Mild weather gives a boost to holiday fishing
Cooler Memorial Day leads to hotter fishing action
Arkansas Wildlife Editor This most unusual of Memorial Day weekends in Arkansas, maybe in its history in terms of almost indescribably pleasant weather, was enough to get many people out enjoying the state's fisheries for a variety of species last week. Though water is still high in many lakes (still on the rise in some of the Army Corps of Engineers lakes in the northern part of the state while holding high but steady elsewhere), the fishing opportunities near the 'new' shorelines in the high lakes provided many catching chances, especially for bream and bass.
Walleye are still being caught at Greers Ferry Lake, too. Hybrid bass and stripers are coming on in the big lakes, we're told.
Catfish reports are on the rise; one spot to check out is in east Arkansas at Bear Creek Lake in the Mississippi River State Park.
Trout fishing has been a family affair for many this season, as the Yancey family showed us over the holiday. Justin Yancey sent us this photo of he and his kids having a blast on the White River around Norfork Lake, as 8-yearold Ava hooked a fish and 5-year old Gavin did the netting part, with dad holding on to the rod. This was on Saturday; two days later they took in Dry Run Creek for more fun trout fishing, a perfect kids and parents getaway. Even though Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake are well above normal conservation pool, the Army Corps of Engineers is being careful releasing water that would push things too high on the trout steams below.
We're told that Greers Ferry Dam is on a 12-hour generation schedule now.
Check out all our Fishing Reports this week for tips and locations for some fun fishing that will suit all ages, starting with the East Side of Arkansas Bear Creek Lake & Storm
Tyler Ball, park ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said anglers at Bear Creek Lake report having great success in catching crappie and blue catfish within the last week. Crappie have been reported to be biting at depths of 3-4 feet, particularly in coves. Artificial baits and minnows have grown to be the most popular for catching these wonderful tasting fish. Blue cats have also been on the menu. Anglers report having success catching blues in depths of 6-8 feet using mostly homemade baits.
Surveying has been completed for the construction of the spillway at Bear Creek Lake; however, the park is still waiting news from the U.S Forest Service on when the project will be started and an approximate date on completion.
At Storm Creek Lake within the state park, anglers report catching blue catfish within in the past week in depths of about 8 feet using homemade baits. “The fishing activity at Storm Creek Lake is starting to pick up, it seems,” Ball said. “We hope to hear more positive outcomes in these hot summer months!”
The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870241-3373) said it continues to be the same story for Cook’s Lake due to the higher water from the White River, which ends up flooding the parking lot at the center. It will remain closed until water recedes enough, Hafner said.
He did make another trip over to Peckerwood Lake, just east from Slovak between Hazen and Stuttgart, this week; see his report under Central Arkansas.
Kent Williams of Oxbow Guide Service (870-2787978) had no new reports.
John Criner, Evening Times Outdoors Columnist said the fishing was a bit of a bust over the weekend thanks to strong winds and cooler temperatures but by Memorial Day the action (and the weather) had heated up.
Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870878-6595) said Lake Charles anglers and visitors enjoyed a beautiful, cool Memorial Day weekend, and she received lots of fishing reports on bream and catfish, with a few nice bass caught and some good activity seen with crappie.
The bream bite is excellent on worms and crickets.
Bream are up around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points and in shallow areas. Crappie are good.
Try minnows, jigs and worms. Crappie are being caught around brushpiles, stumps and rocky points.
Black bass are good, with anglers using spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Anglers were targeting brush and rocky points for best success.
Catfishing is excellent. Try worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver, shad and goldfish. The lake clarity is murky as usual and water is high. Surface temperature on Monday was 72 degrees.
Seth Boone, the superintendent at the Lake Poinsett State Park, said, “Lake Poinsett is getting closer to
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Photo courtesy of AGFC
Justin Yancey and his children, Ava, age 8, and Gavin, age 5, had a blast this Memorial Day weekend.On Saturday, Ava caught a 22-inch brown trout on the White River with Gavin netting the fish. On Monday, Yancey reports, both kids had fun catching trout at Dry Run Creek. FISHING REPORTS (cont.)
being full! There are 4- to 7-inch redears that you can catch and release in the lake. We are about 8.5 feet from being full again for the first time since 2017 and we are so excited. I would only recommend kayaks or canoes out on the lake at this time.”
The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed on Dec. 1, following the completion of a three-year renovation projection, and the AGFC’s stocking of forage fish began in March, with hopes that the forage fish will reproduce in good numbers over the next several months. Predator stocking is planned for next year. Fathead minnows, golden shiners, threadfin shad, redear and bluegill have been added to the lake to build up a huge food supply for bass, catfish and other sportfish that will be added next year to give the lake a jump start after its renovation renovation.
Boxhound Marina (870670-4496) reports that water clarity is “pretty clear” and the lake is high.
Surface water temperature Wednesday morning was 73 degrees. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie action just disappeared over the week; no reports. Black bass are good; try using plastic worms.
Catfish got with it this week, biting well on chicken liver and nightcrawlers.
John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is high and off-color. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash, cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 9.97 feet, 5 feet below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage continued to fall to 17.44 feet, below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta slowly closes in on flood stage of 26.0 feet, sitting at 28.75 feet after being over 30 a couple of weeks ago.
Triangle Sports (870-7937122) said the water remains muddy and at a high level. No reports on the quality of fishing.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team said water temperature is in the low 70s.
Visibility is up to 1-1.5 feet with good plankton blooms in protected waters. Water levels and water velocity are variable. The shad spawn is underway; watch for them early in the morning and late in the evening along rock banks. Any shad-colored moving lure, topwaters to crankbaits, will work well for black bass at this time. Back off to brushpiles along sand ledges during the middle of the day or target cover that creates shade along the bank.
Kris Nault, AGFC district fisheries supervisor in Monticello, says dam repair work should be underway by the city now, while the AGFC has been rebuilding the lake bottom and areas near where the shoreline will be for fish habitat when the lake is refilled.
Sarah Reap, assistant superintendent at Cane Creek State Park, said fishing activity at Cane Creek Lake this week has been on the downslope. There have been many reports of unsuccessful trotlines and shoreline fishing. Bream activity has remained steady with the bream being caught with crickets, while crappie are being caught with jigs and minnows in shallow water.