Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (2024)

July 5, 2024

Jim Harris

Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

Tommy Simmons sent in this photo of a catfish he hauled in recently out of the Fourche LaFave River near Nimrod. He did not get the fish’s weight. Catfish appear to be the word this week (lots are being caught at the dam where Lake Conway is draining), along with anglers doing mostly early morning and after-dark fishing to deal with the oppressive temperatures. At least a front brought in cooler temps July 5 and could mean a reasonable weekend weather-wise for fishing in Arkansas.

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Quick links to regions:

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Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (1)

Central Arkansas

Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
For the most up-to-date lake level, visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s Lake Conway water level site.

(updated 7-5-2024) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the water has really fallen out of the main fishing areas now with the water allowed to flow out for the planned Lake Conway renovation by the AGFC. The big thing is anglers catching lots of big catfish at the dam. “Catfish is what everybody is catching now,” they said. “Big ones, too, coming up from the bottom.” These are predominantly channel catfish, some blues and a few flatheads. Definitely eating-size channels and blues.
Gar are also being seen around the opened dam in the water left there. The main lake is extremely low. “They are catching whatever they can.”

Anglers are stopping in on their way elsewhere these day. The store employee we spoke with has heard reports of crappie being caught in the Toad Suck area, and anglers are going to nearby Lake Bearverfork for bass fishing. They are selling a lot of spinnerbaits and Pop-R style baits, along with lizards and soft plastic worms.

Lake Conway has no creel or length limits while the lake is in its drawdown phase as part of the AGFC’s renovation project. All fish may be kept; in fact, it’s encouraged, hence the no-limit regulation. There are still chances to stock up on crappie and others for the freezer.
Also, the Lake Conway nursery pond is open for fishing with the AGFC stocking various sport fish there. The pond is more than 60 acres and has bass, crappie and bream.

Little Red River
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Greers Ferry Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website or by calling (501) 362-5150). Also check the Southwestern Power Administration website to see forecast generation schedule.

(updated 7-5-2024) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips (501-507-3688) said the generation schedule lately has been minimal, with the Southwestern Power Administration running water at Greers Ferry Dam for just an hour or two each night. “Daytime temperatures are soaring into the 90s, and coupled with the lack of released water from the dam, we’re hitting the river early to beat the heat. Remember, fish can get stressed when water temperatures hit 68 degrees, so it’s crucial to practice quick catch-and-release.
“The best bite has been found in deeper sections around moss beds where fish seek cover and shade from the sun. Look for areas with some current and a drop-off into deeper water for optimal results.
“Lately, the hot flies have included a pink San Juan Worm under an indicator. When fishing these mossy areas with minimal current, try adding a bit of action to the San Juan Worm by flicking the rod tip or giving a slight mend to the line to simulate movement. Other successful flies have been the Pheasant Tail Nymph, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear, and Rootbeer Midge.
“Get out there early, stay cool, and tight lines!”

Greers Ferry Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Greers Ferry Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 7-3-2024) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 461.04 feet msl, which is 0.1 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl. Not much else has changed other than more fish coming up on top schooling in different parts of the lake and rivers. Power generation has been slim at best — just a couple of hours a day, or none at all. All species of game fish are biting on and off all day. Now, most species are getting and staying out where they will summer at, staying on structure where you can really work on them. Try for crappie super shallow and out to 30 feet and use jigs, minnows or crankbaits. A lot of fish are migrating to cooler areas in timber where a lot of bait will spend summer, so fishing straight up and down is a must when fishing for these.

Most walleye are eating in the main lake. The few that are left up rivers, drag a crawler or crankbaits in 10-22 feet. Some walleye are following under big schools of white bass and hybrid bass. Use a spoon for those — and just like crappie, it’s time for a lot of them to head to the timber and hang out for the rest of summer into fall, as water is a little cooler and more bait fish is there as well. So a spoon is best for vertical fishing.

Hybrids and white bass are trying to get set up in main lake for the summer, while a a lot are still traveling. For the ones that are set, use spoons, inline spinners, grubs and swimbaits in 25-60 feet.

Catfish are starting to show up more regularly. The usual stuff is working in the lake and rivers. Some bream are shallow but most still around 8-15 feet; crickets and crawlers are working fine as well as inline spinners. As for black bass, the loners are shallow, but most are out or roaming shallow and schooling. Use c-rigs, topwater, wake baits, drop-shots, crankbaits and spinnerbaits for best action super shallow out to 60 feet.
“Be safe and wear your life jacket. And enjoy the Fourth of July holiday.”

Harris Brake Lake
(updated 6-27-2024) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said it seems almost too hot for fishing, but anglers are catching some catfish. Most catches are on trotlines baited early in the morning, and they are catching cats in the 3-4-pound range; “not the really big ones,” our contact tells us. Bream are also biting well off the shoreline on crickets and redworms. Bass are reported to be biting for boat anglers near the big island. One angler fishing for bass also was catching some crappie — not many, but a few that were big in size and biting minnows.

Most of the fishing is happening very early in the morning 5-6 a.m. and are back in by 10 a.m., then back to it after 5 p.m. and into the evening.

Lake Overcup
(updated 6-27-2024) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 said there hasn’t been a lot of people fishing because of the heat, but the ones that are fishing are out on the lake at night. The water level is about normal pool and surface temperature is in the mid-80s. The clarity is good.

Bream are doing well and are on their beds. Catfish are being caught on trotlines and jugs using bream and bass minnows. Bass are doing well on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Crappie have moved into the deeper water.

Lake Maumelle
(updated 7-3-2024) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) noted a slight cooling of the water temperature to 85-88 degrees in its report on Wednesday this week. Fishing appears to be about the same as it’s been. Largemouth bass are still biting fair with reports of bass schooling in the mornings and evenings. They can be found shallow in the mornings and evenings at 2-4 feet, with others found deeper around 12-20 feet. Try points and drop-offs. Drop-shots, Texas-rig worms, topwater lures and crankbaits are the preferred presentations. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are also fair and reported on points in 8-20 feet of water as well as relating to drop-offs. Drop-shots and crankbaits are working. This week’s Tuesday night weekly tournament out of WestRock featured Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley bringing in a 5-bass stringer of 14.31 pounds, nearly 2 pounds ahead of the closest competition. Cody Bryat and Brad Lequieu hauled in the Big Bass of 5.18 pounds.

Crappie and bream remain the best bite on the lake now, with good results. Decent-sized crappie are being found suspended around brush anywhere from 16-21 feet. Use jigs and minnows. Reports of the bluegill biting well again this week in 6-10 feet as well as shallow in 3-5 feet. Crickets, worms and drop-shots will work.
White bass fishing has been slow for some time and there has been no reports. A twister tail might get a bite. Catfish are slow but should favor bream, liver or worms at this time.

Arkansas River at Morrilton
For the real-time water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam and Morrilton stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Little Maumelle River
(update 6-27-2024) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said the fishing and conditions are about the same this week as last. The water is “clear as normal, and a lot of people are fishing.” Several trucks of anglers reported catching lots of bass, and others said the bream were biting well.

Black bass are biting crankbaits and soft plastic worms with some topwater also working. Some crappie returned to biting last week with minnows being all they were biting and at a 5-feet depth.

Bream are on the banks and bedding, and anglers are catching them on worms and crickets. Not much has been heard on the catfish but try liver and hot dogs fished in deeper water.

Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
For the real-time water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
For the real-time water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam and David D. Terry Lock and Dam, as well as the Little Rock pool stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 6-27-2024) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) reports that largemouth bass and Kentucky bass (spots) are biting in 10-12 feet around jetties. Anglers are having best success throwing a shaky head with a Zoom Trick Worm, along with deep-diving crankbaits in a shad pattern.

Bluegill are biting on the shallow flats in 5-6 feet water. Crickets and redworms rigged on a bobber rig have them biting about a foot deep.

Crappie are being caught in water that is ranging from 8-10 feet and anywhere that you can find structure. A one-eighth-ounce jig in white and chartreuse or a Crappie Magnet is what’s catching the most.

Water clarity of the pool is stained to muddy with about a half-foot to a foot of visibility.

Peckerwood Lake
(updated 6-27-2024) Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (501-626-6899) said anglers say that “right now the hot species of the lake are the catfish and bream” As for crappie, some are having success trolling and others are spider-rigging underwater structure for bites.

Catfish are biting hot dogs and liver, and also some live bait such as shiners, shad and bream are great to use.

Early morning and evening topwater is working now for the black bass. Donna also said, “Right now it seems that the bass anglers are the ones that are rarely left empty-handed.”
Bream have seen an increase in overall activity, the full moon playing its part. Crickets and worms are the most popular bait for bream.

“We’re level full and a little dingy, but not that bad. About normal for Peckerwood,” she said of the water conditions.

Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (2)

North Arkansas

White River
(updated 7-3-2024) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Nothing like the freedom of spending Independence Day on the White River! We are grateful for the blessings bestowed on our nation and hope you are able to celebrate the Fourth with family and friends.
“Early mornings on the White River in Cotter are refreshingly cool and offset the afternoon heat regardless of how high the thermometer climbs. Spirits are renewed and balance replaces chaos. Add to that some terrific trout fishing and you’ve found yourself in a pretty good place.”
Bull Shoals Lake elevation measured 660.96 feet msl with releases now at minimum flow (700 cfs) in the morning before rising to 12,000 cfs (four generators) in late afternoon.
Browns will be hiding in the deep holes and always looking for sculpins and crawdad tails. The rainbows are hitting gold spinners and pink PowerBait mouse tails (bubblegum pink worms topped with white egg patterns). “We always suggest keeping a cup of nightcrawlers or red wigglers for the afternoon rise; play them close to the banks just a foot or so below the surface. Keep your line light and tight in the low water — you’ll lose less bait and will feel the bite quicker.
“Come visit our Natural State of Arkansas. We look forward to seeing you.”

(updated 7-5-2024) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said, “This week we have seen a varied generation from both Bull Shoals and Norfork dams. We have seen levels as high as 9 feet or more and as low as under 4 feet. During periods of higher water, silver inline spinners with corn worked well. We’ve also seen success using worms or shrimp with Uncommon Baits UV Eggs.
“On Tuesday we saw reduced flow and lower water. Fishing was great with the lower water and artificial lures such as quarter-ounce Thompson Colorado Spoons or Rapala Countdown CD7s in rainbow trout colors or silver/black worked well.
“Norfork Lake remains about 3 feet above the top of power pool level. During the work day they have been able to use the generators with flows above 5,000 cfs. Bull Shoals Lake is about a foot below the top of the power pool. On Tuesday we saw reduced flow through the night and morning with increased flow starting Tuesday afternoon. As a result, on Wednesday we saw dingier water in Calico Rock in the morning with water clearing later in the morning and afternoon.
“The heat has been brutal. Drink plenty of water and keep a cooling towel handy to dip in the water.
“On June 27 the AGFC stocking raft stocked over 3,000 rainbow trout between Norfork and Calico Rock. In addition, Red Landing received 800 rainbows, Chessmond Ferry received 1,000 rainbows and Calico Rock received 1,000 rainbows. On July 3 the stocking raft ran from Calico Rock to Round Bottom Access stocking over 4,000 rainbows.”

Bull Shoals Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Bull Shoals Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 7-5-2024) Fishing guide Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake (815-592-4302) said Thursday night thatlake level has fallen to around 660 feet msl, now a foot below the listed summertime conservation pool. The Army Corps of Engineers has continued running some big water through the dam. Water temperature is around 85 degrees, give or take.

Bass are set up on summer areas and patterns. Shad are spread out from the back off the creek out to the main lake. Check deeper water points, ledges, drop-offs and channel swings and saddles. “Get up early, or if it’s cloudy, rainy and windy hit the surface with topwater. Smaller sizes are working best for me, a Zara Spook, Pop-R, Lucky Craft Gunfish, wake baits in shad patterns. As the sun gets up, try a 2.8 swimbait, especially if there’s wind, or a Flutter Spoon. That will keep the bite going.
“Once the sun gets up, a lot the fish will move out over deep water. You can follow them out there — try a drop-shot, Robo Worm or shad-shape worm or Tater Shad.

“If we get rain, I’ll powerfish covering water. Try a buzzbait if it’s windy and cloudy, or a frog/toad if it’s sunny, over submerged flooded bushes. You can still catch them on points with a small Jewel Peewee Jig in green pumpkin orange or a tube or a shaky head in 10-20 feet early, then 25-30 feet. Keep the boat out for deep long casts.

“There’s a lot of activity in the 15 feet range. You can also go up there with a big worm, a Beaver or Salt Craw early or late. Shallower brush piles closer to deep water in less than 25-30 feet are holding some fish.

“Overall summer patterns are here. Suspended fish in large groups are roaming; if you can find ’em with the front looker, you can get right in a hurry. Fish the conditions.

Del regularly posts new YouTube videos. Visit his YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Fishing Report) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.

(updated 7-5-2024) Southernwalleye Guide Service (501-365-1606) says walleye have slowed down but are still being caught. “We’re pulling nightcrawler harnesses in25-30 feet with 2-ounce bottom bouncers on primary and secondary points with gold or orange blades with orange bead patterns. Also, just a No. 4 split shot and No. 2 Aberdeen hookand nightcrawler, work slowly around groups of fish, will catch some. Moresmall fish in the 16- to 17-inch size are being caught than legal-size (18 or more inches) fish.

Spooningwith a three-quarter-ounce white spoon in deeper water off main lake points in 40-50 feet will also get some fish.

“Here’s hoping the lake will stabilize soon and fishing will improve around the thermocline.”

(updated 7-5-2024) Crappie 101 Guide Service (870-577-2045)says crappie seem to be moving deeper and are definitely pickier, as the jig bite has slowed down a lot. Minnows and 4-pound line help, but they are still finicky. Just keep moving until you find fish that will cooperate.

Norfork Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Norfork Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 6-20-2024) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort (870-492-5113)

said Wednesday, “I started out fishing around 4 a.m. this morning. My first spot was a bust even though I brought in some bait by dropping my green light. Very few fish showed up, so I moved to a main lake point in 100 feet or more of water. Dropped my green light again and the bait showed up. There were some small fry on the surface, but the bigger-sized bait were 15-25 feet down. It wasn’t long until I started seeing a few big arcs cruising under the bait 30-50 feet down. I landed my first striper about 15 minutes after arriving and then it started to get a little light out, but the bait stuck around and a few more fish showed up. I got to land another two stripers by about 5:15.
“By then it was getting light enough that other fishermen started showing up. I had caught three nice stripers and all swam away easily so I decided to look around and fish some new spots for possibly my outing tomorrow. I found one area back in a small creek that was holding a few fish. I fished for them a brief time, but they seemed to be just window shopping. I did manage to catch a couple of nice largemouth by casting out my Kastmaster and letting it sink about 4 seconds. They wanted a steady slow retrieval today. For the striped bass I was using a Tater Bait Tater Shad in a copper rose color pattern. It has been working well for me lately. I headed back to the resort early since I needed to get back and wait for the delivery of a new refrigerator for one of our cabins.
“The lake surface temp was about 83 degrees this morning on the main lake. The water level is fairly stable and sits at 560.65 feet msl. There is a thermocline formed around 25 feet deep. The water is clear on the main lake and slightly stained in the creeks.

“Come make some everlasting memories on Norfork Lake in the Arkansas Ozark.”

Lou posts fishing reports nearly every day to his blog on the Hummingbird Hideaway Resort webpage.

Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (3)

Northwest Arkansas

Beaver Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Beaver Lake Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 7-5-2024) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is dropping slowly and now is just under normal pool level. Water temperature is ranging from the high 80s to low 90s depending on location.

Stripers have been really good lately. If you can find shad, that will put more fish on the line right now. If there is no shad, then brooders and bluegill will work.

The fish are in their summer pattern, which is basically from Prairie Creek all the way to the dam. It also is a very early or night bite right now. You need to be on the lake fishing one hour before sunrise, and the bite is fast with limits coming before 7 a.m. on most days.
Crappie are fair to good on trolled crankbaits. This also is an early or late deal. Picos or Bandits are working well. Catfish are also very good. “We have been catching a lot of nice fish on trolled crawler harnesses while targeting walleye.”

Walleye are fair to good on bottom bouncers using crawlers. Look for humps and flats adjacent to deep drop-offs; 25 feet seems to be the depth.

Bass again are early or late, also.

“Dog days are here; get out early and you will catch some fish!! Good luck.”

Visit Jon’s Facebook page for the latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.

Beaver Tailwater
(updated 7-5-2024) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says there has been no change in the fishing this week except for the water temperature, which is higher. He said that fishing has been pretty good now for three weeks. Anglers may have to move around a bit, but the bite will pick up. Most fish have been caught between Houseman Access and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. The trout have been very responsive to Pautzke Fire Worms, fished on bottom, with slight movement. This is also the bait and presentation of choice when drift-fishing. Also Fire Bait, with light terminal tackle, has also produced nice numbers. You can also try pulling crankbaits in the deeper water for some bigger fish.

Last week, Austin noted: “The water temperature has been up and down, but the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water to keep the tailwater cool. There are still some here-and-there walleye being caught — most are being caught in the deeper holes jigging with soft plastics.
“Summer is here, so remember to stay hydrated, wear loose cool clothing and protect yourself from the sun. Hope you all are able to get out and catch some fish!”

Follow Austin’s fishing Facebook page (Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for regular updates.

Lake Fayetteville
(updated 6-27-2024) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says anglers are still having success catching bluegill on worms. Channel cats and blue cats have been reported biting chicken liver and shrimp; they’re being caught near the dam off boats as well as from the shoreline.

Bass fishing has overall picked up in full summer effect — topwater in the mornings and evening time around boat docks and other structures is key. Popular during the daytime are crankbaits and jigs to get down to the cooler water.

Crappie have been constant. Trolling with minnows and spider-rigging minnows have been the reported technique and bait.

The water is stained and murky from this past week’s statewide shower.

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Northeast Arkansas

Lake Charles
(updated 7-3-2024) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the heat sent most of the fish, and many of the anglers, into hiding and cooler spots this weekend. Bream and other sunfish, like bluegill, were all that were reported biting. Nevertheless, the bite was good for those, with anglers using worms, crickets, jigs and flies.

Water temperature on Sunday morning was 81 degrees. Lake Charles is regularly murky, and the water level is normal.

Lake Poinsett
(updated 7-3-2024) Jonathan Wagner at Lake Poinsett State Park said that anglers recently had been fishing Lake Poinsett using baits like the Booyah Buzzbaits for bass and were predominantly using crickets for the bream.

Bass and crappie continue to be catch-and-release. Bream and catfish may be kept at state limits.

Spring River
(updated 6-27-2024) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water flows at the Spring are at 390 cfs (350 is average) and water clarity is mostly clear. Over the last month, a lot of rain had messed up the river the previous two weeks. It is looking great this week, however. Hot, dry weather has river flows back down. Note that conditions can change with heavy rains.

“With the river looking back to normal conditions, we are having a blast with Hopper Droppers. We’re still using cicadas for the Hopper with lots of Hopper action. Best Dropper this week has been a pink worm and Y2K. There are plenty of rainbow trout with weekly stockings. Streamer action on overcast days might get you bigger fish, but our last 20-inch brown last week was on a Woolly in the middle of a hot day. The browns are there, but not liking this weather.
Smallmouth are biting great when the river isn’t high and murky. Catching a bunch on Woollies and sculpin patterns fished slow and deep. You’ve got to be committed to the slow, deep presentation and they will bite. As the river drops out, the smallmouth action should be hot for the rest of the summer.
“So, it has been hot out but the river is an ice-cold 58 degrees year-round. If temps are in the high 90s, the trout turn off after lunch, and so do we. Fish early and late to stay on the bite and hydrate. I highly recommend a nap midday.”

Check out Mark’s blog for the latest river conditions on the Spring River on his website linked above.

White River
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time gauge level and flow from the White River stages at Batesville, Newport and Augusta and all other sites within the White River basin in Arkansas, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

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Southeast Arkansas

Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
For the real-time water flow at the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam and Maynard Lock and Dam, as well as the Pine Bluff pool stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Cane Creek Lake
(updated 7-5-2024) Claire Humes at Cane Creek State Park (870-628-4714) said she heard of a big bream catch with minnows being used from the lake’s exterior pier late last week. Anglers were using redworms and crickets for bream on Saturday, and throwing crickets to try to get any bites from any species as well. Anglers were throwing redworms to find a bass bite on Sunday, and nightcrawlers were also being favored by one angling party later Sunday at the pier.

Lake Monticello
(updated 7-5-2024) Anglers are reminded that if they venture out for some fishing on Lake Monticello now while the lake continues to refill after being renovated, that all fish caught must be released immediately.
The city of Monticello has opened Hunger Run Access to boat traffic as of Friday, May 31.

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Southwest Arkansas

Millwood Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Millwood Lake Dam, visit the Corps Little Rock office website.

(updated 7-3-2024) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service noted that the AGFC Tournament Courtesy Dock at Yarborough Landing was completed a few weeks ago. “Thank you, (AGFC regional supervisor) Dylan Hann, the AGFC, Army Corps of Engineers and everyone who made this improvement happen for Millwood Lake,” Mike said.

Millwood’s elevation is almost back to normal pool, with the lake about 5 inches above normal conservation pool at 259.6 feet msl and stable. Millwood Lake Dam is releasing about 652 cfs as of Tuesday, and the tailwater is holding near 226 feet. Check the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Watch for random floaters and broken timber during any navigation on Little River and Millwood Lake. Lake elevation and discharge at Millwood Dam can change dramatically in mere hours with thunderstorms and fresh water influx.

Surface temps were stable along Little River over the past week, ranging 87 degrees early to 93 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Clarity along Little River continues improving this week with decreased river current. Normal to moderate stain is found in most locations; some areas further up Little River have heaviest stain, with river clarity ranging 10-15 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows will vary widely from normal stained to good visibility from 20-30 inches, and we observed around fair visibility in a few wind- and current-protected areas like McGuire Oxbow up to 3 feet clarity. Areas further up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow at Wilton Landing remain more stained, and there is higher flow rates with more current.

* Not much change from last week with largemouth bass, except it’s HOT in southwestern Arkansas, folks. Largemouths around 2-3 pounds continue to be fairly consistent in the last couple of weeks, and the best bite is early on cloudy days; the topwater bite is consistent till around 9-10 a.m. Numerous bass over 9 pounds, including a few in the 10- and 11-pound class, have been caught and released over the past couple months.

Best activity continues being seen early mornings along Little River between Pugh Slough and Jack’s Isle, and Snake Creek to McIntosh Bend, near grass and vertical drops. Buzzbaits, frogs, Bass Assassins and Spit’n Images are working early. In the oxbows, near flats of 3-4 feet deep, focus on areas where a creek meanders through the flat that drops quickly into 8-10 feet structure. Locate fresh lily pad blooms, stumps and vegetation that are holding fish. Various topwater baits will get a reaction early, including frogs, Spit’n Images, Dying Flutters, soft plastic jerkbaits, 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads and buzzbaits 1 to 8 feet of depth at dawn and dusk.

Once the sun gets up above the treeline, switching over to a Brazalo Stutterbait Chatterbait with a 3.5-inch Bass Assassin Lit’L Boss swimbait trailer in Spot Remover, white/chartreuse or Millwood Mayhem Bream will draw a reaction near stumps. For deeper sections of the creek after the sun gets high, a Bill Lewis crankbait like the ATV, MR-6, and SB-57 MDJ crankbait square bills will continue getting random reaction bites from active roaming bass in the creek channels or near drops from the flats into 8-10 feet depth structure.

For reactions from 3- to 5-point largemouths, try fat, jumbo Southern Indiana Bait Company’s 4.25-inch Monster Bass tubes on a light wire jighead, or Texas rig in black/blue or green pumpkin/purple, Brush Hogs in watermelon magic, 10-inch Power Worms in blue fleck or black and fish near stumps, lily pads, buckbrush and cypress trees. The best water clarity continues to be more reliable in the oxbows of McGuire and Clear Lake, and the bass activity levels are drastically better. Water clarity in Mud Lake and Horseshoe Lake oxbows continues to improve over the past couple of weeks. Bang Skunk Apes, Woopah Craws, Salty Rat Tail baits, jumbo magnum 8-inch lizards and Brush Hogs continue taking some decent 14- to 17-inch largemouths roaming flats in the back of the oxbows near stumps, cypress knees and lily pads. In and near shallow stumps, cypress knees and cover around 5- to 8-foot depth flats with vegetation like fresh lily pad blooms, you can get a reaction to a topwater frog or jerkbait at daylight.
* Little River has improved clarity and the white bass bite over the past couple of weeks. The reduced current has clarity much improved on primary or secondary points. White bass are roaming back down Little River to their summer spots in the main lake, but they’re pausing on these points and roaming in and out of creek dumps, too.
Heavy, three-quarter-ounce Cordell Hammered Spoons, Kastmaster Spoons in chrome/blue white Bucktails, the Bomber Fat Free Guppy or Fingerling crankbaits or the Bill Lewis MR-6 Crankbaits in Citrus Shad, Tennessee Shad and Millwood Magic colors will draw reactions. Little George’s, Rocket Shads and red/white Rooster Tails were working last week.

* Crappie continue to improve over the past few weeks with water clarity improving in many locations. Planted brush piles in Pugh Slough, Horseshoe, Bee Lake, Millwood State Park or Saratoga continue to hold nice 12- to 15-inch crappie, and gave up some nice 2-pound slabs over the past few weeks. The crappie are best using minnows one day and jigs the next, or jigs tipped with a minnow, in planted brush piles in 10-16 feet of depth. Best color jig over the past week has been Monkey Milk one day, Electric Chicken the next, while smoke-colored grubs with a chartreuse tip tail on a light wire jig head would pick up a few extra bites.
* We are getting reports from bream fishermen along the river that they are having good success near Jack’s Isle and Hurricane Creek in recent weeks. Bream beds have been noticed near Jack’s Isle and Little River back slough pockets off the main creek channels.
* No reports on catfish.

Lake Columbia
No reports.

Lake Greeson Tailwater
For the most updated Narrows Dam generation schedule from SWEPCO, click here.

Lake Greeson
For the most updated lake level at Lake Greeson, click here.

No reports.

DeGray Lake
For the most updated lake level at DeGray Lake, click here.

(updated 6-20-2024) John Duncan of YoYo Guide Service (870-942-6291 or at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Well, it’s getting hot! Water level is 407.19 feet msl at this writing. Surface water temperature is in the high 80s.

“Full moon coming, so get ready to find those bream beds. They are there. I found several. They are all over the lake. Side scan for the ‘waffle’. Drop-shot, slip bobber, worms or crickets. It is about to be on again.

“I think the ‘big bite’ that we have been experiencing on crappie on the brush piles seems to be over. My experience tells me that when the water gets this hot, the crappie begin to move. They are in the standing timber now. That means forward-facing sonar and casting jigs or one-poling for them. Jig profile comes into a great effect this time of year. THink small. There are suspended crappie in the open water and on the sides of some piles.

“There are still bream, bass and catfish in the brush piles for the kids.

“Getting hot. Hydrate, watch for others who need help.”

(updated 6-20-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said, “The fishing report for what I am doing on these three lake — Ouachita, Hamilton and DeGray — is the same: Starting early at first-light is key. We’ve been casting spoons for schools of breaking bass. Then trolling crankbaits across points for more bass and an occasional walleye.”

De Queen Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from De Queen Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Dierks Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Dierks Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (7)

South-Central Arkansas

White Oak Lake Area
No reports.

Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (8)

West-Central Arkansas

Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit

(updated 7-5-2024) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 65 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Both lakes Hamilton and Catherine are at normal summertime pool. Entergy recently scheduled several days of lengthy generation time, which has lowered the tailrace water temperature and aided greatly in the reduction of grass and moss growth. Below Carpenter Dam, fly-fishermen can still wade to areas that hold numbers of trout and can have had some success casting micro-jigs in white or black under a strike indicator. This presentation perfectly matches the injured shad drawn through the turbines from Lake Hamilton. San Juan Worms offer feeding trout a different look and will often work equally well when fished in the same manner. Trout Magnets should not be overlooked by fly-anglers and often make the difference between a successful outing and an unsuccessful one. Bank fishermen using waxworms or mealworms cast with a small bobber or fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater can catch rainbows. Boaters can anchor in and around sandbars and rock structure and catch trout using small inline spinners such as a Rooster Tail or Mepps Spinner in brown or silver colors.

Conditions are favorable now for trolling to be effective against the current. Catching a limit of rainbow trout in July commences should be considered a good day on the water, as the bite is very inconsistent and short in duration.
The walleye spawn is long complete on Lake Catherine, but numbers of male and female walleye remain to rest and feed before making the move downstream to the main body of Lake Catherine. These fish can be caught by trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current on both sides of the river below the dam. Shad or crayfish imitations work best, as both of these are present in large numbers in the lake and offer game fish a solid food source all throughout the year.

Despite the safer conditions and warmer weather, it is extremely important to remember that fish in the tailrace have proven difficult to catch this entire year. Trout can be caught but not in the numbers that are expected in past years. Normal pool levels will bring a more consistent bite from the rainbow trout population. Patience is a must this year for anglers to have success due to the flooding and heavy flows the lake has experienced.

Catfish are spawning in the tailrace from the bridge to the dam and can be caught on cut bait fished on the bottom. These fish offer anglers a hearty fight and some wonderful table fare.

The heat of summer brings striper action closer to Carpenter Dam as these large predator fish search for prey and cooler temperatures. Alabama rigs and large topwater lures work well when the turbines are running, which is a key ingredient for success when attempting to catch these wary predators.

Entergy is scheduling a weekend release below Carpenter Dam from noon until 5 p.m. on select Saturday and Sunday mornings, which is keeping tailrace temperatures down and reducing moss growth, which is rampant below the dam. Always wear a life jacket when on the water and remember to follow all park and boating regulations. Pick up after yourself, as the number of trash cans are limited in this area. Always cooperate with all wildlife officials and law enforcement.

Lake Dardanelle
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ outflow and gauge level reports from Dardanelle, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

No reports.

Lake Hamilton
(updated 6-20-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said, “The fishing report for what I am doing on these three lake — Ouachita, Hamilton and DeGray — is the same: Starting early at first-light is key. We’ve been casting spoons for schools of breaking bass. Then trolling crankbaits across points for more bass and an occasional walleye

“Stay safe on the water. Start early because summertime pleasure boating on Hamilton is upon us anglers.”

Lake Nimrod
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow reports from Nimrod Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 7-3-2024) Sheila Ferrebee, owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025), says a lot of catfish are being caught. Quite a few anglers are out trying for crappie. Some who know the spots are having good luck (one angler caught 16 crappie in the brush); others are not — the lake is in a drawdown until October. Anglers are buying pounds and pounds of No. 6 crappie minnows.

A catfish angler had six or seven flathead catfish in the boat, one of which was 52 pounds measured at the dock. Try goldfish or other live bait for the catfish.

Carter Cove has a Facebook page, and the email address is, with updates and photos. Stop in for live bait, tackle, cabin rentals, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and more.

Lake Ouachita
For the current lake level at Blakely Dam, click here.

(updated 7-3-2024) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are fair. Try a topwater bait near main lake and secondary points or a Texas-rigged Ole Monster near brush.

Walleye are very good and being caught on nightcrawlers near structure with a drop-shot rig or a minnow-like jig. Stripers are still good. These fish are being caught in the eastern portions of the lake and can be caught on umbrella rigs or live bait.

Bream are good and being caught on crickets and worms in the 15- to 25-foot range.

Crappie are still fair. Try minnows or small jigs over structure in the 15- to 20-foot range. For catfish try stink bait or cut bait on a rod-and-reel set up in the 10- to 20-foot range, especially near structure and brush.
Water temperature on Tuesday was ranging 80-86 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is at 576.40 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

(updated 6-20-2024) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) said, “The fishing report for what I am doing on these three lake — Ouachita, Hamilton and DeGray — is the same: Starting early at first-light is key. We’ve been casting spoons for schools of breaking bass. Then trolling crankbaits across points for more bass and an occasional walleye.”

Blue Mountain Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow reports from Blue Mountain Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (9)

East Arkansas

White River/Clarendon Area
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time gauge level and flow from Clarendon, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Horseshoe Lake
(updated 7-3-2024) Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-278-7978) says the fishing has been unchanged for a couple of weeks now. The water loosk good for this time of year and is a little low.

“For crappie, it’s the same ol’ song,” he said. “The fish just don’t seem interested in any bait. LiveScope shows fish, but it is difficult at best to get them to bite. One trip this week we had 12 fish over 10 inches caught. The pads seem to be the same. Smaller fish are biting, but just a few of them. Hopefully things will change in the upcoming weeks.”

He had no reports on bass, catfish or bream.

Cook’s Lake
(updated 6-27-2024) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) says the lake level has held steady for the last week and has begun to clear up. Water temperatures are around 90 degrees. “Fish catching has still been slow at best, but we are hoping stable conditions will increase the bite soon.
“I would focus on hollow trees and laydowns for all species. For bass, I would flip a Texas-rigged black and red plastic or green pumpkin jig. For bream and crappie, I would jig a 1/32-ounce black and chartreuse jig in the same areas.
“I have heard that the action is starting to heat up on several White River lakes in the area.”

Cook’s Lake is nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow has slab crappie, black bass, bream and every species of catfish and receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobility-impaired fishing. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers who must possess the AGFC mobility-impaired access permit, and up to two guests (who may also fish), during the specified fishing season. Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat. Fishing will be allowed only on Fridays and Saturday through August, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., water level pending. Before launching, please check in at the Nature Center classroom and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please call the center at 501-404-2321.

Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.

Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report • Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (2024)
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