06 May, 2009 – Arkansas Weekly Fishing Report
Randy Zellers (501) 223-6406, e-mail: rdzellers [at] agfc [dot] state [dot] ar [dot] us
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This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for May 6, 2009. 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 launching a boat by yourself, tie a line a foot or two longer than the length of the boat to the bow and the back of the trailer. Back the boat into the water and let it float off the trailer, then ease forward slowly to bring the boat back to the bank.
Arkansas River Levels are available at
White River Levels are available at
Statewide Family and Community Fishing Program Report
Catfish are in Community fishing ponds statewide. Nightcrawlers fished just off the bottom on a slip cork or on bottom with a bell sinker are working well. Many of the ponds are full of bream as well. Crickets fished under a bobber will catch plenty of bream. For more stocking information, call the Hotline at 1-866-540-FISH (3474) toll-free.
Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water is murky and high, and that everything was doing really good before all this rain. Bream are biting well on worms and crickets. Crappie are biting near cypress trees on minnows, jigs and shiners. Bass are fair on spinnerbaits, Trixie Sharks and Zoom toads. Catfish are picking up on small bream and large shiners.
Dan at Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) said all species were biting well before the rain. The lake is high and muddy and fishing is hit-or-miss.
Little Red River:
Lindsey’s Resort (501-302-3139) said the water was low on Saturday but that’s changed since the rain. Fly-fishermen and bank fishermen did well when the water was low. Trout are excellent from a boat on Power Bait, wax worms and jigs. Brown trout are going for crankbaits in the higher flow.
Jed Hollan at the Little Red Fly Shop said all the rain caused the lake to rise 6 feet. Water releases are scheduled to resume at Greers Ferry with 1,200 cubic feet of water per second (1/3 of one generator) Monday and Tuesday, 3,000 cfs (2/3 of one generator) on Wednesday and two full generators soon thereafter. Fishing the Little Red in high water is definitely possible from a boat. Our guide trips at the shop are continuing and trout are being caught and released. Hiring a guide to fish high water is a bright decision since managing a boat while trying to fish can be dangerous. Be sure that you wear your personal flotation device any time you are on the river. A change of tactics and rigging is necessary when fishing high water from a boat. Attach a short tapered leader to your fly line (a 6-foot 5X is good). Attach about ten feet or so of 4 pound test leader material to the end of your tapered leader. Tie on a peach or fluorescent cerise San Juan worm (sizes 12-14). Attach enough weight about 12 inches above the fly to get the worm down to the streambed. Put a large indicator (grape size or bigger) to float this rig. Cast to the bank or into eddies.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 468.24 feet MSL.
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water is rising and the surface temperature ranges from the 70s in the north section of the lake to the high 50s in the south section. Bass are scattered all over the lake. They will still bite jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs in shallower water. Some fish are being taken on top-water lures as well. The crappie are still biting well in shoreline brush and standing pole timber on jigs and minnows. The bream have started to move shallow and are being caught on crickets and pieces of nightcrawlers. The catfish bite has died. Walleye fishing is fair on crankbaits trolled over rocky flats in the main lake.
Shiloh Marina (501-825-6237) said the water was high and a little dingy. Bass are fair in the mornings on soft plastics fished around brush.
Harris Brake Lake:
Coffee Creek Landing (501-889-2745) said the water level has increased another 6-8 inches above the 2 feet from previous rains. Everything is slow except the bream, which are biting well on worms and crickets.
Lakeview Landing (501-354-1470) said the water is high and muddy. Bream are slow and before all this rain crappie were doing well on minnows.
Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is 3 feet above normal and muddy. All fishing is slow to fair. Bass were slow, but a few hit top-water lures near brush. Catfishing was good on live bait and shrimp.
Overcup Landing (501-354-9007) said the water is high and dingy. All fishing is fair, but the weather has been too rough to get out and fish.
Jolly Roger’s Marina said as of Monday, the water is 8 inches above the spillway. The surface temperature is averaging 67 degrees. Black bass are excellent and are moving to deeper water (6 to 12 feet). Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs are working well. Kentucky bass are in 6 to 14 feet of water and are biting well on tubes, jigs and crankbaits. White bass are fair. They are schooling around the chimney are hitting on CC Spoons and clear Near Nutthngs and Rogues. Crappie are being caught about 11 to 15 feet deep on minnows and 1/32-oz. jigs. Bream are biting well in shallow areas .The break water at the marina is proving good catches. Saugeye are 6 to 15 feet deep and are hitting road runners and jigs fairly well. Catfishing is good 8 to 15 feet and are hitting on minnows, worms and prepared baits.
Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop (501-758-4958) said the water is high and murky. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are biting well on medium-sized minnows. Bass are biting well on plastic worms and spinnerbaits. Catfish are good on cut shad and large minnows.
Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop (501-758-4958) said the water is high and murky but all fishing is good. Bream are biting on redworms. Bass and crappie are biting fairly well on minnows. Catfish are biting well on stinkbait and nightcrawlers.
Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the water is extremely high and muddy. No report.
Saline River Access in Benton:
Turbyfill’s Outdoor Sports (501-315-3061) said the water is extremely high and muddy. No report.
Arkansas River at Morrilton:
Charley’s Hidden Harbor in Oppelo said the weather and high water have kept boats off the main river, but fishing in backwater areas has been good. Bream are biting well on crickets around flooded timber. Crappie are biting very well on red/yellow jigs near areas where fresh runoff is coming from surrounding fields. Bass are biting well on shad-colored top-waters in backwater areas without current. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers around flooded fields. Some large carp are in the flooded fields as well.
Arkansas River in Little Rock:
Vince Miller from Fish ‘N Stuff said there is not much to report. The water is muddy and flowing high. Some bass have been caught in the backwaters on spinnerbaits and jigs.
Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop (501-758-4958) said the water is high and murky. All species are biting well in the backwater at Burns Park. Bass and crappie are being caught on small spinnerbaits. At Murray Lock and Dam, catfish are biting well on skipjack and shad fished from the bank. The backwaters have produced well, but tributaries like the Little Maumelle River have had extremely fast flows that hindered fishing.
McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is high and muddy and nothing to report for Terry Lock and Dam.
McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is high and muddy. Not much happening.
Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said the water is dingy and high. This weekend was quiet because of the weather and hopefully with the water going down things will pick up. A few crappie had been caught on minnows. Not much else to report at this time.
Hatchet Jack’s Sport Shop (501-758-4958) said the bream are good on crickets. Crappie are biting well on minnows. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits fished near the bank. Catfishing is good on nightcrawlers.
John Berry from Berry Brothers Guide Service had no report because of high flows.
Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear with 2-6 generators running all week. Not many anglers are out, but trout fishing is good from a boat on Power Bait.
White River (From Buffalo Shoals to Norfork):
Jim Brentlinger at Linger’s Guide Service and Fishing Lodge (870-499-5185) said fishing has been very good until Saturday when the Buffalo came up about 13 feet. Everything below the Buffalo has been high and extremely muddy. It will be several days until it is back to normal. You can still catch fish dragging nightcrawlers or Power Bait on the bottom and an occasional good fish on artificial, but you have to work at it.
John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service had no report because of high water.
Bull Shoals Lake:
As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 661.72 feet MSL.
Bob Pauletti (870-656-3350) with Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said fishing on the lake has really improved, with water temperatures in the 60- to 65-degree range in the backs of creeks and 58 to 60 degrees on the main lake. Walleye are being caught in the evenings and early mornings on stick baits fished around main-lake points and pockets. During the day, try live bait a little deeper around productive points and pockets. Largemouth bass have moved to spawning areas. When it’s windy, try stick baits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. If it’s calm, a Carolina-rigged or mojo-rigged 6-inch lizard or 8-inch finesse worm will work well. Smallmouth and Kentucky bass are spawning. Try jigs, tubes and Carolina rigs around slightly deeper gravel areas for these fish. Crappie are slow. White bass are hanging in deep water and are in creek pockets chasing shad throughout the day.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 556.47 feet MSL.
101 Grocery and Bait said the lake level is around 555.6 msl and the water temperature is in the 60s. Fishing has been good for crappie, bass and large bluegills. White bass fishing has been fair. Walleye fishing has been good. Striper fishing has been good using live bait, the night bite has slowed, and the fish should begin hitting top-water baits very soon. Catfishing has been slow.
John Berry from Berry Brothers Guide Service had no report.
Jim Brentlinger at Linger’s Guide Service and Fishing Lodge (870-499-5185) said there hasn’t been much generation on the Norfork, so you can fish fairly clear “back up” water from the White in the first three-quarters of a mile from the White. Zig Jigs and Power Baits are working well.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,126.21 feet MSL.
JT’s Crappie Guide Service (479-640-3980) said bass have been biting well in the backs of coves and creek arms. Try fishing a Texas-rigged worm or lizard close to the bank in and around trees and brush or burn a spinnerbait parallel to the bank. Crappie fishing has been good as well. Most fish have been on beds in less than 2 feet of water in the backs of coves and in shallow bays and can be caught on small jigs 18 inches under a float close to brush. Bluegill have also been biting well close to the bank on crickets and small jigs. White bass are being caught at night under the 12 bridge and along main lake bluff lines and during the day they can be found in the back of windblown bays and creek arms. Use spoons to catch these fish.
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is high and muddy. Before the rain bream were biting on redworms and crickets. Crappie were good in shallow water on minnows, tube jigs and shinee hinees. Bass are good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and a variety of plastic worms. White bass have been biting crayfish and Lil’ Fishies. No report on catfish.
Ken Richards at Just Fishing Guides had no report.
Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said the water is high and murky, but fishing is starting to pick up. Crappie fishing is excellent. White bass are good. Black bass are biting well on soft-plastics and crankbaits.
Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said water is clear and normal. Bream are good on worms and crickets. Crappie are good in 10 inches to 4 feet of water near logs and stumps on minnows and Road Runners. Bass are biting well near the bank on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfishing is slow.
Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA:
Judy Potts of Judy’s Bait Shoppe at the North entrance to Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA reports fishing has come to a halt. The WMA is flooded by the White River and the Little Red River. The White River is expected to crest May 7 at 32 feet. A few have gone in but have reported only a few small bass. Hackelton Lake to the west of the main entrance to the WMA is probably the lake that will be the least affected by the flood waters. It looks almost like a repeat of last year’s flooding.
Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) had no report.
Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the water is a little stained and high. There is not much to report because of weather. One group of anglers did catch 42 crappie on minnows in 10-12 feet of water before the last storm.
Lake Frierson State Park said the water is muddy and high. A few catfish were caught on minnows and nightcrawlers.
Mark Crawford at Spring River Fly Shop said rains are forecast again, but the recent rains have not muddied up the river. During the last few weeks, the best fishing has been on the worst days. Sunny, warm days usually have slow fishing and on rainy days the fishing can be unbelievable. The brownie has still been the top fly but Sunday morning was a day for traditional nymphs such as a beaded pheasant tail or copper john.
Lakeshore Motel and Marina (870-265-9901) said the water is warming. Catfish are biting very well on shrimp, nightcrawlers and minnows. Bream are biting well on wax worms and crickets in 5 feet of water. Crappie are still being caught close to the bank and around docks. No report on the bass fishing.
Fishing guide Greg Gulledge (870-723-3928) of MonticelloBigBass.com said the post-spawn phase of spring seems to be kicking into gear. Many bass are guarding fry around the pads. These bass can be caught on flukes, stick baits and lizards. There are still some bass on beds, but they are getting harder to find. If you do see one locked down, it is usually not difficult to get it to bite. The usual bed baits such as jigs and soft plastics in colors that you can see are the best. Live bait is still catching its share of nice fish in the 4 to 6 foot range. If anyone has pictures, videos, or fishing reports, please send them to us at info [at] monticellobigbass [dot] com.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 262.41 feet MSL.
Millwood Lake Guide Service said as of May 5, surface water temperature continues to rise into the low 70s. Clarity along the main lake channel and Little River is took a dramatic turn for the worse from the rain, increased current and terrible wind. The lake is almost 3 feet above normal pool and the current is 23,897 at the dam. Largemouth Bass activity had almost returned to near seasonal norms before the storms. The spawn is winding up and the last two weeks saw many large female bass caught. The most consistent bite continues to be from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on bulky 10-inch worms and jigs fished slowly. You can get a reaction bite on Rat-L-Traps in Firetiger or Red Coach Dog colors and slow-rolled heavy thumping spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse or hot mouse colors. The best jig colors are Texas craw, black/blue and chestnut/chartreuse. Fish flooded wood and the edges of any remaining lily pads stems, near deep vertical drops in the clearest water you can find (only a few inches of clarity). White bass were congregated upriver near the Highway 71 Bridge and creek mouths like the entrance to Mud Lake, Hurricane Creek and the mouth into second entrance of Horseshoe, but disappeared with the muddy water and current. Crappie completely shut down from the muddy water. They have finished their spawn and might be found in the backs of oxbows as they begin to clear. Channel Cats are still feeding very well in and around current along Little River on trotlines and yo-yos hung under cypress trees with cut shad, Catfish Charlie, chicken livers and almost any blood bait.
White Oak Lake:
Local angler John Tilley said fishing was just getting hot and the rains came. Catfishing is excellent on trotlines and jugs set near channels and spawning areas. Bream also were biting well on redworms and crickets. Bass were still being caught shallow on crankbaits and jerkbaits. The lake level as of Monday was about 2 feet over normal.
Daryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips said Lake Greeson is in flood stage at 552.19 msl. The water temperature has fallen into the upper 60s. The white crappie are finishing their spawn and both black and white crappie can be caught on minnows fished in laydowns and staging beds.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 412.68 feet MSL.
Local angler George Graves said the water is rising extremely fast and is almost over the ramp at Caddo Drive. The surface temperature is about 70 degrees, and the water is clear up to Shouse Ford. Crappies are biting well. Most are shallow, (6 to 10 feet) around any wood or rock cover. There have been good reports of fish coming from Iron Mountain all the way to Point Cedar. Use a 1/16-ounce jig head with a 2-inch Tennessee shad grub in the lower lake and use a white grub in the upper lake. Live minnows under a float also are working well. Bass fishing is fair and most fish are on shallow secondary points. Spinnerbaits and small crankbaits are working well. Also try a floating worm around any submerged shoreline trees or bushes. Hybrid and white bass fishing is picking up with quite a bit of schooling activity. The best times are late evenings and early mornings. Look for fish between Point 14 and Shouse Ford. Brushy Creek also has been producing. Try between Point 10 and Island Marker 33. The shad are spawning, so the fish will be close to shore and in pockets. Best lures are in-line spinners, spoons and especially a ¼-ounce Rat-L-Trap in chrome. Look for bream on shallow secondary points in 5 to 10 feet. Redworms and crickets will catch fish.
DeGray One Stop (501-865-3511) said the water is above flood level and close to the campgrounds. The water was dingy to the north and clear in the south. Bream were good in 10-15 feet of water on worms and crickets. Crappie are fair to good on minnows and jigs. Bass are schooling on shad in the mid-section of the lake and toward the dam. Catfish are slow, but doing fairly well on noodles and trotlines baited with live bass minnows and bream.
Regina Olson at Spadra Marina said the river has been running too fast, leaving only muddy backwaters safe to fish. The west end of the lake is staying muddy, making bass and crappie almost impossible to find. Catfishing is excellent on just about everything. Shad have still been hard to find. Area ponds are starting to produce many nice red-eared sunfish and a crappie now and then and are probably a better bet than the river right now.
Murphy’s Sporting Goods (479-229-3200) said the water is muddy and high. Not much to report. There are small craft warnings on the lake.
Blue Mountain Lake:
Teresa at CD’s Quick Stop (479-947-2178) said the water is high and muddy. Many anglers are fishing for crappie, and many are using minnows. One regular fisherman had a few unexpected bass in his crappie catch.
Lakeside Food Mart (479-667-5155) said the water is muddy and high.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 581.14 feet MSL.
Larry Hurley from Poorman’s Guide Service said fishing was good if you could get out between the rain storms. Bass are pulling out to post-spawn patterns. Look for the shad and throw a Revenge spinnerbait in a shad color for best results.
Mountain Harbor Resort said the water is stained and 62-66 degrees from all the recent rain. Largemouth bass are biting very well on Carolina-rigged lizards fished on main and secondary points. Yum dingers and floating worms are very effective right now fished in coves. Top-water action is on! Zara pups and spooks, Rooster Tails and Boy Howdies will load the boat. Walleye are still good and being caught on crankbaits and jerkbaits on main lake points near brush. Stripers are still excellent on live bait with shad or trotline minnows. Top-water action is excellent on C-10 Redfins. Bream are biting very well on worms or crickets in 18 to 25 feet of water. Crappie are biting well near brush in shallow pockets (2 to 10 feet deep). Minnows or crappie grubs are still working the best. Catfish are excellent and being caught on cut bait and live bait on jug lines and trotlines.
Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said the lake is 5 feet above the roots of the buck brush. The surface water temperature is in the 70s. Most of the creeks are stained from the fresh rain run-off. Spinnerbaits, Carolina rigs and floating worms fished in the backs of creeks and pockets on the south side of the lake are working well. White bass are schooling in the middle of most major creeks. Crappie are in 5 feet of water, and most people are commenting on how large they are. Try fishing a Kalin’s grub – Tennessee Shad in clear water and lemon meringue in muddy water.
Dave Lindhag from Striped Bass Adventures fishing for the stripers has been good, despite the rain and rising water. There’s some good breaking action being found from the state park all the way to Mountain Harbor. There haven’t been any large schools, but the fish have been 6 to 18 lbs. C-10 Redfins in rainbow trout patterns and Zara Spooks have produced the best. When you find some larger schools, a spoon will take some smaller stripers. Some larger fish have been taken below the breaking fish on gizzard shad. Be very cautious on the water, the high wind and waves have caused the lake to be unsafe for many smaller boats.
Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports said the lake is full, and the surface temperature is in the mid-70s. The water is muddy from recent rain and there are many floating logs and debris in the lake. A Carolina-rigged lizard or creature bait is working well on primary ledges and main-lake points. Wacky-rigged floating worms are working fairly well in the guts of pockets. White bass are schooling in the middle of the creeks on the surface.
Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that continued heavy rainfall has forced Entergy to run heavy generation at all area dams. Water temperature is holding around 58 degrees in the tailwater. Despite the rain, water clarity is very good above the bridge. Rainbow trout fishing has been very slow in the strong current, but some fish have been caught. Bank fishermen should concentrate on areas protected from the current and stick with proven baits under the tough conditions. Wax worms and nightcrawlers fished on the bottom have worked best. Boaters anchoring behind visible structure casting white jigs and Super Dupers have caught trout over 16 inches. The crappie spawn continues, but quality fishing has been spotty with the radical changes in temperature. Most of the fish are close to the dam in areas out of the flow and are being caught with minnows and white or grey jigs. Freshwater drum are everywhere in the tailrace and have been hooked by trolling shad and crawfish crankbaits against the current. White bass are plentiful and fishermen have limited out with minnow rigs and trolling small crankbaits. Large stripers cruise the shallow waters chasing shad and trout and flourish in the oxygenated water around the dam. Always have a heavy action rod and reel close at hand rigged with a trout colored C-10 Redfin for some explosive action as these predator fish feed on top.
Bill’s Bait Shop (479-637-4719) said water is high and dingy. Bream are good on crickets. Crappie are biting fairly well on minnows and jigs. Catfish are excellent on shiners.
Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said the water is about 3 feet above normal. The bream and crappie were doing well before the rain.
Moro Bay State Park at the junction of the Ouachita River, Raymond Lake and Moro Bay said the river is nearing 80 feet msl (15 feet above normal). Fishing is difficult when the water is at this stage. A good angler can still catch a few bream and small bass where water is causing debris and baitfish to accumulate – sometimes at the back of Raymond Lake or in the area where Moro Bay narrows into a smaller creek. Crappie are hard to catch but catfishing with trotlines and yo-yos could prove rewarding. However, trotlines will require constant adjusting or they will soon be underwater. For water level predictions visit www.srh.noaa.gov/lzk/.
The rain and wind has kept everyone off the lake the last week.
Ouachita River Oxbows:
High water continued to slow fishing last week.
Arkansas River at Pine Bluff:
The Tackle Box (870-534-1498) said the water is high and muddy. Fishing is slow for all species except catfish. Catfishing is excellent.
Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the water is muddy and very high. No one is fishing.
Maddox Bay Landing (870-462-8317) said the water is murky and high. There is nothing to report on bream, crappie, or bass. Catfish were slow but were being caught on yo-yos and trotlines baited with minnows.
Bear Creek Lake:
Arkansas Outdoors (870-295-4240) said the water was clear and about a foot above the spillway. Fishing is poor for all species.
Island 40 Chute:
Daily’s Boat Dock (870-739-3478) said the water is about 6-8 above normal but is expected to move. No one is fishing.
Local angler Clyde Gregory said the water is clear and a little high. Bream are biting well on worms. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs fished in both the shallow and deep. Bass are biting well on white spinnerbaits fished in shallow water. Catfishing is good on cut shad.
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