Bass biting well in Northwest Arkansas
Bass biting well in Northwest Arkansas
February 8, 2017
Steve Daniels holds a 30-pound striper he caught in Beaver Lake near Prairie Creek recently, using live bait
Bass biting well in Northwest Arkansas 
Largemouth bass and striped bass reports are very good in the lakes of Northwest Arkansas these days. The Fishing Report regularly carries reports from Bailey's Guide Service and Southtown Sporting Goods, both on Beaver Lake, and Bailey's has been touting the striper action of late. Steve Daniels backs that up (see above photo) with the 30-pound striper he hauled out of Beaver Lake last week east of Prairie Creek. Daniels said he was using live bait. Meanwhile, Southtown says the largemouth bass are on the bite as well in the lake, as well as crappie, even though the lake is more than 9 feet below normal conservation pool.
Nearby is a hidden gem at this time of year for anglers: SWEPCO Lake near Gentry. Recently, one angler caught a couple of 6-pound largemouth bass and another that was nearly 8 pounds in a report passed along to the Fishing Report. Because its water is used to cool Southwestern Energy Power Company's coal-fired plant at Gentry, and therefore warm when released back into the lake, SWEPCO Lake is the only body of water north of Lake Atkins that is stocked by the AGFC with Florida bass fingerlings. Florida-strain largemouth bass look like the native northern largemouth, but they will grow larger at a faster rate. However, they need warmer water than is typical in north Arkansas lakes, and SWEPCO Lake provides that, sometimes ranging 20 degrees higher than, say, Beaver Lake in winter. 
SWEPCO Lake is a great destination for Arkansas fishing early in the new year when it's too cold elsewhere because of the warmed water; and sure enough, this January the bass really began biting, according to Jon Stein, an AGFC district fisheries supervisor in Rogers. Florida bass start spawning in January. “You can catch them in shallower water in January and February,” he said.
SWEPCO Lake fishing was catch-and-release until about 2008, Stein said. The creel limit now is 10, although only one bass may exceed 18 inches. “Most bass fishermen would be fine with that, anyway,” Stein said, noting that a 16-inch Florida bass, for example, will run in the neighborhood of 2-2½ pounds. “There are tons of small bass in the population now, but there is also the potential for the really big bass, the 6- or 7-pounder.” That's proved to be true with the recent catches, he said.
SWEPCO Lake is easy to find a few miles west of Gentry, and has one public access point. “It’s real popular at this time of year because you can be catching bass like you’d be fishing in April on most of our lakes,” Stein said. 
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(updated 2-8-2017) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water temperature is in the mid 40s. Crappie are good under the Highway 89 bridge and at Gold Creek. White and chartreuse jigs and black/chartreuse jigs seem to work best, along with minnows. Bream are taking to crickets and the bite is good. Bass are good on soft plastics. Catfish reports were good, with cut bait working best. 
(updated 2-1-2017) Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) reported that crappie have been biting well on minnows and jigs fished at various depths. Other species are slow. Reports on catfishing are good, though.


(updated 2-8-2017) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Little Red is receiving power generation on weekdays and very little generation on weekends. With the warmer temperatures over the past week, they have seen good bug activity with hatches of BWO and March Browns on the middle and lower river. For fly fishing, Lowell recommends midges, soft hackles, sowbugs and streamers. For Trout Magnet fishing, white and cotton candy-colored bodies on gold jigheads are recommended. 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 U.S. Army 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 2-8-2017) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said, “Spring is here! Or is it?” Seaton notes that this winter has been unusually warm with cold days mingled in. If one can pick their days, the fishing and weather have been good. Monday and Tuesday of this week the temperature was in the 70s and they missed the heavy rain on Monday, so the river is clear and the insect activity is good. Hatches of midges and blue winged olives are being seen on these warmer days along with a few caddis and March Brown mayflies. The bite has been good on midge pupas and size 16 mayfly nymphs. If you are seeing rising fish, you may want to fish a mayfly emerger pattern. The lake is about 7 feet low and generation is for power demand only. Check the generation schedule daily and plan your trip accordingly. Most of the insect activity will be on the low water periods. You have one more week before the free fly fishing class at Heber Springs First United Methodist Church. Please call Greg at the number listed above to register. The classes run for four consecutive weeks beginning Thursday, Feb. 16, and is open to all beginning and novice fly fishing (older youths and adults). Younger youths are welcome if accompanied by an adult. No fishing tackle is required, but if anyone has a question about their personal rod, reels of flies, bring them to the class and Greg will answer any questions. If you cannot attend all the classes, Greg still urges you to register and feel free to attend the classes you can.
(updated 2-8-2017) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing has remained steady. Many fish landed on each trip out. The best bite has been during falling water after water has been released from the dam. There are lots of easy opportunities up and down the river right now. The go-to flies have been egg patterns and sowbugs. Pink and purple Trout Magnets have been catching lots of fish as well. 



As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 455.21 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 2-8-2017) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.24 feet and staying pretty steady it is more than 6 feet below normal pool, and unless they get a lot of needed rain, it’s looking like it will be low all year and will affect the fishing and catching at different levels good and bad. The warm rain has and will continue to help the catch rate. The walleye are on the move with the longer days and warmer rain and temperatures. The fish will be gathered up in different spots this year due to low water and access to them as well, so try drop-shots tipped with minnows. Or go with rigs with bream, crankbaits, jerkbaits or grubs. Start out on gravel bars at the mouth of river and work your way up until you get bit and then concentrate around those locations. The crappie fishing is better with the conditions but will remain father off shore and might even span in treetops and stump fields instead of around buckbrush. Try minnows and jigs in 15-25 feet of water, with some being shallower on sunny days. No report on catfish. The hybrid and white bass are feeding well throughout the day at different times on spoons, in-line spinners, grubs and swimbaits. Try locating shad and the fish will be close. No report on bream. The bass fishing is improving every day with some of them on the move to outside ditches and shallower water and starting to feed more. For the bass, try Rat-L-Traps, crankbaits or spinnerbaits off ends of points or humps. The shallower fish can be caught with jigs, smallcrank baits and jighead worms. The deeper fish can be caught on Alabama rigs, C-rigs and football heads.


(updated 1-25-2017) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said crappie and catfish reports were OK, but it's the bass that are being caught now. Use a jig; bass results were good. Catfish were fair. Crappie were fair.


(updated 2-8-2017) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is normal and clarity is good. Water temperature is about 54 degrees. Bream are slow but no one is fishing for them yet. Bass are good on yo-yo's with bass minnows. Catfish are good on yo-yo's and trotlines using cut shad and bass minnows. Crappie are slow but still catching on yo-yo's around docks and on cane polls. Some are being caught in the deeper water on poles around brush with jigs. Banks says to come see him for all your fishing needs at Overcup Bait Shop off state Highway 9.


(updated 1-25-2017) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the lake has been repaired but there is not much water in it yet. The lake is about 8-9 feet below normal level. Surface temperature was 48 degrees. Crappie are fair and bass are fair.


(updated 2-8-2017) Johnny Lewis at Jolly Roger’s Marina reported black bass are excellent and are biting on wacky rig worms and jigs. Blacks can be caught in 25-30 feet on drop-offs and creek edges. Limits are being caught. Believe it or not some of the big bass are in shallow water; in fact, recently we had a tournament at the marina and several boat landed over 16 pounds of fish. Kentucky bass are good and are being caught on jigs. They can be found in 30 feet of water mixed in with the black bass. White bass fishing has been excellent. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. The white bass are scattered west on the edges of the channel. Watch the loons and the whites will be there in large quantities. Crappie have been excellent of late. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (chartreuse and white with very light line). Crappie are 20-25 feet deep; at the edges of the channel you will catch a lot of whites mixed in with the crappie. Lots of 11-15-inch crappie are being caught. Expect lots of company on the community hole. No reports on bream; look for them in 25 feet on the bottom and use crickets or live worms and maybe you’ll have some luck. Catfish are slow but are being caught in 25 feet of water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 2-8-2017) Fosters Four Seasons (501-868-9061) has closed.


(updated 2-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting fair on pink and No. 6 crappie minnows. Catfish have been slow but a few have been caught on minnows and nightcrawlers. Bass fishing has been slow. Bream have been hitting crickets and red worms.


(updated 2-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting fair on minnows, night crawlers and stink bait. Bream are biting fair on crickets and redworms. Crappie are biting fair on pink minnows and No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass fishing has been fair with minnows and some small plastics.


(updated 2-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said fishing has been great on the river. Bass, walleye and catfish have been biting well on No. 12 and brooder minnows. Crappie are biting pink and size 6 minnows. Bream will almost always bite a cricket or red worm on a small hook and light line. 


(updated 2-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream fishing has been slow to fair with crickets and red worms fished deep. Bass have been biting minnows and jigs. Catfish are feeding early in the morning around some docks and biting minnows and night crawlers. Some crappie have been biting around a couple of docks on pink and No. 6 crappie minnows.


(updated 2-8-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that fishing is really picking up here. Crappie are excellent. Take your boat around standing timber and fish with pink minnows. Catfishing is fair; use cut shad, nightcrawlers or livers.


(updated 2-8-2017) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said fishing reports have been scarce due to the low water level but a couple of customer have caught some catfish, bream and bass from the bank with minnows and worms.


(updated 2-8-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing is fair. Use crawlers, hot dogs and livers.


(updated 2-8-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported catfishing is excellent using nightcrawlers, chicken hearts and chicken livers. Bass are biting fair, and it’s best early in the mornings; use buzzbaits or Zara Spooks. Bream are fair on redworms or crickets; try fishing for bream from the piers. No report on crappie.


(updated 2-2-2017) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.


(updated 2-8-2017) Professional angler Cody Kelley, owner of Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282), reported that fishing has been fair to good lately. This is the time of year that one day can be excellent and tough the next day. As the days begin to get longer we will be seeing the water warm as well. That means one thing: time for fish to start spawning. Overall bass numbers haven't been extremely high, but when Cody says he catches one it will almost always be quality. If you want to catch a good Arkansas River bass, this is the time to be going. Look for protected backwater areas that have depth of 5-10 feet in them. Target wood and rocks with Crock-O-Gator zapper jigs or BioSpawn vile craws. As the days warm, don't be afraid to go way back in the shallows to look for the big girls making their way up to feed for the day. Fishing will continue to improve in the coming months. Some quality crappie slabs coming on black/chartreuse tube jigs dipped around backwater laydowns and stumps. Start with the cover on the deep water side of the creeks. Catfish are slowly heating up. The better fish are still coming off the main river in the deep holes on the outside turns of the channel. Try large baits this time of year. Whole shad or filets have been working well. Fishing will be getting great in the coming weeks. Get in touch with Cody if you want to get out on the river and learn how to catch all different species!.


(updated 2-8-2017) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water is clear and at a normal level and current. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good using spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No report on bream. No report on catfish. No catches of white bass to report. 
(updated 2-8-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Try a red/chartreuse or a chartreuse with silver flake jig for best results.


(updated 2-8-2017) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie are good around Murray Lock and Dam on jigs (white/chartreuse, red/chartreuse and black/chartreuse). Catfishing is fair; use skipjack or shad. White bass are biting fair on chartreuse or twister tail jigs.
(updated 2-8-2017) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie are biting fair in the pool, with minnows working best. No reports in that area on bream, bass or catfish. 
(updated 2-8-2017) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported fishing is OK right below the Murray Dam. The crappie bite is good, but even better news: The white bass bite is excellent. Use white Rooster Tails for the white bass.



(updated 2-8-2017) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) was scheduled to reopen this month.



North Arkansas

(updated 2-8-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said water is clear and beautiful and the level is low. Trout are excellent and really taking to the shad. It’s been a very good week for catching brown trout. The biggest one was 22 pounds. It was also a good week for rainbows, with more than 100 fish caught.
(updated 2-8-2017) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said spoons are the valued bait this week. Look to the Thomas-Buoyant red/gold (hammered) and the silver/blue. A white Cleo with red tip did well as did the bronze Colorado. The water continues to be very low, which sometimes plays havoc with artificial baits – lose a few in the rocks – so the smaller bait you use, the fewer spoons you'll leave in the river. Big browns are moving, and they're attracted to the bigger baits. Some are using Rapala No. 7 brown trout lures and several colors of Rogues (yellow bellied); sculpins still work nicely. Looks like it’s going to be a spectacular week in February with very mild temperatures and low chance of rain. Come on over and wet a line. 
(updated 2-8-2017) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that during the past week, they have had no rain, milder temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.4 feet to rest at 8.6 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 44.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.4 feet to rest at 8 feet below seasonal power pool and 24 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 feet to rest at 9.6 feet below seasonal power pool and 19.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had much more wadable water with less moderate generation. On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. The hot spot has been the catch and release section below Bull Shoals Dam. We have had more wadable water. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (sizes 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10) and sowbugs (size 16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a size 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Streamer season is here. Unfortunately the generation has been a bit low for optimal streamer conditions. The idea is to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24-30-foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier). You will need an 8- or 9-weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great. 
Berry adds, “Our local Trout Unlimited group, Arkansas White River Chapter No. 698, is holding its annual fundraiser. I generally refer to this gala as the TU banquet. Whatever it is called, it is the fishing social event of the year. My wife, Lori, and I always attend and this year is no exception. It is a great social gathering with good food, a cash bar and a DJ (that means dancing). Just about everybody involved in trout fishing will be there. Let the good times roll! The event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Elks Lodge on 101 Elks Way in Mountain Home. The doors open at 6 p.m. The admission is $35 per individual or $ 50 per couple. Trout Unlimited is a tax exempt (501C3) not-for-profit organization. There will be a live auction, bucket raffles and a lot of other fun activities. It is all for a great cause. Trout Unlimited is commited to conserving, protecting and restoring our country’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds. They have been the local leader in this endeavor. Whether it is a lawsuit against a major source of pollution on our beloved Norfork River, bank stabilization projects or enhancements on Dry Run Creek, Trout Unlimited has been there.
“My personal favorite project that they have done recently is the stocking of Bonneville Cutthroat trout in the White and Norfork Rivers. The idea was to plant trout eggs from Wyoming of a subspecies of Cutthroat that would be able to reproduce naturally so that we would have another self-sustaining trout population to go with our brown trout. Over the past few years, we have done multiple stockings of about 250,000 Bonneville Cutthroat eggs on the Norfork and 100,000 on the White River. As a result, we are now starting to catch some really nice wild cutthroats. I personally caught a really nice eleven-inch cutthroat that I was really impressed with until this guy came into the shop the other day and showed me a photo of an eighteen inch Bonneville that he had caught and released that day. It was spectacular. The idea that we can now catch wild cutthroat trout like this is very exciting to me. Another project that really impresses me is the Trout Unlimited Youth Camp. The mission of the Arkansas White River Chapter’s youth program is to develop the next generation of cold water conservationists. This summer’s camp is scheduled for is Saturday and Sunday, June 24th and 25th. The camp will be held at the Norfork Fish Hatchery at Norfork Dam. Youth between the ages of 10-15, along with a parent or guardian will learn about Fly Tying; Fly Casting; Trout Fishing; Trout Habitat; Stream Restoration and Aquatic Entomology. The schedule includes a full day of activities on Saturday and a shorter day on Sunday. The conservationists of tomorrow are made not born. If this sounds like something that will be of interest to you, please join Lori and me there.”


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 650.63 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 1-25-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said before last weekend that it was hot out and the fish didn't know what to do. Water temperature on the main lake has been 49-50 degrees, while it gets a little cooler back in creeks. Del didn’t get a lot of time out lately because they did the Springfield (Mo.) boat show. As far as the bite goes, he's still catching them on a Wiggle Wart or Rock Crawler. The water is real clear. You could see the drop-shot bait 17 feet down last week. He's been catching some using a flat-sided crankbaits. The wind’s been piling up in the back of the draws. Work the banks, the 45-degree banks and look for wind. You've gotta have the wind. If you don't have it at one stop, just go to the next stop. Those fish are shallow, catching them in 7 feet off the shore, while keeping the boat parallel to the bank. Catching a few on a jig. If there is any wood or brush piles around the boat docks or close to deep water, drag a jig through there. Those fish are 10-25 feet throughout the day. Been catching a few fish on the spoon. Went and checked on the deep fish, and those fish are toward the back or in the middle of the creek. Today they weren’t all the way back but halfway back, they were close to the main channel, at 40-50 feet. There is just a little bit of shad here and there but kind of spread out, no solid pattern like is normal for this time of year. Keep moving and keep fishing.
(updated 2-8-2017) K Dock Marina is closed for the season until March 3.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 547.69 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 2-8-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake surface temperature is steady at 48 degrees at night and early morning then rising up to 50 degrees with afternoon sun. The stripers are still not settled into their winter pattern of staying between the bridges but the last few days they are back where they were at the end of December and early January. Tom fished Float creek and found lots of shad and feeding stripers in depths of 50 to 80 feet; the 50-foot water the stripers were on the bottom and coming up for the shad. In the deeper
Tom also says, “I took out a regular client, Howard, who had his brother, Bill, and nephew, Billy, down for some winter fishing. We left the dock at 7 a.m. and went to Float Creek and setup in 60 feet of water and within 15 minutes we missed a couple of stripers and finally hooked up. Bill caught the first striper, then Billy caught the next one and Howard caught the third one. As I said previously, we moved well into the cove and found the stripers in 30 feet of water. I saw lots of fish but they only wanted threadfin shad; they would not hit my shiners or creek chubs but did hit the threadfin. I really think that we may have a good February now that I know where to look for the stripers. If the weather stays warm, I plan on try catching some crappie and walleye.”
(updated 2-8-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake water level is 547.76 and holding fairly stable. The surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 48-49 degrees, which is 4 - 5 degrees warmer than normal. The main lake is clearing and the creeks and coves are still stained, but the water seems like it’s starting to clear. The weather this winter has been amazing with only a few cool days. At 7 a.m. Tuesday, when Lou left his Norfork Lake dock, the air temperature was already in the upper 50s. Early spring-like weather. Lou said he started checking his normal winter spots and found some stripers in 90 feet of water suspended 40-50 feet down close to the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. He was vertical jigging with a spoon and hooked into two fish, but both came off after a short run. His second spot was in Float Creek. Lou marked a few fish lying on the bottom at 70 feet, but they would not take his spoon. He decided to try an area he normally fishes in March heading up toward the Fouts area. Lou was finding fish in 55 feet of water, but again he could not get them to hit his spoon. He then headed into shallower water and found some schooling whites, hybrids and scattered largemouth bass in 25-40 feet of water. Bait was scattered and the fish were feeding. Lou says he guesses the warmer-than-normal water temperature is moving the bait fish into shallower water and the fish are following. Unless the weather turns cold for an extended period of time, we should have an early spring bite. Lou said he will try out the night bite sometime this week to see if they can get a good February bite like they had several years ago. The water temperature is almost perfect for the after dark bite throwing a suspending jerk bait.
Lou added that over the last few days, he has found largemouth bass in 20-40 feet of water, as well as, large schools in 65 feet of water suspended 30-50 feet down. Look for the largemouth bass partway back in creeks on secondary points where the channel swings in close to shore. It looks like the bass are starting to transition to an early spring-type bite a little earlier this year. He has landed bass on a spoon vertical jigging and by casting out a Kastmaster and letting it sink down to the depth of the suspended fish. Spinnerbaits are also working on the windblown shores as well as jig and pigs worked through 30 feet of water. If the weather holds, jerkbait time will start earlier than normal.
(updated 2-8-2017) Guide Steve Olomon of Steve’s Guide Service had no report.
(updated 2-8-2017) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 0.1 feet to rest at 5.9 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 32.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had less generation with more wadable water. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan worms with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with the colder weather. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). 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. Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.


(updated 2-8-2017) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is navigable. With cold weather, the smallmouths are much less active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.


(updated 2-8-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the creek is navigable. With cold weather, the smallmouths are much less active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.



Northwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,110.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 2-8-2017) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water has been clear and it’s low. Bass are good using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater lures and plastic worms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. No reports on catfish or bream.
(updated 2-8-2017) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said water surface temps in the low 40s and stripers remain in the creek arms and are on the feed. Some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing free lines and lightly weighted downlines will definitely get you some fish. There has been some topwater activity from striper and white bass. Beaver lake striper fishing will be good using live shad fished on free and downlines from the surface down to about 20 feet deep; also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on plane boards with snap weights to get some depth and stagger your presentation. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Topwaters like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks, Pencil Poppers also need to be tied on and ready to throw. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow; current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike’s website. On the mid- and lower sections check out these hot spots: Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Big Clifty. Check in 5-35 feet of water in these recent hot spots: points 5 and 6, Rambo Creek Arm, Rocky Branch (back of Larue Cove and the smaller islands in front); and, in the upper section, check in water 5-35 deep for striper around Highway 12 bridge, Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, Mont Ne. Check in 5-15 feet of water for striper on the bite in Hickory Creek, War Eagle and at the War Eagle/White River Junction (Point 12).
Bailey adds that walleye are making their way out of the main lake in numbers in fall migration mode but can be found scattered still around the lake and are on the feed. Walleye can be found 10-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Try three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Also use Rapala tail dancers, Bagley Rumble B's, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse will also work. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination, as well as a variety of jigs, are also producing walleye.


(updated 2-8-2017) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) had no report.
(updated 2-8-2017) Beaver Dam Store reported that the cold weather is keeping many fishermen out of the water. The trout don't seem to mind, though. You can still catch a limit; however, the take has slowed down considerably. Norfork dumped trout last Thursday. Water levels remain low and many areas are accessible for the individuals that wish to wade fish. Conventional fisherman can appreciate the abundance of river banks that are accessible.Midges, scuds, San Juans, peach micro-egg patterns, Hare's ears and nymphs are working well. Good lures typically gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails; midges in blue dun, black, olive, hare’s ear; tungsten copper Johns; WD40s; Trout Magnets; and San Juan worms.



No report.


(updated 2-8-2017) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water conditions as murky but at a normal level, with water surface temperature in the 40s. Bass are good on plastic worms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bream have been fair using worms and crickets. Catfishing was reported fair.


(updated 1-25-2017) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) has reopened after the winter break and reported clear water with a surface temperature of 48 degrees. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass were good on plastic worms and jigging frogs. Catfish reports were good using chicken livers. No report on bream.



Northeast Arkansas

(updated 2-8-2017) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said it appears the spring fishing season has already begun. They are selling lots of minnows and the crappie reports are good. There have been several boats on Lake Poinsett the past couple weeks. And they have sold some boxes of worms. It is too soon to stock crickets. 



(updated 2-8-2017) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water is dingy, and the surface water temperature was 38 degrees. Water level is normal. There have been some small catches of crappie using minnows and jigs. Bass are biting well in deep water. No reports on bream. No report on catfish.


(updated 2-8-2017) Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 286 cfs at the spring and water clarity is clear. The river is low and easier to wade. Still plenty of slick rocks, so be careful. White Woollies and Y2Ks have been hot lately. The brown trout have been hitting big stone flies hard, too. Plenty of hatches of caddis and mayflies. Not much dry fly action on the Spring River but nymph imitations can work well during bug hatches. Trout Magnets are always the trick for spin fishing. We have a new and improved website that is mobile friendly. Same address, just new features. Check out the new blog page for trout catching info at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(updated 2-8-2017) John Berry in Cotter said the Spring 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 there are fewer boats on the river. 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 2-8-2017) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported still no anglers trying to fish of late, no reports.



Southeast Arkansas

No reports.


(updated 2-8-2017) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said fishing has been quiet at Cane Creek Lake —more room for you and your boat! For those who have been fishing here recently, crappie and bass are fair. They are biting on shiners. For bass, you’ll have a chance at Cane Creek Lake with spinnerbaits too. Catfish are nowhere to be found, but conditions are good for them, so things should pick up on catfish soon. The park bait shop is stocked with shiner minnows for your convenience. Winter hours are: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and 1-5 p.m. on weekends. Winds are supposed to stay kind of high this week, so be careful out there, and good luck! And, on your way out, please stop by the park visitor center and let them know if you caught anything. Jennifer says she would love to feature your catch in next week’s Fishing Report!


(updated 2-8-2017) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) said reports from anglers are that crappie are preferring minnows and light-colored jigs. The bream are biting on wax worms and real worms. Catfish are biting on stink bait. The best fishing is in the morning, with the rest of the day being decent. Crappie are 3-4 feet deep, bream at 2-3 feet deep.


(updated 1-25-2017) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) had no report.



Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.32 msl).
(updated 2-8-2017) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said lake level was about 4 inches above normal conservation pool and falling, and there was reduced current in Little River, with the gates releasing around 644 cfs as of Tuesday. Water temps dropped over the past week, and are now back on the rise this week, ranging 48-55 degrees on the surface. Navigation is improved for Little River due to many river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure have been replaced. Tailwater level at 226 feet msl. Clarity and visibility is improved over last week, ranging about 5-10 inches on main lake structure away from current. There his heavier stain and muddy water in river current above White Cliffs. The oxbow’s clarity ranges about 10-15 inches depth of visibility. Largemouth bass are good on the few warmer days, from around 3-6 pounds on jigs, crankbaits and swimbaits. They are improving along Little River and the deeper sections of the oxbows and creeks with these warmer days this week. Over the past several weeks they have been roaming up into the flats for short duration where a random bite can happen anytime during the warmer hours of the high sun. Majority of hours of the daylight most bass are spending more time in close proximity to 8-12-foot depths of deeper creek channels, off primary and secondary points, and drops in Little River. The bass activity level over past couple weeks continues to be a mixed bag with the wildly fluctuating daytime temperatures. Over the past week, best bite and most activity certainly remains from mid-day through mid-afternoon, say 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. when surface temps are at a high point this time of year.
Siefert adds that Rat-L-Traps, crankbaits, Salty Rat Tails, Lizards, Brush Hogs and Yum Dingers have been working well over the past week or so, working during majority of the warmest period of the day. Largemouths were hitting the Bomber and XCalibur crankbaits with abandon in 9-11-foot depths of creek channels (outer turns of the creek and deeper washouts) with 4-6 feet flats nearby over the past few days. The most productive colors of Rat-L-Traps over the past week or two have been the Lectric Red, the Toledo Gold and Red Chrome. Spring Bream-colored Rat-L-Traps have also been landing some shallow-cruising male bass on flats. Best colors of Bomber or Bandit crankbaits last week were the Dance's Crawfish and the brown crawfish/orange belly. Several shallow-roaming buck male bass have been caught on Smithwick Rouges and Cordell Redfins and Echo 1.75 Squarebill cranks over the past two weeks just outside the deeper sections of creek channels. These bucks have been cruising the 5-6-foot flats adjacent to creek channel swings in Mud Lake and in McGuire Lake oxbows up Little River. Slow-moving magnum-size tubes in black/blue tail, pumpkinseed/chartreuse tail, or smoke/black/red flake continue randomly working on cypress trees, knees and stumps in 8-12 feet depths in the oxbows. Chatter baits in electric shad, bull bream or black/blue continue taking a few bass as well, in the oxbows around vegetation lines or dead lily pad stems. War Eagle Spinnerbaits in Spot Remover or sexy shad colors were working in the back of McGuire Lake over the past week in the clearer water away from river current. Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs in Voodoo or Okeechobee Spice colors are still taking nice 15-17-inch largemouths on cypress trees and knees in 4-8-foot depths. A green pumpkin or black craw trailer have been what anglers were matching on the back of the jig with good response from 3-4-pound largemouths.
Whites and Kentucky bass continue moving up Little River, stopping on primary and secondary points extending into the river between White Cliffs and U.S. Highway 71 bridge at Wilton. Numerous fishermen have been catching good numbers of whites and spots by using Rooster Tails in white and red, Little Cleos, Rocket Shads (white/chartreuse), and Rat-L-Traps in chrome/black and Millwood Magic. Crappie are beginning to return to planted brush piles and were willing to bite minnows and jigs again over the past week or so. Fish the planted brush out of direct current in 8-15 feet of depth. Cordell Paddle Tail smoke grubs on light wire jigheads, vertical jigging Blakemore Road Runners, and hair jigs were catching some nice slabs in planted brush between 8-15 feet deep. Channel cats were biting well in Little River over the past week on trotlines between 8-10 feet of depth along outer bends using cut bait, buffalo, shad and blood baits like chicken livers.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 539.74 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
(updated 2-1-2017) Gary Lammers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported surface temperature ranging 48-54 degrees. Water is really stained on the upper end of the lake and clear from Point 7 to the dam. Bass are good on small crawfish-colored crankbaits, finesse jigs and worms and Alabama rigs.‎ Crappie are fair on small twister tail grubs on brush in 12-15 feet of water.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 404.56 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 2-8-2017) Local angler George Graves said he heard some bluebirds Tuesday morning, making him think it looks like winter in waning; hopefully the ground hog was wrong, he said. Surface water temperature at DeGray is in the low 50s and the lake is clear up to Point 14 and a slight stain farther up. Bass fishing remains good when the weather is stable for a few days, which is typical for late winter and early spring. Just about all bass catches are coming from the upper end between Point 15 and Cox Creek. Look for fish on main lake points and the big points in coves. Best bet has been crankbaits, both lipped and lipless in medium runners. Try a natural color with some orange or chartreuse. Also, now is the time to break out the red Rat-L-Traps. Lots of smaller blacks and Kentuckies reported on finesse 4-inch Texas rigged worms thrown against rock bluffs. Green pumpkin and red shad are hard to beat. Crappie fishing is holding up well on the deep attractors in the upper end of the lake. Try a 2-inch tube on a 1/4-ounce jighead in black and chartreuse. Look for brush at 22-28 feet down and fish the lure just above the top of the brush. Hybrid fishing is fair at the mouth of Beaton Creek and along the north side of Goat Island. Troll the small umbrella loaded with 4-inch swimbaits. White and chartreuse are the best colors. Troll slow in the cold water and make sure the rig is running above the fish. A few decent catches reported coming on trolled No. 7 Shad Raps in fire tiger.annels but moving up the lake toward spawning territories.



South-Central Arkansas

(updated 2-8-2017) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) had no reports.


(updated 2-8-2017) Anglers report that the lake has come alive in recent weeks after a restocking by the AGFC in 2014. Reports are very good on bass.


No report.


No report.



West-Central Arkansas

(updated 2-8-2017) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said water is clear and at a low level. Water surface temperature was 47 degrees. Bass continue to be excellent. Some very, very good sized bass have been brought in, including more in the 11-pound range. Crankbaits, swimbaits, bass minnows and live shad continue to attract the bass. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. No reports on bream, catfish or white bass.


(updated 2-2-2017) Whiskers Sporting Goods (501-889-2011) had no report.


(updated 2-8-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 48 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The 5-foot winter drawdown is in place until early March so waders and boaters should use extreme caution when navigating the channels below the dam. Fast currents and slick rock structure make the entire area very dangerous especially when the turbines are running. Rainbow trout are plentiful in the tailrace from the dam to the bridge with thousands of fish thriving in the nutrient-rich water. Thousands more trout are scheduled to be stocked this month, which will make fishing opportunities excellent for area anglers. Fly fishermen are able to access areas that hold good numbers of trout and are recording limits by casting micro-jigs in black or white colors with a strike indicator. Current is key so targeting the head and rear sections of shoals has produced the best results. Olive colored Woolly Buggers and black midges have also taken trout in the 15-inch class. Egg patterns in yellow or white will often draw strikes from finicky fish that refuse other offerings. Bank fisherman have done well on live bait presentations such as wax and meal worms, redworms, crickets and small live minnows. Whether fished just off the bottom or under a bobber, these baits are proven trout killers in slack or moving water situations. Spin fishermen have accounted for the largest trout caught in the last several weeks by using Super Dupers and Rooster Tails in white or silver colors. These lures imitate a dying shad and often attract larger rainbows that feed on the bait fish drawn through the turbines from Lake Hamilton. Trolling shallow running crankbaits against the current below the bridge is highly effective during periods of current flow. Shad killed from the freezing temperatures provide large amounts of food for all the tailrace gamefish and should be imitated by anglers serious about catching numbers of rainbow trout. No reports of striper or white bass caught near the dam. This can change overnight as more and more trout are stocked in the area. Shad are plentiful during freezing temperatures, which will attract numbers of bass in any weather or current flow. The walleye spawn is about to begin with smaller males present in the tailrace below the bridge. The larger females will migrate into the area in the next week to 10 days. These fish can be found by trolling shallow running crankbaits in the main channel during periods of generation. Carolina rigs tipped with live minnows or nightcrawlers will also work well in current or slack water. The majority of fish will be in the 3-5-pound range. 


(updated 2-2-2017) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479 647-9945) said water temperature was ranging 48.9-53 degrees. Most of the creeks are dingy, with a few of them clean. Upriver is clean, mid-river dingy, lower river is dingy. Bass fishing has been good on jerkbaits in the clearwater, Alabama rigs in the dingier water, Rat-L-Traps in the shallows, jigs and Bamboozie on the rocks. Crappie fishing has been good 3-8 feet deep. Chartreuse jigs, and black and chartreuse have been working good in the dingy water. White and pink has been working good in the clearwater. And minnows. White bass and stripers has been fair. Bucktail jigs and Alabama rigs with swimbaits or spinnerbaits. Catfish has been fair on main river points with cut bait. Minnows and worms have been working well in the creeks. Bream have been fair on worms and crappie jigs in the treetops.


(updated 2-8-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are on brush piles where deep channel water is nearby. Whites, yellows, hybrids and striper schooling in the main channels moving toward the creek arms. All fish are so full of roe and milt and ready to spawn when the water gets a little warmer.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 340.03 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl). 
(updated 2-8-2017) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that water is clear and the lake is at a low level. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs, and the fish are in about 16-18 feet depth. Catfish reports were fair. There were no reports on bream, bass or white bass. 
(updated 2-8-2017) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) will reopen later this month. Call to check availability.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 569.79 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 2-2-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said black bass are still fair and being caught with pig-n-jigs fished near brush 6-20 feet deep or with drop-shot rigs. Stripers are fair on live bait or trolling jigs. The central area of the lake is still the best area for these fish. Crappie are still fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. There were no reports on walleye, bream or catfish. Water surface temperature earlier this week ranged 44-50 degrees. The water clarity is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – to book a trip or for more information. 
(updated 1-25-2017) David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said LOSBA members report the lake is cloudy with viability around 2-4 feet below the surface. Surface temperature is 51-53 degrees. It was hard to find schools of striper but they are around. Saturday didn't bring any bites on live bait, but David said he did hear some were caught with spoons. The unusually warm weather has striper patterns messed up, so think outside the box and happy fishing. 
(updated 1-25-2017) Philip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 radio that he's getting a touch of spring fever with the recent weather, and Trader Bill's is selling crappie minnows out like crazy. Everybody going to the lake, everybody’s catching fish. He said he knows a guy who went to Ouachita this week and caught just short of 30 crappie, a bunch of good fish and not just small ones. Another guy had good success bass fishing swimming a jig. A lot of things are going on that are happening fast. It’s still not so far along that it won’t be back to where it was with the next cold spell, so you've got to ride the wave underneath your board as it's happening. Right now the water temperature is warming up and the fish are moving up a little bit. You can throw a crankbait or a Rat-L-Trap and catch some fish, but Kastner says you’re going to catch more fish with Alabama rig and a jig in structure, in timber. The proper way to fish a jig in a brush pile is to swim it. A football jig is not a good brush jig and, in his opinion, a round-head jig is not a good brush jig. Kastner prefers a slick jig, a swimming jig, a structure-type jig, and there are a lot of them out there. Booyah makes a good one, Strike King makes a good one, Jewel makes one. There are six different structure-type jigs, just like there are seven or eight different football-type jigs out there. Just like a carpenter has a tool for every purpose, there is a jig for every reason. If you get hung up in the brush and you're trying hard to get out of it, you're running off fish. It's important to throw the right type of jig for the structure you're in. The other trick to fishing a jig is, don't let the jig quit moving. A lot of anglers will throw a jig out there and let it sink. You can’t fish a jig like a Texas rigged worm. You will get hung every time. You need to continue to have good tension on that line and keep up with it. A standard swimming jig is a half-ounce jig. He says he can’t feel them unless it’s a half-ounce jig. If you go out on any of the Ouachita shoreline right now the majority of fish are in 10-12-15 feet of water. If you’re throwing a jig larger than a half-ounce you’re not keeping up with it in 10-15 feet of water, it’s just hard to do. That’s why the half-ounce is Trader Bill's best seller.


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.76 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00).
No fishing reports were recorded.
East Arkansas

No report.


(update 2-8-2017) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) had no report.


No report.



Arkansas an White river levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt  
For water quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality  
Family and Community Fishing Program: All Family and Community Fishing Program ponds are stocked with catfish and ready for fishing. Visit hwww.agfc.com/familyfishing for up-to-date information about pond stockings, events and locations.
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