Trout Are in Place for Thanksgiving Holiday Fun
Trout Are in Place for Thanksgiving Holiday Fun
November 23, 2016
Children enjoy learning about trout fishing through the AGFC's community pond stocking program.
Trout stockings are in place for Thanksgiving
The Thanksgiving holiday is, of course, known for turkey; but, it's also a great time for seeking out trout. By this weekend, many areas of the state, including the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Family and Community Fishing Program ponds, will be stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout.
Shane Goodner, one of the regular contributors to the AGFC's Weekly Fishing Report, notes this week that 1,525 rainbows recently have been stocked below Carpenter Dam in Garland County in the tailwater of Lake Catherine. And that's just one of many possibilities where anglers can enjoy a weekend of trout fishing.
Each year, rainbow trout raised at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery in Mammoth Springs are delivered to community ponds in Arkansas once the water temperatures have cooled enough to accommodate the cold-water fish. According to Maurice Jackson, AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program Coordinator, all these ponds should have trout in time for this week's holiday. Jackson says the trout in the program ponds should survive until March, and regular stockings will continue to allow anglers to enjoy the trout through the winter. 
Yes, while turkey is a staple for Thanksgiving, trout also are good to eat and available to anyone.
And, don't forget: The Family and Community Fishing Program has placed special tags on many of the trout being stocked throughout this season. Catch one of these fish and return the tag to the AGFC, and a special prize package of fishing equipment will be sent to you. Plus, you'll be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of this year's trout season.
Click the box below to find a fishing pond near you that is participating in the AGFC's trout stocking. Or, check out such hotspots as the tailwaters of Lake Catherine, Norfork Lake, Bull Shoals and elsewhere in The Natural State that will be teeming with rainbow trout. 
List of Stocked Ponds
(updated 11-23-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said crappie fishing remains good using minnows and jigs. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Bass fishing is fair, with anglers having success on spinnerbaits and plastic blue or black worms. Catfishing is good with cut bait and prepared bait. Lake water is at its winter pool and low. Surface temperature is dropping. 
(updated 11-16-2016) Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) said the crappie are still biting pretty well. Use jigs or minnows, either one. They are being caught at various depths, shallow or deep, they're getting them both ways. Bass are still hitting fair on spinnerbaits. The water was dropped for the winter pool. Color looks fine. Water temperature has been below 70, averaging about 68 degrees.

(updated 11-23-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said they are receiving small amounts of weekday generation and sporadic generation on weekends. Browns are moving onto their spawning shoals. Myers said he would encourage you not to fish over these areas, but if you choose to do so be sure not to step on the redds (spawning beds), land the trout as quickly as possible, keep the trout in the water and take the extra time to revive it. A good spawning season is the future of a great brown trout population year around on the Little Red.  For fly fishing, we recommend midges, soft hackles, egg pattern, sowbugs and streamers. For Trout Magnet fishing, we recommend white and cotton candy-colored bodies on gold jigheads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website ( for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website ( to see forecasted generation schedule. 
(updated 11-16-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said the Little Red remains clear and the generation is hard to predict. On the colder mornings they are generating about 2 hours in the morning about 6 a.m. and again in the afternoon about 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for about 3-4 hours. This makes wading difficult on the shoals downstream from the dam. The park area at the dam is available during the midday hours. On the warmer days it is still afternoon generation with very little or no generation on the weekends. The browns are beginning to move and some spawning activity is taking place. Greg’s fishermen are catching both pre-spawn and spawned fish. Some redds are on the shoals, so be careful when wading. Avoid these since wading through them will dislodge the eggs and destroy them. You can identify these by an area on the gravel that is clean and the stones look as if they are polished. They vary in size.
(updated 11-9-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing has been on fire. They have had water releases from the dam most week days. Wade fishing has been possible up and down the entire river. Browns are slowly making their way onto the shoals to spawn. Wade carefully and don't disturb the reds. Egg patterns and midges have been producing great numbers of fish. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 458.12 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 11-23-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level in the lake continues to fall. The bass fishing is good all over the lake on spinnerbaits, crank baits, umbrella rigs and C-rigs for all three species, try fishing real shallow out to 40 feet of water. The bream fishing is still good with the prolonged warm weather – use crickets and crawlers in 5-30 feet of water. The crappie fishing has picked up and they can be caught in the pole timber or over and around brush piles in 10-20 feet of water. The walleye are scattered out. Try dragging minnows and crankbaits in 28-40 feet. The catfishing is good as well with a lot of different baits working, not a lot of people utilizing the bite. The hybrid and white bass fishing is excellent all over the lake at different times of the day, with schooling fish and fish biting on structure as well. Use in-line spinners, topwater baits, spoons and swimbaits for the best catching. The service’s website has been down and until it’s back up, call 501-940-1318.

(updated 11-23-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said water is clear and low. Crappie reports were good with crappie biting pink minnows and pink-colored jigs. Bass bite is fair, but the reports were limited and no reports on baits used. Catfishing is poor. Bream also are poor.
(updated 11-16-2016) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie is biting on BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets; Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk and Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and shad. Bass are biting on buzzbait and minnows, or topwater baits. White bass are biting Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper.

(updated 11-9-2016) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is normal, clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 68 degrees. Bream are slow but anglers are still catching them on crickets around the shore. Bass are doing well around brush and shallow water using plastic worms and crankbaits. Catfish are doing well in shallow water and deeper water using minnows. Crappie are slow but starting to pick up. Mostly smaller ones are being caught around the pier and around the shoreline. Some people are catching some better size in 9 feet of water using jigs and minnows. 

(updated 11-16-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina reported fishing has remained consistent of late, but the good news is that crappy should be really good this winter. Right now, crappie fishing is excellent. Crappie are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (chartreuse and white with a very light line). Crappie are in 12-18 feet of water, at the tops of structure near edges of the channels and on the old road beds. There are lots of 6- to 9-inch crappie being caught, so it should be great winter fishing. Good black bass are biting on wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits both early in the morning and late in the day. Blacks can be caught in 3-8 feet just off the weeds. The cooler weather has activated the bass. Roger suggests trying shallow lures and spinnerbaits. The Kentucky bass bite is excellent, and are being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 4-9 feet of water mixed in with the black bass. White bass are good; use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep diving Bandits and Bombers. They are all over the lake. They are being caught at the east end right off the point on CC Spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails when schooling. Bream are good and can be found at 15 feet on the bottom. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfishing is good and the cats are being caught in 15-20 feet of water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 11-16-2016) Fosters Four Seasons (501-868-9061) had no reports this week, saying everyone was hunting. For last week, however, bass reports were good, with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures working best. Bream were good on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing was good using minnows and jigs. Catfishing was good; use worms or blood bait. White bass reports were good. Fosters has all anglers’ needs in the way of bait and food, and also sells non-ethanol gas. 
(updated 11-16-2016) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on Baby Shad and minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. White bass are biting on Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow.

(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting fair on pink and No. 6 minnows but most of them have been small in size. Catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream fishing has been slow to fair with crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting some minnows and small plastics.

(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that hopefully the rain will be enough to put some flow back in the river. Bass fishing has been OK with minnows, small plastic worms and lizards and small crankbaits. Crappie fishing has been good for some using No. 6 and pink crappie minnows. Catfish have been biting minnows, goldfish and black salties on trotlines and limblines. Bream will bite crickets or worms almost any time on the river. 

(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are still biting fair on crickets and redworms. Catfish have been biting well on goldfish, black salties and minnows. Bass fishing has been slow with the best bite coming on live minnows. Crappie fishing has just been fishing, no catching.

(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are still biting well for some customers using size 6 and size 12 minnows. Bass have been hitting minnows as well and the crappie fisherman are catching them, too. Catfish have been biting well on nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream fishing has slowed but a few are still catching them on redworms.

(updated 11-16-2016) Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said few people have been fishing, apparently due to deer season. The ones who are fishing are getting a lot of black bass in the 10-18-inch size range. These are some of the fish the AGFC has been putting into the river the past three years. Fish a blade with a blue frog attached, and also a 2-inch Firetiger-colored crankbait. Also fish a CC Spoon on points; the flow is down to 10,000 cfs. Catfish are on the front side of jetties and points. Use bass minnows in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish reports have been good. Whites are fair in late afternoon around rocks where you find shad. Use a Firetiger crankbait.

(updated 11-16-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley had no report.

(updated 11-23-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said crappie reports were good with jigs working best. Throw them around the brush piles; the crappie are pretty deep. No reports on bream, bass, catfish or white bass. 

(updated 11-23-2016) Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the only reports he was hearing from anglers were good ones catching bass. Anglers were having success using crankbaits as well as throwing jigs in the grass areas. No reports on bream, crappie or catfish.
(updated 11-23-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that near Murray Lock and Dam, crappie are fair and are favoring chartreuse and white super jigs. Catfishing is fair and is best using skipjack. White bass fishing has been fair on chartreuse split tail jigs. There were no reports in the Murray Dam area on bream or bass. 
(updated 11-16-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water was fairly clear in the pool and at a normal level. No temperature reading was reported. In the Clear Lake area, bass are good; use spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. The crappie bite is good on minnows and jigs. Bream are biting fair on worms and crickets. Catfishing reports from near the Terry Lock and Dam were good, with cut bait being used. Bass were slower near the dam, as were crappie. Bream were fair near the dam. Water is muddy on that end.
(updated 11-16-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported water being dingy. Crappie were biting in 5-6 feet of water on pink minnows. Bass were fair with soft plastic worms getting bites. Catfishing was good near Murray Dam on cut bait. Bream reports were poor. At Terry Lock and Dam, crappie reports were fair with fish in about 6 feet depth and around the rocks and jetties. Minnows and red jigs were working. Bass reports from there were excellent. Anglers were using spinnerbaits, topwaters and other baits.

(updated 11-9-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) will be closed until Feb. 6. 

No reports.

No report.

No report.

(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said pink minnows have been working for a few small crappie. Bream are biting crickets and redworms. Bass fishing has been fair with size 12 minnows and red plastic worms. Catfish have been biting chicken livers and minnows.

(updated 11-16-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported water being dingy. Crappie were biting in 5-6 feet of water on pink minnows. Bass were fair with soft plastic worms getting bites. Catfishing was good near Murray Dam on cut bait. Bream reports were poor.
(updated 11-23-2016) Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900), now run by Larry and Shirley Walters, said water surface temperature was 68 degrees and the level was low. Fishing is just iffy around the lake, with poor reports on bream, crappie and bass and nothing for catfish and white bass. Crappie were being caught on minnows and jigs, but not in great number.  

North Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 651.87 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 11-16-2016)  Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported weather in the 70s, been hot for this time of year. The temperature is beginning to come down, it's been mid 60s in the morning. Back in the creeks, they cool off at night. Water is coming down and they pretty much have got the lake to themselves. Couple of different patterns are working. Early in morning a bit of a topwater bite is working, on points with wind, the gravel points with deep water nearby. Throw a Sammie or a Zara Spook. That bite will go on and off throughout the day, if you’re at the right place it will go on all day pushing the baitfish up. They are using the channels to go back to the creeks following the baitfish. Pay attention to your graph, pay attention to the birds. They've got a lot of seagulls and loons on the lake now. They’re not going to get too far away from the baitfish. If you start graphing fish if you come along the channel swing going back into the creeks, you can pick up a few spooning or dropshottng. That bite is anywhere from 20-45 feet. Lot of Kentuckies, some largemouth mixed in, some smallmouth. They're all in there feeding on those baits. The big fish bite has been on the jig. A perch-colored jig, jewel jig, Green Pumpkin, orange, those are primarily what’s been working. For a trailer, use a Aoom trailer or Camper Crawl. If the conditions are right and you get in the back of the creeks, you have to have a couple of things -- baitfish and a little bit of dirty water helps. Very back In the flats, the baits are going to change up a little bit. Wouldn't even pick up a spinner up until you see the water’s dirty. The War Eagle Sexy Mouth is working well. In the back there too, a squarebill’s working. This is shallow, 6 inches of water to 5 feet, anything in that range is what you're looking for. They are either right up there in the backs or right out or it. As you’re moving out, the first channel swing or first steep back, they’re going to be stacked up there if they’re not on the flat. If they aren't there, keep moving. If conditions are right, the Rock Crawler is starting to come into play. Keep it parallel along the shoreline. You want to have a little bit of wind and keep the boat in 8-10 feet of water and make that long parallel cast down the shoreline. If it gets a little tough out there, go back to the ol’ Shaky Head. If you’re into clear water, get a watermelon red Zoom Trick Worm. In dirty water go with a Green Pumpkin. You’ll pick up a lot of fish throwing the Shaky Head right now. With the water temperature cooling down, those fish are starting to move back up and fishing is good. You just gotta keep going. Still catching a few on the Whopper Plopper, that’s kind of been sporadic, but that’s another big fish bait. If you get back in there you’ll see those big gizzard shads swimming in there. Just get back there and cover ground, and that can pay off with a big fish.
(updated 11-23-2016) K Dock Marina had no report.

(updated 11-23-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said the river has dropped, and if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Southwest Power decide to keep it low, word on the river is that we just might see a nice spawn for the rainbows, too. With the water at minimum flow or just above, you'll need to leave the bigger baits in your tackle box and pull out the trusty spoons: gold Cleos and hammered red-and-gold spoons. You might try your KastMasters or even dust off the old-timers’ favorite: the SuperDuper.  Hang a No. 4 Flat fish while anchoring over a deep hole and just watch for the action. Consistent water levels will allow the trout to settle down into some normal feeding habits, so early morning and early evening may be the best times for easy catches. Some folks tell Ron they're having the "other T-meat" for Thanksgiving. Whatever you cook, enjoy your holidays and keep fishing.
(updated 11-23-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported clear water conditions and the river and current normal for the second straight week. There are 2-3 generators running on the White. Rainbows are plentiful and the bite is good. Use PowerBait. No reports on brown trout. 
(updated 11-23-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) reported during the past week, they have had no rain event, cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.3 feet to rest at 7.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 43.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 6.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 20.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 6.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had moderate generation in the afternoon with lower generation in the morning and limited wadable water. The catch and release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31, 2017, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The state park will be seasonal catch and release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (Berry's current favorite is a cerise San Juan worm with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Berry also reminds fly tyers and trout fishing fans to take in the Sowbug, a three-day celebration of fly tying that is scheduled for March 23-25, 2017, at the Baxter County Fairgrounds. Fly tyers from throughout the United States will be there and the event usually draw a tyer or two from abroad. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.71 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 11-16-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the cooler nights have finally made the water cold enough to have a lake turnover. It takes about a week for the lake to settle down and the fish get active so by the middle of this week you should lots of top water activity all over the lake. Look on the flats and up the major creek arms for schooling fish. The stripers are still heavily at first light up and past the state line. If it’s foggy, expect lots of action until the fog lifts, then the bite dies. If there is no fog, then the bite is consistent all morning most days. The best bite continues to be the flat next to the river channel in 25 feet of water. There are huge schools of shad roaming the river. Just keep moving up and down the channel. We are catching stripers using down lines, weighted floats, and planner boards, the lines are set at 16 feet. My son Sean took out a couple Jeff and Christy that wanted to try striper fishing for the first time. They met at the dock and were fishing in 10 minutes and had strikes right away. It was a foggy morning and the bite was on, they caught four with the biggest being 17 pounds which they released. Once the sun came out it sure slowed down. Sean saw more and bigger schools of stripers but just would not hit. They had a few more bites but all the fun and action was in the fog. Jeff and Christy had a great first time experience and plan on another trip to Norfork. The winter bite will start soon so make your plans on the web with for everything Norfork Lake! Be sure to read our Fall Striper tactics, the article can be found on the website.
(updated 11-16-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable and currently sits at 552.68. The water is cooling slowly and was 67 degrees Tuesday morning. The creeks, coves and part of the main lake are still stained and will stay this way until the lake finishes its turnover and cools off more. The striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing all are finally acting like they should for the fall fishing period. (About one month late due to abnormally warm water temperature) Over the last several days these species have moved out of the 30-40 foot water depth into 40-50 feet of water. The reason for this is that the bait has moved out to this depth range. I am finding large schools of fish on large flats from the 62 bridge area and heading up north. Look at the flat areas around the 101 bridge, Mallard Point, Cranfield area, Steward Point, and Briar Creek area. I haven't had time to check yet but the Robinson flat and the Fout area flats should also be holding some nice fish. The striped bass bite is still good upriver on the Arkansas/Missouri border. These fish up river will stick around there until the water cools off. The fish will then take off to find water more in their comfort zone.Lou has mainly been vertical jigging a spoon, but trolling swim baits and umbrella rigs should work as long as you get the bait down in the 30-40 foot range. Live bait should also work set at 35 and 40 feet deep, but stay in the 45-55 foot water depth area. Lou said he hasn't been out fishing after dark, but a few others have tried it and the stripers and the bait are not moving up to the shoreline at this time. Once the water cools off a little more and gets closer to 60 degrees he believes there will be a good night bite using suspending stick baits. He has not noticed any topwater action for stripers yet, but it will happen any time now. Largemouth bass are at all depths at this time. You can find fish up close to the shore, suspended along the bluffs and also out feeding in the same water depth as the stripers. Yesterday Lou jigged up two nice 3.5-pound largemouth bass in 50 feet of water on the bottom. If you are a bass fisherman you have a lot of choices. The topwater bite for largemouth has been sporadic buthe has found some nice fish surfacing in the morning around the bridge columns as well as on bluff line points. He is finding a few nice walleye in the same 45- to 50-foot water depth while fishing for stripers. You should also be able to find them near 40 feet deep brush as well as in shallower water on the flats early and late in the day. Crappie are on 30-40 feet deep brush piles. But the best advice he says he can give is that after you catch a few on a brush pile the bite seems to stop. This is time to move to another brush pile and catch a few and then move on. They seem to spook easily in the cooler clearer water. You can return to a brush after you give it some time to rest. For daily fishing information and tips on Norfork Lake follow Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's Facebook page.
(updated 11-23-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake remained steady at 1.1 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation late in the afternoon with wadable water every day. There has been wadable water every morning on the Norfork as well. The lake has turned over and there is a sulfur smell on the upper river and with lower dissolved oxygen, in that area, the bite has been slow there. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been an orange egg. At Dry Run Creek, a large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases. Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber-soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

(updated 11-23-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. His favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

(updated 11-23-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the water is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. His favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

Northwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,113.70 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 11-23-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water surface temperature earlier this week was in the high 60s. Water level and current was low. Crappie were fair and could be found in 8-10 feet of water. Catfishing was fair using live bait and prepared bait. There were no reports on bream or bass.
(updated 11-23-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said water temperatures are in the low 60s and striper activity forecast for the week is good. The lake turnover has been underway and stripers are on the move using main lake structure and mouth of coves, while some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. There has been lots of topwater activity from stipers and white bass. Make sure you do not keep a striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper or hybrid combinations. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Good striper success will come using live shad fished on free lines and downlines from the surface to 30 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs for stained water; use plugs like Rapala’s No. 14 husky jerk in black back or purple back colors or 5-6-inch Smithwick Rogues in similar colors on downriggers. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs also will produce. Topwaters like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks and Pencil Poppers will also work. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow, current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check Bailey’s website for daily lake level and flow data. Check out these hot spots on the mid- and lower sections of Beaver Lake: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty, points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch, Ford and Cedar creeks, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris and Shaddox Hollow. In the upper section, Highway 12 bridge is hot, and Prairie Creek is hot and has white bass surfacing. White bass are surfacing and walleye are being caught in numbers as well at Horseshoe Bend, Mont Ne, Hickory Creek, War Eagle and at the War Eagle/White River junction (Point 12). Walleye can be found from 10-30 feet deep depending on the area you’re fishing. Try Rapala Tail Danncers, Bagley Rumble Bs, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange and/or chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination as well as a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.

(updated 11-23-2016) Beaver Dam Store Water levels continue to be low during nongenerations. For the fisherman wading, this is good as many areas are accessible. Be aware of the off-hour generations as water levels will rise quickly. Trout are still in the feeding mode after the spawn. Many nice-sized rainbows have been caught as well as the occasional brown. Midges, scuds, San Juans, Peach micro egg patterns, Hare's ears and nymphs are working well. Good lures are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series No. 4’s and 5’s. Try PowerBait in 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. Catfish are biting on wicked sticky catfish bait along with Magic Bait crawfish/chicken blood bait.
(updated 11-16-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said trout fishing has been great in the tailwaters this week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started generation early this week, but it slacks off toward the afternoon. Trout are biting on various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Various Rapalas and Spoons are also producing some nice numbers. A few nice browns have been caught between Parkers Bottom and Spider Creek using floating Rapalas. Remember, if you are fly fishing or fishing from the bank, if you hear the dam horn, you need to exit the water to safety. 

Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat has closed his bait shop the remainder of the year.

(updated 11-23-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported surface water temperature in the 50s and at a normal level. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie bite is good on minnows and jigs. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing reports were fair, with worms working best.

(updated 11-23-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported water is lower than normal by 8 inches, and the water is clear. Surface temperature earlier this week was at 57 degrees. Crappie are suspended in about 8 feet depth and the bite has been fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits. Catfishing was good using shad and chicken liver.

Northeast Arkansas

(updated 11-23-2016) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said he is not really fond of cold weather and it seems that some fishermen are not either. Crickets do not like the cold weather, so they are selling a lot less of them at the bait shop. Minnows are still in good demand as well as the redworms and nightcrawlers. Lake Poinsett is still very low, so the dam is the best place to launch a boat or to fish off the dock. 

(updated 11-23-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said they have seen any fisherman in almost two weeks now. No reports.

(updated 11-23-2016) Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides Water levels are running at 268 cfs and water clarity is clear. Low and clear water conditions have made for technical conditions on the river. Small nymphs and Woollies have been the go to flies. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets and silver spinners are working well for spin fishers.
(updated 11-9-2016) John Berry in Cotter said the river is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10). 

(updated 11-23-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) continued to hear only poor reports at best on fishing of all species. Most of the fishermen are hunting.

Southeast Arkansas

(updated 11-2-16) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team reported water temperatures are around 70 degrees and visibility is about 1 foot. Black bass are biting fairly well now that the water is cooling a bit and there is less fishing pressure. Both small and larger fish are being caught on wind-blown banks in Lake Langhofer that have baitfish activity. Anglers are having best success with squarebill crankbaits and small-bladed spinnerbaits in shad colors. Good-sized fish are also being caught with jigs worked around and in woody cover and brush.

(updated 11-23-16) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said catfish are finally picking up. They are biting very well on stink baits and chicken livers, especially in the late afternoon. Crappie are fair, with minnows in high demand right now as bait. The lakes water level is low. Off-shore fishing has been successful. The water is really starting to cool down, so the fish are gathering near the bottom. Winds have been high, and daytime air temperatures have been pleasantly cool. 

(updated 11-2-16) Matthew C. Gillum, the ranger at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705), said catfish can be caught using nightcrawlers. Bream are biting waxworms better than crickets. Bass can be found in shallow water and caught using chartreuse and black crankbaits as well as purple shad spinnerbaits. Watermelon-red Zoom Baby Brush Hogs can be used when fishing in thick cover.

(updated 11-23-16) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) said the lake as been all quiet based on no reports coming into the bait shop of late. Most are hunting or, if they are fishing, are going to Cane Creek.

Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.32 msl).
(updated 11-23-2016) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level Monday (Nov. 14) was 2 inches above normal conservation pool and steady. There is decreased current with the gates at Little River releasing around 172 cfs as of Monday. Water temperature dropped slightly over the past week, ranging about 55 degrees early to 65 degrees at peak temp. Navigation is cautioned for Little River as of Monday due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure. Tailwater level as of Monday at 224 feet msl. Clarity and visibility has been consistent over last couple weeks, ranging about 8-12 inches on main lake structure away from the current. Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point and northeast quadrant remain stained. Little River's visibility ranges 10-12 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity currently ranging 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is stained but improved from last week at 12-18 inches, some areas have better clarity. Bass feeding moods continue to improve with the cooler daytime temperatures and dropping surface temps. Most bass are best from 2 to 3 pounds on crankbaits along points, creek junctions and creek mouths dumping into Little River. Most bass continue their seasonal nomadic roaming over the past few weeks, following huge shad schools in and out of creek channels and up and down Little River. Points, creek channels away from river current, flats and oxbows are good starting locations. Shad continue relating to creek channels over the past couple of weeks, moving in and out of the main creek channel to the points and back again, depending on surface temperatures. Huge schools of shad are roaming in and out of creeks and points junction with Little River over the past several weeks, and the largemouths are following them on a daily basis. One day they may be in the mouth of the creek dumping into Little River; the next day, they're gone or moved to backs of creeks, depending on surface temps overnight. Lots of migration and nomadic activity this time of year on Millwood.
Siefert says chrome/black Cordell Crazy Shads, Bass Assassin Shads and Sexy Ghost or Ghost-colored Stuttersteps are working. Bass Assassin Shads, continue to be a good topwater choice early. Working topwaters around grass beds and vegetation along points extending from creek channels into Little River will draw good reactions at dawn. Bulky 10-inch Berkley Power Worms continue working around vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. Rat-L-Traps worked along points and in creek channels have been working well for several weeks. Bass Assassin Shads continue working well midday in the thick stuff. Best colors of Bass Assassin Shads over the past couple weeks have been Bad To The Bone, pumpkinseed, or Grey Ghost and Salt & Pepper. Best color of Stuttersteps over the past couple weeks have been the Ghost and the Sexy Ghost colors. Whites and hybrids continue roaming Little River, mouths of creek channels and the oxbows, and are hitting the Citrus, Chartreuse Shad or Tennessee Shad colored crankbaits. White bass, Kentucky bass and largemouths have been surface-breaking on shad in back of Horseshoe and McGuire up Little River for several weeks. Those fish were hitting small, topwater Crazy Shads, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, jigging spoon, and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white, and small, Pop-R's early in the mornings. Crappie continue to bite well on Blakemore Road Runners and vertical jigging jigs in planted brush piles from 8-12 feet of depth. Be sure to get out of any remaining current of Little River and find the planted brush. There were no report on the blues and channel cats after the reduction in current of Little River over the past week.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 538.28 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
(updated 11-9-2016) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported surface temperature is in the lower to mid-70s. Water is clear throughout most of the lake. Crappie are good on brush piles in 10-15 feet. Try fishing 2-inch twister tail grubs in a shad color using a slow retrieve or live minnows fished vertically. A few bass are still roaming the banks and are hitting topwater plugs and buzzbaits. Schooling activity has slowed down over the past few days.
(updated 11-9-2016) 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 397.86 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 11-23-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-60s and the lake is clear throughout. Not much doing due to the lack of fishermen. Just a few bass catches reported, but the fish are mostly small. Best bet is to drag a Texas or Carolina rigged worm down a secondary point in one of the major coves at mid-lake. Also try a lipless crankbait on flats in the back of coves. Best time for the crankbait is early in the morning. Now is the time for some decent creek fishing because that is where the shad migrate to. Try Big Hill, Yancey and Brushy creeks. Crappie fishing is good with the guides showing some nice catches. Looks like the crappie are coming back in good numbers after years of lean fishing, Look for brush attractors between Caddo Drive and Point Cedar. The deeper ones at 20-25 feet are best in the fall. Use a 2-inch curly tail grub on a 1/16-ounce jighead and drop the lure to just above the brush and fish vertically slowly around the attractor. Also try backing off and throwing the lure over the cover. Count the jig down to about 15 feet and slowly reel it in. Important: Do not jig the lure, just reel it in straight. If you think you are reeling too slow, slow down some more. If you get snagged in the brush, lower you count. Usually, about 15 seconds will put you in the fish with a 1/16-ounce jighead and 6-pound line. Tennessee Shad is by far the best color. Hybrid fishing is still slow with only a few fish being taken early in the morning at mid-lake. Look for any surface activity and throw a small topwater plug, fluke or swimbait. Also, when the fish go down, try a jigging spoon fished up under the fish. Best way to locate the fish is to look for guys in the middle of the lake with their nose stuck in the sonar. Just don't get too close, they can be very territorial. Bream fishing is fair with a few nice fish showing in the crappie attractors. Fish near the bottom and just off the thickest part of the brush. Try redworms and crickets. 
(updated 11-23-2016) John Duncan of at Iron Mountain Marina had no report this week with hunting season in full swing. 
(updated 11-16-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips reported crappie are biting exceptionally well on live bait 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water on brush piles where much deeper water is nearby.

South-Central Arkansas

No report.

(updated 11-2-16) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting on spinnerbaits. Crappie starting to bite on the upper side. A few bream being caught. No report on catfish.

(updated 11-2-16) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said there was a report on a few crappie and bass being caught.

No report.

West-Central Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 337.08 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl). 
(updated 11-23-2016) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported said water is low. Some good reports came in on bass. Minnows are getting the best bite. No other reports were available.
(updated 11-23-2016) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said all is quiet on the lake these days. There were no reports.
(updated 11-16-2016) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported crappie biting on BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk and Penny Back Baby Shad Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and shad. Bream are biting on crickets and worms and Rock Hoppers. Bass are liking the buzzbaits and topwater baits.

(updated 11-23-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water remains clear and at a low level. No temperature was recorded. Fishing has been very slow, with poor to fair results coming in for the past couple of weeks. Fish are being caught here and there, but no big numbers of anglers have been out. Bream reports ranged poor to fair on worms and crickets. Crappie ranged fair to good on minnows and jigs. Bass were poor to fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing reports were fair at best.

(updated 11-23-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperature is in the 50s warming to the 60s. River is still dirty with a few clear creeks. Bass has been good on crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits on windy days, The jig and Bamboozie bite has picked up on rocks and lily pad stems, scam shad-type baits have been working good around schooling fish. Crappie has been fair in 8 feet of water using minnows and jigs in Firetiger, black chartreuse and pink. Around bridge pylons, white bass have been good in creeks on small crankbaits small Rat-L-Traps. Find the areas with a lot of small shad. Stripers have been slow due to the dirty water; best bet is jigging spoons and swimbaits on the jetties. Catfish have been good, with many being caught by bass fisherman with crankbaits, live crawfish and perch; stick to the creek channels.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 570.31 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 11-23-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said water temperature is ranging 62-66 degrees and the water is clearing. Black bass are good and being caught with spybaits and topwaters fished over main lake and secondary points. Walleye are still fair and are being caught jigging CC spoons. Stripers are fair on live bait. The central area of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are slow. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 20-25 feet deep. Crappie are very good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. No report on catfish. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) and Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.                            
(update 11-16-2016) Phillip Kastner at Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 said the recent cold nights and early mornings haven’t adversely affected fishing. Pay attention to what’s going with the early morning fog. That’s the tattle tale, where the fog line is in the creek. Because if you pull up and there is a heavy fog line in the very back of it and not much at the mouth of it that tells you that the warmer water is in the back of the creek. If you go into it and it’s foggy on the main lake and not as foggy in the back, that tells you there is colder water going into the back of the creek and the warmer water is still on the main channel, so you’ve got to fish the fog. That’s what the old-timers said, don’t leave the fog because the fog is the warmer water. There are plenty of shad moving around and if you go to into any of these creeks, it’s going to tattle on exactly what’s going on. The shad are what you’re chasing because that’s what the fish are chasing, that’s their food source. Crawfish have begun their migration and you can find crawfish to use as bait for Kentucky bass. Turn the rocks over, they’re green. Until we get the muddy, muddy water, they’re going to continue to be green. You want the green ones or the brown ones, you just don’t want the black ones to fish with. That’s what the Kentucky’s want. You want to imitate what they want. A light green crankbait would be a good color. As long as it continues to be this clear, longer into the winter, that’s going to make a jig and frog bite better. Lot of guys are catching crappie right now fishing in brush. If you’re going after bass, you’ve got to focus on shad, that’s what they’re eating. Keep your eye on the shad. Main thing that guys are talking about is chasing those shad balls around the lake. If you go out right now you have to have an Alabama rig tied on. You’ve got to have a spoon tied on. And everything you throw really hinges on that shad chase.

(updated 11-16-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips reported crappie are biting exceptionally well on live bait 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water on brush piles where much deeper water is nearby.
(updated 11-16-2016) Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said the recent cold nights and early mornings haven’t adversely affected fishing. Pay attention to what’s going with the early morning fog. That’s the tattle tale, where the fog line is in the creek. Because, if you pull up and there is a heavy fog line in the very back of it and not much at the mouth of it that tells you that the warmer water is in the back of the creek. If you go into it and it’s foggy on the main lake and not as foggy in the back, that tells you there is colder water going into the back of the creek and the warmer water is still on the main channel, so you’ve got to fish the fog. That’s what the old-timers said, don’t leave the fog because the fog is the warmer water. There are plenty of shad moving around and if you go to into any of these creeks, it’s going to tattle on exactly what’s going on. The shad are what you’re chasing because that’s what the fish are chasing, that’s their food source. Lot of guys are catching crappie right now fishing in brush. If you’re going after bass, you’ve  got to focus on shad, that’s what they’re eating. Keep your eye on the shad. Main thing that guys are talking about is chasing those shad balls around the lake. If you go out right now you have to have an Alabama rig tied on. You’ve got to have a spoon tied on. And everything you throw really hinges on that shad chase; the other thing going on is that crawfish migration. Anytime on Hamilton you’ve got to have an Alabama rig tied on.

(updated 11-23-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports , that the winter drawdown for Lake Catherine is now complete. A five-foot draw will be in place until early March 2017. Water temperature is 63 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. Boaters need to use extreme caution when navigating the area because the low water conditions have exposed many underwater hazards. Rock and sandbar dangers are numerous and made more life threatening by fast water conditions. Life jackets should always be worn by boaters and waders alike when on the water. The rainbow trout season has begun with the Game and Fish Commission stocking 1,525 trout below the dam. Rainbows have been absent in the lake for months and this influx of fish always jumpstarts the fall fishing below Carpenter Dam. Bank fishermen can use wax or meal worms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms and nightcrawlers also well work when using this same technique. Live bait presentations give anglers the best opportunity to catch trout, as artificial lures are often ignored by finicky trout. Spin fishermen will have success casting Rooster Tails in 1/16- or 1/8-ounce weights over sandbars and exposed rock structure. Brown or white colors are best and most effective during periods of generation. Trout adapt quickly to feeding on available forage and will begin feeding heavily on the shad population. Small jigs in gray or white will draw strikes from hungry trout along with small silver spoons fished in the current. Fly fishermen can easily access areas that hold numbers of trout. Shoals are a target area with the head and tail regions normally holding the most fish. Micro-jigs in black or white casted with a strike indicator will catch trout holding in and around current flow searching for prey. San Juan worms in hot pink or red will also work well along with small streamer in sliver. Baitfish provide a huge part of the diet of rainbow trout below Carpenter Dam so matching the forage is critical to fishing success in Lake Catherine. Stripers will move into the tailrace as the rainbow trout stockings become more regular. Alabama rigs, C-10 Redfins, and heavy jigs are deadly lures to use when attempting to catch these large predators. Heavy rods and lines are recommended. Topwater activity will increase with the presence of trout, and fishermen need to watch and react quickly when feeding begins. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.58 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00).
No fishing reports were recorded.

East Arkansas

(updated 11-23-16) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said activity is considerably lowered on both Bear Creek Lake and Storm Creek Lake for crappie and bream fishing. So far, people are reporting little to no activity from the shoreline, and limited activity in coves from a boat. Crappie and bream being caught are not of any record size, and are only being caught in small quantities. Bass fishing has more moderate activity, both off of live bait and artificial bait. Fish are mainly biting back in the coves of Bear Creek and Storm Creek, however activity has considerably slowed the past few weeks. The Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center located in Marianna, off of Hwy 44 is selling bait and is open 8-5 every day. Call with any questions or to book a campsite.

(updated 11-23-16) See Bear Creek Lake report.

(updated 11-23-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported water temperatures were dropping from recent readings, but no exact temperature was recorded. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass were fair on bass but no report on baits used. Catfishing was good on live and prepared baits. No bream reports.

Arkansas an White river levels are available at:
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit:  
For water quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit:  
Family and Community Fishing Program: All Family and Community Fishing Program ponds are stocked with catfish and ready for fishing. Visit for up-to-date information about pond stockings, events and locations.
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