As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.93 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-2-2021) John Duncan of yoyoguideservice.com at Iron Mountain Marina says, “Summertime is upon us. Water temperature is in the high 80s and maybe hotter in midday. Lake levels are at 400 feet msl and lowering. I guess it is safe to say that this is a mirror of last week. Crappie are hard to come by now. Best bet is either trolling baits like Shad Raps or Bandit 300s. The problem there is you are going to catch a lot of bass (whites, Kentucky bass and hybrids). The other option is sniping with LiveScope.
“Surfacing fish is the main game in town as of now. Go early and watch for boats and birds. Whopper Ploppers, Zara Spooks and poppers are good for surface action. Spoons are great for surface action and below surface, also. The big thing about spoons is distance. Road Runners (quarter-ounce, white) are good producers, also.
“Little to report on bream or catfishing. Hot, hot, hot. Waiting on the cool down for sure. Be safe and hydrate. Good fishing!”
(updated 9-2-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching fair amounts of white bass trolling crankbaits. Watch for the schooling shad and surface activity of feeding fish. Be ready to cast spoons at the surface feeding schools.”
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 8-26-2021) Slycked Back Fishing LLC in Hot Springs, producer of the toughest fishing products and built by Arkansans (who actually fish!), Lake Catherine still is proving to be a great fishery week after week, even in the heat. Water temps are in the mid-80s near Remmel Dam and progressively drop cooler heading toward Carpenter Dam where the temps are in the mid 50’s. Bass are good to fair most days but are very active in the morning early on topwater and especially when the wind blows. Catherine during the daylight has proved very tough. Fish go deep and seek current (oxygen). Catherine unfortunately does not have tremendous amount of cover (again because of the current). However, at night the fish move shallow to feed, and this is where they can be had. Intersecting the bass in between shallow areas as the sun sinks low with Texas-rigged worms and lizards, swim jigs and drop-shot rigs and targeting shallow areas during the darkness. Good bags are being caught on jigs, bladed jigs, buzzbaits, topwater walking baits and large Texas-rigged worms and lizards on grass lines and shallow areas in general. Covering water is key and also fun! It is a power fishing paradise when the sun goes down. When you are on them, you are on them! “Check us out on Facebook @SlyckedBackFishingLLC”
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-2-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam dropped down and is 64 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Heavy afternoon and evening generation flows this past week have cooled down the tailrace from the hot temperatures of August. Entergy has posted a special generation schedule starting Friday, Sept. 3, that extends through Thursday, Sept. 9. Anyone planning on navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to view these flow releases and plan accordingly. This schedule is posted weekly on the Entergy website for public viewing normally on Wednesday evening. Now that Lake Ouachita has been lowered over 7 feet below flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are now at a level where fishing and boating are now safe to continue. The rainbow trout fishing season below Carpenter Dam was marred by flooding. Very small numbers of rainbows remain in the tailrace currently, which is the norm for this time of year. The past three years have been adversely affected by high water, as trout despise muddy conditions. The trout season on Lake Catherine won’t resume until the AGFC’s stocking program begins again in mid-November.
Catfish have been caught below the bridge in the main channel and below the dam on cut bait and live minnows, as these fish have completed the end of their spawning cycle. The majority of fish caught have been in the 4- to 8-pound range. Blue catfish are the dominant species in the tailrace area. White bass have been observed breaking in the early morning hours chasing threadfin shad. Casting spinnerbaits and jigs in eighth-ounce weights has been the best presentation to catch these fish the past several weeks. Hybrid bass school alongside white bass and are being caught on the same techniques. Trolling shallow-running crankbaits against the current has been productive catching white bass and hybrids, as well as walleye in the 3-pound class. Walleye thrive in the tailrace in the summer months, as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish. The summer months will be dominated by these fish species with migration in and out of the tailrace a weekly event. This pattern will be repeated almost every week until the summer heat is replaced by fall temperatures.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Blakely Dam was 570.65 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 9-2-2021) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still good. The topwater bite is still working, and a drop-shot rig is working well for spots. Walleye are fair and being caught on spoons and drop-shot nightcrawlers near brush on points. No report on stripers. Bream are still good and can be caught on worms and crickets. These fish are 15-20 feet deep on brush. No report on crappie. Catfish are good and being caught on rod-and-reel using nightcrawlers for bait near brush. Water temperature is ranging 86-90 degrees. Water clarity is clear. Lake level is 570.66 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides (Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717, or Chris Darby, 870-867-7822) for more information.
(updated 9-2-2021) Capt. Darryl Morris of Family Fishing Trips (501-844-5418) says, “We’ve been catching ample numbers of catfish on the drop-off near deep water channels. Fish the bottom with worms, cut bait or shrimp.”
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.43 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
(updated 9-2-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said the lake on Tuesday was at 259.5 feet msl and in a slow fall; the oxbows’ water clarity was stained. Little River clarity was stained with current discharge this week. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 228 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 1,950 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 at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. NAVIGATION CONDITIONS ARE NORMAL on Millwood Lake with reduced discharge rates and flow conditions in Little River.
Surface temps remain stable this week, ranging 84-88 degrees depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken or floating timber in Little River. Lots of Little River buoy markers along the main lake channel MAY HAVE MOVED with recent gate changes at the Millwood Dam. Use caution in navigation on main lake river channels where river buoys may be out of channel from recent high winds.
Current along Little River decreased this week with discharge release at the dam, and river clarity ranges 6-8 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility of oxbows is 15-24 inches depending on location. Mud lines last week that were observed flowing into Horseshoe oxbow are dissipating, and oxbows began clearing. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions.
As for the fishing specifics:
* Largemouth bass and other black bass for the past several weeks have been randomly schooling at daybreak in the oxbows up Little River for a few hours. The best feeding periods have been from daylight to around 8-9 a.m., slowing in the heat of the day. Random surface strikes continue when schools of shad are chased by schools of juvenile and adolescent-sized bass. Good schooling breaks have been busting the Bill Lewis Stuttersteps, Cordell Boy Howdy’s, Clear Baby Torpedoes, Heddon Dying Flutters and Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black back. Blowup reactions randomly continue in the lily pads, early on plastic frogs in black, white or pumpkinseed/pearl belly, near pads and grass. The schooling bass are chasing large pods of threadfin shad to the surface and blowing them out of the water at daylight in the oxbows of Clear Lake, Mud Lake and McGuire oxbow near vertical structure where the flats drop off into 8-15 feet of depth.
Reaction strikes are fair during the mornings until around 10 a.m. on Arbogast Jitterbugs and jointed jitterbugs in Cricket Frog, Coach Dog and Perch colors. Moss Bosses in white and Rattling Zara Mouses in gray are working randomly in the lily pads. Johnson chrome Silver Minnow spoons with a white 3-inch curly tail grub trailer are getting reactions in the pads by rumbling over and pausing in gaps between lily pads. “Be advised: You need 30-pound-plus braided line to hoss the bigger bass out of the salad and pads,” Mike said.
H&H Tandem Spinners in chartreuse/white and bream colors, Little John Custom Shad painted crankbaits, Bill Lewis Square-Bill SB-57 and MR-6 Crankbaits in Chartreuse Shad, Tennessee Shad and Millwood Magic colors, the three-quarter-ounce 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps, and Tandem Bass Assassin Rigs are also catching these surface schooling 3- to 4-pound fish. Ten-inch bulky worms in Blue Fleck, Black Grape and Peanut Butter ‘n Jelly colors continue working for a few bass up to 4 pounds when the surface commotion subsides.
Where the creek mouths dump into Little River, near Snake Creek, Jacks’ Isle and White Cliffs Creek, the Kentucky bass were found inside the main creek channels, just out of river current, over the past few weeks, and they were hitting hammered chrome Cordell Spoons with white/red bucktail, custom-painted Little John Cranks and Fat Free Shads, and behind points extending into Little River above Jack’s Isle. Vertical-jigging of the spoons near standing timber and stumps continue working for some 2- to 3-pound largemouth and white bass.
Bass Assassin Shad Jerkbaits continue randomly working in the oxbows and the same flats and stumps with lily pads as the topwater frogs early in the morning. Best colors over the past few weeks have been Salt & Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Bluegill Flash in the 5-inch sizes.
If you can find drops and vertical structure where the alligatorweed and lily pads converge on receding flats or deeper drops on secondary points, from 5-6 feet deep tapering out to 8-9 feet deep, custom painted S-Cranks and Little John Cranks in bream and shad patterns are still getting random reactions. Bandit 200 Cranks in Splatterback, LA Shad, Chartreuse Root Beer and Citrus Shad colors have been randomly working for several weeks for largemouth and white bass.
* Millwood had another mayfly hatch over the past two weeks, and have the bream active again under willow trees. Bream were fair to good at Millwood State Park and Jack’s Isle over the past week on redworms, crickets and mayflies.
* White bass continued roaming Little River over the past few weeks, but have been random in locations. Last week, two anglers found large schools of whites in McGuire oxbow schooling with the largemouths near vertical structure, and in creek channel dumps into the oxbow near back of McGuire in front of standing timber. Random schooling was taking place from daylight until around 9 a.m. with shad pods breaking as the whites were pushing them to the surface. Johnson Beetle Spins, Hammered Cordell Chrome Spoons with a red bucktail, Rocket Shads, three-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps and Little Cleo’s were all randomly catching whites over last couple weeks in McGuire.
* Crappie over the past week were random in strikes, on a solid bite one day, and flip a switch off the next day. The best bite seems to have shifted from jigs and Mizmo Tubes to minnows, in planted brushpiles in the oxbows up Little River and on main lake, from 8-12 feet of depth. Vertical-jigging seemed to work best for jigs a week or so ago, but minnows seemed to work best over the past week, randomly for crappie early, but were slow in the afternoon.
* Catfish improved on the main lake using King’s Punch Bait, minnows, Catfish Charlie and hot dogs. Blues and channel cats up to around 4 pounds were fair and slightly more active this week.
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