By Jim Harris
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Oct. 2, 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 10-2-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the clarity is now “really clear” and the level is normal. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. They’re being caught off the shoreline. Crappie are fair on jigs. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. No other reports.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-9-2019) Tosha Walker, Lake Catherine State Park Marina manager, said the clarity is clear and the surface temperature is 73.5 degrees. Water level and current are normal. Bream are good. The fish are in a depth of 8-10 feet and are biting worms and crickets. No reports on crappie. Also, no reports on black bass. Catfish are good on stink bait and chicken liver. “There have been a few reports of catfish being caught near the dam on minnows and some catfish have been taken with stink bait,” she said. No reports on white bass. Tosha adds, “Lately, there have been reports of striped bass feeding near the dam.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 10-9-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the water temperature is 70 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 almost 10 feet below flood pool. What few rainbow trout that were living close to the dam have now migrated downstream, as much warmer water temperature has been the norm the last month. Rainbow trout become stressed in water over 70 degrees. Quality trout fishing will return to Lake Catherine in late November when the trout stocking program resumes for the winter season. These fish are stocked in the tailrace and ready to be caught the week of Thanksgiving. October 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 that are everywhere in the tailrace. Hybrid bass also run alongside these fish and will feed on the same prey items. Stripers have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening. 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 that possess great power and are often in the 20- to 40-pound range. Blue catfish in the 4- to 6-pound range have been caught next to the dam on live minnows and stink baits. 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 Carpenter Dam tailrace.
(updated 10-9-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495)saysthat finally, the cooler temperatures have arrived. The forecast expects a very brief warmup before another front brings rain in for Friday. The system will leave cool and clear weather to wrap up the weekend. Visibility is limited to only a few feet. Surface temperature is 78 degrees. As of Tuesday (Oct. 8) the river at Ozark Lock & Dam 12 has held near 345 feet. Tailwater release rose from 52,000 cfs to 64,000 cfs. There has been no power generation at Ozark for several months now. Downriver, pool elevation near Lake Dardanelle State Park remains elevated at almost 339 feet. The Dardanelle tailwater fell briefly to 8 feet but rose again to about 11 feet. Release there had fallen to about 47,000 cfs but has also since risen to about 65,000 cfs. The powerhouse has been generating all day for the last several months. The Dardanelle lock is undergoing maintenance and the anticipated completion date has been changed to Oct. 25. Mariners are asked to contact the lock via radio on Channel 16 or by phone (479) 890-4987, in advance of arrival, for current conditions.
Anglers, please use caution when on the water as the river bottom has changed in many areas. Lake Dardanelle State Park continues to host tournaments every weekend this fall. Reports from anglers are that the bass have been biting on soft plastics, jigs and buzzbaits. There have been several 5-pound bass weighed here and even a few 7-pound lunkers. Baitfish are there for fish to prey on, so mimicking shad may be a good start. The fall tournament season is well under way at the state park. The three-day Big Bass Bonanza will take place on the Arkansas River beginning Friday, Oct. 11. For tournament scheduling and updates, please contact the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center at (479) 967-5516.
(updated 10-2-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no report.
(updated 10-9-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the water temperature has dropped about 4 degrees and will keep going in the right direction for the crappie to stack up on the brushpiles. They are acting spookier than usual, so stay back from the pile and pitch or cast to them.
(updated 10-9-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred all-welded aluminum Xpress fishing boats in Hot Springs, had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.16 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-9-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says the lake clarity has turned muddy and the level is a little low. No temperature was reported. Bream are good on crickets. Crappie are excellent using minnows or jigs. Catfishing is good using trotlines baited with goldfish or shad. No reports came in on black bass.
(updated 9-25-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) said the water is clear and at a normal. Bream are excellent on redworms and crickets. Crappie are good with minnows and jigs. They hear black bass are fair, but that’s about it. Catfish are biting well.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 568.22 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl)
(updated 9-25-2019) Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are still good. The topwater bite is working early, late and on cloudy days. Drop-shot rigging a finesse worm is working well for the spotted bass. Walleye are still fair, with three-quarter-ounce CC Spoons jigged vertically and nightcrawlers on drop-shot rigs producing good stringers. Stripers continue to be good. These fish are located in the eastern part of the lake and are being caught on live bait or big hair jigs. Bream are fair with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 15-25 feet of water near brush. Crappie are fair. “We have been receiving reports of fish being caught with small jigs on brush in 20-30 feet of water,” they say. Catfish are still good and anglers are having luck with rod-and-reel using live nightcrawlers or hot dogs around brushpiles. Water temperature has dropped some and has been ranging 80-84 degrees. The clarity is clear and Lake Ouachita continues to slightly fall to 568.24 feet msl. 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 384.20 feet msl (normal pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-9-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin had no report.