Arkansas Weekly Fishing Report – 10/1/2008
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 Oct. 1, 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: Plastic top-water lures and crankbaits can begin to leak if they’re used around rocky areas. The lures will fill with water, rendering them useless. Instead of throwing away the lure, sink it in large glass bowl of water and look for the bubbles to find the leak. Once you find the leak, a touch of super glue will save the lure.
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
Statewide Family and Community Fishing Program Report: Channel catfish are being stocked in all program ponds and will be biting well on worms, liver, hot dogs, bait shrimp and paste baits. Channel catfish are being caught with more success in early mornings and late evenings. Bream are still biting well on crickets, wax worms and redworms. For more information on catfish stockings, call toll free 1-866-540-FISH (3474).
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.
Dan at Gold Creek Landing said bream are fair but appear to be moving off the bank. Bass are fair on plastic worms and frogs. Crappie are fair near cypress trees and creek channels. Catfishing is fair on limb lines and trotlines.
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 before dawn, continuing until midnight. This protocol has ended most anglers’ dreams of long hours of wade fishing bliss on our trophy trout stream and has made boat fishing problematic. A small window of wading opportunity exists at Winkley Shoal (Swinging Bridge) until about 9:30 a.m. and until 11 a.m. or so at Libby Shoal. One of our generators was shut down on Monday, the 29th of September for inspection and maintenance. Until this process is complete, the other unit will operate 24/7 and no wade fishing opportunities will exist. Mayflies and midges continue to “come off” late afternoons and early evenings. Sulphurs, blue winged olives and pale morning duns are the mayflies and midges, our smallest aquatic insects (chironomidae) complete the hatches. Trout simply love these little critters and if you can select and properly use the right imitation from your fly box, you will catch fish. To imitate the winged adult mayflies, try a sulphur (#16-#18), BWO (#16-#18), adams (#16 – a universal dry fly pattern), PMD (#18-#20) or midge (#22 or smaller in cream or black). Fishing under the hatch normally produces more catches than with dry flies. Mayfly nymph patterns such as the pheasant tail (#16), copper john (#14-#16 red, green or copper), gold ribbed hare’s ear (#16-#18) or prince (#14-#16) will work. Other flies to try include a hopper pattern (#10-#12), San Juan worm (#12-#14 red or fl. cerise), crackleback (#12), red @ss soft hackle (#14-#18) or wooly bugger (#10-#12 olive, brown or black). The brown trout spawn is right around the corner and I can feel the eager anticipation growing among our clients with each day. It is exciting to stand in shallow water next to large spawning brown trout knowing that you can catch them. Egg patterns are the attractor of choice during the three months of spawning activity.
Greers Ferry: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 465.77 feet MSL.
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water temperature ranges from 75 degrees on the north end of the lake to 80 degrees on the south end. The warmer water being pulled to the south end of the lake has slowed the hybrids and whites there, but the north end of the lake is still going strong. Black bass are biting very well in shallow water around flooded brush. Spinnerbaits, topwaters, buzzbaits and small crankbaits are working well around the brush. Bass are also on long points and will bite Carolina rigs and football head jigs. Crappie are fair in the pole timber and brush in 15 to 20 feet of water. Bream are biting well on crickets and nightcrawlers. Catfish are biting well on jugs and trotlines. Walleye are slow and can be found anywhere from 10 feet deep to 48 feet deep.
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 clear and a little high. Bream are fair on worms. Crappie fishing is good on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on cut bait.
Lake Overcup: Lakeview Landing (501-354-1470) said water conditions are normal. Bream are biting well on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Catfishing is good on worms and minnows.
Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is dingy and a little high. Crappie are in 8 to 10 feet of water on small minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on black spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is good on trotlines on live bait and stinkbait.
Brewer Lake: Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is clear and high. Crappie are good around the banks on salt/pepper jigs. Bass are fair near banks on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on trotlines with nightcrawlers.
Lake Maumelle: Jolly Roger’s Marina said the water is level with the spillway. Largemouth bass are fair around points in 4 to 8 feet of water. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are working the best on the largemouth. Kentucky bas are excellent on Carolina-rigged soft plastics and crankbaits in 6 to 12 feet of water at the west end of the lake. White bass are biting well, with some schooling activity all over the lake. CC spoons are working the best on the white bass. Catfishing is fair about 20 feet deep on the edges of the channel. Crappie are about 20 feet deep and are hitting small red/white jigs around the channel edges. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms fished 10 to 15 feet deep. The old Jolly Rogers cove is a good place to start looking for bream.
Arkansas River in Little Rock: Vince Miller from Fish ‘N Stuff said the water is muddy and still a little high. Bass can be caught in the mouths of the backwater on crankbaits and spinnerbaits.
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 Bnton: 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 water is muddy with water temperature in the high 60s. Drum are still good on spoons. Stripers are good below dams using live shad. White bass are best in the late afternoon around creek mouths on chartreuse crankbaits. Bass fishing is fairly good on spinnerbaits or plastic worms. Catfish are fair on bream or shad.
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: No report.
Terry Lock and Dam: McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is muddy and high. Fishing is slow.
Clear Lake: McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said water conditions are normal. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass are picking up on spinnerbaits.
Peckerwood Lake: Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) had no report.
White River: Sportsman’s White River Resort said water conditions are normal with seven generators running around the clock. Trout fishing has been very good on trout worms, Rogues and Rapalas.
John Berry of Berry Brothers Guides said we have had a week without rain and the lakes in the White River system have experienced a slight decline. The pattern on the White is for heavy generation around the clock. Boating conditions on the White have been uniformly good. The upper river below Bull Shoals Dam has been producing well. With the higher flows we have had this week; anglers have had to return to their conventional high-water techniques. The top technique for this level of water is to fish brightly colored San Juan worms under a strike indicator. Hot colors have been red, cerise and hot pink. Other effective flies have been black zebra midges in size 14 and egg patterns in peach and pink. The section from Wildcat Shoals to the Narrows was a hot spot. In addition to fishing San Juan worms and nymphs, anglers have reported success fishing large streamers on sink tip or full sinking lines.
Ken Richards at justfishinguides.com said on high water, pink, cerise and hot red San Juan worms are working well. Dynamite San Juans in hot pink are the best of the family. Large streamers worked around the banks are catching some large brown trout. Look for the browns to be moving to their pre-spawn lies. Sowbugs are the hot fly near the dam.
Bull Shoals Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 684.96 feet MSL.
Lake Norfork: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 567.01 feet MSL.
101 Grocery and Bait said the water temperature ranges from the mid-60s to the mid-70s. Kentucky bass fishing has been good. Bluegill fishing is good. Crappie fishing is fair. Catfishing is good using trotlines. Striper fishing is slow. White bass fishing is fair. Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing is fair.
Cranfield Junction Bait and Tackle (870-492-5141) said the water is murky and high. All species are slow.
Norfork Tailwater: John Berry of Berry Brothers Guides said Norfork Lake has fallen three tenths of a foot to rest at fifteen and five tenths feet above power pool of 552.00 feet or twelve and five tenths of a foot below the top of flood pool. The pattern has been to run one or two generators part of the day and to turn it off at night. There have been some excellent wading conditions on the Norfork during the last week. The boat ramp at Quarry Park on the upper Norfork River is closed while a contractor removes the old pedestrian bridge across the mouth of Dry Run Creek. Fishing on the Norfork has remained steady this past week. The low flows in the morning have enticed quite a few anglers and most have not been disappointed. The section at Quarry Park just below Norfork Dam has fished particularly well. Small black zebra midges size 18, scuds in size eighteen, olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash, and Dan’s turkey tail emergers have been the go-to flies. Dry Run Creek is clear and very wadable. Effective flies have been sowbugs, worm brown San Juan worms and olive woolly buggers. With the pleasant weather we have had lately, now is a good time to get in some quality fishing with your children or grandchildren before the weather turns cold. Be sure to carry a camera and the biggest net you can find. The fish here are huge.
Ken Richards at justfishinguides.com said small sowbugs, zebra midges and soft hackles are working well on the low water. During high water, Y2K bugs, San Juan worms and dynamite worms are working the best.
Beaver Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,129.03 feet MSL.
JT’s Crappie Guide Service (479-640-3980) said bass are biting small topwater baits early and late around Prairie Creek and Horseshoe Bend Parks. In the middle of the day bass can be caught on Hula Grubs fished around shaded banks near chunk rock. Crappie fishing has slowed since last week. The water temperature has gone back up a bit, halting the fall feeding frenzy. They can be caught under deep shaded docks and along bluff lines with standing timber. Black/chartreuse tubes or a minnow fished 10 to 25 feet over cover has produced best. White bass fishing has been almost non existent. A few are moving here and there and can be caught on small casting spoons. Catfish are biting liver, worms and minnows under docks and from the bank at night. Bluegill can be caught in the flooded cover with crickets under a float 2 to 4 feet deep.
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said bream are biting well on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs in brush. Bass are biting well on Carolina rigs and drop shots.
Beaver Tailwater: Ken Richards at justfishinguides.com said the water levels are beginning to get back down, so there are more wading opportunities. Gray or tan sowbugs, red copper Johns, Hornbergs and hare’s ear nymphs are good patterns for the tailwater now. During high water, large streamers such as #4 black woolly buggers are picking up some nice fish.
Lake Fayetteville: Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said water conditions are normal. Bream are fair on crickets. A few crappie have been caught on jigs. Bass are fair on buzzbaits and plastic worms.
Lake Sequoyah: Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said water conditions are normal. Crappie are good 4 feet deep on minnows. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits. A few catfish have been caught on chicken liver.
Sugarloaf Lake: Midland Minimart (479-639-9467) said water conditions are normal. Crappie are the best thing going on minnows.
King’s River: Ken Richards at justfishinguides.com said water levels are low and clear. Smallmouth are biting well on crazydads and minnow patterns such as Crease flies and Clouser deep minnows. Grasshopper patterns are working as well. Sunfish are hitting anything you throw at them from poppers, to woolly buggers to bream killers.
Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA: Judy Potts of Judy’s Bait Shoppe at the North entrance to Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA said that fishing was very good last week. The four main fishing areas (Glaise Creek, Honey Lake, Big Bell Lake and Hurricane Lake) were all stocked with catchable-size catfish. Campers on Honey Lake reported catching some of these nice 2- to 3-pound cats as well as a good stringer of crappie using minnows. Bream were biting well on crickets at all locations. Campers over on Big Bell Lake caught many slab-sized crappie. This is the best fishing has been all year. All lake levels are getting right just in time for some great fall fishing before hunting season gets in full swing. Hurricane and Whorl Lakes were busy with the yo-yo’s and trotlines as well with crappie and cats hitting good on minnows, cut bait and stink baits. Mosquitoes were biting very good as well, so be sure to bring some bug spray.
Lake Charles: Lak 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 nightcrawlers. Crappie fishing is good on minnows. Bass are picking up on plastic worms.
Lake Monticello: Fishing guide Greg Gulledge (870-723-3928) with Basshunters Custom Crankbaits said the bass on Lake Monticello are picking up a little more every week as the weather cools. Bass are chasing shad all over the lake. Worms continue to produce in all depths. The best worm colors are junebug, red shad and anything watermelon. The crankbait bite is picking up with the best color being Basshunter Shad. Topwaters are working for schooling fish. As the water cools in the coming weeks, the whites and crappie should pick up.
Lake Chicot: Bass Tracker Marine (870-265-5374) said the water is murky and at normal level. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are good on worms. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good on cut bait and worms.
Millwood Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.35 feet MSL.
Millwood Lake Guide Service said heavy current has kept the clarity in Millwood low and has broken many floating mats of vegetation loose from the banks. The surface temperature ranges from 72 to 78 degrees. Little River current was 6,699 cubic feet per second Monday. Largemouth bass are excellent and randomly schooling around Millwood. Bass Assassin Shads, Rat-L-Traps and 10-inch worms are definitely the go-to baits for bass during the last few weeks. The best schooling activity has been around midday. Chunky bass from 2-4 pounds are schooling randomly in Cemetery Slough, Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbow lakes upriver, and fishermen are catching many schooling fish periodically during the day. Schooling bass seem to take a few hours to get started and best schooling activities are running between 10am to 2pm. The most consistent reaction bite during schooling activity is on Rat-L-Traps, hammered Cordell spoons (hint* use a buck tail feather hook!), Cordell’s Crazy Shads, clear Baby Torpedoes, and white or smoke colored grubs on light wire jigheads. Fat Free Shad crankbaits, Norman Deep Little N’s and Cordell Big O’s in shad patterns, are working in and around flooded timber and laydown timber. Deadsticking Bass Assassin Shads around vegetation edges, flooded timber stands or Cypress knees well away from the base of the tree, are good bets and working well for keeper largemouths. The best reaction buzzbait bite is on Siefert’s Buzz Baits around pads and primrose grass from 1-6 feet deep. White bass were schooling in Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire Oxbow lakes this week and biting well on hammered spoons, Rat-L-Traps, 3-inch smoke or white grubs on jigheads. The crappie bite is still slow. Blues and channel cats remain consistent this week along the current in Little River on trotlines baited with cut shad and chicken livers.
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. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass fishing is fair on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on cut bait.
Lake Erling: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) said crappie are the best thing going on minnows and jigs.
White Oak Lake: White Oak Lake State Park reports the water is at normal pool and clear. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms. Crappie are slow. Catfish are fair on trotlines with live bait. Bass are fair on shad-imitating lures.
Lake Greeson: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 546.83 feet MSL.
Lakeside Grocery said the water is dingy and high. Bream are good on crickets and small jigs. Bass are fair on crankbaits and topwater lures.
Daryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips Guide Service said the water is about 76 to 80 degrees. Crappie, Bass and Bream are excellent on minnows fished from 10 to 16 feet deep over hardwood brush piles and bamboo condos in 15 to 25 feet of water.
DeGray Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 407.21 feet MSL.
Charles at Iron Mountain Lodge and Marina said crappie are beginning to pick up. Bass are biting fairly well shallow early in the day. Buzzbaits and topwaters are working well.
DeGray One Stop said the water is dingy and almost back to normal level. All fishing has been slow.
Lake Dardanelle: Eric Pratt at Lake Dardanelle State Park said the water color on Lake Dardanelle is variable with muddy conditions out in the main body of the lake and river channel and clearer water around tributaries such as Illinois Bayou and Big Piney. The surface temperature is 73 degrees. River flow is expected to slow from 64,000 CFS to 58,000 CFS by the weekend. Bass fishing has been tough on the lake the last couple of weeks and a cold front is expected to roll through Tuesday. Emergent and floating grasses have been areas known to produce some fish. Anglers are keeping it a secret on what baits they are catching fish on because this weekend 100+ anglers will try their luck on Lake Dardanelle in the Regional Bassmasters Weekend Series. Crappie fishing is slow, but they can be found hanging around brush piles and underwater structures. Minnows on yo-yos have been successful for some crappie fishermen. Catfish have also slowed down a bit. Catfishermen are using liver, shad and nightcrawlers to catch a few. Bream species are still biting fairly well on crickets and worms along banks with overhanging trees and along boat docks.
Murphy’s Sporting Goods (479-229-3200) said the water is muddy and high. All species are slow.
Ozark Pool: Lakeside Food Mart (479-667-5155) had no report.
Lake Ouachita: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 577.93 feet MSL.
Mountain Harbor Resort said the water is clearing and the surface temperature ranges from 72 to 76 degrees. Largemouth bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Kentucky bass and largemouths are breaking the surface on cloudy days and low-light hours. Walleye are biting very well on spoons fished over brush piles around main lake points. Bottom bouncers with spinners and crawler harnesses are working as well. Stripers are biting well on live shad and trotline minnows. White ½-ounce jigs and 3/4-ounce spoons are working well. Bream are fair on crickets and worms fished 18 to 25 feet deep. Crappie are biting well over brush in 20 to 30 feet of water. Tennessee shad and white are still the best colors for crappie. Catfishing is fair on cut bait and live bait suspended from jug lines and trotlines.
Larry Hurley from Poorman’s Guide Service said the striper action slowed this week, but a few can still be caught if you’re willing to do a lot of looking for active schools. Berkley swim baits and ½-ounce jigging spoons are working well for the stripers when you can find some active schools. Bass are biting fairly well with most buried in the grass and not wanting to chase fast-moving lures. Green-colored grass jigs in ¾-ounce or heavier are working well when punched through the grass. Texas-rigged Berkley Chigger Craws with a 3/8-ounce pegged weight are working well on the outside edge of the grass.
Dave Lindhag from Striped Bass Adventures said the stripers are showing their evil side on Lake Ouachita. Finding the schools isn’t difficult, but as soon as you get on a school, they’re running from the boat. The big females are moving up, and the fishing is getting better, but the fish are just finicky. Concentrate on points near the main channel with trees. Skirt the trees with light line (15-lb. test) and a 2-ounce weight and live shad. Rarely will you catch more than one fish per school. From the State Park to Point 19 have been good places to find the fish.
Lake Catherine: Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Entergy has Lake Ouachita out of flood pool and is now only running enough water to maintain normal lake levels. Beginning Wednesday, October 1, generation will occur from noon to 10 p.m. daily. Fishermen need to time their trips during this period at Carpenter Dam since the running water is key for striper and hybrid activity. Until the weather drops down into the 40s at night for several weeks, the shad schools will remain in the tailrace. As long as shad are present, large stripers will be active and looking to feed. The migration of threadfin shad from shallow to deep water usually occurs in late October so there is still some time left for anglers to catch quality fish. Schooling stripers will attack large topwater presentations such as C-10 Redfins and Super Spooks in shad or rainbow trout colors. Remember to have soft plastics handy when these mainstay lures are refused. Stripers are often very picky about the shape of the prey they feed on. Having different bait can make the difference between strikes and wasted efforts. Never fish for large hybrids and stripers with tackle that can’t handle the heavy pressure these fish produce. Rods 6 to 7 feet long are best rigged with lines of at least 17 pound test. Casting and spinning reels capable of handling these heavy lines are preferred and give the angler the best chance for success. Rainbow trout stocking will begin in November at Carpenter Dam and this will mark the much awaited trout season.
Diamondhead Marina (501-262-2272) said the water is at normal level and clearing up. Bass have been fair on shorelines on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on jugs with minnows. Walleye are fair on minnows.
Lake Hinkle: Bill’s Bait Shop (479-637-4719) said water conditions are normal. Bream are biting well on crickets. Crappie are fair in deep water on minnows. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits. Catfishing is good worms, chicken liver and perch.
Lake Atkins: Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said water conditions are normal. Bream are picking up on crickets. Crappie are fair on jigs. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Catfishing is good on worms and minnows.
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 a 1/8-oz. weight are working well.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff): River City Sporting Goods (870-534-8303) said the water is murky and high. Bream are biting well on wax worms, worms and crickets. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on deep-diving lures. Catfishing is good on cut bait and nightcrawlers.
White River: Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is dingy and very high. All fishing is slow.
Maddox Bay: Maddx Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the water is murky and at normal level. Bream are fair on crickets and worms. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Catfish are being caught on trotlines with cut bait.
Bear Creek Lake: Arkansas Outdoors (870-295-4240) said all species are slow.
Horseshoe Lake: Local angler Clyde Gregory said water conditions are very good. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are picking up on spinnerbaits near structure. Catfishing is pretty good on worms and cut bait.
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.