Shad stockings to stabilize Greers Ferry food chain
Biologists recently stocked 37,000 threadfin shad into Greers Ferry in an effort to reestablish this vital forage species. Crappie, bass and hybrid stripers all have shown poor condition in the last year, primarily because of a lack of forage species. Upon investigation, the threadfin shad population in the lake was completely gone. Stockings of all predator fish have been suspended, and all stockings will focus on minnows, shad, bream and other prey species until the forage base can support the predator fish already swimming in the lake.
Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water was dingy but at a normal level. Fishing was fair (crappie and catfish) to good (bream, bass), but last week was slow because of the heavy rain. Bream were biting redworms and crickets. Bass were found in shallow water with spinners and crankbait. Minnows and jigs were working best for crappie, while shad and nightcrawlers were the baits of choice for catfish.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said recent rain caused the middle and lower sections of the Little Red River to be muddy. Daily generation should clear these sections before the weekend. The river still has low water conditions with one to two hours of one unit daily generation. Wading and drift- fishing opportunities are both plentiful. Hot fly patterns are emergers, soft hackles, hares ear nymphs and midges. For Trout Magnet fishing, use hot pink and white bodies on silver and chartreuse jig heads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (www.swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 5-4-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said that weekend rain muddied the river, but as of Monday, May 2, the river was clearing above Sulphur Creek, just below Winkley Shoal. Dam generation on Tuesday should help clear the middle and lower sections of the river. The lake level is now 461.54, which is below the normal 463.04 level for this time of the year. This means generation will be for power demand only, which should be a minimum amount at this time. The caddis hatch slowed Friday but should not be over. Midges are also hatching at this time, so caddis emergers, pupas and midge pupas are good choices.
(updated 4-27-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Company
(501-207-1770) reported great fishing, with low flows allowing anglers a rare opportunity lately to wade. Trout are keying on the strong caddis hatches. Hot flies are the caddies emergers and soft hackles, with pink and white trout magnets also working well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 462.04 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said the water level is 0.31 feet below normal pool and rising. Surface water temperature ranges from the mid-60s to lower 70s. Some fish have spawned and some have not, but all fish have really been scattered because of cloud cover. Crappie are biting from 0 out to 15 feet, as they’re moving from spawning cover to deep water. They can be caught on small minnows or jigs, either dipped around shallow brush or suspended over deeper brush. Bream are biting crickets, small crankbaits and in-line spinners. Most are still deep, but they may begin to make their move shallow soon. Some walleye can still be caught up the rivers and some can be caught in the lake. Try jigs tipped with minnows if water is below 70 degrees. When the water temperature hits 70 degrees, try dragging nightcrawlers on the same jig heads, from right on the bank out to 18 feet. Catfish are biting very well on a variety of live and prepared baits. Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass are all in some stage of the spawn, so practically any lure you try is likely to hook a few. It is a junk fisherman’s paradise right now. Hybrids and white bass are all over the place as well. Some are still upriver, some are in the creeks and some are moving back to the lake. Try spoons, in-line spinners, swim baits, topwater baits and live bait for the best action from 0-35 feet of water and all in between.
(updated 5-4-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort
(501-889-2745) said water was clear, at a normal level and with a surface temperature of 69-72 degrees. Fishing rated fair to good, though catfishing was excellent with minnows. Bream were working in 3 to 4 feet of water with crickets, while jigs were attracting the crappie in deep water out in the lake. Bass were working the shoreline and hitting spinners and crankbaits.
Overcup Landing had no report.
(updated 5-4-2016) Fosters Four Seasons
(501-868-9061) said surface water temperature was in the mid-60s, the level was normal but the clarity was dirty following weekend storms. Fishing rated from poor to good, with bream and crappie being most active. Bream fishing was good in the overflow areas with crickets. Crappie fishing was good using minnows and jigs. Catfishing was fair if fishing with minnows. Bass fishing was poor.
(updated 5-4-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina
said the water is 0.3 feet above the spillway and the surface water temperature is 66 degrees at mid-lake and 70 degrees at the west end. Largemouth bass are biting well on wacky-rigged worms, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and many other shallow-water lures. They are bedding in 3 to 6 feet of water, but the spawn is wrapping up. Spotted bass are biting well in 3 to 10 feet of water on jigs and crankbaits. White bass are fair and are moving back out into the lake. Deep-diving Bandit crankbaits and Bomber crankbaits fished on the east side of the bridge are working, as are spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails in the main body of the lake when you can find the fish schooled up. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. The crappie are moving back off the banks now that their spawn is over. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets fished around brush in 20 feet of water. Catfishing is good on stink bait, small sunfish and chicken livers in 15 to 20 feet of water.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting well on night crawlers and chicken livers. A few bass are hitting on live crawfish. Bream are biting on crickets and redworms. A few small crappie have been caught on pink crappie minnows.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said the rain has pushed the river up. The water is too muddy and high to fish
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said large redear sunfish are still biting excellently on redworms fished near the bottom. Catfishing is good on live crayfish and nightcrawlers. Some crappie are being caught on no. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin’s Tennessee shad-colored grubs. A few bass have been caught on brood minnows.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said crappie are biting fairly well on no. 6 crappie minnows. Catfishing is good on live crayfish and Sonny’s Super Sticky Dip Bait. Bream are biting well on redworms and crickets. Bass are biting well on no. 12 bass minnows.
(updated 4-20-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley said the water remains muddy with temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s. Bass are fair. Not a ton are being caught, but when you catch one they are typically of good quality. Find backwaters with water that is slightly clearer and fish any piece of cover that a fish could spawn on or stage on (laydowns, brush, rocks, etc.). Try slowly dragging around simple baits like a Bio Spawn ExoStick bait or a lizard. Crappie fishing is still slow, but some can be caught dipping black/chartreuse tube jigs into backwater brush and laydowns. Some good-sized blue catfish are beginning to show up on trotlines baited with bass minnows. Channel catfish can also be caught in good numbers using your favorite stink bait. Fishing should continue to pick up as the water temperatures increase.
River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) reported clear and normal-level water with surface temperatures in the upper 60s, and the fishing was fair for crappie to excellent for bream, bass and catfish in shallow areas. Worms and crickets were big hits with bream, while spinnerbaits and crankbaits were working well for bass and chicken liver was drawing the catfish. Crappie fishing was only fair as the crappie were spawning near the banks; minnows in shallow water worked best.
Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff
(501-834-5733) said that flooding and high waters had made fishing too dangerous to be on the river in the past several days
McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said conditions in the backwaters were cloudy with high water after a rainy weekend, but fishing for bream and crappie was good. Bream were working at a depth of 4 to 5 feet with crickets, while minnows and jigs were bringing in crappie at the same depth. Bass fishing was only fair, also at 4 to 5 feet depth, using spinners, crankbaits and worms. Catfish results were poor.
(updated 4-27-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is dingy and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 60 to 63 degrees. Bream are fair on worms fished 2 to 8 feet deep. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on worms. The fishing really picked up in the last half of last week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) K Dock Marina
(417-334-2880) said the surface water temperature is 63 to 65 degrees degrees and the water is stained to clear. Crappie, walleye and black bass are all biting extremely well around K Dock lately. Bass are biting best on shaky head finesse worms, spinnerbaits and Zoom Baby Brush Hogs fished around buckbrush in coves and around points with small gravel on the bank. Cast right up to the bank and fish back out. Crappie are biting very well on live minnows in the coves. Some really nice crappie are being caught and if you find the right tree, you can load the boat quickly. Late afternoon has been the best time to fish lately. Walleye are biting well on small crankbaits, such as Berkley Flicker Shad in sizes 6 and 7. Troll shallow in 10 to 15 feet of water near points and rock bluffs.
(updated 5-4-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock
said fishing continues to be very good. Many bass are still on the beds around the marina. There is lots of catching going on. The walleye seem to have moved out a little into 10 to 15 feet of water. They usually do this when they are done spawning. Anglers are still catching a few around dark, but they seem to be in that transition period. Some white bass and crappie are being caught, but the bass fishing is so good most people are concentrating on them.
(updated 4-27-2016) Cotter Trout Dock
said White River Zig Jigs continue to pull in some nice fish. The best size is 1/8-oz. and the best colors are white, black or tri-olive. Several almost-keeper size browns were caught on a no. 5 gold/black Rapala Countdown. The moss issue seems to subsided a little. The last three days we experienced fairly low water with small rises for short times once or twice a day. Sculpins have been the best bet for bigger fish. In the vicinity of Crooked Creek, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, cutthroat trout and a perch or two were caught by fly-fishermen using mostly red/silver midges, some Clouser minnows and sowbugs)
(updated 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424)said the fly fishing has been a somewhat slow, and more dam generation has left the river “dirty” with large amounts of suspended aquatic vegetation. Berry said the most effective technique has been a double-fly nymph rig, especially the hot fluorescent pink or cerise San Juan worm (size 10) with a hare and copper suspended below it. Other hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8 or 10), Y2Ks (sizes 12 or 14), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16 or 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18) and sowbugs (size 16). Water has been too high for wading. Late last week, before huge storms roared through Arkansas, Bull Shoals Lake was 1.3 feet below between the seasonal power pool of 659 feet. Berry expects moderate levels of generation ahead with limited wading. Berry had heard reports of a spectacular caddis hatch at Wildcat Shoals, which should mean the time for the best dry fly fishing of the year. When you see topwater activity but no insects, use a green butt or a partridge and orange. When trout are taking adult insects, switch to an elk hair caddis. The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24- to 30-foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier), requiring an 8- or 9-weight rod. The extra work will be worth it.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) Guide Steve Olomon
said the lake level is 553.6 and the surface water temperature is in the mid- to upper 60s. Stripers, hybrids and whites are coming up at first light and staying up for an hour to an hour and a half. The best bet is to use a Zara Spook or other large topwater lure. After the top water bite stops, throw a swim bait and you may get a few more. You can throw the swim bait to the topwater fish and get bit as well. They are coming up just before sunset, too. The night bite is still going on and the key to fishing at night for stripers is to reel your stick bait extremely slowly. If you see some fish arches on your depth finder, drop a jigging spoon. Bass are still up shallow and will hit a Spook, swim bait, jig and soft jerk bait.
(updated 5-4-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said the bite has slowed on Norfork. The shad have completed their spawn and have moved off the banks. There is still a topwater bite, but over the last few days it seems the stripers are surfacing more infrequently on the points. Tom fished the lower end of the lake off the points within site of the dam and had many surface strikes, but very few hookups. The fish were not taking the bait, just slapping at it until they killed it. With the 3½ inches of rain from the last few days, some of the stripers will run back up the creek. The stripers have not spawned yet, so some of males are ripe while others are still firm. It should happen anytime. Some good size walleye are being caught at night. A black/gold Rapala worked in a twitch-twitch-crank cadence seemed to work well in the Big Creek area. The fish have moved into their spring feeding patterns.
(updated 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said that fly fishermen enjoyed water at wading depth all last week. The river has cleared some and fishing is better, especially in the morning and late afternoon, helped by good hatches of midges and caddis. Productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20 and 22) such as ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14 and 16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive, while double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Berry suggests using 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 No. 10). Also try a small midge with a size 14 parachute Adams or size 18 elk hair caddis. Dry Run Creek is still busy but the water has cleared some and is fishing well. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). By late last week, Norfork Lake had risen 0.1 feet to rest at 0.8 feet below the seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet.
(updated 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the river is navigable, and warm weather has made the smallmouths active.
(updated 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the creek is navigable and smallmouths are more active as the weather has warmed. Watch for sudden flooding during rain events such as the mass of rainfall that hit the state last weekend.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,121.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said lake conditions were clear with surface temperature in the mid-60s and normal level, leading to fair to good fishing for all but catfish, which was poor. Bream were found in 4 to 8 feet depth with worms and crickets, while bass fishing was good in shallow water using spinners and plastic worms. White bass were going for spoons, minnows, Rooster Tails and river arms. Crappie were fair in 6 to 10 feet depth using minnows and jigs. Only 5 to 10 catfish showed up on jug lines using goldfish.
(updated 5-4-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) said stripers are making their way back out of the river and creek arms, feeding on bait. There has been some nice topwater action. Some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, and cuts in the bank to corner bait. The fish still in the White River and War Eagle arms are feeding heavily throughout the day, gorging on shad. Try lightly weighted lines, free lines, balloons, planer boards in presenting your baits. Use lures in orange, chartreuse and white. It is time to night fish with lights under the Highway 12 bridge. Stripers can be taken on live shad fished on free lines and down lines from surface to about 20 feet deep and on trolled umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs. Trolling Rapala no. 14 Huskey Jerks and Smithwick Rogues in black or purple-backed colors will produce. Soft jerkbaits like Zoom Flukes also work well. Hot spots include Indian Creek past the marina, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, Coose Hollow, Prairie Creek and the Arkansas Highway 12 Bridge.
(updated 4-13-2016) Beaver Dam Store
said water levels are returning to normal levels and many areas are accessible for anglers. Fly-fishermen are doing well on egg patterns, big nymphs, hare’s ears, midges and pheasant tails. It won't be long until the white bass make their way into the tailwater. These fish make for a great meal, so bring the kids, neighbors and family out to the tailwater. While fishing for trout, try Power Bait in white, red, chartreuse or pink, tipped with wax worms or night crawlers. You can also troll downstream from Bertrand Boat Launch with Berkley Flicker Shads and Rapala Original Floating Minnows. Colorado spoons also have been producing numbers of fish.
(updated 5-4-2016) Austin Kennedy of Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service
(479-640-8733) said white bass are hitting well. You must locate the schools between Beaver and Houseman Access, but once you find them, start pulling through them. Trout are biting well on various power baits with light terminal tackle. Walleye are still being caught, mostly males, but they keep, too. The crappie spawn is almost over, but they’re still catchable around brush piles and stick ups in 6 feet of water. The generation schedule is limited, allowing for calm water to fish. Watch for the thermoclines and bait, you will find the fish.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said the lake is still well below normal, with relatively clear water, and the surface temperature is 67 degrees. The crappie spawn is pushed back due to the water temps not staying stable. Blame that on cool nights. Fish at 10 feet deep with small minnows. If the water warms up this week, they will start moving up to shallower areas. The flood discharge at the end of the dam and the deeper side of Rock Island have been good places to find crappie. Try fishing over the brush piles just out from the public access area. Or use a small white jig and tip it with a crappie nibble. Fish the mouth of Keeper Cove if it warms up a bit. The old road bed and the deeper side of Preachers Point have produced some nice-size bass. Use a pumpkin pepper worm, or a brown bass jig with a brown trailer. Their still deep, so fish 10 to 14 feet. Crickets fished 18 to 20 inches deep under a small bobber worked real well for Mike Fields of Elkins catching bluegill and redear. He kept 27 on Thursday and 25 on Saturday. His catch was mixed with reds and bluegill. The brush piles along the "high bank" houses on the right side of the lake, up past Goose Island are holding "staging bluegill &red; ear" as they wait for the water to warm. The normal bedding areas you normally fish this time of year may not hold "bedding" bluegill now because of the lower water level. No one has reported catching any cats; however, cut perch, or night crawlers are always good this time of year. Use red worms to catch the perch, cut off the head and tail, use the mid-body with guts still in it, put it on a size 3 hook, and fish 10 to 12 deep on the bottom.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said water temperature was at 60 degrees and the water was murky, but the fishing ranged from good (bass and crappie) to excellent (bream and catfish). Bream were hitting red worms and crickets in 6-10-feet depth, while crappie went for minnows and jigs at 6-10 feet and bass was also active at 6-10 feet depth on crankbait and plastic worms. Catfish were biting most everything, from minnows to fluke to spinner bait.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said there was no fishing due to the rain and flooding.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lake Poinsett State Park said that crickets are catching a lot of bream, and the park is selling lots of medium and large minnows as the bait of choice for crappie. Some bass are hitting mostly artificial bait. Redworms and nightcrawlers are available at the park for sale. The park will play host to a free Kids Fishing Derby for ages 12 and under Saturday, May 21, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until noon. Game and Fish personnel will net the catchable-size catfish, and lots of prizes will be handed out.
(updated 5-4-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reported the water temperature was in the mid-60s and the level and current were normal though water was dingy, leading to a so-so week for anglers. Crappie fishing is excellent using minnows in shallow depth. Catfish action was also excellent, with worms, liver and nightcrawlers the choice bait. Bream are biting in shallow water using worms and crickets. Bass are hitting crankbaits in the brush.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 404 cfs at the spring and water is clear. The river saw plenty of rain over the weekend and turned murky for a few days but is now clear. The trout have been biting well on black woollies, Mark’s Guppies and Y2k’s. During the morning there have been some really nice hatches of BWO and caddis. Usually the trout will not rise for a dry, but a pheasant tail nymph or prince nymph can work well. As canoe season picks up late in May, weekdays and Sundays should be fine for fishing but Saturdays can be busy with canoers on the river. However, fishing early or late in the day can be productive. High numbers of trout are stocked during the summer months, and the trout being stocked lately are averaging 12 to 14 inches. There is no generation on the Spring River, so no worries about the water coming up. The river does have a very slick bottom and can be tough to wade, so care should be taken. A wading staff and felt soles can be very helpful. With a water temp of 58 degrees year-round many decide to wet wade during the summer months.
(updated 5-4-2016) John Berry in Cotter said that fly fishing has picked up, and wading is good when the Bull Shoals and Norfork dams are running water. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash (No. 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (No. 10) and Y2Ks (No. 10).
(updated 5-4-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said that with water at 6 feet rising to 9.85 feet, the dirty and bad conditions resulted in no fishing last week.
(updated 5-4-2016) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures on the main channel and in backwaters was in the low to mid 70s. Water clarity was low throughout; only inches in the main channel to a max of about 6 inches in Lake Langhofer. The water level was rising throughout last weekend and was about 2 feet high by the end of the day Sunday. Black bass are biting fairly well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Use caution navigating the main channel of the river, as logs large enough to cause damage were present. Floating debris was light.
(updated 4-20-2016) Cane Creek State Park said bass are biting very well on frogs and white spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting on live bait such as minnows and bream. Crappie are fair on minnows and crappie jigs. Bream are biting better on worms than crickets.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 265.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said the lake is 5.8 feet above conservation pool. The current at the gate was 25,600 cubic feet per second Monday. The surface water temperature is 63 to 73 degrees. Both boat ramps at Millwood State Park recently reopened to the public, as well as the day-use picnic sites. The Army Corps of Engineers is working to replace many river buoys missing along Little River. Water clarity worsened with the rain and runoff. On the main lake, away from current, there is 3 to 6 inches of visibility. Little River’s visibility is 2 to 5 inches and the oxbows upriver have about 5 to 6 inches of visibility. Most largemouth bass have spawned. Before the recent water level rise, many fish were caught on soft-plastics such as lizards, Craw Fatty’s and Pit Bosses. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and Bass Assassin Shads also worked very well. The topwater bite was really turning on in the clearest water you could find away from current. Jointed Jitterbugs, Pop-R's, Chug Bugs and buzzing frogs were getting some great reactions around lily pads and other vegetation. Late morning seems to be the most productive time for feeding. Bang Die Dapper and Boss Shiner swim baits are working well, rigged on a 3/16- to 3/8-oz. swim bait belly hook. If you can find small sections of clear water, Echo square-billed crankbaits are beginning to draw good reactions in the oxbows. The best colors are gold, sexy sunfish and Millwood magic. Schools of white bass are still roaming. They have finished their spawn and are beginning to spread back out into the lake. Echo square-billed crankbaits are catching a few roaming white bass in the oxbows and creek mouths. Crappie disappeared with the high muddy water and heavy current. They had been spawning and hugging cypress trees in 3 to 6 feet of water. Catfish continue biting consistently over the past week with the increase of current in Little River on trotlines baited with cut bait, blood bait and chicken livers, set 7-12 feet deep.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 555.26 feet msl (Flood pool – 548 msl).
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
said with crappie and bass finishing their spawns, large numbers of smaller fish are being caught. A few bigger fish are biting in 12 to 24 feet of water on minnows fished 6 to 12 feet deep. The water temperature is running in the low 70s.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 414.79 feet msl (flood pool – 408 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is holding around 70 degrees and the lake is clear except for the upper reaches, where it is stained. Almost all boat ramps are closed because of high water. The few accessible ramps are at the state park marina and Iron Mountain. The water is being lowered quickly, and things should be back to normal in about a week. There is not much to report with only a few making it to the water. Anglers who are getting out are reporting quite a few bass catches in the flooded brush and timber. Try a floating worm around the flooded cover. A shallow-running, square-billed crankbait also is producing. Look for fish in the spawning coves at mid-lake. A few crappie have been biting in the shoreline brush. Use a 1/16-ounce jig head with a 2-inch curly tailed grub in Tennessee shad or black/chartreuse. The fish are scattered, so don't spend a lot of time in one spot. Hybrid fishing is good for those trolling small umbrella rigs. Look for fish on the sonar at Arlie Moore, Caddo Drive and Edgewood. Load the rig with white 4-inch swim baits. Make sure the rig is running 10 to 12 feet down at about 2 miles per hour. With the high water, the fish are back in the coves about 30 to 40 feet deep. Some nice catfish came from flooded backwaters along the state park. Bottom fish with either cut shad, chicken livers, nightcrawlers, Catfish Charlie or hot dogs.
(updated 5-4-2016) John Duncan with yoyguideservice.com
said the lake saw an 8-foot rise in water level last week. No report this week.
(updated 5-4-2016) Stacey Jackson at White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) said bass are hitting on crankbaits, Zoom Brush Hogs and spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting well on trotlines using live and prepared catfish baits. Tight lining using worms and catfish baits also is working well. Crappie are biting on minnows and jigs in the upper lake. For lake information or a camping reservation please call White Oak Lake State Park at 870-685-2748 or stop in at the Visitor Center.
(updated 4-27-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are still being caught during the spawn. Bream are just starting to bite. There’s been no report on crappie or catfish.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said the torrential rains of last weekend slowed angling tremendously on the Ouachita River oxbows. Some angers are still running yo-yos and trotlines to catch catfish, but sportfishing opportunities are limited. River reports indicate a steady water rise for at least a week, making accessibility to the oxbows and tributaries almost impossible.
(updated 4-27-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said there have been a few reports of bream and catfish being caught, but no specific lures were mentioned. No report on bass or crappie.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said Tri-County has been rather productive after the drawdown from this past summer. Anglers are starting to catch bass in the channels of the lake again and crappie tend to be staged around wood structures and artificial structures. Bass are feeding up after their spawn. Baits that resemble their food sources will increase your chance of landing a boat-load. Crappie are finicky as the strikes seem to be staggered. Keeping a lighter-colored jig in the strike zone for the crappie will increase your chances of landing a few slabs as well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 357.40 feet msl (full pool – 342 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025)
said that water was clear and running high with a surface temperature of 65 to 70 degrees, and that they were flooded out last week. Lately, bream fishing has been fair with crickets, while catfishing is fair with chicken liver. Bass was working shallow water near the banks and hitting spinners, while crappie is in the depths at 24 feet and biting pink Road Runners.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) reported no fishing for the week due to overflow of water.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
said fishing was OK despite a lot of rain. The water was high and murky with a temperature of reaching 65 degrees. While bream, crappie and catfish were fair, bass fishing was excellent in shallow water with topwater baits and spooks. Worms and crickets were working for bass, while minnows and jigs were attracting some crappie. Nightcrawlers, shad and minnows are bringing in catfish.
(updated 5-4-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperature was in the upper 70s to lower 80s. The river was muddy and high creeks were dingy. Catfishing has been excellent on worms, cut perch, shad and Skip Jack. Stick to the mouth of the creeks and the drops from the spawning flats. Bream has been excellent on spawning flats and around stumps and treetops in creeks with worms, crickets, flies and jigs. White bass are way up at the heads of the creeks; try tandem white jigs or small white crankbaits and inline spinners. Stripers are in The Creeks. Use topwater poppers, swimbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Crappie is hit-and-miss, but if you are in the right area you can find some slabs. Try black chartreuse, black pink and minnows. Largemouth bass has been excellent using frogs, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs and bamboozies in the shallow backwater. Scam shad has been working well along the grass line. Flipping beavers around stumps has been good, and bumping Square Bill crankbaits off of the same stumps has been working well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 581.16 feet msl (full pool – 578 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort
said lake water temperature was 70-74 degrees with stained water and a lake level of 581.36 feet msl. Black bass fishing was good, and they’re being caught with flukes, top-water spooks and perch-colored crank baits. Main lake and secondary points are producing the best results. Walleye are fair and are being caught with shallow running crankbaits or small jerkbaits. Stripers are still very good on top-water C-10 redfins. The central area of the lake is the hottest right now. Bream are still excellent. Crickets, maggots and red worms are best fished 8-15 feet deep. Crappie fishing is good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 8-15 feet deep near brush. Catfish are still very good. Try live bait or cut bait in depths of 15-20 feet. .
(updated 4-27-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
is hearing reports from anglers saying the fishing is slow. Best production, he said, should come from dock fishing for bass or crappie.
(updated 5-4-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, reported that recent flooding has forced Entergy to schedule heavy generation periods and flood gate openings below Carpenter Dam. Area lakes have been brought back to normal levels; however, Lake Ouachita is over 3 feet into the flood pool and all area dams will run large amounts of water thru the system until the big lake falls out of flood pool. This process will take several weeks or longer. Tailrace water is extremely muddy with near zero visibility from the dam to the bridge. Fast water is the norm and, combined with a dangerous cross current created from flood gate openings, has made the area dangerous to fish and navigate in any way. Anyone attempting to navigate the tailrace should do so with extreme caution and only for an emergency situations.
(updated 5-4-2016) Mississippi River State Park
(870-295-4040) said crappie have moved off their beds to about 5 to 10 feet of water. The crappie are biting best on white/chartreuse jigs fished around treetops. Bream are bedded up and biting very well on small black jigs, crickets and worms. Bass have been biting very well on white spinnerbaits.
(updated 5-4-2016) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said crappie have moved off their beds. Bream are moving into the shallows and bedding, so crickets are in high demand right now. Hybrid stripers and largemouth bass have been biting very well, with the largemouths taking green pumpkin and watermelon-colored Texas-rigged worms just off the banks. Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center located in Marianna, off of Arkansas Highway 44 sells live bait as well as a variety of jigs and artificial lures.
(updated 5-4-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said that while some nearby lakes had seen some action, there were no catches out of the bay in the past week due to the rain.