HOT SPRINGS ARKANSAS AREA LAKES FISHING REPORTS
From The Arkansas Game & Fish Commision Web Site
Updated April 26, 2017
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As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lakeís elevation was 575.86 feet msl (full pool Ė 578.00 msl).(updated 4-26-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports in Hot Springs said on US97 radio said that like on Lake Hamilton, the spawn is still going but the lion's share is over. He's hearing reports of lots of fish now are being caught on topwater baits, and he's hoping for some rain because Ouachita is still only a foot from full pool. He says that a significant amount of rain this week would put water up in the buckbrush, and that leads to some of the best topwater fishing all year -- the flooded buckbrush of May. "Some rain and I think that will be fun." Kastner also says a spinnerbait is fine in the buckbrush, but his favorite bait for those conditions lately has been the Stanley Ribbit Frog. "I'd rather throw a frog than anything else. That little trick works."
Kastner said that last weekend's Trader Bill's Appreciation Day tournament on Ouachita produced 10 teams that caught more than 14 pounds of bass, with the winning team hauling in nearly 20 pounds.
(updated 4-12-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said water temperature has ranged 64-68 degrees in the first part of the week. The water is stained. Black bass are still excellent and being caught with floating worms, Super Fluke Jr.ís and topwater baits. Main lake and secondary points have been the most productive. Walleye are good and being caught on small crankbaits and green soft plastics on main lake and secondary points. Stripers are excellent on Bama rigs and topwater C-10 Redfins. The west end of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are still fair in water 15-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are excellent. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 8-12 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are good on live bait and cut bait. Try depths of 15-20 feet. For more information, call one of the Mountain Harbor guides: Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104).
(updated 4-26-2017) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the crappie and bass are moving off the shoreline and stacking up on the brush piles. Jigs or minnows fished 8-12 feet deep will get you an easy limit. The white bass and hybrid striped bass are starting to school and surface-feed early in the morning. Cast or troll Alabama rigs with white curly tails.
(updated 4-26-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports in Hot Springs said on US97 radio said that the spawn is still going. "Iím gonna say, it's 70-80 percent gone. There still a full moon coming up. The fish donít have to have the moon to do it, they can spawn when they want. But you have a good chance to still catch some bedding fish. Especially on Hamilton up the river from the (U.S. Highway) 270 bridge area. The lionís share have already spawned, though." Kastner said he and some other anglers were catching some fish over some deeper water, which usually means they are through spawning and have moved out a little bit to gorge. But those fish also were full of eggs, they just had too big of a belly. So, that's an indicator to him it's not over. It's over the hump, but you can find fish on beds. Lot of fish now are being caught on topwater baits. Kastner likes using a Stanley Ribbit Frog.
Tom Duke on the US97 Trader Bill's Fishing Report said that a big-money catch was made in Lake Hamilton last Thursday, as Matthew Gavin caught a bucket of bluegill and found a purple tag on one, then learned he had won $1,000 from the ongoing Hot Springs Fishing Challenge. He was fishing off the dock at Hideaway Harbor. The Fishing Challenge is awarding cash prizes to tagged fish caught in Hamilton or Lake Catherine over the next several weeks. Catch a largemouth bass, bluegill, channel cat, white bass, crappie or walleye and look for a purple tag. Then call in the tag number to the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotions Commission and find out what the prize amount is.
(updated 4-26-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catchíem All Guide Service, reports water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 62 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. Rainbow trout are present in large schools all over the tailrace from the dam to the bridge with thousands of fish thriving in the nutrient-rich water. Numerous cold fronts and open flood gates have slowed the bite considerably the last several weeks. Heavy rain forecasted for later this week will cause Entergy to schedule heavy generation to keep area lakes at normal levels. This process will further complicate fishing below Carpenter Dam making the tailrace swift and difficult to navigate. Fly-fishermen are handicapped somewhat with the lake at normal levels but still able to access areas that hold good numbers of trout and are recording limits by casting micro-jigs in black or white colors with a strike indicator. Current is key so targeting the head and rear sections of shoals has produced the best results. Olive-colored Woolly Buggers and black midges have also taken trout in the 15-inch class. Egg patterns in yellow or white will often draw strikes from finicky fish that refuse other offerings. Bank fisherman have done well on live bait presentations such as wax and meal worms, redworms, crickets and small live minnows. Whether fished just off the bottom or under a bobber, these baits are proven trout killers in slack or moving water situations.
Spin fishermen have accounted for the largest trout caught in the last several weeks by using Super Dupers and Rooster Tails in white or silver colors. These lures imitate a dying shad and often attract larger rainbows that feed on the baitfish drawn through the turbines from Lake Hamilton. Trolling shallow running crankbaits against the current below the bridge is highly effective during periods of current flow. Shad killed from the freezing temperatures provide large amounts of food for all the tailrace game fish and should be imitated by anglers serious about catching numbers of rainbow trout. No reports of striper or white bass caught near the dam. This can change overnight as more and more trout are stocked in the area. Shad are plentiful which will attract numbers of bass in any weather or current flow. The walleye spawn is in full swing with both male and females present in the tailrace from the bridge to the shoal areas. The larger females have migrated into the area ready to spawn and protect the nests. These fish can be found by trolling shallow running crankbaits in the main channel during periods of generation. Carolina rigs tipped with live minnows or nightcrawlers will also work well in current or slackwater. The majority of fish will be in the 3- to 5-pound range. Crappie are present and being caught in the tailrace from the bridge to the dam. Live minnows and small jigs are key when targeting these finicky eaters. Rock structure and sand bars are prime locations to fish as these fish tend to spook easily at any noise from motorboats. Current flow keeps crappie near the bank out of the main flow. Trolling motors are highly recommended when approaching areas that hold spawning fish.