(updated 6-22-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the lake surface temperature hit 90 degrees this past week. The lake was at normal level and was stained. Bream were working near the shoreline in about 18 inches below the surface with worms and crickets. Crappie were fair, mostly in 6-8 feet depth around brush piles, cypress trees and the grass lines. Use minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was good; best baits were topwater frogs and white spinnerbaits. Catfishing was excellent on trotlines and limb lines. Use large minnows or goldfish and place lines around the creek channels.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported water level was normal, and the catfishing has been excellent. Use minnows, goldfish and shad. Crappie fishing was fair the past week in minnows and jigs. No reports came in on bream or bass.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the river is receiving several hours of daily generation on weekdays, providing excellent wade and drift fishing opportunities on all sections of the river. Over the past week they have been seeing some Blue Wing Olive hatches taking place on the middle and lower river. The most productive times are morning and early evening. Afternoon fishing has been slow, and hot, unless they have a day with extensive cloud cover. With low water and bright sun, remember to use fluorocarbon tippet to increase your catch numbers. For fly fishing, Myers suggests sowbugs, midges and Woolly Buggers. For Trout Magnet fishing, red- and cotton candy-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are both working well. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 6-22-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said the water is clear and cold and the weather is hot. The afternoon generation of two units for four to five hours is keeping the river at a good temperature for the trout. The bite has been good with small flies the best choice. Size 20 midge pupas, size 18 to 20 pheasant tails and small sowbugs are good choices. Small to medium browns and nice rainbows are both being caught with an occasional big brown and rainbow. Drink plenty of water since the sun is hot!
(updated 6-15-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Company
(501-207-1770) reported the fishing on the Little Red has gotten substantially better over the last week. They are getting 4-6 hours of water release each evening. Wading on the upper river is best. The hot flies have been midges, pheasant tails, and pink San Juan worms.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said lake biologists opened the rearing pond on the lake Monday, turning the thread fin shad lose in the lake that they had turned lose in it to spawn, which should populate the middle part of the lake with shad real well. The black bass fishing is going good with a few fish shallow and a few still in between and headed out deep as the water warms. Some schooling is still going on in various parts of the lake with the black bass, and even some are following underneath the hybrids for an easy meal. Try Texas rigged worms, rigs and football heads for the deeper fish, spinnerbaits and small crankbaits for the shallow fish and a shaky head for the fish in between. The crappie are good in the pole timber and over brush piles suspended 15-25 feet deep and can be caught on minnows and jigs or a combination of both. The catfish are eating well all over the lake on a variety of baits and methods. The walleye are in 15-28 feet of water; try dragging crawlers and/or crankbaits for the best results. The bream are eating well on small crankbaits, in-line spinners, crickets and crawlers in 1-20 feet of water. The hybrid and white bass are eating well on and off during the day with early morning and late evening being the best. Some good action is going on through the middle of the day, though.
(updated 6-22-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort
(501-889-2745) said the water is high and a murky green. There was no surface temperature recorded. Bream fishing was good on worms and crickets. Bass were fair using crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing was good; best action was with Magic Bait. Crappie remained tough to get; what few were pulled in were biting minnows and jigs.
(updated 6-22-2016) Fosters Four Seasons
(501-868-9061) said the water was clear and at normal level, with a hot surface temperature in the mid-80s. Bream worked excellently, biting worms and crickets. Crappie were good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing rated good; use spinnerbaits, crankbaits or topwater. Catfishing was good on the trotlines. Chicken livers and worms were the best bait. Foster’s is the only shop in the area selling non-ethanol gasoline, and also has bait, tackle and other supplies available.
(updated 6-22-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina
reported the black bass bite is good on Wacky Rig worms, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and just about everything else. The fish can be caught in 8-12 feet of water. The temperature is about 80 on the shoreline. Black bass are in the sharp banks and 15 feet off in the weeds. Kentucky bass are good and are being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 10-15 feet of water mixed in with the black bass. White bass fishing is good; use deep-diving Bandits and Bombers, they are all over the lake. They are being caught in the main lake on CC spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails when schooling. They are mixed in with the crappie, which are still fishing well. Crappie are being caught on minnows and jigs and are 15 feet deep. Try the edges of the channels. Bream fishing remains excellent. Bream can be found at 13 feet on the bottom. They are being caught on crickets and live worms. Catfishing is excellent. Catfish are biting in 15-20 feet of water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers. One catfish weighed in at 48 pounds recently, while 30 pounds is very common.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported the water at normal level. Crappie fishing was good on pink minnows and jigs. Bream were biting fair, mostly around brush piles. Try worms and crickets. There were no reports on other fish.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said catfish are still biting for customers using chicken livers, nightcrawlers, bait shrimp and more. Bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Bass have been biting fair on minnows. Crappie have been slow with reports of only a few small ones being caught on size 6 minnows.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said bass fishing is good with minnows, small plastic worms or lizards, small spinnerbaits or crawdad-colored crankbaits. Catfish have been biting minnows, black saltys and gold fish. Crappie are scattered but some are biting size 6 minnows around rush and logs in the deeper parts of the current. Bream fishing is always fun on the river with crickets or worms fished on light line and tackle. If you want a challenge and a good fight, try minnows with heavier line and tackle and go for some Saline River gar. If you can manage to get a hook in one, hang on and have fun. Be safe and don't forget to take some pictures.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are biting crickets and redworms. Catfish are being caught on minnows and gold fish on jugs, noodles and trotlines. Bass fishing has been slow with the best bites coming at night on dark-colored plastic worms or spinnerbaits. No recent reports of crappie being caught.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said more nice crappie have been caught this week on size 12 minnows fished in deep water. Lisa said customer will not draw her a map or give clues as to exact location. Bass are being caught on minnow, plastic worms and lizards, topwater and buzzbaits early in the mornings. Catfish are biting minnows, chicken livers and nightcrawlers right before and after dark. Bream are hitting crickets and worms.
(updated 6-22-2016) Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said water flows are getting into summer mode and the water is warming up. Black bass are moving morning and late. Fish the grass lines; when the water drops, fish the secondary drops. Use green worms with a U-shaped tail and also citreuse Bomber Fat Free Shad in the secondary drops. In the early morning, use chatterbaits. White bass are biting well around jetty tips early and late. Use crankbaits in pearl- and shad-color around the jetty tips. Bream are bedding up around the sand bars. Use crickets. Also, on the grass lines near the jetties; use black Rooter Tails with copper blade. Those work well. Catfish are biting early and late around the jetties and the backwater in 3-6 feet of water. The fishing is very good. Use whole shad. Whites, Kentucky bass and catfish can be found wherever you find shad schools in early morning or late in the day.
(updated 6-15-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley said the water color is still muddy on the main river with water temps in the upper 70s-lower 80s. Bass fishing is really starting to heat up as almost all of the fish have healed up and are really feeding. Look for areas close to the main river where you can throw crankbaits and spinnerbaits to fool those bass using the current to ambush prey. Squarebills and spinnerbaits with Colorado Blades seem to work well in the water with more color to it. Catfishing is also heating back up slowly. Deep drops and structure near the main river channel have been giving up a good fish when cut bait and live bait is presented. Bream are excellent and can be caught at will around any backwater weed bed on crickets. No reports on crappie or stripers.
(updated 6-22-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water level is normal and the water is clear. Surface temperature hit 83 degrees this week. Fishing has been good all around. Bream are good on worms and crickets. The crappie bite is good on minnows and jigs. Bass are working well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good on worms and chicken livers.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie fishing was good using pink minnows or jigs. Bream fishing was fair around brush piles using worms or crickets.
(updated 6-22-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water wat Clear Lake and near the Terry Dam reached a surface temperature of 89 degrees in the past week, and the water was normal level. The overall bite was good. Bream were working worms and crickets. Crappie were good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was good, with spinnerbaits and crankbaits the main attractors. Skipjack was the bait of choice in making it a good week for catfishing.
Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff
(501-834-5733) reported the water remained stained to muddy and was at normal level. Surface temperature was 75 degrees. Fishing all-around was good. Bream were working around the grass on redworms or crickets and the catch was good. Crappie worked good in 6-8 feet or water around the brush piles, using minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was good using topwater and crankbaits. Catfishing worked best with nightcrawlers and prepared bait and rated good.
(updated 6-22-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said water temperature was 82 degrees near the Terry Lock and Dam, and the water was murky but at normal level. Bream fishing was excellent on wax worms and crickets in the backwater area. Crappie were fair around brush piles in 10-12 feet of water using minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was excellent. Best bet is to go with spinnerbaits or jigs around the brush. Catfishing was excellent; try chicken liver or skipjack. There were reports of good snagging as well. Further up the pool, the surface temperature was 83 degrees. Bream were working fair around the I-430 bridge and off the rocks. Use worms, wax worms and crickets. Bass fishing was good in 10-15 feet of water on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Also try Shaky Head worms. Catfish were good below the hydro plant, hitting shad. Excellent reports on white bass, hybrids and striper, all hitting white grubs. Crappie fishing was fair; work the brush piles with minnows and jigs.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported the water is normal around the Terry Lock and Dam. Catfishing is excellent using skipjack or shad, as well as snagging.
(updated 6-22-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the fishing was overall good even though it was a slow week. The water is clear and at a normal level. The surface temperature reached 80 degrees. Crappie were good on minnows and jigs. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits were working as bass rated good. Catfish were good, biting worms and blood bait. No reports on bream.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing was excellent on the north side of the lake. Shrimp and chicken parts were working best. Water level is normal.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that water is at normal level and fishing for bream and catfish is hot right now. Bream fishing good to excellent on worms and crickets, as well as topwater frogs and spinnerbaits. Catfishing is excellent on chicken liver, chicken hearts and nightcrawlers.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported water level at normal. Catfish are biting excellent on chicken liver, chicken heart and nightcrawlers. No reports on other fish.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting Sonny's Super Sticky dip bait for some customers. Nightcrawlers and chicken livers have been working well for others. Bream are biting crickets, redworms and super meal worms. Bass are biting early in the mornings on minnows and small plastic worms or lizards. Some crappie have been biting size 6 minnows.
(updated 6-22-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported water level normal on the Maumelle. Bream fishing is fair around brush piles using redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair. Try pink and regular minnows. No other reports were available.
Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said water was murky and the surface temperature was 82 degrees. Level was normal. Bream were biting well in shallow areas on worms and crickets. Use wax worms. Crappie were good around brush piles in 12-15 feet depth on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing was excellent around jetties. Try a plastic Trick Worm and pull it under at about 10-15 feet. Catfishing was excellent on trotlines. Skipjack was working best.
(updated 6-8-2016) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501 -889-2011) said catfish are biting on minnows and worms. Bream are biting great on crickets and worms and Rock Hoppers. Bass are biting on buzzbaits and topwater baits.
(updated 6-22-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that catfishing was fair. Use skipjack, chicken hearts or shad. Water level was normal.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 663.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 6-22-2016) K Dock Marina
(417-334-2880) reported the fishing has been a little tougher after this last week of extreme heat. The surface temp around our area is already at 88 degrees! Pretty hot for the middle of June. The water is clear to stained. Start fishing your deeper summer patterns for walleye and crappie. Bass are still good on a variety of jigs and lures. Also, keep in mind that the boat launch at the end of K Highway is almost completely under water. With the new seasonal pool now set at 662.00 feet msl, their boat launch and access road is a thing of the past. Frustrating to think that fishermen and recreational boaters living in and visiting the Branson area will struggle to find an access onto Bull Shoals Lake. Black bass are good on topwater early mornings and evenings. Also good on jigs, plastics in the brush and big worms. Walleye are fair on deep-diving crankbaits and bottom-bouncing nightcrawlers. Crappie is slow to fair on live minnows at 15-20 feet deep.
(updated 6-15-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock
said the lake rose a few feet earlier in the month. There is a lot of brush in the water up to 5 feet around the shoreline. The water temperature is higher then normal. It is in the low 70s to mid-80s around the lake depending on where you take it. That is a little higher then normal. The water is still fairly clear. There seems to be a thermocline forming around the 18-22-foot level, which is normal for this time of year. Bass fishing is still great. Most of the reports are good with topwater bite the most reported. Then weedless plastics in and around the brush in shallow water. This should change to deeper fishing fairly soon during the day with the water temperatures rising. Walleye fishing hasn't been the best. They have not seen many caught or at least getting reports of many. Not sure why either, because it is usually very good this time of year. It was good March, April and the first two weeks of May but has slowed down since the middle of May. The patterns that follow are still catching some. Not much else to report. For bass, use crankbaits, Swimming Minnow plastics, spinnerbaits, jigs, french fry worms, Carolina rigged plastics, stick baits and topwater. Yes thats right! Just about anything you want to throw. For walleye, trolling deep-diving baits is working in 15-20 feet of water, bottom bouncing with nightcrawlers, slow retrieval of a spoon, slow retrieval of a split shot and nightcrawler. To catch white bass, troll with crankbaits, cast with swimbaits and small jigs or try night fishing with lights. They are seeing lots of crappie being caught. The main pattern being reported is swimming an 1/8-ounce to 1/64-ounce jig just off the bottom along the shoreline. They are spawning so they are not grouped up. You might have to fish a lot of shoreline to catch a bunch.
(updated 6-22-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort
(870-453-2424) reported the trout bite was excellent the past week. From 2 to 8 generators were running, and the water was clear. Try power bait or stink worms.
Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock
said Bull Shoals Dam has been generating more power this past week, so by late afternoon or early evening, Cotter sees an extra 2.5 to 3 feet of water. Generation then gradually slows to less than one unit and by early morning the level is fairly low and nicely floatable. Very fish-able. They’ve had some nice catches this week, healthy rainbows and several more cutthroats brought to the boat, posed for pictures and released. Olive and ginger, black, and tri-olive jig Zig Jigs captured some browns and a cutthroat or two, as well as rainbows this past week. Spoons, spoons and more spoons. Silver Cleos, gold Cleos, red/gold Thomas Bouyants, blue-silver Cleos and Thomas Bouyants, and the Colorados continue to catch trout. Shrimp, tied on with power bait (yellow, white, sunrise, orange, pink) does the trick, as well as crawdad tails. (They've had some luck with the store-bought variety of crawfish when trapping live ones isn't productive.) Summer is in full swing; temperatures rising; be careful.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) ) said one rain event dropped a half-inch on Cotter last week, followed by hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.1 of a foot to rest at 1.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.9 feet. This 31.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 0.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 to rest at 0.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 9.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had moderate generation last week with wade-able water most days. Berry reports they have had a lot of low wade-able water that has fished well. 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 (Berry’s current favorite is a size 18 pink San Juan worm with a ruby midge suspended below it). When he sees top water activity but no insects, he’ll fish with a partridge and orange. When trout are taking adults from the top, he switches over to a sulphur parachute. Berry says that at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop they have been getting a lot of requests from customers to have a beginner’s fly-tying class. Berry and his assistant manager, Henry Seay, are avid fly-tyers, although he thinks Henry is more involved in fly-tying. Whenever Seay is working in the shop, he is at the fly-tying desk, unless waiting on a customer. They are also both supporters of Trout Unlimited White River Chapter No. 698. Therefore they decided to hold a beginner’s fly-tying class and donate the proceeds from the class to Trout Unlimited. Seay would teach the class. He has been fly fishing for over 65 years and has been tying flies for over 20. After retiring from the Sony Corp., he owned and operated the OK Angler fly shop in Oklahoma City for several years. He then moved to Phoenix, where he honed his midging skills at Lee’s Ferry and the San Juan River. Since moving here 11 years ago, Henry has been a fly fishing guide, a commercial fly-tyer and has worked in several local fly shops. He has more experience in running a fly shop than Berry has but now wants to spend more time on stream fishing. He has also served as the Youth Educational Director for the White River chapter of Trout Unlimited No. 698. Bob Krause, a local commercial fly-tyer, will assist. The class will be held on Thursdays throughout July at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop (1343 E. Ninth St., Mountain Home) from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The cost is a $35 donation to Trout Unlimited, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization (therefore it is tax deductable). The class is designed with the neophyte tyer with no experience whatsoever in mind. Bring a fly-tying vise, a bobbin, a spool of fly-tying thread and a pair of fly-tying scissors. Some loaner equipment is available and the shop will be open during the class in case you need to buy something. To register, call (870) 425-0447 during normal business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday) or stop by the shop.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 556.80 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 6-22-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said the lake is HOT, the lake temperature is 87 degrees and climbing, this usually happens in late July and August but summer weather has started early. You can find stripers as shallow as 40 feet and as deep as 80 feet. Most of the fish I’m catching are holding between 30 and 40’ right now. I start off in 70 to 80 feet of water and move up into the 40 to 50’ after the sun comes. It’s a reverse of what normally happens, shallow then deep. I do not believe this pattern will last long, most of the fish will be caught in the 50 to 60’ as the month progresses. Stripers continue being caught at the Hwy 62 bridge and Robinson Point. On the south end of the lake the stripers are appearing on the deep side of the points, they are also in the deep channels and bays that butt a bluff. I’m still using gizzard shad that range in length from 5 to 10”. I had a call from Iowa about setting up a striper trip for Father’s Day. Mike wanted to take his dad John who is 80 years old out along with Mike’s two sons, Ross and Reese. We set up for last Sunday and we left the dock at 4:15 AM. The day before I had taken out a father, son, and grandson group and we caught 10 stripers in 1 ½ hours so I was pretty confident that we would really catch the fish. Boy was I wrong, we went to the fist 2 places where 10 or more stripers were caught the day before and we had no bites for over 2.1/2 hours. By now I was in full stress mode and all I could say that we should catch fish since I could see them on the graph. At the third spot we hit pay dirt. The float line went down and I set the hook and gave the rod to John. The fish was too strong so I worked with John and we finally boated the striper and it was 14 pounds. Everybody was smiling but that was only one fish and I needed more. The float when down again and this time Mike took the rod and we boated his striper and it was 12 lbs. We hooked another one but lost it to the trolling motor. The last one came when nobody was watching the poles. That fish went under the boat and caught most of lines and then took off for deep water. We got the lines untangled and Reese boated at 17-pound striper. It was a long morning but it turned out great when three generations all caught fish. Be sure to read our Summer Striper tactics, the article can be found on the FishNorforkLake.com website.
(updated 6-22-2016) Guide Steve Olomon
said the lake level is 557.1 feet msl and the water temperature is in the mid-80s. Look for stripers down 35-60 feet deep. They can be close to the bottom in 35 feet depth or they can be suspended in 100 feet. Check the deep side of points and close to the creek channels in the creeks. They had a few small stripers in the 2-4-pound range and some hybrids about 4-6 pounds coming up hitting Zara Spooks in a creek while they were sitting in 55 feet. There were a few whites, large mouth and some smallies mixed in. Steve and his group hit another spot and got into a few spotted bass. They were not coming up chasing, they just came up and hit the spooks in Big Creek. The group caught a few stripers and a couple hybrids on jigging spoons suspended at 30 feet in about 55 feet of water. F or more information on the area and lake visit www.LakeNorforkFun.com.
(updated 6-15-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
saidstriped bass fishing continues to be very good. They have migrated to their beginning-of-summer pattern. The striped bass are deeper and are being caught 30-50 feet down in all different water depths. Lou has caught them on the bottom in 40 feet of water and also suspended in 100 feet of water. Early one morning this week he fished with his daughter and oldest granddaughter. They ended up landing eight striped and hybrid bass in two different types of areas. One area was partway back in a creek and the second was on a main lake point. The two biggest fish were 23-pound and 16-pound striped bass, with hybrids up to 9 pounds and other stripers up to 10 pounds. All but three fish were released, as three would not swim away. Live bait is working the best for, but he’s fishing with his grandkids and artificial bait makes fishing a little more difficult. All sizes of live bait are working from 3-inch threadfin shad on up to 9-inch gizzards. Vertical jigging with a spoon is also starting to work. Find the stripers on your electronics and drop a spoon to the fish and start jigging up and down. If you get into a large school of fish and they don't hit it while jigging, drop it through them, then reel up though the school and be ready for a fish to attack the bait. But in his experience they typically hit it on the fall. Trollers are also doing good dragging umbrella rigs or swim baits. The main thing is to make sure your bait is 25-45 feet deep or just above the fish you are marking on your graph.
Topwater for striped bass has stopped, but hybrid bass are still coming up early in the morning close to points partway back into creeks. He’s finding hybrids in the same locations as the stripers but they are feeding much higher in the water column, from the surface down to 20 feet deep. Topwater baits and swimbaits are working well for artificial baits. Live bait is also very good by pitching them free-line, meaning with no weight. Best places to fish for stripers and hybrids are from the mouths of Big Creek and Brushy Creek to the dam as well as from the Bidwell area to the dam. Yes, they are scattered throughout the entire lake.
Largemouth and spotted bass fishing has also been good. You will find topwater action early in the morning until sunrise in the same locations as the stripers, then again in the late afternoon right before sunset. In the morning, once the sun gets above the tree line they will go down, so start working the bottom from 10 feet out to 30 feet deep with your plastics or jigs. You can also work bush piles in the 20-30 feet depth and catch some quality fish.
Lou says he’s been having too much fun striper fishing to go out crappie fishing, but anglers have been told him you can find some nice fish on brush in 20-30 feet of water back in the creeks. If you are staying at an area with a large boat dock that has some brush under it you can catch some really nice crappie pretty much all day long, when they decide to feed. His dock is producing some good fish in the 13-16-inch range.
The lake level continues to rise slowly and currently sits at 556.98 feet msl. Minimal power generation is occurring during the day and evening. The lake surface water temperature is in low to mid-80s, but varies depending on the location in the lake. The main lake is clear on the surface and the creeks and coves are stained but appear to be trying to clear. He’s heard a thermocline is forming, but he’s not seen evidence of it. If it hasn’t formed, he said, it will shortly with the warm temperatures.
(updated 6-22-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said the lake rose 2.6 feet to rest at 0.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.65 feet and 22.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had wade-able water most days. The Norfork has fished better lately. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 will be very busy, with summer vacation, in full swing. It is cleared and fished well. There is another phase of the project to repair the Norfork National Fish Hatchery now going on. Access to the creek is not impaired. The hot flies have been sowbugs (No. 14), Y2Ks (No. 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise No. 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 6-15-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) saidthat with the weather warming, smallmouths are more active. My favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the river. There are no dams and the river is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 6-15-2016) 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 1,120.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120 msl).
(updated 6-22-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported the water clear and at a normal level, with the surface temperature reaching a high this spring from the high-80s to low 90s. It resulted in a good week for fishing, especially in the evening from sundown to sunup. Bass fishing overall was fair, but the night fishing for bass has been very good. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater all were good calls. Catfish were hitting the jugs and trotlines and rated good. Bream were good on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing was fair on minnows and jigs.
(updated 6-15-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) said the water surface temperature is in the low 80s and the striper activity forecast for the week is good. The stripers are making their way back out of the river/creek arms feeding on bait. There has been some nice topwater action. Some Beaver Lake stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Try lightly weighted lines, free lines, balloons and planer boards in presenting your baits and it will definitely get you some fish. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper or hybrid or combination; walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Beaver lake striper fishing will be good with striper taken on live shad fished on free lines and down lines from surface to about 20 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, plugs, flat lines or slightly weighted lines like Rapala No. 14, Husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model. Jerkbaits like flukes will also produce. Also, live shad is always a go-to approach for trophy stripers. In the mid- and lower lake sections, check out these hot spots: Beaver Dam cove, Point 1, Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, Point 5. Also, walleye are now back down on the main lake in numbers and on the feed. Walleye can be found from 10-20 feet deep. Use three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink pro scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chart combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 6-22-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy said the best bite this past week would have to go to the white bass. The bass are hitting well on various Rapalas between Houseman Access and the dam. If you can get a bait below the bass, you can pick up an occasional walleye or two as well fishing the same method. Generation has been mainly in the afternoon/evening hours, leaving the morning for us fisher folk! Trout are biting on light terminal tackle with various power baits, most noticeably between the Highway 62 bridge, upstream to Parker Bottoms. Smallmouth bass are also hitting well on spoons and shallow water divers in the much warmer waters between Houseman downstream to Beaver town, in little cuts and fishing rocky drop-offs. Crappie are still being caught in deeper water using various jigs and techniques. Also, Kennedy said he knows they have had a lot of sunny days, but if you can get out on an overcast day, you won't be sorry. The brown trout have been very active on these days and hitting in great numbers. Try pulling some CD's, Colorado spoons or Smithwicks in the deeper waters for those guys.
(updated 6-22-2016) Beaver Dam Store
reported the fly fishing below the dam has been pretty good. There have been walleye caught in the Bertrand Launch Area when water is flowing. There are a lot of shad in this area along with predator fish feeding on them. White bass are still being caught below the dam using small articulate streamers. The occasional brown trout can also be caught using midges, streamers, hopper patterns. The white bass and striper fishing has tapered off at White Bass Cove. Not to say they are not there, but the occasional feeding frenzy has been noted when bait fish are present. The Zara Spook in fin/pearl with red head color is the hot ticket, along with pearl. Jerkbaits are also producing. 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 colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies have been Pheasant Tails, midges in blue Dunn, black, olive, hares ear, tungsten copper Johns, WD 40s and Trout Magnets. Catfish are biting on Wicked Sticky bait along with Magic Bait crawfish/chicken blood bait.
(updated 6-15-2016) Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat said that health issues are forcing him to close the bait shop the remainder of the year. However, Lucky will be in attendance at the June 25 Federation of Police Fishing Derby, to be held on Lake Elmdale at the public access parking lot and dock. The event will be held by the Tontitown and Elm Springs police departments and is open to children 15 years old and younger. The derby is from 8 a.m. to noon. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Bring your own equipment, and a license is not required for a parent to assist a child during the derby. Lucky urges people to support the event and help teach youth in the area that there's more to life than texting and playing computer games. “It’s been great, and thank you for fishing Lake Elmdale,” Key said.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported the water being murkiest toward the shoreline, with a normal depth and a surface temperature of 75 degrees. Bream fishing was good on worms and crickets. Bass were good, hitting spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Worms, blood bait and chicken liver all worked to make catfish good for the week, while crappie were just fair on minnows and jigs.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported murky water at a normal level, with surface temperature reaching a hot 89 degrees. Bass and catfish were the way to go. Bass were working well with topwater lures. Catfishing was good with chicken liver and shad bringing them in. Bream fishing was poor, as was crappie fishing.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lake Poinsett State Park said summer and hot temperatures are here, keeping some of our fishermen in the cool. A few are still going after the bream, crappie and catfish, getting out there early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The bass are out there being caught on artificial bait. Stay cool; drink plenty of water.
(updated 6-22-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water surface temperature was at 80 degrees, the level was normal and the water was clear. Bass fishing was excellent around the shoreline early in the morning and late in the evening, tapering off the rest of the day. Topwater lures were working best. Catfishing was good; try chicken liver or stink bait. Bream were good around the docks; use crickets. Crappie fishing was poor.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 440 cfs and water clarity has been mostly clear. The river is looking great and getting back to normal levels. Some days the trout are hitting any fly that comes near them, and some days they have been tough. Guppies and brownies have been the hot flies with Y2Ks also doing well. On the tough days when it is hard to get a bite, hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets will do the job. Hot pink and chartreuse Trout Magnets and gold spinners have been working well with spin fishers. It has been really hot lately and the river is cold as always. Wet wading has been really nice. Get out and enjoy. For the next few Fridays they’ll be having events at the Jim Hinkle Fish Hatchery from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. This Friday is a fly fishing class for kids ages 6-14.
John Berry in Cotter said the river is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and fishing is better. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash (No. 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (No. 10) and Y2Ks (No. 10).
(updated 6-15-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water was clear and at a normal level. Bream were biting fair about 8½ feet depth in the creek using crickets. Crappie were poor. Bass were fair on plastic worms, mainly Hulu grubs.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures are in the upper 80s on the main channel of the river up to low 90s in backwaters. Water visibility is less than a foot on the main channel to up to a foot in backwaters. Black bass have been biting fairly well but the heat has definitely slowed them down. Shallow crankbaits on main channel jetties are producing some bites, as are soft plastics and jigs worked through brush piles. Activity slows during mid-day, so focus on early morning or late evening.
(updated 6-8-2016) Seth Boone at Cane Creek State Park said bream are biting well on crickets. The bass are biting well on green and white frogs off of the lily pads. The catfish are biting well on bream. Crappie are lying low for now.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.42 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said lake level was about 2.5 inches above normal conservation pool and falling on Monday. There is current in Little River with the gates releasing around 4,600 cfs. Water temperatures were stable over the past week. Lake level has risen and dropped again dramatically with all the thunderstorms over the past week. Surface temps as of Monday were ranging 75 degrees early to 85 degrees, depending on location. Continue to use caution navigating on Little River and Millwood, watching for floating debris, floaters and limbs from all the recent high wind and thunderstorms. Tail water also has dropped this week and was at 236.54 feet msl. Clarity and visibility is improved compared to last week, most areas on main lake and Little River. Away from current, clarity and visibility ranges about 8-12 inches. Cottonshed and northeast section of the lake remains heavy stained to muddy. Little River's visibility ranges 12-15 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity currently ranging 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Little River above McGuire oxbow is heavy stain with swift water.
Largemouth bass are good between 2 and 5 pounds on topwaters early in the day and late. Most bass are the most aggressive at dawn around lily pad stands, stumps, cypress trees and vegetation shallow. Buzz baits, Cordell Crazy Shads, Arborghast Jitterbugs, Pop-Rs and soft plastic Bass Assassin Shads are best bets, early and late. Buzzbaits are working in ghost, Texas craw, and Bleeding Bream colors around pads and vegetation adjacent to deeper sections of the creek channels. Finding clearer water areas away from current in Little River get best bites. Best colors of Crazy Shad are chrome/black back and Bass Assassin Shads best in Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom. Good bites continue on soft plastic frogs this week around pads in clearest water you can find. The further from Little River current in calmer and clearer water will produce best activity and most aggressive bites. Bass Assassin Shads in salt and pepper or crystal shad colors continue working around vegetation, and Rat-L-Traps are working around deeper drops into the creek channels. Magnum-sized, 4-inch salty tubes in pumpkinseed, black/blue tail, or Appleseed colors were working over the past couple weeks.
Lots of topwater action continues away from current of Little River, and topwater Zara Spooks, Pop-Rs and Jitterbugs work best right at daylight. Ten-inch bulky worms, squarebill Echo 1.75 and deeper crankbaits are working after the topwater bite subsides. Best colors have been black, blue fleck and plum on the big worms. Best Echo 1.75 crankbaits are the Millwood Magic, sexy chrome and ghost colors. Deeper-diving cranks like the Fat Free Shad are working 6-9 feet deep in chartreuse and Tennessee shad colors. Bass Assassin Shads are working around lily pads and hydrilla under shade of cypress tree overhangs and trees along the channel swings. Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Grey Ghost are drawing good reactions from 2-5 pound largemouths. Bang Die Dappers are also working in these same areas on a swimbait hook worked slow and erratic over and through the pads and grass.
Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs are taking nice size bass in the 3-5-pound class using Texas Craw, Habanero, or Watermelon Candy colors with a green pumpkin or black craw trailer. Swimming the jig and alternating with a big black and blue chatterbait, are working around pads and stumps in 5-8 feet of depth in shady areas of the oxbows.
Whites and hybrids continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and have been caught on Fat Free Shad crankbaits in 7-12 feet depth. White bass were surface schooling again over the past week in back of Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows. These surface schoolers were hitting casting spoons, Zara Spooks, clear Rat-L-Traps, and clear Baby Torpedoes. The Crappie improved over the past week and were biting over planted brush piles using vertical jigging tubes and jigs in 9-12 feet of depth. Best colors were white, red, chartreuse and lime combinations. Blues and channel cats continue biting well in the current in Little River over the past week on trotlines about 8-12 feet, in creek mouths and outer bends of the river. Best bites continue to be on cut buffalo, chicken gizzards and hearts.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.14 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
said crappie are still fair for the anglers there.
Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported surface temperature is in the lower to mid-80s. Water is clear throughout the lake. Crappie are good on brush piles in 10-15 feet depth. A few bass are still roaming the banks and are hitting topwater plugs. Whites are hitting chrome CC spoons and shad-colored 3-inch grubs and are located off points in 15-30 feet of water. Bass are good at night and are hitting Texas rigged worms and Brush Hawgs, black spinnerbaits and deep-diving shad-colored crankbaits.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 405.75 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 6-22-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the mid-80s and the lake is clear throughout. Overall fishing has slowed down, probably due to the hot weather, which is affecting both the fish and fishermen. Bass fishing is slow with only a few catches coming early in the morning. Be on the lake even before sunrise and there will be some surface activity. Look for feeding fish along the shoreline grass and throw most any topwater lure in a natural shad pattern. Be sure to get the lure as close as possible to the "break" because the fish will not hang around very long. A few Kentuckies showing along the rock bluffs at point 28 and points 14 and 15. Use a Texas rigged 4-inch finesse worm in green pumpkin. Fish the worm down the bluff bank to about 25 feet. No reports on crappies with very few even fishing for them now. Hybrid fishing slowed considerably from last week. Best bet now is trolling early in the morning with the small 5-arm umbrella loaded with 4-inch swimbaits. Try the mouths of the big coves at points 2 and 4. Also between point 10 and the mouth of Brushy Creek. If a school is located, now is the time to throw a heavy spoon or in-line spinner. Bream are scarce, and not much bedding activity on the full moon. A few small fish reported coming from mid-lake coves with cover. Try redworms and crickets. Some catfish have been reported coming from the major creeks such as Brushy and Big Hill. Trotlines have been producing best. Bait with cut shad, nightcrawlers, hot dogs, chicken livers and prepared baits such as blood. Also try live bream or big minnows. Graves also noted evidence of a good bass spawn. He’s seeing lots of baby bass at the edges of the Caddo Drive boat ramp. The fish are 2 to 3 inches long and are in big schools around weeds growing in the water.
(updated 6-22-2016) John Duncan with yoyguideservice.com
at Iron Mountain Marina said the lake level is 405.17 feet msl. Water temperature is 88-89 degrees mid-lake. Bream bite is picking up and bedding happening. The problem is locating the bigger ones. Try brush piles 7-9 feet deep over the top of them. Bass have been schooling well in the morning. Try fishing topwaters and swimbaits. There is a mixture of whites, blacks and hybrids. Some hybrids run up to 6 pounds, so hold on. Remember Sassy Gal, Zara Spook, and Rebel Popper are great for schooling fish. Try fishing around Iron Mountain Marina and along the bluff bank from marker 2, 4 and 6. Be there no later than 6 a.m. to get in on the action. If you can get a cloudy day, the fish will stay up longer. If it is sunny it usually will run about 30 to 45 minutes. Crappie bite this week has been good. Fish brush piles from 7 feet deep to 15 feet deep. The bite is good in the Arlie Moore area and Brushy. The catfish bite is still strong in coves on trotlines, and there are a lot of noodles swimming around the lake with fish on them. Live bait is the choice as always. (updated 6-22-2016)
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
said whites and hybrids are schooling early in the morning, then settling on deep points by mid-morning.
(updated 6-22-2016) Buddy Ham at Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) ) said bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits, bream still biting well on worms and crickets, and crappie are biting well on the lower side. Catfish are being caught on live bait. Overall fishing is good, the fish are very healthy. (updated 6-22-2016) Local angler Jaret Rushing said said water from the torrential rain last week has finally subsided and oxbow lakes and the Ouachita River are fishable again. Anglers took to the water this past weekend and caught bass, bream and crappie on summer patterns. Bass were aggressive early in the morning attacking topwater baits and more aggressive shad-like baits. When the sun was at its highest, anglers found success by staging bass on shaded cypress trees or floating vegetation such as hydrilla or duckweed. Finding bream beds that are holding decent sized bream are sparse now. Anglers are catching many fish but the quality is hit-or-miss with the most success coming off of early morning bites with topwater flies or popping bugs and later bites on 3-4 feet deep cricket or worm sets. Crappie seem to be sporadic as well with anglers catching the majority of their fish in fallen tops rather than creek channels or around trees. Baits for this species vary with water condition.
(updated 6-22-2016) Sportsman's One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no reports.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said reports are that bass are staged in creek channels now with best bets coming on shad-like baits 4-6 feet deep. No other reports from the lake.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 338.87 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 6-22-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025)
reported the water at a low level but clear. Surface temperature was 87 degrees, and those conditions led to an excellent week all around for fishing. Bass were excellent in shallow depth using topwater lures. Catfish were also working in shallow water and the bite was excellent on worms and chicken livers. Crappie fishing was excellent; the fish are biting at 5 feet depth on minnows and jigs. Bream fishing was excellent around the shoreline; use worms and crickets. White bass are good.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said water was very muddy and people were getting stuck in the water in their boats, leading to no fishing or no catches reported.
(updated 6-22-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
said the major catches the past week were in bass and catfish, with a couple of 4-4½-pound bass pulled out of the lake Sunday, plus several bass over 21 inches long hooked during Saturday’s buddy fishing tournament. Meanwhile, a 16 ½-pound catfish was weighed in early last week. Catfishing has been good using worms, blood bait and chicken liver. Crappie fishing is good on minnows and jigs. Bream and biting well on worms and crickets. Water temperature has reached the high 80s. The level is normal and the water is clear.
(updated 6-15-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperature was 87 degrees warming to 90. Clarity is beginning to improve on the river. Creeks are clear with dingy backwater. Bass fishing has been excellent, with many different ways to catch them; perch jigs around low-hanging trees that has mayflies in them has been a good technique. Casting frogs around the shad spawn has been an excellent technique. Crankbaits off of drops and points have been working well, also. Buzzbaits around the jetties have been working well, too. Stripers and white bass have been good at the heads of the creeks on topwater popbaits and swimbaits. No word on crappie, but have been seeing a lot on the graph around 11 feet. Bream has been excellent on worms and crickets and mayflies around low-hanging trees and on rocks with grass. Flathead has been good on small perch along jetties and bluffs. Channel cats have been good in the creeks on minnows. Blues have been excellent in the mouth of the creeks on cut shad and skipjack.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.69 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort
(870-867-2191) said the water surface temperature has ranged 84-86 degrees. The water is clearing. Black bass are fair and being caught with Texas rigged worms and creature baits. Brush piles on main lake and secondary points are producing the best results. Walleye are excellent and are being caught trolling shallow running crank baits and jigging CC spoons. Stripers are good on live bait. The central area of the lake is the hottest right now. Bream are very good. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 12-25 feet deep. Crappie are still fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 20-30 feet deep near brush. Catfish are excellent. Try live bait or cut bait in depths of 15-20 feet. Mountain Harbor fishing guides Mike Wurm, Chris Darby and Jerry Bean are available to take anglers out to the best spots. (updated 6-15-2016)
David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association
said water is clear and the white bass are spot-breaking, as are the striper. Surface temperature was 84 degrees and the fish are moving down, but you will see the occasional spot-breaker. He reports he didn't catch anything Saturday, but he saw fish in the areas of Crystal Chute, around points 6, 7, 12, 13 and 28. The thermocline was between 58 and 780 feet, and that’s where he saw most of the fish. The lake is getting very busy with boats, so be careful. Check out the link above to the association, which will also take you to the association’s Facebook page.
(updated 6-22-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 58 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Lake Catherine is now at normal summertime pool and will remain at this level until late November. Rainbow trout are still present in decent numbers below the dam and thriving in the nutrient-rich water. The bite has slowed considerably now that a summer pattern has emerged and 5 fish limits are considered
Trout in the 12-16-inch range are present 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 rainbow's 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 are 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 extreme heat has allowed these fish to gather in big numbers on both sides of the tailrace. Current flow drives white bass to feed heavier than slack water and trolling crankbaits, and casting Alabama rigs over sands bars and rock structure will produce good catches. Jerkbaits in bright yellow have been the ticket in the stained waters of last week, but now a silver and black pattern has proved to be more effective of late. Live minnows 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 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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 387.22 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
No fishing reports were recorded.
(updated 6-22-2016) Mississippi River State Park
(870-295-4040) said crappie are off their beds and biting at moderate depths of 7-12 feet. They’re hitting live bait; partial to crickets. Bream have been reported to be on their beds in previous weeks, but activity has slowed down since last week (June 14). No good reports on bass or catfish. The Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center located in Marianna, off of Hwy 44 is selling bait and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Minnows, red worms, nightcrawlers, shad and crickets are available along with a wide variety of jigs and artificial baits. Call for more info or to book a campsite.
(updated 6-22-2016) Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040) reported crappie are off their beds and responding lightly to live bait. Moderate bream activity off of the bank and fishing pier. Bass have been reported to be biting on jigs and worms, but nothing of noteworthy size. No reports on catfish. Alleged alligator sighting within the last few days; not yet confirmed by a ranger/other park staff, but be aware if you are out in a boat. Call for more info on the State Park or to book a campsite.
(updated 6-22-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the very high and murky water led to a slow week of fishing, though a few catfish were caught. Chicken liver worked best to bring in the cats, which rated fair. Crappie fishing was fair using minnows and jigs. Bream were working just off the docks, biting worms and crickets, but still rated poor. There were no reports on bass.