Arkansas Weekly Fishing Report – 9/24/2008

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Arkansas Largemouth BassArkansas 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. 24, 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: When fishing with live bait, such as minnows and nightcrawlers. Check your bait often and remove any sickly or dying minnows or worms. Dead bait left in the container can cause the other animals to die quickly. Also drop a few ice cubes into the water or soil every now and then to keep the bait healthy in the hot sun. 

Arkansas River Levels are available at

http://www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil/WCDS/Reports/Daily/Pao_rvrs.txt

White River Levels are available at

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lmrfc/forecast/tributaries/status_white.shtml

CENTRAL ARKANSAS:
            Lake Conway: Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is murky and at normal level. A few bream have been caught around docks on worms. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Black bass are being caught around banks.

Little Red River: Lindsey’s Resort (501-302-3139) said generation has slowed a bit from recent months. Trout fishing is good on wax worms with marshmallows and chartreuse Power Eggs.

Jed Hollan at the Little Red Fly Shop said the Greers Ferry Powerhouse is releasing water beginning at 10 a.m. with one generator. At noon, a second generator is being ramped up, and both are being shut down at 10 p.m. The temperature of the water passing through the turbines is averaging 54 degrees with dissolved oxygen levels averaging 4.0 mg/l. The oxygen level is low because of the consistent water releases. The longer the water stays in the lake, the more dissolved oxygen it accumulates from aquatic plants. Wade fishing opportunities abound because of the flow schedule. You can wade in at JFK Park near the dam around 6:30 a.m. and fish until the horn sounds at 10 a.m.; then go to Cow Shoal for another hour or two of fishing. When the rising water arrives at Cow, proceed downstream to Winkley Shoal for an additional 2 to 3 hours of wading bliss, confident in the knowledge that, when higher water arrives, there is always Libby Shoal even further downstream awaiting you. Of course, you could simply start at Libby Shoal and fish from dawn until 3-4 p.m. Drift fishermen can launch their boats at Lobo Landing and go either upstream or down with little fear of big rocks impeding their progress. Our guide trips are starting at Lobo Landing or Dripping Springs. Fishing has been “crazy good,” producing well over 100 fish per guide boat per day. Every fly tied to the tippet seems to get the trout’s attention. Even red butt soft hackle emergers dead drifted under an indicator, a fly normally reserved for the riffles, is catching trout from a boat. If there is a problem fly fishing the Little Red right now, it’s the leaves coating the surface of the river.  The leaves can disrupt an otherwise perfect presentation. One solution to this problem is to fish streamers. We are finally starting to see normal aquatic insect hatches along the river.  BWOs (blue winged olive mayflies), sulphurs and brown drakes (more mayflies) are “coming off” mid to late afternoon.  Midges continue to hatch every day as well.  The most effective dry flies are Adams (#16-#18), BWO (#18; baetis), sulphur (#16-#18) and midge (#22; cream or black).  Effective sub-surface attractors include sowbug (#14; UV tan, UV gray, olive or peacock), red butt soft hackle emerger (#14-#18), pheasant tail (#16), gold ribbled hare’s ear (#14-#16), copper john (#16; red or green), zebra midge (#16-#22; red or black), San Juan worm (#14-#16; red, wine or worm brown) and woolly bugger (#8-#12; olive or brown).   

            Greers Ferry: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 467.51 feet MSL.

Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water is slowly falling and the surface temperature ranges from 74-76 degrees. Largemouth, Kentucky and smallmouth bass are all holding near the flooded bushes. Some are still on main-lake points, secondary points and flats as well. Shallow fish are biting well on small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. The deeper fish are biting fairly well on Texas-rigged worms, Carolina-rigged soft-plastic sticks and football head jigs. Bream are biting well on crickets and night crawlers. Crappie are biting fairly well over brush piles in 20 to 25 feet of water. Walleye are scattered with the constantly changing water levels. Catfishing is good on live and prepared baits. Hybrid and white bass are on fire all over the lake. The fall feast has begun. Jigging spoons, small in-line spinners and grubs are working early in the mornings and late in the evening.

Shiloh Marina said water conditions are high and murky. Kentucky bass are schooling.

Harris Brake Lake: Coffee Creek Landing (501-889-2745) said the water is cloudy and high. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits. Catfish are fair on stink bait.

Lake Beaverfork: The City of Conway Parks and Recreation Department said water conditions are normal. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass are good on spinnerbaits. Catfish are fair on chicken liver.

Lake Overcup: Lakeview Landing (501-354-1470) said water conditions are normal. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie fishing is good on minnows and jigs. Catfishing is good at night on goldfish, shad and nightcrawlers.

Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Catfishing is good on live bait and nightcrawlers.

Brewer Lake: Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. Crappie are biting well on minnows. Catfishing is good on live bait.

Lake Maumelle: Jolly Roger’s Marina had no report.

Sunset Lake: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said water conditions are normal. Crappie are fair on chartreuse jigs or red tube jigs. Bass are biting well in shallow water on top-water lures and buzzbaits.

Saline River Access in Benton: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said water conditions are normal. Bass are biting well on top-water lures and green pumpkin 4-inch lizards. Catfishing is good on Magic Bait.

Arkansas River at Morrilton: Charley’s Hidden Harbor in Oppelo said the flow has dropped, and some boats are getting back on the river. Bream are fair near wood cover 4- to 8-feet deep. Crappie are picking up on minnows 5- to 10-feet deep. Drum are being caught on crawfish-colored jigs. Black bass are shallow early then moving to secondary points and ledges later. Bass jigs are working very well on largemouths and Kentuckies. Catfishing is still very good on shad below dams 9 and 10.

Arkansas River in Little Rock: Vince Miller from Fish ‘N Stuff said the water is starting to drop, but is still dangerous. Some bass have been caught in the backwaters.

Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said bass are good on brown and orange jig-and-pig combos and chartreuse/orange belly crankbaits. Catfishing is good on live green sunfish and cut shad.

Little Maumelle River: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said crappie are biting well on red/chartreuse mini jigs and pink minnows. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and stick baits. Catfishing is good on limblines and trotlines baited with live green sunfish and cut bait.

Big Maumelle: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said crappie are fair on red and chartreuse jigs and pink minnows.

Lake Valencia: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said catfishing is the best thing going on nightcrawlers and chicken liver.

Murray Lock and Dam: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said crappie are fair on a slip-cork rig baited with a minnows. Catfishing is excellent on live green sunfish and shad.

Palarm Creek: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said crappie are fair on slip-cork rigs baited with minnows. Bass are fair on a black/blue jigs. Catfishing is excellent on trotlines and limb lines on cut shad and chicken hearts.

Terry Lock and Dam: McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is muddy and high.

            Clear Lake: McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water conditions are normal. A few bream have been caught on crickets. Crappie are good 4-6 feet deep on pink minnows.

            Peckerwood Lake: Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is clear and high. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers and chicken liver.

NORTH ARKANSAS:

White River: Sportsman’s White River Resort said water conditions are normal with three to six generators running. Trout fishing has still been good on pink worms, Power Bait, Rogues, Rapalas and shad-colored Krocodile spoons. When the water is low, San Juan worms, woolly buggers and sow bugs are working great.

Mountain River Fly Shop said the generation schedule has finally dropped a bit. Some fantastic fishing reports are coming in from Wildcat Shoals to below Bull Shoals Dam, including a 34-inch Brown. Rainbows in the catch-and-release area below the dam are excellent right now, and the brown trout spawn is right around the corner. The next month is going to be fun.

John Berry of Berry Brothers Guides said 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

Bull Shoals Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 685.93 feet MSL.

Lake Norfork: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 567.52 feet MSL.

101 Grocery and Bait said fishing has been slow. The water temperature is dropping to the low 70s and high 60s in some parts of the lake. On the Red Bank side of the lake the thermocline is at 50 feet and solid. Crappie fishing is good using minnows fished 20-feet deep around brush piles. Bluegill fishing is good using worms and crickets. Striper fishing has been fair. Catfishing has been good with most being caught on trotlines and jugs. Bass fishing has been fair. There are loads of 8-10 inch bass everywhere from this year’s spawn. Walleye fishing has been slow. There have been a few walleye caught on jigging spoons.

Norfork Tailwater: Mountain River Fly Shop said there are still some wading opportunities available in the mornings. Tailwater soft-hackle flies in green, yellow and red/yellow have been working well. Zebra midges, tungsten WD-40s, sowbugs and woolly buggers have also produced well.

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 good 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.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS

Beaver Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,129.49 feet MSL.

JT’s Crappie Guide Service (479-640-3980) said fishing has improved greatly with the cooling lake temperatures. Bass are biting well in the morning on top-water baits and spinnerbaits thrown in the flooded timber. Later in the day, Texas- and Carolina-rigged lizards in shades of watermelon have produced well. Quite a bit of schooling activity has been taking place around the marinas in the morning. Crappie also have been biting well. Minnows fished under a float and black/chartreuse tubes have been working well fished 10- to 20-feet deep around docks and close to bluffs. The Horseshoe Bend area has been good. White bass have been schooling in the mornings along the edges of main-lake flats. Horseshoe Bend South to Hickory Creek has been good. Catfishing remains good at night by using worms or liver from the bank. Bluegill have been taking worms and crickets under docks and along bluff walls 2- to 6-feet deep.

Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is murky and starting to drop. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits, top-water lures, and Carolina rigs.

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 water conditions are normal. All fishing is slow.

Sugarloaf Lake: Midland Minimart (479-639-9467) said the water is murky and high. Crappie are the best thing going on minnows.

NORTHEAST ARKANSAS

            Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA: Judy Potts of Judy’s Bait Shoppe at the North entrance to Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA said fishing is starting to pick up after all the flooding the area has experienced lately. Bream and crappie are biting well on crickets and minnows in Honey Lake. Catfish are being caught on cut baits and stink baits on trotlines and a few on yo-yos. Bob Bell Lake is good for bream and a few crappie. Big Hurricane Lake Road just opened during the middle of the week. Bass were hitting well on minnows and top-waters. Mallard Pond was good for crappie on minnows and jigs. Trotliners were doing very well on Whorl Lake and Glaise Creek, catching flatheads and channel catfish on cut bait, dough bait, shad and large minnows. Water levels on all lakes are near normal with the White River remaining just below flood stage.

            Lake Charles: Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the water level is normal and the surface temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees. Crappie are slow, but a few have been caught on minnows. Catfish are fair on trotlines baited with goldfish. All other species are slow.

Lake Frierson:  Lake Frierson State Park (870-932-2615) reports the water is high. All species are slow.

Crown Lake: Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said water conditions are normal. Bream are biting well on worms. Crappie fishing is good in 12 feet of water on minnows. Bass are picking up on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are fair on chicken liver.

SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS

            Lake Monticello: Fishing guide Greg Gulledge (870-723-3928) with Basshunters Custom Crankbaits said fishing is finally transitioning into fall patterns. The water is around the average spring level. Bass are biting well at all depths from 1 to 20 feet. Watermelon and watermelon/red worms are working well. Bass are schooling well around the lake, and flukes, Chug Bugs and crankbaits have been the best way to get them.

Lake Chicot: Koenig Bass Tracker Marine (870-265-5374) said water conditions are normal. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. A few crappie have been caught on minnows. Bass are good on plastic worms. Catfish are good on live bait.

Grand Lake: Koenig Bass Tracker Marine (870-265-5374) said water conditions are normal. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS

Millwood Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.66 feet MSL.

Millwood Lake Guide Service said the surface temperature is 72 to 78 degrees, depending on location and time of day. The water clarity improved slightly from muddy to stained. Dense floating mats of vegetation have broken loose and are randomly floating in Little River. Current in Little River Monday was roaring at 13,244 cubic feet per second. Cooler temperatures have triggered some good feeding activity on Millwood lately. Bass are schooling around the lake as well as in Cemetery Slough, Mud Lake, Horseshoe Lake and McGuire Lake upriver. The most activity is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The most consistent reaction bite is on Rat-L-Traps, Bass Assassin Shad jerk baits in the vegetation and remaining lily pads, along with white jigs w/ white chunk trailers, clear Baby Torpedos and Cordell Crazy Shads.  Crankbaits such as Fat Free Shads and Cordell Big O’s in shad patterns are working well around flooded timber and laydowns. Once the sun is high, 10- to 12-inch worms will pick up some good keepers until the schooling starts. White bass were schooling in Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire lakes this week. Crappie are still slow with the low water clarity along Little River. The most consistent bite remains on live shiners and smoke paddletail grubs on light wire jig heads. Blue catfish and channel catfish remain consistent this week, as last week on trotlines, along the current in Little River. Yo-yos hung from cypress trees in 9-12 feet of water near any current are picking up some decent cats in the 5- to 9-pound class.

Cossatot River: Davy Ashcraft at Cossatot River State Park (870-385-2201) had no report.

Lake Columbia: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) said water conditions are normal. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms. Crappie are good early and late on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on plastic worms. Catfishing is good on worms.

Lake Erling: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) had no report. 

White Oak Lake: White Oak Lake State Park said the water level is stable and the water is clear. Bream have been active on crickets and worms. Crappie are slow. Catfish are biting well on trotlines with live bait. Bass are schooling in the evenings.

Lake Greeson: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 548.32 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 the water level is falling fast. Crappie are excellent on brush piles and bamboo condos 12- to 15-feet deep in 18 to 24 feet of water. Bass are good on points and humps in the secondary creek arms and on points near the main channel.

DeGray Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 407.44 feet MSL.

Larry Hurley from Poorman’s Guide Service said big fish are biting on Berkley swim baits on main-lake points that drop to the main river channel. Carolina rigs and football head jigs are working well in those areas. Hybrids are breaking sporadically throughout the day around points close to the main river channel. Up Brushy Creek some Kentucky bass are breaking early and late in the day. Zara spooks and CC Spoons are working well on all breaking fish.

Charles at Iron Mountain Lodge and Marina had no report.

WEST-CENTRAL ARKANSAS

Lake Dardanelle: Eric Pratt at Lake Dardanelle State Park said water in Lake Dardanelle is beginning to clear up. The surface temperature is 76 degrees. River flow is expected to be around 60,000 cubic feet per second throughout the lake. Bass fishing on Lake Dardanelle has been hard on a lot of anglers. A few bass fishermen are reporting catching bass on the ever faithful black/blue jig, chatterbait and buzzbait. Emergent grass has been the hot spot for catching a keeper. Crappie fishing is slow with some success around brush piles with minnows and crappie jigs. Bream are still biting well on crickets, worms and small tubes. The number of catfish being caught has slowed some, however; it is still fairly easy to catch a limit of catfish fishing from the banks or on the water. Catfish are being caught on chicken liver, cut shad, night crawlers, and commercially prepared baits.

Murphy’s Sporting Goods (479-229-3200) said the water is muddy and high. Catfish are the best thing going right now.

Ozark Pool: Lakeside Food Mart (479-667-5155) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets and nightcrawlers. A few crappie have been caught on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on plastic worms. Catfish are fair on minnows and cut bait.

Lake Ouachita: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 578.46 feet MSL.

Mountain Harbor Resort said the water is 76 to 80 degrees and stained. Largemouth bass are fair. They can be caught on spinnerbaits and crankbaits near submerged vegetation. Kentucky bass are still breaking on cloudy days and early and late in the day. Walleye are biting fairly well on spoons fished over brush piles on main-lake points. Bottom bouncers with spinners and night crawlers are still producing some large walleye as well.  Stripers are good on live bait with shad or trotline minnows. White ½-oz. jigs and ¾-oz spoons are still working as well. Try around Brady Mountain, Bird Island and the spillway. Bream are good with crickets or worms in 18 to 25 feet of water. Crappie are fair and being caught over brush. Try 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 some walleye have been caught around the lake on spoons. Stripers are excellent in the trees on Berkley swim baits teamed with a Revenge Lures 1-oz. head. Work the swim bait slowly over the treetops in around 20 feet of water. Largemouth bass are breaking in the mouths of the pockets in the creeks. Zara Spooks, Revenge spinnerbaits and CC spoons are working extremely well on the largemouths. Once the morning bite dies, fish around the inside edge of the grass and the top of the grass with a spinnerbait or Senko and cover a lot of water for more bites.

Dave Lindhag from Striped Bass Adventures said fishing is moving to fall patterns now that the flooding from the hurricane rains has subsided. The water level and temperature have dropped. Fishing has been fairly tough for stripers. Most stripers being caught are between 9 and 14 pounds and are being taken on live bait slowly trolled at around 30-feet deep near treetops. We should see some breaking fish by mid-October if temperatures continue dropping at this rate. 

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 Diamond Head Marina said the water is clearing up and is a bit high. All fishing has been slow.

Lake Hinkle: Bill’s Bait Shop (479-637-4719) said water conditions are normal. Bream are fair on crickets and worms. A few crappie have been caught deep on minnows. Bass are schooling. Catfishing is good on chicken liver.

Lake Atkins: Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is murky and high. Bass are schooling. Catfish are good on cut bait.

SOUTH-CENTRAL ARKANSAS

Lower Ouachita River: The water is still a bit high. Some anglers are catching bass around the mouths of creeks and openings where the river is draining. Light-colored spinnerbaits and Texas-rigged Brush Hogs with an 1/8-oz. weight are working well.

EAST ARKANSAS

Arkansas River (Pine Bluff): River City Sporting Goods (870-534-8303) said the water is muddy and at normal level. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms. A few crappie have been caught on minnows and black or chartreuse jigs. Bass are good on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on worms and shad.

White River: Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is very high. All fishing is slow.

Maddox Bay: Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said water conditions are normal. Crappie are the best thing going on minnows and jigs.

Bear Creek Lake: Arkansas Outdoors (870-295-4240) said the water is clear and dropping. All species are slow.

Horseshoe Lake: Local angler Clyde Gregory said the water conditions are normal. Crappie are fair in deep water on minnows and black/chartreuse jigs. A few bass have been caught around cypress trees and lily pads on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is very good on cut bait and nightcrawlers.

Island 40 Chute: Daily’s Boat Dock (870-739-3478) said the water is muddy and high. A few bream have been caught on worms and crickets. Catfishing is good on stink bait and worms.