03 Dec 2008 – Arkansas Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for December 03. 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: Want to weigh that trout before releasing it but don’t have a scale? Use a tape measure instead. Measure the length and girth (around the fattest part of the belly) of the fish in inches and plug them into this formula for a good estimate of pounds:
(Length x Girth x Girth)/800 = Weight
Arkansas River Levels are available at :
White River Levels are available at :
Statewide Family and Community Fishing Report: Rainbow trout fishing has been excellent in Rogers, Springdale and Central Arkansas ponds. The anglers report that they have been using corn, small marshmallows, Power Bait, Trout Magnets, Rooster Tails and spinners. More ponds will be stocked this week. For stocking information, call the Hotline at 1-866-540-FISH (3474) toll free.
Lake Conway: Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is low. Crappie are fair from the bank. Crappie are fair.
Dan at Gold Creek Marina said bream are slow. Crappie are biting well on shiners, but are deep and holding tight to brush. Bass and catfish are fair at best.
Little Red River: Lindsey’s Resort (501-302-3139) said the water is running low. Trout are biting well on corn and nightcrawlers. Brown trout are in spawn/post-spawn stages right now. Salmon eggs are working well, but stay out of the moss. Morning is providing the best bite.
Jed Hollan at the Little Red Fly Shop said the only water releases since Nov. 21 were on Dec. 2. In general, all the shoals are wadable and the fishing has been good. The dissolved oxygen content of the lake/river water continues to be a problem with readings averaging 4.5 parts per million at the dam. The average temperature of the water flowing through the turbines is a chilly 52 degrees. Aquatic insect hatches have become quite predictable of late. Midges are hatching every afternoon with blue winged olive mayflies and caddis flies in the mix until dark. Most aquatic insects “come off” at the most pleasant time of the day. Not coincidentally, around 3 p.m., the larger trout move onto the shoals. The dry flies that are actually working include the BWO (#18), caddis fly (#18-#20; tan), midge (#22; cream or black) and para Adams (#18). If you are fishing sub-surface, tie on a sowbug (#14; olive, UV tan, UV gray or peacock), zebra midge (#16; red or black), red butt soft hackle (#14), copper john (#14), hare’s ear (#14), pheasant tail (#16), egg pattern (#12; salmon, cerise, peach or yellow), San Juan worm (#12-#14; red, fl. cerise or worm brown) and woolly bugger (#8-#10; olive, brown or black). Remember, if you are fishing with a “non-swimming insect” pattern, don’t make your fly appear to be swimming. The brown trout spawn continues to improve with each passing day. There are a few spawning shoals on the river that have yet to have redds. Dozens of 22- to 24-inch brown trout have been caught and released this season and one 29-inch brown was reported.
Greers Ferry: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 460.11 feet MSL.
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level is falling. Black bass are still biting well in about 15 feet of water with a few even staying in the shallows. Top waters, crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps are working well in the shallows. Carolina-rigged lizards and football head jigs are the ticket for the deeper bass. Crappie are biting fairly well in the pole timber about 15 feet deep over 60 feet of water on jigs and minnows. Walleye are scarce, but some are being picked up under the schooling whites and hybrids. The whites and hybrids are still going good all over the lake with some pushing shad up to the surface. Watch for the birds to find the fish. Other schools that aren’t pushing shad to the surface can be caught on humps and points with spoons and in-line spinners as well as swim baits and grubs.
Shiloh Marina (501-825-6237) said some white bass are coming up in the middle fork. No other reports.
Harris Brake Lake: Coffee Creek Landing (501-889-2745) said crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. All other species are poor.
Lake Overcup: Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is clear some ice is forming at the edges of the lake some mornings. Bream are fair on redworms. Crappie are fair on small minnows and white Crappie Stingers fished around docks and piers. Bass and catfish are poor. Very few anglers are on the lake.
Lakeview Landing (501-354-1470) had no report.
Brewer Lake: Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is clear and at normal level. Bream are poor. Crappie are fair around the buck brush on small live minnows. Bass and catfish are slow.
Lake Maumelle: Jolly Rogers Marina had no report.
JB’s Guide Service said there is some good action right now. The water is clear. Over the weekend the surface temp was around 55 degrees. Even though bass are mostly biting around 15 feet or so, don’t count out the occasional shallow prowler. Try a medium-running crankbait around 4 to 7 feet during the warmest part of the day.
Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said the water is clear and at normal level. Bream are biting well on worms. Crappie are biting well on red/white jigs tipped with a minnow. Bass are biting well on Texas-rigged Baby Brush Hogs. Catfishing is good on cut bait and nightcrawlers.
Lake Valencia in Maumelle: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said the water is stained and at normal level. Bream are fair on worms. Bass are fair on medium-sized minnows fished in 2 feet of water near the banks. Trout are being caught on Power Bait.
Lake Pickthorne: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said bream are fair. Crappie are biting well. Bass are fair. Catfishing is fair.
Burns Park: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said crappie and catfish are biting well. Bream and bass are fair at best.
Fourche La Fave River: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said crappie are biting well with some good fish being caught. Catfish, bass and bream are all fair.
Arkansas River at Little Rock: Vince Miller from Fish N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said fishing is fair in the river right now. All species are biting, but it’s the typical slowdown you’d expect for winter on the river. Greers Ferry and Hamilton are the hot spots right now.
Sunset Lake: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the water is high and stained. Bream are fair on crickets. Bass are fair on white spinnerbaits. Crappie and catfish are slow.
Saline River Access in Benton: Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the water clarity is good and the water is running at normal levels. Bream are fair on small brown grubs. Crappie are biting well on jigs fished around brush in deeper pools. Bass are excellent on brown/orange jigs and green crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on Magic Bait. Walleye are biting very well on minnow-imitating crankbaits.
Arkansas River at Morrilton: Charley’s Hidden Harbor in Oppelo said catfish are biting well on whole shad fished below locks 9 and 10 in 30 feet of water. Bass are in the backs on the coves. If you can find some shad, you can find the bass. They are also on jetties late in the afternoons and are biting fairly well on black/blue jigs. White bass are below the dams and around jetty tips and can be caught on CC Spoons and wobble spoons. Sauger are fair on chartreuse jigs tipped with a minnow fished below the dams.
Little Maumelle River: No report.
Murray Lock and Dam: Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop said bream are fair. Crappie and bass are biting well in sheltered water. Catfishing is good below the dam.
Terry Lock and Dam: McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is clear and at normal level. Bream are fair. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Catfishing is good on shad and bass minnows.
Clear Lake: McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said bream are biting well on worms in 3 to 4 feet of water. Crappie are fair on minnows around brush in deeper water. Bass are slow. Catfishing is fair on nightcrawlers in 6 to 8 feet of water.
Peckerwood Lake: Herman’s Landing said the lake is closed to fishing until Feb. 1.
White River: Sportsman’s White River Resort said the water is murky. Six generators are running and the level fluctuates from high to low throughout the day. Trout fishing is excellent on Power Bait. Rapala floating minnows are working very well. Fly-fishing should pick up once the water level drops.
Mountain River Fly Shop had no report.
John Berry from Berry Brothers Guide Service said the generation on the White River has slowed to allow for more generation on the Norfork. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam closed to all fishing on Nov. 1, 2008. It will remain closed until Feb. 1, 2009, for the brown trout spawn. The section from the bottom of the catch-and-release section downstream to the wing wall at the state park is seasonal catch-and-release for the same time. Fishing on the White River has been a generally good. Dissolved oxygen levels have improved the bite significantly. The river is stained from the breakdown of organic material and the water is still a bit warm for this time of year. The river from the state park down to White Hole has been the hot spot. The go-to flies have been brightly colored San Juan worms. The best color seems to change every day. Carry a variety of colors that include hot fluorescent pink, cerise, red and fluorescent orange. The catch-and-release section at Rim Shoals has fished a bit better, but not as well as the upper river. The fishing has been better in the morning. The hot flies for this area have been hot pink or cerise San Juan worms. With the lower flows, it is once again possible to wade below the second island. If you do not have access to a boat, stop by Rim Shoals Trout Dock and take advantage of their water taxi. For a nominal fee they will drop you off at the island and pick you up later in the day.
Bull Shoals Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 654.04 feet MSL.
Lake Norfork: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 554.50 feet MSL.
101 Grocery and Bait said the water temperature is in the 50-degree range. Bluegill and crappie fishing has been good. Heavy water generation during the last week has dropped the water 4 feet. This has helped move the crappie and bluegill to the brush piles. White bass fishing has been good using jigging spoons. Striper fishing is slow, but some are being caught on shiners. Smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing are fair. Kentucky bass are biting well. Catfishing is fair.
Norfork Tailwater: John Berry from Berry Brothers Guide Service said low wadable water on the Norfork is now a distant memory as they are generating at a high level. The fishing is still good. The go-to flies have been San Juan worms in pink, worm brown and red. Orange egg patterns have also done very well. In the higher water, you will have to fish with substantial amounts of weight. Concentrate on fishing the banks and grass beds. If you are not in the catch-and-release section try a two-fly rig with a sowbug or scud as the dropper. Dry Run Creek is still fishing well. During the past week I heard reports of several very large rainbows being caught. The hot flies have been sowbugs, San Juan worms, egg patterns and olive woolly buggers.
Mountain River Fly Shop had no report.
Spring River: Spring River Fly Shop said fishing conditions remain the same. Water levels are still running fairly low with great clarity. Egg patterns have been the favorite. Cold temperatures have become a factor as winter moves into the area. Always remember to dress in layers and to wear wool garments because they remain warm even when they become wet.
Beaver Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,124.16 feet MSL.
JT’s Crappie Guide Service (479-640-3980) said bass fishing has been decent as of late. Hula grubs and bass jigs worked around chunk rock and docks have done well. Crawdad-colored crankbaits also have been working. Crappie have been biting well although the size has not been there. Chartreuse Shinee Hinees or minnows worked around brush 15 to 25 feet deep around docks or creek ledges has been most productive. Catfish have been biting well on cut bait and liver throughout the day near drop offs. Bluegill are biting well along bluff walls and under docks on small jigs and crickets fished 6 feet deep over 20 feet of water.
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is clear and 50 degrees. There’s been some good fishing, but not many anglers are out. Crappie are fair on minnows fished around brush piles. The action is spotty, but there have been some good days. Bass are fair on small jigs and small diving crankbaits fished around brush piles.
Lake Fayetteville: Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) had no report.
Lake Sequoyah: Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) had no report due to weather and low angler numbers.
Sugarloaf Lake: Midland Minimart (479-639-9467) had no report.
Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA: Judy Potts of Judy’s Bait Shoppe at the north entrance to Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA duck season is in full swing in the WMA which has all but stopped the fishing with the exception of Bolie Pond. Bolie Pond is the only body of water that is not flooded with high water, but the cold has slowed the fishing greatly.
Lake Charles: Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) had no report.
Crown Lake: Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said no one is fishing.
Lake Frierson: Lake Frierson State Park said the water is murky. No one is fishing because of duck season.
Lake Monticello: Fishing guide Greg Gulledge (870-723-3928) with Basshunters Custom Crankbaits said bass fishing on Lake Monticello has really slowed and there are not many anglers fishing. The crappie fishing is spotty on minnows and jigs. The whites are biting when you find them on jigs, minnows and spoons.
Lake Chicot: No report.
Grand Lake: No report.
SOUTH CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Moro Bay: Moro Bay State Park at the conjunction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay said recent rains have brought the river up a couple feet above its normal level. Crappie were biting well, but cooler temperatures and rain have thinned out the anglers. However, it safe to assume that since the water has cleared up and remained mostly steady in the last 24 hours, crappie will be biting again. Submerged trees in the lake and bay are the best places this time of year. White and chartreuse jigs work well. Shiners are also good but are hard to find, area so buy them before you come. A few bream have been caught on worms buy those seeking crappie. Nothing has been said recently of bass or catfish. Don’t forget to dress warm and wear some orange.
Lower Ouachita River: No report.
Tri-County Lake: No report.
Millwood Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.59 feet MSL.
Millwood Lake Guide Service said water clarity along the main channel in the lake and Little River improved this week. Some high-density broken, vegetation and floating mats remain in Little River from current in the river. The water surface temperature ranges from 51 to 58 degrees, and the lake level is slowly rising. All USACE boat ramps and campgrounds are open, as of Monday. Millwood State Park has one operational boat ramp and one still under repair. Most of the schooling activity with the bass has ended. Bass are good to fair on Rat-L-Traps at random periods throughout the day, mostly in the heat of the afternoon, in many of the oxbow lakes up river. The most consistent reaction bite during the heat of the day remains on Rat-L-Traps, Bass Assassin Shads, and white or smoke-colored grubs on light wire jig heads and War Eagle Spinnerbaits around hydrilla and pondweed. Johnson silver spoons with white grub trailers, War Eagle spinnerbaits and Bass Assassin Shad jerk baits are still working around the remaining vegetation and dying lily pads. Jigs have begun to incite a few good keeper size bass over the past couple weeks, and are improving overall. Best jig colors thus far have been peanut butter/jelly, pumpkinseed/chartreuse and black/blue/purple. Pitching jigs and 10-inch worms to stumps near deep water is working along Little River and in the main lake. 10- or 12-inch worms will work for 3-6 lb. bass, and best colors are Peanut Butter ‘n Jelly, Plum or Blackberry. White bass are very nomadic this time of year and are constantly moving. No consistent white bass bite has been found. The crappie bite continues improving along with the improved clarity along Little River. Live shiners and jigs fished 9-12 deep over planted brush piles along Little River are working well. Blue and channel catfish are good this week on trotlines or yo-yos along any remaining 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) had no report.
Lake Erling: Steve’s Marine (870-234-2222) had no report.
White Oak Lake: White Oak Lake State Park had no report.
Lake Greeson: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was not available.
Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips Guide Service said crappie are still a bit scattered, but the big ones are starting to show up on brush piles and bamboo condos. Crappie up to 2 pounds have been caught on live bait and jigs 12-20 feet deep in 14-28 feet of water. Surface temperatures are in the low 50s and the lake level is 537.6 and steady. The lake has come up a little because of recent rains, but the rise was minimal. Due to all the recent winds the water clarity is stained.
Lakeside Grocery had no report.
DeGray Lake: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 407.39 feet MSL.
Local angler George Graves said the water is clear and the surface temperature is 55 degrees. There has been very little fishing activity because of cold, rainy and windy weather. Crappie fishing is good in the mid-lake area and Big Hill Creek. Fish brush piles in 20 to 25 feet of water around secondary points and coves. The fish will be suspended about 15 feet down. Use 1/16-oz. red/chartreuse/white jigs or red/chartreuse tubes. Some crappies are in the 2-pound range. Bream are mixed in with the crappies but are deeper, near the bottom. Use redworms or crickets. Bass are still very slow, but a few are being caught fishing 15-25 feet deep on main-lake points, humps and ledges. Look for cover such as wood or rocks. The bass are biting best on jigs with a trailer and 4- or 5-inch finesse worms. Green pumpkin is a good color for both. Now is the time the hybrids and white bass start moving up the lake. Look between point 15 and Point Cedar. Use your sonar to find the schools and fish either an inline spinner or jigging spoon. Trolling crankbaits can also be productive; try deep runners such as a No. 7 Shad Rap. The large flat across from Shouse Ford can be very good.
DeGray One Stop (501-865-3511) said very few anglers are stopping by the shop. No report.
Lake Dardanelle: Eric Pratt at Lake Dardanelle State Park said Lake Dardanelle is the clearest it has been all year in the main body of the lake, but that can change overnight with all the wind and wave action lately. Corps of Engineers has a forecasted daily release on Lake Dardanelle at 5,000-10,000 cubic feet per second. Lake temperature has fallen to 50 degrees. Fishing on the lake is picking up and the bass are beginning to bite. Anglers are reporting that bass can be caught around points, brush piles, rock jetties and other areas where they can hang out and wait for schooling shad to pass. Anglers are catching bass on a number of baits including spinnerbaits, jerk baits, crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps. Crappies are biting well early in the morning. It seems they bite the best when the weather is at its worst. Look for them piling up around areas that have stumps and brush piles. Also, try fishing around any kind of emerging cover. Catfish are slow with anglers fishing in 10-15 feet of water on the edges of the river channel. Anglers are using cut bait. Bream fishing also is slow, but they can be caught around submerged structure such as boat docks, trees or bank outcrops. They are a little deeper this time of year so try fishing about 5-10 feet down using crickets and worms.
Murphy’s Sporting Goods (479-229-3200) had no report.
Spadra Marina on Lake Dardanelle in Clarksville had no report.
Ozark Pool: Lakeside Food Mart (479-667-5155) said the water is clear and at normal level. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bass are fair on live minnows and shad-imitating jigs. Catfishing is fair on cut bait.
Lake Ouachita: As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 577.23 feet MSL.
Mountain Harbor Resort had no report.
Larry Hurley from Poorman’s Guide Service said fishing has slowed. Some quality bass have been caught on spinnerbaits and jigs fished on the edge of the grass and on large jigs punched through the grass.
Dave Lindhag at Striped Bass Adventures said the stripers are biting pretty well. Some decent size fish are coming on small- to medium-sized live bait fished at 25 feet deep using light sinkers. All fingers of the lake are productive, but the fish really aren’t in the main lake. Some mornings, fishing has been fast and other mornings, it’s been a slow start. Most of the fish caught have been in the 7 to 12 pound range. Some sporadic topwater action is happening, but it’s rare.
Lake Hamilton: Larry Hurley from Poorman’s Guide Service said crankbaits in crawfish colors proved to be the best lures on Hamilton. Fish the flats just off the creek channels for the best results. Boat docks with brush have been very productive on sunny days.
Lake Catherine: Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, said the lake continues to fall very slowly as repairs continue at Blakely Mountain Dam. Work is scheduled to be complete Dec. 8. There is no scheduled generation at Carpenter Dam other than what is needed for local rainfall. The tailrace waters are lightly stained from lack of a regular flow; however, visibility is still good and hasn’t affected feeding patterns. Rainbow trout are being caught from the bridge to the dam as these fish chase shad and hatching insects. Fly fishermen are taking advantage of the falling water and are able to wade to areas that hold trout. Egg patterns and micro jigs are working well fished under a strike indicator. Bank fishermen using redworms and nightcrawlers have caught the largest fish which have measured over 15 inches. Boaters have recorded limits of fish by trolling the main channels with small crankbaits that imitate shad or crayfish. Hybrid and striper fishing is very slow as most of the shad have migrated away from the dam. Trout fishing will continue to improve as the stocking program intensifies as the new year approaches.
Diamond Head Marina had no report.
Lake Hinkle: Bill’s Bait Shop (479-637-4719) said no anglers have been to the lake lately because of cold weather and hunting season.
Lake Atkins: Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are moving to coves and are biting well on minnows and jigs. Bass are slowing down, but are biting well on soft-plastics. Catfishing is good on cut bait and live shad.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff): The Tackle Box (870) 534-1948 said the water is clear and at normal level. Bream are fair on redworms. Crappie are biting excellently on jigs and minnows fished around any cover out of the current. Bass are fair on crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on worms and cut bait.
White River: Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the river is high and no one is fishing. No report.
Maddox Bay: Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said fishing is slow. Very few anglers have been on the water.
Bear Creek Lake: Arkansas Outdoors (870-295-4240) said the water is clear and at normal level. No anglers are visiting the lake.
Horseshoe Lake: Local angler Clyde Gregory said the water clarity is good and the water is at normal level. Bream are biting well on worms fished around the piers. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs fished near the piers in the middle of the lake. Bass fishing is slow. Catfishing is good on stinkbait in deeper water.
Island 40 Chute: Daily’s Boat Dock (870-739-3478) said the water clarity is good and the water is low. Crappie are fair. There aren’t many anglers out, but there are some duck hunters.