Southwest Arkansas fishing report

Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

Millwood Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 259.35 feet msl (normal pool: 259.20 feet msl; top flood elevation is 287.0 feet msl). Total outflow at the dam is 1,073 cfs, an amount being steadily released this week and for several weeks.

(updated 9-15-2022) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said Tuesday afternoon Millwood Lake was about 4 inches above normal conservation pool and is steady. Clarity improved this week along Little River and oxbows. Millwood Lake tailwater elevation was near 225 feet msl with gate discharge at the dam of four gates at 0.5 feet, near 1,000 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 web page linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate-release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels. Surface temps are stable this week, ranging in 79-85 degrees depending on location and the time of day. Current along Little River slightly cleared up this week further up Little River with river clarity ranging 8-15 inches visibility depending on location. Clarity of oxbows is heavy stain and visibility is about 20-30 inches depending on location. Further up Little River near White Cliffs and Wilton Landing has heavier stain conditions. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, gate discharge, rain or thunderstorms.

Numerous areas on Millwood Lake are fully choked with alligatorweed mats and are inaccessible for navigation or fishing. The USACE is monitoring.
At Yarborough Landing, the concrete under water on the easternmost side of the ramp furthest from the concrete pier has been broken for quite some time and boaters are backing their trailers off the end of the broken concrete. There is a huge slab of broken concrete someone dragged up on the bank with a tractor, that Little River County has neglected to repair. Use extreme caution on the boat ramp.
Siefert offered these details of the fishing over the past week:

* The largemouth bass have begun schooling up lake wide and active almost all day with the cooler water temperatures. Bass have been good and actively chasing Shad over the past week with excellent activity and aggressive feeding in Little River and the oxbows. Hot spots include creek mouths dumping/draining into Little River with lily pads and grass along primary points being key locations. Flats next to deep creeks and secondary points with Lily Pad stands are a good target area as well. Chunky 2-4 pound bass have been the most aggressive at mid morning most all day long. Good bass activity and topwater action are still happening early morning hitting Spit’n Images, Chug Bugs, Pop R’s, Bass Assassin Shad or topwater plastic frogs in the pads.

These chunky 2-3 pound Largemouth Bass with an occasional 5 pounder blow up are random and scattered horizontally along the edge of vegetation, lily pad stands near 4-6 feet deep flats with stumps tapering out into 9-12 feet of depth. Best reaction we have seen over the past several weeks are at daylight on a variety of topwaters. Best reactions have been in the clearer water in Oxbows near deep drops. Bill Lewis Stuttersteps, Storm Chug Bugs, Shad Assassins, Heddon Spit’N Images and Cordell Crazy Shads all have been drawing good, random reactions on topwater at daybreak for several weeks now.

Soft plastic 5″ Bass Assassin Shads and topwater soft plastic frogs have been drawing random, good responses early in the morning near lily pads. Best color of Bass Assassin Shad have been Salt n Pepper Silver Phantom, Houdini and Pumpkinseed. They continue drawing good reactions with some JJ’s Magic chartreuse dye dip for a flash of color. Junebug, Black, or Pumpkinseed colored Horny Toads and soft plastic frogs in clearest water you can find in the Oxbows are working for a random blow up from 2-4 pound largemouth bass.

We continue finding numerous schools of juvenile, adolescent and adult size classes of largemouth bass ganged up at creek mouth junctions and dumps into Little River this week also. These groups and different age classes of largemouth are most aggressively chasing Threadfin shad all morning long into mid-day. Primary and secondary points along Little River, near the first and second entrance to Mud Lake, Hurricane Creek, Horseshoe and White Cliffs were holding decent schools of adult, adolescent and juvenile class schools of Largemouth and Kentucky (Spotted) Bass over the past week.  Good action was also noted in the flats at White Cliffs near the deeper section of the creeks with multiple schools blowing shad out of the water at the same time in numerous locations.  These breaking fish were chasing and feeding on Shad and were eager to bust a Rat-L-Trap or shad colored squarebill Little John and Bill Lewis SB-57 crankbait. It’s a great time to take a kid fishing!!

Wacky rigged 5″ and 6″ Bang Fat Jobs, Yum Dingers, and Salty Rat Tails in Houdini, Watermelon Candy and Junebug/Red colors were working late last week from 5-10 feet deep in Mud Lake, Horseshoe and McGuire oxbows around grass mats and lily pad stands after morning top water bite subsides and in the same areas where the topwater early bite is aggressive. Continue moving deeper near where creek channels and ditches cut through flats or to the points where the creek junctions dump and drain into the oxbow.

Even after the sun gets up over the tree line after 9-10 a.m., schooling Bass were continually chasing the Threadfin Shad and eagerly hitting medium diving crankbaits like custom painted Little John squarebills, Bill Lewis MR-6 or SB-57 squarebill and Bandit or Bomber Fat Free Guppy’s and Fingerlings crankbaits working across 6-10 feet deep flats adjacent to 12-15 deep creek channel swings dumping into Little River.  Bomber Fat Free Guppy’s and Fingerling’s crankbaits in Tennessee Shad, Citrus Shad continue to be good color choices working along deep creek channels and points reaching out into Little River and 8-12′ deep creeks dump into Little River. The Little John custom painted squarebills, Rat-L-Traps and MR-6 or SB-57 continue working with Millwood Magic, Sneaky Shad, Tennessee Shad colors drawing best reactions from chunky 2-4 pound Largemouths along the Little River points and creek dumps from the oxbows and further up river near Cemetery Slough. Little River’s water clarity got a lot dirtier with more stain this week above McGuire where the sloughs dump into the river this week.

Whites/hybrids continue roaming Little River and the oxbows, and have been caught on vertical-jigging spoons along Little River. Tail Spinner Trap Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, chrome/black back and chrome/blue back caught some 2- to 3-pound whites in McGuire last week. Fat Free Shad crankbaits in Citrus Shad color, Little Georges, Beetle Spins, Rooster Tails and Rocket Shads, fished 8-10 feet deep near ledges and vertical structure, were catching whites randomly in the oxbows. Schooling whites have been noted in the back of McGuire and Horseshoe oxbows off Little River early at daybreak on flats adjacent to deeper drops in the depths from 5-10 feet deep at random intervals over the past several weeks. Most of the white bass schools are still random and broken, although a few whites have been found up Little River near White Cliffs campground.

Catfish have been best over the past couple of weeks at night on trotlines and yo-yos set along outer bends of the river in stump rows of old river timber from 15-20 feet deep, baited with chicken livers, hearts, gizzards, cut buffalo and blood bait. They were working late over the weekend, and also in the oxbows on yo-yos hung from cypress trees if you could keep all the alligators off them and retrieve the fish quickly once hooked, before the gators got to them. Alligators also have been noted hung up and dragging noodles around after eating the catfish or bait attached for several weeks.

* No reports on crappie or bream.    

Lake Columbia

No reports.

Lake Erling

NOTICE: The American Gamebird Research Education and Development Foundation, under recommendation from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, is conducting a 5-foot drawdown of Lake Erling in Lafayette County to combat the spread of giant salvinia, a highly invasive aquatic plant species not native to the United States. Giant salvinia, a free-floating South American plant that has become a major threat to fisheries in the southern U.S., was first spotted on a small portion of Lake Erling in 2018. Since that time the AGFC and AGRED, the lake’s owner, have worked together to monitor and minimize potential spread of the invasive species through information campaigns. With the recent detection of the plant at nearby Mercer Bayou and the spread of the plant within Erling, AGRED worked with the AGFC to determine a plan that would help combat the aquatic nuisance species. The drawdown will remain in effect until March 1, 2023, at which time the 7,000-acre lake will be allowed to refill. 

(updated 9-15-2022) Lake Erling Guide Service (870-904-8546) reported Thursday that crappie are really good with catching limits everyday. They are best 10-14 feet deep on hand tie jigs and silver minnows. Bream are good on crickets out around the islands. A few bass are schooling here and there. Catfish are really good on any kind of cut bait. The water level is dropping quickly due to the draining of the lake. (See above.)

Lake Greeson Tailwater

Visit www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com for a daily update on fishing conditions.

Lake Greeson

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at Narrows Dam was 540.07 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).

DeGray Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 399.08 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).

(updated 9-15-2022) Randy Plyler with Plyler Outdoors Guide Service (870-210-0522) reported that the water temperature is 80-82 degrees. There has been a lot of schooling activity with the mix of largemouth and spotted bass, along with hybrids and white bass. These fish can be caught on small topwater baits, small spinnerbaits or rooster tails. The bait fish they are feeding on are very small. The best peak times are from daylight until around 10:30 a.m. and in the evenings from about 5:30 p.m. until sunset. Crappie can be caught on jigs in about 15-20 feet of water on brush piles.

De Queen Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 431.87 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).

Dierks Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 522.90 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).

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