(updated 12-7-2016) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water surface temperature was in the low 60s. The crappie bite has been excellent. Crappie are best under the Highway 89 bridge but are really good all over the lake. Bream fishing is good on worms and crickets. Bass have been fair, with plastic worms working best. Catfishing is excellent; use shad or minnows.
Little Red River (Greers Ferry Tailwater)
(updated 12-7-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service said the Little Red is receiving morning and afternoon generation on weekdays and sporadic generation (at best) on weekends. Lowell said he would encourage you not to fish over brown trout spawning areas this time of year, but if you choose to do so, be sure not to step on the redds (spawning beds), land the trout as quickly as possible, keep the trout in the water and take the extra time to revive it. A good spawning season is the future of a great brown trout population year around on the Little Red. For fly fishing, Lowell recommends midges, soft hackles, egg pattern, sowbugs and streamers. For Trout Magnet fishing, he recommends white and cotton candy-colored bodies on gold 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 (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 11-30-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips (501-690-9166) said the Little Red was slightly stained at mid-river after Monday’s rain. It is beginning to clear after Tuesday’s generation. With the colder weather, early morning generation may be the rule since the demand is higher at this time. The morning and afternoon generation schedule restricts wading to a couple of hours at the Swinging Bridge in the morning and then at the dam beginning about 1½ hours after morning generation has ceased. The brown spawn seems to be an on again, off again-type affair with some of the browns still carrying eggs and others having already spawned. Please be careful wading to avoid the redds!
(updated 11-30-2016) James Dillard at Tailwater Fishing Co. said the fishing lately has been great. James said they have been getting water releases from the dam each day, which has made drift fishing from boats excellent. Wading opportunities are best on the weekends when water release is scarce. The hot flies have been egg patterns, midges and sowbugs. Trout Magnets have been producing good numbers of fish as well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 457.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 12-7-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake was at 457.73 feet and falling on Tuesday, almost 4 feet below normal pool for this time of year. The fishing is good overall, though not many people have been out with hunting season and the holidays in full swing, but if you get a chance to you’ll experience some of the best catching that goes on here at this time of the year. Cauley says it will remain good until it gets real, real cold, so come and enjoy the sincerity and beauty of God’s country. The hybrid and white bass are eating very well all over the lake on top and down on structure and can be caught with spoons, in-line spinners, swimbaits and hair jigs, as well as topwater baits. Find the shad and the fish will be close, typically now in 25-70 feet of water. The bream are slow and getting slower; try crickets and crawlers in 24-27 feet of water on a drop shot. The crappie are eating minnows and jigs about 10-25 feet suspended in and around timber or brush piles. The walleye are eating spoons, crankbaits and crawlers dragged real slowly in 25-40 feet of water around the shad. The catfish are eating on the edge of flats real close to deep water on a variety of baits. If they are not on the flat you’re fishing, bait with some dog food and that will draw them in. The bass fishing is good all over the lake both shallow and deep. Use topwater baits, spinnerbaits or small crankbaits around stump flats. Also drag C-rigs and football heads for the deeper fish 25-40 feet for the best catches.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 12-7-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort (501-889-2745) said water is clear but the level is low. Crappie fishing is good on minnows and jigs, but anglers are advised to go to the deepest parts of the lake. Bream reports were poor. Catfishing is fair. There were no reports on bass.
(updated 11-30-2016) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is normal and clarity is good. surface temperature is around 60 degrees. Shad are moving in around the docks and walkways. Bass are doing great on crankbaits all around the shore and walkways. Bream are slow, but anglers are still catching them on crickets and worms, and are still bringing in some good-sized ones. Catfish are doing good on yo-yos and jugs using bass minnows. Crappie are picking up around walkways and around the shoreline, mostly 10 to 11 inches, but some are around 2 pounds. Anglers are catching them early morning and evening fishing 3-4 feet on bottom and coming back up about 6 inches from the bottom, using jigs and minnows.
(updated 12-7-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina reported that black bass are good and are biting on wacky rig worms and spinnerbaits early in the morning and late in the day. The bass can be caught in 3-8 feet just off the weeds and on the windy banks. The cooler weather has activated the bass. Kentucky bass are excellent and being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 4-9 feet of water. They are mixed in with the black bass. White bass fishing has been good. Use Rooster tails, CC Spoons and deep diving Bandits and Bombers. The white bass are mostly at the east end of the lake and right off the points and can be caught on CC Spoons, white jigs, and Rooster Tails when schooling. Crappie are good. They are being caught on crappie minnows and jigs (chartreuse and white with very light line). Crappie are 12-18 feet deep, at the tops of structure near the edges of the channels and on the old road beds. Lots of 6-9-inch crappie being caught, should be so great winter fishing. Bream are slow and there have been no recent reports. Try for them about 25 feet on the bottom with crickets or live worms. Catfishing is good and they’re being caught in 15-20 feet of water on stink bait, small bream and chicken livers.
(updated 12-7-2016) Fosters Four Seasons (501-868-9061) has closed.
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been biting fair on pink and No. 6 minnows but most of them have been small in size. Catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream fishing has been slow to fair with crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting some minnows and small plastics.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said that hopefully the rain will be enough to put some flow back in the river. Bass fishing has been OK with minnows, small plastic worms and lizards and small crankbaits. Crappie fishing has been good for some using No. 6 and pink crappie minnows. Catfish have been biting minnows, goldfish and black salties on trotlines and limblines. Bream will bite crickets or worms almost any time on the river.
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said bream are still biting fair on crickets and redworms. Catfish have been biting well on goldfish, black salties and minnows. Bass fishing has been slow with the best bite coming on live minnows. Crappie fishing has just been fishing, no catching.
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie are still biting well for some customers using size 6 and size 12 minnows. Bass have been hitting minnows as well and the crappie fisherman are catching them, too. Catfish have been biting well on nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream fishing has slowed but a few are still catching them on redworms.
Arkansas RIver (Morrilton)
(updated 11-30-2016) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said catfish have been fair. Fish with live bass minnows about 1-2 feet from the bottom. Crappie are fair. They are back in coves like Coppers Gap, Point Remove Creek or the Petit Jean River. Use a chartreuse jig with a redhead. Black bass are fair. They’re on the jetty tops at midday. Fish them with black or blue jigs. Charley says there have been few people fishing the pool, but they had a good first split season on ducks. Charley says he saw more different species than he’s seen in many years – mostly puddle and diver ducks.
Arkansas River (Cadron Pool)
Little Maumelle River
(updated 12-7-2016) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) had no report on the clarity, surface temperature or level, but said bream fishing reports were good, and crappie were being caught in good numbers on minnows and jigs.
Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool)
(updated 12-7-2016) Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said crappie were being found in the backwaters suspended about 10 feet and were biting well on minnows. Bass fishing is good; use a black and blue jig. No reports came in on catfish or bream.
(updated 11-30-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said that near Murray Lock and Dam, catfish are fair and biting skipjack. White bass are fair; use twin tail jigs.
(updated 12-7-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water was at a normal level and current. Bream are good in the Clear Lake area on worms and crickets. Crappie were good on minnows and jigs. Bass reports were fair, while catfish reports were poor. Reports from Terry Lock and Dam were that the water was muddy. Bass fishing there was good on crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfish was good at that end of the pool, but no other specifics were available.
(updated 11-30-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported water being dingy. Crappie were biting in 5-6 feet of water on pink minnows. Bass were fair with soft plastic worms getting bites. White bass were good on yellow Vibric Rooster Tails. Catfishing was good near Murray Dam on cut bait. Bream reports were poor. At Terry Lock and Dam, crappie reports were fair with fish in about 6 feet depth and around the rocks and jetties. Minnows and red jigs were working. Bass reports from there were excellent. Anglers were using spinnerbaits, topwaters and other baits.
(updated 11-30-2016) Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) is closed until Feb. 6.
Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 11-23-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said pink minnows have been working for a few small crappie. Bream are biting crickets and redworms. Bass fishing has been fair with size 12 minnows and red plastic worms. Catfish have been biting chicken livers and minnows.
Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
(updated 11-30-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported water being dingy. Crappie were biting in 5-6 feet of water on pink minnows. Bass were fair with soft plastic worms getting bites. Catfishing was good near Murray Dam on cut bait. Bream reports were poor.
(updated 12-7-2016) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said activity was very slow at the lake, with no catches being reported at the bait shop.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 652.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 11-30-2016) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake is about 20 feet lower than last year at this time. Quite a few things are going on. A major cold front came through. Two weeks ago it was in the 80s, looks like they’ll be in the 60s for the next week or so, he said. Lows are getting down in the 30s. Fishing has been pretty good. With the temperature change, the baitfish (shad) are still in the back and in secondary points going in there. A couple of things are still working. Still a topwater bite early. Throwing a Sammie for the topwater, they’ll just randomly find them throughout the day. A squarebill is hitting in these huge balls of shad. You know you’re in the right place when the whole graph lights up white, or you’ll throw your bait in there and they’ll just scoot out on the water. The Wiggle Worm bite is starting to pick up. Wiggle Worm or Rock Crawler working parallel to the bank. If you’ve got bluebird skies, you can always catch fish on a jig. The spoon bite is starting to get going here, it seems to be working off the secondary points, going into the creek channels, getting in that 30-35 feet of water. Using shad-style spoons and just jigging with the spoon. Watch your graph. Also using a shad-style drop-shot bait with an 18-inch leader. That seems to be doing a little bit better than the worm. They seem to be keyed in on the shad pretty good. In back the fish seem to be sitting more on the bluffier style banks; that’s where he's been having most of the luck there, with the jig on those kinds of shoreline. Also in the back areas you can pick up some quality fish on the wake-style baits or the bigger gizzard-style shad baits. Look for the wake caused by the baitfish and that’s what you’re trying to imitate back there. It’s crystal clear out here, the visibility is as clear as he's seen it in a while. Up the lake some in the creeks there is some color in the water. Try getting into that dirtier water, and wind will also help. It’s getting cold, wear a lot of layers.
White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)
(updated 11-23-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said the river has dropped, and if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Southwest Power decide to keep it low, word on the river is that we just might see a nice spawn for the rainbows, too. With the water at minimum flow or just above, you'll need to leave the bigger baits in your tackle box and pull out the trusty spoons: gold Cleos and hammered red-and-gold spoons. You might try your KastMasters or even dust off the old-timers’ favorite: the SuperDuper. Hang a No. 4 Flat fish while anchoring over a deep hole and just watch for the action. Consistent water levels will allow the trout to settle down into some normal feeding habits, so early morning and early evening may be the best times for easy catches. Some folks tell Ron they're having the "other T-meat" for Thanksgiving. Whatever you cook, enjoy your holidays and keep fishing.
(updated 11-23-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported clear water conditions and the river and current normal for the second straight week. There are 2-3 generators running on the White. Rainbows are plentiful and the bite is good. Use PowerBait. No reports on brown trout.
(updated 12-7-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) reported that during the past week, they have had a rain event (about .75 inches here in Cotter), cooler temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.1 feet to rest at 7.5 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 43.7 below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.4 feet to rest at 5.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 21.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1 foot to rest at 7.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 16.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had moderate generation in the afternoon with lower generation in the morning and limited wadable water. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31, 2017, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The state park will be seasonal catch and release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. 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 or 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 hare and copper nymph (size 14) 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- to 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. Remember that the White is infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Berry also said, “I have been involved with the sport of fly fishing, for four decades. I am an angler, fly tyer, guide, fly-fishing instructor, fly-fishing writer, and now manage Blue Ribbon Fly Shop. During this time, I have seen a number of technological breakthroughs, some of which have been game changers. By game changers, I mean things that have had a fundamental impact on the way I fish. My first game changer was my first graphite fly rod. At the time, I was fishing a Fenwick 8-foot, 5-weight fiberglass rod. I was catching trout and was perfectly happy with it. My brother, Dan, bought a Sage GFL580 8-foot, 5-weight graphite fly rod. He let me cast it. It was a game changer. The rod was a full ounce lighter, was easier to cast and easily added 20 feet to my cast. I immediately went out and bought one. I fished it for years and I eventually gave it to my daughter, who still fishes with it. I have noticed that all of the major fly rod manufacturers advertise their latest model as a game changer. They drop an eighth of an ounce in weight; add a new secret proprietary process, create a new exciting name for it, and add $100 to the cost. The only problem is that it doesn’t really change the way I fish like that first graphite rod did. As a fly shop manager, I see and cast a lot of new rods every year and cannot see much difference in them from year to year. I know that in my business this is nothing short of blasphemy. The next game changer that I noted was breathable waders. I was fishing in Simms neoprene waders at the time. They were all right in the winter but in the summer you would sweat like a pig, when you were not in the water. The new breathables were much lighter and more comfortable in warm weather. In cold weather, you could wear a pair of fleece pants underneath them and be toasty warm when the weather turned cool. Now I wear them whenever I am wading and they are the only type of waders we sell in the shop.
He adds, “The latest game changer is the Fish Pond Nomad net. They feature a frame that is a composite of fiberglass and carbon fiber and a clear rubber bag. They are so light that they float. Previously I used a really nice Brodin net that had a frame of fine hardwoods (walnut and elm burl) and had cotton bag. I found that over time the frame on the net that I used in the boat would delaminate from constantly being wet. I noted that flies would easily get caught in the cotton bag, particularly, if they had a barb. It was very difficult to remove the hooks on some occasions. In addition, the cotton bags would eventually weaken and rot. I bought my wife, Lori, and I the biggest boat nets in the Nomad series to use in the boat and on Dry Run Creek. We both love them. They feature a long handle (with a ruler built in) and a huge bag that makes netting the largest brown an easy task. Flies do not get caught in the bag even when fishing double-fly rigs. I also bought a smaller one for me to carry, on the back of my vest, when wading. I like it as much as I do the big boat net. If you are looking for a new net, check out the Fish Pond Nomad. It is a game changer.”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 12-7-2016) Guide Steve Olomon of Steve’s Guide Service said Norfork Lake has finally turned over. It took longer than usual due to the warmer weather we had in November. Look for stripers suspended around 30 feet on flats. Find the bait fish and they will be close by. When you find them, sometimes your screen on your depth finder will be full from the top to the bottom of bait fish. Other times you can see them 10-30 feet thick. Drop a jigging spoon and if you don’t get bite within a few minutes, they aren’t feeding. Then move on and find another school. They have moved up to the banks at night so you can throw stick baits and remember the thing is to reel it in SLOW. You can pick up walleye doing the same thing. They can be close to main points with deep water close by or in coves. Look in the major creeks, too. Some bass are hitting spinnerbaits and crankbaits. The bite is better if there is some wind blowing. There are some holding deeper 10-30 feet and will hit a jig. If you mark a school, drop a jigging spoon. The water temperature is in the mid to upper 50s and the lake level is 552.8, just a little below normal for this time of year.
(updated 11-30-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the lake level has risen slightly and currently sits at 552.86. The surface water temperature is falling slowly and is currently 59-60 degrees. Most of the lake is stained with the main lake the clearest. Lou said he believes the lake has finally finalized its turnover so the lake clearing will begin. Lou also says Norfork Lake has entered its fall fishing pattern. The only big change over the last couple of weeks is that the fish have started to move into shallower water. Stripers, hybrids and whites are being found on 20-45 foot flats. The flats are holding baitfish at all different depths depending on the time of day and big schools of stripers, hybrids and whites are roaming at all different depths feeding on the shad early in the morning as well as in the evening. It is a big challenge finding the schools of fish and it will take some time watching your electronics, but when you find the fish it is a blast. They had four on at the same time a few times. His group has been vertical jigging with a spoon bouncing it off the bottom, but if you mark fish suspended, reel up to their depth and hang on. Areas where Lou has been fishing have not changed from his last report. Start looking on the flats around the Highway 101 bridge up to the Red Bank area, as well as from the Highway 62 bridge up to the Fouts area. Check out the Robinson flat as fish are starting to move in. There has been some isolated topwater action for striped bass and if you are in the right spot and ready you will pick up a few fish. Largemouth bass are starting to school partway back in creeks and coves. Lou found some nice schools of bass on the bottom in 30-35 feet of water. His group was vertical jigging and hooking up one after another. Nice 2½-4 pound fish were being boated. Spotted bass will also be schooling up this time of year. Spinnerbaits have worked well on the windy days and crankbaits are also working on main lake points, as well as, secondary points. Crappie are becoming more aggressive. Look at brush in 20-40 feet of water. You will find the bigger slabs in the deeper water inside of the brush and other nice fish will be suspended above the brush. Small spoons, grubs and live bait are all working at times. Live bait is still your best bet. Walleye are in similar areas as the stripers, hybrids and whites. They have been catching quite a few walleye in 30 feet of water vertical jigging, but the majority of the fish are short.
Lou added that he and his wife hosted a family reunion for her side of the family and they had a great time with 29 family members, and he had the opportunity to fish with many different family members during the week. They had a lot of fun but did get a little cold at times. They caught fish most days. Lou said it was a real joy watching the ones that don't get to fish often land a fish on their own. “No better feeling than seeing those big smiles and shaking arms.”
North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)
(updated 12-7-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake remained steady at 1.1 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation late in the afternoon with much less wadable water. There has been less wadable water on the Norfork. The lake has turned over and there is a sulfur smell on the upper river and with lower dissolved oxygen, in that area, the bite has been slow there. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been an orange egg. Dry Run Creek has been less crowded lately. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.
Buffalo National River
(updated 12-7-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is navigable. With cooler water, the smallmouths are less active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
(updated 12-7-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the creek is navigable. With cooler water, the smallmouths are less active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,112.89 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 12-7-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water remains clear and the lake is down just a little from normal. Crappie fishing is fair. The fish are in 8-10 feet of water and are biting minnows and jigs. Bass are fair. Spinnerbaits and jigs are working best. There has been some topwater action at sunset. There were no reports on catfish or bream.
(updated 12-7-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) said water temperatures are in the mid- to high 50s. Striper activity forecast for the week is good. The lake turnover has been underway and stripers are on the move using main lake structure and mouth of coves, while some stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. There has been lots of topwater activity from stripers and white bass. Make sure you do not keep a striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper or hybrid combinations. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Good striper success will come using live shad fished on free lines and downlines from the surface to 15 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse grubs for stained water; use plugs like Rapala’s No. 14 husky jerk in black back or purple back colors or 5-6-inch Smithwick Rogues in similar colors on downriggers. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs also will produce. Topwaters like 7-inch Redfins, Spooks and Pencil Poppers will also work. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow, current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check Bailey’s website for daily lake level and flow data. Check out these hot spots on the mid- and lower sections of Beaver Lake: Indian Creek, Ford and Cedar creeks, Ventris and Shaddox Hollow, as well as the Highway 12 bridge at the upper section. These hot spots in the upper section of the lake have white bass and stripers surfacing: Prairie Creek, Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, Horseshoe Bend, Mont Ne, Hickory Creek, War Eagle and at the War Eagle/White River junction (Point 12). Watch for gulls working in that area and follow them. Walleye can be found from 10-30 feet deep depending on the area you’re fishing. Three way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble Bs, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 series in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange and/or chartreuse. Bink Pro Scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combination, as well as a variety of jigs, are also producing walleye.
(updated 12-7-2016) Beaver Dam Store said water levels continue to be low during nongenerations. For the fisherman wading, this is good as many areas are aaccessible. Be aware of the off-hour generations as water levels will rise quickly.Trout are still in the feeding mode after the spawn. Many nice- sized rainbows have been caught as well as the occasional brown. Midges, scuds, San Juans, Peach micro-egg patterns, Hare's ears and nymphs are working well. Good lures continue to be gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive, hare's ear, tungsten copper Johns,WD 40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms. Catfish are biting on Wicked Sticky catfish bait along with Magic Bait crawfish/chicken blood bait.
(updated 12-7-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) has been off the water and will resume fishing closer to the end of the year.
Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat has closed his bait shop the remainder of the year.
(updated 12-7-2016) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reported water surface temperature in the 50s and the water level normal. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Bream fishing is fair on worms and crickets. Catfishing is fair; use worms or blood bait.
(updated 11-30-2016) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported water about 3 inches below normal level, with clear conditions and a surface temperature of 54 degrees. Crappie are fair. The fish are suspended about 8 feet deep and are biting both minnows and jigs. Bass are good and are favoring spinnerbaits. Catfishing has been good on chicken livers.
(updated 12-7-2016) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said minnows are the only live bait that is selling right now at Lake Poinsett. He said they will need a lot more rain to bring the lake back up. The best place to launch is at the dam. "Merry fishing and Merry Christmas."
(updated 12-7-2016) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said crappie fishing is fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on crankbaits and gizzards as bait. No reports on catfish or bream.
(updated 12-7-2016) Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides said water levels are running at 289 cfs and water clarity is clear. The river is running really low lately. Easier wading and some days more technical fishing with the low clear water. A downstream cast with Woollies and Crawford’s Guppies and a fast trip back upstream will get the brown trout chasing the fly. Mayfly and caddis emergers, copper Johns and prince nymphs are working well during hatches. Chartreuse has been a hot color this week. Whether it is an egg pattern or a Trout Magnet, the trout like the color.
(updated 12-7-2016) 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. There are fewer boats on the river now. 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).
White River near Newark
(updated 12-7-2016) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said fishing activity continues to be very slow with hardly anyone fishing recently. Water level is low and the clarity is clear.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 11-30-16) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team had no report.
Cane Creek Lake
(updated 12-7-16) Jennifer Albertson at Cane Creek State Park said all has been quiet at Cane Creek Lake – except for the weather. Temperatures have been a good mix of warm in the daytime (when sunny) and cold in the evenings. Several inches of rain recently fell, creating a wet, cold, rainy weekend. However, the rain is due to stop this week, which should create better fishing conditions in the lake. Try for catfish if you have stink bait or worms, and try for crappie if you are using jigs or minnows. These fish should pick up this week. Minnows are available at the park bait shop. Winter hours for the bait shop are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 1-5 p.m. weekends.
(updated 11-30-16) Matthew C. Gillum, the ranger at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705), had no report.
(updated 11-23-16) Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) said the lake as been all quiet based on no reports coming into the bait shop of late. Most are hunting or, if they are fishing, are going to Cane Creek.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.89 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.32 msl).
(updated 12-7-2016) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Monday (Dec. 5) the lake was about 8 inches above normal conservation pool and falling. Current in the river has increased with the gates releasing around 1,987 cfs as of Monday. Water temps dropped slightly over the past week and ranged 50-56 degrees Monday. Navigation is cautioned for Little River due to many missing river buoys throughout the channel on main lake structure. Tailwater level as of Monday at 228.1 feet msl. On main lake structure away from current, clarity and visibility on Monday ranged 4-8 inches due to high wind and rain over the past couple days. Cottonshed, Saline River, Okay Point and northeast quadrant remain stained. Little River's visibility ranges 5-10 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity ranges about 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Little River clarity above McGuire oxbow is stained from rain and wind, about 5-10 inches; some areas have better clarity. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain or thunderstorms. Bass are good from 2-3 pounds on spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps, jigs, and crankbaits. Bass Assassin Shads in Panhandle Moon, Bad To The Bone and Grey Ghost colors are still working by dead-sticking on light wire hook in remaining lily pad stems and vegetation. Sexy West or Ghost-colored Echo 1.75 crankbaits are working. Real Deal Custom Tackle jigs in Habanero, Black/blue, and Texas Craw colors with black craw worm trailers are taking nice 3-4 pound largemouths. Ten-inch Berkley Power Worms in black, black grape and blue fleck continue working around vegetation and drop-offs in creek channels and mouths of creeks. Rat-L-Traps worked along points and in creek channels have been working well for several weeks. Magnum-sized, bulky 3-5-inch big Fatbutt Gizzit tubes are working in creeks next to stumps and standing timber. Best colors over the past week include black neon, pumpkinseed/chartreuse or black/blue. Placing rattles in the tubes are best way with the stained water conditions, and adding scent pads, for the bass to locate the slow moving tubes. Pitching and shaking the rattling tubes near stumps in 8-9 feet of creek channel depths are getting some good responses from lethargic bass on colder days/mornings.
Siefert also said whites and hybrids continue roaming Little River, mouths of creek channels and the oxbows, and are hitting the Citrus, Chartreuse Shad or Tennessee Shad-colored crankbaits, tail spinner Rat-L-Traps, Little Georges, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons, and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white. Crappie have scattered over the past week due to wind, rain, incoming fresh water and increased discharge and current in Little River. Blues and channel cats continue to bite well with the increase of current in Little River over the past couple of weeks. Best bets are trotlines set at 9-12 feet of depth along outer bends of Little River using cut bait and blood bait like Charlie.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 539.92 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
(updated 12-1-2016) Phillip Kaster of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports in Hot Springs said on US97 radio that it's not only good crappie fishing in the area lakes now but it's also crankbait season for the bass. Recent rain has put some needed color back into the water. He heard an excellent report on Kentucky bass and black bass from last weekend on Greeson after the rain. Now is the time to be fishing a crawfish-colored bait, or maybe try a 3/8-ounce or 1/2-ounce jig and swim it down the flatter banks. Throw a spinnerbait around brush, newly exposed brush, and that is also working. You can’t go to Greeson and not have a white chartreuse spinnerbait tied on and ready to go right now.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.58 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 11-30-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 50s and the lake is mostly clear throughout. Fishing is pretty good, looks like the fish are feeding in the vast shad schools between mid-lake and the upper end. Several good catches of bass reported coming from the Shouse Ford, Point Cedar areas. The fish are up pretty shallow at around 5-8 feet of water with deep water nearby. Throw a medium running crankbait or lipless bait across points in major coves. Some nice fish also reported biting spinnerbaits slow rolled across points. Lots of small Kentuckies in the crappie attractors at 25-28 feet. Best bite is on small curly tail grubs and marabou jigs. Also try the bluff banks for Kentuckies at Point 28, the bluffs across from Point 15 and the west side of Goat Island. Try a 4-inch Texas rigged finesse worm worked slowly down the deep bank. Crappie fishing is good between Shouse Ford and Point Cedar. If you can find a big attractor in 25-28 feet, fish will be almost guaranteed. Best pattern has been a 1/16-ounce chartreuse marabou jig fished just above the thickest part of the brush. No need to jig the lure, just move around the brush slowly. Also, you won't feel the bite, especially with bigger fish, that is why you have to lift the lure every few seconds. If you feel weight, you have a fish. Be sure to add a crappie nibble, the fish hold the lure longer. Note: Be sure your sonar is set to 200 kc, which has a narrow beam width. At 77 kc, a wide beam width, brush will mark even though you are off the attractor. Use 77 kc only when looking for attractors. Hybrid fishing remains slow with the fish really scattered. A few reported coming on lipless crankbaits in the Shouse Ford, Point Cedar areas. Fishing will pick up shortly when they begin their migration up the lake. Bream fishing is good and some nice fish are being caught by crappie fishermen on the deep attractors. Drop a cricket or redworm near the bottom on the outside of the brush.
White Oak Lake
(updated 11-30-16) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said bass are biting well on crankbaits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits. Crappie are biting in the river and old river bed. Bream are being caught in treetops.
(updated 11-30-16) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) said there were good reports on crappie the past week.
Mike Knoedl Tri-County Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 337.20 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 12-7-2016) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that the lake has not come up and there were no fishermen through early this week.
(updated 12-7-2016) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no reports.
(updated 12-7-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said fishing was very slow for the week, no one fishing, and no reports were available.
(updated 12-7-2016) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479 647-9945) said water temperature is in the 40s warming to the 50s. River and creeks are dingy. The bass bite has picked up for the big ones. Use Rat-L-Traps, jigs and Bamboozie along the rocks and bluffs, and in the back of some pockets around the dying shad. Crappie fishing has been very good around bridges and brush in 8-10 foot of water. Use white jigs, Electric Chicken, pink minnows. Catfish have been good in the creek on live crawfish and perch. White bass have been good on spoons.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 569.90 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 11-30-2016) David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said the group Lake has noticed that the lake level is a little low. The surface temperature is a little over 60 degrees and the water is clear. David said he was able to do some fishing on Sunday but did not have a lot of luck. He said he was encouraged by marking a lot of striper and they were at all different depths from 15 feet to 45 feet. The problem was they did not seem interested in eating. He was fishing with minnows and his party caught several black bass but only caught one striper. David said he thinks the striper are starting to move into the channels, and once the water temp drops a few more degrees the fishing could be good.
(update 11-30-2016) Phillip Kastner at Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 that he got a good report from one angler out of Lake Ouachita who caught a mess of crappie on just a jig and a spoon. He was using a small, 3/8-ounce chrome spoon around brush piles and caught 5-6 crappie off every brush pile he stopped at. Saw the pictures and he had a bunch of good crappie. So this cooler weather seems to have spurred on a pretty good crappie bite. You can also use a grub or a jig around those same brush piles and get you some crappie. Also some walleye and bass, as they'll hit anything now.
(updated 11-23-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said water temperature is ranging 62-66 degrees and the water is clearing. Black bass are good and being caught with spybaits and topwaters fished over main lake and secondary points. Walleye are still fair and are being caught jigging CC spoons. Stripers are fair on live bait. The central area of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are slow. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 20-25 feet deep. Crappie are very good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. No report on catfish. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) and Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 12-1-2016) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 that quite a few people were running up and down the lake Thursday morning, several crappie fishing but also for bass, as it's crankbait season. The recent rain put a little color in the water and that's what anglers were waiting for; the lake had just been too clear. Kastner said Trader Bill's got an excellent report from Hamilton from Wednesday, a bunch of guys were out there throwing a crankbait on the rocks. So you're seeing more bass fishermen out there as well as crappie fishermen. The wind on Wednesday was a struggle, but Thursday it had died down and the lake was like glass. There was a good layer of fog Thursday morning and whenever it's foggy and no wind, it just plays into a crappie fisherman's hands. Also, with the drawdown, this is what guys wait for all year long, when you talk about draw-down fishing. That's what's going on -- you're throwing a crawfish-colored crankbait. Also you can take a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce jig that's colored like a crawfish and swim it down those banks, the 60-degree banks, not the vertical ones, but more like the ones that are almost flat. And a spinnerbait around newly exposed brush is also working. Hamilton is very shallow, but that's OK if the water's warm, and the water's been in the lower 60s. It may end up cooling off here, but it's fairly warm now and that's what's creating all that early morning fog. So fish around the brush piles. The sun is shining right down on the water, just hovering and the good thing is it really pushes them into the brush piles, makes them predictable, makes them tighter. And don't forget the boat docks on Hamilton. That’s the best shade they’ve got. Throwing a bubble cork right around the edge of a boat dock will catch as much crappie as it will for a brush fishermen. Things are going to change, but that’s OK. that water was entirely too clear; now we’ve got some color in it and we’ll get more in it. You'll have to change some things you’re doing but right now they’re biting good.
(updated 12-7-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the winter drawdown for Lake Catherine is now complete. The five-foot draw will be in place until early March 2017. Water temperature is 51 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. Boaters need to use extreme caution when navigating the area since the low water conditions have exposed many underwater hazards. Rock and sand bar dangers are numerous and made more life threatening by fast water conditions. Life jackets should always be worn by boaters and waders alike when on the water. Entergy is running a dual generation schedule with a 3 hour period in the early morning. The rainbow trout season has begun with the Game and Fish Commission stocking 1,525 trout below the dam. Rainbows have been absent in the lake for months and this influx of fish always jumpstarts the fall fishing below Carpenter Dam. Bank fishermen can use wax or meal worms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms and nightcrawlers also well work when using this same technique. Live bait presentations give anglers the best opportunity to catch trout as artificial lures are often ignored by finicky trout. Spin fishermen will have success casting Rooster Tails in 1/16- or 1/8-ounce weights over sand bars and exposed rock structure. Brown or white colors are best and most effective during periods of generation. Trout adapt quickly to feeding on available forage and will begin feeding heavily on the shad population. Small jigs in gray or white will draw strikes from hungry trout along with small silver spoons fished in the current. Fly fishermen can easily access areas that hold numbers of trout. Shoals are a target area with the head and tail regions normally holding the most fish. Micro-jigs in black or white casted with a strike indicator will catch trout holding in and around current flow searching for prey. San Juan worms in hot pink or red will also work well along with small streamer in sliver. Baitfish provide a huge part of the diet of rainbow trout below Carpenter Dam so matching the forage is critical to fishing success in Lake Catherine. Stripers will move into the tailrace as the rainbow trout stockings become more regular. Alabama rigs, C-10 Redfins, and heavy jigs are deadly lures to use when attempting to catch these large predators. Heavy rods and lines are recommended. Topwater activity will increase with the presence of trout and fishermen need to watch and react quickly when feeding begins.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 383.60 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00).
No fishing reports were recorded.
Bear Creek Lake
(updated 11-23-16) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said activity is considerably lowered on both Bear Creek Lake and Storm Creek Lake for crappie and bream fishing. So far, people are reporting little to no activity from the shoreline, and limited activity in coves from a boat. Crappie and bream being caught are not of any record size, and are only being caught in small quantities. Bass fishing has more moderate activity, both off of live bait and artificial bait. Fish are mainly biting back in the coves of Bear Creek and Storm Creek, however activity has considerably slowed the past few weeks. The Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center located in Marianna, off of Hwy 44 is selling bait and is open 8-5 every day. Call with any questions or to book a campsite.
Storm Creek Lake
(updated 11-23-16) See Bear Creek Lake report.
(updated 12-7-2016) Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported there has been no fishing there with all the rain.