(updated 10-26-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water was stained and at a normal level, while temperature was warm on the surface, mostly in the low 80s. Bream are fair and found about 10 feet off the bank at around 4 feet of depth. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are prominent around the Highway 89 bridge. Fishing for crappie is good on minnows or jigs in white, black or chartreuse colors. Bass are good around the dock area on spinnerbaits and red shad. Catfishing is good on limbs and trotlines using cut bait.
(updated 10-26-2016) Gold Creek Landing
(501-607-0590) reported crappie have been doing well for the past 2-3 weeks. People are catching anywhere from 5 to 25 fish most days, all pretty good-sized fish. They are getting in the pads some and little on the brush piles, but mostly feeding in the pads. Minnows and jigs are both doing well for bait. Pink minnows on some days, while shiners are doing fine, too. Looking like it will be a better season than the last couple of winters. Water level is good, about 5 inches low. Clarity looks good. Temperature is bouncing down, getting below 70.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie fishing was fair using pink or regular minnows, as well as Baby Shad and jigs. Catfishing is excellent on limbs and trotlines using slicks or shad. Nothing else was reported.
(updated 10-26-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said it’s a great time to be on the Little Red River with the trees changing colors and the browns starting to move around. They are receiving sporadic generation during the week creating low water conditions most days. For fly fishing, Myers recommends midges, pheasant tails, sowbugs and streamers. 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 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 10-26-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said that with no generation Friday through Monday the river was low with very little current. This made fishing more difficult and required using smaller flies and tippet. They generated about three hours Tuesday afternoon and were scheduled to generate Wednesday afternoon, so this should improve the bite.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.31 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 460.33 feet msl and falling.The surface temperature is in the low 70s. The fish are just on the verge of breaking wild feeding for all species. We really need some rain, wind and cooler weather to raise the dissolved oxygen content. The hybrid and white bass fishing are good down at different times throughout the day, with some schooling going on. It looks like it’s going to be Nov. 1 before things start happening full swing on the schooling fish. Try fishing and looking 25-40 feet deep for shad, and use in-line spinners, spoons, swimbaits and topwater baits for the best results. The crappie have not gotten in steady mode yet, either, but use pole timber for Road Runners, minnows and jigs in 12-26 feet of water. No report on walleye. The catfishing is going decently all over the lake on your choice of baits on the edge of flats close to deep water for all three species of cats. Bream are guarding fry again and can be caught with small crankbaits, in-line spinners, crickets and crawlers. They are in 0-24 feet of water. The bass fishing is on and off with some night fishing still going well on spinnerbaits, and the day fish scattered and a lot suspended – use topwater baits, C-rigs, Texas rigged worms, swimbaits and Alabama rigs. For the shallow fish, use spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jighead worms.
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 10-26-2016) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is normal and surface temperature is 71 degrees. Bream are good around the banks in 3-4 feet of water, fishing 1 to 2 feet. Bass are doing well on plastic worms and crankbaits. Catfish are slow but still catching them on jugs and yo-yo's using bass minnows and Magic Bait (chicken blood). Crappie are slow but still catching 8-15 a day at different depths, from 4-5 feet and 8-10 feet of water, on jigs and minnows. Looks to be improving daily.
(updated 10-26-2016) Fosters Four Seasons
(501-868-9061) said bream are good around brush piles using worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is good on spinnerbaits and jigs. Catfishing is good using nightcrawlers, spinnerbaits, dough bait and chicken liver. No white bass reports. Fosters has all anglers’ needs in the way of bait and food, and also sells non-ethanol gas.
(updated 10-19-2016) Hatchet Jack's (501-758-4958) said crappie fishing is fair, with crappie in 14-20 feet of water. Use small crappie minnows for bait. Bass are fair around the main lake points on spinnerbaits, Sinkos and jerkbaits. Reports on catfish were fair, with shad, slicks and skipjack working best. Nothing on bream or white bass.
(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 10-26-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said catfish doing fair on chicken livers and bait shrimp. Crappie have been slow; use pink minnows. A few bass have been caught on topwater baits like the Scum Frogs. Bream are fair on crickets and redworms.
(updated 10-26-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said catfishing has been slow, with most trying nightcrawlers. Bream are fair on crickets. Kentucky bass are being caught on bass minnows and brooder minnows, but the fish have been small. No reports of crappie. And a few white bass been caught, which shouldn't even be in the Saline!
(updated 10-26-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said a few crappie have been reported being caught on size 6 crappie minnows. Bream are fair on crickets. Catfish are being caught on nightcrawlers and bass minnows. Bass are baiting plastic worms.
(updated 10-26-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said Lake Winona has been probably the hottest spot as far as crappie go. Some are using bass minnows; others are using size 6 crappie minnows around brush tops. Nothing else has been reported from Winona.
(updated 10-26-2016) Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said few people have been fishing. The AGFC put in 25,000 fingerling bass in the pool recently. The northern largemouth seem to like and adapt to the river 10 times better than the Florida bass do, Charley said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may have found a species that has not been in this part of the river, it looks like a midget shrimp. Black bass are in the backwaters feeding on shad in 3-6 feet of water. A short floating worm in the shadows seems to work best to bring them in. White bass are around the cuts in the riverbank where you have shad. They’re being caught on small crankbaits in Fire Tiger color. Catfish are feeding on shad on the backside of jetties; use white shad to bring them in. A few stripers are being caught on jetty tips on the downriver side. Use live bait, either bass minnows or shad.
(updated 10-26-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley had no report.
(updated 10-19-2016) River Valley Marina
(501-517-1250) said the water is clear and the current and level are normal. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie appear to be picking up and reports were good using minnows. Bass fishing is food on crankbaits. Catfish are biting well on worms, chicken livers and shad.
(updated 10-26-2016) Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said there has been very little to no fishing in his area due to the construction of the Broadway Bridge.
(updated 10-26-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water around Clear Lake is clear and at a normal level, and the fishing is fair for all except catfish, with those reports being poor. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are going after spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Bass seem to pick up around the Terry Lock and Dam, around the jetties, rating good. Crappie are fair in the back edges near the dam. Catfishing near the dam is good on cut bait or shad. Water near the dam is murky and at a normal level and current.
(updated 10-26-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported water is at a normal level and the surface temperature is in the low 80s. Crappie are suspended at about 8-10 feet around rocks and jetties. Use minnows or try jigs in black or chartreuse colors. Bass are good, particularly off the rocks. The fish are about 4-5 feet deep. Soft plastic worms and Brush Hogs in red bug color are working best. Catfishing reports were fair. Catfish are below the Terry Dam and biting cut chad. Bream fishing is poor now.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie fishing is good around the Murray Lock and Dam using white or chartreuse jigs. Catfish are biting well on skipjack and slicks. White bass fishing is good; try a red and chartreuse jig. No reports from that area on bream or bass.
(updated 10-26-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said this is the last week the landing will be open until next Feb. 6. The past week was slow, with poor reports of bream, crappie and bass. Catfishing remains good on blood bait.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie are fair at around the stumps at the end of the lake; use minnows or twister tails. Catfishing is fair on chicken liver, nightcrawlers and shad. No reports on bream or bass.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing is excellent. Use chicken liver, chicken hearts, nightcrawlers or hot dogs.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported excellent catfishing in the past week. Nightcrawlers and chicken hearts were the baits of choice.
(updated 10-26-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish been doing well on chicken livers. Reports of a few crappie being caught.
(updated 10-26-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said water is at a normal level and the surface temperature is in the low 80s. Crappie are suspended at about 8-10 feet around rocks and jetties. Use minnows or try jigs in black or chartreuse colors. Bass are good, particularly off the rocks. The fish are about 4-5 feet deep. Soft plastic worms and Brush Hogs in red bug color are working best. Catfishing reports were fair. Catfish are below the Terry Dam and biting cut chad. Bream fishing is poor now.
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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 654.87 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 10-19-2016) K Dock Marina
reported the lake has been dropping fast the past few weeks at about 1.5 to 2 inches per day. That will make the bite slower. Water temperature has finally started to drop. That should trigger the fish to move up shallower and start feeding before winter. Table Rock Lake is 6.5 feet below normal, which means very minimal water is coming into Bull Shoals. Fishing is always better when we have a flow of water coming over Power Site Dam. All species are slow right now. Water temperature has ranged 70-74 degrees. Water level is 656.3 feet msl and falling (normal for October is 659 feet msl). Water is stained. Black bass are good to fair on topwater baits early morning on the points. Buzzbaits, Spooks and Whopper Ploppers are working well. Heavy jigs, tube baits and Hard Heads with Green Pumpkin plastics are working near the banks on the steep chunk rock bluffs. Also seeing bass being caught on squarebill and medium crankbaits off the bluffs. Spinnerbaits are working when we have windy conditions. (Caught some big smallmouth one afternoon on a ¾-ounce peanut butter and jelly jig about a mile from the dock!). Crappie have been fair to good on live minnows. This should get much better with the water temps dropping as more trees and brush piles appear in shallower water in the coves. Have seen good-sized crappie the past few weeks, but no big limits yet. The front that moved through should bring on some good crappie fishing. Walleye has been fair to slow. Spoons are working in the 20-30 feet range with some short walleye starting to hit crankbaits deep. Bottom bouncing nightcrawlers in the deep cuts on the flats have also worked. This too will get better with the weather change and cooler water temps. Anglers have been spoiled with too many blue bird days. Walleye like to feed in the overcast, cooler conditions. Catfish are good on live bluegill. They’ve seen some really good flathead on trotlines. Let’s hope the gar go deep soon! White bass have been fair to good. Seen several whites being caught by anglers while trolling. With the water level dropping, watch for the whites chasing shad on the flats between K Dock and Beaver Creek. Keep at Rat-L Trap handly. Remember that K Dock has minnows and nightcrawlers for sale through December.
(updated 10-19-2016) Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock
reported water temperatures were about 71 degrees last Saturday and fish are moving. Had some crazy days recently, some cold rain come through, a couple of fronts as well. The thermocline dropped a little bit and the fish are starting to move back some into the creeks. Don’t think the majority of them are back in there, but you can catch them early in the morning. There’s a good topwater bite going throwing a Sammy, a Zara Spook or a Rebel Pop-R. You’ll see ‘em. Y ou might not want to chase ‘em down, but if you get in the vicinity and get it in there, it’s over like that. Drop-shot bite is going. Some of those fish we’re targeting in 26-28 feet of water. We think the thermocline’s dropping a little bit, we’re seeing shad balls in 30-40 feet of water. Really pay attention to your graph. It’s a tough time of the year; you have to put the trolling motor down and keep fishing. If you’ve got wind, you can pick up a spinnerbait, they’re bringing in fish. Still catching fish on jigs, isolated cover is really w here you want to focus. Back into those creeks, if you run around a dock or a channel swing, you want to fish it. Throw a squarebill. A Whopper Plopper is working in the backwater; that’s going to get you your bigger fish. Starting to get a few on the wake-style or the bigger swimbaits in the backwater. Also, with the water coming down, whatever bushes or laydowns are left, those will hold some fish. So if you come across some cover, make sure you’re flipping in every bit that’s there and keep moving. It’s that time of the year, and everything’s changing. The crankbait bite is starting to go but it’s not quite there yet. Picking up a few on Wiggle Wart, the temperature went back up to 80 and was going to be in the 80s the next couple of days, so you have to fish the conditions. If it’s laying flat, pick up some spinnerbaits, a Shaky Head, a drop-shot, whatever to get a bite.
(updated 10-26-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported perfect water conditions, with the level of the river low and 2 generators running. Rainbow trout fishing has been excellent. Use PowerBait. Brown trout appear to be spawning and the fishing was good, though mostly small catches.
Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock
described it as an awesome week on the White River out of Cotter. October has brought a lot of anglers to the Arkansas Ozarks and our natural resources have stayed strong. The rainbows have been healthy and brightly colored – and plentiful! A 6-year-old angler caught a 23-inch rainbow this week! He was pretty excited. The gold and black tiger-striped Rooster Tail has been responsible for some great catches this week as well as the always productive shrimp/PowerBait combos. Orange and lime green are great colors for autumn fishing. Although the spawn has begun for the browns, we've still brought a few to the boat for pictures before releasing. We say, "Get a guide and go." Go fishing. Go catching.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) reported that during the past week, Cotter had about a half-inch of rain, cool temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.5 feet to rest at 4.5 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 40.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.4 feet to rest at 5.9 feet below seasonal power pool and 19.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 5.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation in the afternoon this 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. With cooler fall weather and lower lake levels, we should see more wadable water. On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. We have had no wadable water. 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 cerise San Juan worm with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24-30-foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an 8- or 9-weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.62 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 10-26-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said the Norfork Lake fall bite continues from Cranfield to north of the state line. The water is the coldest above Calamity Beach up to Udall. Stripers are surfacing and feeding on shad both early morning and evening from Calamity Beach to Udall. Walleye are also being caught using crankbaits on the points from the state line to Udall. Tom says he continues to fish in waters that range from 20-30 feet off the channel; the stripers seem to feeding on the flats. The biggest drawback on fishing north is the intense fog that seems to gather up there each morning. The bite is very slow while the fog lasts, with the foggy days being his worst days for landing a limit of stripers. Stripers, whites, black bass and hybrids are schooled on the flats beginning about 1¾ miles from Cranfield Island. Stay in the channel and you will go up about a mile and the lake makes a wide left turn left, then go up another ¾ mile and it turns right. The cove on the left past the turn is a big flat and you should find the fish feeding in water of less than 40 feet. One of Tom’s client called him and was visiting and wanted to go striper fishing. So they set the time and asked if their dog Max could come along. Tom has hunting dogs that are always with him, so he agreed. They made the long ride and hit fog, which slowed us down but was not too bad that day. We started fishing and hooked right away; it’s always funny when a dog sees a fish jump away from the boat. Most just want to lick the fish, and that was Max. All he wanted to do was lick the stripes. The stripers are off the channel and feeding on the flats. Tom said he has seen some of the big schools of the year up there, and when you hit them, the bait goes wild and you usually get multiple hits. They ended up missing their limit by one but sure had a great time with Dale, Debbie and Max. The fall bite has started, so make your plans on the web with www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake! Be sure to read Tom’s Fall Striper tactics; the article can be found on the www.NorforkLakeChamber.com website.
(updated 10-19-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
said Norfork Lake's fall fishing pattern is under way. The lake is finally starting to cool down, but additional cooling is needed to bring on the full-blown fall pattern. Striped bass are biting well up in the coolest water at the Arkansas-Missouri border. Live shad (big ones) are working the best set at 12-18 feet, but trollers are starting to pick up a few fish on big swimbaits. The stripers up north seem to be cruising in the shallow water and not necessarily in the old river channel. A few nice stripers and big hybrids are starting to show up on the big flats from the Cranfield area up to the Red Bank area. Vertical jigging with a spoon is working the best as the fish are hugging the bottom in 30-40 feet of water. The fish are showing up all day long starting at sunrise up to sunset. This doesn't mean they are biting all day long. Over the last week Lou has caught stripers and hybrids at sunrise, at noon and Tuesday he said he found them around 4 p.m. Lou figures you need to fish all day long to be there when they are biting. Just take a cooler along with some water and sandwiches. Lou says he tries to vary the time he’s fishing so he can know what's going on different times of the day. It's a fun time of year when you never know when the bite is going to happen. Lou has a fishing prediction that over the next week the lake will cool to the upper 60s, the lake will finalize its turnover and the striped bass will start to show up on the large flats starting in the Robinson area up to Missouri and also up toward the Fouts area. One of the main reasons he likes to vertical jig with a spoon this time of year is that all species will be found in the same areas and at the same depth. He also likes flat fishing, but it can be a little tedious, so patience and good electronics do help a lot. Over the last week, except for one day up river fishing with gizzard shad, Lou has been vertical jigging flats in 28-40 feet of water. This evening, as well as yesterday morning, Lou landed walleye, white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, hybrids and stripers. What more can a fisherperson ask for? Big schools of fish are just starting to show up and this will be more commonplace as the water continues to cool. The best places for crappie are on brush piles that have been sunk in 25-40 feet of water. The crappie will be anywhere from 10-30 feet down. The hardest part of crappie fishing at this time is finding the best depth to catch the fish. Live minnows are working great, but vertical jigging a small spoon or jigging small plastics tipped with a minnow is also working very well. If it is bluegills you are wanting, work the same brush piles as for crappie, but use crickets for the bait. Largemouth bass are all over the place. You can find them suspended 15-20 feet down off the deep bluff lines. They are also lying on the bottom early and late in the day on the shallow banks. You will also find some nice fish hanging around the crappie brush piles. Crankbaits are picking up some nice suspended fish, and plastics of all kinds are working for the bottom feeders. The bass hanging around brush are hitting spoons or drop-shot rigs. Norfork Lake is falling slowly due to one generator being run for a good portion of the day and the level sits at 552.84 feet msl. The surface water temperature has been on a roller coaster ride. With the very hot days they have recently had, the temperature has risen slightly and Tuesday evening was around 75 with the morning temperature around 73 degrees, which is a couple of degrees rise over the last couple of days. The creeks and coves and main lake flats are stained, with the rest of the main lake clear.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 feet to rest at 0.9 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 27.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation all day with some wadable water. There has been little wadable water on the Norfork. The lake has turned over and there is a sulfur smell on the upper river and with lower dissolved oxygen, in that area, the bite has been slow there. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been the ruby midge.
Berry said 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. 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.
Berry adds, “The proper pair of shoes can be quite an advantage when fishing from a boat. They should provide good solid no slip footing. They should also keep your feet comfortable in wet conditions and cause no harm to your boat. I like them to be able to go on and off easily. I sometimes find myself in my boat moving somewhere to wade. On those occasions, I wear my waders and the choice of boots is critical. Waders can also function as a great pair of rain pants on a stormy day. Whether you are wearing rubber or felt soles, it is important to not wear studded soles in the boat. Not only are they hard on your boats finish they are also subject to slipping. It is like wearing roller skates in the boat. I favor a pair of Korker wading boots, for these occasions. They have soles that can be changed quickly. When in the boat, I wear plain rubber soles that provide solid footing. When I leave the boat, I switch to a pair of studded soles that will provide sure footing on slick wading conditions. When I am fishing on most days, I favor boat shoes. The first ones that I acquired were wading sandals. They were incredibly comfortable. The problem was that I was getting some strange sun burns. With my fair complexion, I needed more foot coverage. I needed a real shoe and not a sandal. I have noticed that a lot of my fellow guides work in flip flops. I know they are cool and comfortable but they do not supply good footing. The other day I noticed one of my fellow guides working on Dry Run creek, in a pair of flip flops. I winced as I watched him walk through a patch of poison ivy. On Dry Run Creek, I wear my waders and will wade out in the stream to net a large trout that just doesn’t want to come in. You can’t do that in flip flops. I found a nice pair of wading shoes that had a slick quick lacing system and were fast drying. They were great in the boat except they had hard black rubber soles that marked my wife, Lori’s, kitchen floor. They had to go! I switched out for some boat shoes of similar design with a nonmarking sole. They were conventional lace ups. I installed a quick lacing system. They are sure-footed and quick-drying. I even wear them in the shop. When the weather turns wet, I switch over to a pair of L.L. Bean duck shoes. They are waterproof and have non-skid soles. I find them to be quite comfortable and they keep my feet dry in a wet boat, with an inch of rain in the bottom (fish bite in the rain). When the weather turns really cold, I have a pair of eight-inch high L. L. Bean duck boots that have a Gore-Tex lining and heavy insulation to keep my feet dry in bitter conditions. They have proved their worth on many occasions. Can the proper footwear help you catch more fish? No. Can the proper footwear make you comfortable and let you stay out there longer? Yes. I hope to see you out there.”
(updated 10-26-2016) 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 10-26-2016) 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 1,115.05 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 10-26-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said fishing was slow for the past week. Water is clear but is low and the surface temperature has been about 69-70 degrees. Bream were fair on crickets. Crappie are around the brush piles and wood structure and are biting minnows, but reports were only fair. Bass are still working early in the morning and late in the day. Topwaters, spoons and drop-shots are working. Catfishing is good. Try live or prepared bait. Walleye fishing has been fair on spoons and jerkbaits.
(updated 10-19-2016) 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 on live shad fished on downlines from 10-60 feet deep, and also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs 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 10-19-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy
(479-244-0039) said water levels continue to be low in the tailwaters. However, that is not stopping the trout bite. Trout are biting various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons are still producing nice fish, too. As reported last week, if you are wade fishing and hear the dam horn, you need to exit to safety. The Inspiration Point Fire Department conducted a second successful river rescue of two fly fishermen who were caught in fast-rising river water. The two fishermen did not exit the river to safety when the dam blew its horn before generation. Not only are you risking your personal safety, but the safety of the rescuers as well. That said, with the current water levels, the fly fishermen can access some really nice spots.
(updated 10-19-2016) Beaver Dam Store
reported fly fishing has been exceptionally good. The brown spawn is just around the corner, as numerous browns have been caught in the tailwaters. When the spawn does occur, be respective of the reds that are being laid. Some quality rainbows have also been caught by fly fisherman. Now that the tailwaters have dropped, many new areas have opened up for the fisherman wading or the bait fisherman looking for a shady bank to sit on. Boaters beware of the low water conditions. Many new gravel bars have exposed themselves causing dangerous conditions. Browns can be caught using midges, streamers, Y2Ks and San Juan worms. For rainbows, try drifting zebra midges, nNymphing and swinging small soft hackles, ccuds 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 are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive or hare's ear, tungsten copper John's, WD40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms. 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 10-26-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water being clear and at a normal level. Surface temperature ranged 68-74 degrees. Bream are good and biting redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on crappie minnows. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is excellent on pretty much any bait. Try worms, blood bait and stink bait for great success.
(updated 10-26-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported that water was clear and surface temperature was 73 degrees. Water was 8 inches below normal level. Crappie are good and biting minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is good on spinnerbaits and topwater baits. Catfish are biting well on chicken liver and shad. No reports on bream.
Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park
said bass are finally making a big appearance at Lake Poinsett. The bass are a good size and they are biting. The minnow sales are picking up. No word on the bream or catfish this week. Lake Poinsett is low, so the best place to put your boat in is at the dam. The weather is perfect for fishing.
(updated 10-26-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water is clear and at a normal level, and the surface temperature was 70 degrees. Bream are good on worms. Bass are really picking up and reports were of good to excellent catches. Crown Lake hosted a bass tournament that reported many good catches. Catfishing is very good on nightcrawlers and chicken liver. Crappie fishing remains poor.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 308 cfs (350 cfs is the norm) and water clarity is clear. The river is low and clear. Over the weekend the cool temperatures had big trout moving. Cold snaps in temps make the big trout come up out of their holes and feed. Hatches of mayflies and caddis flies have been heavy all week. Size 14-16 nymphs and Y2K’s on the hot days have been productive. Sometimes on good hatches a Crawford’s Guppie fly can be a very good choice to imitate the baitfish feeding on the bugs. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets and silver Rooster Tails have worked well on spinning tackle.
(updated 10-26-2016) 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 10-26-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) remained closed and had no report this week.said water is clear and the river is at about 7 feet, which is normal. Crappie fishing is fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are biting crankbaits, plastic worms and grubs and the fishing rated fair. Walleye catches rated poor. No reports on bream or catfish.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team has not been fishing in the immediate area of the river lately with other competitions scheduled. Bass fishing fell off in the Pine Bluff area of the river in late summer, and there have been no reports recently.
(updated 10-26-16) Cane Creek State Park said bream season is dying down in Cane Creek Lake, but crappie are good right now. Crappie are biting on small minnows around the lake’s standing timber early in the day. Only a few bites on catfish have been reported, but catfish will likely pick up this fall. Bass fishing is fair right now, with bites reported on spinnerbaits and minnows near dusk.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said that as of Monday the lake level is near normal conservation pool. There is consistent current in Little River this week, with the gates releasing around 426 cfs as of Monday. Water temperature dropped slightly over the past week and has been ranging 67-75 degrees. Navigation is cautioned for Little River as of Monday due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure. It appears the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues working to replace some river buoys in the channel; however, several are either out of place or missing in the main lake body. Tailwater level is consistent with last week, also, sitting as of Monday at 224.47 feet msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks. Largemouth bass continue improving with the cooler nighttime low temperatures and dropping surface temps over the past week. Most bass have been in good feeding mood 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. Main lake grass beds are also a good choice early if there is good wind blowing in the 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, while Heddon Spit'n Images in threadfin shad patterns and buzzbaits in Spot Remover Firetiger and shad colors are sporadically working. Bass Assassin Shads, soft plastic frogs are all good topwater choices early. Grass beds located along Little River are good locations with a bulky 10-inch Berkley Power Worm, buzzbaits, frogs and Bass Assassin Shads. Good reactions continue on the spoons using a white or smoke colored 2-inch or 3-inch fat, curly tail grub trailer. Best colors of Bass Assassin Shads over the past couple weeks have been Silver Phantom, Salt & Pepper and Houdini in the current water clarity and conditions. Best target areas are working along grass beds in Little River starting in the grass in 1-2 feet and working outward into 8-12 feet of depth, and also around creek mouths dumping into Little River.
Siefert says that whites and hybrids continue roaming Little River, the creek channels and the oxbows, and are hitting the citrus-, Chartreuse Shad- or Tennessee Shad-colored crankbaits. Over the past few weeks, with the heavy cloud cover, the white bass, Kentucky bass and largemouths all were surface-breaking on shad in back of Horseshoe and McGuire up Little River. Those fish were hitting small Ken Pop's, 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. Crappie continue to bite well the past few weeks on Blakemore Road Runners and vertical jigging jigs in planted brush piles from 12-15 feet of depth. There were no report this week for catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 538.48 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
said a fall feeding frenzy with the spotted bass and crappie is underway. He 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 398.35 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 10-26-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is around 70 degrees and the lake is clear throughout. You would almost think you were fishing in some Canadian lake with the absence of fishermen. Now is the time to enjoy the peace and quiet on DeGray. Bass fishing is good but the fish are still running small. Look for surface feeding fish in the abundant shad schools and in the big pockets along the south side between points 2 and 6. Also look for fish in the big coves along the state park between Caddo Bend and the marina. Fish are also showing in the upper part of the lake around Alpine Ridge and Yancey Creek. Big Hill and Brushy creeks are producing some nice catches, but the fish are still small. Try most any topwater plug in a natural shad pattern along with flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. Crappie fishing is picking up with the cooler water, with the upper end of the lake being best. Look for brush attractors off points in 18-25 feet of water. Vertically fish a 2-inch curly tail grub or tube on a 1/16-ounce jighead to just above the thickest part of the brush. Try natural shad colors in clear water and something with chartreuse in stained water. With the transducer on your trolling motor and your sonar properly adjusted, you should be able to see you jig. By seeing the jig you can fish just above the brush and not get "hung up." Also you can watch the fish take the lure. Beats watching TV. Hybrid fishing is slowing with the fish moving out of the deep water due to the deep (50 foot) thermocline starting to dissipate. Now is the time to look for surface feeding fish in the big coves along the south side between points 2 and 6. Some fish also showing at Alpine Ridge and the mouth of Yancey Creek. Now is the time to troll the small umbrella loaded with 4-inch swimbaits. This is a good way to find the schools because lots of water can be covered. Catfish are still biting well at night in Brushy Creek on both noodles and trotlines. Bait with chicken livers, hot dogs, nightcrawlers, stink baits and cut shad. Also try live small bream, gold fish and big minnows.
John Duncan of YoYoGuideService.com at Iron Mountain Marina
begs “summer, summer go away. The heat goes on.” Water temperature is in the mid-70s throughout the lake. Water level is 398.42 feet msl. Thermocline is at 30 feet. Water is clear throughout. The low level of the lake increases safety concerns of running aground. Bream fishing is slow. Best bet is fishing brush piles and rocky points. No report on black bass. Surfacing fish throughout lake but not staying up long, Topwater baits like the Sun Gal are getting good results. Hybrids are coming up at the mouth of Ozan. Crappie are moving to shallow water. Minnows fished over the top of brush piles are the best option. Crappie can be caught in depths of 5 feet over the brush piles. Cast a minnow-tipped jig and retrieve over the tops. Catfishing is slower and there are fewer fishermen, too. The lake levels being this low allow some opportunity. Short trotlines fished around stump fields with live baits is a way of getting a big one on.
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
said crappie are biting great on live bait in 8-12 feet over brush piles in 13-15 feet of water.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 337.23 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 10-19-2016) 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, and the shop is closed
Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) had no report.
(updated 10-26-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
said water is low but clear, with a surface temperature ranging 68-70 degrees. Bream reports noted small fish but the fishing was good nonetheless. Worms and crickets were both getting bites. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. A 7-pound bass highlighted some of the good catches of the past week. Bass rated good with buzzbaits and other lures working well. Catfishing is fair on trotlines using shrimp or shad. There were no white bass reports.
(updated 10-26-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperature is in the lower to mid-70s. The river is dirty with sporadic flow, and some creeks are dingy to heavy stained. Fishing has been hit and miss due to the dirty water and the sporadic flow. Largemouth bass have been caught using topwater baits such as frogs, buzzbaits, chatterbait with a scam shad trailer, spinnerbaits and Rat-L Traps. On the tough days, slow down and work the bottom with jigs and plastics. Striped bass have been slow. Stick to swimbaits, crankbaits and Rat-L Traps. When they moved to the surface, topwater popper baits will work great. White bass have been slow in the river, with the better bite in the creeks on crankbaits and Rat-L Traps. The surface bite has been on poppers. Crappie have been taken on Fire Tiger jigs and minnows in 8 feet of water in submerged trees. Catfish have been good on worms, stink bait and cut bait, perch and shad. Bream have been good around lily pads with crickets and worms.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 570.87 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort
(870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said water is clear and the level was at 570.79 on Tuesday. Surface temperature has ranged from 68 to 72 degrees. Black bass are good and being caught with spybaits and topwaters fished over main lake and secondary points. Walleye are fair and are being caught jigging CC Spoons. Stripers are good on live bait. The central area of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are slow. Crickets, maggots and red worms are best fished 20 - 25 feet deep. Crappie are good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-25 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are slow. Try nightcrawlers, trotline minnows or crickets in depths of 15-20 feet. Call Mountain Harbor guides Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104 to set up a trip or for more information.
David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said the weather has been great but the high pressure has made fishing tough. Finding fish has been hard; getting them to bite is even harder. Hoping a change in pressure will bring the striper around.
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. A fall feeding frenzy is under way in all the lakes Morris has been fishing, he said.
(updated 10-26-2016) 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 summertime 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. The rainbow trout season is over until mid-November when the stocking program begins again. The vast majority of trout have either been caught migrated away from the dam. The few fish that remain are extremely wary and almost impossible to catch. A five-foot drawdown is scheduled for Lake Catherine beginning Nov. 1 and should be completed on Nov. 10, remaining 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 week. 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 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 383.76 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
No fishing reports were recorded.
Natalie Carter, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040)
, said fishing don’t seem to be biting of late. They are hoping to see an upswing in reports when the fall cycle kicks in.
(updated 10-26-16) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) reported there has been some bite on live bait but mostly the weekends have been lackluster in terms of reported catches. They hope to see it pick up once the weather levels back out.
(updated 10-26-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported clear water at a low level. No temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair; stink bait has been working best of late.