Stripers are hot around the state
Regional fishing reports highlight North Arkansas waters
Arkansas Wildlife Editor Guide Mark Crawford led his clients, like Lesley from Memphis (above right), to an active smallmouth bass bite on the Spring River this past week. Mark tells us a brown Woolly Bugger has been the attractor for them, 'tying them like Clouser minnows with lead eyes.' Crawfish baits will get hit, he says. Of course, the Spring River is always a good spot for trout fishing. Limit rainfall lately in that spot has kept the water, while higher than normal (about a foot above average flow), at a reasonable level for good fishing, he said. Clarity is green tinted and the river is 'looking better than it has all spring.'
Meanwhile, striper fishing appears to be at its prime in big lakes like Beaver and Bull Shoals, according to our reporters, and it's been good in the recent reports coming from Norfork as well, plus from Lake Ouachita this week.
Bream are naturally good targets for fishing at this time, while crappie in many (but not all) lakes have moved deeper with the warmer water up top -the advice from some guides such as John Duncan at DeGray is to 'look for the thermocline and fish just above it.'
Largemouth bass reports are good throughout the state, and catfish are providing a lot of fun for anglers both young and older these days from a variety of spots. Check out this week's Regional Fishing Reports for the full scoop below…
• Bull Shoals Lake — Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says there is still limited access to ramps and parking with the lake so high. It’s 34 feet high as of Tuesday early afternoon but is slowly falling, he said. Surface temperature is 80 degrees and the clarity is dingy to clear. Call ahead, especially on weekends, about access to ramps and parking. Summer fishing patterns are in effect. In the early morning, use topwater baits, poppers,.
Berkley Wake Bait for smallies and Kentucky bass on the main and secondary points, along with the sunken islands, hump, bluff and bluff ends. They’re also biting well on swimbaits near shad balls. On cloud days with wind, the Big Worm is good in sunken trees. Use a jig in green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue and target 18-28 feet. Also, try a Jewel Special Ops Jig or a Beaver flipping the bushes in less than 10 feet where you can reach the shore. Smallmouth bass are being caught around the gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads are good places to drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs, Tubes, the Lil McMinnow or Carolina rigs from 18-32 feet down. Drop-shot summer patterns are working near bluff points, main lake points and hump islands from 24-36 feet down.
• Norfork Lake — John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Norfork is fishing better.
Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole.
The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (size 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper. The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing very well. With the coronavirus pandemic there has been little pressure.
The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and mop flies.
Remember that the White River, Norfork tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water.
Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
• Buffalo National River — John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. John’s favorite fly on these waters is a 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
Continued on Page 15 FISHING REPORTS (cont.)
— Jon Conklin with FishOn Guide Service (479-233-3474) says Beaver is coming down SLOWLY. The lake has dropped 1 foot or so in the last few weeks. Water temps in the lower 80s.
Fishing is fairly good for all species. Crappie are being caught trolling cranks and with jigs. Look in 20 to 30 feet of water for fish. Stripers are still good.
Fish moving toward the clear water end of the lake.
Walleye are being caught in fair numbers with lots of smaller fish with worm harnesses and trolled cranks. Bass are early and late hitting on top and drifting deeper as the day moves on. Catfish are good and Jon said he s had lots of reports of catfish at night being caught on black spinnerbaits throughout the lake by nighttime bass fisherman. Bream are good on crickets and redworms.
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said bream are good on redworms and crickets. Crappie are fair for anglers who made the switch to crankbaits this week. Black bass appear to be spawning, and it s a hodgepodge on the type of baits anglers were catching them on. Catfish are spawning, but they can still be caught. Lake clarity is fairly clear. Beaver Lake is still quite high, but did fall close to a foot.
• War Eagle Creek — Loy Lewis with War Eagle Creek Outfitting (479-530-3262) said fishing going great on War Eagle Creek for smallmouth bass; they are biting about all day, he said. Topwater baits are on for summertime. Big Clifty Cove of Beaver Lake is loaded with catfish and they re being caught on all fishing methods. Good Kentucky bass are being caught close to rock ledges on points. Follow War Eagle Creek Outfitting on Facebook for photos; call 479-530-3262 for guided trips and for free water access and parking.
• Lake Fayetteville — Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake still has a stained clarity and is at a normal level.
Surface water temperature is 78 degrees. Crappie are still good despite the rising temps, and the crappie are hanging out at 10-12 feet.
Use minnows, jigs or Flicker Shad. Bream are good on redworms and crickets. No reports came in on black bass. Catfishing is good using worms. Try gold worms for the best response.