Topwater Striper Action is Heating Up on Ouachita
Topwater Striper Action is Heating Up on Ouachita
April 20, 2016

Topwater Striper Action is Heating Up on Ouachita

The topwater striper bite on Lake Ouachita is enough to make most anglers in the Hot Springs area drop their crappie rods and bass sticks to chase some fun on one of Arkansas's most beautiful lakes. Check out this video segment from the AGFC's Talkin' Outdoors television show to see how and why the AGFC stocks these valuable sport fish in Arkansas.  
Arkansas and White river levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt  
For water quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality  
Family and Community Fishing Program: All Family and Community Fishing Program ponds are stocked with catfish and ready for fishing. Visit hwww.agfc.com/familyfishing for up-to-date information about pond stockings, events and locations.
(updated 4-20-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is stained and 62 degrees. Bream are biting excellently along the shoreline on crickets and worms set 18 inches deep. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished in the cypress trees about 6 feet deep. Bass are excellent on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft-plastic lizards fished from the shallows out to 6 feet of water. Catfishing is excellent, with some really nice flatheads being caught on goldfish.  
(updated 4-6-2016) Daniel Zajac at Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) said crappie are biting fairly well in 3 feet of water on jigs or minnows. Bream fishing is good on crickets or redworms. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good.


(updated 4-20-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said without significant rainfall, we should see low-water patterns continue. This is providing great wading and drift-fishing opportunities. Currently we are seeing prolific caddis hatches on the Little Red. Hot patterns are caddis pupa, emergers, soft hackle, pheasant tails, hares ears and midges. For Trout Magnet fishing, use cotton candy and white bodies on gold and chartreuse jig heads. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (www.swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.  
(updated 4-13-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said the latest report from Southwest Power is that both units are operational and normal generation is now underway. This means that the normal lake level of 462.04 is now in effect. Generation will be on a demand-only basis as long as the lake level is at or below this point. Water has been low since Sunday and they are showing a 2-hour period of generation Tuesday morning from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and another from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wading should be available at the dam from late morning till 7 p.m. Caddis are beginning to hatch, so caddis pupae, emergers and dry flies will be productive.  Fishing should be good with the lower water conditions.
(updated 4-13-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Company (501-207-1770) said fishing is excellent now that the river is back down to low flows. Wading opportunities can be found up and down the river right now. The Corps will still be releasing water from the dam over the next several weeks, but only for a few hours each day. The hot flies have been pheasant tail nymphs, midges and sow bugs. Trout Magnets have been working very well for spin fishermen as well.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.27 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 462.04 msl).
(updated 4-20-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is 2.74 feet below normal pool and falling slightly. A few walleye are still being caught in skinny water far upstream in the river arms. The bite for the lake fish has been slow, but should really improve in the next month. Try jerk baits, minnows on jig heads and crankbaits as well as drop-shot rigs with live bait. Crappie are good one day and bad the next; try jigs or minnows from the bank to 5 feet deep around any woody cover. Bream are showing up in better numbers and can be caught with small in-line spinners, small crankbaits and crickets. Black bass species are all in some stage of the spawn, and should make a large push to shallow water with the full moon. The catfish bite is good all over the lake with a lot of bigger fish being caught on a variety of baits on jugs and lines. Hybrids and white bass are slow but somewhat steady in the rivers, creeks and in the lake. 
(updated 4-13-2016) Cody Smith at www.fishgreersferry.com said it’s the calm before the storm on the reservoir right now. The bite over the last few days has gotten slower with howling winds and muddy water. Surface temperatures are in the upper 50s lake-wide with limited 60-degree water temps in select pockets and bays. The fish are moving around a lot right now. Many fish that were shallow in March moved deeper, but the next wave should move shallow to spawn with the next warm rain.


(updated 4-20-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said the surface water temperature is 57 degrees or so and the water is high. The water has a green tint to it. Crappie are poor to fair for this time of year. Minnows and jigs fished along the bank accounted for 20 to 30 fish caught last week by a few anglers. The winds were really high, which made for some tough fishing . Bream, bass and catfish were all slow as well. 
(updated 4-13-2016) Whiskers Sporting Goods in Perryville (501-889-2011) said the crappie are biting on minnows and Bobby Garland Baby Itty Bit Swim’Rs in monkey milk, pennyback shad, blue ice shimmer and Cajun cricket in 4 to 10 feet of water. Catfishing is good on worms, shad and minnows. Bass are biting buzzbaits and worms. White bass are biting well on Johnson Silver Minnows and Bobby Garland Itty Bit Swim’Rs. Bream are biting on crickets and worms.  


Overcup Landing had no report.


(updated 4-20-2016) Fosters Four Seasons (501-868-9061) said the water is at normal level and the surface temperature is in the high 50s to low 60s. Bream are biting well on crickets and pink wigglers fished around brush. Crappie are biting well on no. 6 minnows fished around the edge of the grass line. Bass are biting crankbaits and spinnerbaits fished along the grass line.  Catfishing is good on goldfish. White bass are slow. Stop by Fosters for some ethanol-free gas on the way to the lake.
(updated 4-13-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina said the water is 0.1 feet above the spillway and the surface water temperature is 60 degrees at mid-lake and 64 degrees at the west end. Largemouth bass are biting excellently on wacky-rigged worms, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits fished in shallow water. Bedding fish can be found in 3 to 6 feet of water on the north side of the lake. Spotted bass are being caught on the same lures as the largemouth, but will be slightly deeper, from 3 to 10 feet deep. White bass are fair. They are beginning to move back toward the lake. They are being caught around the bridge on the west end of the lake on Rooster Tails, grubs, jigs and spoons. Crappie are fair and are moving toward the banks. They are being caught on minnows and jigs. Bream are fair on crickets and live redworms in 20 to 25 feet of water.


(updated 4-6-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said many catfish have been caught in the last couple of weeks, since the lake was stocked. Chicken livers , bass minnows and shrimp have been working well. Some bream are biting on crickets. Crappie are fair on pink minnows. Bass have been hitting some on crankbaits and bass minnows.


(updated 4-6-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said the spotted bass have been plentiful at the spillway and biting well on brooder minnows. A very few smaller walleye have been caught lately on brooders. Bream are starting to hit crickets. Catfish have been good on chicken livers and night crawlers . A few anglers report catching crappie on no. 6 crappie minnows in the backwaters.


(updated 4-6-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said crappie have been hitting a little on pink minnows. Bream have been slow on crickets. A few bass have been caught on spinnerbaits. Catfish are slow, but a few have been caught on chicken livers and bass minnows.


(updated 4-6-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said some anglers have been catching crappie on blue jigs and bass minnows. Bass are fair on no. 6 crappie minnows. Catfish are biting chicken livers and night crawlers. No report on bream.


(updated 4-20-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley said the water remains muddy with temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s. Bass are fair. Not a ton are being caught, but when you catch one they are typically of good quality. Find backwaters with water that is slightly clearer and fish any piece of cover that a fish could spawn on or stage on (laydowns, brush, rocks, etc.). Try slowly dragging around simple baits like a Bio Spawn ExoStick bait or a lizard. Crappie fishing is still slow, but some can be caught dipping black/chartreuse tube jigs into backwater brush and laydowns. Some good-sized blue catfish are beginning to show up on trotlines baited with bass minnows. Channel catfish can also be caught in good numbers using your favorite stink bait. Fishing should continue to pick up as the water temperatures increase.


(updated 4-13-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is dingy and at normal level. The surface temperature is 58 degrees. Bream are fair on worms and crickets in 3 to 4 feet of water. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs fished around the banks in 3 to 4 feet of water. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, soft-plastic worms and crankbaits in 3 to 4 feet of water. Catfishing is slow, but a couple have been caught on yo-yos at night.    


(updated 4-20-2016) The folks at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is muddy and at normal level. The surface temperature is 60 degrees. Bream are shallow and biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs in 2 to 6 feet of water. Bass are excellent on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and black/red soft-plastic worms in backwater areas. Catfishing is slow, with a couple of fish caught on nightcrawlers.         
(updated 4-20-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is high and muddy. Bream are fair on worms and crickets around stumps and cypress. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs around brushy cover. Bass are fair on soft-plastics fished around rocky areas. Catfishing is fair on cut bait. 


(updated 4-20-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is dingy and the surface temperature is 68 to 70 degrees. Bream are very slow. A few have been caught on crickets and worms in a foot or two of water, but the bite just has not been good for bream. Crappie are excellent in 1 to 2 feet of water on minnows and jigs fished around brush. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, soft plastics and small Zara Spook topwater lures fished in the shallows. Catfishing is excellent on worms and stinkbait.       



North Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(updated 4-13-2016) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said the surface water temperature is 54 to 57 degrees and the water is stained to clear. The bite is beginning to pick up around the K Dock area. Some good numbers of crappie are coming in. Anglers are using live minnows and Bobby Garland Swimming Minnows fished in 8 to 10 feet of water near timber and brush piles. The fish are not up on the banks, but that may change with some good days and nights of warm weather. White bass seem to be in the Beaver Creek arm of the lake. There aren’t many whites surface feeding on shad around the flats near K Dock. Walleye are slow on night crawlers and small crankbaits. Many short fish are being caught. The action is better up in the Power Site Dam area. Largemouth bass are biting well on Wiggle Warts, Alabama rigs and spinnerbaits. They also are being caught pretty regularly on finesse jigs and shaky head worms. They still haven’t moved out of prespawn patterns completely. 
(updated 4-13-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said said the water is in the low to mid-50s. Visibility is good around most of the lake out of the wind. Walleye have picked up in the last few days. The fish that have been caught did not have eggs in them, so they are likely finished spawning and are beginning to feed up and move off the banks for summer. Mnay crappie have been caught in the last week on 1/8- to 1/64-oz. jigs fishing along the banks in 8 to 15 feet of water. They are in the pre-spawn to spawning stage right now. Some bass are staged up in main lake pockets, but the larger creek arms and spawning flats on the sides of those creeks have been the best bet. Smallmouth are spawning, and a grub, hair jig or Carolina rig will work very well for them over rocky and gravelly points. Wherever you have some clay on the bank causing a small mudline is a good place to throw a Wiggle Wart or Storm Rock Crawler crankbait.  


(updated 4-20-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is full of moss and the generators are rolling at nine to 10 strong. Trout fishing has been excellent on PowerBait, pink worms and stickbaits.  
(updated 4-13-2016) Cotter Trout Dock said river levels for the past week have been generally in the one- to three-generator (fairly low) range. Each guide has their own preference for what works best for them, but they have mostly been taking out Power Bait and shrimp for rainbow trout. Lures, minnows and sculpin have been the best bet for brown trout. Weather has been cool in the mornings and warming up beautifully.
(updated 4-6-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said last week, the White River saw moderate generation with no wadable water. The bite has been a bit slow. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (size 8-10), Y2Ks (size 12-14), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead, size 16-18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hot fluorescent pink or cerise San Juan worm with a hare and copper suspended below it). It is time for the big caddis hatch, which usually provides the best dry fly fishing of the year. I have observed a few caddis on the White and have had a report of a decent hatch at Rim Shoals. These are decent-sized flies, about size 14. Before the hatch, fish prince nymphs. When you see top-water activity but no insects, switch to a green butt or a partridge and orange. When you see trout taking adults from the top, switch over to an elk hair caddis. The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24- to 30-foot sink tip lines (350 grains or heavier). You will need an 8- or 9-weight rod. This is heavy work, but the rewards can be great.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.89 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(updated 4-13-2016) Guide Steve Olomon said the surface water temperature is in the mid-50s to upper 50s back in the creeks. Look for the stripers in the major creeks. Find baitfish and the stripers will be close. There are a lot of them suspended 15-25 feet deep. They haven’t started coming up chasing baitfish. When the nights get a bit warmer, the bite will only get better. The night bite has been good throwing Rouges to the bank after dark. There were some big ones caught this past week. One in the 30-lb. range. There are some walleye being caught as well on the same banks as the stripers. Look on flats but don’t forget to look on some steeper banks. Remember to reel your bait slowly. Bass are hitting crankbaits in 5 to 15 feet of water. The jig is also a good bet. The whites are up in the creeks also and some were caught on a swimbait. There are a few small fish coming up the bite but doesn’t last very long.
(updated 4-13-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said last week was a week of disappointment. Everybody always asks when in spring is the best fishing. Many will say April 15, but I think most people jump the gun and try to book in mid-April. This week is a good example of jumping the gun. I fished every day and started the week catching multiple limits of stripers; then the cold weather started along with winds hitting over 30 mph on multiple days. I averaged 1 striper per day and on Saturday we had no bites at all. You would think having 9 fishing poles baited with the best shad would produce at least a bass but no such luck. I have been fishing both Big Creek and Bennett’s Bayou thinking the fish have moved up the creeks, but they have not. The night bite is going strong and fish are being caught on the main lake points. I took a look at my fishing calendars for the last eight years and they all say I should be fishing the main lake over brush piles and river channels. I switched today and caught a fat 9-lb. hybrid and 10-lb. striper, so until we can get consistent weather I’m sticking to the main lake.
(updated 4-6-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Norfork Tailwater saw some wadable water last week, but it fished very poorly. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (size 18-22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead), and soft hackles (size 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 and late afternoon and tapers off midday. My favorite combination has been a cerise worm with a Sunday special dropper. 



Northwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,120.10 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120 msl).
(updated 4-20-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is clear with some stain in places. The surface temperature is 59 to 62 degrees. Bream are fair on crickets fished around brush in 2 to 5 feet of water. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs in 5 to 8 feet of water. Bass are excellent on spinnerbaits, 5-inch soft-plastic swim baits and shallow-running crankbaits. The bass are on the beds right now. Catfishing is fair on commercially prepared bait and on goldfish. White bass are biting very well on Rooster Tail spinners. 
(updated 4-13-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said striper are making their way up the river and creek arms to feed. There has been some nice top water action! Some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Beaver Lake Striper in the White River and War Eagle arms are feeding heavily throughout the day, gorging on shad.  Run live shad on lightly weighted lines, free lines, balloons and planer boards for some good results. The white bass run is in full swing. They can be caught using a variety of methods, including grubs, spoons and Rooster Tails in orange, chartreuse and white. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water. This week’s hot spots for stripers include Hybrid Cove near the dam, Indian Creek, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Monte-Ne, War Eagle and the War Eagle/White River Jucntion.  Walleye are in the creek and river arms finishing their spawn. Walleye can be found from 5 to 15 feet deep, depending on areas you fish. Three-way rigging Rapala Original Floating Minnows has worked well. Try orange/chartreuse slow-death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers baited with night crawlers and minnows.


(updated 4-13-2016) Beaver Dam Store said water levels are returning to normal levels and many areas are accessible for anglers. Fly-fishermen are doing well on egg patterns, big nymphs, hare’s ears, midges and pheasant tails. It won't be long until the white bass make their way into the tailwater. These fish make for a great meal, so bring the kids, neighbors and family out to the tailwater. While fishing for trout, try Power Bait in white, red, chartreuse or pink, tipped with wax worms or night crawlers. You can also troll downstream from Bertrand Boat Launch with Berkley Flicker Shads and Rapala Original Floating Minnows. Colorado spoons also have been producing numbers of fish.
(updated 4-20-2016) Austin Kennedy of Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service (479-640-8733) said anglers should make plans to hit the tailwater soon. Fishing is excellent. Generation is normal for this time of year, and the water temperature is warming slowly. There is plenty of bait from Houseman Access to Spider Creek. Trolling and casting various crankbaits to match the baitfish is the way to go. Walleye are still being caught jigging live minnows and various soft plastics. If you have a depth finder, you can find the eyes near the bottom. Rainbow trout are being caught in very nice numbers with various Power Baits on light terminal tackle. Throwing ¼-oz. spoons also has been a good bet for trout. Crappie are being caught on live minnows fished under a slip bobber around brush piles and stick ups. White bass are hitting various crankbaits that dive to about 10 feet deep between Beaver and Houseman Access.


(updated 4-20-2016) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said the lake is a foot below normal, however the expected two-day rainfall should bring a rise. The water is clear, and the surface temperature is 62 degrees. The springtime moss growth on the bottom and on the brush piles is common this time of year. Bass fishing was good overall with a spike in the activity coming on Saturday morning. I personally watched as two large bass were caught by the same boaters fishing along the old roadbed. The three fishermen were using  pumpkin pepper-colored worms. The road bed runs from Preachers Point, to the old dead tree near the public access bank area.  Bass fishermen should fish the mouth of Keeper Cove, Preachers Point, around Rock Island, and the old road bed.  Crappie fishing was fair. One man caught 15 near the 10-inch length using a small white jig, and casting out with a very slow retrieve. Boaters fishing around rock island had mixed results on minnows, but all agree that the fish were holding about 8 feet deep. Catfish should be active near the feeder creeks up in Keeper Cove. The rainfall washes in crawfish and worms from the fields above the lake. I'd use nightcrawlers under a bobber, at two feet or so. Bream were biting redworms fished 3 feet deep. Crickets worked fairly well, too. Some good-sized bluegill and a few redear loaded the stringers for many fishermen. 


(updated 4-20-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is murky and the surface temperature is in the mid-50s. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets fished 2 to 6 feet deep around the bank. Crappie are biting well on minnows and blue/white jigs fished around the bank. Bass are slow. Catfishing is slow.


(updated 4-20-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is clear and the surface temperature is 63 degrees. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets in 2 to 8 feet of water. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs in shallow water. Bass are excellent on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, soft-plastic worms and topwater lures. Catfishing is good on worms, chicken livers and shad.    



Northeast Arkansas

(updated 4-20-2016) Lake Poinsett State Park said it is time for the crappie to spawn, and the anglers know it. We are selling a lot of shiners and rosey red minnows. Bream are biting very well on crickets, although some prefer the redworms. A few anglers caught bass last weekend. A few catfish are being caught, but catfishing will be much better when the water is a littler warmer.


(updated 4-20-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is very clear and low. The surface temperature is 62 degrees. Bream are slow. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs in 10 feet of water. Roadrunners have been the best jig to try around the docks. Bass are excellent on spinnerbaits and trick worms. Catfishing is excellent on chicken livers and frozen shad. 


(updated 4-20-2016) Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said the river is looking great. Water levels are running at 400 cfs and water clarity is mostly clear. The river does have its normal green tint. The trout have been hitting hard on Y2Ks, guppies, and grandma’s brownies. Hot pink Trout Magnets and white Rooster Tails have worked well on spinning rods.


(updated 4-20-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is clear and at normal level. Bream have been very, very slow on worms and crickets fished 7 to 8 feet deep. Crappie are fair on minnows fished around brush in 7 to 8 feet of water. Bass are fair on soft-plastic grubs swam around the edges of cover in 7 feet of water. No report on catfish.     



Southeast Arkansas

(updated 3-30-2016) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures are around 58 degrees in the main channel of the river, but up to 68 degrees in protected backwaters. Water visibility is low all around, about 6 inches in the main channel to just under a foot in Lake Langhofer and protected backwaters. Fishing pressure has returned and the banks are getting beaten hard, making it tougher to get bites shallow. Some fish can be found on the first ledge from spawning flats. We're not having much luck on the main channel at all. Shallow- to medium-diving crankbaits and soft plastic craws are producing the most bites.


(updated 4-20-2016) Cane Creek State Park said bass are biting very well on frogs and white spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting on live bait such as minnows and bream. Crappie are fair on minnows and crappie jigs. Bream are biting better on worms than crickets.


(updated 3-16-2016) Local angler Geoff Wright said few folks were fishing last week with the rain. The water is very high, covering many boat docks and piers. Boating conditions have been dangerous with the water so high and dirty. 



Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.49 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 4-20-2016) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake level is 6 inches above normal conservation pool and is rising.  Gate discharge is around 2,500 CFS. Surface water temperature ranges from 65 to 72 degrees, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location and time of day. Water clarity is 6-9 inches in the main lake, 3-6 inches in the river and 10-15 inches in upriver oxbows.  Millwood State Park reopened its marina, nature trails and one loop of campsites. Both boat ramps at the park are open as well. Bass are coming off the spawn and are in a feeding mood. The best activity is in early and late in the morning. The best reactions over the past week seems to be on Jingle Bugs, Craw Fatty's, Pit Bosses, lizards, big bulky 10-inch worms and spinnerbaits.  Swim baits are starting to turn on over the past couple weeks, as well. Bass Assassin Shads in Grey Ghost, Mississippi Hippie, and Bad To The Bone colors are catching nice largemouths in newly sprouted lily pad stems and shoots near cypress trees. Rat-L-Traps in Toledo Gold, Sexy Sunfish and Fathead Minnow are working on warmer days sunlight, in creek channels and higher up in shallow flats, deflecting off stumps and timber, cypress trees/knees. War Eagle spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white, and firetiger were taking nice largemouths along vegetation lines and dead lily pad stems in Mud Lake and Horseshoe. Schools of white bass are still roaming and have wrapped up their spawning run upriver. Crankbaits and spoons fished on primary and secondary points along Little River are catching some nice white bass. Crappie continue biting and have been caught close to cypress trees in 3 to 6 feet of water on jigs, small spinnerbaits and Rocket Shads. Yo-yos baited with shiners also are working. Catfish are biting consistently on trotlines baited with cut shad, buffalo, gar bait and chicken gizzards in 8 to 12 feet of water. 


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 547.15 feet msl (Flood pool – 548 msl).
(updated 3-16-2016) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported the water surface temperature is 61 degrees. The water is muddy on the north half of the lake and stained from Point 7 south. Bass are hitting 3/8-oz. KVD Special spinnerbaits in white with silver blades, shad-colored jerk baits and Alabama Rigs. Bass seem to be holding away from the bank a few feet. The sunshine and warmer temperature should have the males roaming the bushes. Crappie are biting well all over the lake. Use 2-inch Kalins grubs in shad or popsicle colors around brush tops and laydowns along the shore. For water safety information, visit http://watersafety.usace.army.mil.
(updated 3-30-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are staging and spawning. Check out shallow spawning areas with minnows and jigs for best results.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 408.13 feet msl (flood pool – 408 msl).
(updated 4-13-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 60s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is pretty good with some nice catches reported. The best pattern has been the small points in the backs of spawning coves. Try a Carolina-rigged lizard worked slowly across the point and possibly dragging it through a bed. Work the lure in water 4 to 10 feet deep. Also some schooling bass are showing. Try a lipless crankbait in red or clear if the water is very clear. Quite a few spotted bass are showing along rocky points and bluff banks.  Try a Texas-rigged finesse worm in green pumpkin. Look for fish along the bluff bank across from Point 15, the west side of Goat Island and at Point 28. A few crappie are coming from upriver at Shouse Ford and Point Cedar. Look for fish in spawning coves and fish shallow cover. Try a 2-inch curly tail grub or tube on a 1/16-ounce jig head. Tennessee shad is one of the better colors. Also try small minnows under a float. Hybrid fishing is still slow with only a few fish being caught. About the only pattern right now is trolling an umbrella rig loaded with 4-inch curly tail grubs or swim baits at 10 to 12 feet deep at 2 MPH. Run a long line, about 100 feet, and look for fish at Shouse Ford and Point Cedar. Catfishing is fair on trotlines baited with live minnows. Set the lines in the backs of coves in about 20 feet of water. The best areas have been between Point 15 and Goat Island. 
(updated 4-20-2016) John Duncan with Yo-Yo Guide Service has the following reports for DeGray:
Iron Mountain Marina Iron Mountain Marina said the water temperature should be back up to 67 degrees in Shouse Ford by the weekend. Water temperature dropped a couple of degrees after cool nights in middle of week. Fish had moved to shallow water. Bigger females moved out slightly with temperature change. Fish  3 to 4 feet deep with minnows and jigs in acid rain and popsicle colors. Minnow fishing is best with sliding cork set up. Fish vertically to avoid getting slime off brush. Crappie were biting very well at the end of last week. Bass fishing has been good in the shallows on lizards and shallow-running crankbaits. Bream are moving to shallow water, and a few are being caught on minnows and jigs. The state park marina said Shouse Ford still the best area for crappie. Minnows and jigs are both doing well. Bass moving into shallow water to bed. Caddo Valley Bait Shop said lemon meringue and popsicle are still the hot colors for crappie jigs. Concentrate on brush in 4 feet of water around Shouse Ford. Bass are up shallow and can be caught on lizards and creature baits.



South-Central Arkansas

(updated 4-13-2016) Stacey Jackson at White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) said bass are hitting on crankbaits, Zoom Brush Hogs and spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting well on trotlines using live and prepared catfish baits. Tight lining using worms and catfish baits also is working well. Crappie are biting on minnows and jigs in the upper lake. For lake information or a camping reservation please call White Oak Lake State Park at 870-685-2748 or stop in at the Visitor Center.


(updated 4-6-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said anglers are catching bass on jigs, jerk baits and spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting in backwater areas. No report on bream or crappie.


(updated 4-6-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said anglers are still catching a few bass in the shallows. No report on bream or crappie.


(updated 3-9-2016) ​Local angler Jaret Rushing had no report.



West-Central Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 343.62 feet msl (full pool – 342 msl). 
(updated 4-20-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water is clear and the surface water temperature is 66 degrees. Bream are excellent on worms and crickets fished right up on the banks. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs fished 4 to 6 feet deep. Bass are shallow on spinnerbaits and crankbaits worked out from the banks. Catfishing is fair, with some good flatheads being caught on noodles. 
(updated 4-13-2016) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is clear and low. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs around any exposed stumps and brush you find. Bass are biting well on spirnnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastics around exposed cover. Catfishing is slow.   


​(updated 4-20-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said fishing has picked up with bass being caught on frogs and jigs. Some good 7-, 8- and 9-lb. fish have been weighed in the last few weeks. A few crappie are still being caught on jigs and minnows. Bream are biting on worms. Catfish are biting on shad and nightcrawlers.


(updated 4-20-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperatures are in the upper 50s to lower 60s. The river is dingy, with clearer water in the creeks and backwaters, but the rain should change that and muddy up the backwaters as well. Bass have been good on topwaters in the morning and evening. Buzzbaits, frogs and Pop R’s have worked around any fry you see. Flipping lizards, baby brush hogs and Bamboozie craws has worked for bedding bass. Staging bass have been good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps and jigs. Striped bass have been biting well. Fish swimbaits and topwater prop baits in areas with a lot of current. White bass are in the creeks and are biting well on white grubs and small white crankbaits. Crappie fishing has improved with good size crappie caught on minnows and chartreuse, black/chartreuse and pink jigs along the edge of grass and stumps. Bream have been biting well in the creeks around stumps and laydowns on worms and crickets. Catfish have been good and will improve with the rain. Worms and minnows in the creek and cut perch and shad in the river should produce well.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 576.70 feet msl (full pool – 578 msl).
(updated 4-20-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort said the surface water temperature is 62 to 66 degrees and the water is stained. Black bass are still excellent on floating worms, creature baits and Carolina-rigged lizards. Main lake points and secondary points are producing the best results, but the fish are moving to the shallows to spawn. Walleye are still biting very well in shallow, clear water on the east half of the lake. Stripers are excellent on topwater lures, such as C10 Redfins on the west end of the lake. Bream are biting very well on crickets, maggots and redworms fished 10 to 20 feet deep. Crappie are still excellent on minnows and crappie jigs fished 8 to 15 feet deep near brush. Catfishing is good on live bait and cut bait in 20 to 25 feet of water.
(updated 4-6-2016) The Trader Bill's Fishing Report with Tom Duke and Phillip Kastner said there are a lot of good fish being caught right now. The spawn is in full swing, and there are beds to be found all over the lake. A lot of fish are also waiting to pull up for the next wave of spawning during the next full moon. Surface water temperature ranges from the low 60s to high 60s. A good tactic to look for that next wave of spawning fish is to cast a Carolina rigged lizard parallel to the bank in 5 to 6 feet of water.  


(updated 4-13-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie and bass are in the middle of their spawn. Not all are spawning near the banks in shallow water, but rather seeking cover in slightly deeper water back from the banks. Soon, when complete with their spawn, they will move out to intermediate brush piles and we should enjoy this pattern on into the middle of June.
(updated 4-6-2016) The Trader Bill's Fishing Report with Tom Duke and Phillip Kastner said said there are a lot of good fish being caught right now. The spawn is in full swing, and there are beds to be found all over the lake. A lot of fish are also waiting to pull up for the next wave of spawning during the next full moon. Surface temperature has hovered between 60 and 65 degrees. Bed fishing has been hot, as has a floating worm or Carolina-rigged lizard.


(updated 4-20-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, said water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 54 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The lake is at normal summer pool and will remain at this level until  mid-November. Rainbow trout fishing improved greatly in the last week. Wax worms, meal worms, redworms or nightcrawlers floated off the bottom with a marshmallow floater have accounted for many good catches of trout this week. PowerBait and corn also have worked well for bait anglers. Artificial lures such as Rooster Tails and Super Dupers in white or silver work well during times of generation and current. Boaters trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current have done very well with larger trout as these fish tend to target larger prey over deeper water below the bridge. White bass are making a spawning run to the dam. Many fish are being caught on small crankbaits trolled against the current. Jerk baits and 1/8- to 1/16-oz. jigs are working as well. Live minnows tightlined over deep water also will catch a few fish concentrated around rock structure. Crappie are spawning in the tailrace, and some large females have been caught on live minnows and jigging spoons. Crappie avoid current and will be found in areas protected from moving water. Freshwater drum have been biting well in deep water at the tailrace on nightcrawlers and spoons. Hybrids and stripers also will move into the tailrace each April, and often strike topwater baits such as Super Spooks and C-10 Redfins.



East Arkansas

(updated 4-20-2016) ​Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said crappie have moved up on their beds and are hitting white/chartreuse jigs. Submerged treetops have been producing good amounts of crappie. Bream are on their beds and hitting black bugs (small jigs). Crickets and worms also have produced some bream. Bass have responded well to spinnerbaits, preferably white spinnerbaits. The Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center in Marianna, off of Hwy 44, is open 8-5 every day and sells minnows, crickets, nightcrawlers, shad and a wide variety of artificial lures.


(updated 4-20-2016) ​Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) said crappie are on their beds, hitting jigs and minnows. Hybrid stripers and largemouth bass have been striking Texas-rigged green worms off the banks.  The AGFC conducted shocking samples last week and reported many good-size crappie and bass in the population. The Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center in Marianna, off of Hwy 44, is open 8-5 every day and sells minnows, crickets, nightcrawlers, shad and a wide variety of artificial lures.


(updated 4-20-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the water is high and dirty. Not many anglers are on the water with the current conditions. 



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