Arkansas Weekly Fishing Report – 9/3/2008
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Randy Zellers (501) 223-6406, e-mail: rdzellers [at] agfc [dot] state [dot] ar [dot] us
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Sept. 3, 2008. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please call or e-mail us with information on possible sources for that lake or river.
Fishing Tip: Many anglers keep a journal of their fishing trips. They include the date, weather conditions, size and number of fish and locations. As the journal grows, it will become easier to flip back through previous trips and get a good starting point for their next outing.
Arkansas River Levels are available at
White River Levels are available at
Lake Conway: Dan at Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) said bream slowed from recent rains, but are improving on crickets and wax worms. Bass are biting fairly well on Chatterbaits, Rat-L-Traps and weedless soft-plastics in the pads. Crappie are improving but are still generally slow. Catfishing is good on live bream and shiners hung from trotlines.
Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said water conditions are normal. Bream are biting well on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Catfish are fair on shiners.
Little Red River: Lindsey’s Resort (501-302-3139) said the water is clear with little or no generation. Trout fishing is very good on wax worms with marshmallows and black or olive marabou jigs.
Jed Hollan at the Little Red Fly Shop said as of Monday, the Greers Ferry Powerhouse is releasing water every afternoon between 3 p.m. and 5p.m. The volume varies from a fraction of one generator to two full generators. The duration of releases is about four hours per day. Boating the river is safer now and wade fishing is possible everywhere. In many cases, full-day guided trips are catching and releasing more than 100 trout per trip. Aquatic insect hatches remain sparse with midges leading the way. The dry flies that are working include the Adams (#18), royal coachman (#16), hopper patterns (#12) and crackleback (#12). If you are fishing below the surface, try a sowbug (#14-#16; olive, UV tan, UV gray or peacock), zebra midge (#16-22; red, black or chartreuse), San Juan worm (#14), pheasant tail (#16), copper john (#14-#16; red or copper) and wooly buggers (#8-#12; olive, brown or black). When fishing woolly buggers, think “panic retrieve.”
Greers Ferry: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 461.74 feet MSL.
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water is rising and cooling from the rain. This will set off the hybrids and whites for sure. Last week, many small white bass and hybrids were caught, but the warmer water slowed it down. Look for shad of course and try spoons and in-line buck-shot spinners as well as Rinky Dinks and swim baits. The bass fishing is good around the bushes, and some can still be caught out deeper on the main-lake points and secondary points with football head jigs and Carolina-rigs as well as Texas-rigged worms, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps and small cranks worked shallow. Catfish are biting well all over the lake. Walleye are hit and miss. Crappie are biting fairly well in the pole timber, suspended in about 15 feet of water in creek bends and over brush piles on the main lake, with jigs tipped with minnows.
Harris Brake Lake: Coffee Creek Landing (501-889-2745) said the water is high and rough. Bream are fair on crickets and worms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. A few bass have been caught on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on any bait.
Lake Beaverfork: The City of Conway Parks and Recreation Department said the water is murky and high. Crappie are fair on jigs. Catfishing is good on chicken liver.
Lake Overcup: Lakeview Landing (501-354-1470) said the water is dingy and high. Bream are fair on red worms and crickets. Catfishing is fair on nightcrawlers and shad.
Lake Maumelle: Jolly Roger’s Marina had no report because of weather.
Sunset Lake: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the water is high and muddy. Fishing is poor for all species.
Saline River Access in Benton: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the river is out of its banks. Fishing and boating are both dangerous prospects.
Arkansas River at Morrilton: Charley’s Hidden Harbor in Oppelo had no report because of weather.
Arkansas River in Little Rock: Vince Miller from Fish ‘N Stuff said bass have been fair on black/red tubes and crankbaits.
Little Maumelle River: Josh Jeffers at Pinnacle Mountain State Park (501-868-5806) had no report because of weather.
Murray Lock and Dam: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop had no report because of weather.
Terry Lock and Dam: McTwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report because of weather.
Clear Lake: McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said all fishing is slow.
Peckerwood Lake: Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is clear and high. Crappie are scattered and are mostly being caught near stumps on minnows. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are good on any bait.
White River: Sportsman’s White River Resort had no report because of weather.
John Berry of Berry Brothers Guides said in spite of a major rain event, the reservoir levels on the White River continue to fall slowly. The upper river from Bull Shoals Dam, through the state park down to Cane Island Shoals has been a perpetual hot spot for months. Some anglers, while reporting great fishing, say that the constant fishing pressure has made the fish more selective. The hot flies remain brightly colored San Juan worms and egg patterns. The most productive colors have been red, cerise, hot pink and fire orange. The section from the Narrows down to Wildcat Shoals has remained hot during the past week particularly the section around the Narrows. The key to success has been to fish a brightly colored San Juan worm with a nymph on a dropper. The most popular nymphs have been zebra midges, trout crack, sowbugs, scuds, and bead head hare’s ears. Another hot spot has been the Rim Shoals Catch-and-Release section. In addition to the brightly colored San Juan worms and egg patterns, the hot technique has been to bang the bank with big streamers on sink tip or full sinking lines. Effective streamers have been kiwi muddlers, Jim Mengle’s Ozark Sculpin, wool head sculpins and woolly buggers.
Mountain River Fly Shop said the White River is fishing outstandingly with many 15- to 20-inch fish. Many brown trout are beginning to color up for the spawn and should begin moving upstream soon. San Juan worms, dynamite worms, sowbugs and hare’s ear patterns are working well.
Bull Shoals Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 678.76 feet MSL.
Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said bass are fair on 1/2 -ounce spoons fished in 28 to 32 feet of water around bluff ends and standing timber. Flukes, Spooks and other topwaters are working during low-light hours. Bass are fair on nightcrawlers and ¼-ounce white Road Runners in fished over the top of brush and standing trees in 25 to 35 feet of water. Drop-shot rigs are working in the same areas as well. White bass are fair on trolled Shad Raps and minnow-style stick baits in 25 to 35 feet of water. Some are being caught on spoons as well. Walleye have moved to the thermocline around 25 to 32 feet of water. Spoons are working well, as are nightcrawlers tightlined on a split-shot rig. Trolling shallow and medium-diving Reef Runners and Wally Divers is working around 25 feet deep. Crappie are slow and scattered. Night fishing under lights is the best way to produce some fish this time of year. Catfishing is good in shallower water on stinkbait, liver, shrimp and live sunfish.
Lake Norfork: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 566.29 feet MSL.
101 Grocery and Bait said visibility is good and the water temperature is in the mid to high 80s. Striped bass fishing is good. Walleye fishing has been fair. Bluegill fishing is good. White bass fishing is fair. Largemouth bass are biting well on topwaters in the evenings. Smallmouth are fair. Catfishing is fair. Crappie fishing is fair.
Cranfield Junction Bait and Tackle (870-492-5141) said the water is murky and dropping. All fishing has been slow.
Norfork Tailwater: John Berry of Berry Brothers Guides said The Norfork has had lower flows this week also. They were too high to wade and too low for easy navigation. The Norfork is more difficult, in general, to navigate than the White. Great care should be taken when running up or down stream. There are several spots that can be treacherous.
Mountain River Fly Shop said generation continues around the clock on Norfork, but only one unit is running, leaving a few windows for experienced canoeists to access islands and gravel points to get some wading in. We would still be trying San Juan Worms, eggs patterns plus larger midges, scuds and sowbugs. Hopefully with the lake dropping we may see lower water soon.
Beaver Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,126.54 feet MSL.
JT’s Crappie Guide Service (479-640-3980) said bass fishing has been hit and miss. The best fishing has been around boat docks and along bluffs. Texas-rigged lizards have been a good choice. Watermelon/red and green pumpkin have been effective colors. Crappie have also been hanging around deep shaded docks. They can be caught by using minnows fished 15 feet underneath a slip-cork. White bass and spotted bass have been schooling all over the lake. Main-lake points and flats have been a good place to look for activity just after first light. Very small top-water lures and spoons have been the baits of choice. Catfish can be caught on rod and reel all over the lake in the evenings from the bank on worms or liver. Bluegill are hanging around bluffs and docks 2 to 6 feet deep and will hit crickets.
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said water conditions are normal. Bream are biting well on crickets. Crappie fishing is good in 8 to 12 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair early and late on top-water lures. During the day they are biting well on deep diving baits. Catfish are fair on cut bait.
Beaver Tailwater: Ken Richards at justfishinguides.com said many wading opportunities are opening up with the water levels dropping. Be careful of wading as there are many new holes in the gravel from the high water releases. Also if you are wading, have an escape route when the water is released since the water level is deeper than normal. The hot flies have been small olive woolly buggers, mono midges, gray midge pupae and gray bead head scuds. The nymphs are being fished under an indicator closer to the bottom as the water is clearing and getting lower. Zebra midges in size 18, scuds size 14, Copper Johns size 16, and woolly buggers in size 14-16 are working for fly fishermen. Spin fishermen are not having much luck with lures in the artificials only section. Bites are few and far between. The fish do not seem to be very aggressive. On the other parts of the river, bait fishermen have been doing well with Power Bait.
Lake Fayetteville: Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said water conditions are normal with a surface temperature at 74 degrees. Bream are fair on crickets. A few catfish have been caught on worms.
Lake Sequoyah: Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water conditions are high. All species are slow.
Sugarloaf Lake: Midland Minimart (479-639-9467) said the water is murky and high. Crappie are fair on minnows. Catfishing is fair on minnows.
Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA: Judy Potts of Judy’s Bait Shop at the Bald Knob north entrance to Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA said bream are crappie are slow on Honey Lake, but are being caught on crickets and minnows. Crappie and bream are starting to bite fairly well on crickets, redworms and minnows on Big Bell Lake. Bass on Big Bell are biting well on buzzbaits and jigs. Trotlines and yo-yos are working well on crappie and catfish on Whorl Lake. Hurricane Lake is hot for crappie, bream, catfish and bass. Medium-size minnows, crickets, and night crawlers are being used in addition to jigs and top-water baits for the bass. Mallard Pond has been good all summer for bream and crappie using minnows and crickets. A beaver dam at the end of the lake was removed, draining the lake substantially and improving the fishing. All of the other lakes and Glaze Creek are still high for this time of year. Willow Pond is still inaccessible because of a large tree from the spring flood blocking the road.
Lake Charles: Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the water level is normal and surface temperature is 70 to 72 degrees. The water clarity is 12 inches because of the recent rainfall. Bream are biting on worms and crickets. Crappie are slow on jigs, minnows, crickets. Bass are fair on crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Catfish are biting well on worms and carp minnows. It has been reported that trotlines baited with soap are also working well.
Crown Lake: Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water conditions are normal. Bream have been good on crickets and redworms. A few bass are being caught along shorelines on top-water lures. Catfishing is good on stink bait.
Lake Frierson: Lake Frierson State Park said the water is muddy and at normal level. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms. Catfishing is good on worms and minnows.
Lake Monticello: Greg Gulledge with Basshunters Custom Crankbaits said bass are coming in on big plastic worms in 8 to 18 feet of water in the timber. Junebug, watermelon/red and redbug seem to be the best colors. The top-water bite continues as the schooling improves. Sammies and Super Spook Jrs are producing decent results. There is a drop-shot bite on Fishboy finesse worms in watermelon and kudzu colors. Night fishing is still producing a few large fish with a few in the 10-lb. class taken recently.
Lake Chicot: Bass Tracker Marine (870-265-5374) had no report because of weather conditions.
Grand Lake: Koenig Bass Tracker Marine (870-265-5374) had no report because of weather conditions.
Millwood Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.00 feet MSL.
Millwood Lake Guide Service said as of Monday, the water clarity was 2 to 3 inches in the main lake away from current. The surface temperature was 75 to 80 degrees. Current in Little River was unavailable Monday. Largemouth Bass are excellent and schooling around the lake. Clouds and rain during the last two weeks have reduced lake temperature. Largemouth bass from 2 to 8 pounds remain good, with the best bite early. Fall schooling patterns are beginning to emerge. The high wind, choppy water, thunderstorms and rain drastically worsened water clarity. Some vegetation and floating mats remain in Little River. The most consistent reaction bite is on gold and silver Wobbleheads (gold on cloudy days), white buzz baits, alewife-colored Bass Assassin Shads, white jigs with white chunk trailers, and shad-colored Rat-L-Traps. Top-water action is the best right at daylight and dusk using Jitterbugs (Frog and Perch colors), Spit’n Images, buzzing toads and buzzbaits. The crankbait bite continues to produce. Fat Free Shads and Cordell Big O’s in shad and crawfish patterns, are working in and around flooded timber and laydowns. Once the sun breaks free from the clouds, switching to 10 and 12-inch worms will produce in fair numbers of 15- to 17-inch bass, although it slows considerably, until the schooling starts, which over the past week is running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Siefert’s Buzz Baits continue to draw good bites around pads and Primrose grass in 1-6 foot depth areas, early in the morning at daylight. War Eagle spinnerbaits, in white/chartreuse or Hot Mouse colors are still working for largemouths in the clearer water back in the oxbows, around flooded vegetation and cypress trees. Rat-L-Traps in Sexy Shad, Smokey Joe, White, Shad Daddy, and Silver colors seem to remain the hot lipless crank bait bites again over the past week. White bass were schooling in Mud Lake this week. The crappie bite slowed slightly this week with the stained water clarity along Little River. Clarity has steadily gone downhill and tapered off the Crappie bite. The most consistent bite remains on live shiners, grubs on light-wire jig heads, and white/chartreuse jigs. Blue and channel catfish are consistent this week on trotlines, with the current in Little River, and remain best for 3-7 pounders using cut shad, Catfish Charlie and chicken livers. Yo-yo’s hung from cypress trees in 12-15 feet of water near any current are picking up some decent 4-8 pound cats. Bream continue to bite well along the banks on crickets and redworms around docks and cypress trees at Yarborough Landing, Jack’s Isle and Millwood State Park.
Cossatot River: Davy Ashcraft at Cossatot River State Park (870-385-2201) had no report because of bad weather.
Lake Columbia: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) had no report because of weather.
Lake Erling: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) had no report because of weather.
White Oak Lake: White Oak Lake State Park said the water level is rising, temperature is lower and clarity is murky. Bream are hitting worms and crickets very well. Catfishing is good on minnows. Bass and crappie are slow.
Lake Greeson: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 546.49 feet MSL.
Lakeside Grocery said the water is murky and high. Bream fishing is good on crickets. Bass are schooling early and late on top-water lures. Bass are also being caught in shallow water on worms. A few stripers have been caught near the dam on shad. Catfish are fair on minnows and worms.
Daryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips Guide Service said stripers were slow last week. Largemouth and spotted Bass are starting to surface feed and stack up on rocky points. Crappie are excellent on live bait 8 to 11 feet deep in 15 to 20 feet of water on brush piles and bamboo condos. The addition of fresh, cool water from Gustov might slow things for a day or two, but should turn the fish on even more toward the end of the week.
DeGray Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 402.80 feet MSL.
Charles at Iron Mountain Lodge and Marina said the water temperature is 83 degrees. Largemouth bass are schooling early and late in the day. Tiny Torpedoes, Zara Spooks and Rooster Tails are working well on the schoolers. During mid-day, bass are biting well on watermelon-colored jigs, 11-inch Red Bug, Cherry Seed, Tequila Green or Bloodline worms. Night fishing is still very good for bass. Kentucky bass are biting well on live crayfish 20-26 feet deep on points and drop offs. Hybrids are excellent on live shad fished 35-45 feet deep around the Dam and Caddo Bend areas. Some are schooling early and late and can be caught on topwaters and jigging spoons. Crappie are good on Tennessee shad grubs and live minnows fished around brush piles and moss points in 18-22 feet of water. Catfishing is good on trotlines and jugs baited with cut shad or live minnows. Bream are great on worms and crickets in 8-16 feet of water.
Lake Dardanelle: Eric Pratt at Lake Dardanelle State Park said River flow through Lake Dardanelle is around 24,000 cubic feet per second. Lake water temperature is 86 degrees. Bank fishermen are reporting great catfishing. Many anglers have reported catching a stringer full of catfish along the rock jetty in the park. Liver has been the main bait used to catch catfish, along with prepared baits, worms and minnows. Bream fishing is good but mostly smaller bream are being caught around boat docks and the boardwalk within the park. Bass fishing is fair with mostly Kentucky bass being caught in shallower waters in the mornings and late evenings. Anglers have reported catching largemouth bass in 7-12 feet of water on crankbaits.
Murphy’s Sporting Goods (479-229-3200) said water conditions are normal. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms. Catfishing is good on shad. Bass are still scattered and hard to find.
Ozark Pool: Lakeside Food Mart (479-667-5155) said the water is clearing up. Bream are fair on nightcrawlers and crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on buzz baits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on minnows, chicken liver and cut bait.
Lake Ouachita: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 575.90 feet MSL.
Mountain Harbor Resort said the water is clearing up and surface temperatures are 81 to 86 degrees. Largemouth bass are still fair and these fish can still be caught with Texas-rigged worms and jighead finesse worms. Spotted bass are breaking on cloudy days and during low-light hours. Walleye are still good and being caught on spoons over brush piles on main-lake points. Bottom bouncers with spinners and nightcrawlers are good and producing some quality fish as well. Stripers are biting well on live bait with shad or trotline minnows. White ½-oz. jigs and ¾-oz spoons are working as well. Try around Brady Mountain, Bird Island and the spillway. Bream are very good with crickets or worms in 18 to 25 feet of water. Crappie are fair and being caught over grass and brush. Try large moss flats and brush in water 20 to 30 feet deep. Minnows or crappie grubs are still working best. Tennessee shad and white are still the best colors for artificial baits. Catfish are good and being caught on cut bait and live bait on jug lines and trotlines.
Lake Hamilton: Larry Hurley from Poorman’s Guide Service said bass fishing is very good at night using 10-inch Berkley worms with small weights 12 to 18 feet deep.
Lake Catherine: Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that before the heavy rains set in Entergy ran the turbines for 12-hour periods. This is a normal summertime pattern and provides Hot Springs with electricity as the need arises. August through November are very slow months for trout fishing at Carpenter Dam. Many of the fish have been caught or eaten by this time. Some trout are still being caught, but as reported, the numbers are low and inconsistent. Restocking begins again in late November. Striper and hybrid activity has been fair with most of the good fishing happening in the early morning hours just after the turbines are started. This sudden movement of water causes the threadfin shad to move away from the banks and out into open water where they are easy prey. Topwater action can be fierce at times but does not continue for long periods. Fishermen need to be in position when feeding is taking place and capitalize on the small window of opportunity. Many of these stripers are in the 20-pound range and can be caught on white ¼-ounce jigs and 6 to 8-inch soft plastics fished weightless. Live bait rigs have caught the most fish. Brood and gizzard shad work better than goldfish or bream at Carpenter Dam. Some quality hybrids have been taken on 1/8-ounce jigs in shad or white colors. These fish tend to stay on the outside of the feeding striper schools where competition for food is lower.
Diamond Head Marina (501-262-2272) had no report because of weather.
Lake Hinkle: Bill’s Bait Shop (479-637-4719) had no report because of weather.
Lake Atkins: Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is choppy and high. Bass are excellent schooling. Catfish are good on bait. Bream and crappie are starting to pick up.
Moro Bay: Moro Bay State Park had no report because of weather
Tri-County Lake – Fishing is on the slow side. Bass are biting decently early in the morning on light-colored, shallow-running crankbaits. They are moving into the channels around mid-morning. No report on any other species.
Ouachita River Oxbows – Crappie finally picked up in the Ouachita River oxbows where some fishermen were limiting out on minnows fished 4 feet deep around brush. Bass are still hitting some darker top-water baits in the morning and worms in the mid-morning and evening. Bream are good around cypress trees on crickets fished about 2 feet deep.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff): River City Sporting Goods (870-534-8303) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets and worms. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and worms. Catfishing is good on cut bait.
White River: Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.
Maddox Bay: Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the water is clear and high. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms. A few crappie have been caught on minnows. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
Bear Creek Lake: Arkansas Outdoors (870-295-4240) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets.
Horseshoe Lake: Local angler Clyde Gregory said water conditions are high. Bream have been caught on crickets. Minnows are fair deep on minnows. Catfish are fair on cut bait.
Island 40 Chute: Daily’s Boat Dock (870-739-3478) said water conditions are normal. A few bass have been caught on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on chicken liver.