(updated 7-6-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water clarity was normal for this time of year but the level is low. Bream fishing is good in shallow areas, mostly around the banks and lily pads. Crappie are being caught right off the bottom, or maybe 1 foot from the bottom and in the deeper parts at about 7 feet, just off cypress trees and knees and the brush piles. Check out the Arkansas Highway 89 bridge area for some good crappie action. Bass are working well early in the day and late after the sun drops. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the best bets. Flathead catfishing is good, Yo-Yo’s in the channel are best baited with cut bait, while bream, minnows and goldfish are also good bait for trotlines.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie were biting fair around the Arkansas Highway 89 bridge on minnows as well as Bobby Garland Cajun Crickets and jigs. Catfishing was fair on limb lines and trotlines; use slicks or cut shad.
(updated 7-6-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Little Red is receiving the summertime pattern of early evening generation on weekdays, providing excellent wade and drift fishing opportunities on all sections of the river. With low water and bright sun, remember to use fluorocarbon tippet to increase your catch numbers. For fly fishing, Myers suggests sowbugs, midges and Woolly Buggers. For Trout Magnet fishing, red- and cotton-candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jig heads are working well. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 7-6-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said summer has arrived with a hot blast. The river remains low and clear with good temperature the length of the trout water due to the afternoon generation. Fishing has been fair to good, with the mornings being the most comfortable for the fishermen. The bite has been in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon ahead of the afternoon generation. There are no noticeable hatches at this time, with a few blue-winged olives coming off in the afternoon. Sowbugs, midge pupas and pheasant tail nymphs seem to be the most productive with all fished close to the bottom.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.99 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said the fishing has gotten tougher as of late; it got so hot so quick that everything kind of went into shock mode. The black bass are in their summer mode now for sure with the water temperature at 88 and hotter. Drops deep around brush piles are the most consistent method. A few bass are shallow but some stay shallow all year and some are hanging out on the first drops. Try Texas rigged worms, rig lizards and Senko’s. The shallow fish will bite a spinnerbait if you chase the wind some, and try a jighead worm on the in-between fish. Some are schooling early and late all over the lake. The bream are eating well out 20-28 feet of water on crickets and crawlers. The crappie are hanging out 15-30 feet deep over brush piles and around standing timber. Use Road Runners, jigs and minnows. The walleye have moved a little deeper to about 25-30 feet of water; try crawlers drug around and crankbaits cranked real slow. The catfishing has even been a little off, but use 12-15 feet drops on jugs and lines close to deep water for the best catching on a variety of baits. The hybrid and white bass fishing has been slow somewhat. Some fish are eating the new threadfin but are very inconsistent all over the lake. The structure bite has slowed as they’re acclimate to the hotter water and generation. Try topwater baits for the schoolers, and use spoons, in-line spinners, swimbaits and live bait for the deeper fish.
Cody Smith of Fish Greers Ferry guide service
reports that water surface temperature is ranging in the upper 80s. Water levels are normal for this time of year with small releases from the dam daily. Fishing has been best from early morning hours before 9 and once again during the waning hours of the day. Smith and his anglers have caught every species that swims in the lake over the past week and it seems the bulk of their game fish are all relating to the growing bream population. The 15-25-feet depths around Corps of Engineers habitat has produced the best for them. Live bait options and larger artificial in bluegill and darker colors have been best. White bass and hybrids have been scarce on top, while decent numbers can be found and captured on a variety of jigging spoons in the 20-45-feet zone.
(updated 6-29-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort
(501-889-2745) said the water level was high and was had a dark, murky look, leading to a spotty to good week of fishing mostly for bream or catfish. There was no report on crappie caught and bass rated poor. However, bream fishing was good with worms and crickets. Catfishing was good with worms or Magic Bait.
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting in creek, and are biting on Bobby Garland BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Penny Back Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. They are biting at nighttime, too. Catfish are biting on minnows and worms and shad. Bass are biting on buzzbait and worms and minnows and topwater baits. White bass are biting Baby Shad and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bream is biting great on crickets and worms and Rock Hopper.
(updated 7-6-2016) Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said bream are doing great on the beds, using crickets and worms. Bass are chasing shad and hitting buzzbait (chartreuse and black). Crappie are slow but catching good size in 8-10 feet of water with minnows and jigs, red and chartreuse with sparkle. Catfish are biting well on catalpa worms, bass minnows and shad. Anglers fishing off the dock are getting good catches of bass, bream and catfish. The quality and size off fish is excellent. Bait shop is now open and being run by John Banks; visit him at the shop just off Arkansas Highway 9 for all your bait and tackle needs.
(updated 7-6-2016) Fosters Four Seasons
(501-868-9061) said water surface temperature was in the mid-80s, the water was at a normal level and clear, and fishing was good all around. Bream were biting well on worms and crickets. The crappie bite was good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was good using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing was good. There were no reports on white bass.
(updated 7-6-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina
reported that black bass are good and are biting on Wacky Rig worms, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Early morning and late in the day is when the fish want to be caught. They can be caught in 12-15 feet of water. Blacks are on the sharp banks and 15 feet off weeds. Tuesday night’s catch in the weekly black bass tournament reflected the good bite, with Joey Hutchison and Randal Clark pulling in 12.44 pounds of bass, and the top four finishers hauling in at least 8.12 pounds. James Vaughn hooked the biggest bass, at 4.62 pounds.
Kentucky bass are good and being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 10-15 feet of water. They are mixed in with the blacks. White bass rate good; use deep diving Bandits and Bombers, as they are all over the lake. When they’re school in the main lake, catch them on CC spoons, white jigs and Roosters Tails. They are mixed in with the crappie, which were fair to good this week. Crappie are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs and are 15 feet deep. Try the edge of the channels. Bream fishing is excellent. Bream can be found at 13 feet on the bottom. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfish are good and are being caught in 15-20 feet depth on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers. Thirty-pound catfish have been common of late.
(updated 7-6-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie were active in the 14-16 feet depth and the bite was fair. Minnows, red/chartreuse jigs and white/chartreuse jigs were working best. Catfishing was fair on trotlines using slicks and goldfish. Bream fishing was excellent on redworms and crickets. Bream were mostly about 6-10 feet deep.
Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) said crappie is hitting Baby Shad and minnows and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r. Reports of white bass biting Cajun Spin and Silver Minnow. Bass are biting on buzzbaits and topwater lures.
(updated 6-29-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said catfish are biting on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, bait shrimp and minnows. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting minnows and 4-inch lizards, and a few have been caught recently on crawfish. Remember, the bass at Sunset Lake must be released. A few customers report catching some crappie on size 6 minnows.
(updated 6-29-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said bass have been eating up some 4-inch green pumpkin and watermelon candy Zoom lizards. Texas rig ’em with a small bullet weight and a good sharp, wide gap worm hook. Light line will also increase your bites in the clear water of the Saline. Catfish have been caught on trotlines and limb line baited with goldfish, black saltys and crawfish. Crappie have been slow, but some are still finding a few around logs and brush close to current. Let a size 6 minnow drift down river as close to the cover as possible without tangling. Bream are almost always going to bite a cricket or worm on the river. Use a small hook, light line and tackle and you can have fun all day. You're going to catch a lot of small ones but some big ones are there, too, and they're all fun to catch. Speaking of fun to catch, this is the time of year to catch some gar on the river. Sight fishing with size 12 minnows, a good sharp, strong hook, heavy line and medium/heavy action rod and reel is much fun and challenging. Give it a try. Have fun with any fish you catch and always be safe.
(updated 6-29-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream almost always top the reports from Norrell this time of year. Big bream usually come from deep water structure such as brush, logs or rock piles, but some good ones also can be found around docks and walls around the banks of the lake. Crickets and redworms work best. Try tight-lining in the deeper spots and fish 3-4 feet below a cork around the banks. Bass fishing has been fair, mainly at night. Dark-colored lizards and worms or topwater/buzzbaits have been getting it done for some. Catfish have been biting minnows, black saltys and goldfish on jugs and trotlines. Crappie have been slow to bite anything.
(updated 6-29-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said some really nice crappie are still biting on size 12 minnows and Bobby Garland Baby Shad in Cajun cricket and glacier colors. Bass have been biting minnows, plastic worms and Carolina rigged lizards and topwater baits early in the morning. Catfish have been biting well for some using chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers fished around the banks right before dark. Bream are biting well on crickets and redworms.
(updated 7-6-2016) Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said the water is clear with slow flows. Black bass can be found in front of grass lines. Use cherry seed Zoom worm. Also use CC spoons mid-day on the jetty tips, fishing is good there. For catfishing, use worms in 3-10 feet late in the day and early; it’s fair fishing mid-day. Drift using shad. Bream are biting strong on crickets under the overhangs. White bass are chasing shad schools; use crankbaits and white or pearl shad along the creek mouths early in the day as well as late.
(updated 7-6-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley said bass fishing is going strong on the Arkansas River right now. Flows have been at a consistent 15-20k cfs this week. Good numbers of both largemouth and spotted bass were caught during this past weeks guide trips. Several good quality fish in the 3-4-pound range. Look for numbers of fish are main river current breaks using moving baits. Stay on the move until you get a bite. More than likely there will be more than one willing participant in the area! Catfishing is also hot. Focus your efforts on the deep holes along the main river. The fish are recovering and feeding up after the spawn so don't be scared to use big bait. Large pieces of cut shad and even large live shad are working to bring in good fish. If you don't mind getting out on the water after dark, you can really catch some good fish. The night bite should only get better as the daytime temperatures continue to increase.
(updated 7-6-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water was at a normal level and clear, with surface temperature in the mid-80s. Bream were good on worms and crickets. Crappie were working well on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was good; try using spinnerbaits and topwater. Catfishing was good using worms and chicken liver. There was no report on white bass.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported bass fishing being excellent early in the day and late evening. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater were all working well. Crappie were fair and situated about 10-14 feet deep. Use minnows and jigs.
(updated 7-6-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water in Clear Lake is at normal level and has cleared. Bream fishing is good on worms and crickets. Bass fishing is good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and chatterbaits. Crappie have been fair on minnows and jigs. Catfishing rated poor. Near Terry Dam, crappie are better, rating good. Bream are good on worms and crickets, bass are good on plastics (lizards, worms) and crankbaits around the jetties. Cut bait is working for catfish.
Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff
(501-834-5733) reported a good week of fishing as the water was clear and surface temperature was in the 80s. Water level was low. Crappie could be found around brush piles using minnows and jigs and the fishing rated good. Bream were good using worms and crickets. Bass were good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing was good around the deep holes near the river jetties; use nightcrawlers or cut bait.
(updated 7-6-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water had low clarity but was at normal depth, with a surface temperature of 85 degrees earlier this week. Bream fishing was excellent using crickets. Crappie were working in 10-12 feet depth around the jetties but were biting just fair. Black and chartreuse Crappie Magnets were working best. Bass were good around the rocky points, with buzzbaits and topwater frogs getting the most action. Catfishing was excellent below the dam on cut shad. White bass were fair. On the Terry Dam end of the pool, the surface temperature was recorded as 82 degrees. Bream were good in the Tar Camp pool on crickets. Crappie were fair, suspended in 12-15 feet around the rocky points, and were biting red and chartreuse jigs. Bass fishing was good around rocky points on topwater lures and buzzbaits. Catfishing was good blow the Terry Dam, with skipjack working best. White bass rated fair.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) only report on fish in the pool was on the fair catfishing. Skipjack, shad and chicken were working well, while the snagging was fair.
(updated 7-6-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said water was low but clear. Catfishing was great; try bloodworms or nightcrawlers. Bream fishing was fair on worms and crickets. Bass fishing also was fair; use spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Crappie fishing was poor, but minnows got some nibbles.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing was fair on the levee side using nightcrawlers and chicken livers.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bass and bream fishing were outstanding during the past week. Bream were excellent around the docks using worms and hand-tied bream jigs. Bass fishing was excellent in the larger, more open part of the lake with Texas rigged lizards, black buzzbaits and square-billed crankbaits.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing was fair. Use nightcrawlers, stink bait or chicken liver.
(updated 6-29-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream and catfish have been caught in the last few days on nightcrawlers, crickets and bait shrimp. Bass fishing has been slow with reports of a few being caught on minnows. No reports of crappie being caught recently.
(updated 7-6-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water was at normal depth, with a surface temperature of 85 degrees earlier this week. Bream fishing was excellent using crickets. Crappie were working in 10-12 feet depth around the jetties but were biting just fair. Black and chartreuse Crappie Magnets were working best. Bass were good around the rocky points, with buzzbaits and topwater frogs getting the most action. Catfishing was excellent below the dam on cut shad. White bass were fair.
(updated 7-6-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported bass fishing being excellent early in the morning and late evenings. Zara Spooks were drawing hits, as well as black buzzbaits and Carolina rigged bait.
(updated 6-22-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that catfishing was fair. Use skipjack, chicken hearts or shad. Water level was normal.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 660.93 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 7-6-2016) K Dock Marina
(417-334-2880) reported the fishing has been really good the past week The milder weather really improved the bite. The Corps also began dropping the lake level, which has improve the parking on the boat launch dramatically. Been seeing good-size walleye coming in every day. The are really eating a nightcrawler. Also had some huge limits of bass on the Tuesday night tournament. Surface temperatures were in the low 90s last week, so the crappie are deep and scattered. Some huge ones being caught on crankbaits while trolling for walleye. Also seeing some good flathead catfish being caught on trot lines on live bluegill in the 8-15 feet range in the nearby coves. Water level last week was 661.1 and falling; water temperature was 85-88 degrees. Water was stained to clear. Black Bass are good on a variety of topwater plugs. (The hot bait that is working right now is the Whopper Plopper made by River to Sea.) Also good catches on a 10-inch plum or blue worm around structure and brush piles. Weedless plastics and jigs also working very well on banks with flooded brush. Walleye are good on dragging nightcrawlers on the flats and in front of coves. Also good on medium to large crankbaits in 20-25 feet of water. Crappie are slow on live minnows. Fair when trolling small to medium crankbaits. The surface temps have made the crappie go much deeper. Look for them suspended in 15-25 feet. Catfish is good. Flatheads are biting on live baits such as bluegill on trotlines in coves, and are in the 10-18-feet range. Channel cats are good on jug lines.
(updated 7-6-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock
reported that fishing patterns are finally changing into the basic summer patterns. The water temperature is in the 80s on the surface on the lake. There is a thermocline anywhere from the 22-30 feet level depending on who you talk with or what part of the lake you are at. There is a lot of brush in the water on the shoreline still and the largemouth bass and catfish seem to be up in it. The smallmouth bass are a little deeper on the gravel and chunk rock banks. The spotted bass are in deeper water along the bluffs, timber and points. The walleye are being reported in 15-30 feet of water by the fisherman. The good thing is that the divers are reporting seeing lots of bass, walleye and catfish. Seems like the lake is loaded with fish. Lake level is around the 662 mark and falling. Visibility is good with the divers reporting it to be 25-30 feet in most places. Here are the fishing patters that are being reported: Largemouth bass – topwater baits early and late, plastic worms in the brush, jigs in the brush, spinnerbaits after dark; smallmouth bass – jigs and plastics in 10-20 feet of water outside the brush line. Split shot a nightcrawler same depth, parallel a crankbait outside brush line early and late; spotted bass – drop shot plastic worm, jigging spoon, live nightcrawler, live crawfish in 25-35 feet of water off of steep drop-offs and points; walleye – troll deep diving crankbaits in 15-20 feet of water, bottom bounce with nightcrawler in 15-30 feet of water, lead core trolling in 25-35 feet of water with longer stick baits, jigging spoon in 25-35 feet of water; catfish – limb lining around the bank in the brush and trotlining in the coves; white bass – haven’t seen many but would think under lights at night would work; crappie – same thing, haven’t seen many, but would think night under lights would work.
(updated 7-6-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort
(870-453-2424) reported a slow weekend and early week of fishing due to the rain and thunderstorms in the area. The water was dingy/murky and was at a low level. The trout catch was rated fair.
Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock
said the river was the place to be during the holiday weekend. The area received some much needed rain; the river was only a little dingy in some spots near sandy banks, but it has already worked its way downstream. They are still catching great fish with sculpins and black Zig Jigs. Berkley pink and white Mice Tails were a favorite attraction for rainbows. Longtime standbys came into play (again): the red/gold Thomas Buoyant spoon and gold Cleos. During periods of cloud cover some folks found more success with the silver or silver/blue Cleos and Buoyants. They suggest fishing early in the morning and staying away from the hottest time of day (1-5 p.m.). Keep a hand towel or a neckerchief nearby to dip in the cold river water and wrap around your neck or use as a turban to help stay cool.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) ) said Cotter saw a half-inch of rain, hot temperatures and moderate winds in the past week. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2 feet to rest at 0.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.67 feet. This is 34.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.5 feet to rest at 1.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 1.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 10.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had more generation last week with no wade-able water. Berry wanted to revisit his top six flies he’s using for this year:
New flies come and go, and old standards are revisited. Though Berry says he carries hundreds of patterns, these six flies account for about 90 percent of the fish that he or his clients land. The only fly that has made every list of his top six flies is the Woolly Bugger. Berry recalls the first time he fished it over 35 years ago. He was fishing the Little Red River with his brother, Dan. He gave John a couple of them, and John asked how to fish them. Dan told him that it didn’t matter as long as it was in the water. John said that turned out to be true and he has been fishing them since He says he’s caught more different species with a Woolly Bugger than any other fly. Don’t leave home without it.
On his most recent list of best flies, he had included the copper John, but he has changed over to the pheasant tail nymph. This fly has been around since 1930. There is a reason for any fly to be around that long. The pheasant tail is easy to tie and catches fish. He has found it to be a great nymph imitation for the river’s sulphur mayflies that are coming off now. He always ties them in a copper bead head version. It sinks like a rock and the copper bead will show off well in stained water.
The ruby midge is new to Berry’s list and in fact has been his best producer for the last two years. It has replaced the zebra midge as his go-to midge pupa pattern. Since the White and Norfork rivers are major midge waters; it is Berry’s most important fly. Most of the guides he knows fish them on a daily basis. It is the best-selling fly at Berry’s Blue Ribbon Fly Shop.
Berry generally fishes two fly rigs, and the San Juan Worm is his top fly, the one he fishes every day. He believes it acts as an attractor and gets the trout’s attention. Though he usually catches more fish on the bottom fly, he will catch quite a few on the worm. After a rain, it is his go-to fly because worms are washed into the river during a rain. It is also the easiest fly to tie.
The newest member of this year’s list is the hare and copper. It is a pattern that has been around for a while. It is a simple fly with a body of hare’s mask, a copper bead and copper rib tied on a scud hook. It is impressionistic and kind of looks like a scud, caddis or sowbug, but not exactly. It has been producing well, and Berry had a young man take two spectacular cutthroats last week on Dry Run Creek using it.
His sixth selection is the Green Butt. He says he didn’t choose it just because it is his signature pattern, but because it works. This is the fly he ties at Sowbug and the Fly Fishing Fair every year. It is an easy tie and looks elegant. It is a soft hackle and it is the first thing that he ties on whenever he sees some topwater action. He developed it about 15 years ago and has fished it ever since. It has become a popular local pattern that sells well in the shop. Armed with these six flies he says he can catch fish just about anywhere and hopes anglers will give them a try.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 554.40 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 7-6-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said the lake has slowed down. The constant storms and boat traffic slowed down the bite down. Although they are still catching stripers, he’s not having the bites and catches he had the week before. One thing that changed is the depth of the stripers before light. Reynolds was catching them at 35-45 feet of water; now they are being caught as shallow as 30 feet. Once it becomes daylight they continue to move out to 100-130 feet of water. After 8 a.m. the fishing turns off using live bait. The lake continues to be lowered until it reaches a pool of 553 feet msl, which should happen in the next week unless the rains continue. Look for stripers off sloping points before light, and then continue to look for them as you move off the point into the channel. If you can find a point that slopes with the channel butting it, then you have the perfect combination to catch stripers early than after light. Being a live bait guide generates moving problems than the artificial bait guides. Finding the right-size bait and keeping them alive is unique. Shad requires salt, which causes problems in your boat. Everything is working great, then a wire corrodes and you wind up with dead bait. Another problem is you can only house so many baits at a time. Tom says he averages 33-37 baits per trip. If you get into a heavy bite. You can go through a lot of bait very quickly since anglers tend to miss more then they catch. With that all said, some days things just never click with a client. Tom said he had that happen last week. They could not catch a striper, they had nine strikes with no fish in the boat, and Tom said his anxiety level was so high that the clients were not happy. As a guide he says his one job is trying and make sure you catch fish and have a good time, and this past week was not his best week, he said. Tom’s friend Jim Crowley from Hook and Hunt TV came down for the Fourth of July. Jim writes for Midwest Outdoors and wanted to write an article on Norfork striper fishing. Jim and Tom have filmed a number of fishing and hunting shows with great success. After Tom’s current week he was worried about the fishing, but Sunday morning turned out better than he expected. They were fishing at 4:45 a.m. and went 30 minutes without a strike, then four rods went down in the dark. It was a total madhouse but they managed to boat three. They moved to another spot and caught two more and had enough fish on the line to catch two limits. Jim had a good trip with enough information and pictures to publish an article in August. Be sure to read Reynolds’ Summer Striper tactics at the FishNorforkLake.com website.
(updated 6-29-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
said the lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 555.93. The Corps is running one generator continuously. The lake surface water temperature is in the mid to upper 80s. The main lake is clearing and the creeks and coves are slightly stained. Striped bass fishing is continuing to be a strong bite. Fish are still scattered throughout the lake and are mainly concentrated in 25-40 feet of water either on the bottom or suspended in deep water. For the last couple of weeks, he has been fishing with his daughter and her family and they had a blast. All including the little ones were catching fish. After keeping several limits of stripers the first couple of days, they started releasing all fish caught. Lou’s 4-year-old granddaughter had fun catching bluegills at the dock and she is getting really good with her Tinkerbell pole. Live thread fin shad has been working great for his group, but vertical jigging with a spoon and trolling with swimbaits also produce some nice fish. Largemouth bass fishing has slowed a little but is still good. There is some topwater action early in the mornings, but the bigger ones are going deeper. He has found bass partway back in creeks at channel swings near points. They are in shallow water early, then move out to 20-30 feet of water as the sun gets high in the sky. There are plenty of bass hanging out in the shadows of the docks during the day.
Crappie fishing is also in its hot-water mode: hard to find, but once you locate them you will catch some nice fish in the 10-14-inch range. A couple of his guests have been crappie fishing and did well both Monday and Tuesday. Start looking for brush piles back in creeks and coves. The brush should be in 20-35 feet of water and the fish will be suspended on the tops of the brush, but some of the nicer ones will be deeper. There are still plenty of nice crappie in the shadows of the docks during the day. There are some nice walleye being caught. Look for walleye in 25-35 feet of water. They will be around main lake points that have brush nearby or at this same depth along the rocky bluff walls. Jigging spoons as well as a crawler harness are working.
(updated 6-22-2016) Guide Steve Olomon
said the lake level is 557.1 feet msl and the water temperature is in the mid-80s. Look for stripers down 35-60 feet deep. They can be close to the bottom in 35 feet depth or they can be suspended in 100 feet. Check the deep side of points and close to the creek channels in the creeks. They had a few small stripers in the 2-4-pound range and some hybrids about 4-6 pounds coming up hitting Zara Spooks in a creek while they were sitting in 55 feet. There were a few whites, large mouth and some smallies mixed in. Steve and his group hit another spot and got into a few spotted bass. They were not coming up chasing, they just came up and hit the spooks in Big Creek. The group caught a few stripers and a couple hybrids on jigging spoons suspended at 30 feet in about 55 feet of water. F or more information on the area and lake visit www.LakeNorforkFun.com.
(updated 7-6-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake fell 0.6 feet to rest at 0.5 feet below seasonal power pool of 556.42 feet and 24 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had no wade-able water. In an effort to get the lake level down on Norfork the Corps of Engineers has opened a sluice gate during daylight hours. The increased flow is equal to about one full generator. The Norfork has fished better lately. 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 eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #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 fly has been the Green Butt. Dry Run Creek will be very busy, with summer vacation, in full swing. It is cleared and fished well. 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).
(updated 7-6-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) saidthat with the weather warming, smallmouths are more active. My favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the river. There are no dams and the river is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 7-6-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the river is navigable. Try his favorite lure for smallmouths, the Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering. There are no dams, there are large drainages and the creek prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,119.82 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 7-6-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported a fair to good week of fishing. Water was clear and the surface temps were in the 80s. Water level was normal. Catfishing was excellent on jugs, rod and reel and trotlines; try using worms or blood bait. Bass fishing was good, even excellent in the early morning. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater were working well, while plastic worms were the way to go in the evening for bass. Crappie fishing was good on minnows and jigs, as well as soft plastics while trolling. Bream were good on worms and crickets. Bluegills were biting on crickets and worms as well.
(updated 7-6-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) said stripers are on main lake structures and mouths of coves, etc. There has been some nice topwater action! Some Beaver Lake striper are using gravel bars, points, humps and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Try lightly weighted lines, free lines, balloons or planer boards in presenting your baits and it will definitely get you some fish. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than 3 striper or hybrid or combination, while walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of 4. Beaver lake striper fishing will be good with striper taken on live shad fished on free lines and down lines from surface to about 20 feet deep; also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs for stained water. Use plugs, flat lines or slightly weighted lines like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model. Jerkbaits like flukes will also produce. The night bite action has been hot! Water surface temperatures have been in the high 80s. Try these hot spots: dam site and Hybrid Cove, Point 1, Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, Point 5, Point 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch.
Walleye are now back down on the main lake in numbers and on the feed. Walleye can be found 10-20 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink pro scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 7-6-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy said the tailwaters are a little cloudy from all the rain runoff, but that has not affected the trout bite. Trout are biting on little Cleo spoons, Rapalas and light terminal tackle with various power baits. There is quite a bit of bait between Houseman Access and Spider Creek. The white bass, for the most part, have been pushed back to Beaver town. The whites can be caught pulling various Rapalas at different depths. Kennedy says he has noticed a few trout have had some bite marks in them, along with an increased sightings on alligator gar in the upper tailwaters. So, for you gar fisherman, he says he would focus between the Highway 62 bridge and Spider Creek.
(updated 7-6-2016) Beaver Dam Store
reported fly fishing in the tailwaters has been pretty good. There are still some white bass to be caught upstream from Bertrand Launch. Get on the water at sunrise and catch those early risers. The occasional brown trout can be caught using midges, streamers, hopper patterns. For Rainbows, try drifting zebra midges, numphing and swinging small soft hackles. The white bass and striper fishing has tapered off at White Bass Cove. Not to say they are not there, but the occasional feeding frenzy has been noted when bait fish are present. The Zara Spook in fin/pearl with red head color is the hot ticket, along with pearl. Jerkbaits are also producing. The good lures have been the gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good power bait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Successful flies have been pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive, hares ear, tungsten copper Johns, WD40s and Trout Magnets. Catfish are biting on Wicked Sticky catfish bait along with Magic Bait Crawfish/chicken blood bait.
(updated 6-15-2016) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said that health issues are forcing him to close the bait shop the remainder of the year.
(updated 7-6-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water surface temperature at 83 degrees and the water was at a normal level and slightly dingy. Reports were good from anglers. Bream were biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing was good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing rated good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater. Catfishing was good.
(updated 7-6-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported clear water and a surface temperature of 90 degrees earlier this week. Water level was low. Bass fishing was good early in the morning or late in the evening, with topwater lures working best. Crappie were about 8 feet deep and biting minnows and jigs and rated good. Bream were good, biting worms and crickets. Catfishing was good using shad or chicken liver.
(updated 7-6-2016) Lake Poinsett State Park said minnow sales have slowed, but they are selling a lot of crickets. Anglers are catching a lot bream, but the crappie have slowed. Sales have been steady with the goldfish, nightcrawlers and redworms. There was a lot of catfish caught over the holiday weekend mostly on lines and jugs. No word on the bass.
(updated 7-6-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water surface temperature hit 95 degrees earlier this week and the water was clear and at a normal level. Bream fishing was good using worms and crickets. Crappie fishing rated good on minnows and jigs. Bass were good using spinnerbait, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing was good using worms and live bait.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 430 cfs and water clarity has been clear. The river is looking great. Woolly worms, Guppies and big nymphs have been hot this week. On the hot sunny days it is a must to get down near the bottom. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets have been hot on spinning gear. Super glue the body on to the hook so the body does not slide down. It the body slides down the trout will ignore it. A wading staff is handy wading the river, and wet wading has been the norm with the hot temps. The Spring River is a comfortable 58 degrees, enjoy!
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 fishing is better. 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 (No. 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (No. 10) and Y2Ks (No. 10).
(updated 6-29-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water was at a normal level and was clear to about 9 feet, but fishing for all species was poor the past week. Surface water temperature was 82 degrees on Monday.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures are in the upper 80s on the main channel of the river up to low 90s in backwaters. Water visibility is less than a foot on the main channel to up to a foot in backwaters. Black bass have been biting fairly well but the heat has definitely slowed them down. Shallow crankbaits on main channel jetties are producing some bites, as are soft plastics and jigs worked through brush piles. Activity slows during mid-day, so focus on early morning or late evening.
(updated 6-29-2016) Seth Boone at Cane Creek State Park said Cane Creek is hot! Literally. The fish have moved into the deeper water of the beaver pond for crappie and bass. Bass can also be found where the creeks flow in the lake, as it is cooler. Crappie are biting decently on minnows. Bass are biting well on frogs, chatterbaits, and crank baits. Catfish are biting well in the mornings and evening on live bait. Bream are biting very well on crickets.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 261.08 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said that on Monday the lake level was about 1.5 feet below normal conservation pool and falling. There is current in Little River; tailwater was gate discharge was unavailable as of Tuesday. Water temps were stable over the past week, and on Monday ranged from 79 degrees early to 90 degrees, depending on location. Lake level has dropped sharply over the past week. Use extreme caution during navigation due to stumps and submerged lodged timber are at or near surface! Clarity and visibility is improved compared to last week, most areas on main lake and Little River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility ranges about 10-15 inches. Cottonshed and northeast section of the lake remains heavy stained. Little River's visibility ranges 12-15 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity currently ranging about 20 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission released approximately 150,000 purebred Florida Bass bull fingerlings over the past two weeks into Millwood to boost the population of Florida Bass. The AGFC additionally released approximately 44,100 purebred Florida Bass bull fingerlings into Bois' de Arc Lake between Hope and Lewisville over the past few weeks as well.
Largemouth bass are fair between 2-4 pounds on topwaters early and late. Most bass are the most aggressive at dawn around lily pad stands, stumps, cypress trees and vegetation shallow. Soft plastic frogs, buzzbaits, Arbogast Jitterbugs in frog colors, Zara Spooks in shad patterns, and Crazy Shads are still drawing reactions at the surface at daybreak. Soft plastic Bass Assassin Shads are still drawing good responses, early and later in the day by deadsticking. Buzzbaits are working in Bleeding Bream, black, or bleeding shad (white/pink) colors around pads and vegetation adjacent to deeper sections of the creek channels. Best colors of Crazy Shad are chrome/black back and Bass Assassin Shads best in Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom. Good bites continue on black, white, and June bug-colored soft plastic frogs this week around pads in clearest water you can find. The bite has improved on jigs in Little River now that the current has slowed some, and fish are relating to the river especially with the 1.5 foot lower level this week. Big magnum tubes, bulky 10-inch worms, and squarebill crankbaits are working long old river channel swings where creeks and sloughs feed Little River. The Bass Assassin Shads in salt and pepper or crystal shad colors continue working around vegetation, and Rat-L-Trap/Echo 1.75 squarebills are working around deeper drops in Little River, and in the mouths of creek channels dumping into the river. Best color of magnum sized, 4-inch salty tubes are black/blue tail, bluegill, or Irish whiskey colors have been working over the past several weeks. Lots of top water action continues this week away from current of Little River, and topwater Zara Spooks, Pop-Rs and Jitterbugs, work best right at daylight. The 10-inch bulky worms, jigs, tubes and squarebill Echo 1.75 and deeper crankbaits are working after the topwater bite subsides. Best colors have been black, blue fleck, and plum on the big worms. Best Echo 1.75 crankbaits are the Millwood Magic and ghost colors. Deeper diving cranks like the Fat Free Shad are working in 6-9 feet depth in Citruse and Tennessee Shad colors. War Eagle spinnerbaits continue working in Cole Slaw, Aurora and Spot Remover colors around stumps and in vegetation over this past week. Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs are taking nice bass in the 3-4 pound class using Texas Craw, Watermelon Candy or June bug colors with a green pumpkin or black craw trailer. Black and blue chatterbaits are still working around pads and stumps in 5-8 feet of depth in shady areas of the oxbows, and under overhanging willow trees along steep banks of Little River.
Whites/hybrids continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and have been caught on Fat Free Shad crankbaits, Little Georges, Beetle Spins, Rooster Tails and Rocket Shads in about 9-15 feet of water. The Crappie bite continued improving over the past week, and were biting over planted brush piles vertical jigging tubes and jigs from 12-16 feet of depth. Best colors were white, chartreuse, and blue combinations. Blues and channel cats continue biting good in the current in Little River over the past week on trot lines, about 8-10 feet, in creek mouths and outer bends of the river. Best bites continue to be on cut buffalo, cut shad and chicken livers.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.17 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
said crappie are still fair for the anglers there.
Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported surface temperature is in the lower to mid-80s. Water is clear throughout the lake. Crappie are good on brush piles in 10-15 feet depth. A few bass are still roaming the banks and are hitting topwater plugs. Whites are hitting chrome CC spoons and shad-colored 3-inch grubs and are located off points in 15-30 feet of water. Bass are good at night and are hitting Texas rigged worms and Brush Hawgs, black spinnerbaits and deep-diving shad-colored crankbaits.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.50 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 7-6-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is only fair with a few catches reported early in the morning. Look for surface activity on main lake points at daybreak that only lasts for a few hours. Try surface lures such as Zara Spooks, Sammy's, Flukes, shallow running jerkbaits and 4-inch swimbaits. If no surface activity, try a Texas or Carolina rigged worm or lizard worked down the steep side of points to about 20 feet. Best colors for the plastics are green pumpkin and red shad. Also a few big fish reported from night fishermen. Try a dark double spinnerbait or a 10- to 12-inch dark worm. Tip: Best night fishing is after midnight because it takes a long time for the fish’s eyes to adjust to the dark. Hybrid fishing has slowed with very few fish reported. The fish are scattered with little to no schooling activity. Best bet is trolling the small 5-arm umbrella with 4-inch swimbaits in either white or chartreuse. Try the big coves between points 2 and 4. Also look for fish along the State Park between DeRoche Ridge and Caddo Bend. Like bass fishing, early morning is the best and probably the only time to produce fish. A few bream reported, but they remain on the small side. Look for fish in coves with wood or rock cover. Bait with crickets or redworms. Catfish are fair at night on trotlines mostly in the major creeks such as Big Hill and Brushy. Live bait such as small bream, big minnows and goldfish have been best.
(updated 7-6-2016) John Duncan with yoyguideservice.com
said the lake level slowly dropped last week due to daily power generation to 404.53 feet msl. The water temperature is running around 89 degrees at the surface. Fishing has been slow over the last week. Hybrids were mostly showing on the electronics below the surface in about 7-8 feet of water. They can be caught with crankbaits or swimbaits. Shad color and size needed for success on these hybrids. Duncan had one report of schooling fish in the Point Cedar area. Report is for small schools of Kentucky bass, whites and some hybrids. Bream are still biting well. Finding the larger ones is the key. Fish for them from 8-15 feet deep. Quite a few in brush piles mixed in with crappie. Crappie bite slowing and will be over soon. The ones being caught are in deep brush piles 15 feet deep to top of piles. Fish the brush piles near deep-water areas. The large amount of water activity has taken a toll on the fishing and especially the schooling fish. The fishermen Duncan talked to about catfishing were running noodles and trotlines. They stated that the bite was slow.
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
said whites and hybrids are schooling early in the morning, then settling on deep points by mid-morning.
(updated 6-22-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) ) said bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits, bream still biting well on worms and crickets, and crappie are biting well on the lower side. Catfish are being caught on live bait. Overall fishing is good, the fish are very healthy. (updated 6-22-2016) Local angler Jaret Rushing said said water from the torrential rain last week has finally subsided and oxbow lakes and the Ouachita River are fishable again. Anglers took to the water this past weekend and caught bass, bream and crappie on summer patterns. Bass were aggressive early in the morning attacking topwater baits and more aggressive shad-like baits. When the sun was at its highest, anglers found success by staging bass on shaded cypress trees or floating vegetation such as hydrilla or duckweed. Finding bream beds that are holding decent sized bream are sparse now. Anglers are catching many fish but the quality is hit-or-miss with the most success coming off of early morning bites with topwater flies or popping bugs and later bites on 3-4 feet deep cricket or worm sets. Crappie seem to be sporadic as well with anglers catching the majority of their fish in fallen tops rather than creek channels or around trees. Baits for this species vary with water condition.
(updated 6-22-2016) Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no reports.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said reports are that bass are staged in creek channels now with best bets coming on shad-like baits 4-6 feet deep. No other reports from the lake.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 336.94 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 7-6-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025)
reported that water is clear at and a low level, with water surface temperature hitting 90 degrees. Bream fishing is excellent on worms and crickets. Crappie are excellent and found in 6-8 feet of water around the channels. Use bass minnows. Bass are good also in the channels. Topwater lures like a Rebel or a Heddon Zara Spook and Bandits are the best baits. Catfishing has been good with stink bait, shrimp and trotline minnows. White bass reports have been poor.
(updated 7-6-2016) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) reported crappie biting in creeks on Bobby Garland BBQ Chicken, Cajun Crickets, Blue Ice, Shimmer, Monkey Milk, Penny Back Baby Shad Slab Slay’r and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’r and minnows. Crappie is biting at nighttime, too. Catfish are hitting Yo-Yo’s baited with minnows, worms and shad. Bream are biting on crickets, worms and Rock Hoppes. Bass are working buzzbait and topwater.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water level was so low parts were dry and there was no fishing.
(updated 7-6-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
reported a good week of fishing with the water clear and the level low to nearly normal. Bream were good on worms and crickets. Crappie rated good on minnows and jigs. Bass were good using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater. Catfishing was good with worms and chicken liver. There was no report on white bass.
(updated 7-6-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperature is in the upper 80s to lower 90s. Clarity is good in most places. A few creeks muddied up with the last rainstorm. Main river is in good condition. Bass fishing has been hit and miss, due to the low current or no current conditions. With the shad hatching, it seems to have the fish scattered. Some are being caught shallow while some are being caught deeper on sandbars. Medium diving crankbaits, Carolina rigs and prop baits are working best for early and late on the sandbars. Swimbaits, scam shad and chug bugs are working good in shallow water. There are still fish on drops. The key is finding the drops with timber on it or a brush pile. Speed worms and jigs have been working well in these places. Striped bass have been good on topwater and swimbaits at the head of creeks and on some jetties and beneath the dams. Catfish has been good in the river using uncut perch shad and skipjack, while minnows and worms have been working well in the creeks. Bream has been good in the creeks and the river using crickets, worms and grasshoppers. Crappie has been fair around 11 feet deep in the main river; try using jigs and minnows. Pink has been the color with a tad chartreuse.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 574.55 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort
(870-867-2191) said black bass are good and being caught with Texas rigged worms and creature baits. Brush piles on the main lake and secondary points are producing the best results. Drop shot finesse worms are working great for “spots.” Walleye are still excellent and are being caught trolling shallow running crankbaits and jigging CC spoons. Stripers are still good on live bait. The central area of the lake is the hottest right now. Bream are good. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 12-25 feet deep. Crappie are fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 20-30 feet deep near brush. Catfish are still excellent. Try live bait or cut bait in depths of 15-20 feet. The water temperature on Tuesday was 86-88 degrees and the water clarity was clearing. Mountain Harbor fishing guides Mike Wurm, Chris Darby and Jerry Bean are available to take anglers out to the best spots.
(updated 7-6-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 58 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Lake Catherine is now at normal summertime pool and will remain at this level until late November. Rainbow trout are still present below the dam, but the bite has slowed considerably now that a summer pattern has emerged and 5 fish limits are considered a good day on the water. Trout in the 12 to 16 inch range are present and roaming the shallow waters searching for prey. Bank fishermen are still able to catch trout during slack water periods with nightcrawlers and redworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Wax or meal worms are also effective presented in the same manner. Corn closely resembles fish eggs and will draw strikes from hungry rainbows in calm water or current flow. Live minnows floated under a bobber has accounted for the largest trout this week as these fish tend to feed on larger prey items. Fly fishermen can still access areas that hold schools of trout, but must use extreme caution when the turbines are running. Micro-jigs in white or black casted with a strike indicator is a consistent technique because the tailrace holds thousands of shad that rainbow trout feed on daily. San Juan worms in red or hot pink give an angler a nice change of pace when the bite is slow. Egg patterns in yellow or white are always the bait of choice when conditions are tough and the fish are finicky. Boaters trolling shallow running crankbaits against the current are recording limits of quality catches with most of the action best below the bridge. Anchoring behind rocks and fishing the current breaks with small jigs and jerkbaits have yielded trout in the 18-inch class by experienced guides. Overall, trout fishing is very slow and will remain that way until the stocking program begins again in late November.
White bass are making a strong spawning run toward the dam from the main body of the lake. Little fishing pressure due to extreme heat has allowed these fish to gather in big numbers on both sides of the tailrace. Current flow drives white bass to feed heavier than slack water and trolling crankbaits and casting Alabama rigs over sands bars and rock structure will produce good catches. Jerkbaits in bright yellow have been the ticket in the stained waters of last week, but now a silver and black pattern has proved to be more effective of late. Live minnows tight lined over deep water around the dam has targeted bass that moved up earlier in the flood. A few hybrid bass have been caught on the same lures with better numbers migrating in the area in June. Some striper activity has been observed this week but no big fish hooked or caught. Freshwater drum continue to spawn the tailrace with fish over 20 pounds caught and larger fish lost. Nightcrawlers and live shad are the best baits to use to entice these fish which give fishermen a hard fight test tackle to the limit. Carolina rigs tipped with either bait can draw vicious strikes so rods should never be set aside in a boat or the bank and left unattended. Never navigate the waters below Carpenter Dam without wearing a life jacket and a good knowledge of the bottom structure below the dam.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.60 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
No fishing reports were recorded.
Natalie Carter at Mississippi River State Park
(870-295-4040) said crappie are off their beds and hitting live bait; they are partial to crickets. Bream have been reported to be on their beds in previous weeks, but activity has slowed down. Most activity seems to be at moderate to deep depths. No reports on bass. Few reports on catfish – nothing of size or quantity reported as of Tuesday. The Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center located in Marianna, off of Arkansas Highway 44, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The park is selling minnows, red worms, nightcrawlers, shad and crickets along with a wide variety of jigs and artificial baits.
(updated 7-6-2016) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) reported crappie are off their beds and responding moderately to live bait, including crickets. Moderate bream activity, especially back in coves. No reports on bass. Moderate catfish activity reported when fishing with nightcrawlers and stink baits.
(updated 7-6-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported an excellent week for fishermen with huge catfish being caught and everything biting. Water was slightly stained and at a normal to low level for the week. Bream were excellent on worms and crickets. Crappie rated excellent on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was also excellent using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Trotlines were catching large catfish in good numbers, with stink bait working best.