SWEPCO offers shallow action all winter
SWEPCO offers shallow action all winter
Feb. 17, 2016

SWEPCO offers shallow action all winter

Typically, southern lakes are the first to warm and the first to see the bass spawn each year. One lake in extreme northwestern Arkansas bucks this trend. Lake SWEPCO near Gentry was created by the Southwestern Electric Power Company and receives the warmwater discharge of the power plant year round. The warm water keeps the lake's temperature higher than surrounding waters during winter, enabling fish to get a head start on the spawn. The AGFC also was able to stock Florida-strain largemouth bass in the lake years ago, and the fish continue to thrive. An electrofishing survey conducted by AGFC biologists indicated that SWEPCO continues to produce excellent numbers of healthy largemouth bass longer than 15 inches. Genetics surveys indicate SWEPCO as having one of the best Florida-strain bass populations in the state, despite its northern location. 
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.
Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is stained and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 51 degrees. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets fished right on the bottom. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs fished around Adams lake and Gold Creek. Bass are fair on topwater lures and jerk baits. Catfishing is fair on worms and minnows hung from limb lines and yo-yos around cypress trees in 6 feet of water.    
Daniel Zajac at Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) had no report.

Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said anglers should expect a change in the water release pattern from the Greers Ferry Dam next week and begin to see favorable water levels for the Little Red River. Egg patterns, San Juan worms, micro jigs and weighted nymph patterns work well. Streamers are an effective pattern during high water. For Trout Magnet fishing, hot pink, cotton candy and purple bodies on gold and chartreuse jig heads will work 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 (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.  
Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said good fishing is getting closer. The Corps said generation should be back to power demand only sometime next week. This means periods of wade fishing and low water should be available. 
James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Company (501-207-1770) said fishing has been great recently for rainbow trout during high flows. The water levels should be back down to low flows after this coming weekend. The fishing will continue to be great during low flows and wading will become possible along much of the river. Pink San Juan worms, midges and sowbugs have been working along with egg imitations. The key has been getting your lure down to where the fish are in the swift current.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.75 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 462.04 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level is 2.22 feet below normal pool and falling. It should continue to fall to 457 msl as the Corps of Engineers needs to drop and keep it that low for 6 to 8 weeks to get the turbine fixed. Getting upriver to chase walleye, white bass or hybrid bass will be a challenge. Walleye fishing should improve with the warm nights in the forecast, but getting your boat in the rivers may be difficult. Bank fishing should be good on live bream, minnows or shad on a Carolina rig. Jerk baits, deep-diving crankbaits and grubs are your best bet for big walleye. Bass are fair on Rat-L-Traps, crankbaits, Carolina rigs, jigs and jerk baits on 45-degree banks and any chunk rock banks or transition banks. No  report on catfish. Crappie fishing will pick up with the warmer temperatures as well. Try any wood that is holding baitfish in 15-30 feet of water with Road Runners, jigs and minnows. Hybrid and white bass fishing is good around the lake from 25 to 70 feet deep, depending on the end of the lake you’re fishing. Look for balls of shad and use hair jigs, in-line spinners and spoons. Live minnows and shad also work well for white bass. 

Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is murky and high. Crappie are biting well on live minnows fished around stumps in 6 to 7 feet of water. Catfishing is fair in deep water. No report on bass or bream. 
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.

Jolly Roger’s Marina had no new report.
Whiskers Sporting Goods in Perryville (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on Bobby Garland Baby shad and minnows in 4 to 12 feet of water. White bass are being caught on Cajun Spins and Johnson Silver Minnows.

Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said catfish are fair on bass minnows and bait shrimp. A few crappie have been caught on pink crappie minnows. Bass have been hitting light-colored spinnerbaits fairly well.

Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said the river is still producing some nice walleye for anglers using brooder minnows. The angling has slowed a bit during the day, but some decent results have been had just before daylight and late in the evenings. A 29-inch long, 9 ½-pound walleye recently was caught at the Lyle Park access on brooder minnows. Smallmouth and spotted bass are also still biting well on brooder minnows and bass minnows. A few people have reported some crappie catches on no. 6 minnows. Catfish have been biting well on goldfish and night crawlers. 

Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said catfish have been hitting night crawlers and chicken hearts. Bass have been fair on bass minnows and green pumpkin Zoom Brush Hogs. A few crappie have been caught on no. 6 crappie minnows.

Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said bass are fair on bass minnows and spinnerbaits. Crappie are slow to fair on no. 6 crappie minnows and 2-inch Kalin's grubs in Opening Nite color. Catfish are fair on night crawlers and goldfish.

River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water is clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 40 degrees. Bream are fair on worms fished 7 to 8 feet deep. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs. Bass are biting well on crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is slow. Some white bass are in the creek and are biting well. 

The folks at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is muddy. Crappie are slow to fair, with a few being caught on glowing jigs and orange jigs. Bass are shallow in the backwaters and are biting fairly well on spinnerbaits and black/red jigs. Catfishing is slow on cut shad and chicken liver by the dam.   
McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is muddy and high. Crappie are fair on minnows. No report on any other species.  

McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is muddy and at normal level. Crappie are fair on minnows. No report on any other species.  

Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said Peckerwood Lake is now open for fishing. The water is a little stained and high, but the fish should be ready to bite after the long winter.

North Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 664.34 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
Bull Shoals Boat Dock said the surface water temperature is 46 degrees and the floodgates are open. Fish are holding in their winter patterns. Long, main-lake points in 35 to 45 feet like Point 5 where the point drops off deep are good places to target. White Dixie jet jigging spoons or 5/8-oz. white/chartreuse Rapala Jigging Raps are catching a lot of spotted bass and smallmouth when vertically jigged at the edges of these points. Fish slowly, but cover water with the electronics to help find active fish. Also don't be afraid to start all the way in the backs of the larger creek arms, especially if you are seeing bait. The Alabama rig is still the best producer, with an occasional walleye even mixed into the catch. Megabass, Spro and Rapala jerk baits fished with a three-second pause are working well. Most docks are pushed up on the bank, but if you find some left out deep that have been neglected you can usually find a few bass warming up underneath. Smoke grubs on a ¼-oz. head, or Fish Head spins paired with a Keitech in Shad colors are working well near the docks.K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) is closed until March 4, 2016.

Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is very high and swift. 
Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the White has seen heavy generation with no wadable water. In an effort to lower the lake levels before the spring rains, the Corps of Engineers opened eight flood gates. The combined outflow and generation equal 30,000 cubic feet per second, the equivalent of 10 full generators. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8-10), Y2Ks (sizes 12-14), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead, sizes 16-18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Streamer fishing has heated up with the high water. With the heavy flows, the fish have been pushed to the bank. 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 line. 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 555.78 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new report.
Guide Steve Olomon had no new report.
Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said in an effort to lower the lake levels before the spring rains, the Corps of Engineers has opened flood gates. Releases on the Norfork equal 10,000 cfs, the equivalent of three full generators. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18-22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14-16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise, size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (size 18 elk hair caddis). 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 1,126.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120 msl).
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water temperature is in the mid-40s and the water is still well above power pool. Crappie are fair on minnows fished around brush in 8 to 12 feet of water. Bass are slow to fair on jerk baits, jigs and crankbaits from the Highway 12 Bridge to the dam. Catfishing is slow. Striper fishing was fairly slow last week. 
Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said stripers are making their way into the backs of coves, feeding on bait using pockets of warmer water. A degree or two is all it takes to concentrate the bait and the stripers. Some fish are using deep water adjacent to road beds, gravel bars, tree lines and bluffs. Again, key on the areas with a little warmer water to concentrate stripers and bait. The fish in the White River and War Eagle arms are located in warmer water pockets or close to the banks and on the bottom along gravel bars as they often do when the water gets cold. Try dragging baits close to these areas and along the bottom on gravel bars. Fishing should be good on live shad fished 20 to 30 feet deep, umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs and flat-line trolled Rapala no. 14 Husky Jerks and Smithwick Rogues in black back or purple back patterns.  Check out Indian Creek around the secondary point and past the marina near the power lines. Rocky Branch, Ford Creek, Cedar Creek, Larue, Coppermine, Ventris and Shaddox Hollow. Upstream, the War Eagle and White River areas are really good right now. Walleye are moving into the creek and river arms to spawn as well. Walleye can be found from 5 to 30 feet deep, depending on areas you fish. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water has worked well. Try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chart. Bink pro scale 1-oz jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.

 Austin Kennedy of Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service (479-640-8733) said the Corps of Engineers has been releasing a lot of water lately, which can make fishing tricky. Trout are biting very well when waters are calm. Fishing from the bank is still a little questionable with the high water level, but if you can, fish with light terminal tackle with Power Baits on the bottom. Throwing spoons also has produced some nice trout.
Beaver Dam Store said the water is slowly receding. The access areas below the Dam are limited due to flooding.  Campground "C" and the Turn-a-round are blocked off until the Corps of Engineers can repair any damages caused by the high water. Watercraft can now launch immediately below the dam as well as at Bertrand Boat Launch. Try fishing Power Bait in white, red, chartreuse, or pink, tipped with wax worms or night crawlers. Trolling Berkley Flicker Shads, no. 9 Rapala Original Minnows and spoons downstream from Betrand Boat Launch has been producing. There is wadeable water right now, but the bottom conditions have changed dramatically since the large releases. Areas where that were wadable before may be much deeper now, and tons of gravel and sand have shifted to create a different bottom contour. Egg patterns, large nymphs, hare’s ears, midges and pheasant tails are all great patterns to dead drift now.

Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said the bait shop at Duck Camp is closed for the season.

Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is cloudy and at normal level. Bass are biting well on jigs and other artificial lures fished around rocky areas on the southwest side of the lake. No report on bream, crappie or catfish.  

Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is clear and at 48 degrees. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs in 8 feet of water. Bass are fair on jig-and-frog combos around ledges and rocky points. Catfishing has been good on chicken livers and shad.  

Northeast Arkansas

Lake Poinsett State Park said some good catches of crappie have come in lately at Lake Poinsett. The mild winter may have the crappie moving up to spawn earlier than usual. Minnows are the top bait at the state park bait shop. 

Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is very clear and at normal level. The surface water temperature is 46 degrees. Crappie are biting well on jigs and spoons in 20 to 25 feet of water. Bass are fair on crankbaits fished in 20 to 25 feet of water. No report on bream or catfish.  

Lake Frierson State Park had no report. 

Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 400 cfs at the spring and the water clarity is clear. The river is looking great and the trout have been hitting Y2K’s very well. Hot pink Trout Magnets and pink and yellow spinners have been great for spin fishing.

Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the river is still at flood stage with all the massive releases from Bull Shoals upstream. No report because of the swift conditions.    

Southeast Arkansas

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said surface water temperatures dropped back a bit with the cooler nights, down to about 50 degrees, but you can still find low to mid 50-degree water in places. Visibility is still pretty low – less than half a foot in most places and up to half a foot of visibility in protected backwater areas. Black bass are biting fairly well considering that it's the second weekend of February and the average size is good when you do get a bite. A few fish have come off vertical woody cover, but most of our bites have come from the steeper rock banks in Lake Langhofer using finesse worms on shaky heads. Slow-rolled shallow- and medium-diving crankbaits run parallel to the bank can get bites as well, especially later in the day when the surface water warms a bit.

Seth Boone at Cane Creek State Park said the recent shift in weather has turned out to be delightful for anglers. The crappie are biting better on shiners and teal jigs. The bass are biting well on the south end of the lake on white jigs and silver Rapalas. Catfish and bream are slow.

Lake Chicot State Park had no report.

Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the water level is 6 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. The gate discharge is 7,500 cfs at the dam and current has been consistent. Watch for floating logs, debris fields and subsurface obstructions from the recent influx of water. Surface water temperature ranges from 49 to 55 degrees, depending on rain, wind, incoming fresh water, location and time of day. Several boat ramps and campgrounds have re-opened, but a few are still closed, including Millwood State Park. Water clarity is about 8 to 15 inches of visibility away from current in the main lake. The river’s water clarity is about 4 to 6 inches, and the oxbows have about 20 to 30 inches of visibility. Largemouth bass have improved on warmer days with many fish in the 4- to 5-lb. class caught and several 8 to 10 pounders. The best bite is typically 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on chatterbaits in black/blue, Texas craw or avocado colors with large thumping swimbait trailers, and War Eagle spinnerbaits in hot mouse, spot remover and chartreuse/white.  Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs in chili pepper, grape melon wine or watermelon candy/red with a black craw trailer continue working on sunny flats next to cypress trees and stumps close to creek channel swings.  Echo 1.75 squarebills in chartreuse shiner, gold or sexy chrome will get a few random bites during the warmer days in flats close to deep water creek channel swings as well.  Swimming a Bang Die Dapper in trickster, Houdini, pumpkinseed/chartreuse continue working on a swim jig head or weighted swimbait belly hook rig.  Working the swim baits in same areas on flats near cypress and in pockets of vegetation  along edges of vegetation grass lines and dead lily pad stems. Schools of white bass continue biting well between White Cliffs and the Highway 71 Bridge at Wilton. Backwater sloughs feeding Little River, just out of the main river current, were holding some good schools of whites over the past week.  These Bass were hitting squarebill crankbaits and medium-running crankbaits from 4-9 feet deep. Catfish continue biting consistently over the past week with the current in Little River on trotlines using homemade blood bait, cut shad on trotlines set from 10-15 feet deep.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 539.99 feet msl (Flood pool – 548 msl).
Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had no report. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 403.24 feet msl (flood pool – 408 msl).
DeGray Lake Resort State Park said the surface water temperature is 46 degrees at the marina. The water is clear with about 6 feet of visibility. Last weekend was pretty quiet. There was a bass tournament on Saturday, but only one boat was seen on the water Sunday with all the cold wind and choppy water.  
Iron Mountain Lodge and Marina said guide Dustin Holmes reported that crappie are being caught at the tops of brush piles in 15 to 25 feet of water on live minnows and jigs. Most days, bass are being caught fairly well around points with chunk rock on jigs and shad-colored crankbaits. On sunny days, crawfish-colored Rat-L-Traps have worked around rocky areas in 10 to 25 feet of water.

South-Central Arkansas

Stacey Jackson at White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) said the warmer weather has the fish perking up a little. Bream are biting fairly well on worms and crickets. Catfish are biting well on trotlines baited with live bait or prepared catfish baits. Tightlining catfish baits or worms also is working for catfish. No report on bass or crappie. 

Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said a few crappie are being caught in the backwater lakes. Catfish have been very good on live bait. Bass and bream are slow.

Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said a few bass are being caught on jigs. No report on crappie or bream.

​Local angler Jaret Rushing said the water level is back to normal, but fishing reports have been slow due to the weather and few anglers on the water. 

West-Central Arkansas

Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) had no report.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 346.59 feet msl (full pool – 342 msl). 
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is still on a fast fall dropping from the recent floods. It’s still high and muddy. No report on the fishing.  
Whiskers Sporting Goods in Perryville (501-889-2011) said crappie are biting on minnows and Bobby Garland Slab Slay’Rs, Baby Shads and 1.25-inch Itty Bit Swim’Rs in pennyback, monkey milk, blue ice shimmer, Cajun cricket and barbecue chicken in 4 to 10 feet of water. Catfishing is good on minnows, worms and shad. Bream are fair on worms.  

Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said the surface water temperature is 46 degrees, warming to 48. Crappie have been good in 8 feet of water on minnows and chartreuse jigs. White bass have been in the creeks, and are being caught on small spoons and tandem crappie jigs. Striped bass have been fair on Alabama rigs and swim baits. Several catfish have been caught on jigs and jerkbaits around creek mouths by bass anglers, so hitting these areas with some live bait should offer some excellent action. Bass have been on the move, but if you can find them they’ve been excellent on jerk baits, jigs, Alabama rigs and Rat-L-Traps. Look for stumpy points and rock bluffs. Also start to check out flats near creek channel swings during warm days to find a few staging for the upcoming spawn.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.36 feet msl (full pool – 578 msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort said the surface water temperature is 44 to 48 degrees. The water clarity is about 2 to 4 feet of visibility on the west side of the lake and 6 feet or so on the east side of the lake. Black bass are biting well on jigs, large lipless crankbaits and spoons fished near cover in old creek channels. Stripers are biting well on Alabama rigs and brood minnows fished around major creek channels. White bass, spotted bass and a few yellow bass may be mixed in with the stripers. Crappie are biting well on small spoons, minnows and crappie jigs around brush in 20 to 30 feet of water. 
The Trader Bill's Fishing Report with Tom Duke and Phillip Kastner said a couple of anglers have braved the wind and cold. The grass is back in some places, and the bass are hanging out in the grass you can find that sits about 5 feet below the surface. A crankbait fished right over the top of the grass has produced. 

The Trader Bill's Fishing Report with Tom Duke and Phillip Kastner said crappie fishing has been good in the last couple of days on deep brush piles. No report on other species.
Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, said surface water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 44 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. A 5-foot winter drawdown is still in place, which creates very shallow waters in the tailrace. Boaters and wade fishermen should use extreme caution when navigating this area and always wear a life jacket when on or near the water. On March 5, both lakes Hamilton and Catherine will begin refilling. This process will be complete March 13.  Rainbow trout are king now below Carpenter Dam. Guided trips regularly catch and release 50 trout per trip with catches nearing 100 not uncommon.  Fly-fishermen are wading to areas that hold schools of trout and are having success casting small white streamers, black or white micro-jigs and green or black woolly buggers. Anglers should use lures that imitate injured baitfish for best results. Bank fisherman are catching limits of trout using corn, wax worms, redworms or meal worms with a marshmallow floater. Spin fishermen are recording limits casting 1/16- to 1/8-oz. Rooster Tails in brown or silver and small silver or gold spoons. Boaters trolling the main channel have done very well with shallow running crankbaits against the current. Crawfish or shad lures that run 3 to 6 feet are ideal for shallow water and give fishermen the best chance for success.

East Arkansas

​Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no report. 

 ​Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) had no report.

Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the water is still high, cold and muddy. No report for any fishing due to all the current. 

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