Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 24, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email [email protected] with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
(updated 4-24-2019) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is stained and is a little high. Crappie are good on minnows and white/chartreuse jigs. Fish for the crappie around the green cypress. Black bass are excellent. They’re bunched up around the shoreline. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms in a June Bug color are working great. Catfishing is good on cut bait, worms and large minnows, and yo-yos and trotlines are getting fish. Bream are good on worms and crickets.
(updated 4-24-2019) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said the river is clear with a flow of 3,200 cfs (one-unit generation). The flood gates were open yesterday because the generator had to be shut down due to a malfunction, but the unit should be able to be started on Wednesday so the release will be through the generator at that time. The actual flow has not changed during this period. This flow should be the same for the next several days. No wade fishing is possible on this flow but drift-fishing is fair to good using weighted flies. Please take care while drifting and watch the path of your boat staying away from the docks and other obstacles. Do not let your boat get lodged on the upstream side of these hazards.
(updated 4-24-2019) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing one unit of generation, or equivalent of one unit through spillway gates, 24 hours at this time. This is because the Greers Ferry Lake level is above normal seasonal pool due to recent rains, so longer periods of generation are expected to lower the lake level as quickly as possible. San Juan worms, microjigs and streamers are working for fly-fishing. For Trout Magnet fishing, use cotton candy and hot pink bodies on silver and chartreuse jighead. 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 Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 469.33 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 4-24-2019) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said Wednesday the water level at Greers Ferry is at 469.34 feet msl, or 7.3 feet above normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. With rain in the forecast again, it should rise more. Generators are down and the spillway is releasing water currently and will continue to do so until normal pool is attained. Crappie are spawning. Some have spawned, some are spawning, and some have not. Fish a jig or minnow in and around buckbrush. Walleye are trying to get bunched up in the lake. Try dragging a minnow or crankbait over rocky flats in front of bushes or even swim a grub in front of them. Catfish are eating bream and cut bait on a variety of applications on flats in lake and rivers. Black bass are eating, spawning and recovering all at the same time. They are super shallow and also can be found out to 20 feet of water. They can be caught a lot of different ways. Bream are eating crickets. small crankbaits and inline spinners from real shallow out to 15 feet. Hybrid and white bass are in all three phases of getting rid of their eggs as well. Try super shallow out to 30 feet with a gauntlet of baits.
(updated 4-24-2019) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reported the clarity is “a little cloudy” and the level is high. Surface water temperature was not recorded. Bream have picked up quite a bit, with a good bite the past week. Use worms or crickets. Anglers are hitting limits with the crappie; they report a good bite with minnows. Anglers are also hitting limits of black bass. Catfishing is good, especially baiting with goldfish. A 30-pound catfish was caught this past week.
(updated 4-17-2019) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the water level is high by about 2 feet and the clarity is good. The surface temperature is around 65 degrees. Black bass are doing well on buzzbaits and plastic worms. Bream are slow but should start picking up any day now with this warm weather. Catfish are being caught on jugs and trotline with bream and minnows. Crappie are being caught on jigs and minnows; some are close to the bank and others are in 6-9 feet of water around brushtops and structure
(updated 4-24-2019) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said the lake clarity is clear and the surface temperature dropped just a little to 64-65 degrees as of Monday morning. The level is high by about 2 feet. Larry says that if you’re wanting to crappie fish, “you need to get them now.” They are shallow and all around the shoreline. Twister tails are getting hits, and other jigs and minnows will get some action. Reports are good. Black bass are good on shallow crankbaits. Work them around the brush. Catfishing is fair. Bream are fair.
(updated 4-24-2019) WestRock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland reports water temperatures in the mid- to upper 60s. Largemouth bass are good.Most of them can be found shallow. With the temperatures rising most are in 3-8 feet of water and some can still be found in depths of 16-20 feet. Try using chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, drop-shots and swimbaits. Mike Hammatt and Brandon G caught a 4.91-pound Big Bass in Tuesday night’s tournament, but it was Brad Lequieu and Cody Bryant who pulled in a 13.68-pound stringer of five black bass, including a 4.85-pounder, to win. Meanwhile, anglers are finding Kentucky bass slow these days. There are some reports of them being found in 6-8 feet of water outside the grass line. They can also be found in 12-16 feet off drops and rocky banks. White bass are good. Reports of the run slowing down. Some can be found mixed in with the crappie on the flats in the afternoon hours. Try using Rooster Tails, jerkbaits and rattle baits. Crappie are good.They are heading out of the deeper holes. Reports of them being found 3-8 feet as well as 12-16 feet but are still scattered. Try using jigs and minnows. No reports on bream this week. Anglers report channel cats are moving in to shallow water. Try using stink bait, crayfish, or worms. The catfish bite overall is slow.
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said several customers are reporting that the catfish are biting chicken livers, minnows, nightcrawlers and bait shrimp. Please remember the limit is three catfish per person on Sunset Lake. Crappie have been biting fair early in the mornings on No. 6 minnows, pink minnows and small pink jigs. Bream are starting to bite pretty good on crickets and redworms. Bass have been hitting live minnows, floating worms, Carolina-rigged lizards and topwater baits.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie and catfish have been biting No. 6 minnows in both ponds. Catfish have also been biting nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bass are hitting minnows, floating worms and small topwater baits. Bream fishing has been fair with crickets and worms.
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) saidfishing on the river has been up and down with the water. Bass have been biting large minnows, 4- and 6-inch green pumpkin or watermelon red lizards, crawdad crankbaits and small spinnerbaits. Crappie have been biting in some backwaters and deep holes. No. 6 minnows and Kalin’s grubs have been catching some good stringers. Catfish are biting minnows, goldfish, black salties and nightcrawlers. Walleye fishing is slowing down and we’ve had no recent reports of catches. Bream will bite crickets or redworms.
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) saidthe big bream are turning on slowly but surely. Customers report catching some fat ones recently on crickets fished near the bottom and close to deep logs and brush. Bass fishing has been fair with minnows, Texas- and Carolina-rigged plastics, topwater frogs, Pop R’s and buzzbaits early in the morning. Crappie fishing is still good for folks using No. 6 minnows. Customers tell us the crappie fishing is getting better each year but still can be tough. Catfish are still plentiful and biting well on minnows, goldfish, black salties and nightcrawlers.
(updated 4-10-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie are good. Anglers are finding them at 10-12 feet depth and they’re interested in minnows and also going after spider rigs.
(updated 4-17-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says
catfishing is fair. Use chicken liver or nightcrawlers. Black bass are good on Texas-rigged Trick Worms.
(updated 4-24-2019) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says crappie are fair on minnows and jigs, especially Electric Chicken-colored jigs. Fish in the spillway for the crappie are fair on works and crickets. Black bass are good, particularly on black/blue jigs and Texas-rigged creature baits. Bass are moving toward the beds. Nothing reported on bream or catfish.
(updated 4-24-2019) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fishing has been good with No. 6 and No. 12 minnows. Bobby Garland Baby Shad and Itty Bit jigs in a couple of colors have been working, too. Bass have been hitting minnows, Carolina-rigged worms, lizards and Brush Hogs and topwater baits early in the mornings. Catfish are biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream are starting to move into some of the shallow coves and are biting crickets and redworms.
(updated 4-10-2019) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said, “Well, it finally started. After months of bad weather and high water, fishing has really taken off.” The surface water temperature has ranged 55-60 degrees and water is calm. Black bass are in the shallows. The bass that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have put in for four years is really paying off. Use big thunder sticks, green pumpkin, and also use chatterbaits in white. Results with black bass have been great. White bass are around most of the creeks like Point Remove, the Petit Jean River and Flagg Lake Cut-off. Use shad or pearl crankbaits. Good reports on white bass. Catfish are also moving around. Go below Nos. 9 and 10 dams, and use shad or skipjack. Reports are good. Bream are good on crickets around the grass. For crappie, use chartreuse with red-headed jigs. You’ll find them up the Petit Jean River, Point Remove Creek and Cypress Creek and around the Nos. 9 and 10 locks. No reports on striper. “The fishing has just exploded,” Charley said. “It’s about time.”
(updated 4-24-2019) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the clarity is muddy, the level is high and the current and water continue to happen the fishing. Poor reports on all species for the second week in a row.
(updated 4-24-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says that with high water and muddy clarity, there have been no reports from here.
(updated 4-24-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is poor but are nibbling at skipjack and snagging. White bass are good on white/chartreuse twister tails.
(updated 4-24-2019) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) says the water in the pool remains high and has a muddy clarity. There is very little fishing to report, outside of crappie. The good news is, the crappie bite is good. They’re favoring white/chartreuse jigs and are biting in the backwaters. No reports on bream or catfish. Black bass are biting well in the pool below Terry Lock and Dam, with stripers reported good on pearl swimming minnows. Water there is muddy and high. No surface temperature was reported.
(updated 4-24-2019) Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is cloudy in clarity and is high. There is also a lot of current flow, they report. Crappie are good. They are in a depth of 10-15 feet and are favoring red/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are fair on black crankbaits, black/blue jigs and buzz baits. Catfishing is fair with chicken liver, stink bait and nightcrawlers. The reports on bream were poor.
(updated 4-24-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the report is like last week: The water level at the southeast end of the pool is high and the clarity is muddy. The fishing is slow with the high and muddy water. Poor reports all across the board on bream, crappie, bass and catfish.
(updated 4-17-2019) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfishing is fair at the Murray Lock and Dam by snagging and with skipjack. White bass are excellent, with best success coming with 3-inch Bobby Garland Slab Slayer.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 4-24-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water level remains high and the clarity continues to be muddy. This is not helping the anglers at all. Poor reports still across the board on bream, crappie, bass and catfish.
(updated 4-24-2018) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the clarity remains a little dingy and the water level is still high. No surface temperature was recorded. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on jigs and bass minnows. Catfishing is good with hot dogs and strawberries. Bream reports were poor.
(updated 4-24-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “Visitors to and denizens of the Arkansas Ozarks have been blessed with the most gorgeous spring weather this past week; it has been breathtaking. The redbuds brightly budded followed by the dogwoods displaying all their beauty, plus so many shades of new green popping up all around us all attest to Arkansas’s nickname: The Natural State.” They report that this week the fishing has taken a backseat to the flora and fauna, but not because it hasn’t been spectacular. The brown trout bite continues to be very good, numerous 19-inch to 23-inch fish brought to the boat mostly with smaller-size sculpins and a little chumming of shad. Another hot bait this week is the Vibrax Blue Fox spinners, gold blade, 3/16-ounce or quarter-ounce. “We used them an entire day without a slowdown in the catch. “The water has remained fairly steady at around 3,000 to 4,000 cfs (about a unit from the dam), a little low, so don’t use anything too heavy or with multiple hooks lest you get hung up. Come share nature’s gifts with us and experience real life on the river.”
(updated 4-24-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and now the river level has been low, meaning that the surface temperature in turn is cooler. Two generators have been running at the dam. And this means, the trout bite the past week has been excellent. Rainbow trout are biting spinners and PowerBait. Browns are favoring rainbow rigs and white jigs.
(updated 4-24-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week they have had an inch of rain, warmer temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 1.4 feet to rest at 1.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 34.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.5 foot to rest at 0.3 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.7 foot to rest at 0.4 foot above seasonal power pool and 9.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had light generation and no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.5 feet to rest at 2.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 23.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork River had less generation and reliable wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River System are near the top of power pool. Expect more wadable water in the near future if the rain would stop. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section at Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead 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 (John’s current favorite combination is a size 12 egg pattern with a size 14 prince nymph suspended below it. Use plenty of lead to get your flies down).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 661.67 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-24-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said crappie are good on minnows and jigs and are active around brush piles and bushes. Crappie are spawning. Walleye will bite if you’re bottom-bouncing with night crawlers at secondary points. Bream are shallow and the bite is good. They’ve moved onto the shoreline. More of Del’s reports are available on Youtube: Del Colvin, Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 557.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-24-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “I have the full moon blues. What is normally a great month (April) to fish when the full moon appears has turned into a nightmare. The water temperature was up to 62 degrees and heading up when a cold snap happened and the lake went back down to 52 degrees. Normally the lake should be around 68 degrees and with the full moon the threadfin shad would be spawning and the fish activity would be crazy. Right now with the clear water and cold nights it has taken forever for the lake to get back to 60 degrees. Hopefully that should change this week and we can get the lake temperature back up and let the spawning process begin. I figure is will be another week or so before we will see any type of spawn. The crappie have moved back to deeper water and being caught over the new brush piles but until it warms up they will stay put.
“This past week I fished all week and I thought it was gone to be great after Monday. I pre-fished Bennett’s Bayou Monday morning and had fish going crazy around 8 AM. So the next day I took my clients up there and we did not have a bite in 5 hours of fishing. The following morning I took my clients south to Big Creek and we only had 3 bites. They had booked 2 trips so I suggested we fish the evening since the moon was coming up late and it was almost full. We ended up with 10 stripers and hybrids in the boat. Friday and Saturday nights we fished and caught stripers but the each night the bite was slower. Now I’m off a couple of days and will let my son find the morning fish before I start fishing again on Tuesday. The moon will be fading and staying up during the day so that will help on the daytime fishing.”
(updated 4-24-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said springtime is here on Norfork Lake with fish spawning and topwater action starting. The bite for crappie is very good at this time. Some of the fish were spawning, then we had a cold front roll through last weekend which dropped the lake temperature 4 degrees. With the rainfall the lake has risen about 2.5 feet since my last report. Needless to say, this pushed the crappie off of the banks to their staging areas. Even with all the change, it did not hamper the bite for crappie. At this time one of the best methods of fishing for this species is by trolling small #7 crankbaits. The Flicker Minnow or the Flicker Shad has been working great for me and all of my guests. A darker color, such as, slick firetiger works the best early in the morning before the sun hits the water or on cloudy days. Once the sun gets over the tree line a lighter color, such as, slick pearl silver has been working. Large schools are roaming in 20 to 30 feet of water off of drop-offs or near sunken brush. The crappie are suspended 10 – 30 feet down. Live bait or small jigs should work great once you locate the fish. Some of the best areas are still back in the smaller creeks and coves, but with the weather changes some nice fish have moved out to the mouths of these creeks and coves, especially if there is brush in the area.
The largemouth bass bite continues to be strong. This species has proceeded with their spawn, even with the weather and water level changes. You will still find bedding fish close to the banks and others cruising the shoreline. At sunrise you will find some nice fish up in the sunken buck brush or just to the outside edged of the brush. Plastic jerk baits, such as Flukes and Bass Assassins, as well as, hard jerkbaits are working well inside the sunken brush. Topwater lures are also calling up fish that are in the shallow water. Plastics such as, centipedes, crawdads and worms are also starting to work and are picking up some nice fish. Work your baits slowly on the bottom from the shoreline brush out to about 20 feet of water. Crankbaits are still working at this time. There has been the start of good bass topwater action at sunrise then again at sunset. The topwater bite will only improve with a slow rise in water temperature.
Walleye are finally starting to show up back in the creeks and coves. Various fishing methods have caught this species. A-rigs, trolling a Flicker Shad, vertical jigging a spoon and casting a stickbait up to the shoreline are a few of the methods that are catching fish. The walleye are scattered out, but if you find an area holding bait, you can be assured that there will be walleye in the area.
Catfish are also doing their springtime spawn duties. Jug lines and trot lines are catching some nice fish in shallow water up to around 30 feet down. I have jigged up a few flatheads in 20 feet of water. Live bait, shiners, bluegill and nightcrawlers are all working well.
Striped bass fishing has been the species that has given me the hardest time. I have found the fish, but typically they have been very scattered. I have not found an artificial bait that they want but I’ll keep trying until I figure it out! There has been two good methods to catching striped bass at this time. Trolling umbrella rigs has produced some really nice fish for some of my guests over the last week. They troll around 2.5 mph with a 2 oz. umbrella which are baited with 1 ounce hyper striper jig heads. All big baits. The other method has been free swimming live bait using bigger gizzard shad. This species still appears to be back in the creeks with the warmer water. As the lake continues to warm the bait will move out to the main lake points and the striped bass will follow. This will happen soon. I have seen sporadic topwater feeding for striped bass, but this will also increase very shortly. Typically this starts to occur around the same time the shad spawn, which again should be happening shortly. Norfork Lake water level is slowly rising with minimal power generation and currently sits at 557.25 MSL, which is 3.5 feet about normal seasonal pool. The lake surface water temperature has risen to around 62 degrees in the mornings and is higher during the afternoon hours. The main lake is clear and some of the creeks and coves are stained up a little with the rise in water level.
(updated 4-24-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 1.5 feet to rest at 2.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 23.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork River had less generation and reliable wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River System are near the top of power pool. Expect more wadable water in the near future if the rain would stop. The Norfork has fished well. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small Y2K suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing well. It has been less crowded of late. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and white mop flies.
Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also said, “I was anticipating a good day wading the Norfork tailwater recently. It had been a long time since I had the opportunity to do so. Bad weather and high water had conspired against me. I can gladly report that the day in question turned out to be a stellar one.
“My wife, Lori, and I left the house about 10 a.m., anticipating that the river would be on the bottom by the time we got there. When I got to the turnoff for the Ackerman Access, she told me she wanted to go to Heidi’s Ugly Cakes in Norfork first. It was about 10:30 a.m. at this time and I thought it might be a bit early for lunch. She said that Heidi’s had been discovered and that it can get a bit crowded at lunch. If we went then, we would avoid the lunch rush. It made sense to me. I drove straight to Heidi’s and was rewarded with a great lunch and quick service.
“After lunch we drove over to the Ackerman access. I was surprised to see that the parking lot was not full. The river was on the bottom, the sun was shining and the temperature was in the high 60s. There was a bit of wind but I considered the conditions to be near perfect.
“We took a few minutes to don our waders and string our rods. We walked up into the catch-and-release section. I went to my favorite spot and Lori went to another spot nearby. My first fish was a fat and sassy 19-inch rainbow. Lori joined me about that time. I gave her my spot and went to another run nearby. On my second cast, I hooked and eventually landed a stout 22-inch cutthroat. Lori took a minute from her fishing to take a photo for me. She soon joined in the fun by catching and releasing a fat 19-inch cutthroat.
“We were fishing a red fox squirrel and copper fly (size 14) with a ruby midge dropper (size 18). It proved to be deadly. We both caught several more good trout on it. After a while, we began working our way back down stream to the access. We were concerned about the water coming up even though the prediction said that we had plenty of time.
“About halfway back, I noticed that the water was coming up. I blew my whistle to warn other waders and we began walking out. We ran into some other anglers (a nice couple from Dallas) who were fishing the Norfork for the first time. They asked what the whistle was all about. I explained that the water was coming up and it was time to get out. They thanked me for the information and joined us in our trip out.
“The hatch that I had anticipated never occurred but the fishing was great nonetheless. The time on the river was a bit shorter than we had hoped for but was memorable.”
(updated 4-24-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. The smallmouths are more active with the warm conditions. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,120.84 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 4-24-2019) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver Lake is steady at normal levels, 1020.83 feet msl. Last week the lake was fishing good for almost all species. Water temps are 54 on the north end and warming quickly, and in the river arms it was mid 60’s. It was super windy last week, but as you may know that is a good thing for Beaver. We fished all days and it was like fishing ocean size swells if you did not tuck in behind some hills it was bad. Good news was fish were really turned on to bite on wind swept points on main river channel. We caught stripers in Rambo arm, Big Clifty arm and the lost Bridge area. Trolling Mid depth Rapalas or similiar baits are catching 10- to 12-pound schooly stripers. We did very well on Walleye in numerous spots pulling a Smile blade and tipped with a nightcrawler. Many Big Walleyes were caught. I heard of a report of a 30-incher off a main lake hump. We also bass-fished those same areas, and got some monster Brown Bass in 30 feet of water using a Ned head jig and a 2.75 tube in Green pumpkin fished on 6-pound fluorocarbon up to 5 lbs. Spotted bass were also caught in same areas with some notable size fish caught. I use scents in my tubes and highly recommend Pro Cure Scents Super Gels in crawfish or threadfin shad. Inject into tubes, if you do not use scents you are missing the boat, they work. Mid-lake largemouth are starting to bed, crappie are red hot and in middle of spawn and some are done fish shallow and you will do good.
(updated 4-24-2019) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the lake is mostly clear but a little stained in parts. The surface temperature is now in the low 60s. The water level is high by a few inches. Crappie are good and are found in the depth of 2-5 feet. Fish around the brush piles and other timber with minnows or jigs. Black bass are good on grubs or Rooster Tails. Catfishing produced no reports. Also, no reports on bream. A few walleye have been caught in the rivers; use a chartreuse grub. The walleye are in post-spawn. No reports on white bass.
(updated 4-24-2019) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said that with the generators down, the Army Corps of Engineers has had the flood gates open maintaining a constant flow. The flow is not too bad however, wade fishing would be out of the question. First I would like to apologize for not having a fishing report for the past few months. I was dealing with a significant medical issue that was not allowing me to fish. With that being said, I have improved and was able to get in some fishing this week. Trout were biting heavy on various power baits, fished with light terminal tackle. This week’s hot spot is Parker Bottoms, like I said, if you can get out of the flow, you will do great. Also, a few walleyes have been caught between Beaver town and Houseman Access. Jigging live minnows, soft plastics and throwing Flicker Shad of various colors seemed to do the trick. With this past weekend bass fishing tournament out of Holiday Island, the bass bite was quite down from what was reported to me. Once this weather clears, I will get out in search of those and have a better idea of what to report. Like always, if anyone has any questions, please feel free to reach out to me, either through my fishing guide Facebook page, (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) or via email. I hope you all have a wonder weekend and get out and catch some fish!
(updated 4-24-2019) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) reports that the lake is clear and at a normal level. No surface temperature was reported. Crappie are good on minnows. Crappie are shallow now. Black bass are good for anglers using plastic worms, minnows and live and artificial baits. No reports on catfish. Bream are good on crickets.
Lake Fort Smith
(updated 4-24-2019) Heather Hula at Lake Fort Smith State Park reports that those who know where to go on this lake are having a good time catching just about anything they want to. The crappie are protecting their nest sites right now and are ambushing anything that comes too close to their eggs/fry. The bite is excellent. Best success will come by fishing the shallow areas with small swimbaits. Crappie are in 2-3 feet depth. Bass are going to be spawning soon as the water temperature is rising to the mid to upper 60s. The current bite is good. Use spinnerbaits, plastic worms or jigs, and work them near brush piles or rocky points for best results.
(updated 4-24-2019) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reported the lake clarity has cleared, while the level is up 8 inches since last week and is high. No temperature was recorded. Bream are fair on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair and will bite minnows or jigs. The black bass bite fell off this week, with poor reports probably due to high water. Spinnerbaits have been your best bet for catching bass. Catfishing is fair on chicken liver, stink bait and punch bait.
(updated 4-24-2019) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) says the lake clarity remains murky and the surface temperature Sunday morning was 50 degrees. The water level is still high. Crappie fishing continues to stay strong here, fishing from the shoreline or in a boat. Reports of 13- to 16-inch crappie being caught. Anglers rate the bite excellent. The usual minnows and jigs will get responses, while Crappie Magnet in all colors is another good choice, and it’s best to go with yellow-headed jigs. Make sure you’ve got muddy water baits. Black bass are good on crankbaits and plastic worms. Bank fishing or fishing from boats will get the bass. Minnows and worms also are getting bitten. Bass seem to be favoring the brush or the rocky points. The bream bite is good on worms or crickets. Catfishing is good on worms, blood bait, chicken liver and Catfish Pro bait. No reports on white bass.
(updated 4-24-2019) Ome Coleman at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “I am hearing reports on catfish, bream and crappie catches in ponds, Lake Hogue, and other ‘fishing holes’ in the area. We at Lake Poinsett are selling a lot of bait. We do not have crickets yet, but I expect our supplier will have them very soon. Happy Fishing!” While Lake Poinsett is closed to anglers until 2020 for the AGFC’s renovation of the lake, other area lakes such as Lake Hogue and Lake Charles are good destinations. Stop in for your bait supplies on the way there.
(updated 4-24-2019) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is a little dingy and the water level is normal. No surface temperature was reported. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass were good again last week, and that was good timing as Crown Lake had another big bass tournament last weekend. Big bluegill are being caught on crickets, they say. No reports on catfish.
(updated 4-24-2019) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 450 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity is mostly clear. Rain lately has kept river levels up. Be careful wading. Warm temperatures and nice days have had the bugs hatching thick and heavy, caddis and mayflies. The trick the last few weeks has been to tie on a nymph and place a Guppie fly about a foot below. Some trout will be caught on the nymph but the bigger trout will slam the minnow imitation aka Guppie. Hot pink Trout Magnets have been hot. Get them down just off the bottom. They will eat it up.
(updated 4-24-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is a bit high. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 4-17-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) reported that the water is high by 9.5-10 feet and the clarity is clear. Crappie are biting fair on minnows. Black bass are fair using jigs or Senkos. Catfishing is poor. Bream fishing is poor. Walleye are fair with minnows, live bait and slick minnows.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 4-24-2019) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperatures are in the mid- to upper 60s. Visibility is between 6-12 inches. The river is flowing strong and the water level was about 1.5-2 feet high on the day of this report (Saturday); expect the level to be variable for a while yet. Use extreme caution when boating on the main channel of the river and avoid it if you can until it calms down. Black bass are biting well and they are working through the spawn; many are already done, but some are still spawning. When the water level is up, fish can be caught in flooded bushes and vegetation with spinnerbaits and jigs worked on the bottom and/or swimming. Square-bill and medium-diving crankbaits and jigs are effective along rocky shorelines at any water level. The shad spawn should begin in a couple weeks, which will draw black bass to rocky shorelines even more, especially first thing in the morning. It’s a great time to fish Pine Bluff!
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 4-24-2019) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said with stable weather becoming a little more common, the fishing at Cane Creek Lake has gotten a little bit better. Crappie are still being affected by higher-than-usual water levels, though. With the unpredictable weather that has prevailed in the last couple of weeks, crappie have been slow. The best chance for landing a big slab is to find where they’re hiding. Shallow waters, over structure, fished with a minnow seems to be the best bet for catching crappie at the moment. Bass went through a relatively short pre-spawn, and a lightning fast spawn, and are now slipping in to the post-spawn laziness that prevails during summer months. While the water temperature hangs around 73 degrees, bass will stay somewhat sluggish. As the water temperature warms, they will move into shaded areas and start biting baits that cause lots of commotion like buzz baits and topwaters. Fish brightly colored spinners, buzz, and topwater baits during the brightness of the day, and darker topwater baits during the night to coax that big lunker into aggressively striking. Bream have begun to bite in many places around the state, and it seems like they have begun to wake up around Cane Creek. While the water is stained, fish a cricket or nightcrawler straight down over the edge of the boat, tight-lined. Keep the bait suspended for multiple suspended bream to see. Once the water temp gets above 80 and stays there, start fishing for bream on beds. Catfish are still biting in the late afternoon and after rainstorms. Find places along the shoreline that trees like dogwoods are blooming, trees that are putting of fruit are also good places to go. Catfish will congregate underneath these overhanging trees and catch foodstuffs that falls off. Use a pungent bait made from hotdogs soaked in pickle juice with Kool-aid mixed in. Canned dogfood has also been pretty successful as of late. The cheaper the better. A good hotspot to look at is the spillway across from the boat ramp. Fish on the spillway side, where the lake water meets the water from the bayou and begins to churn. This is one of the only places that the crappie will bite a jig. White, grub-like, jigs or electric chicken colored jokers will be your best bet.
(updated 4-24-2019) Brian Whitson, park interpreter at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-5480), says catfish are biting very well on nightcrawlers. No word on black bass or crappie. Weather is pleasant, although there is a chance of rain on Thursday (thunderstorms) and Sunday (scatter thunderstorms). Lake is still very muddy.
(updated 4-24-2019) Chris Duren at Lucky’s (870-224-6747) reports that Lake Monticello is cloudy and the water level is high. Black bass are fair and are found in 2-5 feet of water. They’re hitting topwater lures and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on worms and chicken liver. Target them in 5-8 feet. No reports on crappie, and no reports on bream. Chris reports that the planting of “coffee bean” stalks by the AGFC in some areas when the lake was drawn down last summer has been effective for the fish habitat and bass can be found in those areas.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 261.32 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 4-24-2019) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Millwood Lake pool is still rising from thunderstorms over last weekend. Lake elevation is now about 24 inches above normal pool and rising. The Army Corps of Engineers made gate changes at the dam Monday and are releasing around 20,000 cfs, which could change by midweek. The tailwater below the dam is also rising with USACE gates release at the dam, and is around 240 feet msl. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website helpful links page, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions. Surface temps as of Monday ranged 67-72 degrees. Clarity and visibility conditions have stained up again from recent thunderstorms and high wind. Navigation is considered cautious along Little River with the discharge around 20,000 cfs. Debris remains present in Little River current, use caution. Further up river finds highest turbidity rates.
The bite has been excellent for largemouth bass over the last few weeks. They are beginning to see good activity shift to earlier in the midmornings in the oxbows and pockets, away from river current. Numerous largemouths are wrapping up their annual spawns and many are now post-spawn. There are a few areas around the lake where largemouth bass remain in the spawning mode. Excellent reactions continue with Bass Assassin Shads, Bang XX FAT JOBS, trick worms, soft plastic frogs, and chatterbaits. The bite frequency and patterns improved again with increased surface temps this week. The best locations over the past few weeks have been in the back of the oxbows and pockets along main lake, where water conditions and clarity are best. Anywhere you can see stumps, fresh lily pad shoots, or new grass are blooming, being prime locations. More white bass continue being caught upriver, on Rocket Shads, Bomber Crankbaits, and Rat-L-Traps between State Highway 71 and Patterson Shoals over the past week. The White Bass continue in their annual spawning runs up the Little River to Patterson Shoals headwaters above highway 71 bridge. Catches of 30-50 white bass in a few hours, are typical. Crappie continue biting well in the oxbows, finding the clearest water from 2-3 feet clarity you can, near cypress trees and knees, being the highest activity areas, and are hitting minnows and jigs from 2-4 feet of depth around cypress trees. Best colors of jigs over the past couple weeks or so have been black/chartreuse, red/white, or blue/chartreuse. Blues and channels cats were hitting Kings punch bait, chicken hearts, and hot dogs on noodles, trotlines and yo-yos along Little River all are working well.
(updated 4-17-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) reports that bass and crappie have been biting well. A few bream are being caught. The intermittent weather is making the fishing inconsistent.
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 548.52 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-24-2019) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said the lake level is a half a foot above full pool of 548 feet msl. Water temps have made it the mid- to upper 60s and lower 70s in the afternoons. The black bass are in their spring patterns, looking to spawn, and spawning. A lot of bass have moved to the post-spawn patterns and can be caught on Yum Pulse swimbaits and Super Spook Jr’s. Shaky head rigged Yum Finesse Worms are working OK on the main lake and secondary points leading into spawning areas. Carolina-rigged Christie Critters or lizards in watermelon candy or green pumpkin are also working well on points adjacent to spawning areas. Wacky-rigged Yum Dingers are really good now around spawning flats. Concentrate on secondary points next to spawning pockets. Focus on any shallow structure. Crappie are really good lately. They can be caught on the bank around shallow brush and stumps with minnows or Kalin’s grubs close to and in spawning flats.
(updated 4-24-2019) Tamara Lunsford, park superintendent at Daisy State Park near Kirby, said Lake Greeson’s surface water temperature was 62 degrees over the weekend. At 549.2 feet msl over the weekend, Greeson was 2.2 feet above normal pool. The bream aregood, with the fish in 2-5 feet depth and going after worms and crickets. They’re around brush piles and stumps. Crappie are good. They are shallow at 2-10 feet depth and around brush piles. Either minnows or jigs will work. Black bass are good. Use spinnerbaits, crankbaits or plastic worms. Bass are in the creeks, as well as around brush and rocky points. Catfish are fair on worms, blood bait and chicken liver. White bass reports were fair.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 407.94feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-24-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips says crappie are finishing their spawn. The catch has been fair and very weather-dependent. Recent rains has deposited much debris in the water. Boat safely.
(updated 4-17-2019) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina, said, “Well things were about to stabilize. Water temperature has been slowly rising again after the large storms last weekend. Lots of trash in water around the Shouse Ford area. Water clarity – tinted. Water levels are high, 407.95 feet msl. They are steadily pulling water out and the level is falling slowly, but rain tonight. The water temperature is in the mid-60s. A little warmup is going to do the trick.” John adds that the water is still out of its banks. The warmest water is the shallowest. Catfish will feed in these newly flooded areas at night. Fish the shallows in the back of the coves. Noodles give you flexibility. Short lines if you are using trotlines. Last report on black bass was good on floating worms, This high water is not bad for floating worms. No report on bream. Full moon is the key. That’s April 19. “Time to get our electronics out and find the bream beds. Be sure to send me the coordinates,” he said. Crappie are set on spawning. The water temperature is up and down, so close to the magic temperature. No reports of them being stacked up on brush piles and not in brush solid. Minnows or jigs both will work. “Fish as shallow as you can. We are right of the temperature to get everything going,” he says. Hybrids and white bass being caught all over the Shouse Ford area from spoons being cast to crappie jigs being trolled. “Good fishing. Let’s get this round of rain over and get some warm days.”
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 442.93 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 531.45 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 4-17-2019) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado said the river is still 13 feet high and not much fishing is going on. A few black bass are being caught.
(updated 4-24-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the water is clear in areas and the level is high, up about 4 feet as of Monday morning. Bream reports are poor, they aren’t hitting yet, she said. Try crickets and see if it picks up shortly, though. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are fair on plastic worms. Catfishing is good. The folks stringing trotlines are using bass minnows on the hooks.
(updated 4-24-2019) Steve Donahou atLake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) said last weekend that Lake Catherine’s clarity is improving and the surface temperature is 57 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream are good and are catchable in 5-6 feet of water. Use worms or crickets. Crappie are good. They are ranging in depth from 10-20 feet. Fish the brush piles and use minnows or white Marabou crappie jigs. Black bass are good and are shallow on their beds. Crankbaits and plastic worms are working well. Catfishing is fair on chicken livers and minnows. White bass are biting well. Austin Owens at the Lake Catherine State Park Marina told Steve, “White Bass can be caught with Alabama rigs, using any type of crappie jig or crankbait if you find them in schools.”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 4-24-2019) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita is still almost 2 feet into the flood pool. Entergy has scheduled heavy generation and open flood gates below all area dams in an effort to bring lake level back to normal. This process has been ongoing for weeks and has made navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace very dangerous. Fast flows and muddy water have been the norm with weekly storms creating havoc with water levels all over the state. Very little productive fishing has taken place from the dam to the bridge the past several weeks due to the treacherous conditions. April marks the last month for rainbow trout stocking until November. This season has been the worst on record because of excessive rainfall that began in January and continues through April. Until flows subside considerably, the Carpenter Dam tailrace will remain dangerous to boaters or waders.
(updated 4-24-2019) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495) said the past week they had sunshine most days except for last Thursday’s rain. Recent conditions have mostly been sunny with winds, some gusty, as the midweek low pressure system approaches.At the lower end of the lake, weekly rains are keeping visibility shallow and the winds have mixed the surface. Pollen has also stained surface waters particularly near shores. The Big Piney and Illinois Bayou rivers are also turbid. Some of the smaller creeks are muddy also. Surface temperature is 68 degrees.On the upper end, from Spadra to Ozark, tailwater elevation has remained consistent near normal level since last report. Upriver, release at Ozark L&D 12 has also been steadily flowing between 60,000 cfs and 74,000 cfs. At midweek it was flowing near 60,000 cfs. They have been generating all day and spillway release had been steady at over 40,000 cfs.Downriver, pool elevation does not change as dramatically. However, it did drop a few days over the weekend. Release at Dardanelle L&D 10 ran around 73,000 cfs last Wednesday and rose to 112,000 cfs last Friday morning. It has slowly decreased to 74,000 cfs. They have been generating all day. Spillway release is flowing 43,000 cfs.
Jason said no weekend tournaments were hosted at Lake Dardanelle State Park last week. Although there was no angler feedback, Dardanelle is still in prime time for fishing. Water temperatures remain near levels for many species to spawn and there hasn’t been a major river flow to impact the spawn this season. Baitfish and some species of aquatic insects should be a food source. So bass, crappie, catfish and bream should be active.
(updated 4-17-2019) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said the water temperature is 68. River is dirty, with some clear backwater, and some clear creeks with others being dingy. Crappie fishing has been good but has slowed due to the cold front and high water. The majority of the crappie have already spawned and on the move to deeper water. Minnows have been working, and a wide variety of colors – chartreuse, chartreuse/black, Electric Chicken, Cajun Cricket and blue chartreuse – has been working well in a foot and a half to 2 foot deep. Bass have slowed also, but will pick back up after the full moon with a push. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and swimbaits will come into play on that first push if fish move out deep. Lizards, Brush Hogs, and jigs and Bamboozie will catch the shallow fish on the next push of fish. Frogs, scam shad and chiselers will work in the flats with a lot of coon tail; work them weightless. White bass and stripers are moving to the swifter water at the heads of the creeks and blowouts in the jetties. White hair jigs with grubs, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps, swimbaits and chatterbaits with a scam shad trailer work great. Bream are starting to spawn in the flats. Use worms and crickets, small jigs and flies. Catfish have moved to the flats; cut bait, nightcrawlers and stink bait will work.
(updated 4-24-2019) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrids are finishing their spawn. They will be found as far up major creek arms as a boat can get. Stay in the channels and boat safely.
(updated 4-17-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports lake temps in the mid-60s throughout and clarity fair in the 3-feet or less range (depending on rainfall) Bass are hanging out in the shallows near creek channels and under docks and overhanging structure. Many of these fish have just finished up spawning and some are still in the process. Bass that have finished up are eager to bulk back up after the huge expense of energy that it takes during the spawn. Creature baits like lizards, Brush Hogs and worms on the Texas rig and Carolina rig are working well, “but what works the best is if you are talented enough to skip docks. Frogs, jigs and wacky rigs skipped up under docks are lethal, and not just on Hamilton!” No crappie report. “Good Luck and go Greeson!”
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 358.67 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-24-2019) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the clarity is muddy and Lake Nimrod is 16 feet above normal pool as of Monday morning. Poor reports across the board, although Andrews was able to get some reports of a little action: Bream are biting crickets, crappie will go for the yo-yos baited with minnows, and catfish are found on the trotlines.
(updated 4-24-2019) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) says conditions are still not favorable for fishing. The clarity there is muddy and the lake is “too flooded.” Level is high. Poor reports on bream, crappie, black bass and catfish.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 579.88 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 4-24-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are still excellent. Yum Dingers, floating worms, Flukes and topwaters fished in and around pockets or over points are still working at this time. Walleye are good. Small minnow-colored crankbaits, smoke-colored grubs and gray hair jigs have been producing good stringers. Stripers are still excellent. Most of these fish are on the west end of the lake and being caught on C-10 Redfins and live bait. Bream are good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 20-25 feet of water near brush. Crappie are good and being caught with jigs or minnows in 8-12 feet of water near brush. Catfish are good and anglers are having luck with limblines and trotlines using live bait. The water temperature is ranging 62-66 degrees and the clarity is stained. Lake level Tuesday was a couple of feet above normal pool at 580.17 feet msl. Contact the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717; Chris Darby, 870-867-7822; and Jerry Bean, 501-282-6104 – for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 402.64 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(update 4-12-2019) Angler Dane Goodwin reports that the water temperature at Blue Mountain is 66 degrees with water being stained. No one has been fishing for bream but should not be long. Crappie are on fire. Dane says every angler he saw was limiting out and culling. Fish are in buckbrush with females staging in 7-9 feet of water. Most fish are being taken on black and white or chartreuse jigs and minnows. Black bass are active and being caught on spinnerbaits near shallow water or rocky shoreline. Catfish are improving every day with most caught on cut and live bait.
(updated 4-17-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says crappie are active in 4 feet depth of water on crickets; no spawn yet. Bream are starting to move on beds within the last few days, not hitting heavy yet. Bass are biting but still slow to move.
(updated 4-24-2019) Wil Hafner, education program specialist at the Potlatch Education Center at Cook’s Lake, reports that the lake still cannot open for its every-other Saturday fishing for youths and mobility-impaired anglers because of the very flooded parking lot. Check back in this space or call the center at 870-241-3373. Cook’s Lake, when it reopens, will make fishing available on the 2-mile-long oxbow off the White River to youth under age 16 and to mobility-impaired anglers on the first and third Saturdays of each month, through October. Anglers can be accompanied by a helper who may fish.
(updated 4-24-2019) Professional fishing guide Ronnie Tice (901-687-6800) says the lake is clear and the water level is high. The canals are still muddy. Bream are shallow and the bite is good on crappie jigs. Fish the brush piles and the laid-down timber/trees for the bream. Crappie are “on fire,” Ronnie says, with an excellent bite going on now. The crappie are in a depth of 2-4 feet and are around the brush piles as well as trees, the shoreline, and anywhere the riprap is 4-6 feet. Black bass are excellent and biting crappie jigs. Work your baits around the trees or brush. Catfish also rate “on fire,” according to Ronnie. The excellent bite is found around the shoreline and canals and underneath the piers. Use night crawlers, hot dogs, shad and stink bait. Hackey Jack by the cypress trees is a really good spot to fish, he said.
(updated 4-17-2019) Natalie Faughn, assistant superintendent at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), says the water is up and muddy, and there has been no major activity to report.