(updated 5-25-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water remained stained and no surface temperature was obtained. The water level was normal and most of the fishing continues to be good to excellent. Catfishing was excellent using large minnows, goldfish and on trotlines. Bass fishing was good around the lily pads with white spinnerbaits and topwater frogs. Bream fishing was excellent from 5 feet off the bank to a depth of 8-10 feet. Worms and crickets were the baits to use. Crappie fishing remains fair around the cypress trees and the Highway 89 bridge, using minnows and jigs.
(updated 5-25-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie fishing remained fair, particularly using Bobby Garland Baby Shad in barbecue chicken and Cajun cricket colors, and jigs. Fishing remains good around the Highway 89 bridge and Gold Creek. No other reports came in on other fish.
Dan Zajac at Gold Creek Landing
(501-607-0590) said that, again this week, bream are biting well on crickets, redworms or wax worms. Bass are doing fairly well on spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Crappie are biting fair on jigs fished around the cypress trees.
(updated 5-25-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said he continues to see 1-2 hours of one-unit generation daily with slightly more some days. The current pattern is providing great wading and drift fishing opportunities on all sections of the river. Hot patterns for fly fishers are soft hackles, sowbugs, midges and micro-jigs. For trout magnet fishing, bison- and mealworm-colored bodies on chartreuse jig heads are working well. Always check before heading to the Little Red 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 5-25-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Company
(501-207-1770) reported that fishing has improved over the last week. The water levels have been low with one unit of water being released each day for at least one hour. The hot flies have been midges, sowbugs, and pheasant tail nymphs.
(updated 5-18-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said the area missed the rain that was forecast and the river remains low and clear. The bite has improved this past week and the fish seem more active. Midges and mayflies are hatching, so midge pupas, emergers and mayfly nymphs and soft hackles are good fly choices. A slight twitch of these flies is sometimes better than dead drifting since these stages of the insects are swimmers.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.56 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 462.04 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 462.56 and rising, at 0.46 feet above lowest pool for May-June and 0.48 feet from the top of pool for the same period of May-June of 463.04-462.54 feet and the water is still on the cool side, with the temp in low 70s. The crappie seem to be done with the rivers spawning and are out suspended recouping around pole timber and over the top of brush piles in 10-18 feet of water; the lake fish are still spawning and can be caught in the bushes or right out in front of them in 1 foot out to 5 feet. Try jigs and minnows for them. The walleye are ganged up in the lake and are eating crawlers dragged around in 5 feet of water out to 12-14 feet, according to the weather and wind, and some will eat crankbaits while suspended. The bream have spawned and are guarding fry; in-line spinners, crawlers and crickets are working well. Catfish are eating well all over the lake on all of the baits you would want to try on jugs, lines and rods and reels. The three species of bass are in a post-spawn funk; try dragging a rig out to 30 feet or a Texas rig, or a floating worm up shallow or a jig head worm in between. Some fish are schooling in different places. The hybrid and white bass are schooling some and eating a lot on and off all day. Spoons, in-line spinners, hair jigs, swimbaits and topwater baits are working well.
Cody Smith of Fish Greers Ferry guide service
reports that the lake is starting to slowly settle into its summer pattern. Rising water over the past few weeks sent the first wave of offshore fish back to the bank; over the last week they have pushed back out and are setting up nicely on brush piles and Corps habitat. Surface temperatures are in the low 70s lake-wide with good water color and clarity. Shallow fish are highly pressured and seem to be scattered at best in shoreline cover. The walleye bite is good right now with a limit to a couple limits showing up with regularity. Fourteen to 22 feet around staging bluegills has been his best pattern. White bass and some hybrids are sporadically surfacing throughout the morning and evenings. The lack of baitfish in the reservoir is resulting in very little surface activity as there is not enough shad to push and corral.
(updated 5-25-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort
(501-889-2745) reported a good week of fishing all around. The water was clear and at a normal level; no temperature reading was available. Bream fishing was good with worms and crickets. Crappie could be found in 4-6 feet depth. Bass fishing was good in shallow water; spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater were all working well. Catfish were biting chicken liver, minnows and jigs, and the fishing was good.
Overcup Landing had no report.
(updated 5-25-2016) Fosters Four Seasons
(501-868-9061) said the lake was stained this week but the water remained at normal level, and the fishing overall was excellent. Some 40- to 60-pound catfish were being pulled out with worms and chicken liver. Crappie was excellent around stumps using No. 6 minnows. Bream were excellent around brush piles using crickets. Bass could not keep up with the rest of the fishing, still rating good, however, with spinnerbaits and crankbaits bringing them in.
(updated 5-25-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina
reported water is 0.2 feet above the spillway and the water temperature is 77 degrees in the mid of lake and 79 at west end. Black bass fishing is excellent, with the bass biting in shallow water on Wacky rig worms, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and just about everything else, and they can be caught in 5 to 8 feet of water. The temperature is about 80 on the banks. Spawn is over. Kentucky bass is good, mostly on the same lures as blacks. Their being caught on crankbaits and jigs and can be found in 3-10 feet. White bass fishing is fair; use deep diving Bandits and Bombers on this side of bridge. They also are being caught in the main lake on CC spoons, white jigs, and Rooster Tails when schooling. Crappie are moving off the banks and the fishing is fair. They’re being caught on minnows and jigs. Bream fishing is excellent. They can be found at 13 feet on the bottom, using crickets and live worms. Catfishing is excellent in 15-20 feet depth. Use stinkbait, small bream and chicken liver.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported no change in the fishing from last week. Bass fishing was excellent using spinnerbait, topwater lures and creature bait. Catfishing was poor, and white bass fishing was poor. Crappie fishing was good with minnows and red and white jigs. Bream fishing was fair with redworms and crickets.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said catfish are biting well on night crawlers and chicken livers. A few bass are hitting on live crawfish. Bream are biting on crickets and redworms. A few small crappie have been caught on pink crappie minnows.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said the rain has pushed the river up. The water is too muddy and high to fish
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said large redear sunfish are still biting excellently on redworms fished near the bottom. Catfishing is good on live crayfish and nightcrawlers. Some crappie are being caught on no. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin’s Tennessee shad-colored grubs. A few bass have been caught on brood minnows.
(updated 5-4-2016) Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton (501-778-6944) said crappie are biting fairly well on no. 6 crappie minnows. Catfishing is good on live crayfish and Sonny’s Super Sticky Dip Bait. Bream are biting well on redworms and crickets. Bass are biting well on no. 12 bass minnows.
(updated 5-18-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley said the flow on the river has finally come down this week and the hope is it will stay reasonable following this upcoming rain. Bass are still biting well on cranks and spinnerbaits near the main river. Some can be caught flipping back water cover, but it is a much slower way to fish. The water is still very stained so be sure to use dark colors while flipping (junebug, black and blue) and bright for your moving baits (Citrus Shad or chartreuse). Catfishing was slower this week, but the bream bite is pretty strong. Crickets in protected back waters around any type of cover should produce plenty of bites. Didn't get to fish for any crappie this week, but in talking with other anglers it seems to be a slow bite as well.
(updated 5-25-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said river conditions were clear and the level was normal. The surface temperature was 73-74 degrees. While crappie fishing fell off, others were biting well. Bream were good in shallow water using worms and crickets. The shallow water was also where bass were hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms, and the fishing was fair. Catfishing picked up, rating good in the past few days on the river. Worms, blood bait and chicken liver were favorite baits. White bass fishing was fair.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bass fishing was excellent using spinnerbait, topwater lures and creature bait. Catfishing was poor, and white bass fishing was poor. But crappie fishing was good with minnows and red and white jigs. Bream fishing was fair with redworms and crickets.
(updated 5-25-2016) Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water was at normal level but muddy with a surface temperature of 70 degrees. Catfish could be pulled in shallow water using chicken liver and nightcrawlers. Bream fishing was good in 2-5 feet depth with worms and crickets. Crappie rated good, especially around brush piles, taking a liking to blue jigs, minnows. Bass could be found in the main river and the fishing was good with crankbaits, plastic worms and lizards.
(updated 5-18-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said conditions in Clear Lake and Terry Lock and Dam were muddy and the water was high. Bream fishing was good using worms and crickets. Crappie were biting fair on minnows and jigs. Brass were working fair on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish were fair with stink bait working best in Clear Lake, while catfishing was poor near the dam because of the muddy water. Crankbaits worked to bring in a few catfish. Bream, crappie and bass were poor.
(updated 5-18-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing was excellent, using chicken liver, skipjack, shad and worms in the river near David D. Terry Lock and Dam. Near Murray Lock and Dam, white bass were excellent using white plastic worms and Twister Tails. Catfishing was good with skipjack, snagging and shad.
(updated 5-25-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said water was down to a normal level but dingy, yet the fishing picked up from last week. Bream fishing was good on worms and crickets. Catfish were biting worms and blood bait and rated good. Bass were working in shallow water, hitting spinners and crankbait fair. Crappie fishing was poor, though minnows and jigs saw a little bite.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bream fishing was fair using worms and crickets. Crappie fishing was mostly poor this week, as was bass. Catfish were biting skipjacks and the fishing was fair.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing was excellent using chicken liver and chicken hearts, along with nightcrawlers. Crappie fishing was fair around the stumps with pink minnows. Bass fishing was fair with black crankbait and black and blue jigs. Bream fishing was poor.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported crappie fishing to be fair in the channel using minnows. Bass fishing was excellent with plastic worms, topwater baits, frogs and buzz bait. Catfishing was fair, with minnows and nightcrawlers working best.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing was excellent with chicken liver, chicken hearts and nightcrawlers working best.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 661.05 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) K Dock Marina
(417-334-2880) said the surface water temperature is 63 to 65 degrees degrees and the water is stained to clear. Crappie, walleye and black bass are all biting extremely well around K Dock lately. Bass are biting best on shaky head finesse worms, spinnerbaits and Zoom Baby Brush Hogs fished around buckbrush in coves and around points with small gravel on the bank. Cast right up to the bank and fish back out. Crappie are biting very well on live minnows in the coves. Some really nice crappie are being caught and if you find the right tree, you can load the boat quickly. Late afternoon has been the best time to fish lately. Walleye are biting well on small crankbaits, such as Berkley Flicker Shad in sizes 6 and 7. Troll shallow in 10 to 15 feet of water near points and rock bluffs.
(updated 5-4-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock
said fishing continues to be very good. Many bass are still on the beds around the marina. There is lots of catching going on. The walleye seem to have moved out a little into 10 to 15 feet of water. They usually do this when they are done spawning. Anglers are still catching a few around dark, but they seem to be in that transition period. Some white bass and crappie are being caught, but the bass fishing is so good most people are concentrating on them.
Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock
said it’s been a great week on the White -- the water level is very low and the fish have been snapping at a variety of baits. It's too low for many crankbaits but they’ve had luck with some of the smaller Colorado spoons. No. 1 brown trout bait is still the sculpin, followed by crawdad tails. Since the crawdads are pretty hard to come by, you can try to mimic the white meat with shrimp; try adding some salt and or garlic to your bait. Had a big day today with the black and olive White River Zig Jig and expect to do well with the same in the coming days (especially after the rainfall midweek and predicted showers in the next few days.) The moss is working its way out of the system but can still tie up a line and frustrate anglers. Knowing you may encounter some moss will keep tempers from flaring -- remember: The catch is still superb. Fall back on power eggs, try garlic scented and/or glitter colors to create some curiosity in the rainbows.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) ) said that rain the past week combined for a total of three-quarters of an inch, to combine with warm temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories).The lake level at Bull Shoals rose a foot to rest at 1.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 662 feet. This is 34.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.5 feet to rest at 0.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 15 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.1 feet to rest at seasonal power pool and 8.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had little generation last week with wadable water every day. On the White, the bite has been erratic -- one day is great, the next is slow. During higher levels of generation the river is “dirty” with large amounts of aquatic vegetation suspended in it. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hare and copper (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it). The big caddis hatch, which usually provides our best dry fly fishing of the year, is on the wane. Now that John runs Blue Ribbon Fly Shop, he says he seem to have less time to fish on his own or with my wife, Lori. They were both eager to spend another day on the river after having a great time the previous week. The plan was to get to the river about the same time that all of the out-of-town anglers were leaving to head back home, after lunch on Sunday. It was about 72 degrees with a light breeze, sunny and the river was at minimum flow. They rigged their 9-foot 5-weight rods with a size 14 hare and copper nymph and a size 18 ruby midge, adding a BB lead shot and a strike indicator. All of this was on a weight-forward floating line with a seven and one half foot leader and 5X tippet. They landed four trout on the first drift (two each) and lost three others. After that drift, it was Katie bar the door, as they caught trout after trout and hooked up on every drift. Many were in the 16-18-inch range, which is a great trout anywhere. Halfway through the afternoon Lori hooked a huge trout. As soon as it felt the sting of the hook, it jumped straight up. It got at least 3 feet out of the water. John said he had never seen a trout that large get that much air, at least 30 inches and with substantial girth. John said he almost swallowed his cigar, when he saw the jump. After a short but exciting struggle, it dove down and wrapped a rock and spit the hook. What she had hooked and lost was a rodeo trout, big fish that give you a wild ride. Like a bucking bronco, the goal is to hang on for eight seconds. In this case, Lori had this one on for about a minute. She did well. Another big day fishing for the Berrys, he reported.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.68 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(updated 5-25-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
said lake level is falling slowing. The lake surface water temperature midweek was 72 degrees. The main lake is clearing nicely, but the coves are stained and the major creeks are getting clear. One generator has been running continuously. The bite on the lake continues, with good topwater action in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Hybrids, stripers, whites and largemouth are chasing shad to the surface, then going wild. Topwater action is a lot of fun. Spooks, Kastmasters or just about any surface-type bait will work. Just remember, if you are walking the dog with your spook, make sure the fish takes the bait under before you set the hook; don't stop your retrieval. Once the fish stops busting the surface start looking at your fish finder and you will find them 20-40 feet deep. Once they go deep, throw your Kastmaster out and let it sink 10 seconds or maybe a little more, then start your retrieval with a crank, stop jerk stop, then start all over again. Make that bait swim erratic. Live bait is also working very well. Threadfin or small gizzard shad are the best, but large shiners are also working. Lou went hunting midweek for new locations to fish, checking out a lot of the areas that he thinks the fish will be at very shortly, but he found very few stripers. He said he did manage to land a couple stripers on live shad in one of his regular locations. Once it was light he got distracted from the hunt with some topwater action on a main lake point. For the next 40 minutes he threw his spook and landed many nice largemouth bass and big white bass -- it was crazy. Around 8 a.m. he headed back to the area where his guests were fishing, and found a little topwater action still going on but was winding down. He started marking some big arcs on his graph down at 40 feet. He dropped a couple of threadfin shad down to 36 feet. While moving slowly he was casting his spook, and the largemouth bass were still very active. Lou landed a couple 19-20-inch-long fish, then one of his down poles start to sing and he landed a nice 13-pound striped bass. Walleye fishing has also been good both in the early morning as well as right before dark and after dark. Live shad is working as well as artificial baits. You can work your Kastmaster back to the boat bouncing it along the bottom or cast out a spoon and jerk it back to the boat along the bottom. You can still catch a few casting a suspending jerkbait up to the shoreline and working it slowly back to the boat. The jerkbait seems to be working in the morning before sunrise. Midday vertical jigging a spoon around brush is picking up a few fish. The walleye seem to be hanging out at 15-25 feet depth on the bottom.
(updated 5-25-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said striper fishing is improving in spite the cold rainy weather they had all week. The north and northeast winds have moved the shad out of the back to the mouth of the creeks. If you go into the creeks you will see clear water. All the stained water has been pushed out into the lake. This has also cooled the creeks. The main lake dropped from the 70 degrees to the mid-60s. He said they have caught limits of stripers on multiple days this week with the best days being sunny with a little wind. Stripers are still being caught all over the lake -- look at Cranfield Island and surrounding points, Crystal Cove, Big Creek near Woods Point and Hand Cove, and the main lake points near the dam. Reynolds is catching stripers in 60 feet of water with lines set at 30 feet. In other areas, stripers are being caught in 80-100 feet of water with lines set at 30 feet. The stripers are now spawned out, therefore they are very skinny. They have begun feeding on crawdads and shad and should gain weight quickly.
Reynolds took guests Eric and his dad, Don, out for Don’s first time fishing for stripers. It was overcast with a slight drizzle. They were fishing the Crystal Cove area and the fish were dormant for the first 45 minutes, then the bite started. They were catching multiple stripers; all Reynolds was doing was landing and baiting hooks. At one point they had three on the floor and one on the line. At the end of the morning they had hooked and landed 10 stripers and hybrids, and kept their limit of six. Don’s experience was one he will not forget. If you have not had that excitement of catching stripers, the summer season is heating up, and one unique thing about Norfork is the warmer the weather the better the striper fishing gets, he said.
(updated 5-18-2016) Guide Steve Olomon
said said the lake level is up to 554 feet msl, which is about a half-foot from last week, and the water temperature is in the upper 60s. Look for stripers chasing baitfish to the surface early and just before dark. The hybrids, whites and bass are also coming up. They will hit a spook, soft jerkbait and a swimbait. Look for this activity on points and in coves where the wind is blowing in or has within the last day. After the topwater is over, try throwing a swimbait and you may pick up an extra striper or hybrid or two. Bass are hitting jerkbaits, jigs and worms. A lot of them are in 5-20 feet depth. Try a shallow-running crankbait, too. For more information on the area and lake go to Lake Norfork.com.
(updated 5-25-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said the lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 2.9 feet below seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet and 26.2 feet below the top of flood pool. No wadable wadable water. The water has cleared somewhat and 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 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise No. 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 has seen less pressure with spring break over but still has been quite busy. It is cleared some 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 No. 10). .
(updated 5-25-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that with the weather warming, smallmouths are more active. John Berry says his favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. 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 5-25-2016) 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 1,121.46 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120 msl).
(updated 5-25-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported that surface temperatures were in the low 70s on the lake, which was at normal level and most clear but showing a little stain in parts. Bream fishing was good in 4-8 feet depth using worms, crickets, wax worms and live bait. Bass fishing was good in deeper water, around the 10-foot depth, with spinners, crankbait, plastic worms and topwater all getting ation. Crappie fishing would pick up in deeper water, around 18 feet, but was just fair; jigs were working best. Catfishing was poor, with most action on trotlines using goldfish.
(updated 5-25-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) said striper activity forecast for the week is good. The stripers are feeding on spawning shad near bluffs, tree lines and rock piles and crawfish and located near rock piles they are feeding on shad spawn. There has still been some nice topwater action. Some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Stripers that are up in the White River and War Eagle arms are feeding heavily throughout the day, gorging on spawning shad. Try lightly weighted lines, free lines, balloons and planer boards in presenting your baits and it will definitely get you some fish. The white bass run is finishing up; they are making their way back toward the main lake and can be caught using a variety of methods, including grubs, spoons and Rooster Tails. Use colors including orange, chartreuse, white or combinations of the three. Water surface temperatures are in the high 60s, low 70s. These are the hot spots on the lake: Indian Creek, Coppermine, Ventris, Shaddox Hollow, the Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, Escapalia Hollow/Falls Hollow and Horseshoe Bend. Walleye are in the creek and river arms and finishing their spawn. They can be found from 5-15 feet depth. Three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors will work for clear water; use chartreuse/orange and clown colors in 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 and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 5-25-2016) Austin Kennedy of Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service
(479-640-8733) said water temperature and generation have been consistent this week, which is normal for this time of year. The white bass are still biting if you can find the traveling schools. Most have been marked between Houseman Access and Beaver. The whites have been biting on various Rapalas trolled at 6-12 feet. Bait fish are still being marked, but mostly in warmer waters downstream from Houseman. Crappie are still biting on live minnows fished under a slip bobber. Try fishing stick-ups and brush piles in 6-10 feet of water. The trout are very active biting on Rapalas, spoons and various powerbaits fished with light terminal tackle. Walleye are being caught in much deeper water in the river and up into the lakes. Trolling Flicker shads and Rapalas have been the preferred method. Smallmouth bass are being caught in coves and around stick-ups throwing various Rapalas and spoons.
(updated 5-25-2016) Beaver Dam Store said fishing has been good; the hatchery truck just dumped trout last Friday morning and the bite is on. Good lures are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons, Flicker shad in pro series Nos. 4 and 5. Good power baits are white, red, orange, yellow and chartreuse. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in Blue Dunn, black and olive. The white bass and stripers are hitting really well at White Bass Cove. The Zara Spook in bone color is the hot ticket along withe pearl white 6-inch Sluggos. Jerkbaits are also producing numbers of fish.
(updated 5-25-2016) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said that as of Tuesday the lake was 10 inches below normal for the year, the water was a little dingy due to the recent high winds, and the surface temperature was 70 degrees. The crappie fishing has been a little slow but steady, with most being caught on minnows. In some cases white jigs worked, but the bite can only be found at the 10-foot depth. If the weather forecast holds true, night temps should remain above 60 degrees, and maybe by the weekend, the crappie spawn should have started. Those that have been caught show no swelling with eggs or bloody tails. Just as happened last year, the best is yet to come. Check out the mouth of Keeper Cove. Start deep and work up to, say, 5 feet. Fish over any brush piles or limbs of any kind. Fish at the flood discharge, around Rock Island, and even up around Goose Island. The west side of the lake is the warmest. Concentrate your efforts there first. The largemouth bass have spawned, for the most part. They will pull off into the deeper water and shut off feeding for a while. A 6 ¾-pounder was caught 12 feet deep on a blue fleck power worm, while another report had bass hitting surface poppers at night. That produced a 2-pounder, and a few under 12 inches. Try plastic worms for the deep fishing, poppers on top, and a dark spinner (red and blue), early and late, or white and chartreuse in dingy water. Slow rolling your return will be the key. Bluegill and redear have been hot on crickets. Some limits have been caught up in the cove to the right of Goose Island, and on up in the Brush Creek area. Fish 18 inches under a small bobber, to not spook the fish. Renworms worked good with bank fishermen catching several nice ones.Catfishing lines baited with liver and nightcrawlers produced empty hooks and a few turtles. Use cut, stressed perch, or live perch, for best results. The catfish are spawning by June 19. After then, liver and stinkbait might be OK. Never bait out your catfish lines until between sundown and dark. Unless you only want turtles.
(updated 5-25-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported that water remained at normal level and had cleared, with a surface temperature of 60-65 degrees. Bream provided the best fishing, rating good in 10 feet depth with worms and crickets the best baits. Crappie were biting fair at 10 feet depth on minnows and jigs. Bass were fair, also in 10 feet of water, with spinnerbait working best. Catfishing was poor.
(updated 5-25-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported that the water was at normal level but dingy this week, and the surface temperature was 73 degrees. Crappie fishing picked up this week, with fish working in 6 feet depth on minnows and jigs. Bream fishing also was better, rating good, with worms and crickets attracting them. Catfishing was good using shad and chicken liver. Bass fishing continued to rate good, with spinners and topwater bait getting hits.
(updated 5-25-2016) Lake Poinsett State Park said the last week’s kids fishing derby was a great success. That bait shop has been selling crickets and minnows mainly. Word is the bream and crappie are the main catch now, although there are a lot of catfish being caught as well. No word on the bass.
(updated 5-25-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said that water had cleared and was at normal level this week, with no surface temperature taken. Crappie fishing really picked up, rating excellent on minnows and jigs. Crickets were the bait of choice for good bream fishing. Bass were working nicely in shallow water, rating good, with spinnerbaits and topwater the most successful lures. Catfishing remained good, with worms and chicken liver getting lots of attention.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 440 cfs and water clarity has been clearing. The river is finally clearing up and fishing has been great over the last few days. More rain on the way that may affect conditions. Olive woollies and Guppies have been hot on the fly and hot pink and orange trout magnets and gold spinners have been working well for spin fishers. Bad conditions over the last few weeks have kept fishing pressure off. The trout have been stacking up, and once all of the bad weather moves through, we will have an excellent summer of catching action. Take extra care wading in the river. Levels are higher than normal.
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 (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 5-25-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water level was back to normal, the clarity was clear and the surface temperature ranged 59-62 degrees. Crappie fishing was fair in 6-7 feet of water with minnows. Bass fishing was also fair, and also most active in the 6-7 feet depth with plastic worms working best. Bream were fair in 6-7 feet on crickets. Catfish and walleye were both poor. After some slow weeks, though, the fishing had picked up overall with the water level falling.
(updated 5-4-2016) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures on the main channel and in backwaters was in the low to mid 70s. Water clarity was low throughout; only inches in the main channel to a max of about 6 inches in Lake Langhofer. The water level was rising throughout last weekend and was about 2 feet high by the end of the day Sunday. Black bass are biting fairly well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Use caution navigating the main channel of the river, as logs large enough to cause damage were present. Floating debris was light.
(updated 5-18-2016) Cane Creek State Park said bream are biting like crazy on crickets. Catfish are biting very well on live bait. Crappie are doing OK on shiners. Bass are biting very well on chatterbaits.
(updated 5-18-2016) Matthew C. Gillum, the ranger at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said crappie can be found under docks in 3-5 feet of water using chartreuse jigs and pink jig heads. Catfish can be caught using nightcrawlers. Bream are biting wax worms better than crickets. Bass can be found in shallow water and caught using chartreuse crankbaits. Watermelon-red baby brush hogs can be used when fishing in thick cover.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.92 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said the lake level continues fluctuating. Reduced current exists in Little River with gate discharge around 4,000 cfs on Monday. Water temperature slightly rose over the past week. Navigation considered cautious this week. Surface temperature as of Monday was ranging 67ºF early to 77ºF later in the day. Lake level was falling with river current, and tailwater level was also falling, at 232.57 feet msl on Monday. Clarity and visibility has slightly improved over the past week in most areas on the main lake. Away from the current, clarity and visibility ranges about 6-10 inches. Little River's visibility is heavy stain and ranges 5-8 inches. The oxbow's clarity is improving, ranging about 10-20 inches deep. Largemouth bass feeding continues to improve to the more stable weather patterns and temperatures over the past week. Warmer days, sun and more stable weather patterns have the bass in a feeding mood. Most bass are now post-spawn. During the late morning and throughout the afternoon, chatterbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are working. Chatterbaits in black and blue, the spinnerbaits in Spot Remover and Fire Tiger, and big 10-inch worms in blue fleck and plum have been working well for largemouths from 3 pounds up to 5 pounds. Bang Die Dapper and Boss Shiner swimbaits continue working this week with the water clarity improving, rigged on a swimbait belly hook using 3/16-or 3/8-ounce weight. Best colors seem to be Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse Belly or Ice Breaker, and Shiner colors.
Bass Assassin Shads in Trickster, Native Shiner, Panhandle Moon and Grey Ghost colors are catching nice 3-4-pound bass in newly sprouting lily pad stems and shoots near cypress trees in the cleanest water you can find away from river current. Fat Jobs are working Wacky rigs upriver in the oxbows in the same areas. Best colors of Fat Jobs over the past couple weeks continue to be Houdini and Blueberry, and lightest wire hook available works best. Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Candy Craw, Sexy Sunfish and Stumpknocker colors all are working on sunny days in creek channels deflecting off stumps and timber, around cypress trees/knees. Echo 1.75 squarebill crankbaits are working outside spawning flats where creek channel bends wind near the bank and out again. The Echo 1.75 crankbaits are catching good numbers of largemouths and white bass equally well. Best color of Echo 1.75 squarebills over the past week with stained but improving water clarity have been the Ghost, Millwood Magic or Gold Shad color patterns. Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs continue working for 3-5-pound largemouths in 5-9 feet behind stumps along edges of Little River with the reduced current over the past week. Seems as if the current is positioning the bass behind stumps and timber along the old river channel bank. Best colors working continue to be the Texas Craw, Habanero or Candy Bug using a green pumpkin/chartreuse or black trailer. Schools of whites continue roaming Little River and the creek mouths dumping into the river between Horseshoe Lake and Cemetery Slough. Whites were surface-schooling on shad over the past week in Horseshoe. Sloughs feeding Little River, just out of the main river current, were holding some good schools of whites over the past week, feeding in lily pads on shad. These bass were hitting Echo 1.75 squarebill crankbaits, Rat-L-Trap Tail Spinners, Little Georges, Little Cleos and Johnson chrome or gold spoons 2-5 feet deep. Crappie were biting good around cypress trees in 3-8 feet deep on live shiners and jigs. Cats continue biting consistently in Little River on trotlines using chicken gizzards, Charlie and hot dogs set 9-12 feet deep.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.31 feet msl (Flood pool – 548 msl).
(updated 5-25-2016) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said reported surface temperature is 78 degrees. Water is clear throughout the lake. Crappie are good on brush piles in 10-15 feet. Bass are roaming the banks and are hitting buzzbaits and topwater plugs like Chugbugs and Pop R’s.
(updated 5-11-2016) Dustin Holmes of Action Fishing Trips
reports that the water level is 550.15, which is 2.15 feet above normal pool. The water temp is 70.3 at the surface. The water is still far up in the buck brush. Crappie are being caught in brush piles with the top of the brush being 10-15 feet down and the brush piles setting in 15-25 feet of water. We are doing the best with live minnows and Tennessee scad crappie jigs. You can jig the brush or cast around the brush piles and do quite well. Bass are mostly being caught on points from 5-20 feet deep. The bass are being caught on a Carolina rig, a shad colored crank bait running 12-15 feet deep, and a spinner bait. Catfish are being caught on chicken liver and worms on north end of the lake from 10 to 25 feet of water. Bream are being caught on crickets and worms up next to the bank by the buck brush.
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
noted little change in the fishing; however, conditions will vary only a few days around rain events. He says to fish deeper in the same spots and scout shallower areas that are now deeper. As the lake levels fall, the bass and crappie will move back to their comfort zone for depth and cover.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.46 feet msl (flood pool – 408 msl).
(updated 5-25-2016) Local angler George Graves said the surface water temperature is in the low 70s and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is good with quite a few nice catches reported. Look for fish on the long secondary points and throw topwater lures in the morning. Look for "breaking" fish and try to get the lure as close to the "break" as possible. Good lures are Zara Spooks, Pop R's and the Sammy. Later in the day, try medium running crankbaits and spinnerbaits. A double willow leaf spinnerbait with a white or white/chartreuse skirt works well in the clear water. Also try a Texas- or Carolina-rigged worm in green pumpkin/red flake or red shad. Not much doing on crappies with only a few fish reported, coming from the deeper attractors in 18-25 feet of water between Arley Moore and Shrouse Ford. Best bet is a 2-inch curly tail grub or tube in Tennessee shad on a 1/16-ounce jig head. Fish the lure vertically to just above the brush. Be sure to fish all the way around the attractor because usually the fish will be concentrated in one spot.
Hybrid fishing is good with the fish now schooling at mid-lake. He’s see very few "breaking" fish, so use the sonar to locate the fish, which will be suspended at 20-35 feet down off major points. If you have trouble locating the fish, just look for the fleet of hybrid fishermen. A good place to look is in the area of Caddo Bend. Drop a heavy spoon to just above the fish. Chartreuse and white are the best colors for hybrids. Early morning is the best time and the fishing is pretty much over by 9 a.m.
Very few reports on catfish, but there must be miles of trotlines in the Shrouse Ford area around point 15. Bait the lines with cut shad, hot dogs, Catfish Charlie, nightcrawlers or chicken livers. Also try big minnows and small live bream.
(updated 5-25-2016) John Duncan with yoyguideservice.com
at Iron Mountain Marina said water temperature is running 74-76 degrees in mid-lake area. Water color is clear in mid-lake area and stained from Shrouse Ford and further up river past Point Cedar. Lake level is 406.44. State Park Marina reports catfish still producing in coves on trotlines. Suspend lines 6 to 10 feet deep and use large minnows or goldfish for bait. Reports are good for 6 to 10 pound fish. Caddo Valley Bait Shop reports cricket and worms showing large increase. Bream are in shallow areas of coves. Look for beds in rocky bottom areas from Shrouse Ford to Lenox Marcus. Hybrids are being caught off point south of Edgewood point across from marker 6. Use Zara Spook or Sassy Shad topwaters for surfacing fish. Shallow running baits are good for fish just under surface. Crappie fishing and bass has been slower due to the cold front that dropped surface temperature from 76 degrees to 70 degrees in the mid-lake area. No current reports on bass other that the most activity seen on mid-lake area is mainly fisherman fishing the points. Crappie fishing had slowed from the temperature shock of the cold front. The crappie had moved deeper in the brush piles and become very slow on the bite. With the return of 75-degree water the bite is picking up. Try fishing 12-15 feet deep in brush piles from Brushy to Shrouse Ford. Tightline Rockport Rattler 1/8-ounce chartreuse head with Bobby Gardner Baby Bass body tipped with minnow.
(updated 5-25-2016) Stacey Jackson at White Oak Lake State Park (870-685-2748) said that on Lower White Oak Lake, regulations state that catfish daily limit is 5, bream daily limit is 50, and bass must be at over 16 inches. Crappie is still catch-and-release only. Bass are hitting on crankbaits, brush-hogs and spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting well on trotlines using live bait and catfish baits, and tightlining using worms and catfish baits. Bream are starting to bite well in the mornings and evenings on crickets. On Upper White Oak Lake, bass are hitting on crankbaits, brush-hogs and spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting well on trotlines using live bait, catfish baits and tightlining using worms and catfish baits. Crappie are biting on minnows and jigs. Bream are starting to bite well in the mornings and evenings on crickets.
(updated 5-11-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said the water still 13 feet high, bass are slow, no report on bream or crappie, catfish being caught in the backwater.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said the torrential rains of last weekend slowed angling tremendously on the Ouachita River oxbows. Some angers are still running yo-yos and trotlines to catch catfish, but sportfishing opportunities are limited. River reports indicate a steady water rise for at least a week, making accessibility to the oxbows and tributaries almost impossible.
(updated 5-11-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are fair, bream starting to bite. No report on catfish or crappie.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said Tri-County has been rather productive after the drawdown from this past summer. Anglers are starting to catch bass in the channels of the lake again and crappie tend to be staged around wood structures and artificial structures. Bass are feeding up after their spawn. Baits that resemble their food sources will increase your chance of landing a boat-load. Crappie are finicky as the strikes seem to be staggered. Keeping a lighter-colored jig in the strike zone for the crappie will increase your chances of landing a few slabs as well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.85 feet msl (full pool – 342 msl).
(updated 5-25-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025)
said clear water conditions and low water level led to a good haul of most fish in the past week. Crappie fishing was just fair with minnows. But bream were hitting crickets and rated good, while bass fishing was good using crankbaits. Flatheads were attracted to stinkbait, and the overall catfishing was good. White bass fishing was good in the river current with crankbaits or by using trotlines.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water had cleared with the rain backing off, and the water level was normal. Bream fishing was good with worms and crickets. Bass fishing rated good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Yo-yo’s were having good success pulling up catfish. Crappie fishing was poor, but minnows and jigs did get some nibbles.
(updated 5-18-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
said the fishing is still really slow. Water level is high. Bream fishing is poor, crappie fishing is poor and catfishing is poor. Bass fishing is poor but what bass did work were in shallow water. About five or six were caught in the past week.
(updated 5-4-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperature was in the upper 70s to lower 80s. The river was muddy and high creeks were dingy. Catfishing has been excellent on worms, cut perch, shad and Skip Jack. Stick to the mouth of the creeks and the drops from the spawning flats. Bream has been excellent on spawning flats and around stumps and treetops in creeks with worms, crickets, flies and jigs. White bass are way up at the heads of the creeks; try tandem white jigs or small white crankbaits and inline spinners. Stripers are in The Creeks. Use topwater poppers, swimbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Crappie is hit-and-miss, but if you are in the right area you can find some slabs. Try black chartreuse, black pink and minnows. Largemouth bass has been excellent using frogs, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs and bamboozies in the shallow backwater. Scam shad has been working well along the grass line. Flipping beavers around stumps has been good, and bumping Square Bill crankbaits off of the same stumps has been working well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.57 feet msl (full pool – 578 msl).
(updated 5-18-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort
said lthe lake water was clearing with a surface temperature of 72-76 degrees. The lake level was 577.92 feet msl. Black bass are fair to good and being caught with topwater and creature baits. Main lake and secondary points are producing the best results. Walleye are good and are being caught with shallow running crankbaits, small jerkbaits and CC Spoons. Stripers are still good on top water C-10 redfins. The central area of the lake is the hottest right now. Bream are still excellent. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 8-15 feet deep. Crappie are fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 8-15 feet deep near brush. Catfishing are excellent. Try live bait or cut bait in depths of 15-20 feet.
(updated 5-25-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
said crappie and bass have finished their spawn and starting to stack up on brush piles in 14-18 feet of water fished 6-10 feet deep with jigs or minnows. Bream are spawning and can be caught with crickets shallow or on brush piles at mid-depths.
(updated 5-25-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, reports that Lake Ouachita is now out of flood pool and Entergy has closed flood gates and reduced flow from all area dams. Water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 58 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Catherine is now at normal summertime pool and will remain at this level until late November. Rainbow trout are present in very good numbers below the dam and thriving in the nutrient-rich water. Trout in the 12-16-inch range are plentiful and roaming the shallow waters searching for prey. Bank fishermen are doing well 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 caught trout in the 18-inch class by experienced guides. Overall, trout fishing is excellent and will remain good until the middle of June.White bass are making a strong spawning run toward the dam from the main body of the lake. Little fishing pressure due to high water 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 sandbars and rock structure will produce good catches. Jerkbaits in bright yellow have been the ticket in the stained waters of last week, but a silver-and-black pattern has proved to be more effective of late. Live minnows tightlined 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 and 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.
(updated 5-25-2016) Mississippi River State Park
(870-295-4040) said the lake has seen moderate crappie and bream activity, mostly in deeper depths (10-25 feet). Preferable to jigs and worms (both nightcrawlers and redworms). Bass have been responding to live bait both in deep water and from the bank, but activity has only been mild. The Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center is located in Marianna, off of state Highway 44, is selling bait and is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every day. The park has minnows, redworms, nightcrawlers, shad and crickets, along with a wide variety of jigs and artificial baits.
(updated 5-25-2016) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) reported crappie have moved off their beds and are responding well to jigs and worms. Bream are on their beds and are hitting well on crickets. Largemouth bass are biting on crickets, generally at deeper depths.
(updated 5-25-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the water continues to run quite high and dingy, leading to slow fishing for everyone. Outside of trotlines for catfish, nothing much was working.