Arkansas Fishing Report – April 21, 2011

From Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

White River

Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is low and clear with no generation. Trout are excellent on Power Worms, Power Bait, Rapala Originals and black, brown or crayfish-colored jigs.

Randy Oliver at (901-832-1903) said the recent rains have the river muddy try using brightly colored Power Bait just below gravel shoals.

Guide Davy Wotton said fishing continues to be good. There are still some moderate caddis hatches, which will bring fish to the surface to take both the emergers and the egg-laying females. Even if there is no surface activity, trout twill still be looking for the stragglers, so dry fly fishing can still be a good option. During low water flows, look for tailouts of riffles and shoals, many fish will be found here. Options for fishing include soft hackles and caddis pupae fished on a dead drift. Dry dropper rigs, with an elk hair and a caddis pupa have been good. As water temps rise, other forms of aquatic food sources become active. Many generic fly patterns such as PTNs, hare’s ears, sow bugs, scuds, prince nymphs, white tail midges and micro worms are good options. Generally generations have been zero or low, which continues to provide for good wade fishing options. Fish Bull Shoals Dam zone during zero generations with midge and sow bug patterns with a long, 6x or 7x tippet. Any generation tends to churn up moss and debris, so stay ahead of the rising water.

Jim Brentlinger at Linger’s Guide Service and Fishing Lodge (870-499-5185) said fishing has been good. Jigs, Rapalas or Power Bait fished along the bottom have worked well. Woolly buggers fished on a fly rod continue to produce. Be aware, the 1.5 inches of rain received over the weekend has raised the Buffalo several feet. It will take a day or so to hit the White and another day to spread down the river, but it will be murky at best. It will take a few days to clear but you can still catch fish.

Buffalo River

Just Fishing Guides said rain has again pushed up the levels of the river. Cold rain and overnight temperatures have dropped the water temperature down to 53 degrees. Fishing will be slower on the heavier flows and cooler temps.

Crooked Creek

Just Fishing Guides said the river level at Kelly’s is 12.63 feet and 184 cfs. Soft plastics such as tube baits, hula grubs and lizards are working in watermelon red, green pumpkinseed and pumpkinseed. Fly fishermen should use crawdad patterns.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 653.85 feet MSL (Normal conservation pool – 654 MSL).

Mike Worley’s Guide Service said water temperatures fluctuate from the lower 50s to the upper 50s. Many walleye are up on the points at night, getting ready to spawn. The walleye bite usually gets going well at water temps of about 60 degrees. We have been catching walleyes casting stick baits late in the day and just after dark and trolling crankbaits during the day. Bass are biting stick baits on chunk rock points on windy days. White bass are biting well in the backs of creek arms and bays in very shallow water when the wind is blowing. Crappie have been biting around brush piles; some days, fishing over shallow brush works best and on other days, a jig and minnow fished on the bottom is the ticket.

Local Guide Bob Pauletti (870-656-3350) said the fishing on the lake is on fire. If any one is thinking of fishing Bull Shoals, now is the time. White bass are very active in the backs of the major creeks. Small white jigs, Road Runners and crankbaits are all producing fish. Crappie are on brush piles and can be caught on a jig-and-minnow or small stick bait. Spotted bass are close to spawning, and are feeding on live bait in 15 to 20 feet of water. Smallmouth bass also are close to spawning and have the feed bag on. Fishing the major creek arms with tube baits is working well. Largemouth bass are excellent on jerk baits fished around windy areas or crayfish-imitating baits. Walleye are on the banks at night, but are only thinking of spawning. Very soon, a nightcrawler dragged behind a White River rig will produce during the day and a jerk bait fished along the bank will work at night.

Bull Shoals Tailwater

Just Fishing Guides said generation has been averaging 1 to 2 units with some brief periods of no generation. Drift fishing is excellent with 1-2 units running. Caddis and mayfly patterns are top choices. Suggested patterns include BH Z-Wing Caddis (olive and tan, sizes 12-16), BH Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Elk Hair Caddis (olive and tan), Copper Johns, BH Pheasant Tail and Parachute Sulfur all in sizes 14-18. As always, scuds, sow bugs, midges and streamers are viable options if no caddis or mayflies are active. With the recent heavy rains, the lower river can have stained to murky water conditions from run off.


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