(updated 1-25-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water is its usual same ol', same ol' for this time of year in level and temperature. Crappie remain good, especially around and under the Highway 89 bridge where several pelicans have made a home for most of January, thanks to the shad. Minnows and jigs (white/chartreuse or black/chartreuse) are the best bait. Bass are still fair. Catfish reports remain excellent, with all kinds of bait bringing in the cats. No report on bream.
(updated 1-18-2017) Gold Creek Landing
(501-607-0590) reported that crappie have been biting well on minnows and jigs fished at various depths. Other species are slow. Reports on catfishing are good, though.
(updated 1-25-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Little Red is currently receiving power generation on weekdays and sporadic generation on weekends. This pattern is providing excellent wading opportunities on all sections of the river. With the current lake level below seasonal pool, and decreased need of power generation due to warmer than normal temperatures, expect this pattern to continue until significant rainfall is received to push the Greers Ferry Lake level above seasonal pool. Some of the flies doing well are midges, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. For Trout Magnet fishing, white and cotton candy-colored bodies on gold jigheads are recommended. 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 1-25-2017) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said they have missed the heavy rains and the river is clear. After a couple of days of no generation, we are back to morning generation starting about 6 a.m. to 9 or 10 a.m. On Greg’s trip a week ago Sunday, he said he had good luck fishing midge pupas in the morning and in the afternoon the bite switched to mayfly emergers. Stripping a size 16 emerger slowly under the surface after making a swing presentation worked well. All rainbows with the exception of a couple of 13-inch browns. The river was low all day due to no generation.
Greg also said he would be offering a free fly-fishing class beginning Thursday, Feb. 16, and running for four consecutive weeks, with each class meeting on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The class is open to all beginning and novice fly fishing (older youths and adults). Younger youths are welcome if accompanied by an adult. No fishing tackle is required, but if anyone has a question about their personal rod, reels of flies, bring them to the class and Greg will answer any questions. The class will be held at First United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center in Heber Springs. Those planning to attend should contact Greg in advance to reserve a spot. If you cannot attend all the classes, Greg still urges you to register and feel free to attend the classes you can. There is no cost for the classes.
(updated 1-25-2017) James Dillard
at Tailwater Fishing Co.
said the fishing has been great and consistent. They have been getting 2-4 hours of water release each morning, which has allowed for both drift-fishing from boats and wading possible if you follow the dropping water levels. The hot flies have been sowbugs and egg patterns. Pink, white and sassy-colored Trout Magnets have been catching lots of fish, too.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 455.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake has come up some but is back falling and is almost 7 feet below normal pool and looks like it will get back down past 7 feet below normal pool at least. The fishing over all is good. Most species are eating well and the forecast is on the upswing as we enter all pre-spawn phase. The crappie are moving with the bait around the timber and brush piles. Most are being taken 40 feet deep with some as shallow as 18-20 feet on warm sunny days, suspended. They will eat minnows, jigs and Road Runners. The walleye are responding to the sunny days, feeding and moving. Try as shallow as 10-15 feet and as deep as 40 feet, and use minnows, jigs and spoons. Some bream are being taken along with the crappie all over the lake on small minnows. No reports on Catfish. The bass fishing is pretty good over all with it being the time of year to catch a few big species. Some have moved shallow with the rising water; use spinnerbaits, small crankbaits for the shallow ones. The in-between fish can be caught on jigs and jighead worms. The deeper fish out to 70 feet can be caught with a drop shot, C-rig or a football head jig. The hybrid and white bass are eating threadfins all over the lake at various times of the day and can be located close to the deeper bait as deep as 70 feet or some as shallow as 35-40; use spoons, in-line spinners, hair jigs and swimbaits.
(updated 1-25-2017) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort
(501-889-2745) said crappie and catfish reports were OK, but it's the bass that are being caught now. Use a jig; bass results were good. Catfish were fair. Crappie were fair.
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting great on BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Crystal, bone/chartreuse, Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and shad. Bass are hitting buzzbait, worms and minnows. White bass are biting Great Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’rs, Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting crickets and worms.
(updated 1-25-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is still up but clarity is good. Bream are slow but still catching on Trout Magnets (chartreuse and white with crappie nibble). Bass are slow; only one boat fished so far. Crappie are slow but some are still being caught in the early morning and late evening on jigs and minnows. Catfish are doing well around brush and in deeper water on trotlines. We had a 25-pound flathead brought in Sunday.
Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the lake has been repaired but there is not much water in it yet. The lake is about 8-9 feet below normal level. Surface temperature was 48 degrees. Crappie are fair and bass are fair.
(updated 1-25-2017) Jolly Roger’s Marina
reported black bass are good and biting on wacky rig worms and jigs. Blacks can be caught in 25-30 feet on drop-offs and creek edges. Limits are being caught. Kentucky bass are good and being caught on jigs. They can be found in 30 of water mixed in with the blacks. The white bass catch has been very good of late. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons or deep diving Bandits and Bombers. They are scattered all over the lake and are being caught in large quantities. Crappie fishing is excellent. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (chartreuse and white with very light line). Crappie are 20-30 feet deep, at the tops of structure near the edges of the channels and on the old road beds. Lots of 11-14-inch crappie being caught, should be so great winter fishing. Bream are slow and Roger has heard no reports. Catfishing is also slow, but what are being caught are in 25 feet of water. Use stink bait, small bream or chicken livers.
(updated 1-11-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on Baby Shad, minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r baits. White bass are biting on Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow.
(updated 1-25-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting slow but some are hitting pink and No. 6 minnows. Bass are biting minnows and some jigs and grubs. Catfish have been biting nightcrawlers and stink baits. Bream fishing has been slow.
(updated 1-25-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting fair on nightcrawlers & bait shrimp. Bream have been biting slow on crickets and worms. Crappie and bass have been biting minnows.
(updated 1-25-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said bass have been biting well on minnows, plastic lizards, brush hogs and small crankbaits. Catfish are biting minnows, black salties and goldfish on trotlines. Crappie have been biting well on No. 6 and pink minnows. Walleye fishing has been fair to good for some using brooder minnows. Bream will bite crickets or redworms.
(updated 1-25-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting fair on nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream fishing has slowed but some nice ones are still being caught deep with crickets and worms. Bass are biting fair on minnows and Texas rigged plastics. No reports of crappie being caught.
(updated 1-25-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said no reports have come from the lake. The water level is still extremely low.
(updated 1-11-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said few people have been fishing due to the weather. Catfish are in deeper holes, mostly in the holes on the downstream side of jetties. Use skipjack and nightcrawlers for best results. Sauger are on the front side of Lock and Dam No. 9. Fish the jetty tips in the swirl. Throw downstream with a speck rig and pull through the swirl. Duck hunting has been really good this year with a great deal of all species. Mallards have moved in. I have never seen all the species as there has been all season. Please, hunters, pick up your shells and trash. Also, we had a truck and trailer slide off the ramp. Remember that when you get at the end of the ramp, where the water is, you can stop. Have a safe and happy new year.
(updated 1-11-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Cody Kelley Guide Service (501-733-5282), reported that the current river flows are fairly slow. Water temps have been hovering around 48-52 degrees depending on if you are in the main river or backwaters. As for bass fishing, slower flows have allowed some of the backwaters to clear up slightly compared to the main river. Many of the backwater areas will be slightly warmer and hold a few fish. Try slow-rolling spinnerbaits and squarebills to find areas with fish, then pick them apart with jigs and plastics. The crappie bite has been slow lately. Some can be caught on black and chartreuse tube jigs dipped around deeper backwater brush. The catfish bite is consistent right now. Most fish are holding in the deeper main river holes. Cody has been using cut bait mainly, but he says he’s sure other things would work. He adds, “It won't be long now until the bite really starts to take off for all species!!”
(updated 1-25-2017) River Valley Marina
(501-517-1250) said all the rain has turned the water murky or stained. The fishing should pick up in a few days, but for now the crappie are biting OK.
(updated 1-18-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie fishing is good near Murray Lock and Dam. Best success has been with white tube jigs. White bass are excellent and are biting twister tails.
(updated 1-25-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie fishing is excellent below the Murray dam on white/chartreuse jigs. White bass reports were excellent below the dam using 3-inch white grubs and chartreuse grubs. Black bass are fair on soft plastics. Catfishing has been OK. No reports on bream.
Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff
(501-834-5733) said crappie fishing is good off the jetties with jigs. Other than crappie, it’s slow for everything else. No reports on bream, bass or catfish. (updated 1-25-2017)
McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said that in the Terry Lock and Dam area, crappie are good on the edges of the dam. Bass are fair on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good by the dam. In the Clear Lake portion of the pool, bream are poor. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish reports in that portion are poor.
(updated 1-25-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie fishing is excellent below the Murray dam on white/chartreuse jigs. White bass reports were excellent below the dam using 3-inch white grubs and chartreuse grubs. Black bass are fair on soft plastics. Catfishing has been OK. No reports on bream.
(updated 1-25-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed until Feb. 6.
Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock
(870-435-6525) said they’ve had a week of trying many baits and lures (silver/black or blue back rogues, No. 7 brown trout countdowns, and smaller Husky jerks), spinners (Blue Fox 3/16-ounce gold and bronze), jigs (olive or black), live bait (minnows and sculpins), shrimp and PowerBait in several colors (fluorescent yellow, orange, sunrise and pink). Everything caught some rainbows. Sculpin remained the winner for browns and larger rainbows, and shrimp sniffed out more keeper-sized rainbows. During the last several days we've seen perfect wading levels early in the morning, then it’s time to hop in a boat to fish the afternoon rise. Get out there and have a great catch!
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said that during the past week, they have had a few rain events (for a combined total of an inch in Cotter), cold then warmer temperatures and very heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.2 feet to rest at 9.3 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 45.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.3 feet to rest at 7.6 feet below seasonal power pool and 23.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 9.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 19.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had a mixed bag with levels of wadable water mixed with periods of moderate generation. The catch and release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31 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. They have had more 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 in 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 size 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it).
(updated 1-25-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort
(870-453-2424) said that when the catch-and-release section is reopened Feb. 1, they should start having more anglers. The fish are out there, though, and are "jumping like crazy everywhere."
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 649.99 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 1-25-2017) K Dock Marina
is closed for the season until March 3.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 547.94 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 1-25-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said Norfork Lake surface temperature is steady at 48 degrees and the stripers are getting picky on the size of bait they want to eat. Tom said he has been fishing threadfin shad, shiners and creek chubs. Up to the end of this week the bite has been very good, but starting Thursday they quit biting the smaller baits and now want the largest shiners you can find. These shiners are call brooders or No. 30s by the bait shops. The stripers are biting on them much better than the small baits. Tom fished the Howard Cove area Wednesday and Thursday and caught stripers and hybrids, but by Friday they had moved out into the main lake below the U.S. 62 bridge. The stripers are roaming the deep water chasing shad so you will need to stay with the bait fish to find and catch the stripers. The shad are in the 40-feet range and the fish are being caught between 35 and 40 feet. This bite should continue into February. Just keep looking in the main channels until you can find a consistent amount of shad. The stripers and other predators will show up. Tom also says he attends sports shows every year to visit and talk with potential clients that would like to fish Norfork Lake. The first one is in Collinsville, Ill., and the other is in Schaumburg, Ill. Every year you meet clients and other fishing guides and start developing a relationships. One such relationship Tom made was with two crappie guides, Steve and Alan. Steve and Alan guides on Lake Shelbyville and Kentucky Lake. Alan is also the Lowrance Rep. Having them on his boat for two days gave Tom some great insights into electronics and how better he can use technology to locate bait and fish. The first day out was their best day, he said. They caught five stripers and missed many more. In the eight hours they fished they had some great stories and shared information on lots of topics. They fished the Howard Cove area in 70-90 feet of water with lines set at 38 feet. They were using shiners, shad and creek chubs. The next day was slower and they only caught three but again missed a few. This time of year you have to just keep going out and find the bait. One day it will be great and then the next two days slow. But keep doing it and you will figure out the fish and catch them consistently.
(updated 1-25-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
said Norfork Lake's winter fishing pattern is in full swing. The bait fish are in the deep water channels of 80-100-plus feet and the bait are suspended 50-70 feet down. Striped and hybrid bass can be found following the bait fish whether it is on the main lake or back in the major creeks. For most of last week, Lou said, he was fishing in the 62 bridge area, mainly to the south of the bridge. Later in the week the fish moved in between the two bridges. Earlier this week he was only marking a few stripers, so after a couple hours of looking and fishing with minimal success he decided to move into Float Creek. Immediately he was marking large balls of shad with small schools of stripers following. For the next hour it was total havoc on my boat. He said he was by himself with four live bait poles out. He had doubles on several times and ended up boating five stripers, but missed as many. He had bait set at 40, 50 and 60 feet deep, but all his strikes came from the 40- and 50-feet-deep baits even though he was marking many fish 60-plus-feet deep. This day was the first in over a week that vertical jigging with a spoon would have worked great, because he saw multiple fish at one time at same depth. Large shiners, big river chubs and threadfin shad are the best choices for live bait. Lou had to clean one striper because it could not swim away and Lou found that its belly was full of 1-3-inch threadfin shad. If this winter is typical, the fish should stay at this depth and in these areas for the next 3-4 weeks. Toward the end of February and beginning of March the major creeks will be great places to look. The fish will start to go toward shallower water following the bait. Small and largemouth bass, as well as, Kentucky bass fishing has also been good. The bass can be found along the deep water bluff lines. I have found many bass suspended 30-50 feet down in 60 feet of water. Early and late in the day they are moving in a little tighter to the shore line 15-25 feet deep, but still on the bluffs. You can vertical jig with a spoon, but this method can be difficult with suspended fish. Try casting out a grub, small spinners or blade baits to catch these suspended fish. On the windy days throw a spinner bait. Jig & pigs, other types of plastics and deep-diving crankbaits are also good choices for the fish that move in tighter to the shore early and late in the day. Another good place for the Kentucky and largemouth bass is near deep brush piles. Work the bottom with a spoon around the brush and you will pick up some nice fish.
Lou added that crappie are on and near the deep water brush piles. Look at sunken brush in 30-50 feet of water. The crappie will be inside of the brush (these are typically the bigger ones) as well as suspended over the brush. At times you will find them only 10 feet deep, but he has more success at 20-plus feet deep this time of year. The Norfork Lake level is currently stable, but has been falling slowly and sits at 547.88. The water temperature is fluctuating between 48-50 degrees. The warm days and nights are rising the water temperature slowly. The main lake is clear in most areas and the creeks and coves are stained. Currently Norfork Lake is in excellent fishing condition and the fish that Lou has been catching are fat and energetic. Make your plans now to come catch a few!
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake dropped 0.6 feet to rest at 6 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 32.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation with more wadable water. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a yellow egg with a root beer midge dropper. 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.
Berry also relates, “Last Sunday I had the day off. Blue Ribbon Fly Shop was closed and I did not have a guide trip scheduled. I checked the weather and found out that the high temperature would be in the 50s with little if any wind. The rainfall originally forecast seemed to be falling well north of us in Missouri. In addition, the generation forecast called for low wadable water, on the Norfork, all day. My wife, Lori, suggested that it would be a great day for us to go fishing. I quickly agreed. Lori’s friend Sherri Poulus joined us. We drove over to the Ackerman Access, on the Norfork. Although the parking lot was crowded, there did not seem to be many anglers there particularly upstream in the Catch and Release section. Lori and Sherri decided to fish near the access while I headed upstream. I was fishing a Sage Light Line fly rod that I had inherited from my brother, Dan, a couple of years ago; this was my first chance to fish with it. I had a rod just like it but broke it. That is another story. I found my favorite spot empty. I have pulled more big fish out of this hole than any other spot on the Norfork and I always try to spend at least an hour here, whenever I fish this river. I rigged my rod with a big yellow egg with a root beer midge below it. I quickly lost a big fish when it made a long run. I never got a good look at it but I could tell it was stout. Then I landed a decent cutthroat (around sixteen inches long). I was feeling a bit better about my chances. A few casts later I hit a really good trout. After a lengthy battle, I landed a fat twenty-inch rainbow. On the next cast, I caught its twin. That was two twenty inch rainbows in two casts. I caught a few more trout before I decided to move on.
“I worked my way downstream to another spot that I like to fish. Unfortunately, there was an angler fishing near there and I did not want to crowd him. I went to another spot not too far away. Before I made a cast, I noted that he had moved out. He was sitting on the bank re-prigging his rod. I walked over to the angler and asked if I could fish there. He said, “Sure.” He had not done any good and was ready to leave. I waded over to the spot and on the third cast hit a beautiful 20-inch cutthroat. It took a while but I finally landed the fat fish. I took a minute to take a photo of the trout. I asked if he wanted to try the spot. I had my fun and was ready to share. I took a minute to show him how I was rigged and exactly how I had fished the hole. It was time to check on Lori and Sherri. I began fishing my way out and picked up a few more trout. When I had almost caught up to them I hooked and landed a Bonneville Cutthroat. These are the trout that Trout Unlimited had planted in the Norfork and White rivers as eggs a few years ago; this is the first one I have caught in some time and it was magnificent. It was a fat 11-inch cut with spectacular blood-red fins and vivid slashes under its chin. It was the most beautiful cut that I had ever caught. I wanted to take a photo but I was in heavy water and did not want to take a chance of injuring it. I linked up with the girls. They had not done as well as I had, so we walked back upstream where I had fished earlier. By then I felt like I had caught enough. I sat on the bank and watched them fish. They caught several, but no big fish. Around 5 o’clock we headed out. It had been a great day and I had the hot hand. I even out fished Lori. Life is good!”
(updated 1-25-2017) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is navigable. With cold weather, the smallmouths are much less active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 1-25-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the creek is navigable. With cold weather, the smallmouths are much less active. Berry’s 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 1,111.12 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 1-25-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water clarity is normal and the lake is down about 7 feet from normal conservation pool there. Crappie fishing has been good in about 8-10 feet depth around brush piles. Use minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is good using jerkbaits and Alabama rigs. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 1-25-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) said striper activity forecast for the week is good. Stripers are in the creek arms and on the feed. Some Beaver Lake striper are using gravel bars, points, humps, tree tops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing free lines and lightly weighted downlines will definitely get you some fish. There has been some topwater activity from striper and white bass. Beaver lake striper fishing will be GOOD with striper taken on live shad fished on free lines and downlines from the surface down to about 20 feet deep; also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, and 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 plane boards with snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Topwaters like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks, Pencil Poppers, etc. Have them tied on and ready. 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 the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike’s website. Water surface temperature is in the low 40s. On the mid- and lower sections, check out these hot spots: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6 (check 5-35 feet or water for striper), Rambo Creek Arm (5-35 feet of water), Rocky Branch (back of Larue cove in 5-35 feet depth), Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue (5-35 feet depth), Coppermine (5-35 feet of water), Ventris, Shaddox Hollow (5-35 feet depth). In the upper section, check out Highway 12 bridge (5-35 feet of water), Prairie Creek (5-35 feet depth), Coose Hollow (5-35 feet depth), Blackburn Creek (5-35 feet depth), Beaver Shores (5-35 feet of water), Mont Ne (5-35 feet depth), Hickory Creek (5-15 feet depth), War Eagle (5-15 feet depth) and the War Eagle/White River junction (Point 12) in 5-15 feet of water, as striper are making their way up the creek arms. Keep eyes out for surfacing fish.
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. Use 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, Bandit 300 series in colors that include orange and chartreuse.
Also 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 combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 1-18-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy
(479-244-0039) said that after taking some time off to let an injured shoulder mend, he found some time to fish the past week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is generating early in the morning and finishing up around noon. Water levels are low, so bank fishing is the way to go. Fishing between Spider Creek and the dam has produced the best results, with light terminal tackle and various PowerBaits. Throwing ¼-ounce spoons has
also produced some nice fish. Furthermore, if you can sneak in before daylight hours and generation, you have the opportunity to hook up with some nice brown trout around Spider Creek. Austin says he has not had the opportunity to fish Houseman, down to Beaver town yet.
(updated 1-25-2017) Beaver Dam Store
reported that the cold weather is keeping many fishermen out of the water. The trout don't seem to mind, though. You can still catch a limit; however, the take has slowed down considerably. Norfork dumped trout last Thursday. Water levels remain low and many areas are accessible for the individuals that wish to wade fish. Conventional fisherman can appreciate the abundance of river banks that are accessible.Midges, scuds, San Juans, peach micro-egg patterns, Hare's ears and nymphs are working well. Good lures typically 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; WD40s; Trout Magnets; and San Juan worms.
(updated 1-25-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that bass are taking to crawfish lately as well as spinnerbaits, and the results overall have been fair. Crappie are biting frozen minnows and jigs. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 1-25-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) has reopened after the winter break and reported clear water with a surface temperature of 48 degrees. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass were good on plastic worms and jigging frogs. Catfish reports were good using chicken livers. No report on bream.
Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park
said that due to the great weather, the fishermen are getting out there on Lake Poinsett. They are buying nightcrawlers and minnows. The lake is still low, so the best place to put in is at the dam.
(updated 1-25-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said no one had been fishing recently.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 320 cfs and clear. The river is looking great. Big nymphs and Woollies have been hot this week. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets are working well for spin fishing.
(updated 1-25-2017) John Berry in Cotter
said the Spring 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 1-25-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said water is clear and about average. Nobody has been reporting any catches, however.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team reported water temperatures are in the upper 40s to around 50. Water visibility is low throughout, up to about 1 foot at best. Black bass, as you'd expect, are slow. However, when you get a bite it is usually a quality-sized fish. Focus on the steeper rock banks next to deep water in Lake Langhofer. Dark-colored jigs and crankbaits worked very slowly along the rocks will get a few bites. The fish are more active mid-day when the water temperature increases slightly.
(updated 1-25-2017) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said the water is high and murky because of the rainfall recently; visibility is low. Crappie are fair and biting on minnows and spinnerbaits. Catfish are fair and are reported biting on worms. Worms and stink bait are available at the state park bait shop. This week, the fishing has been better out on the lake instead of at the fishing piers. However, with the water so muddy, any spot is worth a try right now.
(updated 1-25-2017) Matthew C. Gillum, the ranger at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705), had no report.
(updated 1-25-2017) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.82 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.32 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said the lake level Monday was about 9 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. There is increased current this week in Little River, with the gates releasing around 5,890 cfs as of Monday. Water temps were stable over the past week, ranging 45-52 degrees. Navigation is improved for Little River; it appears the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers replaced many river buoys in the channel over the past couple of weeks. Tailwater level as of Monday was 233 feet msl. Clarity and visibility has been consistent over last couple weeks; on the main lake structure in as about 4-8 inches Monday due to high wind, current and rain over the weekend. Little River’s visibility ranges 3-5 inches depending on location and current, with heavier stain and muddy waters in the current above White Cliffs. The oxbow’s clarity is about 10-15 inches. Bass are good on the few warmer days, from around 3-7 pounds on jigs, crankbaits, bulky tubes and swimbaits. Bass continue holding during the coldest parts of the day and nights in deeper holes and ditches along Little River and the deeper sections of the oxbows and creeks. Over the past few days they were roaming up into the flats for short duration where a jig and a random crankbait and squarebill or slow swimbait would get their attention during the highest sun/warmest period of the day. Most bass have slowed their feeding moods over the past few weeks with the lower metabolism and colder body temperatures in the cooler water. Good starting locations include points extending out into Little River during the warmest period of daylight, and working the deeper drops into Little River where stumps and any remaining dead or dying lily pad stems and vegetation exists. During majority of daylight hours now the bass are spending more time in the 12-15-foot depths of deeper creek channels and Little River drop-offs. Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working with the best colors being Texas Craw, Candy Bug or Okeechobee Spice colors using black craw worm trailers. Berkley 10-inch Power Worms in black grape or blue fleck continue working around any remaining vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. Bass Assassin and Bang swimbaits like the Die Dapper in Ice Breaker, Shiner and Houdini colors are working on a swimbait hook. The Bass Assassin Boss Shiner is also working on a swimbait hook or jig, swimming in 8-10 feet of depth, with the best colors being Mama's 14K, Houdini/Chartreuse tail or Ripper colors. The 1.75 Echo Squarebill crankbaits in Gold Shad, Millwood Magic, and Rayburn red colors are working on points and in creek channels, dumping into Little River during warmest period of daylight. The bite has slowed and aggressive levels tapered off over the past few weeks of cold nights and cool mornings. Best bites using crankbaits is a very S-L-O-W stop-n-go retrieve with numerous pauses along the way. Deeper diving, 8-10 feet depth Bomber cranks in Tennessee Special, Tennessee Shad or Bandit brown craw/orange belly colors continue to be best choices in the oxbows and in the deeper creek channels over the past several weeks by largemouths and white bass alike.
Siefert added that jigging spoons in 12-18 feet depths of Little River are still working for white bass. Deep holes in Little River just out of the current, or behind secondary points, continue to hold a few good schools of whites in 12-18 feet. Keep sharp hooks on the spoons; the bite of whites this time of year is slow and methodical, and a soft touch rod helps keep in contact with a slow and soft bite. Crappie were willing to bite minnows and jigs before the recent increase in current, but seem to have disappeared along Little River with all the muddy current over the past few days. Best action before the lake rise and current increase was in 12-18 feet as long as it was out of direct current. Cordell Paddle Tail Smoke Grubs on light wire jigheads, vertical jigging Blakemore Road Runners, and hair jigs were catching some nice slabs in planted brush between 12-18 feet deep. Blues and channel cats continue to bite well in Little River with the increased current. Best bites are on trot lines set at 12-15 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using chicken gizzards, livers and cut bait.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 541.55 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 403.95 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 1-25-2017) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 50s and the lake is clear up to Point 14 and slightly stained farther up. Bass fishing is good for both numbers and quality with lots of 3- and 4-pound fish reported. Best fishing has been in the upper part of the lake between Point 15 and Cox Creek. Look for fish on both main lake and secondary points in big coves. Throw a lipped or lipless crankbait in a natural shad with some chartreuse. Also, there are quite a few nice Kentucky bass showing along the bluff banks in about 20 feet of water. Try a Texas rigged 4-inch finesse worm in either green pumpkin or red shad. Try the bluffs at Point 15 and the west side of Goat Island. Crappie fishing remains good on the deep attractors at 22-28 feet on the main lake. Like bass, best areas are in the upper end around Shouse Ford and Point Cedar. As the season progresses the fishing will move down lake, but for now stick with the upper reaches. Best pattern has been dropping a 2-inch tube lure on a 1/16-ounce jighead to the top of the brush and moving around the attractor very slowly. By far the best color has been black with a chartreuse tail. The bite will be very light in the cold water, so pay close attention to your line; if you detect the slightest movement, set the hook. Also don't forget the crappie nibble, also in chartreuse. Hybrid fishing is fair with the fish scattered between Point 15 and Point Cedar. A good area to start would be the big flat on the west side of Goat Island. Because the fish are scattered, trolling is the best pattern. The small 5-arm umbrella loaded with 4-inch swimbaits is hard to beat. The fish will be suspended at about 15 feet, so be sure the rig is running just above the fish. Also, quite a few white bass are mixed in with the hybrids. A few bream are mixed in with the crappie, but with the cold water, this fishing has slowed. Try redworms and crickets. Sometimes a crappie nibble on a No. 8 hook is hard to beat.
Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
reported white bass are starting to move toward the river.
Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastics. Crappie are slow, but a few are being caught in lakes and the old riverbed. No report on bream or catfish.
(updated 1-11-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said a few crappie being caught on shiners. No reports on bass or catfish.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said Crappie are starting to school together and anglers are having some success on live baits fishing the edges of channels where there is structure (i.e. stumps). Fishing seems to be the best around 3-5 feet deep and the last report Jaret got was that bass minnows were doing the trick. No report on other species at this time.
(updated 1-18-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
said fishing is very slow and there have been no reports.
(updated 1-11-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said catfish are biting minnows and worms. Bream are working with crickets and worms. The bass are biting of late.
(updated 1-25-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 48 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The five foot winter drawdown is in place until early March so waders and boaters should use extreme caution when navigating the channels below the dam. Fast currents and slick rock structure make the entire area very dangerous especially when the turbines are running. Rainbow trout are plentiful in the tailrace from the dam to the bridge with thousands of fish thriving in the nutrient-rich water. Thousands more trout are scheduled to be stocked this month which will make fishing opportunities excellent for area anglers. Fly fishermen are able to access areas that hold good numbers of trout and are recording limits by casting micro-jigs in black or white colors with a strike indicator. Current is key so targeting the head and rear sections of shoals has produced the best results. Olive-colored Woolly Buggers and black midges have also taken trout in the 15-inch class. Egg patterns in yellow or white will often draw strikes from finicky fish that refuse other offerings. Bank fisherman have done well on live-bait presentations such as wax and meal worms, redworms, crickets and small live minnows. Whether fished just off the bottom or under a bobber, these baits are proven trout killers in slack or moving water situations. Spin fishermen have accounted for the largest trout caught in the last several weeks by using Super Dupers and Rooster Tails in white or silver colors. These lures imitate a dying shad and often attract larger rainbows that feed on the bait fish drawn thru the turbines from Lake Hamilton. Trolling shallow running crankbaits against the current below the bridge is highly effective during periods of current flow. Shad killed from the freezing temperatures provide large amounts of food for all the tailrace gamefish and should be imitated by anglers serious about catching numbers of rainbow trout. No reports of striper or white bass caught near the dam. This can change overnight as more and more trout are stocked in the area. Shad are plentiful during freezing temperatures which will attract numbers of bass in any weather or current flow. The walleye spawn will be begin the second week of February with the smaller males migrating in first to prepare the beds for the females. At present, rainbow trout are king below Carpenter Dam.
(updated 1-18-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479 647-9945) said water temperature is in the mid-to-upper 40s. Water clarity is good. Crappie fishing has been good in the creeks 40 feet deep up to 20 feet on black/chartreuse or chartreuse/white jigs and minnows. Success has been found in 8-10 feet depth in the river around brush, and bridge piers have been producing in the river. Bass fishing has been good on jerkbaits, crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, jigs and Bamboozie, and scram shad. Bream have been fair in some of the creeks with brush; use crappie jigs. White bass and stripers has been fair on Bucktail jigs, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits on an Alabama rig. Catfishing has been fair on River Point with cut shad and skipjack.
Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
reported water is warming and the bass and crappie are starting to move up
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 339.23 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 1-25-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) had no report.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no reports. Activity is very slow.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 570.43 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort
(870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said black bassBlack bass are still fair and being caught with pig-n-jigs fished near brush 12-25 feet deep or drop-shot rigs. No report on walleye. Stripers are fair on live bait or trolling jigs. The central area of the lake is still the best area for these fish. No report on bream. Crappie are still fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. No report on catfish. Water surface temperature is 44-50 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – to book a trip or for more information.
David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said LOSBA members report the lake is cloudy with viability around 2-4 feet below the surface. Surface temperature is 51-53 degrees. It was hard to find schools of striper but they are around. Saturday didn't bring any bites on live bait, but David said he did hear some were caught with spoons. The unusually warm weather has striper patterns messed up, so think outside the box and happy fishing.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.80 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00).
No fishing reports were recorded.
(updated 1-18-2017) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported water being clear and the level is low. No specific temperature was recorded other than “it’s cold!” Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass bite is good on spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Catfishing is good on worms and blood bait.