Catfish donation boosts family, community programs
Good fall fishing on Lake Millwood continues
Arkansas Wildlife Editor In the photo on the right, Tommy Laird, an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission assistant chief in the Fisheries Division, helps with the recent stocking of some rather large blue catfish that were donated recently to the AGFC for use in the agency's Family and Community Fishing Program ponds.
The catfish producer from south Arkansas, who wished to remain anonymous, donated more than 10,000 pounds of blue catfish, with most fish weighing more than 7 pounds and some giants tipping the scales at the 30-pound mark. The AGFC typically stocks channel catfish when providing catchablesized fish for anglers in ponds (and table-fare rainbow trout in the winter months), but these blue catfish will offer even more fight and provide excellent table fare for those anglers lucky enough to hook, and land, these larger targets.
The FCFP has nearly 50 fishing locations around the state. Find a pond near you and take the family on a great fishing excursion; maybe you'll land the catch of a lifetime.
One place that is certainly a popular spot for Arkansas anglers this fall is Lake Millwood. This week, we shine a spotlight on this fisherman’s favorite in southwest Arkansas…
Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Friday afternoon Millwood Lake was about 6 inches above normal conservation pool and is steady. Clarity improved this week along
Continued on Page 9 LAKE MILLWOOD (cont.)
Little River and oxbows.
Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam of four gates at 0.5 feet, near 920 cfs in Little River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s web page linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gaterelease changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Surface temps are stable this week, ranging in 84-89 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River slightly cleared up this week further up Little River with river clarity ranging 8-15 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows is heavy stain and visibility is about 20-30 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.
Numerous areas on Millwood Lake are fully choked with alligatorweed mats and are inaccessible for navigation or fishing.
The USACE is monitoring.
At Yarborough Landing, the concrete under water on the easternmost side of the ramp furthest from the concrete pier has been broken for quite some time and boaters are backing their trailers off the end of the broken concrete. There is a huge slab of broken concrete someone dragged up on the bank with a tractor, that Little River County has neglected to repair. Use extreme caution on the boat ramp.
Siefert offered these details of the fishing over the past week:
• For the past few weeks, the largemouth bass have responded well, with best topwater feeding activity at daybreak or first light until around 9-10 a.m. Bass have been fair to good over the past couple of weeks on topwater lures around lily pad stands, cypress trees and vegetation on a variety of topwater plugs. Chunky 2- to 3-pounders have been the most aggressive at daylight on shallow flats near stumps and laydowns for the past few weeks. Good bass activity and topwater action are random, hitting Spit'n Images, Chug Bugs, Pop R's, Bass Assassin Shad or topwater plastic frogs in the pads early.
These chunky 2- to 3pound largemouths, with an occasional 5-pounder blowup, are random and scattered horizontally along the edge of vegetation, lily pad stands near 4-6 feet deep flats with stumps tapering out into 9-12 feet of depth. “Best reaction we have seen over the past several weeks is at daylight on a variety of topwaters.
Best reactions have been in the clearer water in oxbows near deep drops. Bill Lewis Stuttersteps, Storm Chug Bugs, Shad Assassins, Heddon Spit'N Images, Cordell Crazy Shads and Jitterbugs all have been drawing good, random reactions on topwater at daybreak for several weeks now.”
Best colors of the soft plastic 5-inch Bass Assassin Shads have been Salt n Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Pumpkinseed, and they continue drawing good reactions with some JJ's Magic chartreuse dye dip for a flash of color.
Junebug, black or pumpkinseed colored Horny Toads and soft plastic frogs, fished in clearest water you can find in the oxbows, are working for a random blowup.
Several schools of juvenile class bass were ganged up at creek mouth junctions and dumps into Little River last week. The first and second entrances to Mud Lake and Hurricane Creek, Horseshoe and White Cliffs were holding adolescent and juvenile-aged schools of largemouth and Kentucky bass. These fish were randomly breaking on shad, and were eager to bust a Rat-L-Trap or shadcolored square-bill Little John and Bill Lewis SB-57 crankbait.
Wacky-rigged 5-inch and 6-inch Bang Fat Jobs, Trick Worms, Yum Dingers and Salty Rat Tails in Houdini, Watermelon Candy and Junebug/red colors were working from 5-10 feet deep in Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows around grass mats and lily pad stands after the morning topwater bite subsides, and in the same areas where the topwater early bite is aggressive. Continue moving deeper near where creek channels and ditches cut through flats, or to the points where the creek junctions dump and drain into the oxbow, as the sun rises and begins to heat up the flats adjacent to creek channels.
Once the sun gets up over the tree line after 9-10 a.m., switch over to medium-diving crankbaits like custom painted Little John Square Bills and Bill Lewis MR-6 or SB-57 square-bill cranks across 6-10 feet deep flats adjacent to 12-15 deep creek channel swings in the oxbows. Bomber Fat Free Guppy and Fingerling's Crankbaits continue working along deep creek channels and points reaching out into Little River and 812 feet deep creeks that dump into Little River.
These square bills continue working with Millwood Magic, Sneaky Shad, Tennessee Shad and Citrus Shad colors drawing best reactions from chunky largemouths along the oxbows of Horseshoe and McGuire where the water clarity is much improved this week. Brazalo Spinnerbaits in Millwood Mayhem Bream, white/chartreuse and Spot Remover are still working around vegetation mats and stumps from 6-9 feet deep near stumps on windy days in the oxbows.
• Whites/hybrids continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and have been caught on vertical-jigging spoons along Little River.
Tail Spinner Trap Rat-LTraps in Millwood Magic, chrome/black back and chrome/blue back caught some 2- to 3-pound whites in McGuire last week. Fat Free Shad crankbaits in Citrus Shad color, Little Georges, Beetle Spins, Rooster Tails and Rocket Shads, fished 8-10 feet deep near ledges and vertical structure, were catching whites randomly in the oxbows. Schooling whites have been noted in the back of McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows off Little River early at daybreak on flats adjacent to deeper drops in the depths from 5-10 feet deep at random intervals over the past several weeks. Most of the white bass schools are still random and broken, although a few whites have been found up near White Cliffs campground.
• Catfish have been best over the past couple of weeks at night on trotlines and yo-yos set along outer bends of the river in stump rows of old river timber from 15-20 feet deep, baited with chicken livers, hearts, gizzards, cut buffalo and blood bait. They were working late over the weekend, and also in the oxbows on yo-yos hung from cypress trees if you could keep all the alligators off them and retrieve the fish quickly once hooked, before the gators got to them. Alligators also have been noted hung up and dragging noodles around after eating the catfish or bait attached for several weeks.
* No reports on crappie or bream. Crappie are scattered, scared and will run from a minnow on LiveScope.