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Oct. 26, 2023

Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine

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Reports are updated weekly, although some reports may be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for current news for the lake or stream you plan to fish.

TOP: Rodney White, a photographer from Paragould, managed to get this trout fly-fishing shot from Norfork River the weekend before last using his phone. He says he'd forgotten his camera, so with no time available to run back and grab the camera, his phone had to fill in; otherwise the angler fishing, and the gorgeous scene you see, would have been long gone. We appreciate the submission.

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Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
For the most up-to-date lake level, visit the U.S. Geological Survey's Lake Conway water level site.

(updated 10-26-2023) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the crappie are great. They are biting mostly on jigs, while some anglers are catching them on minnows. Crappie are anywhere in the channels and biting. Anglers can still put in at the dam or launch from Adams Lake. Crappie anglers are pretty much getting all their fish in the channel now.
Catfish are still good or bigger worms Anglers are also catching some bream on redworms; they say they haven’t sold many crickets of late.
“White bass, I can’t keep them off the hook now,” they tell us. For the whites, throw a crankbait or anything shiny. “I’ve been catching on big white on a shad-colored shallow-diving crankbait. All the fish are all getting centrally located and biting everything you throw into the water.”
A lot of fish have been caught in the past couple of weeks, they report. The lake is getting very low, down over 5 feet from normal level.

The prize for catching a tagged fish in Lake Conway (through Oct. 31) has been raised from $500 to $1,000, but time is running out to catch and make a money claim. There were over 50 fish tagged by the AGFC to aid in research as the lake is drawn down, and two tagged fish were caught when the value was $500 per tag. Many fish were expected to escape from the lake through the Palarm Creek spillway as the lake continues to drop.

Little Red River

For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Greers Ferry Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website or by calling (501) 362-5150). Also check the Southwestern Power Administration website ( to see forecast generation schedule.

NOTICE: The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission received multiple requests for information in recent days about the status of the Little Red River and has an update for anglers on the situation.
The Army Corps of Engineers is in the process of replacing components in the switchyard at Greers Ferry Dam, work that prevents the use of the turbines and results in the current low flow situation. This work was started Oct. 10 and was scheduled to be completed Thursday, Oct. 26. The river is not completely without flow. There is a small amount of flow (80-100 cfs) coming from house unit leakage and outflow from the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery.
It is unusual for the flow to be this low going into the annual trout spawning season, but a recent University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff study confirmed spawning starts about mid-October and reaches its peak in December. Based on that work, most fish will not spawn until after this work is completed.
The low flow has also allowed the water temperature in the tailrace to rise. A few fish caught and released always succumb to stress from angling pressure, but rising water temperatures can increase stress and mortality. The most downstream water quality gauge on the Little Red River has indicated water temperatures 65 degrees or lower during the construction. Some exposed shoals may have slightly higher water temperatures, but water in deeper pools should have been cool enough to offer some relief. Until the work is completed, anglers may want to refresh themselves with an article on catch and release fishing written earlier this year.
The AGFC has submitted a request to Southwestern Power Administration that the system receive a flush of water as soon as the work is completed. Any release during this time outside of energy demands would be a courtesy to AGFC and the concerns the agency has expressed. The AGFC hopes SWPA can accommodate this request and looks forward to the timely completion of this needed infrastructure repair.

(updated 10-26-2023) Mike Winkler of Little Red River Fly Fishing Trips/Little Red River Fly Guides (501-507-3688) said it’s getting close to three weeks now and the Southwestern Power Administration has not run any water on the Little Red River. The river is extremely low and has a brown tinge to it. The last few days have been considerably warm, and with no generation, the water temperature starts to rise. Check the USACE Little Rock app and look at the water temperature before heading out. Trout get stressed out in the warm water, especially downriver. Keep this in mind and maybe hit the dam or upstream when choosing a spot for fishing.
“The forecast for the next 10 days has rain and colder temperatures moving in. Let's hope we get that predicted rain,” Mike said. “With the river being extremely low and not much water to get around or maneuver, I've been launching the boat out of Lobo Landing. It has the deepest water on the river. The best bite is early morning. The hot flies for me have been egg patterns and midges. San Juan Worms have been producing as well. Try fishing the deep water around moss beds. The fish have been concentrated in the deeper water.”

(updated 10-26-2023) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service (501-250-0730) had no new reports. Always check generation schedule and be aware of unexpected water release. Check before heading to the Little Red River for Greers Ferry Dam water release by downloading the USACE Little Rock app, Corps of Engineers website ( for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website ( to see forecasted generation schedule.

(updated 10-19-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said that with little release from the dam lately, the bank fishing has been good. On a boat, however, there’s not as much access because water is so low. This sets up for great wade fishing opportunities using the AGFC walk-in areas, such as JFK Park, Libby, Swinging Bridge and Cow Shoals, to name a few.
Trout anglers are mostly caching them on Carolina-rigged PowerBait or on a small Rooster Tail or a small Little Cleo (or small spoon) and a Maribou Jig (anything in olive or white has worked well lately).

Greers Ferry Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Greers Ferry Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-26-2023) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 453.66 feet msl, which is 8.38 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet. Right now is great time to check out lay of land that’s usually underwater — film it or mark it for later when water gets back up so it can help you understand how the fish set up here for you to catch later, and wear your life jackets and be safe. Crappie are as high as 4 or 5 feet floating around the surface in places and places. They are still in 40 feet, too. Pick your favorite way to catch them and stay with program with jigs or jigs tipped with minnow. Crankbaits working as well.
Black bass are super shallow out to suspended over 80 feet or sitting on structure in 43 feet. The top, middle and bottom of the water column are working with a lot of different baits. Walleyes are still eating; just finding them is the ticket now. Drag crawlers in 15-45 feet for best results, or use a spoon. Hybrid bass and white bass are scattered all over lake and rivers feeding pretty well and it will be even better soon. They are on top at times, while some are trying to get settled in 33 feet and most are trying to for around the 43-feet mark. When they first get out of deep water they will act kind of crazy like this for a while until they get settled on the structure they like — close to bait and the right water conditions. Use spoons, inline spinners, swimbaits or hair jigs for best results.

No reports on catfish other than they are following baitfish around eating what other fish spit up all over lake and rivers.

(updated 10-19-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood said fishing patterns seem to be same as they were last week. Bass are hitting topwaters mostly. They’re starting to move into the creeks. They’re being found mostly on secondary points and biting on topwaters and shad-looking baits. Also try a drop-shots around brush for some response. Crappie are also hungry around the brush in 15-20 feet. Some anglers are catching crappie by trolling Bandit crankbaits. Nothing has been heard this week on walleye.

Harris Brake Lake
(updated 10-26-2023) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) says crappie are moving in and the bite is fair, with the good bite probably still two weeks out, according to anglers. Crappie are being caught before daylight on minnows and Bobby Garland Crappie Jigs. Some catches have been nice-sized, around 14.5 inches. They are being caught just off the shoreline or off the dock next to the bait shop. Also, some boating anglers are catching a few out in the lake.

Catfish of all species are pretty good right now. Most people are catching cats on trotlines baited with minnows or baby bream. The biggest catfish brought in was around 12 pounds. Also, anglers who were trying for crappie off the shoreline were also hooking white bass. Largemouth bass are slow but also should be pick up in a couple of weeks. However, one angler did have good success this week using soft-plastic purple worms at night.
The water level is a little bit low.

Lake Overcup
(updated 10-26-2023) John “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Landing off Arkansas Highway 9 said the water level is about 2.5 feet low. Clarity is murky and the surface water temperature is around 78 degrees. Bream are being caught on redworms and crickets. Bass are doing well on crankbaits and plastic worms off the pier and shoreline in the early morning. Catfish are being caught on yo-yos and jugs using minnows. Crappie are slow but anglers are catching some good ones in 8-10 feet of water using small and medium-sized minnows. Some rain and cooler weather should pick things up.
“Come see us at Overcup Bait Shop off Highway 9,” he said.

Lake Maumelle
(updated 10-19-2023) WestRock Landing in Roland (501-658-5598) reports that water temperature is now down into the low 70s. The largemouth bass bite is fair, as it slowed down this week, but they are biting best in the mornings and evenings still. They can be found shallow, with some starting to hit topwater baits and appear scattered. Also try using crankbaits, Rat-L-Trap-style baits, square bills and shaky heads. Spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are also fair with reports of them being found at all depths and scattered. Some anglers reported catching them in 10-15 feet off rocky points. Shaky heads and jigs will work best.
As an indicator of how the black bass may be biting, the Arkansas High School Bassers held an event last Saturday on Lake Maumelle, with Tristan Golden and Carter Shinn from Bryant catching a winning five-bass stringer worth 14.01 pounds. The next day, 12 pounds won the Trader Bill’s High School event, while 11.91 pounds was the top haul in the Lake Maumelle Winter Series also Sunday.
White bass are slow but are reported chasing balls of shad. Crappie are good around brush in 16-18 feet on jigs and minnows. Bream are slow, but the ones being caught are anywhere from 8 to 15 feet deep. Use crickets or redworms. Catfish are slow but will bite bream, liver and worms.

Arkansas River at Morrilton
For the real-time water flow at the Ormond Lock and Dam and Morrilton stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Little Maumelle River
(updated 10-19-2023) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water is fine and clear, and the fishing seems to be similar this week to what it’s been in recent weeks. Anglers are beginning to catch messes of crappie using minnows. One angler reported catching a limit of black bass but they were small. Crankbaits are the go-to for bass now. Ray has not heard any reports on catfish. Mostly the focus is now on crappie. “They seem to be coming on now. If it would just cool off, the water is still a little warm.” Even with the water being a little warmer than ideal, the crappie are biting in about 5-6 feet, he said.

Arkansas River (Maumelle Pool)
For the real-time water flow at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Arkansas River (Little Rock Area Pools)
For the real-time water flow at the Murray Lock and Dam and David D. Terry Lock and Dam, as well as the Little Rock pool stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-19-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) says conditions and fishing patterns are pretty consistent. It turned cold over the weekend but warmed back up. The bass have been biting on the sandbar points for anglers throwing Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and tubes. The crappie are around 5-10 feet in brush and biting on crappie jigs and minnows. Catfish are pretty much also being found around the sandbars and will bite cut shad or stink bait.

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White River
(updated 10-26-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the fall colors are popping out all over, making a float down the White River even better than usual. All-day trout-catching action on a cool autumn morning in the north-central Arkansas Ozarks is really hard to compete with. Releases from Bull Shoals Dam into the White River Tailwater remained consistent over the past week: lower output during the morning hours, increasing as the day progresses, averaging 4,000 (a little more than one power unit). The lake is at 653.86 feet msl, which is 5 feet below the seasonal power pool target. At these levels, an angler can put an anchor down and fish a favorite deep spot, or drift downriver keeping your line tight and near the bottom without having to use too much weight.
The rainbow catch, as it often is, was abundant — if you were dangling a pink worm topped with a white or orange egg. A little fuzzy egg pattern, peach or orange, tied to a No. 8 or 10 hook attracted some curious trout, even without the worm. “I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: This is just about perfect water for jig fishing. A 
black or olive and black jig or an olive and ginger D2 jig — perfect.
“Sculpins and shad continue to get some attention from the browns, but as the spawn moves into high gear, the browns will mostly swim past your bait. Annoy them enough, be patient, and you'll get a bite.
“We've been treated to some perfect autumn days; however, you'll enjoy your fishing adventure a lot more if you come prepared for Arkansas weather extremes. T-shirt and shorts were right for the weather (Wednesday), but this coming weekend will bring freezing temperatures during the night, so cold launches in the morning. As always, whatever the weather, we are blessed to be here in The Natural State and always look forward to meeting fellow trout lovers.”

(updated 10-26-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the days have had cool mornings and then warmed up to comfortable days. “We have seen varied generations from Bull Shoals Dam, with Norfork Dam releasing water through one floodgate. We have been seeing low water around 3 feet, rising in the mornings to 6 feet before dropping again in the afternoon and evening. Spoons continue to be the go to lure in the low water. Additionally, black jigs, Rooster Tails, lures with a spinner and Rapala Countdowns have worked very well. Uncommon Baits Neo Pink UV eggs with shrimp, corn or worms continue to work well when the water rises.
“The leaves are changing color and fall is here. For the first time this fall we expect to see lows in the 30s next week with highs in the 50s and 60s. Last Thursday the AGFC pontoon raft stocked 1,400 rainbow trout between Calico Rock and Mt. Olive.”

(updated 10-26-2023) John Berry, angler and retired guide/owner Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter, said that during the past week they had a mere trace of rain, cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.6 foot to rest at 5.5 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 41.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 3.8 feet below power pool and 17.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 6.1 feet below power pool and 15.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had less wadable water with moderate flows in the afternoon during peak power demand. Norfork Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.4 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork has had wadable water. All of the lakes are below the top of power pool. Expect wadable water in the coming days with heavy flows in the afternoon during peak power demand. On the Norfork, all turbines remain inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the floodgates.
John said, “On the White, the hot spot has been Cane Island. We have had lower flows that have fished well. The hot flies were Y2Ks, Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan Worms, gold ribbed Hare’s Ears and Sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. My favorite has been a pheasant tail (size 14) with a ruby midge dropper (size 18).”
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, 2024, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. This section will open to fishing Feb. 1.

John also said, “A few days ago I took my wife, Lori, on our weekly fly-fishing trip. It was a slow go to get started. Lori was not feeling 100 percent. She had not slept well the night before. She is ever the trouper and would not let that slow her down.
“The temperature was in the 40s and there were cloudy skies with some unwelcome wind. I was interested in the water flows. The Army Corps of Engineers was running a bit more water than they had for the past few weeks. I figured the flows would enable me to take longer drifts and promised to fish a bit better. To battle the cool temperatures and wind I had worn slip-on L.L. Bean duck shoes with heavy wool socks and a light down jacket. I also wore nylon fishing pants, a straw hat and sun gloves. Lori wore a warm Elmer Fudd hat, a light insulated jacket, light pants, wading shoes with no socks and a fishing shirt.
“I was waiting for her to arrive after feeding and walking our Labradors. As I was rigging a rod, I blinked and fall started. I have been raking up leaves from my big oak tree for the last two weeks but this was the first time I noticed that leaves were beginning to turn. I saw reds and yellows for the first time. I must say that I enjoyed it.
“Lori arrived after I had launched the boat, done a few drifts and landed a couple of trout. I motored over to the ramp and picked her up. I had already rigged a rod for her so we went upstream and immediately began to fish. The slightly heavier flows definitely produced some longer drifts. As a result, we could easily cover more water than we did earlier this summer. The White was on the bottom most days with higher flows in the afternoon. We fished early and always hit the lower flows. This is a nice change that was triggered by the fall weather, which does not require the high energy needs of summer.
“As we fished, the wind picked up. Along with an overcast sky and lower temperatures than we were used to, the weather seemed cooler. It was definitely feeling like fall. Lori was beginning to chill. She had not gotten cold when she walked the dogs. She was exercising then but fishing from a boat is not nearly as athletic. The clothing that worked for walking the dogs was not enough to keep her comfortable sitting in a boat. Lori is pretty tough but was beginning to get cold. We pulled the plug and headed in. The idea is to enjoy the outing. Besides we had caught plenty of trout.
“I blinked and fall started.”

Bull Shoals Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Bull Shoals Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-19-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday the lake level IS 653 feet msl and the water temperature is holding around 69 degrees. Bass fishing has been up and down like the weather. Be sure to fish the conditions. It’s a mixed bag — you can catch them a bunch of different ways without one being better than the other. Looks like we’re getting some shallow fish creeping up. Early morning topwater is off. A small walk-the-dog-style bait Zara Spook or Lucky Craft Gunfish will work. If they’re busting, don’t put it away, though; they can go to the middle of the day.
Fall fishing equals junk fishing, covering water with a Whopper Plopper, buzzbait, square bill, Chatterbait. The shad should pick back up. In the skinny water if it cools off, then powerfish. If it gets cloudy and windy, use a Rock Crawler and target steep transition banks.
The shad have started their migration in the creeks. There are wads three-quarters of the way back middle of the channel or pushed on the flats, especially if there’s wind. Shad balls are spread out. Look for areas where they are bunched up.
“I have found groups busting the surface down to 50 feet. Graphing can pay off. Get around bait and fish whatever is available: piles, ledges, swings, etc. … Beaver, shaky head worm, and Jewel Jig in green pumpkin orange are working. There seems to be some color in the water for this. They seem to be holding on ledges in the 15- to 20-feet range while not munching shad. Most days you’re going to have work for them.
There are mega schools of smallies demolishing shad, but videogame fish can be tough to fool. Try a small shad swimbait, Damiki or Hover Rig with a Tater Shad. The Jewel Scuba Spoon is working for me if the shad are on the bottom.
Every day is different, and you must fish the conditions. Walleye guys are frustrated now. Crappie seems to be picking up. The jig bite slowed a bit, but they are hopping brush piles working for them. Try crappie minnow under a float. “It isn’t easy fishing right now but it’s getting better!”

Del regularly posts new YouTube videos. Visit his YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.

Norfork Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Norfork Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-26-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort and Boat Rental said Wednesday night that the lake level was 553.35 feet msl and has been the same for a week. Both generators are still inoperable. The siphon and minimum flow equals exactly what is coming from the spring-fed Norfork River. The surface water temperature is 70 degrees and has also remained stable with the warm ambient temperatures. The water is clearing on the main lake and the visibility is pretty good. Creeks are still stained green. The White River at Newport is 3.10 feet and very low, indicating not much water is being released anywhere. It was 1.34 feet yesterday and about ready to dry up. They are reluctant to drop the lake below the 553 feet msl level.
“The lake overall is at a good level and in good condition for boating, but fishing is just fair at best. The fish that I am cleaning are void of any food and have not started their pre-winter feed. It usually happens in November. Your best bet to catch fish is to go to main lake point brush piles that the wind has been blowing into and use a small spoon or live minnows on a slip-float directly over the brush in 16-30 feet of water. Walleye, bass, crappie and bluegill are suspended at various depths in and around the brush. The crappie are schooled, roaming and spooky. Use your trolling motor sparingly and shut off the anchor or spot lock. Catfishing is not the best with the full moon but some can be caught on live bait.
“The fish are there but overall fishing is just fair now. Trollers are not doing the best for temperate bass but a few whites are being caught.”

Visit and click on Scuba Steve's blog for a daily update.

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 10-26-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said Norfork Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.4 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork has had wadable water. All of the lakes are below the top of power pool. Expect wadable water in the coming days with heavy flows in the afternoon during peak power demand. On the Norfork, all turbines remain inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the floodgates.
The most productive flies on the Norfork Tailwater have been small midge patterns like Zebra Midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-head nymph (Zebra Midge, Copper John or Pheasant Tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). John says his favorite rig has been a cerise San Juan Worm and a ruby midge. The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.
Dry Run Creek has fished a bit better despite a lot of fishing pressure. School is back in session and weekdays are not as crowded. The hot flies have been Sowbugs, various colored San Juan Worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and white mop flies. Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-26-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169), said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing well but are very low. With moderate temperatures, the smallmouths are more active. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

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Beaver Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Beaver Lake Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.           

(updated 10-26-2023) Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) said, “Beaver Lake is continuing to drop. Levels now are at 1,114 and some change. We are kind of in a holding pattern with this latest warm weather. That looks to end soon enough and finally lower water temps and get the fall bite started. We are forecast to get 3-5 inches of rain and then have some hard freezes next week. Those two things should finally finish off the turnover.”
Stripers have been fair. Most fish are being caught above the Arkansas Highway 12 bridge down to Point 2. This will change. The fish will start a fall migration back south. Where they end up remains to be seen. Walleye have done their turnover disappearing act. A few have been caught on crankbaits. Crappie are still roaming in 12 feet of water and also attached to structures in the same depth. Crappie have been good from Point 12 up to Horseshoe Bend. Black bass have been hit and miss. Square bills and spinnerbaits have been catching spots in the same areas of the crappie bite, Point 12 down past Horseshoe.
“The lake is low, still hearing lots of boats hitting structures like sandbars /rocks. Please be aware of where you are at all times. Hazards are definitely in play right now. Good luck!”

Visit Jon’s Facebook page for latest updates, FishOn Guide Service Goshen AR.

Beaver Tailwater
(updated 10-19-2023) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says the fishing this past week has been off and on. Water temperature has been around 50 degrees and the water level has dropped a little. Trout have been real responsive to Pautzke Fire Worms and Fire Baits, fished with light terminal tackle. The Fire Worms have done best with drifting. The walleye bite has been up and down as well, but it is still there, mainly between Beaver town and Holiday Island. Pulling mid-diving crankbaits, coated in Pautzke Fire Gel, has been the preferred method.
Remember to follow my fishing Facebook page (
Busch Mountain Fishing Guide Service) for day-to-day updates between reports. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish!

Lake Fayetteville
(updated 10-12-2023) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said catfish did really well this week. Black bass were being caught, though there was nothing too big, while white bass were caught by anglers not even looking for them. They were trying to catch crappie or bream but he minnows and jigs were getting white bass to bite. 
Bream were OK. Crappie will bite about like the bream, and the ones being caught being around 10-12 inches. Catfish are biting liver, catfish bait and worms. Black bass were favoring the wacky worm this week.
Fishing is hit or miss every other day with the weather changing, they say. It’s been a little slower this week, they add. The water is stained and the water level will rise really high after a rain, only to drop by quickly back to normal. The lake rarely drops down low.


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Lake Charles

(updated 10-26-2023) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) had says that bream and catfish are both fair on worms. Catfish are being found deep. She had no reports on crappie or bream, but she did had that a jig or stick worm would work decently for bass these days. Best “moon times” for this coming month, she said, will be Nov. 10-16, while good days will be Nov. 29-30.
Lake water temperature took a slight warmer turn, rising to 64.5 degrees Sunday. The level is normal and the clarity is the usual murky.

Lake Poinsett
(updated 10-12-2023) Seth Boone, the superintendent at Lake Poinsett State Park, said Lake Poinsett is still doing well with black bass and some crappie. The bass have been biting well around the lily pads and the crappie are a bit deeper with live bait. Bream are still biting, but have been more active early in the morning and right before dusk. Catfish are doing outstanding on just about anything at night. One angler and his family caught around 100 over the weekend per their report. They said anything they put on the hook seemed to work for the catfish.

Spring River
(updated 10-19-2023) Mark Crawford with (870-955-8300) said water levels are very low at 200 cfs and water clarity has been very clear. “We really need rain in the area. The river is very low and clear with excellent catching in these conditions. Lots of hopper dropper action with eggs and nymphs as droppers. The fish can be picky with the clear water clarity. Lighter tippet and smaller nymphs can be the ticket on tough days. Micro streamers to imitate sculpins and baitfish work great on the dreary days that have been few and far between. On the sunny days, get it down and look for the deeper pockets.
Mark adds, “This is when Trout Magnets do the best. Hot pink, white, black and red can be hot! Fish them just off the bottom. And Trout Cranks can work well for bass that imitates rainbow and brown trout cranks.
“The largemouth bass always start biting when the water gets low and clear. Look for the slack water and hang on. Smallmouth bass have been hitting well on tubes and Ned rigs. Some of the best smallie water has been hard to get to with low water conditions, but if you can get to the remote areas, the smallies are hitting hard!
“Hoping we get rain in the near future!”

(updated 10-26-2023) John Berry, angler and retired operator 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 but there will still be a few boats out while the weather is nice. 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.

White River
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time gauge level and flow from the White River stages at Batesville, Newport and Augusta and all other sites within the White River basin in Arkansas, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.


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Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
For the real-time water flow at the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam and Maynard Lock and Dam, as well as the Pine Bluff pool stage level, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-19-2023) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team reports that water temperature in the river is in the low 70s and visibility ranges 6 to 12 or more inches. There is little to no flow on the main channel. Black bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, shallow-running crankbaits and lipless crankbaits in shad/chrome colors, especially near woody cover and docks/piers. Windy banks tend to produce better than slack ones.

Cane Creek Lake
(updated 10-12-2023) Stephanie Clingenpeel, seasonal park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, had no new reports, but in recent weeks she had spoken with anglers who said they were able to catch a few nice-sized crappie off the campsite fishing pier using live bait, while other anglers reported good success using minnows to catch black bass toward the south part of the lake.


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Millwood Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Millwood Lake Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-26-2023) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Wednesday the lake as 12 inches below normal pool and steady. The Army Corps of Engineers is holding the lake at 1 foot below normal until Nov. 1, when it will be allowed to return to normal pool. Use EXTREME CAUTION during DRAWDOWN CONDITIONS when stumps and obstacles will be at or near surface pool in many locations. Some boat lanes on the main lake will be inaccessible during the drawdown with shallow flats and stumps preventing navigation. Up Little River from White Cliffs to Cossatot inflow from Wilton Landing remains more heavily stained. Tailwater elevation is near 228 feet msl and rising with gate discharge at the dam near 720 cfs in Little River according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Surface temps rose this week, ranging in 69-75 degrees along Little River this week, depending on location and the time of day.
Mike had these fishing specifics:
* For several weeks, the largemouth bass have been schooling in numerous locations along Little River. Bass feeding binges shifted from daybreak, later in the day from mid-morning up until noon, but the bass continue randomly schooling into early afternoon mainly in the oxbows along Little River from Mud Lake, all the way upriver to Brown's Slough. We found several schools of adolescent-aged largemouths and yearling Kentucky bass schooling over the past few weeks in Mud and Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows on shad. These schooling juveniles and adolescents will bust a tandem-rigged Bass Assassin Shad or Cordell Crazy Shad on the surface, then alternating with a shallow-diving, Bill Lewis Lures Mag Trap three-quarter ounce or Echo 1.75 Square bill Crankbaits, and Rat-L-Trap Spin Traps with a tail spinner.
Most bass are ranging 2-3 pounds, and over the past week the schooling activity is slowed somewhat with the increased water temperature. We connected with some largemouth, spots and white bass in the early morning on Cordell Jigging Spoons all in various groups following shad schools along the river. Anywhere creek channels dump into Little River, the mouths of the creeks are holding various-sized schools of largemouths or spots. Along Little River just north of Hurricane Creek dump, there have been a few good schools of schooling largemouth and juvenile spotted bass chasing shad. These schooling bass were hitting chrome/blue or Millwood Magic Spin Traps, Sexy Prism, Millwood Magic and Silver Tennessee Shad-colored Rat-L-Traps after the surface-breaking slowed for another 5-10 minutes at a time.
Best color of Shad Assassins with current water clarity is Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom in the lily pads when bass are busting shad on the flats. We were able to catch a few this week finessing a short-arm, H&H Spinnerbait and a Rocketshad in the lily pads on flats near vertical drops into 9-12 feet of depth.
* White Bass continue random schooling and surface-breaking in Little River and the oxbows with the Kentucky bass and largemouth bass near grass mats and extended points breaking off into deep water, chasing shad. These whites were hitting our custom-painted Little John Crankbaits in Millwood Magic, or Kastmaster Hammered Spoons with a white bucktail when we saw them surface-breaking again this week. Several different schools of whites were feeding along Little River breaking on shad at the surface, and biggest part of the school was between 5-10 feet of depth while we were casting to them. Once the surface-breaking subsided, we were able to coax another 5-10 good bites from the school by switching to a Rat-L-Trap MR6 Crankbait, or a Magnum-size three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Trap in Silverado color, or an ATV square bill. Majority of these hard-charging whites were feeding aggressively and ranged from around 2-3 pounds each.
* The crappie bite continues to improve over the past week, and is best using minnows one day and jigs the next, in planted brush piles 10-18 feet of depth. Catches have been up to 2 pounds each.

* No report on bream or crappie.

Lake Columbia
No reports.

Lake Erling
(updated 10-19-2023) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) has not had any reports of late. The Lake Erling Guide Service store is open daily, 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. weekdays, 9 p.m. on weekends. Also check out Friends of Lake Erling on Facebook for more information and photos, too.

Lake Greeson Tailwater
For the most updated Narrows Dam generation schedule from SWEPCO, click here.

Lake Greeson
For the most updated lake level at Lake Greeson, click here.

No reports.

DeGray Lake
For the most updated lake level at DeGray Lake, click here.

(updated 10-12-2023) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) said DeGray action is on fire with water temperature ranging 72-76 degrees. Bass fishing has been great on topwater. Watch for fish schooling early in the morning through midday. When they stop schooling just watch your LiveScope and when you see them you can vertical, drop a spoon on them. White bass have been schooling along with the blacks but have been below the largemouth and spots and can be caught on spoons. Hybrids are being caught on topwater out over deeper water.
No reports on crappie
Randy adds, “Book your trip today to get some of best action you can get.”

De Queen Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from De Queen Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

Dierks Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow report from Dierks Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

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White Oak Lake Area
No reports.


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NOTICE: The AGFC reminders landowners adjacent to Lake Atkins and to the Cabin Creek arm of Lake Dardanelle that EPA-approved aquatic herbicides were applied to those bodies of water earlier this month, and while he treatment causes no harm to wildlife, people or aquatic life, water irrigated from the lake can harm gardens, flowerbeds and lawns if used on neighboring lands. By federal law these herbicides have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. Please to not irrigate for lawns or gardens with water from these lakes until October. Multiple applications per year are necessary for effective control of alligatorweed, and being unable to irrigate during this time is another unfortunate effect of this nonnative invasive aquatic plant species. Without controlling it, alligatorweed can infest lakes, restricting access to boathouses, boat ramps and fishing locations, and choke out native vegetation and fish populations. For more information, call the AGFC Fisheries Office in Russellville at 833-356-0879.

Lake Atkins
(updated 10-19-2023) Donald Ramirez at Lucky Landing (479-264-0851) said anglers were catching a few largemouth bass with some quite sizeable up to 6 pounds. Meanwhile, the crappie are deep. Anglers are catching some but they are of no real size. “A bunch of smalls,” he said, “about 9 inches, some are 10 inches, but the big ones are still down deep.” The water temperature Wednesday was 67 inches. Donald says with a temperature of 65 degrees or cooler, the crappie will start moving into the coves, and he anticipates that coming in a couple of weeks. Rain is in the long-range forecast for a week from Friday.
Shad is started into be around the area, he said. For fishing for the crappie, he says the anglers are using minnows and chartreuse/black jigs. The bass anglers weren’t as forthcoming, neither where they were catching the bass nor the baits being used. They were showing photos of what they caught, however, and some bass were impressive, he said, but he hasn’t seen any of the 10- or 11-pounders that have been caught there in the past.

Lake Catherine Tailwater (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit

(updated 10-26-2023) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 62 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has not scheduled a recreational weekend release the past several weeks and the same is planned for this weekend. Also, the weekday release has been reduced to minimum flow for purposes of power generation and lake level management. This pattern will continue for the next several months in an effort to refill Lake Ouachita to normal conservation pool. Ouachita now is 10 feet below normal pool. Rainbow trout stocking will begin again in mid-November, which will bring life back to the area, as the trout season ended early this year due to the constant flooding of spring. The annual winter drawdown for Catherine and Lake Hamilton will also begin in November, although no exact date has been announced, to allow for dock renovation and vegetation control. Extreme heat kept many anglers of the water below Carpenter Dam this summer but diehard anglers caught numbers of white bass in late August and early September (these fish migrate in and out of the tailrace chasing threadfin shad). Zara Spooks and Alabama rigs have been the lures of choice when feeding schools of bass have been observed in the late evening on the main channel and just below the bridge. Jigs have also caught fish over the deeper waters of the main channel in a white or gray pattern. Hybrid bass have also been taken using the same techniques — most of which are in the 3- to 4-pound class. A few large stripers have been seen in the area when the turbines are running just before nightfall.
No big numbers of gamefish were reported during the summer months, but several different species of fish are always present close to the dam. Bream and crappie numbers are low but are being caught on jigs, minnows and nightcrawlers during periods of no generation along with catfish that spawn next to the dam in late June. Because baitfish are often present in the tailrace, these species can be found and caught all throughout the warm-weather months.
The absence of rainbow trout always creates a huge void for anglers to deal with on Lake Catherine in the tailrace area. This year was no exception. Fishing will improve dramatically as the trout stocking schedule kicks into gear this fall and temperatures allow a safer environment to be on the water. Always wear a life jacket when on the water and remember to follow all park and boating regulations when visiting our local lakes.

Lake Dardanelle
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ outflow and gauge level reports from Dardanelle, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-26-2023) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) had no new reports.

Lake Hamilton
No reports.

Lake Nimrod
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow reports from Nimrod Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 10-12-2023) Sheila Ferrebee, the new owner of Carter Cove Bait-N-More (479-272-4025), said the fishing is off and on. When it’s on, most of the anglers are catching from 10 up to the limit of crappie, throwing back the big ones. They are using mostly minnows, some are using jigs. Crappie are relating to the brush piles.
Carter Cove has a Facebook page and the email address is Stop in for live bait, tackle, cabin rentals, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and more.

Lake Ouachita
For the current lake level at Blakely Dam, click here.

(updated 10-26-2023) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out-of-state) said black bass are fair. Try your favorite topwater early or late; a finesse worm or crawfish on a drop-shot will produce too. No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair. These fish are being caught in the central portions of the lake and can be caught on live bait. No reports on bream. Crappie are still fair and being caught on small jigs. Try brush and structure 20-25 feet deep. Catfish are fair on rod and reel with crawlers or cut bait. Jugs and trotlines with live or cut bait are working well, too. Water temperature is ranging 66-70 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 567.83 feet msl, more than 10 feet below normal conservation pool. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.

(updated 10-12-2023) Fish ’N Stuff (501-834-5733) in Sherwood reports that Kentucky bass (spotted bass) are biting well. Try a drop-shot or use topwater. Largemouths are good, but they are not as on as the spots. Largemouths appear to be moving up in the creeks. Try a shad-colored bait or a Spook-type bait. You can catch bass first thing in the morning on a buzzbait or spinnerbait as well.
Crappie are in 10-20 feet and biting around brush piles.

Blue Mountain Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time lake level and outflow reports from Blue Mountain Lake, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

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White River/Clarendon Area
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time gauge level and flow from Clarendon, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

White River/Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 10-19-2023) Webb’s Sporting Goods (870-946-0347) in DeWitt reports that on the White River off the bluff banks the catfish are biting cut bait. From the mouth of the Mississippi River all the way to Clarendon, lots of white cats ranging 8-15 pounds have been active and hungry.

Cook’s Lake

(updated 10-26-2023) The AGFC’s Wil Hafner at Cook’s Lake Nature Center (501-404-2321) says that due to extremely low water creating hazardous launching conditions, Cook’s Lake is now closed to fishing through February and will serve as a rest area for migrating waterfowl.
Cook’s Lake is a 2.5-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 mobility-impaired fishing. The scenic lake is full of slab crappie, giant bluegills, largemouth bass, and catfish of all species. Cook’s Lake is open to fishing for youths under 16 or mobility-impaired anglers, and up to two guests (who may also fish), during the specified fishing season. Fish from the 140-foot mobility-impaired accessible dock or launch a boat. Please call ahead at least a day in advance to register to fish. Before launching, please check in at the Nature Center classroom and report back before leaving. For information or unscheduled closures, please call the center at 501-404-2321.

Note: msl is mean sea level; cfs is cubic feet per second.