By Lee Seale
I sure hope you are excited to get some more good stories and tips to having a good time on the water.
Well, for the next few weeks we are going to talk about the top 5 things a fisherman needs to always have. This week we are going to discuss Number 5: Location, location, location.
How many of you have that friend who dragged you three miles into the woods and turned out the pond was nothing more than an obese mud puddle, and to top it off he out-fishes you?
We’ve all been there, I think. That’s why you’ve got to always have a few honey holes — you know the spots I’m talking about, where you know exactly where to cast to catch “paw paw”. Gotta have those spots to fall back on — after getting torn up five out of six fishing trips — if nothing else just for a confidence booster.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s always fun fishing new spots, but when you walk 100 yards just to cross a creek and a fence (which will be discussed more). It’s pretty discouraging, so do what you have to do to get permission to fish that honey hole so you can always have that quick pick-me-up.
So make sure you thank God for another day and to guide you along your way, because he will be Number 1 on this list, and for many comical reasons. So just stick with me, and next week we will be discussing the Number 4 need of a fisherman: staying in shape! Many reasons why, so catch us next week and I will fill you in.
Until then: God bless, don’t stress and no matter what you do, have a GoodTime doing it!
AGFC Fishing Report
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 257.26 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl).
NOTICE: The Army Corps of Engineers at Millwood Lake began a 2-foot drawdown of Millwood Lake Sept. 15, and it is expected to run through Oct. 1, dependent on rainfall and concrete repair. Use extreme caution while navigating the lake during the drawdown, as stumps and obstacles will be near or at surface pool. Boat lanes on open water may be dry ground or mere inches in depth with stumps and hazards in some places. Drawdown work includes boat ramp repair near Beards Bluff, shoreline abatement/erosion replacement, and other related maintenance. For more information, call the Army Corps of Engineers Tri-Lakes office at 870-898-3343.
(updated 9-30-2021) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said that as of Tuesday, Millwood Lake was about 27 inches below normal pool level for an ordered 2-foot drawdown of the lake that will last through Oct. 1. Little River water clarity is heavy stained, low current flows. The oxbows’ clarity has improved with light stain and pollen and surface film. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation is near 224 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam around 157 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 Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels.
Surface temps dropped this week, ranging in 75-79 degrees depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random broken or floating timber, as well as stumps and obstacles that are near or at surface pool during the 2-foot drawdown.
As for the fishing details:
* Over the past week, the largemouth bass have slowed again considerably for any topwater bites, but prior 3 weeks found various Largemouth and Kentucky Bass randomly schooling at daybreak in the oxbows up Little River for a few hours in early mornings, but topwater action slowed down again this week. The best feeding periods were early, from daylight to around 8-9am, slowing in the heat of the day. Now that the daytime highs are dropping and the water temperatures are falling, the Bass are still trying to figure out what’s going on, and have slowed their schooling and topwater activities since the prior 3-4 weeks. When schools of Shad were being broken up by juvenile and adolescent sized Bass, the melee can be awesome for several minutes.
When good schools were surface breaking for several weeks ago, we were getting decent reactions using the Bill Lewis Stuttersteps, Cordell Boy Howdy’s, Clear Baby Torpedoes, Heddon Dying Flutters and Cordell Crazy Shads in chrome/black back. Blow up reactions slowed also in the lily pads, but were good on plastic Frogs in June Bug, white, or pumpkinseed/pearl belly, were working near pads with timber and stumps until just recently over the past week. The schooling Bass have been chasing large pods of Threadfin Shad to the surface and blowing them out of the water at daylight in the oxbows near vertical structure where the flats drop off into 8-15 feet of depth until this past week.
Reaction strikes were getting good responses on Arbogast Jitterbugs & jointed-Jitterbugs in Cricket Frog, Coach dog, and Perch colors. Moss Bosses in White, and Rattling Zara Mouses in Gray, were also working randomly in the Lily Pads. Johnson chrome Silver Minnow spoons with a white 3″ curly tail grub trailer are still getting a few slow reactions in the pads by rumbling over and pausing in gaps between lily pads.
Peanut Butter ‘n Jelly, Black Grape, and June Bug Red 10″ worms caught a few Bass up to 3 pounds near stumps and pads on flats near vertical drops from 4feet to 10 feet of structure. Brush Hogs in watermelon candy, chartreuse pumpkin, and Blackberry were working slowly over the past 2 weeks.
Last week, anywhere the creek mouths dump into Little River, near Snake Creek, Jacks’ Isle, and White Cliffs Creek, the Kentucky bass were stacked up inside the main creek channels, just out of river current, and 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 that were working for some 2-3 pound largemouth and white bass have been slow this week.
* With a third mayfly hatch over the past 2-3 weeks, the bream were active again under willow trees. Bream were fair to good at Millwood State Park and Jack’s Isle over the past week on red worms, crickets and mayflies.
* White bass disappeared over the past week. Johnson Beetle Spins, Hammered Cordell chrome spoons with a red bucktail, Rocket Shads, 3/4oz 1-knocker Rat-L-Traps, and Little Cleo’s were all randomly catching Whites, over the last 3-4 weeks in McGuire and Horseshoe Lake oxbows, but slowed this week.
* Crappie improved over this past week, best bite seems to have shifted from jigs back to Southern Pro tubes and minnows, in planted brush piles in the oxbows up Little River and on main lake, (see photos above) from 9-10 feet of depth. Vertical jigging seemed to work best for the tubes and minnows this week. Best reaction time shifted to mid-morning for Crappie, and best Southern Pro tubes have been the Little Hustler in the 1.5, and the Pro Series Little Hustler in the pumpkinseed/chartreuse, orange core/chartreuse pepper, Tennessee Shiner, and Blue Shiner.
* Nothing consistent for reporting on catfish since the current was reduced to less than 50 cfs over the past week. Blues and channel cats up to around 3-4 pounds were good and more active last week than this week.
Lake Greeson Tailwater
Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 535.00 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 397.87 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro
(updated 9-30-2021) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below the dam is 67 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Entergy has posted the weekly generation schedule starting Friday, Oct. 1, that extends through Thursday, Oct. 7. 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 almost 10 feet below flood pool, weekly flows from area dams are now at a level where fishing and boating are safe but being aware of the flow releases are always advised.
Catfish had been caught on a regular basis this summer in the tailrace, but that action has slowed considerably in the last week. The majority of fish caught had 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. Huge schools of threadfin shad can be observed moving in and out of the tailrace. 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 as these fish prefer colder water temperatures than other area game fish. The summer is 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.
Rainbow trout fishing will pick back up when the AGFC’s stocking program begins again in mid-November.
Always wear a life jacket when on the water and continue to follow park rules and regulations.
(updated 9-30-2021) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas-born-and-bred Xpress, all-welded aluminum fishing boats in Hot Springs, reports Lake Hamilton at normal water levels with excellent clarity throughout the lake and temps in all areas except the river channel below Blakely Dam at 75-78 degrees. Pleasure boat traffic continues to be heavy all times of day due to the never-ending summer heat. Bass fishing is trying its best to transition to the fall patterns, but the ongoing warm temps are not letting that happen effectively, so we would call fishing “fair.”
Bass have slowed down during daylight hours and have become hesitant to bite much at all. Drop-shot rigs with small worms in Watermelon Seed and Watermelon seem to work best in luring fish out of brush and main lake points in 18-25 feet of water. White Zoom Horny Toad Frogs skipped under docks and retrieved in or around shady grass lines will work. Typically, this time of year the “Frog is King” but it’s just not cool enough yet.
Night fishing for bass is good to excellent right now, however! During the nighttime hours bass really pick up and can be readily caught in very shallow areas near main lake creeks and channels. Buzzbaits in dark colors with a large profile trailer bait like a Craw- or Beaver-style bait. Run this or a Chatterbait down dock edges and let the fun begin. Good fish and good numbers can be caught right now!
No crappie report, but we have seen good packs of crappie on the electronics hovering on or near brush piles or dock pilings at 14-22 feet in the main channels and mixed in with Bream.
Hybrid bass are being caught regularly now when they break in the opening to creek channel pockets. Spooks, spoons and crappie jigs in white/chartreuse slow rolled under a cork at a depth of 5 feet will get a nice mess in the cooler at certain times of the day (usually early morning and an hour before dusk). “Good Luck, and Go Greeson!”