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Bass making moves as days grow shorter


Fall fishing on fire around the state

Arkansas Wildlife Editor Reports from our contributors this week indicate that a little less daylight as autumn arrives seems to have stirred up the feeding cycle for bass. One noticeable spot for such action is Lake Hamilton, where our reporter from Greeson Marine in Hot Springs, says that a significant change has occured there in a week's time and now 'bass are on fire!' He reports that the low light conditions of approaching fall have brought on the annual shad binge to lakes throughout the area, and Hamilton is no exception.

With shad patterns being the go-to for anglers, it's suggested you use a white double or triple willow spinnerbait for some heavy-hitting action.

Swingbaits and chatterbaits in white or silver also will work.

Mike Siefert, a guide on Millwood Lake (photo top left, with Millwood crappie guru Mackey Harvin in the background), says juvenile largemouth bass are very active right now surfacebreaking and chasing shad, and the frantic action with multiple 'double-ups' can provide a great time for adult anglers to bring along the children for a terrific angling experience. It it appears the action is fun for all ages, as one of Siefert's clients from Colorado by the name of Charlie was, indeed, doubling up on the bass.

Millwood has been up and down with thunderstorms in the region pushing in water while the Corps of Engineers tries to lower the lake 2 feet for an annual early fall drawdown.

Check out more great reports from around the Eastern side of the state below…

Crown Lake — Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) reports the lake clarity as “pretty clear” while the level is normal. Bream continue to bite well on redworms, crickets, nightcrawlers and wigglers.

Crappie continue to not bite. Black bass are good on crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish are being caught in good numbers with chicken liver.

Lake Charles — Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said she received no reports on fishing this past weekend, though they had a lot of people on the water at Lake Charles. The weather looks great for fishing, and the next seven days are the best days to fish, according to moon times. “Come see us and tell us your fishing stories.” The lake clarity is murky and the level is high. The previous week, she reported that bass, catfish and bream were all being caught from the shoreline, and crappie were biting Firetiger-color jigs.

For catfish, worms, cut bait, blood bait and chicken liver typically seem to work well here. Black bass will usually go after the regular assortment of bass lures, like topwaters, spinnerbaits and plastic worms.

Lake Poinsett — The lake at Lake Poinsett State Park has been undergoing a twoyear renovation with plans to finish refilling and restocking the lake this year and for fishing to resume at levels far better than in recent years, thanks to improved fish habitat and new underwater structures. The water control structure was also repaired.

Spring River — Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides said, “Yep, low and clear makes for tough days sometimes on those sunny days,” he says, “and those days when its overcast and you get to see the fish chasing your fly down, it is fantastic. If the fish are skittish, a Y2K with big midge/nymph dropper has been the ticket. On the good days, stripping an olive Woolly upstream has been the hottest action.

“Jim Hinkle has been stocking really nice-sized trout. A big thank you to all of the hard work they do to make the Spring River the great fishery it is.”

Mark says for spin fishing it will be hard to beat a hot pink Trout Magnet. “The trout eat them up. Use a Trout Magnet float, cast upstream with a drag-free drift and get that Trout Magnet just off the bottom.

Reel it back slowly at the end of the drift. Had several chases (Tuesday).”

The smallmouth bass are hitting hard with the water clear. The Spring River is full of huge rocks and most of them have smallies hiding under them, he says.

Trout cranks and Flicker Shad are hot on spinning tackle. On the fly it is hard to beat an olive lead eye Woolly Bugger. “Got to be a heavy fly. Lately the smallies have been striking on the drop. Not much of a strike, just dead weight, then the fight is on!”

The canoe season has ended with school starting up, he notes. Now during the week the Spring River is a quiet beautiful place to leave your worries behind

Continued on Page 14 FISHING REPORTS (cont.)

— Water levels were up a few inches and the river was flowing strong Wednesday. Black bass were biting a bit slow but they were eating buzzbaits worked over woody cover, and dark-colored craws/jigs within woody cover. Keep an eye out for schooling activity and be ready with shad-colored lipless crankbaits or small topwater plugs, as black bass are schooling with white bass in Lake Langhofer. You can continue to catch black bass after the surface schooling has stopped by working the lipless crankbait slower along the bottom.

— The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870241-3373) said no one has fished Cooks Lake in the last two weeks due to highwater conditions. The lake is high but the White River is on the fall, which should create great fishing conditions for the last several weeks that the lake will be open. Black bass should be entering their fall pattern soon and can be caught on square-bill crankbaits and spinnerbaits around the cypress trees.

Flipping tubes or jigs could also produce a good stringer. Bluegill have spread out but are still in the lake; worms and crickets are usually the ticket.

Crappie should be moving toward the shallow brushtops

Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-mile long oxbow off of the White River, nestled in the heart of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge near Casscoe in Arkansas County. This fertile oxbow receives very little fishing pressure due to being used only for education purposes and youth and mobilityimpaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish of all species. Due to current guidelines, Cook’s Lake will be open to fishing during normal business hours Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., water level pending.

Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility impaired, and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobilityimpaired accessible dock or launch a boat, but we ask for trolling motors only. To comply with current guidelines, please call ahead at least a day in advance to register to fish. Before launching, please check in at the Conservation Education Center, and report back before leaving.

For information or unscheduled closures, call the center at 870-241-3373.

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