Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for June 17, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email [email protected] with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.
(updated 6-17-2020) Donald Ramirez, owner ofLucky Landing (479-641-7615) on the southeastern end of the lake, said no one is really fishing lately, and he had no fishing reports. The lake clarity is a little murky, while the water level is low.
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 6-17-2020) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Lake Ouachita has finally fallen out of flood pool and is currently stable. Flooding has ruined the rainbow trout season below Carpenter Dam and allowed very little opportunity for anglers to launch a boat with the treacherous flows. That scenario continued for months, but now lake conditions are stabilized with Entergy running water in a fashion that allows boaters and waders to safely access the Lake Catherine tailrace. Individuals are encouraged to access the hydro operations information website to be aware of current flow conditions. Rainbow trout are still present and able to be caught on live bait presentations. Small live minnows tight-lined over deep water will draw strikes from larger rainbows that seek to feed on larger prey. Redworms and nightcrawlers are another proven bait that work in cold or hot weather presented under a bobber or fished just off the bottom. Waxworms or crickets will also work well used in the same manner. Numbers of trout caught are low, but the size ranges from 13 to 19 inches. All the trout are beautifully colored and super-healthy. Fly-fishermen can safely access areas and can cast to areas that hold trout. San Juan worms in red or hot pink and egg patterns in white or orange are presentations that these anglers should seriously consider when the fish are finicky and spooky. White bass are thriving in good numbers from the bridge to the dam and feeding on shad. Fishermen casting jigs in grey or white around rocks and sand bars have caught decent numbers of bass when the turbines are running. The majority of fish are in the 1 1/2 range. Trolling shallow running crankbaits against the current has produced nice catches of white bass and the occasional walleye that also target shad. Clear conditions exist in the tailrace from the dam to the bridge and people are encouraged not to throw trash on the ground or water and help keep the park area safe by social distancing and wearing a mask when appropriate.
(updated 6-10-2020) Jason Baumgartner, park aquarist at Lake Dardanelle State Park (479-890-7495),said they had a storm move through the area in the middle of last week. Then they had a stretch of sunny, humid days before tropical depression Cristobal moved through the area on Monday. The weather forecast calls for sunshine and average temperatures throughout the weekend and into next week. Rains and fluctuating river flow has kept the water muddy. Surface temperature is 79 degrees.
As of Tuesday (June 9) the Corps of Engineers last reported river flow at Ozark Lock and Dam has fallen from 145,000 cfs to about 60,000 cfs over the past week. The tailwater fell to near 345 feet msl. River flow at Dardanelle Lock and Dam was reported about 73,000 cfs Tuesday morning and has fallen from about 147,000 cfs over the past week. Dardanelle tailwater level fell from about 21 feet to near 12 feet. The pool elevation here has risen to almost 339 feet msl.
Lake Dardanelle State Park last Saturday hosted its first bass fishing tournament since March., the 8th Annual Wade Walters Memorial tournament. About 55% of the tournament field weighed fish. The winning sack weighed a little over 19 pounds and the big bass for the day weighed 5.24 pounds.
Lake Dardanelle State Park continues to comply with state and federal guidelines and directives for social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The status of the facilities continues to be evaluated. In accordance with the governor’s directive, tournament officials are required to submit an event plan and permit application to the Arkansas Department of Health before their event. Tournament officials are also required to present their ADH permit and event plan to Lake Dardanelle State Park and agree to the park’s tournament regulations regarding the coronavirus. For details or questions contact the visitor center at (479) 967-5516. “Be safe while on the river and take advantage of nice weather or time to put a line the water!” Jason said.
(updated 6-17-2020) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress all-aluminum, all-welded fishing boats in Hot Springs, had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 363.76 feet msl (normal pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) says fishing remained about the same from last week. In last week’s report, Lake Nimrod had become “really clear,” and the water level was high but falling. Bream are at their peak in catches, with excellent reports. “Any place where a picnic table is covered with water” is a good place to start with your bream fishing, they suggest. Use redworms or crickets. Crappie are good. They are 8 feet deep around brushpiles and trees, and biting minnows and black/chartreuse jigs. Black bass are fair – “off and on” they say – and will hit a spinnerbait, buzzbait and particularly a War Eagle Spinnerbait in white with Colorado leaf. Catfish are good; go with cut shad.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.33 feet msl (normal pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 6-17-2020) Todd Gadberry atMountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) reports that black bass are fair to good. Topwaters, drop-shot finesse rigs and jighead worms are producing quality outings now. Walleye are good. Spoons and small spinners tipped with a crawler are working best. Stripers are very good. These fish are being caught on live bait on the central part of the lake. Bream are excellent with crickets or worms in 5-15 feet of water. Crappie are still good. Try a small jig or minnow near brush in 15-25 feet of water. Catfish are good and being caught with trotline and jigs. Cut bait and live bait are working best. Water temperature is ranging 76-82 degrees, and the clarity is clearing. Lake level Tuesday was 577.40 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822 for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 413.27 feet msl (normal pool: 387.00 feet msl).