Arkansas Weekly Fishing Reports – 10/8/2008

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Arkansas Weekly Fishing Reports - 10/8/2008Arkansas 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 Oct. 8, 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. To subscribe or unsubscribe to this report, visit 

Fishing Tip: Many anglers peg the weight of their Texas-rigged worms when fishing matted grass and thick cover for bass. Keeping the weight against the lure makes it easier for the entire package to slide through weeds and timber. But when the cover isn’t thick, an unpegged weight is best. When a bass strikes the lure, the weight can slide free, enabling the bass to take the lure deeper in its mouth. The weight also will not interfere with the hookset or give the bass enough bulk to rattle the hook free during the fight.

Arkansas River Levels are available at

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 and redworms.  Largemouth Bass (catch-and-release only) can be caught using minnows or medium-sized artificial lures in the early morning. 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 stained and at a normal level. A few bream have been caught on crickets. Crappie are biting well on minnows near cypress trees. Bass fishing is good close to the banks on white spinnerbaits and top-water lures.

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 water conditions are normal with one generator running around the clock. Trout fishing is good drift fishing in-line spinners, pink worms and chartreuse Power Bait.

Jed Hollan at the Little Red Fly Shop said the Greers Ferry Powerhouse continues to lower the lake level with unrelenting water releases. The water volume was varying between 2,800-5,000 cubic feet of water per second until one of the two generators was shut down on Oct. 6 for routine maintenance. It will probably remain off line for two weeks. This reduction in water release will add another week or so to the date that smaller, seasonal releases resume. The temperature of the water coursing through the turbines is averaging 55 degrees with average dissolved oxygen content between 3.2 and 5.8 mg/l. Bear in mind that water release schedules are subject to change without notice. Drift fishing from a boat is good. Aquatic insect hatches are getting thicker and more varied all the time. In addition to our BWO, PMD, sulphur and midge hatches, we now have march browns. The best dry flies are the Adams (#16), American march brown (#14), sulphur (#16-#18), BWO (#16-#18 baetis), or midge (#22 or smaller in cream or black), but these flies are best used when the river is low. Don’t bother fishing dries from a boat in high water. Sub-surface offerings should include the lowly but abundant sowbug (#14-#16 UV tan, UV gray, peacock or olive), zebra midge (#16-#22 red, black or copper), San Juan worm (#12-#14 red, worm brown or cerise), pheasant tail (#16), copper john (#14-#16 red, green or copper), red butt soft hackle (#14-#18), gold ribbed hare’s ear (#14-#16), egg patterns (#8-#14 bubble gum, salmon or watermelon) or woolly bugger (#8-#12 olive, brown or black). When drift fishing in high water, be sure to use plenty of weight to get the fly down to the streambed.

Most of the brown trout spawn will be at Cow Shoals. Please note that night fishing at Cow Shoals during the spawn is forbidden. Also, only one hooking point per angler is permitted, and it must be barbless. All fish at Cow Shoal must be released immediately to the stream during the spawning months of October, November and December.

Greers Ferry: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 464.24 feet MSL.

Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the lake is still rising and the water temperature is around 70 degrees. Bass fishing is hit-or-miss. With the water rising again, there should be some fish around flooded bushes that will bite spinnerbaits and topwaters. Deeper fish can still be caught around points on Carolina-rigged lizards and football head jigs. White bass and hybrids continue to bite spoons and large in-line spinners in anywhere from 35 to 48 feet of water. They are schooling every now and then, and the cold rain should increase the schooling bite. Crappie continue to be fair around pole timber on minnows and jigs fished 15 to 20 feet deep in 40 to 60 feet of water. Walleye are still few and far between, but a few can be found underneath the schools of white bass and hybrids. Catfishing is excellent on jugs baited with live bait. Bream are still shallow, and are biting fairly well on crickets and nightcrawlers.

Harris Brake Lake: Coffee Creek Landing (501-889-2745) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are good on minnows. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are fair on live bait and nightcrawlers.

Lake Overcup: Lakeview Landing (501-354-1470) said the water is clear and high. Crappie are good early and late on minnows. Catfish are fair on shad and nightcrawlers.

Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is high. Bream are fair on crickets and redworms. A few crappie have been caught on jigs. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Catfishing is fair on minnows and trotlines with chicken liver and live bait.

Brewer Lake: Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said all fishing is slow.

Lake Maumelle: Jolly Roger’s Marina said Lake Maumelle has turned over and has settled down, resulting in better fishing. Largemouth bass are fair on jig-and-pig combos fished on points in 6 to 9 feet of water. Small Kentucky bass are loaded on the points and will nail the jig as well. White bass are fair at the west end of the lake and are biting smoke grubs on a ¼-ounce jighead in 10 to 15 feet of water. Crappie are biting well in 10 to 14 feet of water on live minnows. Bream are biting well in 8 to 10 feet of water on crickets around the old Jolly Roger cove. Catfish are fair on prepared bait fished 10 feet deep.

Arkansas River in Little Rock: Vince Miller from Fish ‘N Stuff said fishing has been pretty slow, but some bass are being caught early on jigs.

Sunset Lake: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the water is high and murky. Crappie are fair on pink grubs. Bass are biting well on watermelon seed lizards.

Saline River Access in Benton: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets. Bass are fair on crankbaits.

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.

Peckerwood Lake: Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is clear and a little high. Bass are biting well on top-water lures. Catfishing is good on worms.

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.

Mountain River Fly Shop said the White continues to fish very well for boat anglers tossing streamers or deep nymphing. If you are a streamer junkie, get a fast sinking full sink line or a sink tip. We have been noticing the browns in particular are coloring up, so their need to feed should be getting stronger. Try flies with a hint of yellow and brown like the Conehead Autumn Splendor, woolly buggers and Tungsten Slump Busters. Deep nymphing with San Juans, with or without an egg pattern in front of the worm, has been consistent. Red, brown, pink and orange have all been good depending on the day or the section of river. Sowbugs have been more popular in the upper part of the river, try gray or tan. For an oddball suggestion, try deep nymphing a sculpin or crawdad pattern. These are big hunks of protein that could attract a bigger trout.

Ken Richards at 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 682.32 feet MSL.

Lake Norfork: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 566.16 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: Mountain River Fly Shop said the tailwater has been a wader’s dream for the past couple of weeks. Midges scuds and sowbugs have all been very good. But the indications have been that Norfork’s generation could be about to climb again, ruling out wade fishing except for those who float down and fish off the islands. Get in while the going is good. On low water, Camel Midges, Davy’s Super Midges, and WD40s are the ticket. And don’t forget your McLellan’s Woven V-Rib Sowbugs, Clint’s Sowbugs and Davy’s Sowbugs.

Ken Richards at 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 1,128.77 feet MSL.

JT’s Crappie Guide Service (479-640-3980) said bass have been on the small size but are biting well. Swim baits fished around docks in 5 to 15 feet of water have been working. Kentucky bass have been schooling all over the lake in the mornings and are biting well on spoons and top-water plugs during the feeding frenzy. Crappie have been doing the same thing they have been doing all summer and that’s hitting minnows and black/chartreuse tubes under deep shaded docks and steep bluff lines with timber 10 to 25 feet deep. White bass are few and far between but can be found suspended 15 to 30 feet deep on main-lake flats. Horseshoe Bend and Edens bluff have been good places to look.

Bank anglers are having luck catfishing at night using liver and worms. Bluegill are thick under most docks and can be caught on crickets.

Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is high and murky. Crappie are biting well on tube jigs and minnows. Bass are fair early and late on the edges of channels on spinnerbaits and top-water lures.

Beaver Tailwater: Ken Richards at 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. Catfishing has picked up on live and prepared baits.

Lake Sequoyah: Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said water conditions are normal. Bream are fair in weed beds on crickets and worms. Crappie are fair 4 to 8 feet deep on minnows and Road Runners. Bass are fair near stumps on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and plastic worms. A few catfish have been caught 10 to 20 feet deep on chicken liver, goldfish and sunfish.

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 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 reports that the fishing last week and weekend was very good. The water levels in all of the lakes except for Mallard Pond are still a little high for this time of year, but the fish are biting well on all types of bait. Campers were reporting nice catches and lots of them. Mallard Pond’s water level is a little below normal due to a beaver dam that was blown a few months ago, but the crappie, bream and catfish are biting very well. Lots of white bass are being caught at the spillway where Glaise Creek runs into Whorl Lake. Bass have been biting well on large minnows and spinnerbaits. Crappie are hitting good on medium-sized minnows near the middle of the lakes instead of around the edges by the trees. Bream are still biting well on redworms and crickets.

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 with a surface temperature in the low 70s. Bream are biting well on nightcrawlers. Crappie have been fair on minnows. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits.


 Lake Monticello: Fishing guide Greg Gulledge (870-723-3928) with Basshunters Custom Crankbaits said Bass fishing on Lake Monticello is heating up as we head toward fall. Bass can be caught from 1 to 20 feet deep on Texas-rigged worms and River Bottom Get Sticks (soft-plastic stick baits). The topwater bite is improving every day as is the schooling. There are some fish coming in on PJ’s Bass Extractor jigs rigged with a Trick worm. Crappie are spotty, but some bragging-size fish are being caught.

Lake Chicot: Bass Tracker Marine (870-265-5374) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are picking up on minnows. Bass fishing is fair on crankbaits and top-water lures.

Grand Lake: Bass Tracker Marine (870-265-5374) said all fishing is slow.


Millwood Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.17 feet MSL.

Millwood Lake Guide Service said the water clarity had improved before this week’s rain, but it’s muddy again.  The surface water temperature ranges from 70 to 77 degrees. Millwood State Park has one operational boat ramp and one still under repair. USACE has been diligently working on bank stabilization downstream of the spillway for the past several weeks.  The west bank and rock and rip rap is currently being repaired from potential erosion issues during the week.  This preventative maintenance is to shore up the west bank’s protection from further potential detriment due to discharge at the dam and to halt any further damage to the west bank’s protection.  The gates are being held during the early part of each week to allow this work to take place, and then releasing late in the week to maintain normal lake pool. Largemouth bass remain excellent and are still schooling in various locations on Millwood. Bass Assassin Shads, Rat-L-Traps and 10-inch worms are definitely the go-to baits. The best schooling activity is mid- to late morning and through mid-afternoon.  Bass Assassin Shad jerk baits are working extremely well in the vegetation and remaining lily pads. Along any live vegetation lines of hydrilla or lily pads, try swimming white jigs w/ white chunk trailers along the edges.  Top-water action is best with the schooling fish during mid-day. Jitterbugs in white, Spit’n Images, buzzing toads, and buzzbaits are working at dawn and dusk. 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 laydowns. Deadsticking Bass Assassin Shads and Salty Rat Tails along vegetation edges and cypress knees well away from the base of the tree are good bets. White bass are schooling with the largemouths in Mud, Horseshoe and McGuire Oxbow lakes and are biting well on hammered spoons, chrome Rat-L-Traps, and 3-inch smoke or white grubs on light jigheads. The crappie bite began improving along with the improved clarity along Little River before the rain. Blues and channel cats remain consistent again this week, using trotlines, or yo-yos along the current in Little River.

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

Lake Columbia: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) said the water is murky and high. Bream are fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows.

Lake Erling: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) said bream are the best thing going on crickets.

White Oak Lake: White Oak Lake State Park reports that the fishing is slow and few anglers are on the water. Catfish are fair on trotlines, but that’s about all the action on the lake lately.

Lake Greeson: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 546.18 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 surface water temperature is steady at 74 to 76 degrees. Crappie are biting well on minnows 10 to 15 feet deep over hardwood brushpiles and bamboo condos in 14 to 26 feet of water. The bass are biting well on live bait fished on the bottom in 12 to 24 feet of water. A few channel cats have shown up in the same areas.

DeGray Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 407.96 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 (501-865-3511) said the water is murky and very high. All fishing is slow.

Lake Dardanelle: Eric Pratt at Lake Dardanelle State Park said the water is finally clearing up. Water released from Oklahoma caused some havoc on Lake Dardanelle, carrying with it loads of suspended sediment. Water temperature is 72 degrees. Forecasted average daily releases on Lake Dardanelle will be declining into the upper 30,000 to low 40,000 CFS by the end of the week. Fluctuation in river flow, water level and visibility has made bass fishing tough. Anglers catching fish report using black jigs along grass beds and floating vegetation. Buzzbaits and top-water frogs produced a couple of fish for anglers. Lake Dardanelle State Park will be hosting the Bassmasters Weekend Series and expect around 150-200 boaters on October 10-11.  No one has reported catching crappie. Minnows and crappie jigs fished around bridges and brush piles may be the ticket. Catfishing around the park and lake has slowed down with few having much success. Bream species are still doing well on crickets and worms fishing around overhanging trees, limbs and docks. Fishing should improve with the water level.

Murphy’s Sporting Goods (479-229-3200) said the water is muddy and high. A few bass have been caught on jigs. Catfish are fair on shad.

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 578.67 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 Hamilton: Trader Bill’s said Entergy lowered the lake a few inches to accommodate the influx of water from the recent rains. Fishing has been slow because of the weather, but the fast flow of fresh water into the lake should prevent the long lull that normally occurs this time of year from the slight turnover Hamilton receives.

Lake Catherine: Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the consistent fall temperatures have kept most threadfin shad schools right below the dam. Until the air temperatures drop to the lower 40s for several days, shad will be present at Carpenter Dam. Striper and hybrid action has been hit-and-miss with most of the activity taking place below the bridge. Topwater action is almost non-existent, so anglers need to concentrate their efforts on live bait rigs. Gizzard shad and large brood minnows fished under a balloon rig will attract the largest stripers; however, 1/8 and 1/4 ounce white and grey jigs have accounted for the most catches in the last week. Some walleye and white bass have been caught recently as the shad concentrations attract many different species of fish to the dam. Deep running crankbaits that imitate crawfish have taken walleye in the 5-pound class. Largemouth bass are still running in the feeder creeks – feeding heavily on crawfish and small minnows. Rainbow trout will be stocked at Carpenter Dam in mid-November and this will mark another great trout fishing 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 fair on crickets. Crappie are fair on minnows. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and top-water lures. Catfishing is good on cut bait and nightcrawlers.

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: No report.

Tri-County Lake: Bass were biting well in the middle of the day on 4- to 6-inch worms and light line. More bites seemed to come from the rock tips of the inlets and around the islands at the back of the lake.

Arkansas River (Pine Bluff): River City Sporting Goods (870-534-8303) said the water is murky and at normal level. Bream are biting well on crickets and worms. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on top-water lures and crankbaits. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers and cut bait.

White River: Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) had no report.

Maddox Bay: Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) had no report.

Bear Creek Lake: Arkansas Outdoors (870-295-4240) said all species are slow.

Horseshoe Lake: Local angler Clyde Gregory had no report.

Island 40 Chute: Daily’s Boat Dock (870-739-3478) had no report.