This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 1, 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.
(updated 5-1-2019) Sharon at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) says the water is clear and the surface temperature is 64 degrees. Water is high. Bream have improved, with good reports. Use crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Black bass are good; your best bet is to use soft plastic worms. Catfishing is ranging fair to good on yo-yos.
(updated 5-1-2019) Steve Donahou atLake Catherine State Park (501-844-4176) said last weekend Lake Catherine’s clarity is dingy with a surface temperature of 63 degrees. The water level is normal. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are poor; anglers tried their best with minnows and jigs. Black bass are good on plastic worms on a Texas rig or with topwater lures. Frogs are working well. Also try creature baits, crawbugs and lizards. Bass can be found around docks and in shallows, too, and also near overhanging structure. Catfish are good on stink bait and chicken liver, with some success also with cut shad and shrimp. White bass are good on minnows and crankbaits. Tosha Walker, manager of Lake Catherine Marina, reports, “Whites (bass) have been taken in numbers near the creek ‘arms’ and entrances.”
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 5-1-2019) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred Xpress all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s temperatures in the mid-60s and water clarity of 2 feet or more in most areas. There are still some spawning fish out there on the area lakes, but most are going to be spotted bass (Kentucky bass), as most largemouth bass have already finished up. Early mornings are still the best time of day to put fish in the boat. Topwater baits like frogs, sexy dogs and little Sammys are doing well just off main lake points in the mornings. As the day progresses the fish tend to suspend in 10-20 feet of water and can be targeted with drop-shot rigs, wacky rigs in green pumpkin and crankbaits in shad colors. For those of you out there that have coordination to skip baits under dock, you should have no trouble finding big bass hanging out in the shadows of manmade structures. Jigs and soft plastics that can get under docks are going to be lethal from now until fall. Good luck and Go Greeson!
(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.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 357.04 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 579.18 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 5-1-2019) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are excellent. Jighead worms and Brush Hogs, Flukes and topwaters fished in and around pockets or over points are still working at this time. Walleye are very good. Small minnow-colored crankbaits and spoons have been producing good stringers. Stripers are 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 very good with reports of fish being caught with grubs and worms in 8-15 feet of water near brush. Crappie are fair to good and being caught with jigs or minnows in 8-12 feet of water near brush. Catfish are very good and anglers are having luck with limblines and trotlines using live bait. Water temperature is ranging 64-69 degrees and the clarity is stained. The lake level as of Wednesday morning was 579.05 feet (1 foot over normal pool) and rising. 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 404.58 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.