Gather ‘round for The Tale of ‘Moby Striper’ at Lake Ouachita
Arkansas angler lands impressive bass
Arkansas Wildlife Editor David Sample (right) caught this monster striped bass at Lake Ouachita on July 23. David and his buddy David Craft, who gets credit for manning the undersized net to help bring in the fish, launched from the Bradey Mountain ramp on their search for striper. The two Davids were trolling with 10XD crankbaits, about 22 feet down, when Sample hooked this fish.
“The fish hit very close to 8 a.m., with my drag screaming for a good 20-30 seconds before the first ‘pause.’ I was using a 2500 size Shimano spinning reel spooled with 30pound braid, but had about 18 feet of 20-pound Fluoro leader tied to that, so I could only apply so much pressure! The fish made maybe 5-6 screaming runs, with the last one being straight down. When it stopped, I glanced at my sonar and it had gone 80 feet down!
“My buddy David Craft did an expert job with the net, which was barely large enough to get half the fish in. It took approximately 12-14 minutes to land.
After taking a few pics I put the fish back in the lake, held it upright by the tail and got it revived. It took about a minute, but it made one hard sweep of the tail and disappeared into the depths!”
Sample said the fish measured “every bit of 48-50 inches.”
The big striper, or something else sure to provide a great memory at the end of your fishing line, might be waiting for you somewhere in Arkansas, and this heat is supposed to subside by Sunday (fingers crossed!).
So make some plans to get out, and check out the rest of the West-Central Arkansas fishing reports for more good news on the fishing front about where to go for a great catch in that region…
Lake Atkins — Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said that after one decent week of fishing biting, the heat just took it out of the bite and he had no reports from the past few days. Atkins is clear and the water level is low. In last week’s report, which saw fish finally pick up a bit, Donald had said bream fishing was fair with the bream now on their
Continued on Page 9 FISHING REPORTS(cont.)
beds and favoring crickets; black bass are fair but deep; and catfish were fair noodles at nighttime.
— For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro Slycked Back Fishing LLC in Hot Springs, builder of the toughest and most durable, all-Americanmade jigs and fishing products in Hot Springs, reports Lake Catherine’s water levels at full pool with regular generation that produces current in the morning and evenings. Water temps at the lower end of the lake near Remmel Dam continue to hover in the mid- to upper 80s. “Catherine is a tough nut to crack! There are no set patterns from one day to the next this time of year, so we will share what we can! Bass can be had in shaded shallow areas with topwater frogs, Whopper Ploppers and buzzbaits throughout the day, but especially in the evenings. White color patterns seem to work the best. Drop-shot and Ned rig fishing techniques are getting the lion’s share of fish caught as of late. Green pumpkin Trick Worms on the drop-shot and seedless watermelon patterns on the Ned rig will catch fish (especially spotted bass).
Most of these fish will not be good quality, but they do put plenty in the boat!
The offshore bite is the main way (for us at least) to catch quality fish. Using the Ned rig and drop-shot on main channel ends of submerged gravel bars and deep drop-offs has been our go-to. The other option to fish these areas is a swivel head jig rigged with a watermelon craw. This heavy bait does great at getting down in current while staying weedless. It’s an excellent choice for covering large rocky areas quickly.
Walleye are still being caught regularly and accidentally by bass anglers dragging Texas-rigged black and plum worms by dock pilings and off points.
Bream are good everywhere off deep rock faces and dock pilings in 15 feet with a water depth of 20 feet plus. Worms and crickets work best by far.
“Check us out on Facebook at Slycked Back Fishing LLC! “
Below Carpenter Dam: Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 60 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace.
Entergy has posted a special generation schedule that began Friday, July 23, that extends through Thursday, Aug. 5. Anyone planning on navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to view these flow releases and plan accordingly. This schedule is posted weekly on the Entergy website for public viewing normally on Wednesday evening.
Now that Lake Ouachita has been lowered over 4 feet below flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are now at a level where fishing and boating are now safe to continue.
Rainbow trout fishing below Carpenter Dam is extremely slow as the season was marred by flooding. The past three years have been adversely affected by high water as trout despise muddy conditions.
Summer water temperatures of late June and early July mark the end of the trout season on Lake Catherine until the stocking program begins again in mid-November.
Catfish have been caught below the bridge in the main channel and below the dam on cut bait and live minnows as these fish have completed the end of their spawning cycle. The majority of fish caught have been in the 4- to 8pound range. Blue catfish are the dominant species in the tailrace area. White bass have been observed breaking in the early-morning hours chasing threadfin shad. Casting spinnerbaits and jigs in one-eighthounce weights has been the best presentation to catch these fish the past several weeks. Hybrid bass school alongside white bass and are being caught on the same techniques. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current has been productive catching white bass and hybrids, as well as walleye in the 3-pound class. Walleye thrive in the tailrace in the summer months as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish.
The summer months will be dominated by these fish species with migration in and out of the tailrace a weekly event.
Always wear a life jacket
— Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-aluminum, allwelded fishing boats in beautiful Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton’s water levels slightly up due to rains. Water clarity is good but slightly stained with visibility up to 8 feet throughout and surface temps in the high 80s.
Lately it’s really been junk fishing for bass. It seems to get this way around August every year on Hamilton, and once again it has returned. Early mornings and night fishing are by far the most productive for bass of all species. In the early mornings, shallow points that stick out to the main channel will be best to target with topwater presentations like Whopper Ploppers, Spooks and shallow jerkbaits. Many breaking fish are being spotted in these same areas at the same time. At night, these same areas with lit docks can be targeted with the drop-shot rig. A green pumpkin or plum Trick Worm, nose hooked or wacky-rigged around dock pilings, is very productive at night but also during the day in shaded areas.
Bream have been excellent on deep dock pilings and brush. Slip corks set at 15 feet will put quality fish in the bucket. Worms work best and crickets are fair.
Catfish are good in all creek channel drop-offs or hard bends in 20 feet. If you can find some sunken boulders, then definitely target those areas. Cheese cubes or cut bait seems to work the best!
Continued on Page 15 FISHING REPORTS (cont.)
“Please use caution on Hamilton. Pleasure boaters are everywhere and its very important to keep your head on a swivel when fishing congested areas.
Good luck and Go Greeson!”
Andrews Bait Shop and More (479272-4025) said Wednesday afternoon the fish don’t seem to be biting now for anglers with all the heat.
He had no reports from this week. The lake has clear clarity and is at a normal level. Before this push of major heat indexes, bream were shallow and biting excellent on redworms, crickets and nightcrawlers, Crappie were deep in the channels but still biting well on minnows, jigs or a crankbait. Black bass were still good on spinnerbaits.
Catfishing was good on limblines and trotlines baited with perch, bream and black salties.
(870-867-2191/800-8322276 out of state) reports black bass are good. Texasrigged Ole Monster Worm and a drop-shot finesse worm have been working.
There have been good reports with jigging a three-quarter-ounce spoon, too. Walleye are still excellent and being caught on spoons and drop-shot nightcrawlers near brush on points. Stripers are good.
These fish are being caught on live bait on the eastern half of the lake. Bream are very good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 1520 feet deep on brush.
Crappie are still fair. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 10-20 feet of water. Catfish are still very good and being caught on rod and reel using nightcrawlers for bait near brush.
Water temperature is ranging 84-88 degrees. Water clarity is clear. The lake level continues to drop and is 573.91 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501844-5418) says, “The crappie left me on the brushpiles on other lakes but they are loaded with bream 8-12 feet deep. Most recently, I’ve been hunting striper and walleye on Ouachita. We’re catching striper on live bait and large spoons from 21-52 feet deep near humps, points and islands. We’re catching walleye on nightcrawlers on points and humps right at the 20-foot thermocline. Good luck everyone and stay safe.”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 386.02 feet msl (full pool: 386.36 feet msl; top flood elevation is 419.0 feet msl). No new reports on catches.