Bull Shoals Lake Fishing Report – December 14, 2016

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 652.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 12-7-2016) K Dock Marina’s owner reported he’d been away from the lake for a week or so, but had some good reports from several anglers last Friday. The water temperature dropped significantly in the past few weeks. However, the lake level has also been on the decline very rapidly. All species have improved, but not to the late fall bite that they expect for this time of the year. Crappie are really starting to hit in the coves around brush piles. Bass are going to be found on the points and steep bluffs using crankbaits and jigs. The lake has not turned over yet, (in my opinion), which will bring the fish up into their winter pattern. Need some input from friends that are fishing for Walleye. Hope to get a good report from them. With rain and cold temps last weekend, it was a great time to fish for walleye! Water level was 651.7 feet msl (7.2 feet below normal) last Friday. Water temperature ranging 52-54 degrees. Water is stained.
(updated 11-30-2016) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake is about 20 feet lower than last year at this time. Quite a few things are going on. A major cold front came through. Two weeks ago it was in the 80s, looks like they’ll be in the 60s for the next week or so, he said. Lows are getting down in the 30s. Fishing has been pretty good. With the temperature change, the baitfish (shad) are still in the back and in secondary points going in there. A couple of things are still working. Still a topwater bite early. Throwing a Sammie for the topwater, they’ll just randomly find them throughout the day. A squarebill is hitting in these huge balls of shad. You know you’re in the right place when the whole graph lights up white, or you’ll throw your bait in there and they’ll just scoot out on the water. The Wiggle Worm bite is starting to pick up. Wiggle Worm or Rock Crawler working parallel to the bank. If you’ve got bluebird skies, you can always catch fish on a jig. The spoon bite is starting to get going here, it seems to be working off the secondary points, going into the creek channels, getting in that 30-35 feet of water. Using shad-style spoons and just jigging with the spoon. Watch your graph. Also using a shad-style drop-shot bait with an 18-inch leader. That seems to be doing a little bit better than the worm. They seem to be keyed in on the shad pretty good. In back the fish seem to be sitting more on the bluffier style banks; that’s where he’s been having most of the luck there, with the jig on those kinds of shoreline. Also in the back areas you can pick up some quality fish on the wake-style baits or the bigger gizzard-style shad baits. Look for the wake caused by the baitfish and that’s what you’re trying to imitate back there. It’s crystal clear out here, the visibility is as clear as he’s seen it in a while. Up the lake some in the creeks there is some color in the water. Try getting into that dirtier water, and wind will also help. It’s getting cold, wear a lot of layers.

Walleye better suited for large, cool lakes A reader of the weekly AGFC Fishing Report noted the recent news stories about trout stocking of community ponds and asked why the AGFC does not stock walleye in community ponds. The reader suggested this would provide a better chance to fish for walleye near his home in southeast Arkansas. We thought this question might interest several readers and sought an answer. Ben Batten, assistant chief of the AGFC Fisheries Division, explained: “The reason that we don’t grow more ‘catchable’ or adult walleye is that it is extremely difficult and costly to do so. Just like anything else, young walleye grow at various rates, and as soon as they are a few inches in length, you already have some larger fish and some smaller. As soon as the larger fish are able, they begin to prey on the smaller fish. They would need to be kept at an extremely low density and fed large amounts of minnows (expensive) to keep them from eating one another. The number of walleye that we can produce in a given pond space is then just a small fraction of what we can produce when growing other species.” Batten also said that the reason for few opportunities for walleye fishing in southeast Arkansas is because “there are just purely not many lakes and streams that are suitable habitat for them.” He added, “There are sauger (a walleye cousin) in the Arkansas River, and likely there are some walleye in the Mississippi, but at a really low density that would make them difficult to catch. They prefer cooler water, and hence are more found in the larger reservoirs of Arkansas, and the more northern streams.”


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