Cooler waters on the way? Maybe next week
Planning a fishing trip? You need to know the weather!
Arkansas Wildlife Editor Long-range weather forecasts have so many variables, it's hard for the experts to nail them down perfectly, and such was the case with the expected low pressure and cold front that would lower our air and water temperatures we were hoping were coming this week. Now that's looking more like NEXT week, thanks apparently to the jet stream cutting off the front for a few extra days. Hey, we know you won't confuse us with the likes of trusty TV forecasters Tom Brannon or Barry Brandt, we're just passing along what the National Weather Service puts out. But there are cool waters to be had in some places anyway even with warm air temps (though, in terms of water pulled through the dam systems, you can scratch the Carpenter Dam tailrace at least for the time being, guide Shane Goodner tells us). In north Arkansas, you have the Spring River and a bubbling cool spring closer to the northeast corner of the state, where Juan Kinderlan from the Memphis area took in a trip with Mark Crawford of Spring River Flies and Guides and pulled in this photogenic smallmouth bass (top right). Mark told us last week that while those lines of rainfall that passed through Arkansas had muddied up the river, the Spring River tends to clear quickly and ends looking mostly like that photo above. Count us in!
He says the trout have been biting consistently, while smallmouth are hitting the Clouser-style patterns now.
On the Spring, also, it's hard to beat a crankbait when spin-fishing, he said.
Mark adds, “With some dry weather, the fall season is looking really good. Nicesize trout stocked weekly and the wintertime holdovers that start feeding when it gets cold out are gonna make for some great adventures.”
We've been noting in this space regularly the good fishing and the comfortable temps being found on the Beaver Lake tailwater, thanks to Austin Kennedy's reports. And the Bull Shoals tailwater has basically had just minimal discharge from the dam lately, leading to an excellent trout bite, according to our reporters. Check out what they say, or look up some of your other favorite spots and how your favorite targeted species is biting in the regional fishing reports this week. We start in today’s edition with a look at Central Arkansas…
• Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir — Employees and contractors with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are conducting herbicide applications to Craig D.
Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir through September. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands.
By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with water from the lake until Feb. 1, 2021.
The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake, restricting access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hindering native wildlife and fish populations. For more information, please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877) 470-3309.
Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said Lake Conway is fairly clear and the water level has dropped to low. Bream are fair. Use redworms or crickets.
Crappie appear to be slowing down with fair results this week. Crappie minnows and small jigs were working best. Black bass are good on spinnerbaits, plastic worms and topwater baits. Catfishing is good; use stink bait, nightcrawlers, goldfish, trotline minnows and regular catfish bait.
• Lake Beaverfork — Angler Dennis Charles said this week’s fishing mirror last week’s. He reports that all three types of bass – yellow, largemouth and smallmouth – are excellent early and late. Anglers are finding success using anything in the box. Bream are slow all over. Crappie are
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still poor. Catfish can be found deep in channels; go to deep water for your best chances. Lake clarity is down to 4 feet in spots due to runoff from storms; the barometer and storms have been playing havoc with their feeding times.
— Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports the river is a little stained and at a normal level. Brown trout are good on little gold spoons, crankbaits or maribou jigs in any dark or bright colors.
Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips. com (501-690-9166) said the river is a little high and muddy due to the storms and heavy rain Tuesday. A tornado hit the Arkansas Highway 337 area, crossed the river, and hit the Wildflower and Primrose Creek areas.
There was a lot of damage and downed trees. As of the latest reports, there have been no injuries. I'm not sure if any of the debris or trees are in the river in that area, but it would be wise to motor carefully in this area.
The lake is beginning to rise, but is still about 3 feet low, so generation should stay about theh same for the next few days. If the rain stops, the generation should help clear the river over the next few days.
Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-230-0730) said the Little Red River is receiving a few hours of afternoon generation each day.
This pattern provides wading opportunities on the upper river in the mornings and lower river in the afternoons. For fly-fishing, Lowell recommends midges, pheasant tails, hare’s ears, sowbugs and streamers. Cotton Candycolored bodies on chartreuse jigheads are recommended for Trout Magnet spin-fishing. Be safe while enjoying the river. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
— Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood says smallmouth bass are good on Ned rigs and drop-shots in the lower end of the lake in 20-25 feet of water.
Fishing is also good early in the day and late in the evening on Whopper Plopper or Zara Spooks around the shoreline.
Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake has come back up to 461.67 feet msl; that is just 0.87 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet msl.
Crappie are biting on cranks, jigs and live bait fished all over place, 10-30 feet. No report on walleye.
Catfish are eating with new run-ins and the like, on a variety of baits. Hybrid bass and white bass are around the shad, which are scattered everywhere, in 15-80 feet; use spoons, topwater baits, Largo Muskie Brute Baits, inline spinners and swimbaits. Bream are eating; they are real active up shallow. Use inline spinners, small cranks, crickets and crawlers. Black bass are scattered all over, super shallow out to 50 feet. Use topwater, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, drop-shots, or drag something.
• Harris Brake Lake — Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) reports clarity is improved to a little dingy. Water level was low. Bream are good on redworms or crickets.
Crappie improved this past week to good; minnows and jigs will both work, but your best bet is probably with Bobby Garland Jigs in shiny shad and monkey milk colors. The black bass continued to improve, with good results this week.
Best fishing is early in the morning using white frogs.
Catfish are good on the shoreline with glow worms, goldfish and being caught on trotlines.
— Employees and contractors with the AGFC are conducting herbicide applications to Overcup through September. The herbicides cause no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, but will kill gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands.
By federal law, these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. The AGFC asks adjacent landowners to NOT irrigate for lawn or garden use with lake water until Feb. 1, 2021. The use of herbicides is necessary to control the current problems with alligatorweed and other invasive vegetation species that have infested the lake and, if left uncontrolled, could restrict access to boathouses, ramps and fishing locations and hinder native wildlife and fish populations.
Randy DeHart at Lakeview Landing (501-354-5309) said Overcup is clearing up. The lake is high by about 10-12 inches as of Tuesday afternoon. Bream reports were fair. Anglers are catching less than previously, but they’re still catching good-size bream.
Use redworms or crickets.
No reports on crappie.
Black bass are good, with best success coming close to the shoreline. Use a crankbait or Rat-L-Trap.
Catfishing is good; bait with shad, bream or black salties.
— Westrock Landing (501-658-5598) on Highway 10 near Roland reported that water temperature is in the 90s. The largemouth bass bite is fair. Some can be found in shallow water or just outside the grass line biting a variety of lures.
Try using swimbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Kentucky bass are also fair. Some of them are reported
Photo courtesy of AGFC FISHING REPORTS (cont.)
being found in 15-20 feet of water off drops and rocky banks. Try using jigs. In last Saturday's 3 p.m.-tomidnignight bass tournament, Cody Bryant and Brad Lequieu caught a stringer totaling 16 pounds, including the 4.12-pound Big Bass. Also, Cameron Nesterenko and Andrew Wooley were the Tuesday night black bass tournament Anglers of the Year with 185.45 points.
White bass are biting slow.
Some are reported being found in 20-22 sfeet in or around the channel. Try using minnows, Rooster Trails, jerbaits and rattlestyle baits. Crappie are fair. There are reports of them moving out of deeper water and being found in 12-18 feet in shallow brush. Some can still be found scattered mixed in with the white bass. Use jigs or minnows.
Bream are great. They can be found on windy points by drop-offs in 12-16 feet of water. Try using crickets, worms or beetle spins.
Catfishing is good on chicken liver, nightcrawlers and baitfish. Call the marina for information on fall bass tournaments.
• Bishop Park Ponds — Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says a few small crappie being caught off of crappie minnows. Bream are being caught on crickets. And bass are being caught off of brooder minnows, which are also drawing some catfish. Otherwise, fishing has been pretty slow.
• Saline River Access in Benton — Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says that before the rains the catfish were doing great on trotlines baited with goldfish. Bass were going after the brooder and bass minnows “pretty good.” Crappie are fair off of No. 6 crappie minnows and Kalin's Jigs in Tennessee Shad color.
Bream are great on crickets.
• Lake Norrell — Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said the crappie were doing well on No. 6 crappie minnows in the deeper water. As for bream, the big redears are going after the crickets drop-shotting them. Bass have been good on minnows, especially the bigger ones fished around the docks. Catfish have done well off of cut baits such as skipjack and shad.
• Lake Winona — Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) says crappie are biting slow on No.
6 crappie minnows. Catfish have been good on goldfish, bream and bait shrimp. Bass are good on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and brooder minnows.
• Little Maumelle River — Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says river conditions are not good. The clarity is muddy and the water level as of early Tuesday afternoon was high, with more rain coming. Fishing is poor and will remain so until the rain clears up, Ray said.
• Arkansas River (Little Rock Pool) — Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) said black bass are good in shallow water, in the backwaters and jetties for anglers using Texas rigs, buzzbaits or square-billed cranks.
Catfish reports are good below the Murray Lock
The river clarity is muddy and the water and current are a little high.
Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) reports that catfishing is excellent below the hydroelectric plant at Murray Lock and Dam.
Use skipjack (especially cut skipjack). Bream are fair in 4-5 feet of water on crickets fishing below the dam and around the rip-rap. Crappie reports are good from around the Burns Park area. Anglers are targeting 6-8 feet depth around the pylons and using regular minnows.
• Peckerwood Lake — Donna Mulherin at Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) said Peckerwood remains a little dingy and now the water is low, but no stumps are showing. Bream continue to display a good bite on redworms and crickets.
Crappie are fair; she says that while they’re slow, anglers are catching some trolling. Black bass fishing is good, but anglers aren’t sharing any tips on baits used. Catfish are being caught in good numbers still; use hot dogs, minnows and other live bait.