Arkansas Weekly Fishing Report – 9/17/2008
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 September 17. 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: The fall turnover can produce some quick limits of schooling white bass and black bass on lakes such as DeGray, Hamilton and Ouachita. Although most of the fish will be in the 1- to 2-pound range, they’re easy to spot breaking the surface near humps and points near the main lake. Concentrate on using small topwaters such as Zara Puppies and Tiny Torpedoes on the breaking fish. When the action slows, a small spoon or blade bait worked off the bottom can finish out your limit..
Arkansas River Levels are available at
White River Levels are available at
Lake Conway: Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets. A few bass have been caught on top-water lures. Catfishing is good on chicken liver, worms and minnows.
Little Red River: Lindsey’s Resort (501-302-3139) said trout fishing is still good on wax worms with marshmallows, chartreuse Power Eggs, olive or brown marabou jigs and Buoyant Spoons.
Jed Hollan at the Little Red Fly Shop said the Greers Ferry Powerhouse has been releasing water more often than not during the previous week. Twelve-hour releases (3,000 day-second-feet) are scheduled to begin on Thursday and will continue until our lake level is back down to 461 feet above mean sea level. The lake water is averaging 53 degrees. Aquatic insect hatches continue to be sparse with midges being the most prolific. The dry flies of choice include the Adams (#16-#18), crackleback (#12-#14), royal coachman (#16) and midge (#22; cream or black). Sub-surface offerings should include sowbug (#14; UV tan, UV gray, olive or peacock), San Juan worm (#14-#16; red, wine or worm brown), zebra midge (#16-#22; red or black), pheasant tail (#16), copper john (#14-#16) or wooly bugger (#10-#12; green, brown or black).
Greers Ferry: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 468.51 feet MSL.
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water temperature is 77-80 degrees and falling. The bass fishing is good shallow as a lot of the fish have moved up. Topwaters, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and floating worms are working well in the shallows. Carolina-rigged lizards are working well in front of the brush and on main-lake and secondary points. The crappie are over brush piles and pole timber in 14-22 feet of water and are biting fairly well on jigs tipped with minnows. Walleye are few and far between with the water coming up. They’ve scattered quite a bit. The bream have spawned again and are still shallow and feeding well on crickets and worms. The whites and hybrids are feeding very well in places; the problem is finding big fish. The fishing is best on jigging spoons and small in-line spinners to mimic the small bait they are eating. Small grubs will work also. Use your graphs and find the bait and the fish will be close. Catfishing continues to be good all over the lake.
Shiloh Marina said the water is murky and high. Bass have been fair early on top-water lures.
Harris Brake Lake: Coffee Creek Landing (501-889-2745) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on plastic worms. Catfish are fair on large minnows, worms and liver.
Lake Overcup: Lakeview Landing (501-354-1470) said the water is murky and high. Bream are biting well on crickets and redworms. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Catfishing is good on shad.
Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is murky and high with a surface temperature in the low 80s. Bream are fair on crickets and red worms. Crappie are good on minnows and brown jigs. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and buzz baits. Catfish are fair on jugs with live bait.
Brewer Lake: Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) had no report.
Lake Maumelle: Jolly Roger’s Marina said the lake is full and most fish have moved shallow. Largemouth bass are biting well in the weeds. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are working well. Kentucky bass are holding around shallow points and are biting fairly well on spinnerbaits.
Sunset Lake: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the water is muddy and high. All species are slow.
Saline River Access in Benton: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the water is muddy and unfishable.
Arkansas River at Morrilton: Charley’s Hidden Harbor in Oppelo said bream have moved into the backwater and are biting well on crickets. Stripers are near rocky points below dams 9 and 10 and are being caught on whole shad in 8 to 10 feet of water. Black bass are fair in the backwater on Shad Raps and white spinnerbaits. A few white bass are schooling early and others are being caught on spinnerbaits. Kentucky bass are near jetties and can be caught on crawfish-colored jigs-and-pigs. Catfishing is excellent in the main channel drifting with shad.
Arkansas River in Little Rock: Vince Miller from Fish ‘N Stuff said the water is muddy and the current is too dangerous to fish.
Little Maumelle River: Josh Jeffers at Pinnacle Mountain State Park (501-868-5806) said water clarity is low. The rapid change in water levels the last two weeks has scattered the fish. Bream are slow, but a few have been caught on crickets. Crappie are slow. The only ones being caught are holding close to brush piles near the main channel and are biting shiners. Bass are fair in the shallows early and late on small top-water lures. Small spinnerbaits and crankbaits fished around grass and other cover are catching a few better-sized fish.
Terry Lock and Dam: McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is muddy and high. Catfish are fair on chicken liver, nightcrawlers and minnows.
Clear Lake: McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are picking up on minnows. Catfish are fair on nightcrawlers and chicken liver.
Peckerwood Lake: Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is clear and high. Crappie are fairly good on minnows. Catfish are excellent on stink bait, liver and shrimp.
White River: Sportsman’s White River Resort said water conditions are normal with 1 to 2 generators running in the afternoon. Trout fishing has been fair on Power Bait and light lures.
John Berry of Berry Brothers Guides said the generation pattern early in the week was for no or little generation. Later in the week, there were fairly low levels of generation. The upper river from Bull Shoals Dam, through the State Park down to Cane Island Shoals has been a perpetual hot spot for months and the past week has not been different. On high water 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. On lower water try black zebra midges, scuds and sow bugs. Soft hackles like green butts should also be effective. Remember to down size to 6X tippet for the lower flows. The Narrows has remained hot during the past week. On high water, 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, sow bugs, scuds, and bead head hares ears. On lower water try the same nymphs in size 18. Olive woolly buggers have been killer in slightly deeper water. Another hot spot has been the Rim Shoals Catch-and-Release section. I have done well with brightly colored San Juan worms, the hot colors have been cerise, hot pink and red. I have noted several anglers take advantage of Gary Flipin’s water taxi to deliver them to the bottom of the second island for some wade fishing and pick them up later. Check by Rim Shoals Trout Dock to take advantage of the service.
Bull Shoals Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 684.33 feet MSL.
Lake Norfork: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 567.72 feet MSL.
101 Grocery and Bait said fishing has been good. It rained for two days this last week and we received about 4 inches of water. As a result Norfork Lake level only raised a few inches and the water temperature has dropped a few more degrees to the low 80s. Striper fishing is good. White bass fishing has been fair. Crappie fishing has been good using minnows fished from 18-20 feet deep. Bluegill fishing is good using worms and crickets. Walleye fishing is fair. Catfishing is fair.
Norfork Tailwater: John Berry of Berry Brothers Guides said the generation pattern has been to run one generator during the day and to turn it off at night. The Norfork is fishing a bit better this week, particularly on the low water. The hot spot has been Quarry Park just below the dam. Hot flies have been sowbugs, San Juan worms and zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead and brown with copper wire and copper beads) all in smaller sizes (18-20). On higher flows, the same midges in size 14 have been effective in this area.
Beaver Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,129.58 feet MSL.
JT’s Crappie Guide Service (479-640-3980) said cooling lake water has jump-started all species. Bass are biting well early and late on small top-water lures. Cast them around flooded brush for best results. Later in the day, Texas-rigged lizards have produced well along steep banks and bluffs. Crappie have been biting well under docks 8 to 18 feet deep with minnows under a slip float. Trolling along the bluffs near Horseshoe Bend or on the flat by Point 12 with small Bandit crankbaits or Hot n Tots has also been productive. White bass are schooling occasionally early and late. Try using small 3/8-oz. Kastmaster spoons and throw them directly at the schooling fish. Catfishing is still good lakewide from the bank using cut bait or liver. Night has been best. Bluegill have been biting night crawlers around bluffs and docks.
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is muddy and high. Crappie have been fair on minnows. Bass are fair in the morning on top-water lures. During the day, finesse rigs seem to be working the best. Catfish are fair on chicken liver and trotlines with goldfish.
Beaver Tailwater: Ken Richards at justfishinguides.com said with last week’s rain, Beaver Tailwater is backed up to the dam. Wading opportunities are very limited. The hot flies are still patterns in gray and black. Large darker zebra midges, scuds, pheasant tails and hare’s ears are working in all areas. The best areas have been near the dam and the Parker area. Several fish in the 18-20 inch range have been caught. Some fish also have been caught on micro jigs in pink and in gray.
Lake Fayetteville: Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is muddy and high. All fishing is slow.
Lake Sequoyah: Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the water is muddy and high. Catfish are the best thing going on worms, minnows and chicken liver.
Sugarloaf Lake: Midland Minimart (479-639-9467) said the water is high. A few crappie have been caught on minnows.
Kings River: Ken Richards at justfishinguides.com said the river is in great shape and fish are biting on large streamer patterns fished on a sinking line. Top-water flies that make a big disturbance have pulled up some big fish. The smallmouth should begin their fall feeding pattern getting ready for colder weather.
Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA: Judy Potts of Judy’s Bait Shop at the Bald Knob north entrance to Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA had no fishing report for the area because of flooding last week along the White River. The main gate to the WMA will be closed until the water returns to safe levels.
Lake Charles: Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the water level is normal and the surface temperature ranges from 67 to 72 degrees. The water clarity is 10 inches. Bream, bass and catfish are slow, but soap and goldfish are doing better on catfish. The biggest change has been in crappie. One park visitor managed 12 good slabs fishing jigs.
Crown Lake: Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is clear and a little high. Bream are biting well on crickets. Crappie are good on minnows. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and top-water lures. Catfish are fair on chicken liver.
Spring River: Mark’s Fly shop said recent rains have muddied up the water a little bit, but it’s clearing up quickly. The dominant fly for the last week has been a plain black wooly bugger and egg patterns. Some really nice fish have been caught lately. Bait fishermen have been reporting great success with cut bait and fluorescent pink and orange Rooster Tails.
Lake Monticello: Greg Gulledge with Basshunters Custom Crankbaits said with the last couple hurricanes coming through and dropping lots of rain, the lake has been high and the bass fishing has been somewhat slow. Some bass can be caught on worms at all depths. The fish seem to be scattered. There are bass busting shad on top if you are lucky enough to be on top of them when they come up. The best schooling baits have been Basshunter wake baits and Kill Gills. As the water temps get cooler the swimbait fishing should heat up.
Lake Chicot: Bass Tracker Marine (870-265-5374) said the water is high and murky. Bream are fair on crickets and redworms. Crappie are fair on minnows. Catfish are fair on cut bait.
Grand Lake: Koenig Bass Tracker Marine (870-265-5374) said all fishing is slow.
SOUTH CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Lower Ouachita River Lakes: Fishing has been slow along all the lower Ouachita RiverLakes for all species. The rains have kept the water muddy and the current high in the river.
Millwood Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.7 feet MSL.
Millwood Lake Guide Service says clarity along the main lake is muddy this week from Ike’s high winds and Little River’s clarity is heavy stained from rising influx of incoming water. Due to current in the river, some high density vegetation and floating mats remain in Little River. The main lake and Little River’s water surface temperatures are currently ranging from 72 degrees to 80 degrees depending on location and time of day. Lake level on Millwood as of Monday is above normal and slowly falling at 259.7 feet. Normal pool is 259.2 feet. Upriver oxbow’s clarity continues to be very good and is ranging from 20 inches to 36 inches. Cooler daytime highs in the 70 degrees to 80 degrees range and night time lows in the 60 degree range have improved the feeding activity of most all fish on Millwood. Largemouth bass continue to feed well and very good schooling activities are being seen in many various locations around the lake. Chunky bass from 2 to 4 pounds are schooling randomly in Cemetery Slough, Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbow lakes up river and fishermen are catching good numbers of schooling fish periodically during the day. Definite best big bite is still early and late, but improving during noon hours, during schooling. Schooling bass seem to take a few hours to get started and best schooling activities are running between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or mid-day. The most consistent reaction bite is on gold and silver Wobbleheads on sunny days, (gold on cloudy days), buzz baits (white), Bass Assassin Shad jerk baits in the vegetation and remaining lily pads, along with white jigs with white chunk trailers and white or chrome RatLTraps. Top water action is the best right at daylight and dusk, using Jitterbugs (frog and perch colors), Spit’n Images, buzzing toads and buzzbaits. White bass are schooling in Mud Lake and in Little River around Hurricane Creek this week. The crappie bite is still slow this week with the stained and muddy water clarity along Little River. Clarity has steadily gone downhill, over the past 2 weeks and tapered off the crappie bite. The most consistent bite remains on live shiners, grubs on light wire jig heads, and white/chartreuse colored tails. Blues and channel cats remain consistent this week on trotlines, along the current in Little River and remain best using cut shad, Charlie or chicken livers. Yo-yo’s hung from cypress trees in about 12 to 15 feet of water, near any current are picking up some decent 4 to 8 pound cats.
Cossatot River: Davy Ashcraft at Cossatot River State Park (870-385-2201) said USGA states that the water level is 3.25 feet, with the surface temperature ranging from 70 degrees to 80 degrees. With the recent rainfall the river has risen to levels that are not conducive to bass fishing on the river. With no rain in the forecast for the week and temperatures staying nice, fishing will be greatly improved by this weekend. There have however been a few fishermen that are catching a few catfish on worms and cut bait in clam pools close to swift water, with some success. Also bream are biting well on worms weighted to the bottom. Take extra caution while fishing on the river or near it when it is up this high.
Lake Columbia: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) said the water is murky and high. Crappie are picking up on minnows. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on any bait.
Lake Erling: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) said the water is murky and high. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on chicken liver, cut bait and worms.
White Oak Lake: White Oak Lake State Park said the water level rose slightly last week and the water clarity is still poor. The bass where schooling before the storms on Saturday. They were hitting top-water lures. There have been catfish caught on worms and artificial baits. The bream have been going after crickets and worms. Crappie are still slow.
Lake Greeson: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 468.51 feet MSL.
Lakeside Grocery said the water is murky and high. Bream are good on crickets. Crappie are fair deep on minnows. Bass are good early and late on plastic worms, spinnerbaits and lizards. Catfish are fair on trotlines with minnows or bream.
Daryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips Guide Service said Crappie are good on brush piles and bamboo crappie condos. Bass have been reported to be surface feeding in the secondary creek channels. Stripers are beginning to move back up the lake and are very scattered.
DeGray Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 408 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 Lake Dardanelle is muddy from the heavy rain and strong winds. Lake temperature is 77 degrees. River flow is reported to reach 140,000 CFS through the lake. With the passing of the storms and a cold front that directly moved into Arkansas, fishing on Lake Dardanelle has become challenging. Many veteran anglers struggled at the Wal-Mart BFL fishing tournament while a few were able to catch a limit. Anglers reported catching bass on chatterbaits, buzzbaits, jigs and crankbaits. Emergent grass seems to be the place to throw top-water baits. Bluegill, red-eared sunfish, and yellow bass are biting well on crickets, worms and small tube jigs. Catfish are being caught on nightcrawlers, homemade prepared baits, liver and cut shad.
Murphy’s Sporting Goods (479-229-3200) said the water is murky and high. Bass are scattered and have been caught on spinnerbaits. Catfish are good on any bait.
Ozark Pool: Lakeside Food Mart (479-667-5155) said the water is muddy and high. A few bream have been caught on crickets. Catfish are fair below the dam on chicken liver.
Lake Ouachita: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 580.6 feet MSL.
Mountain Harbor Resort said the water is clearing up and surface temperatures are 80 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.
Larry Hurley from Poorman’s Guide Service said the rising water from last week’s downpours has the fish shallow, exploring new territory. Try fishing albino-shad-colored flukes and shad-colored spinnerbaits and crankbaits that run 6 to 10 foot deep on the inside edge of the grass for bass. Stripers are biting well at the dam on live shad and spoons.
Lake Catherine: Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that heavy generation has been the norm below Carpenter Dam as Entergy removes the flood water that fell during Hurricane Ike. Boaters are advised to use caution as extremely swift currents have created dangerous conditions. Despite these conditions, threadfin shad are still migrating in and out of the tailrace, which has kept large schools of stripers and hybrids in the area. September is the last month for good striper and hybrid action as the shad schools will move out with cooler weather. Most of the fish caught in the last several days have been with 1/4 ounce jigs in white or grey. Look for areas protected by rocks and sand bars as they provide some relief from the heavy current. The fish are present but rarely feed on top because of the fast water. As conditions return to normal, top-water action will improve dramatically. Fishermen should cast 6- to 8-inch soft plastics into schooling fish – preferably weightless. A free falling presentation is much more effective than one that sinks too rapidly. Also a larger bait will be more visible as it stands out from the hundreds of baitfish that surround it. Super flukes are tailor-made for such a technique. Largemouth and spotted bass are still roaming in and out of the dam area actively feeding on the shad schools. Rainbow trout stocking will begin in November and this always greatly benefits the fishing.
Diamond Head Marina (501-262-2272) said all species are slow.
Lake Hinkle: Bill’s Bait Shop (479-637-4719) said the water is very high. Bream are biting well on crickets. Crappie are fair in deep water on minnows. Bass are good on top-water lures. Catfishing is excellent on chicken liver, live sunfish and shad.
Lake Atkins: Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is murky and high. Bass are schooling. Catfish are good on cut bait.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff): River City Sporting Goods (870-534-8303) said the water is muddy and high. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows. Catfishing is fair on chicken liver.
White River: Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is high. All species are slow.
Maddox Bay: Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the water is murky and high. All fishing is slow.
Bear Creek Lake: Arkansas Outdoors (870-295-4240) said the water is clear and low. All species are slow.
Horseshoe Lake: Local angler Clyde Gregory said water conditions are normal. Crappie are fair in deep water on minnows and jigs. Catfish are good on worms, liver and large minnows.
Island 40 Chute: Daily’s Boat Dock (870-739-3478) said water conditions are normal. Catfish are the best thing going on chicken liver or large minnows.