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Updated August 24, 2016
Know Your New Fishing Regulations
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission passed a package of 14 new fisheries regulations for 2017 at its Aug. 18 meeting at the AGFC Headquarters in Little Rock.
The following regulations were distributed for public comment in May and officially proposed at the Commission’s July meeting. They will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017:
• Implement a 10-inch minimum length on crappie at Lake Atkins;
• Replace three-fish daily creel limit on striped bass in Lake Greeson with the statewide daily limit of six fish;
• Remove the one-half daily creel limit restriction on Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d’Arc Lake for all game fish except crappie;
• Clarify the need for a commercial license to sell wild-caught fish;
• Clarify the definition of “snagging” in the AGFC code book;
• Clarify snagging regulations;
• Clarify that game fish may not be possessed while gigging;
• Implement a 14- to 17-inch protected slot limit with a daily creel of 10 fish, one of which may be over 17 inches, for largemouth bass on Mallard Lake;
• Move Dr. James E. Moore Camp Robinson Firing Range pond from Family Fishing Program rules to Community Fishing Program rules;
• Remove Landers Lake from the Family Fishing Program;
• Close commercial harvest of species of greatest conservation need outlined in Arkansas’s State Wildlife Action Plan (available at http://www.wildlifearkansas.com/). Those now prohibited include: lake sturgeon, American eel, striped mullet, highfin carpsucker, pealip redhorse and silver redhorse.
• Close a portion of the White River from Newport Access to Jacksonport Access to commercial fishing for paddlefish and sturgeon;
• Implement a 15- to 18-inch protected slot limit with a creel limit of 10 fish, only one of which may be larger than 18 inches, for largemouth bass on Lower White Oak Lake, and
• Simplify the Commercial Facility Operator’s License by having one Commercial Boat Dock Permit with an annual cost of $25 on any commercially licensed facilities on Commission property.
(updated 8-24-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie are fair in about 12-14 feet depth. Use picnk and crappie minnows.
Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) had no report this week, and last week said it had been a very slow week with not many fish caught; maybe a few bream, crappie, bass and catfish were caught.
(updated 8-24-2016) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip ‘em All Guide Service
saidthe Little Red is receiving several hours of daily generation, providing excellent wade and drift fishing opportunities on all sections of the river. For fly fishing, we recommend streamers, sowbugs, midges and Woolly Buggers. For Trout Magnet fishing, we recommend candy cotton, hot pink and red-colored bodies on chartreuse jigheads. Mark your calendars for the annual Little Red River Cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 10. For more information on the cleanup, check the Little Red River Foundation and TU Chapter 722 Facebook pages. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwest Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(updated 8-24-2016) Greg Seaton with Little Red Fly Fishing Trips
(501-690-9166) said the lake level is 466 feet, which is 3½ feet above normal pool. Usually this would mean 24/7 generation until the lake returned to normal, but because the Little Red flows into the White River at Georgetown, where the Corps of Engineers must try to maintain a level of the White at 13 feet, there is not the generation. The White River is now 16.7 and rising, so generation on the Little Red should remain about the same as the present rate, which is two units for about 4-5 hours each afternoon for the rest this month. The river is clear and by picking your fishing spot according the generation, fishing should be good. Please remember the Little Red River Cleanup coming up Sept. 10. Trout Unlimited and Little Red Foundation are co-sponsoring the cleanup and help is needed. Call Seaton at the number listed here for more information or to sign up, or visit his website.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 466.04 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service
said tthe water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 466.02 feet, which is 3.48 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet and rising it has come up about 5½ feet. Unless its gets super-hot it should stay up through the fall, which would be out of the norm and anglers will have to do a little different thinking for the fall bite. The black bass fishing is getting better by the day as new fish have come up with the water and cooler weather and water temperature. Use spinnerbaits, jigs and soft plastics. Use topwater plugs up in shallow water around the bushes. The deeper and in-between fish can be caught on C-rig, Texas rig, football head and jighead worms, etc. out to 30 feet of water. The crappie are hanging around 10-25 feet of water, eating jigs and minnows around any wood, brush piles, pole timber, etc. The bream will be spawning again with the next full moon, so fish real shallow out to about 27 feet of water with crawlers and crickets. The walleye will eat crawlers and minnows and crankbaits in 12-27 feet of water. The catfishing is going to be good all fall with a lot of fish moving shallow as well with the new stuff in the water. Use jugs, trotlines and rods and reels, with cut bait and live bait as well as prepared bait, on flats close to deep water. The hybrid and white bass are coming to the top at different time of the day all over the lake and roaming or hanging around structure the rest of time as they are feeding pretty good. They will continue to do so with the bite getting better every day. Use topwater baits, swimbaits, spoons, in-line spinners and hair jigs for the best catching as well as live bait, but artificial seems to be out-catching again now.
(updated 8-24-2016) Harris Brake Lakeside Resort
(501-889-2745) said water was clear and surface temperature was 83 degrees. With the drop in temps, the fishing has improved. Bream are excellent and in about 2 feet depth. Use redworms and crickets. Crappie are in about 5 feet depth and have been good. Bass fishing has been good, with spinnerbaits working best. Catfishing is good, and the fish are biting anything.
Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park
(501-354-9007) said water level is high but clarity is good. Surface temperature is 84 degrees. Bream are doing good still on crickets. Bass are doing good in the early morning and late evening (seem to be chasing shad). Crappie are slow but improving with a little cooler weather in 6- 10 feet of water (minnows and jigs). Catfish are doing good on nightcrawlers and bass minnows (jugs and limb lines). Bream, catfish and bass are doing well off the walkway and bank. Banks is the new owner of the bait shop, located in Morrilton off Highway 9.
(updated 8-17-2016) Fosters Four Seasons
(501-868-9061) said rainy conditions had slowed fishing activity considerably the past few days, with not many people out and not many good reports of catches. When it wasn’t raining last week, Fosters reported catches were being made all over the lake with the cooler weather over some of the weekend helped, and it should be cooler temperatures after the rain next week. Large, slab-size bream were reported two weeks ago, and bream overall were good on worms and crickets. Crappie were fair on No. 6 minnows, jigs and niblets. Bass fishing was good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Bass were in the brush and school and seemed all over. The catfish bite was good before all the rain using worms (nightcrawlers), and chicken livers. White bass were school in the lake and the action was good. Fosters has non-enthanol gas, sandwiches, tackle and more for anglers.
(updated 8-24-2016) Jolly Roger’s Marina
reported that crappie are hitting again and black bass bite has improved. Black bass are good and biting on wacky rig worms, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits early in the morning and late in the day. Blacks can be caught in 15-20 feet of water. Blacks are on the sharp banks and 15 feet off the weeks. The rain and cooler weather have activated the bass. Kentucky bass also are good and are being caught on crankbaits and jigs. They can be found in 10-15 feet or water mixed in with the black bass. White bass fishing has been excellent all over the lake. Use CC Spoons, deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. When they are schooling in the main lake, use CC Spoons, white jigs and Rooster Tails. Rain improved the crappie fishing in the last week, as they are in 20 feet depth. Try the edges of the channls and on the old road beds and use crappie minnows or jigs. Bream fishing is excellent and the fish can be found at 15 feet on the bottom. Use crickets or live worms. Catfishing is good and the cats are being caught in 15-20 feet of water. Use stink bait, small bream and chicken livers. It’s not uncommon to pull in a 30-pounder here. Note that the Tuesday Black Bass tournament schedule has concluded and the Fish Off is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17.
(updated 8-24-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that bass have been biting fair late in the evening. Try using black and blue jigs, black buzzbaits, Texas-rigged fighting baits and frogs. Catfishing is fair on trotlines. Baits that are working best are cut shad, goldfish, brooders and minnows.
Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff
(501-834-5733) had reports that bass were good on drop-shorts and crankbaits, while bream were good and biting redworms.
(updated 8-24-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting great this week. Several customers report catching them on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream fishing has been good with crickets and redworms. Bass have been biting fair on minnows and various artificial baits. Remember to release the bass at Sunset Lake. Crappie fishing has been slow.
(updated 8-24-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said the river has been too high to fish this week. If the rain holds off for a few more days, fishing should get good when the water level is just a little above normal with a dark green color. Be safe and fish on.
(updated 8-24-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said bream are biting crickets and redworms. Catfish are being caught on minnows and black salties. Bass fishing has been fair with minnows and dark-colored plastic worms and lizards. No reports of crappie being caught recently.
(updated 8-24-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said they are still hearing of some nice crappie being caught on size 6 and size 12 minnows. Bass have been mixed with the crappie and are biting minnows as well. Catfish have been biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and shad. Bream are still biting fair on crickets and redworms.
Charlie’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said bass fishing is picking up. Use blue and chartreuse crankbaits on ambush points and in the water flowing through the jetty banks. The bass have been good. Catfish are around the jetties early in the dsay and on sand drops as well. Use catalpa worms or nightcrawlers. You’ll find the catfishing good. White bass are all over the shad schools, so use a white or shad-colored crankbait. Bream are bedding up around the sand bars under the full moon. Use crickets.
(updated 8-17-2016) Professional angler and guide Cody Kelley
reported, “Wow, what a difference a week can make!” Usually additional water flow and color help the bass bite, but this week served up just the opposite. Good numbers of Kentucky bass can still be caught on the main river jetties with chartreuse/black backed crankbaits. However, if you want to catch the bigger largemouths, it will most likely be a bit slower going. With the river coming up a little, look to the backwaters to catch a few better fish. Jigs and plastics around laydowns and stumps were the best producers this past week. Some other quality fish are being caught on the backwater sand with topwaters. The catfishing bite is still consistent, but the larger ones are almost entirely nocturnal at this point. Great numbers can still be caught in the main river current using Santee Cooper rigs and cut shad. Now is also the time to begin looking for those big flatheads around timber. Try dropping live bream or rice slicks just up current from big log jams. Don't forget to use your largest line and hooks as a trophy flathead will not be happy about being brought out of his home.
River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the water was muddy but expected to clear soon. The level is normal and the rise has stopped, though it has been raining too much for anglers. There were good reports from catfishing, though.
Vince Miller at Fish ’N Stuff
(501-834-5733) reported that water was murky and the flow at the dam was about 18,000 cfs. Bream are good on nightcrawlers. Bass are good in water parallel to jetties and the shore; use crankbaits, or also try bright jigs and the ends of the jetties. In the backwater, bass are biting jighead worms. Catfishing is good around the dam and biting stink bait.
(updated 8-24-2016) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said Clear Lake is still living up to its name, as its pretty clear these days. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good and hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Near the Terry Lock and Dam, bream are still good on worms and crickets. You’ll find crappie in about 4-5 feet depth in the backwaters off from the dam; use minnows and jigs. Bass are around the rocky points and are biting crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good behind the dam. Try cut bait, shad and skipjack.
(updated 8-24-2016) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reported the water is dingy but there is good current flow and normal level. Surface temperature is about 80. Crappie are biting fair in about 10 feet depth. Bass fishing is good at the ends of jetties on crankbaits, Sinkos and jigs. Catfishing is good in about 15-20 feet depth. Use skipjack. Below the Terry Dam, catfishing is fair. Use shad there.
Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing was fair in the Terry Lock and Dam area. Most success was through snagging and baitfishing using shad, skipjack and goldfish.
Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) reported the water is clear and the level is high for this time of year. Bream are fair, as are crappie and bass, but there were no specifics. Catfishing is good. They’re being caught on stink bait, hot dogs and pretty much anything.
(updated 8-24-2016) Hatchet Jack’s
(501-758-4948) said that catfishing in the lake is excellent using nightcrawlers, minnows and chicken hearts. Bream are fair around the docks on worms and crickets. Bass are fair on the deeper side of Willastein. Try using spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and squarebill crankbaits. No reports on crappie.
(updated 8-10-2016) Hatchet Jack’s
(501-758-4948) reported catfish biting fair on chicken livers and nightcrawlers.
(updated 8-24-2016) Lisa’s Bait Shop
(501-778-6944) said catfish have been biting chicken livers and minnows. Bass are biting minnows and red shad-colored plastics. Bream have been biting crickets and worms. A few crappie were caught this week on pink minnows.
Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said bream fishing is fair. The bream are in about 4-5 feet depth and are biting crickets. Crappie are fair and can be found about 8 feet of depth. Try pink minnows for the crappie. No other reports.
(updated 8-24-2016) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) reported that crappie are fair in the Maumelle River. They are in about 10-12 feet using crappie minnows and white or chartreuse jigs. Bass are fair in the Maumelle River early in the day and late. Use spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and Zara Spooks. Below the Arkansas River dam, crappie have been reported as fair on minnows and various colors of jigs. Bass are fair around the jetty points when the water is flowing. Use Sinkos, creature baits and squarebill crankbaits. Catfishing is fair using bass minnows, cat shad and chicken hearts.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 661.34 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 8-24-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort
(870-453-2424) reported the river level low. As many as six generators are running on the weekends, and the water generally is low early in the mornings and higher in the evenings. A few big browns were caught but they’ve slowed down with the warmer weather of late. Most success has been on Rapalas and rouges. Rainbows are biting PowerBait, red and gold spoons and Little Cleos. There just hasn’t been much fly fishing of late.
Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock
said river levels have remained significantly lower the last few days and the fishing has been very good with fewer hiding places for the rainbows. Gamble said they had several folks working stick baits who came back with pictures of four browns, one weighed approximately 9 pounds. Larger stick baits were used in the deeper holes, suspending rogues with translucent and/or lime green tints were successful. While the rain kept some folks away from the river, those that braved the (mostly) misty skies had successful days with a steady stream of catches. Small spinners with a Colorado blade were popular this week; you'll also want to keep your spoons and Blue Foxes handy.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said that during the past week, they have had a several rain events (a combined total of 2 inches here in Cotter), moderate temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.5 feet to rest at seasonal power pool of 661 feet. This is 34 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.8 feet to rest at 3.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 17.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 feet to rest at 3.1 feet below seasonal power pool and twelve and seven tenths feet below the top of flood pool. We had heavy generation in the afternoon this week with wadable water most mornings. The bite has been excellent. The hot spot has been the Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a pheasant tail nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24-30-foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier) on bigger water. You will need an 8- or 9-weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 554.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 8-24-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
said the Norfork Lake stripers continue their awesome late summer bite. Look for them on points near the dam in 35-40 feet of water before daylight. The rains this week helped the oxygen in the lower end of the lake drop and lowered the water temperature from 90 degrees to the low 80s. Look for stripers in Shoal Creek the front and back of Koso Point, Thumb Point, Dam Cove, Point 1 and then east towards Hand Cove. An evening bite also has begun. That bite usually starts around 6 p.m. up to dark off the lake points. As the sun sets, the stripers will move onto the point flats and begin their evening feed. With the lower water temperature and higher water levels, the crappies should begin to start their fall bite. Right now they will be in the deep brush piles in the 30-feet range. Walleyes are being caught on points and flats using bottom bouncers and spoons in 28-35 feet of water. The best live bait this past week for stripers has been gizzard shad.
Saturday was predicted to have heavy rains, so Tom’s clients canceled, but Sean’s group were ready and willing to go. It turned out the rains only lasted the first 45 minutes of the trip and then it turned out to be a great morning. Dan, Jonie and Brian have fished Norfork Lake using spoons but wanted to try live bait. The bite was slow the first 30 minutes but then it started. Being first-timers using live bait, it is common that it takes a few misses to figure out how to hook the stripers. Jonie missed a couple but then she was on fire. She hooked and landed her biggest striper at 24 pounds before the sun was up. Brian started catching them, and then Dan did, and before they knew it they had their limit and were back at the dock by 7:30 a.m. The bite is unbelievable and should continue this until after Labor Day. The fall bite will be starting soon as the water starts to cool down so make your plans on the web with www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake! Be sure to read Reynolds’ Fall Striper tactics; the article can be found on the www.NorforkLakeChamber.com website.
(updated 8-24-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
said Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort Norfork Lake's summer fishing pattern is showing signs that it is starting to change. Typically around beginning to the middle of September the striped bass move from the south end of the lake and scatter throughout the lake with a tendency to move upriver to the cooler water. This year appears to be a little different. The lake has great oxygenated water down to and a little past the thermocline and then the oxygen level drops to a very low level. This is keeping all species of fish above 40 feet with most concentrating around the 30-35 feet level, regardless of the water depth. The lake surface water temperature has cooled off a bit and currently is in the low 80s down from the 90-degree water temperature of a week ago. I am sure the cooler water is a big relief to the striped bass, as they prefer temperatures in the 60s and low 70s. Because of the change that is occurring, Lou says he is starting to find feeding striped bass up in the mid to northern parts of the lake, which is a little earlier than normal.
Two weeks ago, Lou was fishing the south part of the lake with his granddaughter using threadfin shad and they were limiting out most days with stripers and hybrids. After she went back home, Lou changed his tactics and switched from live bait fishing to vertical jigging with a spoon and to casting lures for largemouth bass. Lou says he has mainly been fishing within 6 miles in all directions from Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. His best bite has been in the late afternoon. Large schools of fish are feeding in 25-35 feet of water mainly on large flats. If you find the bait, there will be fish not far away. The south end of the lake continues to be very productive for striped bass early in the morning with live bait in the same 30-35 feet of water. Look for stripers off of points within 0-2 miles of the dam and you should find some nice fish. The walleye, white bass, catfish and spotted bass bite has been improving and they are in the same type of areas as the stripers and hybrids. One great thing about vertical jigging with a spoon is that they will catch all species. Earlier this week, Lou caught every species in the lake except crappie by vertical jigging. He also likes to horizontal jig by casting out a Kastmaster type of blade bait, letting it sink to the bottom then jerk it back to the boat bouncing it along the bottom. Lou says he’s used his spoons the same way, but have had more success with the blade type baits. He has caught most of his walleye using a ¾-ounce spoon, but instead of vertical jigging he has been moving slowly with his trolling motor and dragging the spoon along the bottom and jerking it as he is moving. Most times they attack it as it hits the bottom after a jerk. Crappie appear to be scattered out on the same flats as all the other fish. They have not moved into the brush as of yet, but will do very soon. He is picking up a few while jigging my spoon, and the catches have been 15-plus-inch monsters. There are some nice largemouth mixed in with all the other species in the same areas, but have had more luck on rocky points going into a creek or cove. Most of the fish caught have been suspended 10-20 feet down and a wiggle wart has worked great. There has also been some sporadic topwater action with a Zara Spook puppy since they wanted smaller bait. For you nighttime bass fisher people, work the bottom with a jig and pig along the bluff lines or use a tube jig or dark spinner bait by docks after dark.
Lake Norfork level is rising very slowly and currently sits at 554.29. Minimal power generation occurring to allow this rise. The lake surface water temperature has fallen to around 83-84 degrees, but it will rise once the air temperature warms up again. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves stained.
Guide Steve Olomon of Steve’s Guide Service
said the lake was 554.2 feet msl over the weekend and the water temperature ws in the mid 80s. Look for stripers on the lower end of the lake from Point 2 to the dam and a couple miles east up in Big Creek near Hand Cove and Jordan. Most of them are suspended down 40 feet and can be on the bottom in 40 feet or out in 100 feet of water. Check the bays down by the dam and out off the points or the deep side of the points. On a clear day Steve lies to use a silver jigging spoon and on cloudy days he likes white. Use at least a 3/4-ounce and use a barrel swivel on your spoon. It helps eliminate line twist. The Fle-Fly bendable spoons are working well. Early in the morning there are some bass hitting topwater. For the deeper fish in the 15-40-feet range, throw a jig, Texas-rigged worm, drop-shot with a small minnow-type bait or a 4-inch worm. Try a jigging spoon for the deeper ones. Some walleye have been hitting jigging spoons down around 35 feet. There are some nice whites and hybrids suspended around 35 feet.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 0.8 feet to rest at 1.9 feet feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 26.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had reliable wadable water every morning, with light generation in the afternoon. The Norfork has fished better on the lower water and has not been as crowded with wadable water on the White. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite fly has been the green butt. Dry Run Creek has been very busy with summer vacation in full swing. It has not fished as well but is still yielding some trophy trout. The hot flies have been size 14 sowbugs, size 12 Y2Ks and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases.
(updated 8-24-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said that with the weather warming, smallmouths are more active. John Berry's favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the river. There are no dams and the river is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said the river is navigable. Try John Berry's favorite lure for smallmouths, the Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering. There are no dams, there are large drainages and the creek prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,117.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 1,120.00 msl).
(updated 8-24-2016) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) reported the water with an average clarity and temperature in the mid-80s. Water level is high. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair if you’re trolling the bank; use minnows and fish deep around the brush piles. Bass are fair throughout the day. Early in the day, fish with topwater lures. Spinnerbaits are working, while use spoons to go for the deeper fish. The night bite is favoring spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on prepared and live bait. You’ll find whites and Kentucky bass around the Point 12 area early in the morning and at sunset.
(updated 8-24-2016) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service
(479-366-8664) reported water surface temperatures in the low 80s and striper activity forecast for the week is good. Mike has been seeing some topwater activity from white bass and stripers in the 5-15-pound range, so make sure you have a swimbait, spoon, jig or favorite topwater like a Zara Spook tied on and ready for blasting fish. They are chasing bait up from about 30 feet deep, pinning them to the surface, and will hit anything thrown into the fray while moving at a fast pace out of it. Hang on when they hit! Beaver Lake stripers are on main lake structures and mouths of coves, etc. Some Beaver Lake stripers are using gravel bars, points, humps, treetops and cuts in the bank to corner bait. Fishing weighted-down lines will definitely get you some fish. Striper will hit live shad fished on down lines 30-60 feet deep. Also try trolling small umbrella rigs with white grubs or chartreuse for stained water, plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors and Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5-6-inch model on downriggers. Jerkbaits like flukes, swimbaits and jigs will also produce. Fish are greatly influenced by lake level and current flow, and current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure; check Bailey’s web site for daily lake level and flow data link. Water surface temps are in the mid-80s. Chuck out these hot areas on the mid- and lower sections: Dam and Hybrid Cove, Point 1, Indian Creek, Lost Bridge North, Point 3, Lost Bridge South, Point 4, Big Clifty and Point 5. Walley are on the main lake in numbers and on the feed. They can be found in 10-20-feet depth depending on where you fish. Use three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water, or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water. Try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers in orange/chartreuse. Bink pro scale 1-ounce jigging spoons in white or white/chartreuse combo and a variety of jigs are also producing walleye.
(updated 8-24-2016) Guide Austin Kennedy
(479-244-0039) said the tailwaters experienced a shift in water temperature this week. Temperature from Houseman to U.S. Highway 62 bridge went from 72 to 68 degrees. The trout bite slack off quite a bit around 9:30 a.m. Trout were biting on various PowerBaits, fished with light terminal tackle. A few walleye were also boated (males). Walleye have responded to jigging with live minnows and various soft plastics. White bass were also caught trolling Rapalas around 6 feet. With the Corps of Engineers generation times being mostly in the evening, you best chance to get in on fishing is the early morning hours.
(updated 8-17-2016) Beaver Dam Store
reported the fly fishing has been pretty good. Fishing the tailwaters of Beaver Dam should remain good. Norfork hatchery dumped trout last Friday around 11:30 a.m. Fishing should be excellent Saturday and Sunday below the dam. The browns can be caught using midges, streamers, hopper patterns. For rainbows, try drifting zebra midges, numphing and swinging small soft hackles. Good lures have been gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons, Flicker Shad in pro series sizes 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies continue to be pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive or hares ear, tungsten copper Johns, WD 40s and Trout Magnets. Catfish are biting on Wicked Sticky catfish bait along with Magic Bait crawfish/chicken blood bait.
Lucky Key at Duck Camp Fishing Retreat
said he closed the bait shop the remainder of the year.
Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reportedthe lake is clearing up and temperature is around 80 degrees. The level is normal. Bream fishing is good on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing is fair but inconsistent; it just depends on the day. Bass are good on plastic worms or flukes. Catfish are good and biting worms, stink bait and goldfish.
Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the water being a little muddy but at a normal level. Surface temperature was 77 degrees. Bass bass were good and biting topwater presentation. Catfishing was good on live bait and chicken livers. There were no reports on bream or crappie.
Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park
said Lake Poinsett has been doing well with minnows for crappie. They are in the deeper channels in the lake. The bass have been doing well on bright buzzbaits. Catfish are doing well on goldfish. Bream are still doing great on crickets.
at Lake Poinsett State Park
said that last Friday a local fisherman caught a 40-pound flat head catfish here at Lake Poinsett. No wonder they are selling a lot of goldfish. Minnows and crickets are still in demand for the crappie and bream. Redworms and nightcrawlers are selling slow. We need more fishermen to let us know what they are catching.
(updated 8-24-2016) Boxhound Marina
(870-670-4496) said the water was clear and normal level, with a surface temperature of 85 degrees. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie appear to be too deep and there were no reports of catches. Bass are good in the morning and can be found close to shore. Use topwater lures. Catfishing is good on chicken livers, shad and shrimp.
Mark Crawford with Spring River Flies and Guides
said water levels are running at 360 cfs and water clarity has been mostly clear. Y2k’s have been the hot flies this week with olive Woollies coming in second. Hot pink Trout Magnets are a must-have for spin fishing and gold and silver spinners. The hot pink Trout Magnet also is the go-to for catching smallmouth in local creeks.
(updated 8-24-2016) John Berry in Cotter
said the Spring River is fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is in full swing and there are a lot of boats on the river. You should fish during the week, if you can. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had 10 inches or more of rain in the past week ruined the fishing opportunities. The water is muddy and has been high was all the rainfall.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Team said water temperatures are around 90 in the main channel and in the lower 90s in backwaters and in Lake Langhofer. Water visibility is a little less than one foot all around. There is some muddier water mixing with cleaner water being flushed from backwaters in places. The river is creeping along, just enough to position fish in likely current-related spots. Black bass are slow throughout the pool. Your best bet is to fish shallow brush with jigs and soft plastics early in the morning, then use small shad-colored crankbaits on pieces of wood and brush on the first break away from the bank for the rest of the day. Although better quality can be caught from offshore brush piles, there are not many fish out there to be caught. High temperatures, abundant food supply and heavy pressure are keeping the bite pretty slow lately.
Pine Haven Bait and Tackle (870-367-4303) said the water level is normal the clarity is murky. Bream are biting well on worms. Crappie fishing is poor, as is bass fishing. Catfish are good on redworms, nightcrawlers and chicken livers.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 257.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 259.20 msl).
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service
said rain continued to keep things cooled off and was a welcome sight. The lake level remains in drawdown, about 19 inches below normal conservation pool and falling. There is increase current of Little River with the gates releasing around 5,082 cfs as of Monday. Water temps were stable over the past week. Navigation is cautious for Little River during drawdown conditions, as of Monday. Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging about 75 degrees early to 89, depending on location. Bass remain good from 2-4 pounds in the early part of the day, with topwaters, spinnerbaits and frogs working best, in Little River near creek junctions. Continue to use caution during navigation on Little River and Millwood, watching for stumps, timber, and limbs at or near surface during drawdown conditions. Tailwater level as of Monday is 234.8 ft-msl. Clarity and visibility is consistent over last couple weeks, most areas on main lake and Little River due falling water during drawdown. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility ranges about 8-12 inches. Cottonshed and northeast section of the lake remain stained. Little River's visibility ranges 8-15 inches depending on location and current. The oxbow's clarity currently ranging about 15-25 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Little River above McGuire Oxbow is semi-stained, some areas have fair to decent clarity.
Bass are improved over the past week's cooler surface temps, and are good from 2-3 pounds on topwaters early and late out of the current and Little River. Most bass are aggressive at dawn around lily pad stands and shallow vegetation where you can find the clearest water away from current in backs of the creeks and oxbows. Buzzbaits continue to work well, and Chug-Bugs, plastic frogs, Baby Torpedoes, Ken Pops and Jitterbugs all remain a good top water choice early. Working topwaters around pads and vegetation adjacent to deeper sections of the creek channels will draw good reactions at dawn. Good bites continue on the soft plastic frogs and Bass Assassin Shads this week around pads in clearest water you can find. Johnson chrome spoons with curly tail grub trailers are taking some good fish in the lily pads. Bass Assassin Shads in Mississippi Hippie, Gold Pepper Shiner, Rainbow Trout, or Rainbow Shad continue working best. Rat-L-Traps and 1.75 Echo cranks continue working in creek mouths, ridges and along vegetation growth and weed lines near deep water drops. Chartreuse Shad or Citrus Shad Bomber deeper diving crankbaits continue to be best reaction colors in the oxbows over the past week by largemouths and white bass alike. Magnum sized, 4-inch salty tubes and Berkley Craw Fattys in black neon, black/blue or grasshopper colors are working also in the oxbows, near stumps, cypress knees and lily pads. Real Deal Custom Tackle Jigs continue catching nice keeper-size bass from 3-6 pounds. Best locations are near creek channel swings with stumps or cypress trees, and best colors to get a response over the past week or two have been the Texas Craw, PB&J;, and Habenero colors. Big, bulky 10-inch worms in plum, blue fleck, and purple are still working in the Little River 8-12 feet of depth, and also around creek mouths dumping into Little River.
Whites/hybrids continue roaming the oxbows and continue hitting the Tennessee Shad or citrus shad-colored crankbaits in the back of the oxbows. Several days over the past week, with the heavy cloud cover, the whites were again surface-breaking on shad in back of Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows. Those fish were hitting small, Smokey Joe Pop-R's, Ken Pop's and Chug Bugs with a rear feather tail hook, and Little Cleos, Rocket Shads, jigging spoons, and Rooster Tails in red/white or chartreuse/white, and Rat-L-Traps. There were no crappie reports. Blues and channel cats remain good in Little River on trotlines about 9-13 feet deep, in creek mouths and outer bends of the river. Best trotline baits last couple weeks continue to be chicken livers, cut shad and buffalo.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 546.76 feet msl (Flood pool – 548.00 msl).
No reports were submitted for this week.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.51 feet msl (flood pool – 408.00 msl).
(updated 8-24-2016) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the lake is clear except in the upper reaches, where it is stained. Bass fishing is only fair; looks like the high water has the fish scattered. A few decent catches reported coming in the early morning at mid-lake and toward the lower end. Look for schooling fish in the big coves between points 2 and 4. Also some action around Alpine Ridge and Yancey Creek. Best bet are surface plugs, flukes and 4-inch swimbaits. Color is not too important as long as it is in some natural shad pattern. Crappie fishing has slowed due to the high water, which put the fish off their feed Hybrid fishing is fair in the deep water in the Iron Mountain area and around the dam. Look for fish on the sonar which will be suspended at about 50 feet in 100 to 130 feet of water. When fish are located, drop a heavy jigging spoon to just above the fish. Since the fish are scattered, it is no use to drop the spoon until fish are located. This is a game where you will spend more time looking for fish than fishing. Bream fishing is slow, and it looks like the high water scattered the fish that were on secondary points at 20 to 25 feet deep. A few catfish reported coming at night on noodles in the major creeks such as Big Hill and Brushy. Bait with hot dogs, cut shad, night crawlers, or some prepared stink bait.
(updated 8-24-2016) John Duncan with yoyguideservice.com
said the lake is up considerably from the recent rains. The water level is up to 406.23. The water temperature is around 80 degrees in most areas. That is a 6-degree cooldown change in August. The big story is the schooling fish. You can find them throughout the lake. Good concentrations of white, blacks and some hybrids at Caddo Drive. Use small spoons, shad-colored topwaters, spoons and crankbaits. Hybrids are showing up at mile markers 2 and 4. Same bait selection for imitation of bait fish, which about 1½ inch in length. No report on black bass. Bream are finishing bedding activities. Use electronics to find beds or fish deep brush piles or rocky points. Crappie bites are slow at best. Deep cover, fish inside structure (tight line) with live minnows. Crappie can be caught from Point Cedar through mid-lake. They are at 15 feet to the bottom minimum. YOUR BEST BET FOR FISHING ACTIVITY IS HYBRID FISHING LATE OR EARLY.
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
reported shad are everywhere, and random schools of white bass are breaking early in the mornings. The latest bouts of rain should cool the water and help with catching all species.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said the Ouachita River in Camden hit a pair of spikes over the past week and weekend, pushing water levels up to flood stage for several hours. Areas affected were the river, backwaters, oxbows and creeks/streams that are part of the Ouachita River systems.
Local angler Jaret Rushing said there were no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 337.00 feet msl (full pool – 342.00 msl).
(updated 8-24-2016) Andrew's Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025)
reported the water was dark and muddy and the surface temperature was 80 degrees. Bream are fair but seem about to taper off. Crappie are good and found in 4 feet depth. Bass are good, though it’s better in the afternoon than any other part of the day. Try plastic worms and buzzbait. Catfishing has been excellent as far as catching blues. Flathead bite has been slow.
Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said there was no fishing with too much water, flooding them out.
(updated 8-24-2016) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615)
reported clear water conditions with a surface temperature of 82 degrees. Bream fishing will be excellent if anglers can find the new areas where bream are bedding. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are starting to bite and there were good reports in recent days. Try using Bobby Garland Baby Shad or minnows. Bass are good on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers, chicken livers and shad. No reports on white bass.
Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service
(479-774-9117) said water temperature is in the low to mid-90s. Water clarity is good in creeks and rivers. Bass fishing has been good on points with wood, on shell beds, and drops with brush piles. Crankbaits swimbaits and worms have been working well with a topwater bite occasionally. Striped bass have been good on swimbaits, spinnerbaits and Rat-L Traps. They also have a topwater bite going occasionally with Zara Spooks and poppers. White bass have been active off main river points, with crankbaits Rat-L Traps and topwater baits working well. Bream have been good with worms and crickets around down trees along the main river. Catfishing has been good in the main river in the deeper holes on shad.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 575.51 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort
(870-867-2191) said water temperature is 78-84 degrees and the clarity is muddy. Lake level on Tuesday was 575.49 feet msl. Black bass are still fair and still being caught with Texas-rigged worms, pig-n-jigs and buzzbaits. Brush piles on main lake and secondary points are producing the best results when fished with Texas-rigged plastics or jigs. Drop-shot finesse worms are working well for “spots.” Walleye are still excellent and are being caught trolling shallow running crankbaits and jigging CC spoons. Stripers are fair to good on live bait. The central and east areas of the lake are the best areas for these fish. Bream are good. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 20-25 feet deep. Crappie are fair. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 25-30 feet deep near brush. Catfish are fair to good. Try nightcrawlers, trotline minnows or hot dogs in depths of 15-20 feet.
David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association
said fishing for striper on Lake Ouachita has been tough. They are seeing fish from Crystal all the way to the east side from 20 feet to 70. As a live-bait fisherman, Draper said, he has tried everything and nothing seems to help. Bottom line is, if you find a couple of hungry fish, they will bite, but that is few and far between. Draper said he doesn't know if artificial baits are working or not.
Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips
reported shad are everywhere, and random schools of white bass are breaking early in the mornings. The latest bouts of rain should cool the water and help with catching all species.
(updated 8-24-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service
, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 64 degrees and rises to 67 degrees below the bridge. Clear conditions exist in the tailrace as the normal summertime pool levels continue until November. Recent heavy rainfall has caused Entergy to schedule heavy generation below Carpenter Dam this week in an effort to keep area lakes at normal pool. Flood gates have also been opened to aid in this effort. Rain is forecasted for the rest of this week and into early next week so flow times below the dam could be longer than scheduled and increased flow rates are possible. Until normal conditions return, anyone navigating the tailrace should use extreme caution and only when the flood gates are closed. Sadly, the rainbow trout season is over until mid-November when the stocking program begins again. The vast majority of trout have either been caught or migrated away from the dam. The few fish that remain are extremely wary and almost impossible to catch. Thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the tailrace in search of cooler water to spawn. Interestingly enough, few white bass or stripers have moved in to feed on the baitfish. No topwater activity has been observed and few bass caught in the past week. No catfish or drum have been taken in the swift conditions. Until lake conditions return to normal, fishing in the Carpenter Dam tailrace will be very poor.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 385.84 feet msl (flood pool – 384.00 msl).
No fishing reports were recorded.
Natalie Carter, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040)
, saidthe lake had an active weekend following cooler temperatures. Crappie are responding well to live bait – biting at moderate to deep depths on crickets. Bream are on their beds and active, with fishermen reporting higher activity levels in the lake’s coves than previous weeks. Bass are responding well to jigs and worms, especially around underwater habitat and near the shoreline. No reports on catfish.
(updated 8-24-2016) Mississippi River State Park
(870-295-4040) reported the cooler temperatures prompted a more active weekend at Storm Creek. Bream are on their beds and responding well, both from the shoreline and from the boat. Crappie are biting at more shallow depths (8-10 feet) on live bait and jigs. No reports on bass. Some activity with catfish, but nothing noteworthy.
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) reported the water being dirty in the main channel, while the lakes are better clarity. Water was within 3 feet of flood stage and would be high until this coming Sunday. Bream fishing has been good on worms and crickets. Bass are good, and several were caught during the recent tournament, but they are slowing down because of the rising water. There were no reports of crappie or catfish.
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