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Fishing Frenzy!

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Major species active at Norfork Lake

Arkansas Wildlife Editor This father-and-son angling team of the Koehlers from Paris, Arkansas, had a big day this past Tuesday fishing Norfork Lake. Included in their catch was this nice hybrid bass via vertical jigging with a spoon. The photo was provided by Lou Gabric. who operates Hummingbird Hideaway Report on Norfork Lake and reports regularly in the Fishing Report. Lou says many species, from bass to walleye, are active in Norfork Lake and relating to the flats.

“I have mainly been fishing on the various flats in the mid- to northern parts of the lake. Heading west of my resort, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, the flats are near Mallard Point, Cranfield Island, Cranfield Campground, Seward Point, Briar Creek and then up around the Red Bank area. Heading east of our resort are the (Highway) 101 Bridge Flat; Big Sandy, which is a little past 101 Boat Dock; and the Cow Pasture, which is the area right before the 6B marker. Striped and hybrid

Continued on Page 9 FISHING REPORTS (cont.)

bass, white bass, largemouth and spotted bass, catfish and walleye can all be found on these flats at some point during the day and sometimes multiple times during the day. The bait moves onto the flat and the predators move in to feed. The best fishing depth seems to vary based on the time of day. But it seems that 30-40 feet of water has been the most productive depths during daylight hours. As the lake water cools, the bait and fish will continue to move a little deeper.”

A couple of central Arkansas lakes, Conway and Maumelle, report excellent crappie fishing of late. At Lake Maumelle, they say crappie are being found suspended in 22-28 feet depth and on the move, and aren’t stacking up yet.

They’re chasing shad, so if you find the shad, they’re there. Try using oneeighth- ounce jigs. Catch six to eight and move on.

They’re easily spooked, our Maumelle source says.

Hot Springs-area trout anglers might want to keep an eye on the Carpenter Dam tailrace leading into Lake Catherine. The annual trout season should be starting now that the water has cooled; stocking should be happening now. Read more from Shane Goodner’s report this week. He likes Trout Magnets for fishing now.

Nearby at Lake Hamilton (also in an annual 5-foot drawdown now with Lake Catherine), the best bass fishing is coming on breaking fish using a shad-colored Zara Puppy or a small white Whopper Plopper, according to reports from Greeson Marine. Look around the bridges and narrower channel areas. at daybreak and dusk (give or take an hour, they add).

A little closer to home…

• Lake Charles — Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said the past weekend was beautiful with “lots of people on the lake,” but she received no fishing reports.

A week ago, anglers were catching some “pretty nice” black bass, she said, though they didn’t report the bait used. Bream and crappie were fair, and there were no reports on catfish or white bass. Anglers should experience food days based on the moon forecast for Nov. 17-23, she said. Give Lake Charles a look before waterfowl season, when the water is drawn down some to help at nearby Shirey Bay.

Lake Poinsett — Seth Boone, park superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, reports that Lake Poinsett is still in the process of refilling. The fishing now is predominantly catchand- release for bream.

They seem to be biting on crickets and worms. Small boats, kayaks or canoes are the only watercraft that can launch at this time.

The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett was closed last Dec. 1, following the completion of a three-year renovation projection, and the lake began to refilling.

The lake has been undergoing an extensive renovation with a new water control structure, more than 10,000 linear feet of shoreline work, more than 100 habitat structures placed on the lakebed, and nearly 100 trees anchored for fish habitat.

Other forage species that were stocked this spring include fathead minnows, golden shiners and threadfin shad have been added in huge numbers to the lake to build up the food supply for the predators, which will be stocked in 2022.

Crown Lake — Boxhound Marina (870670-4496) has closed for the season and will reopen in mid-February.

Spring River — Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides. com (870955-8300) said water levels are at a very low, 290 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity is clear. Very dry conditions have the river very low. Low water can make for easier wading, but be careful — the Spring River has a very slick bottom.

On the sunny days with heavy hatches of tan caddis and blue wing olives makes for great nymphing and, at times, dry-fly action. Still catching some browns on hopper dropper setups.

Streamer action on cloudy days in the deeper pools can be a lot of fun.

“For spin-fishing, I’m still using the Trout Magnets and they are doing great in this low clear water. Hot pink is the go-to color, and white and red doing well some days. Ran across a guy doing well with little Cleo’s, a spoon lure, the other day.”

Mark says most of the campgrounds have closed for the season, with Riverside Resort remaining open. Saddler Falls Resort has a pay box, also. Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery is stocking weekly, lower numbers during the winter season and that is because of less pressure. Cold temps gets the big fish in the Spring moving. So bring on the cold!

John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the water level on the Spring River is fishable.

This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers.

Canoe season is over and the canoes are mostly gone. Fish the upper river at the Lassiter Access to avoid them or fish Dam 3 late in the afternoon after they have left the area. Be sure to 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

Continued on Page 11 FISHING REPORTS (cont.)

— The Army Corps of Engineers reported Monday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 6.50 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. The Newport stage was at its lowest point on a Thursday morning this year, 4.20 feet, also well below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is fairly steady at 15.41, more than 10 feet below flood stage of 26.00 feet.

— The lake at Cook’s Lake Conservation Education Center (870-241-3373) is closed November through February to serve as a waterfowl rest area, and will reopen in the spring when the water levels permit.

Cook’s Lake is a 2-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 Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., water level pending. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility- impaired anglers and up to two helpers (who may also fish). Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat. 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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