May 15, 2019
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 15, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and 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
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicide – which will cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life such as fish – to treat alligatorweed on Lake Conway in 2019. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate water from Lake Conway for lawn or garden use from May 20, 2019, to March 1, 2020. For further information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 5-15-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is stained and the water level is normal. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Crappie are in 5-7 foot depth; fish around the cypress trees. Black bass are good on plastic worms and topwater baits. Catfishing is good with crickets or nightcrawlers.
Little Red River
(updated 5-15-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Little Red is receiving around 12 hours of generation. Caddis pupas, pheasant tails, San Juan worms and streamers will work for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, go with cotton candy and hot pink bodies on silver and chartreuse jighead. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 5-8-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with generation of two units for 12 hours. This has been starting at 8 a.m. or 10 a.m., depending on the day’s schedule. The fish are hitting caddis flies because there is a big caddis hatch in the mornings before the new water hits an area. Caddis emergers and pupa are good fly choices. Drift fishing is good by staying ahead of the day’s generation, and there are short wading opportunities from Winkley Shoal down to Libby Shoal. The new water gets to Winkley in about 3½ hours and Libby in 4-4½ hours after the release at the dam. If wading, plan to be near your takeout point when the water begins to rise because they are running two units and the water rises quickly. The weather forecast is for storms and possible heavy rain the next two days. If this occurs, the river will probably be muddy for two to three days. Check the generation times each day to plan your trip.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 474.13 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.93 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 5-15-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Wednesday morning the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 474.14 feet msl and staying pretty steady. It is 12.1 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. All species are eating if you’re there at right time. A lot of crappie are still in and around the bushes; use jigs and jigs tipped with minnows. Bass fishing is good all over the lake on a variety of baits, with some schooling action as well. Catfish are eating any and all baits right now all over the lake. Bream are eating crickets and crawlers, inline spinners and small crankbanks shallow. Walleye are scattered all over the place. When you catch one, hunker down and stay in area, as several are there getting grouped up somewhat. Use a crawler on a drop-shot rig. Hybrid and white bass are busting some and on structure now, they will eat off and on all day under certain conditions. Spoons, inline spinners, just about any metal bait is working.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 5-15-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported the clarity is “a little cloudy” and the lake level has returned to normal. Surface water temperature Monday mid-afternoon was 76.8 degrees. Bluegill and redear are good on redworms and crickets. The crappie bite is off and on. Fair results with minnows and jigs, they say. Black bass are poor. Catfishing is good with worms.
NOTICE: AGFC employees and contractors using airboats will be conducting foliar applications of EPA-approved herbicide – which will cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life such as fish – to treat alligatorweed on Lake Overcup in 2019. By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC urges adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate water from Lake Overcup for lawn or garden use from May 20, 2019, to March 1, 2020. For further information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
(updated 5-15-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is high by about 2 feet and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 70 degrees. Bass are doing well on black plastic worms and buzzbaits around brushtops and structure around the banks. Bream are doing well on crickets and redworms. Crappie are being caught in deeper water, 8-12 feet fishing about 6 feet deep. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline with bream and shad. “Come see me, Catfish Banks, at the bait shop, off Highway 9.”
(updated 5-15-2019) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) reported that fishing has dropped off significantly, mainly with high water and muddy clarity. There are some crappie to be had, with reports of them in 15-18 feet depth and fished spider-rigging. The bite rates poor, and that’s the same rating for bream, black bass, crappie and white bass, Larry says. “Good luck if you go!” he added.
(updated 5-15-2019) WestRock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland reports water temperature is in the mid-70s. Largemouth bass are good. Most of them can be found shallow at dusk and dawn biting a variety of lures. Some are moving into 8-12 feet of water and some can still be found deep. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley caught a whopping five bass totaling 18.87 pounds to win Tuesday night’s black bass tourney; their haul included a 6.12-pound Big Bass. Meanwhile, the spotted bass bite is good. Some reports of the Kentuckys being found in 4-8 feet of water outside the grass line at dusk and dawn. They can also be found in 12-16 feet off drops and rocky banks. White bass reports this week have been poor. Reports of the run slowing down. Some can be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats or near brush piles in 8-12 feet. Try using Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle-style baits. Crappie are good. Crappie are heading out of the deeper holes. Reports of them being found 8-12 feet around brush piles as well as 14-18 feet and are starting to stack some, while otherse are still scattered. Try using jigs and minnows. Bream are slow. Use crickets or worms. Catfish are slow. Reports coming in that the channel cats are moving in to shallow water. Try using stink bait, crayfish or worms.
(updated 5-15-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said catfish have been doing great; it was stocked by the AGFC on May 6. They been catching them on fresh chicken livers, nightcrawlers, brooder minnows – really, just a little bit of everything. Bream are starting to bite well. Bass have been hitting brooder minnows and bass minnows. Crappie have been fair on No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin's Tennessee Shad 2-inch grubs.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 5-15-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that with all the rain we’ve had, it has pushed some of those fish out of the creek that come from Hurricane Lake and into both ponds. The front one lately have been more productive, according to some of Lisa’s customers. Some catfish been caught off chicken livers , nightcrawlers and crawfish. Bream have been good on crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting on Red Shad plastic worms. Crappie are being caught off No. 6 crappie minnows.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 5-15-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the river fishing has been so up and down with all this rain. But a few anglers have done well on the bream with crickets. Bass have been hitting the brooder minnows. Catfish have been caught on trotlines with black salties and goldfish – and some on rod and reel with brooder minnows. Crappie have been biting No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows.
(updated 5-15-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some of those big redear bream are being caught on crickets fishing on bottom. Catfish are being caught off of black salties and cut up shad. Crappie have been doing well on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass have been slow but have been hitting spinnerbaits and brooder minnows.
(updated 5-15-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie are fair. Anglers are having the best success with minnows or with Bobby Garland white Slab Slayers and spider rigging. Fish the creek channel of the lake.
(updated 5-15-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says
catfishing is fair. Use chicken liver or chicken hearts.
(updated 5-15-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says bream are fair. Fish around piers. Redworms and crickets will get reactions. Black bass are good with Texas-rigged creature baits and buzzbaits. The bite is picking up in the early mornings and late evenings.
(updated 5-15-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said some anglers are still catching some nice crappie off of No. 6 crappie minnows and pink crappie minnows. Catfish have been good on crawfish and nightcrawlers. Bream good on crickets. Bass been hitting on bass minnows and watermelon red plastics.
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 5-15-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
(updated 5-15-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the clarity is muddy while the water level is low. “Everything is pretty slow,” he says. He gives poor ratings across the board to bream, crappie, black bass, catfishing and white bass.
(updated 5-15-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is excellent at Murray Lock and Dam by snagging. White bass are also excellent. Use spoons and twister tails.
(updated 5-8-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says you’ll have best success here fishing on the Maumelle River and in the creeks. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. That’s all they’ve heard about. This pool was significantly calmer in current than the Little Rock pool on Sunday.
(updated 5-15-2019) Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that the river is still too high. “Stay off the river,” they urge. It’s also muddy.
(updated 5-15-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is excellent at Murray Lock and Dam by snagging. White bass are also excellent. Use spoons and twister tails.
(updated 5-15-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) says the river is high and is not safe for boating or fishing.
(updated 5-8-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says the river is muddy, high, with fast current, and dangerous. Avoid fishing.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 5-15-2019) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Clear Lake is high and the clarity is a bit cloudy. Bream are good on crickets. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. No reports on bass. Catfish are good using skipjack and nightcrawlers.
(updated 5-15-2019) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the clarity remains a little stained. The water level is back down to normal. Bream are excellent on worms or crickets. Crappie are good. They’re mainly biting jigs, and anglers are trolling. Check the grass patches and brush piles. No reports on black bass. Catfishing is excellent; go with hot dogs and minnows.
(updated 5-15-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says cool mornings and sunny days have been making for great trout fishing conditions. The brown trout bite has been steady, with sculpins and the occasional well-positioned shad doing well. The rainbow trout have been moving toward Sunrise and Orange PowerBait, and combining that with shrimp or crawdad tail has been an excellent way to reel in some great-sized fish. Fishing toward the bank has been the best way to keep your bait from getting moss on it and keeping it in the mouths of the trout. With the recent release of golden rainbow trout by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, now is a golden opportunity to catch some great trout.
(updated 5-15-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week they had five rain events that combined for an inch of rainfall, warmer temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 6.9 feet to rest at 14.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.57 feet msl. This is 19.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.4 foot to rest at 3.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 11.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 2.4 feet to rest at 4.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had light generation and some wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 5 feet to rest at 12 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.32 feet msl and 11.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork we had less generation and reliable wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. Currently there is light generation and some wadable water. This will end when flooding recedes downstream. Expect more generation in the near future.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section at 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 size 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 (John’s current favorite combination is a size 14 prince nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down). 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 soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
(updated 5-15-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the clarity of the river is “pretty clear.” They add, “There are thousands of bugs on the water.” The river level, which has been high, is now low with under four generators running. The trout bite is fair. “They’re still catching a few rainbows,” they report. “There is lots of moss.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 677.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-15-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said late last week that the lake level was up 12 feet to 673 feet msl (it’s up to 677 as of midweek). Water temperature has been about 68 degrees with some upper 70s depending on location. Del says he’s fishing it “like two different animals: clear water and dirty water.” Fishing the clear water, he says, the smallmouth bass are done, they’ve moved out on the secondary points and into the main lake. Early morning there is a bit of a topwater or swimbait bite. Throw the swimbait over the humps and islands, keep the boat in 20-25 feet of water. The Whopper Plopper and the walk-the-dog-style baits are working. It’s not hot and heavy yet, he said, but you’ll catch a few, though you need a little bit of wind in the early morning for that bite to work well. If the water is lying flat, it’s a bluebird day and you’re fishing in the clear water, you can still catch fish on a Ned rig; again, keep the boat in 20-25 feet of water and fish the spawning areas. Del says he’s also throwing a Senko and catching a few fish on it, with natural colors working best. Wacky rig or Texas rig them through the bushes. He says a lot of fish have moved up into the bushes, though a good majority are still out deep. If you’re going to fish the shoreline, a jig is always good on Bull Shoals Lake, he adds. Drag the jig across the points close to where the fish were spawning, hit the secondary points and the spawning pockets leading back out. As for the dirty water bite, if there is wind and some rain, power fishing is working. With spinnerbaits, get up into the skinny water, look for the dirtier water, and note the shad that are drawn into the runoff from all the rain. The fish will be there. Buzzbaits are working if there is a little wind, he said. He’s also been flipping a Beaver in the bushes. “With all this extra water, some of these fish are up there, while other ones are not. Be careful if you're out on the lake. There's some debris depending on where you're at. So pay attention if you're going out there.
"If you get you get into a windblown pocket or runoff, you can throw a frog on top of that stuff that looks like mulch, that’s from all the runoff coming into the creek. You’ll catch a few on that … The fishing has been good, it’s been busy,” he said.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 569.10 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 555.75 feet msl).
(updated 5-15-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing continues to be good even with constant weather pattern changes. Yes, our lake has risen roughly 11 feet since my last report, 2 weeks ago, but things are becoming much more stable. All species are biting, but the patterns have changed with all the new space the fish have to play in and all the new brush that has gone under water. High water is a blessing to the fish population, especially when it happens after most of the species have spawned. We will see the effect of this year’s higher water in about 3 years with increased fish population, as well as, increases in size.
The striped bass and hybrid bass bite has been steadily improving. They are being caught throughout the lake. The best locations at this time are partway, to most of the way, back into major creeks. But I am starting to see a few of this species finally starting to move out to main lake points which is typically the norm for this time of year. This morning I found a huge school of hybrids near a main lake point feeding on shad. I ended up landing four in the 7 to 8 pound range, on a 6 inch paddle tail swimbait in a sexy shad color. As soon as it started to get light out the bait and fish moved on. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had almost a full house of guests with us last week and the majority of them were striped bass fishermen and women. Over the week I think they fished the entire lake and had great success on most days. The best bait for them was live shad or shiners. Free lining the bait with no weight caught fish as did setting down lines at 20 and 30 feet deep. Most of the fish they found were back in major creeks in 30 - 45 feet of water. Some of the fish were close to shore on the deep side, but others were out in the middle. Vertical jigging with a spoon has also been producing some nice fish back in the same areas in 30 - 35 feet of water on the bottom.
The bass bite has also been very good. The best location for this species is inside of the sunken brush. Some of the most productive areas has been long points that have been totally submerged, with some of the brush just slightly above the water line. The fish will be hanging near the brush, to just outside of the brush. Use worms, lizards, centipedes, or just about any plastic bait, worked slowly along the bottom. There are occasions that you will only see your line moving off to one side, if you notice the movement set the hook. Spinner baits is also working ripping it back through the brush. The fun part with fishing inside of the brush is getting the fish out. Topwater action has slowed for now, but will pick up again soon. Even if you don't notice the fish hitting the surface, throw a topwater bait into the brush and you will be able to call up some nice fish. Once the water temperature reaches 70-plus degrees we will start seeing the bass exploding.
Blue gill have started to spawn in the backs of creeks and coves in very shallow water. Small jigs are picking up some nice fish. The crappie bite has changed over the last couple of weeks. Most have spawned out and have moved out to their 30 feet deep brush. The water level rose and has somewhat scattered the fish. Some are being caught at the edges of the sunken brush in 18 to 25 feet of water. Trolling small crank baits are still working, but using small jigs once you find the fish is also picking up a few nice ones. Walleye are showing up with the stripers, hybrids and whites chasing the bait fish. You will pick up some nice fish with live bait or by casting a swimbait, an A-rig or suspending jerk bait to the shoreline. The best time to catch this species is sunrise and sunset. The Norfork Lake water level is currently 568.9 feet msl. The main lake ranges from crystal clear, to slightly stained to very stained depending on location. Most of the coves and creeks I have been in are clear to slightly stained. The lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning ranged from 66-68 degrees depending on location.
(updated 5-15-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said that the past two weeks I have seen wild swings in fishing on Norfork Lake. At the end of last weekend and the beginning of this past week the water was warming and the shad was beginning to spawn. The striper fishing has been getting better each day, the best bite has been Crystal Cove area and around point 6. But the rains came along with cold nights and dropped the water temperature back to the mid-60s. The lake also rose 7 feet and cooled the water down. This will all change if we can get back to warm weather the shad are full of eggs and ready to spawn. I expect with the warming trend scheduled for later this coming week and the full moon we should see an explosion by the coming weekend. The higher water is great for the spawn, all the young fry will have great cover to grow. The stripers and bass will be feeding heavy on the shad and the topwater bite should be excellent. One trick I use is a Bass Assassin on a weighted hook. I throw it into the brush and work it as a topwater bait and if I see a swirl on the bait I just stop my retrieve and let it drop since its weedless you will not get hung up. The bass will hit the dropping bait and if do not get a hit I let it go down a couple of feet and do a hard jerk and that usually triggers a strike. Stripers and bass will be on the points early morning and late afternoon evenings. Pitching live bait into the brush is very effective. Some guides use this method very effectively but you will get hung up a lot and miss a lot of fish that are roaming. A better method is to stay out and fish the old shoreline I have found over the years the fish still relate to the old shoreline when the lake rises. They just move up when they are active then move back as the sun comes up. The higher water will alter the crappie bite. Until the water warms up they will stay in the deep brush piles but once it warms up look for stained water and find some buck brush. The best method is to dip and cork and minnow into the brush; it’s very effective in catching spawning crappie.
(updated 5-8-2019) Steve Olomon of Steve’s Guide Service said that with the rain they had this past week Norfork Lake is up about 10 feet and the water temperature is in the mid- to upper 60s. The upper end of the lake the water is stained with some debris floating. The rest of the lake down to the dam and up Big Creek is clear. There is not very much topwater activity going on. When there is some, it’s just a few coming up sporadic. If they are close enough to cast to, they will usually hit your lure. Throw a Spook, soft jerkbait or a wake-type bait. “When the fish aren’t feeding on the surface, I throw a swimbait and it will catch stripers, hybrids, whites, walleye and all three bass species. I even caught a couple crappie. At night, throw a stick bait to the edge of the brush close to the bank and retrieve the lure SLOW back to the boat,” Steve says.
(updated 5-15-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 5 feet to rest at 12 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.32 feet msl and 11.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork we had less generation and reliable wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. Currently there is light generation and some wadable water. This will end when flooding recedes downstream. Expect more generation in the near future.
The Norfork has fished well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. 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 ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper (size 14). The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing well. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and white mop flies.
(updated 5-15-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off-color. The smallmouths are more active with the warm conditions. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 5-15-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake has come up another foot to rest at 1,126.45 msl. This rise has again got the fish moving daily. You need to be mobile in your search. Stripers are scattered from one end to the other. Use your electronics to find them and they will bite. Trolled lures and shad are working. “We caught many last week fishing for walleye, which tells me they are good right now if you target them,” Jon said. “On that note, walleye are real good still. Look in 25-35 foot depth range. We caught some real wall-hangers last week up to 29 inches. Rocky branch area was hot.” Crappie are post-spawn and they will work back out following the same way in. So, what that means is structure that held them before their spawn will have them on it again in 10-20 feet structure off main river channels, and they will soon suspend when the thermocline sets up in June. Boat docks hold fish now, also. Trolling Bandit 300s will work soon, if not already. Bass are in all phases of spawn depending where you fish. “We caught many brown bass and spots again last week. Robo Worms and a Spot Remover head was good in neon green pumpkin 4.5 inch. Catfishing is good and getting better every day. Bowfishing on clear water is excellent. Summer patterns will be here soon.”
(updated 5-15-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the clarity is a little stained and the level and current is high. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are in post-spawn, but anglers are having good success mainly trolling and spider-rigging. Black bass are post-spawn now and the bite is good. Use topwater lures or Long A’s (Zoom Flukes). Catfishing is excellent. Anything the angler wants to throw will work, they report. Chicken liver and worms are the go-to for the locals now. Walleye are biting minnows and nightcrawlers on harnesses.
(updated 5-15-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said this week the fishing has been nice. Trout bit mostly on PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. Spoons in various colors were also a hit. This weeks "hot spot" has to be between Spider Creek and Bertrand. The fish just seemed to pile up in there. Farther downstream toward Beaver, the Kentucky bass and white bass were still biting on the same baits as last week. Kentuckys were caught using various soft plastics, both suspended and horizontal jigging in 10-12 feet of water. Whites were not scattered too bad, once you got on top of them. A U-rig with white grubs, and suspended hard baits, was all it took to induce a response. Whites were pretty much in the same water column. Walleye are still spread out, you have to get out and search for them. If you have a graph, use it. Look around the points and inside bends. Jigging with live minnows, artificial baits, crawlers and worms near or on the bottom should produce some results for you. “We have some more rain moving in this week, try to get out before then. Remember, if I can help further, contact me on my fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) or shoot me a text. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!”
(updated 5-15-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reports a clear clarity to the water and a normal level. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good using plastic worms and live bait. Catfishing is good.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 5-15-2019) Ralph Donnangelo, superintendent at Lake Fort Smith State Park, said that he noticed two great fishing success indicators for this past week: a nearly full parking lot at the boat ramp area most days, and only two surveys from anglers returned. “Yep – fishing is becoming so good here that NOBODY is talking about it for fear of losing their prized “honey hole,” Ralph says. “Suffice to say – we are having some successes here.” Park interpreter Heather Hula reported to Ralph that the bite is on and the fish are moving up into the shallow water and the newly submerged vegetation from all the recent rainfall. Clarity and visibility are 2.5 feet, and surface temperature is 73 degrees. Bream are good and are in 2 feet of water. They’ll generally bite crickets or worms. Crappie are in 2-4 feet depth. Black bass are excellent and will bite plastic worms fished in 2-4 feet depth. Fish around brush piles, stumps or rocky points. White bass are excellent in 2 feet depth. Use worms and focus around the stumps and brush piles. No reports on catfish.
(updated 5-15-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the lake clarity is still stained, and the water remains high. Bream are biting fair, they say. Go with worms or crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass reports have been fair. Catfishing is poor.
(updated 5-15-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says the lake is dingy and the level remains high. Surface temperature early Sunday was 54 degrees. But while the water continues to stay high, the fish are still biting, she said. Bream are excellent. Use worms or crickets and fish around the brush piles or stumps. Crappie are excellent. Anglers are using Crappie Magnets, minnows and jigs. Black bass are good. Use spinnerbaits, crankbaits, worms and plastic worms. Catfish are goodc on worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver and Catfish Pro.
(updated 5-8-2019) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “Wow, what a weekend we had. Sold out of minnows and most of our crickets. Lake Poinsett State Park has plenty in stock now and plans to have what you need when you get here. We are here from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Happy fishing!” While Lake Poinsett is undergoing repairs through early next year, other options in the area include Lake Hogue and Lake Charles. Also, remember the AGFC’s public meeting about the status of the lake on Thursday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Harrisburg.
(updated 5-15-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the clarity is murky and the water level is 6 inches high. Anglers are catching some really big bream on crickets, they report. Anglers say the bite is good. Crappie also are good. They’re getting most of their bites off jigs, but minnows will work. Black bass are excellent. Throw them plastic worms. Catfishing is good with big minnows and chicken liver.
(updated 5-15-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are at 470 cfs (350 average) at the spring and water clarity has had partly cloudy. The river is looking good this week. Water levels have been above normal, so be safe wading. The fish have been biting well down deep. The use of split shot about a foot above the fly will help to get closer to the bottom of the river. Olive Woolly Buggers have been hot this week with a nymph dropper; a lot of nymphs are hatching throughout the day. Black and orange Trout Magnets have been hot. It’s all about getting down to the bottom where the fish are. Don’t be afraid to use extra spit shot.
(updated 5-15-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is a bit high. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 5-8-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said the more stable weather in the recent week or so has made for wonderful fishing on Cane Creek Lake. Unfortunately, with large amounts of rain moving in, the fish will become a little more unpredictable. At the moment, crappie are starting to wind down. The few that still bite are biting on shiners, with a little bit more luck on Rosie Reds than normal minnows. Fish in about 6 feet of water, over structure, for your best chances. Bass are beginning to move into a more summer-like pattern. If the water temperature stays warm even after this rain, start throwing frogs onto the bank, hopping them across lily pads, and then down into an open area. Topwater baits will also start to catch the big bass’ attention. Throw loud topwaters that are darker in color, later in the evening for a great effect. Buzzbaits will also start to get strikes during this same time period. Bream are beginning to bite more and more. Fish with a cricket, tied after a sinker so it floats freely, drug almost across the bottom. As the bream start to bed, this technique will be your best bet. At the moment, tight-lining over the side of the boat or dock with your bait hanging straight down and suspending in about 5 feet of water may also prove successful. Catfish will once again become very active with the upcoming rain. Find places where water runs off into the lake from creeks, streams or the shoreline. Fish with strong-smelling bait such as chicken liver, soaked hotdogs or bacon to compete with the other foodstuffs washing into the lake with the rainwater. Fish anywhere between 3-10 feet deep, as the catfish will vary depending on species and how much food is running into the water.
(updated 5-15-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says it looks like fishing on Lake Chicot might have temporary stalled. Last week’s storms caused an increase in lake level. Docks along Lake Chicot are either partially or completely submerge. Lake level is beginning to decrease after the storms, although the lake is currently extremely muddy with lots of debris floating around. Possible chance for slight rain through the rest of the week, with high chances of thunderstorms Sunday.
(updated 5-8-2019) Chris Duren at Lucky’s (870-224-6747) reports that Lake Monticello is has fair to good clarity while the water level is high. The fish are finished spawning and are moving to post-spawn. The black bass bite is good on crankbaits and soft plastics. Fish for them in 5-8 feet depth. No reports on bream, crappie or catfish.
(updated 5-15-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said, “Well, we certainly have plenty of water on Millwood Lake this week! I think I saw a catfish climbing a cypress tree!” As of Monday, he said, the Red River was almost about to crest and was beginning to recede from Little River below the Millwood Dam. The gates have opened again, and Millwood Lake pool was beginning to fall after rising from thunderstorms over past couple weeks. The lake elevation is now about 2 feet above normal pool. USACE made gate changes at the dam Monday and was releasing around 21,000 cfs, which could change again by midweek. The tailwater below the dam is also beginning to fall from the Red River backing up, and as of Monday with USACE gates release at the dam it was about 248 feet msl. Water temps rose over the past week, and on Monday the surface temperature ranged 71-78 degrees. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website helpful links page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Watch for sudden gate changes and debris, which will increase with current in Little River. Navigation conditions are cautioned, with the current and discharge. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility was moderate stain, ranging 2-3 inches. Little River is muddy current and visibility ranges 0-2 inches, stained conditions, depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity slightly stained up with most recent lake level rising, and stain is obvious in the mouths of the oxbows. Currently, oxbow clarity ranges 10-12 inches depth of visibility depending on location.
Mike says the majority of the largemouth bass are now post-spawn. Midmorning activity is improving, and early morning activity continues improving in the oxbows and pockets away from river current. Most bass have begun recovering post-spawn, and have wrapped up their annual spawn. Excellent reactions are working with buzzbaits, chatterbaits or spinnerbaits, plastic frogs, Bass Assassin Shads, Rat-L-Traps, and jigs. The bite frequency and patterns improved again with increased surface temps this week. The best locations over the past few weeks have been in the back of the oxbows and pockets along main lake, where water conditions and clarity are best. Anywhere you find fresh lily pads, new grass and stumps are prime locations. They continue to see very good bass reactions with Bass Assassin Shads, and frogs in pads on the flats, and in the creeks between 5-7 feet of depth this week also. The white bass are beginning to scatter from Patterson Shoals recent spawning runs, and now are schooled deep in Little River, on the move. Catches in a few hours of 50-70 white bass were typical over the past several weeks at all the feeder creeks and dumps over extending points in Little River between Cossatot River inflow and Patterson Shoals. Rooster Tails, Rocket Shads, Cordell Redfins, Bomber Crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, H&H Spinnerbaits and Little Georges have all been working the white bass over really well for the past few weeks upriver. They continue seeing the large white bass schools beginning to move downriver, and grouping behind primary and secondary points just out of the heavy current, along Little River between Cemetery Slough and U.S. Highway 71. Crappie were wrapping up their annual spawn cycles around cypress trees a week or so ago, and starting to feed well before the muddy water and thunderstorms hit Millwood over the past week. A few good slabs are still hitting if you can find them. Seems like they are beginning to scatter with all the recent rainfall and lake pool rising with stain and muddy current in Little River last week. Not a consistent, reproducible pattern over the past few days in Little River with current discharge over 20,000 cfs. Blue catfish and channel cats improved dramatically on the lake side of the dam, along Little River since the Corps opened the gates back up this week and increased current discharge at the dam. Below the dam, they are hearing good reports of spoonbills, flatheads and even a few striped bass coming upriver from the Red River, biting very well.
(updated 5-15-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, said Lake Greeson’s surface water temperature Monday was 60 degrees. The level was at normal full pool, 548 feet. Bream are good, with the fish in 2-5 feet depth and biting worms and jigs. They’re around brush piles and stumps. Crappie are good in 5-10 feet depth. Use minnows or jigs and fish around brush piles or stumps. Black bass are good. Use spinnerbaits, crankbaits or plastic worms. The best bite is around brush. Catfish are fair on worms, blood bait and chicken liver. White bass reports were fair.
(updated 5-8-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is almost 2 feet above full pool of 548 feet and falling until the rain this week. Water temps have made it the mid- to the lower 70s. The bass are in their spring and early summer patterns. A lot of bass have moved to the post-spawn patterns and can be caught on Yum Pulse swimbaits and Super Spook Jr’s. Shaky-head-rigged Yum Finesse Worms are working OK on main lake and secondary points leading into spawning areas. Carolina-rigged Christie Critters or lizards in watermelon candy or green pumpkin are also working well on points adjacent to spawning areas. Wacky-rigged Yum Dingers have slowed, but can still work around spawning flats. Concentrate on secondary points next to spawning pockets where the fish are moving out of. Crappie are REALLY good lately. They can be caught in brush 15-25 feet deep on minnows and jigs. Catches of 50-100 per day are not uncommon right now.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.88 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-15-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says the crappie are off the shoreline for the most part and stacking up on mid-range brush piles. Minnows and jigs have produced fished 6-12 feet deep. White bass and hybrids have moved out of the river and creek arms. Casting spoons and trolling crankbaits and A-rigs have produced.
(updated 5-8-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina, said, “Well if you don’t like the weather in Arkansas, stick around it will change. It did, over and over. Water is up, boys. Levels above full pool.” Water level is above 408 feet msl. Water temperature is ranging high 60s to 70s depending on light and water depth. The water has been up and down and it has had a big effect on the spawning fish, at least as far as catching them. The crappie and bass spawns are pretty well wrapped up. Water is still high so the fishing the bass with topwaters, buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers is a good bet early. Many 10-pound black bass have been reported this year from DeGray (even a 12-plus pounder). Lots of surface activity in the brushy areas. Brushy, Lennox Marcus, Arlie Moore and Shouse Ford areas have the brush and water depths for this type of fishing. Hybrids and whites are beginning to break all over lake. This early they don’t stay up long. You really have to use electronics to stay with fish and locate them. Hybrids have been reported from 12 feet deep to the bottom. Live bait fished above them usually does the trick. You can find them from marker 35 upriver early in the morning. Crappie are pretty well scattered after the spawn. Some brush piles producing fish but most are smaller in size. Trolling Tennessee Shad anywhere from 12-15 feet deep in and around brush piles in the upper areas is producing some nice crappie. Fish as slow as you can and maintain control of you rigs. No report on bream or catfish.
(updated 5-15-2019) Angler John Gulley, CEO of Lone Sportsman Outfitters, says the water clarity is murky and the surface temperature is 71 degrees. The lake level is 3 feet above normal. Bass are biting Flukes, Senkos, Rat-L-Traps and topwater chatterbaits. Crappie are biting blue and white jigs, along with pink and green. Bream are biting redworms and crickets consistently. Catfish are biting nightcrawlers slowly, as well as bream and pumpkinseed-color Senkos.
(updated 5-15-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the lake level has been high but it is going down. There is a lot of pollen and moss that is hampering the clarity. No surface temperature was recorded. Bream, crappie, black bass, catfish and white bass all rate poor this week, she says.
(updated 5-15-2019) Steve Donahou at Lake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) says Lake Catherine’s water over the weekend was dirty. The surface temperature was 61.7 degrees and the level is normal. Bream are good on worms and crickets. They can be found at a depth of 2-6 feet. The crappie bite is poor. Try jigs. Black bass are good on plastic worms and jerkbaits. Catfishing is good with stink bait and chicken liver. White bass are fair. Steve reports that Lake Catherine State Park Marina Manager Tosha Walker said, “Rains and flooding have affected the fishing.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 5-15-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch'em All Guide Service, had no reports.
(updated 5-8-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495), said since his last report they have experienced frequently rain, heavy at times. Sunshine has followed since the weekend. Heavy rains are forecasted on Wednesday which will likely worsen river conditions. At the lower end, weekly rains are keeping the river muddy with very little visibility. The Big Piney and Illinois Bayou rivers are also muddy, as well as some of the smaller creeks. Driftwood and debris has not been too heavy but could worsen with another heavy rainfall. Surface temperature is 75 degrees. On the upper end, from Spadra to Ozark, tailwater elevation has risen to 355 feet just below flood stage (357 feet) and has held all week. Upriver, release at Ozark L&D 12 reached 180,000 cfs and has not slowed much. It is currently flowing near 152,000 cfs. They have not been generating and are only flowing through the spillway. Downriver, pool elevation does not change as dramatically. Release at Dardanelle L&D 10 climbed to 189,000 cfs last week and has not slowed much either. It is currently flowing 154,000 cfs. They have not been generating and are only flowing through the spillway. With another heavy rain system expected beginning Wednesday, these levels are likely to continue or possibly worsen. As for fishing, no weekend tournaments were hosted at Lake Dardanelle State Park this past week. No fishing reports, either. Current river conditions have likely changed the bite and where fish can be located. Try areas where the water has moved into the banks, timber or fields. Fish will feed on the insects and worms that have been flooded.
(updated 5-1-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s temperatures in the mid-60s and water clarity of 2 feet or more in most areas. There are still some spawning fish out there on the area lakes, but most are going to be spotted bass (Kentucky bass), as most largemouth bass have already finished up. Early mornings are still the best time of day to put fish in the boat. Topwater baits like frogs, sexy dogs and little Sammys are doing well just off main lake points in the mornings. As the day progresses the fish tend to suspend in 10-20 feet of water and can be targeted with drop-shot rigs, wacky rigs in green pumpkin and crankbaits in shad colors. For those of you out there that have coordination to skip baits under dock, you should have no trouble finding big bass hanging out in the shadows of manmade structures. Jigs and soft plastics that can get under docks are going to be lethal from now until fall. Good luck and Go Greeson!
(updated 5-15-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 366.98 feet msl (normal pool: 345.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-15-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water level is “really high” as of Monday afternoon and the lake has been rising 2 inches a day. Surface water temperature was 76 degrees and the clarity and visibility is 1-1.5 feet. Bream reports are poor, but they hear bream are biting well on smaller lakes. Crappie are fair and can be caught in 3-7 feet depth. Use black/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are poor. Catfishing is good using minnows on yo-yos and trotlines. White bass are poor. They report that on Wednesday or Thursday of this week, the Corps will be opening the dam to let the water out.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 580.99 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-15-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still very good. Texas-rigged soft plastics, Flukes and topwaters fished in and around pockets or over points are still working at this time. Walleye are still very good. Small minnow-colored crankbaits and nightcrawlers have been producing good stringers. Stripers are very good. Most of these fish are on the west end of the lake and being caught on C-10 Redfins, topwater baits or live bait. Bream are still good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 8-15 feet of water near brush. Crappie are very good and being caught with jigs or minnows in 8-12 feet of water near brush. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with limblines and trotlines using live bait. Water temperature is ranging 70-74 degrees and the clarity is clearing. Lake level is 581.15 feet msl. Contact the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717; Chris Darby, 870-867-7822; and Jerry Bean, 501-282-6104 – for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 411.20 feet msl (full pool: 387.00 feet msl).
(update 5-15-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin said the lake is 23 feet high “and needless to say fishing is about nonexistent.”
(updated 5-15-2019) Wil Hafner, education program specialist at the Potlatch Education Center at Cook’s Lake, says, “Do I even need to mention the fishing situation at Cook's Lake? We have been hoping for a drop in the river and received the opposite. However, if you have caught some fish elsewhere and want to learn how to cook them in ways other than fried, join us on May 23 from 6-8 p.m. for a non-fried fish dish class. The class is free, but seating is very limited. Call the center to register. Check back in this space or call the center at 870-241-3373 for any updates on fishing Cook’s Lake. Cook’s Lake, when it reopens, will make fishing available on the 2-mile-long oxbow off the White River to youth under age 16 and to mobility-impaired anglers on the first and third Saturdays of each month, through October. Anglers can be accompanied by a helper who may fish.
(updated 5-15-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) says the lake level is normal and the surface water temperature is 70 degrees. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are in post-spawn now and the bite is fair in 10-12 feet depth. The water is hot by the docks. Fish for crappie around the trees. Black gass are good. Catfishing is excellent and Ronnie says “you can’t keep them off the hook.” Fish for cats in shallow water around the tries or around the piers.
(updated 5-1-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says bream and crappie are biting at Bear Creek. Folks are using live bait such as crickets and worms. Biting at shallow depths (4-6 feet), and females look ready to spawn.
(updated 5-1-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), there has been little activity to report from Storm Creek.