Arkansas Game and Fish fishing report
NOTE: A sustained drawdown is planned for Lake Charles beginning Nov. 15. Water from Lake Charles is released annually via a diversion ditch to flood greentree reservoirs at Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area for waterfowl hunting. Since the amount of water needed at Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA is dependent on rainfall, heavy fall rain events the last few years have prevented a substantial drawdown at Lake Charles. This year, fisheries biologists are working with the Wildlife Management Division to maintain a low lake level through January 2021. Once Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA is flooded, biologists will allow excess water to pass through the WMA to the Black River without any adverse effects. The goal is to maintain Lake Charles at least 8 feet below normal pool, although the lake level could drop beyond this if more water is needed at the WMA.
Drawdowns help congregate baitfish and sportfish, which can increase growth of sportfish. Drawdowns also provide adjacent landowners an opportunity to repair fishing piers and boathouses, or complete other AGFC approved land-use projects. AGFC reminds adjacent landowners that a permit is required for activities occurring on AGFC property, including building new structures and stabilizing shorelines.
For a copy of the AGFC Land Use Policy or a permit for a new fishing pier or boathouse, or for any other questions, please call biologists Allison Asher or Brett Timmons at 877-972-5438.
(updated Oct. 28) Shelly Jeffrey at Lake Charles State Park (870-878-6595) said she heard no fishing reports this week. Fishing should be good, though, this week as the moon times indicate best fishing should occur through Nov. 3. The previous week, there were good reports on crappie; small bass were being caught on plastic worms and topwater baits, though bass were generally scattered; and catfish were biting worms, blood bait, stink bait, chicken liver, cut bait or minnows. The lake is still murky as usual and the surface water temperature Sunday morning was 62 degrees. Water level remains high, but Lake Charles has a planned drawdown coming (see above note).
(updated Oct. 21) The gate at the dam at Lake Poinsett will be closed on Dec. 1, allowing the lake to begin refilling with rainwater. Property owners with piers and boathouses on the lake have this period to get their last repairs done before the lake will begin filling up.
The lake, at Lake Poinsett State Park, has been undergoing a three-year renovation with a new water control structure, more than 10,000 linear feet of shoreline work, more than 100 habitat structures placed on the lakebed, and nearly 100 trees anchored for fish habitat with more anchoring in the plans as the lake begins to refill.
When the lake has enough water for stocking, channel catfish will be stocked to give anglers target fish to seek, while prey fish such as shiners and shad will be stocked. After the prey fish have established a base over the next year or so, predator fish such as largemouth bass and crappie will then be stocked.
(updated Oct.28) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the bad weather has chased away most if not all of the anglers. No reports were heard. The lake clarity is clear and the surface water temperature is 67 degrees. Water level is normal.
(updated Oct. 21) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 300 cfs (350 cfs is average) and water clarity has been clear. Low, clear water on sunny days can make for tough fishing. On the slow days, an indicator with a Y2K with a midge/nymph dropper will catch fish. About every morning heavy hatches of blue-wing olives and caddis are on the water. Not much on the rise but nymphs can be hot.
On the good days a Woolly Bugger cast downstream with a steady short strip all the way back is dynamite for smallmouth bass and brown trout, and the big rainbows like it, too.
On spinning tackle, a hot pink, black or red Trout Magnet is hot. For chasing the big fish, a trout crank or Flicker Shad is the ticket. With the trout cranks, the rainbow and brown trout colors are the best. Wading is much better with the slow water, but always be careful with the slick river bottom.
(updated Oct. 28) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish when they are running water on the White and North Fork rivers. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
The Army Corps of Engineers reported Wednesday that the White River stage at Batesville was at 7.67 feet, well below the flood stage of 15.0 feet. At Newport, the river is at 6.47, almost 20 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet. The stage at Augusta is 27.57 feet, more than 8 feet below the flood stage of 26.0 feet.