By Jim Harris, AGFC
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Sept. 18, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email email@example.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
(updated 9-18-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the water is “really clear” and the lake is getting low. Bream are fair on redworms. Some anglers are catching a few crappie, and overall the bite is fair; use jigs. Black bass are good. Plastic worms and soft baits are your best bet. Catfishing is fair, with nightcrawlers working best.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-18-2019) Tosha Walker, Lake Catherine State Park Marina manager, reports thatLake Catherine’s conditions are clear clarity with a surface temperature of 82.5 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are excellent. They are biting worms and crickets in 8-10 feet depth. Crappie reports are poor. Black bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfishing is good; use stink bait or chicken liver. No reports on white bass.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-18-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the water temperature is 65 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy is alternating a minimum flow pattern along with selected days of generation that last several hours, as Lake Ouachita remains over 8 feet below flood pool. Only small numbers of rainbow trout are left in the area because of the heavy flooding early in the year. Bank fishermen can still catch some trout in slack water periods by presenting trout with nightcrawlers and redworms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Waxworms and mealworms used in the same manner will allow anglers to catch rainbows that are actively searching for food. Live bait presentations cannot be overemphasized because trout become much more wary as their environment warms and the summer heat sets in. Quality trout fishing will return to Lake Catherine in late November when the trout stocking program resumes for the winter season. September still holds numbers of white bass, although the size is smaller than in a normal year. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jig presentations will all draw strikes from these temperate bass from the dam to the bridge as they feed on shad for months. Hybrid bass also run alongside these fish and will feed on the same prey items. Stripers always migrate into the area in the summer months in search of food and cooler temperatures. Balloon rigs with gizzard shad give anglers a good chance to hook a big striper, but artificial lures such as Super Spooks and Alabama rigs should not be overlooked. Strong rods and lines are recommended for these predator fish, as they possess great power and are often in the 20- to 40-pound range. Anyone navigating Lake Catherine should always wear a life jacket and be aware of the generation schedules. All park rules and regulations must be followed in the tailrace.
(updated 9-18-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495)saysthe week ended with sunshine and unseasonably warm weather. The forecast expects a break in the heat with temperatures in the upper 80s and chances of showers for the weekend. Visibility in the lake is limited to only a few feet. Surface temperature is 88 degrees. As of Tuesday the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 fallen to 339 feet. Release had been around 41,000 cfs going last weekend and is now around 21,000 cfs. There has been no power generation. We have no update on dredging operations between Shoal Bay and Spadra between river miles 221 and 225. The Army Corps of Engineers has released a navigation notice regarding this area. https://www.swl.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1937765/mkarns-nav-notice-swl-19-62-update-shoaling-between-nm-2217-and-2225/. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park has returned to near normal. The Dardanelle tailwater has held around 7-8 feet. Release has steadily fallen from about 46,000 cfs to near 23,000 cfs. The powerhouse has been generating all day for the last few months.
Please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. Lake Dardanelle State Park hosted the TH-Marine BFL Arkie division championship Sept. 7-8. About half of the field weighed at least three fish out of a 5-fish limit. On Sept. 14 the Arkansas Freedom Fund held the Fishing with Heroes event to benefit our military veterans. Reports from anglers are that the bass fishing was tough, which has been typical for September. Bass have been biting on soft plastics and jigs but have been picky about structure. Small yellow bass and channel catfish are biting on worms. The fall tournament season is just getting started at the state park. For tournament updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
(updated 9-18-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 9-11-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrid bass are schooling.
(updated 9-11-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake levels normal with some water release on the river section in the afternoons. Water clarity is at most places in the lake near 8 feet of visibility. Lake temps at the surface still hover around the 90-degree mark. Although the days are hot, the bass fishing is still decent in most areas of the lake. Main lake points are holding large numbers of bass –especially spotted Bass in depths of 15-20 feet and usually over brushpiles or chunk rock bottoms. If you can find some current, it is usually very lucrative to fish the downstream side of an obstruction in or near the current. Drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, spoons and medium- to deep-diving crank baits are the way to target these fish. Shad-like colors, along with watermelon seed and plum colors, seem to do best. Bass are not super aggressive, so just be patient with them and downsize your bait and hooks. With the days getting shorter, bass are starting to bulk up on baitfish, but because of the warm temperatures they are resistant to go into a full-fledged binge. Odds are fall is going to roar in all of a sudden one of these days and when it does … IT’S ON and the reels will be screaming!
Catfish are good as usual on cheese and cut baits in creek channels and off main lake drop-offs near current. Several reports of hybrid schools feeding heavily at times near the Carpenter Dam area. No crappie report this week. Good Luck! And Go Greeson!
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.69 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) reported that the clarity still is clear and the water level is normal as of Tuesday. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good. They have moved shallow, in 8-10 feet of water with the bite at about 5-foot depth, best around the brushpiles. Use minnows, Electric Chicken and jigs. Black bass are good, with best results on plastic worms or black/silver Rat-L-Traps, Carolina rigs and worms. Catfishing is good. Goldfish are great for noodling, otherwise use crankbaits or jigs for the cats.
(updated 9-18-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 569.36 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl)
(updated 9-11-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are fair to good. Texas-rigged worms, drop-shot rigs and spoons fished over points are working. The topwater bite is picking up early and late. Walleye are still fair. Three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs are producing good stringers. Stripers are still good. They are located in the eastern part of the lake and are being caught on live bait or big hair jigs. Bream are good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 15-26 feet of water near brush. No reports on crappie. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with rod-and-reel using nightcrawlers around brushpiles. Water temperature is ranging 86-90 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Contact the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822_ for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.71 feet msl (normal pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-18-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin had no report.