounds on crankbaits along points, creek junctions and creek mouths dumping into Little River. Most bass continue their seasonal nomadic roaming following huge shad schools in and out of creek channels and up and down Little River. Points, creek channels away from river current, flats and oxbows are good starting locations. Chrome/black Cordell Crazy Shads, Bass Assassin Shads and Sexy Ghost or Ghost-colored Stuttersteps are working. Bass Assassin Shads continue to be a good topwater choice early. Work topwaters around grass beds and vegetation along points extending from creek channels into Little River for good reactions at dawn. Bulky 10-inch Berkley Power Worms continue working around vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. Rat-L-Traps have been working well for several weeks along points and in creek channels. Bass Assassin Shads continue working well in the thick stuff at midday. Best colors of Bass Assassin Shads have been Bad To The Bone, pumpkinseed or Grey Ghost and Salt & Pepper colors in the current water clarity and conditions. 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. White bass, Kentucky bass, and largemouths all have been surface-breaking recently on shad in back of Horseshoe and McGuire up Little River. Those fish were hitting small topwater Crazy Shads, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white, and small Pop-Rs early in the mornings. 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 improved with the increase of current in Little River over the past week. Best bets for cats are trotlines with 9-12 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using blood bait, cut bait, buffalo and gar.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 539.39 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.27 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 11-30-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 60s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is fair with some decent catches reported coming from long points in the big coves. Look for fish at mid-lake between Caddo Drive and Shouse Ford. Also try the major creeks such as Big Hill, Brushy and Yancey. The fish are up shallow in the shad schools. Try medium-running crankbaits and lipless crankbaits. Natural shad will work in the clear water. During the bright part of the day, Texas and Carolina rigged worms are producing fairly well. Try green pumpkin and red shad. Lots of Kentucky bass are along the bluff banks at Point 28, Point 15 and the west side of Goat Island. Best bet is a Texas rigged finesse worm in green pumpkin. Crappie fishing is fair with some catches reported coming from the Shouse Ford and Point Cedar areas. The problem is finding ample cover or brush at the 25-foot level due to the low water. If you can find a large attractor at those depths, it is almost a guarantee of catching fish, especially if the cover is cedar. Try a 2-inch curly tail grub or tube on a 1/16-ounce jighead in Tennessee or Arkansas shad. Fish the lure to just above the cover at about 15 feet. Either fish vertically or back off the attractor and cast over it, count the lure down to the desired level and just slowly reel it back. Do NOT jig the lure. Hybrid fishing is slow with a few small fish reported in the major creeks such as Big Hill. Look for shad schools and fish at about 15-20 feet down and drop a 3-inch curly tail grub below the fish and reel up through the school. You will catch more white bass, but you will know when a hybrid hits. A few fish are starting to show in the Shouse Ford area and this will greatly improve as we get into December. No reports on catfish or bream. George also reported he’s starting to see quite a few loons on the lake, indicating to him that winter is one the way. Last year, he said, loons would congregate in certain areas of the lake and “it looked like a loon convention.”
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
reported crappie are biting exceptionally well on live bait 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water on brush piles where much deeper water is nearby.
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 337.20 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 11-30-2016) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that water was high this week, with no other details available about conditions. The crappie bite is fair, with minnows getting nibbles. Bass fishing is good, with anglers having success on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfish and bream were poor.
(updated 11-30-2016) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no reports.
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported crappie biting on BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk and Penny Back Baby Shad Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and shad. Bream are biting on crickets and worms and Rock Hoppers. Bass are liking the buzzbaits and topwater baits.
(updated 11-30-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
said fishing was very slow for the week. All reports were poor in all species. No water conditions were reported.
(updated 11-30-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479 647-9945) said water temperatures are in the 50s. The river appears dirty with a few clear creeks. Crappie fishing has been good. They are 8-10 foot deep on submerged wood, and around bridge pylons. Use white jigs, Electric Chicken or pink minnows. Bass are setting up in their winter spots. They’re hitting crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps. Also, downsize your spinnerbait and go slow, and for the areas that have wood around their winter spots, use jigs or a Bamboozie, Biffle Bug or Beaver. White bass are scattered in the creeks and will bite a jigging spoon. Also install a silver Rat-L-Trap. Striper fishing has been slow due to the dirty water. Bream are around floating mats close to the lily pad stems; use worms and crickets. Catfishing has been fair in the creeks and at the mouth of the creeks; use crawdads, shad or perch.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 570.18 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
(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
said 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.
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said water temperature is ranging 62-66 degrees and the water is clearing. Black bass are
good and being caught with spybaits
fished over main lake and secondary points. Walleye are still fair and are being caught jigging CC spoons. Stripers are fair on live bait. The central area of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are slow. Crickets, maggots
and redworms are best fished 20-25 feet deep. Crappie are
very good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. No report on catfish. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) and Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
reported crappie are biting exceptionally well on live bait 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water on brush piles where much deeper water is nearby.
(updated 11-16-2016) Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports
said the recent cold nights and early mornings haven’t adversely affected fishing. Pay attention to what’s going with the early morning fog. That’s the tattle tale, where the fog line is in the creek. Because, if you pull up and there is a heavy fog line in the very back of it and not much at the mouth of it that tells you that the warmer water is in the back of the creek. If you go into it and it’s foggy on the main lake and not as foggy in the back, that tells you there is colder water going into the back of the creek and the warmer water is still on the main channel, so you’ve got to fish the fog. That’s what the old-timers said, don’t leave the fog because the fog is the warmer water. There are plenty of shad moving around and if you go to into any of these creeks, it’s going to tattle on exactly what’s going on. The shad are what you’re chasing because that’s what the fish are chasing, that’s their food source. Lot of guys are catching crappie right now fishing in brush. If you’re going after bass, you’ve got to focus on shad, that’s what they’re eating. Keep your eye on the shad. Main thing that guys are talking about is chasing those shad balls around the lake. If you go out right now you have to have an Alabama rig tied on. You’ve got to have a spoon tied on. And everything you throw really hinges on that shad chase; the other thing going on is that crawfish migration. Anytime on Hamilton you’ve got to have an Alabama rig tied on.
(updated 11-30-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, reports that the winter drawdown for Lake Catherine is now complete. A five-foot draw will be in place until early March 2017. Water temperature is 63 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 running a dual generation schedule with a 3-hour period in the early morning followed by a 3-hour period in the evening. 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. 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 sandbars 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 cast 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 streamers 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 383.64 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00).
No fishing reports were recorded.
Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040)
, said activity is considerably lowered on both Bear Creek Lake and Storm Creek Lake for crappie and bream fishing. So far, people are reporting little to no activity from the shoreline, and limited activity in coves from a boat. Crappie and bream being caught are not of any record size, and are only being caught in small quantities. Bass fishing has more moderate activity, both off of live bait and artificial bait. Fish are mainly biting back in the coves of Bear Creek and Storm Creek, however activity has considerably slowed the past few weeks. The Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center located in Marianna, off of Hwy 44 is selling bait and is open 8-5 every day. Call with any questions or to book a campsite.
(updated 11-23-16) See Bear Creek Lake report.
(updated 11-30-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported water temperatures were cooler than they'd been of late, with low water level and clear water. Crappie are biting. There were good reports of catches on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing also was good on spinnerbaits. Catfish reports were poor. Bream reports also were poor.