Lake Maumelle Investment Still Paying Off
Lake Maumelle Investment Still Paying Off
September 28, 2016
The AGFC in 2010 and 2011 placed PVC
Lake Maumelle Investment Still Playing Off

Anglers eyeing the surface of Lake Maumelle west of Little Rock may think the lake is absent of any sort of cover for fish. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists recently conducted a survey of the lake’s bottom to reveal that anything could be further from the truth.

Lake Maumelle, owned and operated by Central Arkansas Water, is the water supply reservoir for central Arkansas. Aside from providing some of the best drinking water in the region, the lake also provides excellent recreational opportunities in sailing, fishing and, at its far west end, kayaking and canoeing. However, the status as a drinking water supply requires Maumelle to be regulated with a strict rule against anglers sinking any sort of cover in the lake. Decaying organic matter must be removed from the water before it reaches consumers, and the treatments required can be costly and detrimental to consumers.

AGFC biologists worked with CAW in 2010 and 2011 to develop a habitat project that would help anglers find fish, and offer cover for fish species without violating the “no natural cover” rule. Instead of sinking brush, bamboo or Christmas trees like what is placed in other lakes, the AGFC worked with CAW to purchase artificial “trees” created from PVC.

“The PVC won’t deteriorate like natural brush, but offers cover for the fish,” said Justin Homan, fisheries biologist for the central Arkansas area. “And, as a side benefit, it lasts much, much longer.” More than 1,300 PVC trees were placed in the reservoir from 2010 to 2011, distributed among 50 sites chosen by biologists and local anglers as good bets to hold fish at some point during the year. After six years, biologists revisited all sites enhanced with the artificial structures.

“We used the pamphlet AGFC has online, and went to all coordinates using side-scanning and down-imaging sonar to determine if any needed to be rehabbed,” Homan said. “The coordinates were all pretty much spot on, and we found structures at 78 of the listed locations. Three areas that should have been marked with buoys didn’t have those, and about seven sites needed to have structures added, but for the most part they were all still in the areas where they were placed.”

Many anglers have complained that they’ve had a hard time finding the structures, and Homan says it can be tricky to find them if you don’t have the right type of sonar. “We were using side-scanning sonar, which shoots a wider cone so you’ll pick it up if you don’t run right over the top of the structure,” Homan said. Homan said he hopes to work with CAW to continue refreshing sites with artificial cover as needed and keep Lake Maumelle on a steady rotation of habitat enhancement sites.

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(updated 9-28-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is stained and is at a normal level. Bream are about 20 feet off the shore and there were reports of good catches on worms and crickets. Crappie seem to be favoring the shady side and are near cypress trees and brush piles; reports were fair on crappie. Bass fishing is fair using crankbaits, topwater baits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on cut bait or prepared bait. 
(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is fair on limb lines and trotlines. Use slicks, shad and skipjack. No other reports were available.

(updated 9-28-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Little Red River is currently receiving a couple of hours of weekday generation with less generation on weekends. For fly fishing, Lowell recommends streamers, midges, pheasant tails and hare’s ear nymphs. For Trout Magnet fishing, he recommends cotton candy-, gold glitter- and salmon fix-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. Thanks to everyone who helped with the annual Little Red River cleanup. It takes everyone working together to preserve and protect our great fishery for now and for future generations. 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 ( for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website ( to see forecasted generation schedule. 
(updated 9-21-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said that around the river you may hear talk about the “good ol’ days” having returned. Fishing has been great the last few days after the generation returned to the afternoon variety. The river is clear to slightly stained on the lower section and they have returned to the five hours or less generation in the afternoon with the lake level at 462.13. Fly fishing has been good all day with midge pupas, pheasant tail nymphs and fox squirrel nymphs being Greg’s main flies. When the fish are rising, mayfly emergers are a good bet. Morning fishing is the most comfortable because the heat has returned this week, but the forecast is for mild weather next week. The fish don’t seem to mind the afternoon heat since the generation is keeping their water cool.
(updated 9-14-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing on the Little Red has been great. The Corps has been releasing two units of water each day for 18 hours. The key to success has been to follow the lower water and make sure you are down deep enough. Hot flies have been pink San Juan worms and egg patterns. Trout Magnets have been producing good numbers of fish as well. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.58 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 9-28-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.64 feet and falling. It is 0.9 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet. The temperature is in the mid-80s.The hybrid and white bass are eating all day off and on according to weather conditions and generation. They are eating down, but some schooling is going on as well on top. It’s tough at times but you just have to be patient. Stick with spoons, in-line spinners and topwater baits in 25-35 feet of water. The bass fishing is tough as well. All are kind of mixed up. They are from 0-40 feet of water eating a variety of baits. C-rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and everything in between are working at times. It will get a lot better after a rain or cooler weather. The catfish are eating well all over the lake on your choice of bait. No report on walleye. The crappie are suspended most days over brush in in the pole timber. Roadrunners, minnows and jigs are working when you find the bait, in 10-25 feet of water. The bream are guarding fry again and some are real shallow and some out to 27 feet eating crickets and crawlers. Try them with drop shots.
(updated 9-14-2016) Cody Smith of Fish Greers Ferry guide service reports the fall transition is underway on the reservoir. Water surface temperatures are ranging in the low to mid-80s depending on the time of day and location on the lake. Summer high surface temps of 90 degrees have come and gone, look for a cooler rain to really spur on the lake’s shad and gamefish transition into more seasonal habitats and locations. Right now the fish are spread from one end of the spectrum to the other. Some of the gamefish and baitfish responded to the first cool off a couple weeks ago and went shallow in a hurry feeding on the newly acquired threadfin shad population while the deeper fish are still feeding on bluegills and crustaceans out in their summer haunts. Deeper locations are still holding a few quality bites while the shallow fish are moving a lot and hard to pattern on a multiday basis. Fast-moving baits with small baitfish profiles have been best for the skinny fish, while bulky bluegill patterns are working best for the ones out deep. The shad population is really ganged up in 10-18 feet of water and depending on time of day and location are harboring just about every species in the reservoir, but as mentioned are moving around a lot. Some crappie are moving to the mid-level brush piles while others are hanging in the creek channels feeding on bait as it transitions from in to out and out to in. Once the lake sees 78-degree surface temperatures, look for the bite to become much more consistent and days of catching will be the regular way. 

(updated 9-28-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said the fishing has been slow of late. There were good reports of bream catches on worms and crickets. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Nothing on crappie or catfish.

(updated 9-21-2016) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is holding at 21 feet. The clarity is dark, but good. Surface temperature is 82-84 degrees. Bream are 15-20 feet off the bank in 3-4 feet of water and are biting crickets and worms. Bass are good around the brush and in shallow water. They are biting crankbaits, buzzbaits and plastic worms. Crappie are slow, but anglers are still catching 10 to 15 at a time, all around 12-14 inches, in 6 feet depth. Catfish are slow, but still catching channels on Magic Bait shad flavor dough. The shop is off state Highway 9.

(updated 9-28-2016) Fosters Four Seasons (501-868-9061) said fishing was good for just about every species in the lake in the past week with clear water and normal level. Bream were biting well on worms or crickets. Crappie were back to biting minnows or on jigs. Bass reports were good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing just takes some worms or chicken liver for a good catch. There were no white bass reports. Fosters has all anglers’ needs in the way of bait and food, and also sells non-ethanol gas.
(updated 9-28-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina reported that the cooler weather will change patterns, so expect movement from the fish to shallow water, which should be good. Black bass are very good now. Black bass have been biting early in the morning and late in the day on wacky rig worms, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Blacks can be caught in 9-15 feet of water. The cooler weather has activated the bass. Would suggest trying shallow lures and spinnerbaits now. Kentucky bass are good and are being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 9-15 feet of water and are mixed in with the blacks. White bass fishing has been excellent and they are all over the lake. Use CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. When schooling in the main lake they are being caught on CC Spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails. Crappie are good. The rain improved the crappie fishing in the last week. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs. Crappie are 20 feet deep; try the edges of the channels and on the old roadbeds. Bream are excellent and can be found at 15 feet on the bottom. Use crickets and live worms. Catfishing is good. Catfish are being caught in 15-20 feet of water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.

(updated 9-21-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and redworms. Bass are biting minnows and some plastics early in the morning. Crappie fishing has been slow with reports of only a few small ones biting pink minnows.

(updated 9-21-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river is a little low and slow but the fish are still biting fair. Bass are biting minnows and small plastic lizards. Bream are biting worms and crickets. Catfish are biting minnows, goldfish, black salties and chicken livers. Crappie have been slow but some have been caught on size 6 minnows recently. With the water still warm and low, it's pretty easy to get a gar to bite a minnow. They're a good fun fight and a challenge to land. Give it a try if you're just wanting to have some fun with a rod and reel. Be safe out there and keep on fishing.

(updated 9-21-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are biting good on crickets and redworms around deep structure. Catfish have been biting at night on minnows, black salties and goldfish. Bass fishing has been good with plastic worms and lizards, small buzzbaits and topwater at night. No recent reports of crappie being caught.

(updated 9-21-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie bit well for one customer this week. He caught a good stringer on size 6 minnows. Bass have been hitting minnows, plastic worms and lizards and some topwater baits early in the mornings. Catfish have been biting fair on chicken livers, minnows and nightcrawlers. Bream are slowing down but are still biting fair on crickets and redworms.

(updated 9-28-2016) Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said there have been few people fishing of late. Catfish people are drift fishing mainly in deep water mid-day using whole shad. Results for them have been good. For black bass, use a small crankbait if water is in the grass. If water is lower, use chatterbaits around wood. We are seeing the 2-3 pound ones where the AGFC put in 250,000 a little over three years ago. Bream are around the corners of where the jetty and shore meet on the back side or downstream side. Try crickets for good results. White bass are chasing shad; use crankbaits, as results have been good. Stripers are on the downstream side of the dam, and the best times for them are the late evening to early morning. Float break or shad about 6-10 feet deep. Reports have been fair on white bass. No reports on crappie.

(updated 9-28-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley reported that the cooler weather definitely has the bass fired up! The average size of the baitfish is smaller this time of year, so use smaller crankbaits.Cody said he really likes using 1-inch square bills this time of year. Numbers of fish can be easily caught this way. With the backwaters cooling off, be sure to check those areas for quality fish following the bait. Remember, this is the time of year to "junk fish." Throw everything and anything that replicates a small baitfish and stay on the move! As for catfish, Cody said he has personally not gone after cats lately, but reports from other anglers are coming in saying that it is fair to good. 

(updated 9-28-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the river is clear with a normal level and current. No report on temperature. Bream fishing has picked up a lot in the past week. Reports were good on worms or crickets. Crappie reports were good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is excellent with worms and chicken livers and on trotlines. No reports on white bass.

(updated 9-28-2016) Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said fishing has been up and down. The water is stained and the level matches the fishing: up and down. Bass reports have been good. The bass appear to be about 7-8 feet deep and around the jetties. Try using crankbaits, topwaters, red plastic worms and shad. Catfishing seems best by the dams; good results were had with stink bait.
(updated 9-28-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water level is normal. Bream were biting fair on redworms. Crappie action has been good using redworms and minnow. No reports on bass or catfish.
(updated 9-28-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported the river was clear and at a normal level the past week. Bream are found in 6-8 feet of water with reports of fair catches; crickets worked best. Crappie are suspended in 8-10 feet of water and are biting fair on pink minnows. Bass fishing is showing signs of improving. Reports were good with bass estimated about 8-10 feet under and around the rocky points. Try a soft plastic worm for the best action. Catfish are good below the Terry Lock and Dam and are biting cut shad.
(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing near the Terry Lock and Dam is fair. Fishermen are snagging and using skipjack and shad. There were no other reports from that end of the pool.

(updated 9-28-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the fishing is good, as the water is clear and surface temperatures were in the mid-70s. Water level is normal. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie catch is good on minnows and jigs. Bass are still working best early in the day or late in the evening; try spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwaters. Trotline reports for catfish were good as well.

(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bass are picking up on the stumpy side of the lake, with fair reports using topwater lures like Zara Spooks and buzzbaits. Try the levee side for catfish, where there were fair reports on catches. Baits used were chicken liver, nightcrawlers, shad and chicken hearts. 

(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie fishing has picked up, with crappie around the piers and fair catches reported. Use pink or regular minnows and white twister tails. Bass fishing has been fair, with still most of the catches coming either early in the day or late in the evening. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and black buzzbait seem to work best.

(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported excellent catfishing in the past week. Nightcrawlers and chicken hearts were the baits of choice.

(updated 9-21-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream have been biting fair on crickets and worms. Catfish are biting chicken livers, bait shrimp and nightcrawlers. Bass fishing has been slow to fair for some using minnows and red-colored plastic worms. No recent reports of crappie being caught in the ponds.

(updated 9-28-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the river was clear and at a normal level the past week. Bream are found in 6-8 feet of water with reports of fair catches; crickets worked best. Crappie are suspended in 8-10 feet of water and are biting fair on pink minnows. Bass fishing is showing signs of improving. Reports were good with bass estimated about 8-10 feet under and around the rocky points. Try a soft plastic worm for the best action. Catfish are good and biting cut shad. 
(updated 9-28-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported tthat crappie were fair in the Maumelle River and throughout the pool, and the catches were deep. Baits used were pink and regular minnows, as well as various colors of tubes and jigs. Catfishing was reported fair on trotlines baited with chicken hearts, skipjack, shad and slicks.
(updated 9-21-2016) Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900), now run by new owners Larry and Shirley Walters, said fishing is goo on the lake and they welcome visitors to check them out. Conditions are clear and the water level is normal, with a surface temperature of 84 degrees. Crappie are biting in about 10 feet of water around brush piles. Reports are good, and baits having most success are minnows, jigs and Road Runners. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Bass are in about 10 feet of water around the creeks and near the shore; use spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfish is good on chicken liver. White bass also came in with good reports.

North Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.13 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 9-21-2016) K Dock Marina reported the lake level has dropped enough to get the lower road above water for access. The courtesy ramp is also out of the water and is usable. Current level is 659 feet msl. K Dock has two more bass tournaments scheduled for this fall: a benefit for Chadwich (Mo.) High School on Saturday, Oct. 15 and the 3rd annual K Dock Fall Bass Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 23. Call the marina for more details (417-334-2880).

(updated 9-28-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported perfect river conditions for fishing. Two generators were running on the dam at most. Trout are biting good, with some great catches of rainbows. Browns are biting really well at night. Spinners are working well for the fish.
(updated 9-28-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said they’re starting to see some nip in the air – autumn's finally popping out. Cool mornings, warm days, perfect weather for float fishing on the White for trout. The rainbow catch has been fabulous; they're snapping up the shrimp and worm combo. Good sizes among the catch, too; there were several rainbows measured at 16 inches or above. Catch-and-release certificates are being rewarded and soon the new pins will be available to show off on your favorite good-luck fishing cap. Ron is seeing grasshoppers out there now, so they know the hopper patterns and baits should lure some trout to the fishers; good for a try anyway. Ron says come out and spend some time with us on the river – you won't regret it.
(updated 9-28-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) reported one rain event with a bit over an inch of rainfall at Cotter, warm temperatures and moderate winds last week. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.9 feet to rest at 2.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet. This is 36.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 feet to rest at 6.2 feet below seasonal power pool and 20.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.8 feet to rest at 4.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 12.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had heavy generation in the afternoon with wadable water on some mornings and the bite has been excellent. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals, where there is some wadable water. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a size 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24-30-foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an 8- or 9-weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.
John also reports: “As many of you know, my wife, Lori, and I have been teaching a basic fly fishing class at Arkansas State University Mountain Home, for several years. Our fall class is scheduled for four Thursday nights (6-8 p.m.) on Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27 on the ASUMH campus. This is the perfect place for us to hold our classes. It is conveniently located just off the U.S. 62/412 bypass across the street from the Donald W. Reynolds Library in Mountain Home. There is ample parking, a nice lawn for us to teach casting and a great classroom for us to teach in. When we moved here 16 years ago, we left careers in the corporate world. I was a CPA working for Ducks Unlimited, and Lori was a counselor working in marketing and corporate training for a large psychiatric hospital. The idea was to simplify our lives, concentrate our efforts on fly fishing guiding and teaching and enjoying the laid-back lifestyle here in the Twin Lakes area. We have never regretted our move. We have been successful, in establishing ourselves in new careers and making a living doing what we love to do. Hands down, the favorite part of our new careers is the teaching. Working with new fly fishers is very rewarding to us. Though Lori has been teaching fly casting for 15 years and I have been teaching it for over 25 years, she is the better casting instructor and therefore leads the casting instruction. I concentrate on bringing my 25 years of guiding to bear when leading the classroom portion of the class. I teach things like equipment (what to buy and what not to buy), water safety, knots, rigging, fly selection and reading the water, to name a few. Half of the class is devoted to casting instruction (with an emphasis on personal attention) and half is devoted to the classroom. I assist Lori on the casting and she assists me in the classroom. We have slowly improved the curriculum over the years to keep everything simple and easy to comprehend. This is all taught in a comfortable, non-threatening atmosphere, where questions are welcome. It is the perfect opportunity for anyone to learn how to fly fish. Couples find it to be a great place to share a new endeavor. The university has made everything easy by developing a website for effortless enrollment in the class. Visit and sign up. If you do not have access to a computer, call Sarah Sikes at (870) 508-6105. There is a nominal fee for the class. If this sounds like something that you would be interested in, please sign up. Lori and I look forward to working with you.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 9-28-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said this past week instead of cooling down, Norfork Lake went up in water temperature. Tom said that at the time he was reporting, the lake is at 83 degrees from Udall to Big Creek. The stripers have shut down. Tom said he fished four times again from Udall to Big Creek looking for feeding stripers and did not have a bite. He has canceled five trips and will continue to until the lake cools down. There are some guides taking out clients but Tom said he will not when he knows there are no stripers to catch. His best advice is stay home until the weather takes a turns cold. The lake needs to get into the low 70s for the upper lake stripers to turn on and into the high 60s for the mid- to lower lake sees any real activity. The white bass and largemouth are feeding early on small fry in the 101 and Hand Cove areas and above Fouts. The weather forecast calling for highs in the 70s and lows in the low 60s. We should see some water cooling but until we get a hard cold rain, the lake will not drop much at once. It will over time, but for now switch to other species or watch baseball and football. Tom said he and his son, Sean, will continue to prefish this week trying to find active fish but he did not expect much until next week.
(updated 9-14-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the lake is in the final stages of the late summer fishing pattern. Periodic power generation is occurring daily. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still stained. As the lake water cools and the oxygen returns to all depths, the fish will scatter to all parts and depths of the lake. The surface water temperature is slowly falling each day, was in the low 80s one morning this week, and it’s expected we’ll see the upper 70s very soon. Lou said there has been little change with fishing since his last report. Striped bass fishing is still the best in the dam area. The early morning and late afternoon bites are the best, and the fish continue to be caught in 25-35 feet of water whether on the bottom or suspended in deeper water. Lou said he is starting to find a few stripers heading upriver and also back in the mid-lake creeks, but no big schools at this time. It will not be long, though. Live shad, either threadfin or gizzards, are working the best, but vertical jigging spoons and casting blade baits worked on the bottom are also picking up some nice fish. The biggest fishing change has been with largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. Lou has located some nice topwater action at sunrise, but it only lasts 30-60 minutes. It's plenty of time to have some fun with a Zara Spook. Lou says the best place he’s found has been back in a creek that has the old river channel swing in close to shore. The fish are hitting a little bit of everything when they are active. He has been using a fluke, Rat-L-Trap, Kastmaster and a Zara Spook, and all of these baits have landed some nice fish. Most of the big spotted bass have hit live bait set at 24 feet. Large flats are another good area to fish. Look in the 25-35 feet depths and you will find scattered schools of white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and walleye. Lou has been vertical jigging a spoon on the flats and once he finds the bait, he said he finds the fish right in the same spot.
(updated 9-14-2016) Guide Steve Olomon of Steve’s Guide Service said the Norfork Lake level is 554 and the water temperature is in the low 80s. Look for the stripers early in the morning suspended 30 feet off points and in coves. They can be on the bottom or out in deeper water as the sun gets higher and will move deeper from 30 to 50 feet. Steve said he found some stripers and hybrids in Koso Bay this week and there were a few coming up chasing shad baitfish, but was over in about five minutes. There were stripers down under the topwater fish and the only thing I could get them to hit was an in-line spinner. They would not hit a spoon. Look for the stripers within a few miles of the dam. When the water temperature starts cooling down they will move up in the creeks and back up in the lake. There will be stripers still down around the dam area. The bass are coming up hitting topwater baits early (Zara Spooks). Steve found some in a creek along a deep channel swing. Marked some suspended fish (at 30 feet) in 90 feet of water and dropped a jigging spoon and caught some nice Kentucky bass. Also caught some on jigs in 15-25 feet of depth on some flats.
(updated 9-28-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 feet to rest at 1.8 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 26 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had reliable wadable water every morning, with light generation in the afternoon. The Norfork has fished better on the lower water and has not been as crowded with wadable water on the White. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been the Green Butt. Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. It has fished a bit better and is yielding some trophy trout. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2K's (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.

(updated 9-28-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. His favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

(updated 9-28-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Crooked Creek is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

Northwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,115.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 9-28-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake is clear and has hit a normal level. Reports on surface temperatures varied, mostly low 80s. Bream are good using redworms or crickets. Crappie bite is fair on minnows and jigs around brush piles, and by trolling a crankbait. Bass fishing was tough, with most success either early in the day or late in the evening. Spoons were working, as well as topwater lures. Try looking around Point 12, and use some small minnows or a topwater lure. Catfishing was fair using live and prepared bait.
(updated 9-28-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said the lake turnover has begun. You will notice the green stuff building up on your line as you are fishing, and this has got Beaver Lake stripers on the move using main lake structures and mouths of coves, etc. Some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the shoreline to corner bait. Fishing weighted-down lines will definitely get you some fish. There has been some topwater activity from striper and white bass. Beaver Lake striper fishing will be good with stripers taken on live shad fished on down lines from 30-60 feet deep; also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, and plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on downriggers. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. With water surface temperatures in the high 70s on the mid- and lower sections, check out these hot areas: Dam and Hybrid Cove, Point 1, Indian Creek (check past the marina near the power lines), Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, Point 5, Point 6, Rambo Creek arm, Rocky Branch (check the bluff in front of the marina, the island and the small islands in front of Larue Cove) and Larue. White bass have been seen surfacing at Prairie Creek, Beaver Shores, and Hickory Creek, War Eagle and the War Eagle/White River junction. Walleye are now back down on the main lake in numbers and on the feed. Walleye can be found from 10-20' deep depending on area's 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/chart. Bink pro scale 1oz jigging spoons in white or white/chart combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye. Check the daily lake level and flow data on Mike Bailey’s website. 

(updated 9-28-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said fishing has been consistent this week with trout biting on various PowerBaits, fished with light terminal tackle. Throwing spoons and Rapalas have also produced nice numbers. The water level is low, so try to focus on the deeper holes. Walleye and white bass have been caught in the deeper waters downstream from Houseman access trolling various Rapalas and jigging live minnows. 
(updated 9-28-2016) Beaver Dam Store reported fly fishing has been exceptionally good of late. There have been some large browns seen in the tailwaters of the Beaver Dam. It’s still a little early for the brown spawn; however, when it does occur, be respectful of the reds that are being laid. Now that the tailwaters have dropped, many new areas have opened up for the fishermen wading. Boaters beware of the low water conditions. Many new gravel bars have exposed themselves, causing dangerous conditions. Browns can be caught using midges and streamers. For rainbows, try drifting zebra midges, nymphing and swinging small soft hackles, scuds and cracklebacks. Good lures are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies have been pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive and hare’s ear, tungsten copper Johns, WD 40s and Trout Magnets. Catfish are biting on Wicked Sticky catfish bait, along with Magic Bait crawfish/chicken blood bait.

Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said he closed the bait shop the remainder of the year.

(updated 9-28-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported clear water with a surface temperature of 70 degrees. The water level is normal. Fishing has been fair to good. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are biting fair on crappie minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is good; try using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures like a crawdad. Catfish are biting goldfish.

(updated 9-21-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the water at 2 inches at the dock and dingy. Out in deeper water, crappie are being caught in about 8 feet orf water on minnows and jigs, with fair reports. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is good with chicken liver or shad. 

Northeast Arkansas

(updated 9-28-2016) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said Lake Poinsett is low, making it better to put your boat in at the dam. Does that mean that the fish are easier to catch? You’ll have to see for yourself. Bait sales are a little slower this week, he said. Coleman said he hasn’t heard any reports this week, and that just means there are more for you to catch. The cooler weather should make it more enjoyable to be out there with your pole.

(updated 9-28-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water is clear and at a normal level. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows or jigs. Bass are fair, with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures bringing in a few. Catfishing is fair; try worms, shad or cut bait.

(updated 9-28-2016) Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 350 cfs and water clarity has been a heavy green color. They have not had any rain, but the river still is the heavy green color. It has not affected the catching much, though. They are catching plenty of trout. Lively Legz Y2K’s have been the hot fly along with black or olive Woollies. Sometimes it’s about getting down deep, sometimes it's about swinging the fly out and stripping it back aways. Hot pink Trout Magnets will really get them biting. With the cooler temps, the days have been really nice on the river.
(updated 9-28-2016) John Berry in Cotter said the river is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is in full swing and there are a lot of boats on the river. You should fish during the week if you can. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10). 

(updated 9-28-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said water is clear and the surface temperature earlier this week was a nice 70 degrees. Water level and current are normal. There were no reports other than for bass, which was reported fair. Bass are hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. 

Southeast Arkansas

(updated 8-31-2016) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures have dropped down into the mid 80s. Water visibility is around 1 foot on the main channel and in Lake Langhofer. Small black bass are schooling with white bass on the main channel of the river near certain jetties with water flowing over them. Larger fish are very difficult to find, but you can at least get some bites chasing these small ones. Use small shad colored crankbaits and work the lures with the current, not against it. Fish can be caught from shallow brush, docks and rocks in Lake Langhofer, but these fish have been pressured so much this summer that they are extremely difficult to catch right now. 

No report.

No report.

No report.

Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.69 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 9-28-2016) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday the lake level is just slightly above normal conservation pool. There is increased current of Little River with the gates releasing around 1,500 cfs. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week, ranging 75-85 degrees. Navigation is cautioned for Little River due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel. Tailwater level is up slightly as of Monday at 225.6 feet msl. Clarity and visibility have been consistent over last couple weeks, ranging 8-12 inches away from river current. Cottonshed and northeast section of the lake remain stained. Little River's visibility ranges 8-10 inches. The oxbow's clarity currently ranges 10-15 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Little River above McGuire oxbow is stained 3-6 inches; some areas have better clarity. Largemouth bass have been in good feeding mode over the past few weeks, best from 2-3 pounds on topwaters early in the day along points and creek mouths dumping into Little River. Most bass are aggressive at dawn around lily pad stands and shallow vegetation. Shad are beginning to relate to creek channels over the past week or two. Points and creeks are good target choices to start. Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black, buzzbaits in black and blue, Bass Assassin Shads, soft plastic frogs, Johnson Chrome Spoons, jitterbugs, Ken Craft Ken Pops, and bone-colored small Rebel Pop-R's are all good topwater choice early. Working topwaters around pads and vegetation along points extending from creek channels into Little River will draw good reactions at dawn. Grass beds located along Little River are good locations with a bulky 10-inch Berkley Power Worm, buzzbaits, frogs and Bass Assassin Shads. Good reactions continue on the spoons using a white or smoke-colored 2- or 3-inch fat, curly tail grub trailer. Best colors of Bass Assassin Shads over the past couple of weeks have been Silver Phantom, Salt & Pepper and Houdini. Spinner tail Rat-L-Traps in chrome/blue and Zombie Shads, along with the clear holographic colors, and the 1.75 Echo crankbaits in Millwood Magic and chrome/blue colors continue working on points and in creek channels, dumping into Little River. Citrus Shad or Tennessee Shad colored Bomber deeper diving crankbaits continue to be best reaction colors in the oxbows over the past several weeks by largemouths and white bass alike. Berkley 10-inch worms in blue fleck, black and plum or red bug continue working along grass beds in Little River starting in the grass in 1-2 feet and working outward into 8-12 feet of depth, and also around creek mouths dumping into Little River. |Whites bass and hybrids continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and are hitting the Citrus, Chartreuse Shad or Tennessee Shad-colored crankbaits in the back of the oxbows. Over the past few weeks, the whites were surface-breaking on shad in back of Horseshoe and McGuire up Little River. Those fish were hitting small Ken Pops, Pop-R's and Rapala Chug Bugs with a rear feather tail hook, and Little Georges, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white, and small, 1/4-size chrome/black Rat-L-Traps. Crappie continue to bite well over the past week on Blakemore Road Runners and vertical jigging jigs in planted brush piles from 10-15 feet of depth. Channel cats and blues remain good up to 5-7 pounds each on trotlines using cut buffalo, shad and blood bait.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 541.34 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
(updated 9-28-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said that schooling bass and crappie are starting to transition into a fall pattern and good catches can be had using Rooster Tails and live bait. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.45 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 9-28-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is very good for small fish in the upper end of the lake. Look for fish in the vast shad schools around Point 15 and Shouse Ford. Most any small topwater lure will work as long as it is presented where the fish are breaking – lures such as Zara Puppies, Rebel Pop-R's, small Rapala Minnows, small flukes and 3-inch swimbaits. Also try half-ounce spoons such as CC and Kastmaster. Quite a few white bass and small hybrids are mixed in with the bass. In the lower end of the lake, bass fishing is fair early in the morning off of the points in the big coves at points 2 and 4. Also try the coves along the state park from Caddo Bend to the marina. A few crappie reported coming from brush cover at mid-lake around Edgewood and Arlie Moore. Look for attractors at 18-25 feet and drop a 2-inch curly tail grub or tube on a 1/16-ounce jighead. Try Kalin's 2-inch Tennessee Shad or Bobby Garland's 2-inch plastics. Natural colors work best in clear water.
Hybrid fishing in the deep water at the Iron Mountain area is winding down with the deep thermocline starting to become less pronounced, with the upper-level water starting to cool. The fish will scatter into the big coves along the south side and along the state park. Surface feeding will increase with the cooler water. There are still a few deep fish at 50 feet but they are getting harder and harder to catch. This summer has been very good for deep-water hybrid fishing both for numbers and size with lots of fish over 10 pounds reported. Bream fishing is holding up well especially for shell crackers off secondary points at 15 to 25 feet. Use a short Carolina rig and fish just off the bottom with redworms or crickets. Look for fish in the big coves at mid-lake around Caddo Drive and Arlie Moore. Also up the big creeks such as Big Hill and Brushy. Catfish are showing on both trotlines and noodles at night in Brushy and Big Hill creeks. Bait with hot dogs, cut shad, nightcrawlers, chicken livers, Catfish Charlie and blood bait. Also try live small bream and big minnows.
(updated 9-28-2016) John Duncan of at Iron Mountain Marina said fall has arrived. Water temperatures are still in mid-80s throughout the lake. Water level was down to 399.45. Bass fishing reports are slow. Worm fishing seems to be the standard option used on points and ridges. Catfishing is also suffering from water level and summer heat. Try noodles in coves that show stumps and trees. Fish 8-10 feet deep. Live bait is the best choice. Bream activity is slower also. Look for fish off rocky points. Fish around 15 feet deep. Crappie fishing is much the same. Brush piles are now in shallower water due to water levels being lower. Fish deep in brush piles 15 feet or more. Minnows are the best bait to use. Use your electronics to find suspended fish around points and structure. Reports earlier this week of schooling fish were spotty as far as location of schools of surfacing fish. Fish in the mid-lake area around Edgemont. Topwaters, spoons and chrome Rat-L Traps are good baits for schooling fish. 
(updated 9-28-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said that schooling bass and crappie are starting to transition into a fall pattern and good catches can be produced using Rooster Tails and live bait. 

South-Central Arkansas

No reports.

(update 9-21-2016) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on crankbaits and soft plastics. Crappie are biting on upper and lower river. Still a few bream being caught. No report on catfish.

(update 9-21-2016) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said there were no fishing reports.

No report.

West-Central Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 337.36 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl). 
(updated 9-14-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported water surface temperature of 83 degrees and the level was normal. Bream reports were poor. Crappie reports, though, were good with black jigs and minnows working. Bass bite is fair with crankbait working best. Catfish reports were good. Noodles and jugging with shad as bait brought in cats.
(updated 9-14-2016) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) is back in action as the water is back to normal. Clarity has been clear; no temperature was reported. The fishing reports came in fair all around. Bream were fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are biting fair on minnows or jigs. Bass are just OK these days; give them a red plastic worm for some reaction. Catfishing is fair on the trotlines.

(updated 9-28-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) had very few fishermen in the past week and the action was very slow. No report on clarity, level or temperature.

(updated 9-28-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperatures have been in the 80s. Water clarity is dingy throughout the river system with some clear creeks. White bass and stripers have been excellent, biting topwater poppers, crankbaits and Rat-L Traps. They are on sandbar points just out from the buoy line, where the larger stripers are going after swimbaits. Largemouth bass have been fair around sandbars, rock jetties and in deep trees. Use crankbaits or Rat-L Traps. The fishing has been good also on the schooling bass around the sandbars. Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits have worked well for bass around the deep trees and the rock jetties. Bream have been excellent around lily pads, rock jetties and around stumps in the creeks; try crickets and worms and small crankbaits and jigs. Catfish has been fair on stink bait and cut perch, with some catfish being caught with bass lures underneath the schooling white bass.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 572.07 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 9-21-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said water surface temperature is ranging 78-82 degrees and the water is clear. Black bass are still fair and being caught with jig and pigs and crankbaits. Brush piles on main lake and secondary points are still producing the best results when fished with live crawfish for “spots.” Walleye are good and are being caught jigging CC Spoons. Stripers are still fair on live bait. The central and east areas of the lake are still the best areas for these fish. Bream are fair. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 20-25 feet deep. Crappie are slow to fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 25-30 feet deep fished on the bottom near brush. Catfish are still fair. Try nightcrawlers, trotline minnows or hot dogs in depths of 15-20 feet. Contact Mountain Harbor’s guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean ( 501-282- 6104) – for more information.
(updated 9-21-2016) David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said the LOSBA reports good fishing over the weekend. Surface temperature is around 84 and clear water. The full moon made it a little tough but the fish are in the trees (60-80 feet deep) if you can find them. David said one thing he saw Sunday was five floating stripers all around 3-5 pounds. David netted one and it had been hooked, so he wanted to please remind everyone they should never release any caught fish. Not only do the fish not survive, but they count toward your daily limit, so if seen you could be fined for being over the limit.

(updated 9-28-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips reported that schooling bass have been reported around the lake but no reports of great catches.

(updated 9-28-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 64 degrees and rises to 68 degrees below the bridge. Clear conditions exist in the tailrace as the normal pool levels continue until November. Entergy is currently running a 12-hour generation schedule per day due to all the heavy rainfall of the past few months. Boaters should navigate the area slowly and always wear a life jacket. Sadly, the rainbow trout season is over until mid-November when the stocking program begins again. The vast majority of trout have either been caught or migrated away from the dam. The few fish that remain are extremely wary and almost impossible to catch. Thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the tailrace in search of cooler water to spawn. Interestingly enough, few white bass or stripers have moved in to feed on the baitfish. No topwater activity has been observed and few bass caught in the past week. No catfish or drum catches reported. This lack of game fish catches are normal for this time of year below Carpenter Dam. However, with the big numbers of shad in the area – schools of stripers and white bass can migrate into the tailrace at any time. Fisherman have to be patient and watch for schooling activity. The month of October normally brings good numbers of white bass into the area, along with hybrid bass. Until the fall weather pattern sets in, fishing below Carpenter Dam will be very poor.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.38 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
No fishing reports were recorded.

East Arkansas

(updated 9-14-2016) Natalie Carter, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said reports from the lake were minimal activity, with slight increases over the weekend. Crappie are responding to live bait, no positive reports on bream, and bass are hitting off various lures and worms. Many fishermen trying their hand with the Bream and Catfish, but to no avail that we’ve heard. The State Park is still selling live bait, including minnows, nightcrawlers and redworms, and crickets, as well as various catfish and crappie bait, and artificial lures. The East Arkansas Bass Club is hosting a tournament at Bear Creek Lake on Sept. 24, so be aware of the increased boat activity that weekend.

(updated 9-14-2016) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) reported that the lake had minimal activity with a slight increase over the weekend. Crappie are responding to live bait. No positive reports on bream. Bass are hitting various lures and worms. No reports on catfish.

(updated 9-28-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported clear water at a normal level. Bream are good on crickets and worms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater. Catfishing is fair; use chicken liver or cut bait.

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