Crappie Catch Could Pay Off at Horseshoe Lake
Crappie Catch Could Pay Off at Horseshoe Lake
September 21, 2016
The AGFC is trying to determine why the large slab crappie are no longer showing up in Horseshoe Lake sampling.
Crappie Catch Could Pay Off at Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake, a onetime Mississippi River oxbow lake in eastern Arkansas near Hughes, has long been noted for good crappie production, but studies of late have shown a mostly smaller, younger fish population. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is embarking on a project to determine the cause of crappie mortality, and anglers can help in the research.

When the lake’s water temperature cools below 70 degrees next month, the AGFC will begin tagging 200 crappie, with the tags being worth anywhere from $5 to $100, according to Justin Homan, an AGFC district supervisor in Brinkley. Anglers who catch a tagged crappie can report the tag to the AGFC claim the reward value. After removing the tag, they may keep the fish or release it, whichever they would normally do.

The results from the tagging will help fisheries biologists determine if the low numbers of large, older crappie in the lake are the result of angler harvest or more natural, predatory causes, Homan said.

“The sampling we’ve done the last two years, what we’ve seen is, we’re having good catch rates, catching a lot of fish from Horseshoe Lake, but we’re not seeing the bigger fish in our samples,” Homan said. “There appears to be very few fish age 3 and over, of the ones we’ve sampled. There are a lot of smaller fish. Most of the fish are 1 or 2 years old. We think they are just not surviving long enough to grow into a larger fish. Through the crappie management plan and our sampling, it’s led us to look at angler harvest.” 

Determining catch rates by anglers will help determine what the AGFC does next at Horseshoe Lake in terms of crappie management. Currently, the daily creel limit on Horseshoe Lake is 50 crappie, a figure that has been in effect for several years at Horseshoe Lake and between the levees of the Mississippi River. When that limit was established at Horseshoe Lake, crappie were considered overcrowded there. “By next summer, we should have a good idea about our crappie numbers and which direction to go,” Homan said. 

The AGFC provides a public ramp access to Horseshoe Lake on its western end. Horseshoe Lake is accessible off U.S. Highway 79 at Hughes by taking Arkansas Highway 38 east to Arkansas 147, which runs alongside the west and northwest portion of the lake. Highway 147 also runs due north to Interstate 40, just west of West Memphis.
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(updated 9-21-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water is clear and at a normal level, with fishing slow but steady. No surface temperature was available. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are around the cypress and rate good on minnows and jigs. Bass fishing has been good, particularly on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good using worms, blood bait and shad.

(updated 9-21-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Greers Ferry Lake level is down and close to seasonal pool, so the Little Red is back to receiving several hours of daily generation on weekdays, providing excellent wade and drift fishing opportunities on all sections of the river. For fly fishing, Myers recommends streamers, sowbugs, midges and Woolly Buggers. For Trout Magnet fishing, he recommends cotton candy and red-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. 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 ( for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website ( to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 9-21-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said that around the river you may hear talk about the “good ol’ days” have returned. Fishing has been great the last few days after the generation returned to the afternoon variety. The river is clear to slightly stained on the lower section and they have returned to the five hours or less generation in the afternoon with the lake level at 462.13. Fly fishing has been good all day with midge pupas, pheasant tail nymphs and fox squirrel nymphs being Greg’s main flies. When the fish are rising, mayfly emergers are a good bet. Morning fishing is the most comfortable because the heat has returned this week, but the forecast is for mild weather next week. The fish don’t seem to mind the afternoon heat since the generation is keeping their water cool.

(updated 9-14-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing on the Little Red has been great. The Corps has been releasing two units of water each day for 18 hours. The key to success has been to follow the lower water and make sure you are down deep enough. Hot flies have been pink San Juan worms and egg patterns. Trout Magnets have been producing good numbers of fish as well. 

(updated 9-21-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Greers Ferry Lake level is down and close to seasonal pool, so the Little Red is back to receiving several hours of daily generation on weekdays, providing excellent wade and drift fishing opportunities on all sections of the river. For fly fishing, Myers recommends streamers, sowbugs, midges and Woolly Buggers. For Trout Magnet fishing, he recommends cotton candy and red-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. 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 ( for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website ( to see forecasted generation schedule. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 462.04 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 9-14-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said he hybrid and white bass fishing is good all over the lake, as some are schooling and some are sitting on structure feeding off and on throughout the day on various baits including, but not limited to, topwater baits, in-line spinners, spoons and swimbaits. Find the bait and the fish will be close by. The bass fishing is going pretty good shallow and out deeper; try spinnerbaits on windblown areas, topwater baits for schoolers, and the deeper fish can be caught with a C-rig and drop shot. The catfish are feeding day and night all over the lake on just about any bait of your choosing and will continue to be good for a while. The walleye are eating at various times, especially under cloud cover, on flats in 12-28 feet of water, and some are following hybrids around eating what they spit up. Bream fishing is good on crickets and crawlers. The crappie are halfway into their fall feed; try a jig and/or minnows in 10-18 feet of water.
(updated 9-14-2016) Cody Smith of Fish Greers Ferry guide service reports the fall transition is underway on the reservoir. Water surface temperatures are ranging in the low to mid-80s depending on time of day and location on the lake. Summer high surface temps of 90 degrees have come and gone, look for a cooler rain to really spur on the lake’s shad and gamefish transition into more seasonal habitats and locations. Right now the fish are spread from one end of the spectrum to the other. Some of the gamefish and baitfish responded to the first cool off a couple weeks ago and went shallow in a hurry feeding on the newly acquired threadfin shad population while the deeper fish are still feeding on blue gills and crustaceans out in their summer haunts. Deeper locations are still holding a few quality bites while the shallow fish are moving a lot and hard to pattern on a multiday basis. Fast-moving baits with small baitfish profiles have been best for the skinny fish, while bulky bluegill patterns are working best for the ones out deep. The shad population is really ganged up in 10-18 feet of water and depending on time of day and location are harboring just about every species in the reservoir, but as mentioned are moving around a lot. Some crappie are moving to the mid-level brush piles while others are hanging in the creek channels feeding on bait as it transitions from in to out and out to in. Once the lake sees 78 degree surface temperatures, look for the bite to become much more consistent and days of catching will be the regular. 

(updated 9-7-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said catfishing was slower this week but there were still reports of fair numbers of catches and nice size catfish. The water at the resort is clear. Bream are biting well on crickets. Crappie fishing is good on minnows and jigs. Good reports of bass on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. 

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

(updated 9-21-2016) Fosters Four Seasons (501-868-9061) said water is at normal level and clear. Anglers are still fishing for bass in the early part of the day or late at night and are getting good results using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie reports have been good on minnows and jigs. Catfishing is good using chicken liver. Fosters has all anglers’ needs in the way of bait and food, and also sells non-ethanol gas.
(updated 9-21-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina reported the results of its Tuesday Black Bass Tournament “Fish Off,” held last Saturday, and Lee Brazzara and Wes Lowder hauled in 14.08 pounds to take first place. They also landed the Big Bass, a 4.02-pounder. The top five places eash caught more than 11 pounds of bass on Saturday, with Mett Hedrick and Brandon Crain second at 13.14 pounds and Kyle Wise and Keaton Blaylock at 12.54 pounds, just edging the fourth-place team of Crighton Sawyer and Keegan Belk (12.46 pounds). The regular anglers will find black bass biting well on wacky rig worms, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Best success is early in the morning or late in the day, and the bass are being caught in 15-20 feet of water. The fish are on the sharp banks and 15 feet off the weeds. Kentucky bass are being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 10 to 15 feet mixed in with the blacks. The white bass bite is excellent. Use a CC spoon or deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. While they are all over the lake, they are schooling in the main lake they are hitting CC spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails. Crappie are good, as recent rain seemed to improve the fishing. Crappie are biting minnows and jigs and are 20 feet deep. Try the edges of the channels and on the old road beds. Bream are excellent and can be found at 15 feet on the bottom biting crickets and live worms. Catfish are good in 15-20 feet and are being caught on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 9-7-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie fishing is fair. Crappie are around the main lake points and are found in 10-20 feet of water. Jigs of all colors are working, as well as minnows. Bass fishing was reported fair. Bass are mostly deep and are biting spoons, 3 ½ jigs and deep-diving crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on trotlines baited with shad, goldfish or minnows. No reports on bream or white bass.

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

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

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

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

(updated 9-21-2016) Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said white bass are strong. There is plenty of shad for them  to eat, and you'll find them in the corners of the winged jetties. One boat caught and released 60 or more. Fish using a deep diving crankbait in white. When the shad re pushed up, use a clear Zara Puppy. Black bass are good around the wood; use a FireTiger spinnerbait. Catfish are in deep water and the bite is good; use buffalo chunks for bait. Bream are good on a Mepps or Rooster Tails in black. Bream are on the jetty tops in 3-6 feet of water and the bite is good. Drum are still going crazy for the crayfish-colored jig and pig. Jump the bait off the bottom where the jetty rocks meet the sand and your fishing will be good. A few stripers were caught below Dam No. 9 on a wobble spoon.

(updated 8-31-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley reported bass fishing at the Cadron Pool has been a little better the last two weeks. With flows around the 20,000 cfs the fish will keep feeding pretty much all day long. Just remember to work the main river areas with moving water. The fresh water will typically be cooler and more oxygenated than the hot backwaters. Although you can definitely catch fish by fishing slow, Kelley said he prefers to stay on the move, fishing all of the main river structure that he comes to. Try squarebill crankbaits, bandit crankbaits, and 1/2 spinnerbaits tight to cover that has the most current on it. Catfishing has been consistent, but not great. Definitely spend the majority of your efforts chasing cats after dark. You still want to focus on deeper areas, but because there are times of slack current, you might need to drift over multiple holes before you get that good bite. Live shad and bream have been working the best lately. 

(updated 9-21-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water is clear and at a normal level. Bream fishing has been good on worms and crickets. Crappie are biting with good reports coming in; use minnows and jigs. Bass are still favoring early morning or late in the day, but the bite is good then on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfishing is good on worms and chicken liver.

(updated 9-21-2016) Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water has been stained the past few days and the level has been up and down. Reports on bream were good with nightcrawlers as bait. Crappie reports, however, were poor. Bass are good with deep-diving crankbaits, jigs and frogs along the jetties and in the backwater. Catfish are biting well on redworms and stink bait.  Catfishing has been good using stink bait.
(updated 9-21-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water is clear and normal back in Clear Lake. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie reports were fair as well, with minnows and jigs. Bass are good; try spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing reports were poor. In the Terry Lock and Dam area of the pool, catfish were fair on worms. Bass were working around the jetties well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. You’ll find crappie in fair amounts in the backwater with minnows and jigs. Worms and crickets are bringing in good numbers of bream.
(updated 9-14-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported water temperature is down to 83 degrees and the river is at normal level. Bream are active and the fishing is good using worms or crickets. Crappie reports have been good using minnows or jigs. Early, good action has been reported on bass, with spinnerbaits and crankbaits working best. Catfishing is fair; try cut bait. No white bass reports. 
(updated 9-14-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing near the Terry Lock and Dam is fair. Fishermen are snagging and using skipjack and shad. There were no other reports from that end of the pool.

(updated 9-21-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is clear and recent rain has filled up the lake to normal level. Bass reports were fair with spinnerbaits and topwater baits getting action. Catfishing is good with worms. There were no reports on bream or crappie.

(updated 9-7-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that catfishing is good on the levee. Try chicken livers, chicken hearts and night crawlers. 

No reports.

(updated 9-7-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported fair catfishing at the lake. Nightcrawlers, hot dogs and stink bait are working best. Remember to sign up for the Seniors fishing event at Lake Valencia scheduled for Sept. 9.

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

(updated 9-14-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said fishing has been about the same the past few weeks. Bass fishing is fair using spinnerbaits, topwater lures and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair, with shad and chicken livers getting the best bite. No other reports.
(updated 9-7-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bream was fair in the Maumelle River. Bream were in 6-12 feet depth and biting worms and crickets. Bass were fair and hitting crankbaits as well as flipping jigs and black buzzbaits. Catfishing was fair, with shad and chicken hearts the best baits. There were no crappie reports.
(updated 9-21-2016) Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900), now run by new owners Larry and Shirley Walters, said fishing is goo on the lake and they welcome visitors to check them out. Conditions are clear and the water level is normal, with a surface temperature of 84 degrees. Crappie are biting in about 10 feet of water around brush piles. Reports are good, and baits having most success are minnows, jigs and Road Runners. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Bass are in about 10 feet of water around the creeks and near the shore; use spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater lures. Catfish is good on chicken liver. White bass also came in with good reports.

North Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 659.04 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 9-21-2016) K Dock Marina reported lake level has dropped enough to get the lower road above water for access. Courtesy ramp is also out of the water and is usable. Current level is 659 feet msl. K Dock has three bass tournaments scheduled for this fall. The first is this Saturday, Sept. 24, a benefit for the local Lions Club. The tourney has a 50/50 payout. Take off will be at 8 a.m. with weigh-in at 3 p.m. Entry is $50 per boat with $10 optional big bass side pot available. Early signup will begin Friday at 8 a.m. Other tournaments are a benefit for Chadwich (Mo.) High School on Saturday, Oct. 15 and the 3rd annual K Dock Fall Bass Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 23. Call the marina for more details (417-334-2880).

(updated 9-21-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that the rainbow bite has been super, while the brown trout appear to be slowing down. Water conditions are great with a normal level of water, low in the mornings with high water late in the day. Overall fishing rated good. 
(updated 9-21-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said the guides have helped their guests bring some very nice rainbows to the boat this past week – several at 18 inches or more. The catch of the best keeper size – 12-15 inches – has been a little higher from previous weeks. Shrimp has been the most successful bait for quantity catches; sculpins are still proving their value for the fightin' browns. The size of the browns is smaller than we see earlier in the year, but the fight is just as good and the catch just as exciting. Lots of early morning mist and fog, so be careful on the river, take it slow and easy until the mist burns off. Cotter will be hopping this Saturday the 24th, when the annual Bridge Bash takes over Big Spring Park. Find some time around your fishing excursion to come visit this beautiful park.
(updated 9-14-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that during the past week a trace of rain fell along with moderate temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.3 feet to rest at 1.3 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet. This is 35.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 feet to rest at 6 feet below seasonal power pool and 20 below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.1 feet to rest at 5.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 13.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation in the afternoon with wadable water every morning. The bite has been excellent. With reliable wadable water, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a size 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24-30-foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an 8- or 9-weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 9-21-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said this past week they finally had some rain, and the east side of the creeks are muddy with lots of debris. The water coming in from the creeks is very cool. The front of Bennett’s Bayou creek is 82 degrees and the incoming water is 73 degrees. The new water has changed the dynamics of the lake. Tom said he has been fishing the dam area for stripers in 32-35 feet of water early all morning long. All week long the stripers have stayed in that range. When Tom is about to finish fishing he says he dumps his remaining live shad into the lake and the stripers have exploded around his boat. The last two days, not one striper has come up. The marks he’s seeing are now catfish. They have been catching them each day. The stripers are moving out of the area. Tom said he plans on pre-fishing Diamond Bay and the Robinson Point area. That is the first place they will show up. He also plans on fishing the state line area. With the cold water coming into the lake, the stripers should make a run up the lake and start their fall feed.  Reynolds took out two couples for a recent two-day striper trip. They started each day fishing near the dam and caught and missed a few stripers. The bite is very slow and the bite is not very hard. The stripers will hit the bait and then come back and pull the rod but not hard. Most times the group would miss the fish since they were only holding the bait, not biting it. On Sunday Donna had the hot hand. She had figured out the bite and was hooking the fish and had her limit within the first two hours. We did not catch anymore stripers, but did catch catfish. Reynolds said he really feels the stripers are migrating and the next big rain will really get them moving. The fall bite should start anytime and will continue this way into November. 
(updated 9-14-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the lake is in the final stages of the late summer fishing pattern. Water depth is falling very slowly and currently sits at 553.74 feet msl. Periodic power generation is occurring daily. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still stained. As the lake water cools and the oxygen returns to all depths, the fish will scatter to all parts and depths of the lake. The surface water temperature is slowly falling each day, was in the low 80s one morning this week, and it’s expected we’ll see the upper 70s very soon. Lou said there has been little change with fishing since his last report. Striped bass fishing is still the best in the dam area. The early morning and late afternoon bites are the best, and the fish continue to be caught in 25-35 feet of water whether on the bottom or suspended in deeper water. Lou said he is starting to find a few stripers heading upriver and also back in the mid-lake creeks, but no big schools at this time. It will not be long, though. Live shad, either threadfin or gizzards, are working the best, but vertical jigging spoons and casting blade baits worked on the bottom are also picking up some nice fish. The biggest fishing change has been with largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. Lou has located some nice topwater action at sunrise, but it only lasts 30-60 minutes. It's plenty of time to have some fun with a Zara Spook. Lou says the best place he’s found has been back in a creek that has the old river channel swing in close to shore. The fish are hitting a little bit of everything when they are active. He has been using a fluke, Rat-L-Trap, Kastmaster and a Zara Spook, and all of these baits have landed some nice fish. Most of the big spotted bass have hit live bait set at 24 feet. Large flats are another good area to fish. Look in the 25-35 feet depths and you will find scattered schools of white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and walleye. Lou has been vertical jigging a spoon on the flats and once he finds the bait, he said he finds the fish right in the same spot.
(updated 9-14-2016) Guide Steve Olomon of Steve’s Guide Service said the Norfork Lake level is 554 and the water temperature is in the low 80s. Look for the stripers early in the morning suspended 30 feet off points and in coves. They can be on the bottom or out in deeper water as the sun gets higher and will move deeper from 30 to 50 feet. Steve said he found some stripers and hybrids in Koso Bay this week and there were a few coming up chasing shad bait fish, but was over in about five minutes. There were stripers down under the topwater fish and the only thing I could get them to hit was an in-line spinner. They would not hit a spoon. Look for the stripers within a few miles of the dam. When the water temperature starts cooling down they will move up in the creeks and back up in the lake. There will be stripers still down around the dam area. The bass are coming up hitting topwater baits early (Zara Spooks). Steve found some in a creek along a deep channel swing. Marked some suspended fish (at 30 feet) in 90 feet of water and dropped a jigging spoon and caught some nice Kentucky bass. Also caught some on jigs in 15-25 feet of depth on some flats.
(updated 9-21-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake fell 0.6 feet to rest at 2.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 26.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had reliable wadable water every morning, with light generation in the afternoon. The Norfork has fished better on the lower water and has not been as crowded with wadable water on the White. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like my favorite, 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 eighteen 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. Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. It has fished a bit better and is yielding some trophy trout. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), 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.

(updated 9-21-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is low. The smallmouths are still active. His favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

(updated 9-21-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Crooked Creek is low. The smallmouths are still active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

Northwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,116.24 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 9-21-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the hot conditions of late summer continued to factor is mostly fair fishing in their area. Look for fish to be bunched up and schooling until the weather breaks. The lake is clear and the surface temperature was 80 degrees. Water level at Southtown is low. Bream are biting fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs as well as trolling. Bass bite is fair, and the fish appear to be deep and kind of scattered. Topwater lures, including Zara Spooks, are bringing in the most bass. White bass also are fair. Catfish reports were poor.
(updated 9-21-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said the lake turnover has begun. You will notice the green stuff building up on your line as you are fishing, and this has got Beaver Lake stripers on the move using main lake structures and mouths of coves, etc. Some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the shoreline to corner bait. Fishing weighted-down lines will definitely get you some fish. There has been some topwater activity from striper and white bass. Beaver Lake striper fishing will be good with stripers taken on live shad fished on down lines from 30-60 feet deep; also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, and plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on downriggers. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. With water surface temperatures on the mid- and lower sections, check out these hot areas: Dam and Hybrid Cove, Point 1, Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty, Point 5, Point 6, Rambo Creek arm, Rocky Branch and Larue. White bass have been seen surfacing at Prairie Creek, Beaver Shores, and Hickory Creek, War Eagle and the War Eagle/White River junction. Check the daily lake level and flow data on Mike Bailey’s website. 

(updated 9-7-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the river this past week has been quite low, but that has not slowed the trout bite. Trout are biting well on various spoon, and PowerBaits fished under light terminal tackle. Trolling has been more productive between Houseman and Beaver town in the deeper waters. A few white bass are still being caught when the school is located. Walleye bite has slacked off in the tailwaters, but you can still get a few farther downstream toward Holiday Island. Generation has mostly been happening in the evening hours, so morning is the time to get out and fish. Don't look for the water levels to rise unless we get a good bit of rain. For the bank fisherman, the low levels offer up better spots to get into the trout. 
(updated 9-14-2016) Beaver Dam Store reported the fly fishing in the tailwaters has been exceptionally good and should remain that way. Norfork Hatchery dumped trout last Thursday just below Beaver Dam and at Bertrand Boat Ramp access. Good news for fisher wading: Water levels have dropped significantly and many areas that were not accessible during higher water have opened up, creating more areas to fish. Boaters should beware of the low water conditions. Many new gravel bars have exposed themselves, causing dangerous conditions. Brown trout can be caught using midges and streamers. For rainbows, try drifting zebra midges, nymphing and swinging small soft hackles, scuds and cracklebacks. Good lures these days are gold and silver Colorado spoons, red and gold Bouyant spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive and hares ear, tungsten copper Johns, WD40s and Trout Magnets. Catfish are biting on Wicked Sticky catfish bait along with Magic Bait crawfish/chicken blood bait.

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

(updated 9-21-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water remaining murky this week but surface temperature is easing down to 75 degrees and the water is high after rains last weekend. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie reports were fair with minnows and jigs. Bass are good and are liking spinnerbaits, spooks, and flukes and worms. Catfish bite remains good on goldfish. 

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

Northeast Arkansas

(updated 9-21-2016) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said these fishermen are always in a hurry to get out on the water and always in a hurry to get home and clean their catch for the day. How does Ome know what is happening out on Lake Poinsett? It is by the bait they are buying and that is some of all that they sell at Lake Poinsett State Park. The goldfish are still being sold for those that are putting out lines, and others who just like to pole fish are using the nightcrawlers. Catfish are in demand year-round. September is the month that brings out more of the crappie fishermen who favor the minnows. The fishermen who love the taste of the bream are still buying the crickets and redworms.

(updated 9-21-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water is clear and at a normal level. Bream fishing is excellent with redworms and crickets. Bass fishing is good early in the morning and late in the day. Try crankbaits or topwater baits. Catfishing is good, especially with chicken liver as bait. Crappie reports continued to be poor. 

(updated 9-14-2016) Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 320 cfs and water clarity has been clear. The river is low and clear and the trout are biting great. Y2Ks and nymphs are working great. Sight fishing has been really good over the last few weeks. Work upstream and look for that big trout. Cast a nymph up above and let it drift into his waiting jaws. Hot pink trout and white Trout Magnets are working great, while it’s blue and yellow spinners for spin fishers. The river is looking in tiptop shape, so get out and enjoy.
(updated 9-21-2016) 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 in full swing and there are a lot of boats on the river. You should fish during the week, if you can. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10). 

(updated 9-14-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said reports from the Batesville Bridge were that water was clear and at a normal level. Nothing was reported in bream, crappie of catfish, but the bass bite was fair with spinnerbaits and topwater baits, along with any type of soft plastic worm. Walleye are fair using jigheads and minnows. 

Southeast Arkansas

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

No report.

No report.

No report.

Southwest Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.34 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
(updated 9-21-2016) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday, the lake drawdown and shoreline work has been completed. Millwood is about normal conservation pool and continues on a slow rise. There is reduced current from Little River and navigation is normal, with the gates releasing around 170 CFS as of Monday. Water temperature was stable over the past week, ranging from 79 degrees early to 88 degrees late on Monday. Tailwater level dropped slightly by Monday to 224.26 feet msl. Clarity and visibility has been consistent over the past couple of weeks.
Bass remain in a good feeding mode over the past few weeks and are good from 2-3 pounds on Bass Assassin Shads, spoons, buzzers and frogs at dawn along primary and secondary points extending into Little River. Most bass are aggressive at dawn around lily pad stands and shallow vegetation, where you can find the clearest water in backs of the creeks, flats and oxbows. Shad are beginning to relate to creek channels over the past week or two. Points are good target choices to start. Early on, try buzzbaits in black and blue, Bass Assassin Shads, soft plastic frogs, Johnson Chrome Spoons and Jitterbugs. Working topwater baits around pads and vegetation, along points extending from creek channels into Little River. Also, grass beds located along Little River are good locations for a bulky 10-inch Berkley Power worm and Bass Assassin Shad. Good reactions continue on the spoons using a white or smoke colored 2-3-inch fat, curly tail grub trailer. Best colors of Bass Assassin Shads over the past couple weeks have been Silver Phantom, Salt & Pepper and Houdini. Whites and hybrids continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and are hitting the Citrus or Chartreuse Shad-colored crankbaits in the back of the oxbows. Over the past few weeks week, with the heavy cloud cover, the whites were again surface-breaking on shad in back of Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows. Those fish were hitting small Ken Pop's, Pop-R's and Chug Bugs with a rear feather tail hook, and Little Cleos, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white, and chrome Rat-L-Traps with abandon.
Crappie continued to bite well over the past week on Blakemore Roadrunners, as well as vertical jigging Southern Pro Little Hustler tubes in planted brush piles from 8-12 feet of depth. Nice channel cats and blues continue a good feed trend this week and are good, up to 6 pounds each, on trotlines using cut buffalo, shad and blood bait. 

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 542.89 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
No reports were submitted for this week.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 400.93 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 9-21-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water is in the low eighties and the lake is clear throughout. Bass fishing is fair early in the morning in the big deep coves along the south side between points 2 and 6. Also look for fish along the State Park between Caddo Bend and the marina. Best bet is to look for schooling fish feeding on the vast shad schools. Most any medium-size topwater lure will work as long as it is presented as close to the "break" as possible. Also try soft plastics such as glukes and swimbaits. Lots of small bass and Kentucky bass in the upper part of the lake between Alpine Ridge and Shouse Ford. Once again these fish are in the shad schools. Try small casting spoons and in-line spinners such as Rooster Tails. No reports on crappies. Hybrid fishing is good for those who know how to target deep-water fish using the sonar. The fish are scattered in the lower end of the lake between the dam and Iron Mountain along the deep channel and suspended in the thermocline at 50 feet in 100-130 feet of water. Search with the sonar and, when a fish is spotted, drop a heavy jigging spoon or 3-inch grub to just above the fish. Lots of white bass schooling in the shad in the same areas, especially around points 2 and 4. Try small topwater plugs. small spoons and Rooster Tails. White is the best color. Lots of bream are in the coves around either rock or wood cover. Fish in 3-5 feet of water with a float for smaller bream and near the bottom in 20-25 feet off secondary points for the larger shell crackers. Redworms and crickets are the preferred bait.
(updated 9-21-2016) John Duncan of at Iron Mountain Marina said summer is still hitting them hard with the heat. Water temperature has risen to mid-80s on the lake. Even with recent rains over the weekend, water levels are still lower at 400.03. John said he thinks the best action to report is the schooling/surfacing fish. They are surfacing from Shouse Ford to State Park Marina. It is quite a smorgasbord of the various bass fish. You can catch blacks, Kentucky bass, whites and hybrids. Throw anything that resembles a small shad, Rebel Pop-R, Tiny Torpedo, Rat-L Trap, Devils Horse, small spoons and crankbaits. Match size and color to bait fish. When caught they regurgitate shad that are about 1-1½-inch in length. Remember limits and length regulations. It gets pretty exciting. When the large schools of the fish surface, fish the outer edge of the schools for the bigger hybrids. Catfishing still going on but no report on details. Bream bite is still good but locating them is the problem. Brush piles and rocky points are the best bet. The crappie bite slowed considerably. You need to still fish deep with minnows. The problem is that the tops and brush piles that a couple weeks ago that were 20 feet deep are now 15 feet deep with lake levels lower. Weather change is coming and fishing should pick up soon. Have fun with the surfacing fish. It is very exciting. 

South-Central Arkansas

No reports.

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

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

No report.

West-Central Arkansas

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 337.27 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl). 
(updated 9-14-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported water surface temperature of 83 degrees and the level was normal. Bream reports were poor. Crappie reports, though, were good with black jigs and minnows working. Bass bite is fair with crankbait working best. Catfish reports were good. Noodles and jugging with shad as bait brought in cats.
(updated 9-14-2016) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) is back in action as the water is back to normal. Clarity has been clear; no temperature was reported. The fishing reports came in fair all arounds. Bream were fair on worms or crickets. Crappie are biting fair on minnows or jigs. Bass are just OK these days; give them a red plastic worm for some reaction. Catfishing is fair on the trotlines.

(updated 9-21-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported clear water conditions with a surface temperature of 86 degrees. Water level is about a foot below normal. The crappie fishermen aren’t out in full force yet, but some early efforts in the deeper water have been successful, with one report having crappie in about 8-10 feet. Crappie are beginning to get active again around the brush piles and stumps. Use minnows and jigs. Bass fishing is good, particularly using a white spinnerbait. Catfishing is good with shad or nightcrawlers. Bream reports were poor, with the best success on redworms.

(updated 9-21-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-774-9117) said water temperatures are in the upper 80s. Water clarity in the upper river is dingy, while the mid-river and lower river are both dirty, with some clear backwater and creeks, but for the most part everything is either stained or dirty. Bass fishing has been tough after the rain, but bass still can be caught on Rat-L –Traps, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and an occasional topwater bite with frogs, Whopper Poppers and Zara Spooks. Trap and bass are still just outside of the buoy line on sandbars in 20-25 feet of water. Swimbaits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits are the way to go. White bass are schooling on points in the main river. Use in-line spinners, small Rat-L-Traps, small crankbaits and jerkbaits. Bream have been excellent along the main riverbank with many being caught on crankbaits, worms and crickets. Look for areas with wood along the bank. Catfish has been fair in the main river channel on worms, shad and cut perch.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 572.81 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 9-21-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said water surface temperature is ranging 78-82 degrees and the water is clear. Black bass are still fair and being caught with jig and pigs and crankbaits. Brush piles on main lake and secondary points are still producing the best results when fished with live crawfish for “spots.” Walleye are good and are being caught jigging CC Spoons. Stripers are still fair on live bait. The central and east areas of the lake are still the best areas for these fish. Bream are fair. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 20-25 feet deep. Crappie are slow to fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 25-30 feet deep fished on the bottom near brush. Catfish are still fair. Try nightcrawlers, trotline minnows or hot dogs in depths of 15-20 feet. Contact Mountain Harbor’s guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean ( 501-282- 6104) – for more information.
(updated 9-21-2016) David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said LOSBA reports good fishing over the weekend. Surface temperature is around 84 and clear water. The full moon made it a little tough but the fish are in the trees (60-80 feet deep) if you can find them. David said one thing he saw on Sunday was five floating stripers all around 3-5 pounds. David netted one and it had been hooked, so he wanted to please remind everyone they should never release any caught fish. Not only do the fish not survive, but they count toward your daily limit, so if seen you could be fined for being over the limit.

No reports.

(updated 9-21-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 64 degrees and rises to 67 degrees below the bridge. Clear conditions exist in the tailrace as the normal summertime pool levels continue until November. Entergy is currently running a 12-hour generation schedule per day due to all the rainfall of the past several weeks. Boaters should navigate the area slowly and always wear a life jacket. The rainbow trout season is over until mid-November when the stocking program begins again. The vast majority of trout have either been caught or migrated away from the dam. The few fish that remain are extremely wary and almost impossible to catch. Thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the tailrace in search of cooler water to spawn. Interestingly enough, few white bass or stripers have moved in to feed on the baitfish. No topwater activity has been observed and few bass caught in the past week. No catfish or drum catches reported. This lack of game fish catches are normal for this time of year below Carpenter Dam. However, with the big numbers of shad in the area – schools of stripers and white bass can migrate into the tailrace at any time. Fisherman have to be patient and watch for schooling activity. The month of October normally brings good numbers of white bass into the area, along with hybrid bass. Until the fall weather pattern sets in, fishing below Carpenter Dam will be very poor.

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.66 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
No fishing reports were recorded.

East Arkansas

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

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

(updated 9-21-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported clear water and normal level. Bass are working well for anglers. The reports were good with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater lures and minnows. Bream are fair on worms. Crappie are good with minnows and jigs. Catfishing was fair. 

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