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Winter Fishing: Trout, Stripers Biting in North

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Try Beaver Lake for Trophies, Try the Tailwater for Nice Trout Catches

Arkansas Wildlife Editor Our Fishing Report sources from the northwestern quadrant of the state pass along good news this week on stripers in the big Beaver Lake and trout on the Beaver tailwater below the dam.

Both guide Jon Conklin and the folks at Southtown Sporting Goods, who report on Beaver Lake every week, say that now is the time to be watching for striper. Jon is trolling brooders or using an Alabama rig. He says to look in the mid-lake areas, and make sure to watch for the birds. Southtown is says striper fishing is good around Rocky Branch and toward the White River on topwaters, Alabama rigs and minnows. Conklin also notes that the walleye run is coming up in the next three weeks or so.

In the tailwater, where Austin Kennedy guides, the fishing for trout has been good this past week. Most are being caught on various PowerBaits and Pautzke bait products, fished with light terminal tackle.

Generation at the dam has slowed with the lake at normal pool, so earlymorning fishing should produce some nice numbers, he says. Start out around Parker Bottoms and head toward the dam, he advises. 'I have also caught some nice fish using 1/4ounce spoons of various colors. Most of the fish near the dam are in the 16to 20-inch range.' Sandra Nash was fishing recently with Kennedy when she caught the nice rainbow trout pictured above.

Of course, those aren't the only places where fish are biting. Crappie seem active in many lakes in the report these days. Check out a couple of the regional reports below, pick a place, go fish… and bundle up!

Northwest Arkansas

Beaver Lake — As of Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,120.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,120.43 feet msl).

Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-2333474) said Beaver Lake is steady at normal level.

Water is clearing and remains cold. Water temps are in the lower 40s to upper 30s depending on location. Stripers have started to bite really well the last couple of days.

Troll brooders or A-rigs .

Look in the mid-lake areas. Watch for birds. Walleye are starting to be caught and the annual migration up river arms will start in the next three weeks.

Trolling cranks and throwing swimbaits will be productive. Crappie are fair/good on jigs fished in 15 feet of water. Look along any main river or creek channels. Fishing will continue to get better as we enter into February.

Bass are starting to hit jerkbaits and A-rigs all throughout the lake.

Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said striper fishing is good around Rocky Branch and toward the White River on topwaters, Alabama rigs and minnows. Crappie are fair in 10-12 feet of water using minnows and jigs; fish around the brushpiles.

Black bass are fair, with best success coming off drop-shots, A-rigs and jerkbaits. No reports on catfish or bream. Beaver is clear and the surface temperature has been ranging mid- to low 40s. Water level is normal.

Beaver Tailwater — Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says fishing for trout has been good this past week. Most are being caught on various PowerBaits and Pautzke bait products, fishing light terminal tackle. The Army Corps of Engineers has slowed a bit on the generation, so early-morning fishing should produce some nice numbers. This week's hot spot has been Parker Bottoms, up toward the dam. I have also caught some nice fish using ºounce spoons of various colors. Most of the fish near the dam are in the 16to 2-inch range. Let s hope for nice weather next week. Get out and catch some fish!

Lake Fayetteville — Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) has been closed until classes resumed at the University

Continued on Page 9

Photo courtesy of AGFC FISHING REPORTS (cont.)

Arkansas last Tuesday. •

Lake Sequoyah

— Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479444-3475) reports that the clarity is clear and surface water temperature is 40 degrees. Water level is normal. The only fishing of note has been for crappie, with fair catches reported using minnows and jigs.

Lake Charles — Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said surface water temperature Monday morning was 46 degrees and the lake remains lower than normal, as water from Lake Charles is used to help provide water for habitat in Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA during waterfowl season.

Clarity is murky. Anglers have her a good report on their crappie catches over last week. Using minnows and jigs, they were catching good hauls of small to medium-sized crappie. No other species was reported.

Shoreline fishing for crappie has been best with the minnows or jigs.

Crown Lake — Boxhound Marina (870670-4496) remains closed until further notice “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

However, they are still accepting RV and cabin reservations.

Spring River — Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides. com (870955-8300) said water levels are at 340 cfs (350 cfs is average), and water clarity has been clear. Rain last week has got river levels up to average flow. Water was lowered this week above Dam 1 to clean out vegetation on Tuesday.

This is done once a year during the dead of winter.

The river had a surge Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. and got cloudy, but cleared up through the day on Wednesday.

The bite lately has been tough. Few easy days and some really tough ones.

Nymphs in sizes 10-16 have been hot dropped below a Y2K or fished Euro-style. On the good days, White Lightning (big white streamer) has been hot, and there are still big fish moving around. Over the next few months brown trout and smallmouth bass should start hitting well.

The smallies move up the river looking for warmer water. The Spring is 58 degrees year-round. Cold during winter makes the upper part of the Spring River warmer.

For smallies this time of year a White Lightning floated below an indicator is the ticket. The bass are moving slow, so a slow presentation is the ticket.

Soft plastics for spin-fishing. It takes many years for a smallmouth bass to get big so please catch and release these great fighters. Brown trout get active and start hitting streamers.

Casting downstream toward the far bank and short fast strips back is the ticket. Aggressive smallies will hit this, too.

Mark adds, “Check out our blog on our website for the latest fishing conditions!”

John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is offcolor. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. 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 Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms and Y2Ks (size 10).

White River — The Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 8.72 feet,

Continued on Page 15 FISHING REPORTS (cont.)

water. The Spring is 58 degrees year-round. Cold during winter makes the upper part of the Spring River warmer.

For smallies this time of year a White Lightning floated below an indicator is the ticket. The bass are moving slow, so a slow presentation is the ticket.

Soft plastics for spin-fishing. It takes many years for a smallmouth bass to get big so please catch and release these great fighters. Brown trout get active and start hitting streamers.

Casting downstream toward the far bank and short fast strips back is the ticket. Aggressive smallies will hit this, too.

Mark adds, “Check out our blog on our website for the latest fishing conditions!”

John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is offcolor. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. 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 Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).

Batesville was at 8.72 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 9.89, more than 16 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.

The stage at Augusta is 21.58 feet, below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.

Triangle Sports (870-7937122) had no new reports.

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