Arkansas Fishing Reports

Posted 01/03/2004

Beaver Little Red River Kings River Bull Shoals Greers Ferry
Beaver Tailwater Millwood Norfork Norfork Tailwater White River

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Little Red River

Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout the water is low and the fishing is really good. The browns are still active.   Fly fisherman are using egg patterns, sow bugs, Brassies and woolly buggers.   Bait fisherman are using wax worms with marshmallows.

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White River

Report by Ripple Outfitters

No Report

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Greers Ferry

Lake Elevation at Normal Pool: 462.5 Temperature: 

Outflow: 75 cfs. Level: 4.10 feet low

Walleye No Report

Kentucky Bass No Report

Smallmouth Bass fair

Whites Bass good at night

Largemouth Bass No Report

Crappie No Report

Channel Catfish No Report

Spotted Bass No Report

Bream No Report

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Lake Elevation at Normal Pool: 1121.4 Temperature: 

Outflow: 0 cfs. Level:  8.91 feet low

Crappie good using jigs around the brush piles

Stripers very good using live bait

Largemouth Bass fair in the morning using Carolina Rigs and at night with spinner baits or soft plastics

White Bass at night using minnows and shad

Catfish fair using live or cut bait

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Beaver Tailwater

Report by Ripple Outfitters

No Report

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Kings River


Report by Ripple Outfitters

No Report

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updated 12/12/03

Lake Elevation at Normal Pool: 657.0  Temperature: 50's

Outflow: 592 cfs Level: 7.03 feet low

Lake Map

Fishing Report by: Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock             "Braggin Board"

This Fishing Report Is For:

December, 2003 - updated every two weeks, or when fishing conditions change 


Lake Level: 647, dropping slowly

Surface temperature: 50's on surface and down to 60 feet


I have been gone for a month on my annual bow hunting trip so I haven't been around to report on the fish. I have been back a week and the following is what I have found out. The water temp is in the mid 50's, on the surface and down to the 60 foot level. Therefore most of the fish can be in this wide depth range. It seems that the largemouth are shallow as usual, the smallmouth are ranging from 10 to 30 feet, and the spotted bass are 40 to 60 feet. I went fishing on Monday and we caught 12 bass in 4 hours dragging night crawlers in 35 to 55 feet of water in the back of a creek on a flat off of a channel swing. These fish were full of crawfish. They were not schooled up chasing shad like normal. We caught mostly spotted bass with one smallmouth.

From what I am being told and have heard the best patterns have been spinner baits and crank baits for largemouth bass in shallow water. For smallmouth bass use a jig-n-grub combination, crank bait, or plastics in 10 to 300 feet of water. For spotted bass drag night crawlers or jigs in 40 to 60 feet of water. The rest of the patterns below will also work as they do every winter.

Recommended Baits 

-SPINNER BAIT- good pattern to use on a cloudy or windy day. Mostly around the brush piles or chuck rock banks, anything with cover on it.

-LIVE BAIT- Night crawlers are catching fish in the 35 to 60 foot range during the day. Main lake bluffs, bluff ends, lake flats, drop offs, timber and brush piles are the best places to look.

-DROP SHOT- This pattern is working well with night crawlers in 35 to 50 foot of water. There are several places to look- bluff ends, timber bluffs, brush piles, channel swings, and main lake flat points. I know this is a lot of places but the fish are really moving around to find the quality of water they need.

- SPOONING- This pattern is working well in 35 to 55 feet of water on the flats, drop offs and brush piles. The best thing to do is to try to locate the shad balls or bait fish and then drop your spoon around them. If there are any hungry fish around they should not be too far from the bait fish. The other thing to do is to look for bigger fish on your depth finder then entice them to bite by jigging a spoon in front of them.

-PLASTICS- The old grub, gitzit, tube jig, hula grub and any other variation of these are producing fish. Also, the lizards, french fry, salt craw and small plastic worm. Especially the bluegill or crawfish colored ones. Drag these in 10 to 60 feet of water depending on where the fish are on your depth finder. This has been the hottest pattern for smallmouth bass especially on the gravel flats and chunk rock banks on the main lake.

-JIG-N-FROG This pattern is working in the 15 to 25 foot range for smallmouth bass and 40 to 60 foot range for spotted bass

-CRANKBAITS- This pattern is producing fish esp. on cloudy windy days around the brush piles. Any perch-bluegill-sunfish color is working.

-TWIN SPIN- this pattern should also start to work on the timber bluffs any day.  

Recommendations for Specific Species 

WALLEYE - With the water temp increasing and the thermocline dropping the walleye are moving down past the thermocline. The old time fisherman will go way out on the gravel flats this time of year and look for the walleye hanging out there. They will look for shad balls and spoon around them or spoon around the blips on their fish finder screens.

1. Spooning in 35 to 55 feet of water on the main lake gravel flats.

2. Dragging a night crawler. This can be done with a basic split shot and hook rig, or with bottom bouncers. The walleye seem to be in the 35-45 foot range.

3. Trolling with chartreuse crankbaits. Flat trolling with deep divers is producing fish later in the day when the sun goes down and the walleye come up.

CRAPPIE- The crappie fishing is good. They are still coming in on small minnows, small jigs and small tube baits. Look around the sunken brush piles or standing timber in 30 to 40 foot of water.

CATFISH- The catfish are being caught on jug lines and trot lines off the main lake pockets and coves around brush piles and stumps. They are mostly feeding at night, however some day fisherman are catching them on night crawlers in 30 to 40 feet of water.

TROUT- There was a lot of trout caught on Bull Shoals Lake this last week. They are trolling spoons around the bluffs and deep water in the Bull Shoals Dam area and doing quite well. Most of the trout are in 55 to 65 feet of water.



Report by Wilderness Trail

December 29, 2003
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers – we hope your holidays have been relaxing and fun. Our weather pattern has been mild this last week with temperatures in the mid-50’s. So far this winter we have been warmer than in past years. The lake temperature is still in the upper 40’s (48 to 49 degrees) and at 55 feet deep is only degree cooler. With this deep temperature conversion the shad can be in 8 feet of water or 60 feet of water and guess what feeds on shad? Bass, crappie and walleye – so find the shad and you will find the game fish. Lake level this week with the rains in Missouri brought the lake up to 649.63, 4 feet below normal pool. That is absolutely terrific for this time of year.

Largemouth, smallmouth and Kentucky bass are all in the their winter homes – bluff walls, channel swing ends, deep holes and suspended over deep water. Largemouth bass won’t be up on the banks now until springtime. Fish 3/4 oz jigs, drop shots or spoons at the entrance of the main lake cuts and pockets. Brush piles will hold some largemouth bass during the winter months if we have 3 or 4 days of sun in a row.

Smallmouth bass do not attack a spoon like largemouth and Kentuckys, so drop a drop shot with a grub, Swimming Minnow or meathead to trigger the bite. Jigs will still catch smallmouth bass through the winter although you need to slow down your retrieve almost to where you are dead-sticking. Crawdads slow down during the winter and do not move around much. Also the crawdads will go into hibernation if the lake temperature drops in 40 or 42 degrees. Tube baits and grubs are also key baits to fish during the winter months. Work main lake points and bluff walls until spring.

Kentucky bass are deeper than the largemouth or smallies. Most of them are schooled along the bluffs, at the end of channel swings or under shad over 50 to 80 feet of water. When they are that deep they are very hard to catch. Look for the Kentuckys that have pushed shad into a pocket or cove and are in 50 to 55 feet of water. These Kentuckys are feeding and are catchable. Best baits through the winter will be spoons, drop shots and grubs.

Walleye are also in their winter homes, suspended over flooded timber in 50 to 70 feet of water and on the drop offs along points and feeding flats. It is that time of year to put away the nightcrawlers and get out the ball jigs and spoons. Fish vertically over the structure and use bright colors with your ball jigs and tip them with 2 to 3" shiners. Down riggers will trigger a few walleye pulling spoons and small crankbaits down around 45 to 50 feet. Walleye always feed upward so mark your fish and keep your lures and baits above them, not under them.

Trout fishing on the White River has been great this past week. Best baits are Berkley Power Eggs in yellow, purple and orange. Buoyant spoons, Blue Fox and Panther Martin’s have worked the best when there is some generation. The fly fishermen have been doing well on olive or black Woolly Buggers, gray sow bugs, olive scuds and San Juan worms. Browns are being caught on Suspending Rogues, Jointed Rapala floaters, Countdowns, and nightcrawlers.

Wilderness Trail would again like to say thank you for your interest this past year. This will be the last report until the 1st week of February. See you then – may all your fish be big ones.

Remember to keep only what you can eat and release the rest for another day. Rick Culver of Wilderness Trail does the research for this report and the writing of this report. For more information call Rick or Sue Culver at Wilderness Trail at 870-445-2703, e-mail us at

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Lake Elevation at Normal Pool: 259.20 Temperature: 47 - 52

Outflow: 0.00 cfs. Level: 0.36 feet high

Please use extreme caution in the river.

Report by: Millwood Lake Guide Service

}><(((> Millwood Lake Fishing Report 12/29/03 <)))><{

Millwood Lake Guide Service reports water temp 47-52, moderate stain.
Largemouth bass activity remain good but bite is slow, up to 5-6 pounds each. Later in the day is producing the best bite for us. The heavy 1-oz Rat-L-Traps in gold tenn shad, or diamond dust, and pearl or splatterback crank baits, fished slow and 8-12 feet deep along the stump lines in the river and creek channels have worked the best for us. *Tip* this is a great time of the year to put on a fresh set of new, sharp treble hooks on your crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps. A dull hook this time of year, when the bite is slow and soft, can cost you the fish of a lifetime!

The black ruby or tequila sunrise Hog Assassins, Southern Pro Fatbutt gitzits in pumpkinseed w/chart tail or black neon are working best around stumps close to the river cuts. Jig'n Pigs (hint-use large pork this time of year, for a slower fall) are beginning to take a few keeper size bass, around deep cypress trees, log jams in the creeks, and under matted pondweed, in aprox. 8-12 foot depths, and the jig bite improved again this week. The bass will continue foraging primarily on crawfish from the reduction of available shad, as the water temps continue to drop.

The best concentration of keeper sized bass seems to remain from creek mouths back into the creeks about 100 yards or less from the River. Being in close proximity to creek mouths and points or deep rooted cypress trees, projecting into or on points next to Little River, are holding the largest number of bass this week. Slow running a heavy, 1-oz size white diamond dust or gold Tennessee shad Rat-L-Trap or white/pearl crankbait up and down the creek channel (parallel to the creek channel) deflecting off stumps in 8-10' deep range, is still working. Once you contact keeper size fish, slow down and pitch the stumps with the Hog Assassins or the tubes. *Tip: put a rattle or clicker bead under the slip sinker, and add a liquid crawfish attractant, this time of year, to draw their attraction to your lure!

Drops in water temperature over last few weeks continue to give the bass a case of the ho-hums. The bass are simply not in a chasing frame of mind. They continue to be lethargic around stumps and cypress trees, in creeks approx. 10 feet deep, between 20-100 yards to river drop, of 30-40 feet. Slow down your crank bait or Rat-L-Trap retrieve. Make it slow and wobbly. As you deflect off stumps, that is usually when the bite occurs. Mandatory to find the bass, the key is the bait fish schools in the creek channels. If, while idling or trolling in the creek, and you don't find/see the bait fish, within 100 yds. or so, pick another creek! Polarized glasses sure will help you spot them! The bait schools are only 10-12" under the surface.

Blue Cats are biting cut shad on yo-yos and trot lines, 12-16 feet deep in the outside river bends.

No report for Crappie or White Bass this week, and the Kentucky bass, from last week, disappeared!

}><(((> Lake Fishing Conditions <)))><{

Currently for those people fishing below the spillway, as of Monday, December 29, the USCE has increased the discharge from last week, and is approx. 1,177 CFS at the dam. There are 3 open gates this week, increased to maintain lake elevation from recent rains. The open gates are at approx. 1 foot each. Open gates are #1, #6 and #12. The discharge will most likely be maintained this week, until normal pool elevation is reached. The water temps, over the last week have remained consistent this week and range approx. 45F early to 52F later in the day, depending on area of the lake, wind and sunlight penetrations. The lake level rose over the last week, and is approximately 5 inches above normal pool elevation, at 259.61 feet and steady, due to the release at the dam. The flow at the dam, and the current in the river, has slightly increased again this week with the gates opened up. Water clarity and stain about the same this week from last week, due to increased incoming muddy water from recent rains and river velocity. The clarity is approx. 4-5" in the river, depending on location. Oxbows along Little River like Horseshoe, McGuire and Mud Lake, do have better water clarity at approx. 1-3 foot visibility in places.

Recently the USACE reworked all the river buoys in Little River, replacing missing river buoys. There were numerous new buoys added in long sections where previously there were none. This has had a tremendous benefit in running the river below Yarborough Point, and we thank them for their continued efforts to make Millwood a safe place to fish and hunt, while navigating the river.

In the last 2 weeks, due to increase in current, several buoys have moved slightly out of line between Yarborough and Mile Marker 4, and 2 buoys were noticed as recently damaged. The river buoys mark the Little River navigation from mile #1 to just above Horseshoe Lake (oxbow). The river navigation above Horseshoe Lake is not marked since it is easily navigated north beyond that point.

Use caution in low light conditions, watch for floaters and debris in Little River. Don't forget, be safe, and respect the other guy's right to use the lake too. Release those big bass to spawn and fight again, and take home those little 16"ers to fry up! Use caution in low light conditions, and wear your Life Preserver! If you fall in the lake, this time of year, hypothermia can set in, in as little as 4 minutes! Your life preserver can potentially be your only hope to survive, so PUT IT ON!

If you fall in the lake, this time of year, hypothermia can set in, in as little as 4 minutes! Your life preserver can potentially be your only hope to survive, so PUT IT ON!

Best Regards and Have a Great Day!


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Lake Elevation at Normal Pool: 552.0 Temperature: 

Release Rate: 96 cfs. Level: 4.88 feet low

Lake Map

Report by:  Ripple Outfitters

No Report

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Norfork Tailwater

Report by Ripple Outfitters

No Report

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This page was updated Tuesday, January 14, 2014