Lake Catherine

For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit

(updated 8-8-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, said rainbow trout fishing is extremely slow. June is traditionally the last month for quality fishing below Carpenter Dam as the summer season kicks in. Anglers will experience short feeding times and a finicky bite as wary trout feed on insect hatches and injured baitfish. Patience is key as the remaining trout numbers are actively feeding in the late evening as the sun sets over the top of the dam. Trout from 12-17 inches are present in the tailrace, but numbers are few. Bank fishermen have had some success using waxworms and mealworms fished just of the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Nightcrawlers and redworms will also work presented in the same manner. As August approaches, few rainbow trout will be seen feeding and smaller numbers caught. By August, trout fishing will be over and good numbers of fish won't be caught again until the stocking program beings again in November, when the water temperature is suitable for trout again. Walleye are also present in the area and are feeding on shad. The majority of fish are being caught by trolling shallow-running stick baits that imitate small minnows or crawfish. Carolina rigs tipped with nightcrawlers have taken the largest fish at night. White bass are making a run toward the dam with numbers being taken from the bank by anglers casting flukes and Rapala jerkbaits in a black/silver combination. Crappie have finished their spawning run and but some fish are still being caught on small jigs and live minnows around rock structure and sand bars close to the main river channel. Little striper activity has been observed lately, but huge numbers of shad are present and these predators can appear at any time of day to feed. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace should be aware of the generation schedules and must always follow all park and boating regulations.

Lake Hamilton

(updated 8-8-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the all-aluminum, all-welded Xpress fishing boat in Hot Springs, reports lake temperatures in the mid- to high 80s and clear throughout. Reports have been fair at best. With the recent re-emergence of summer and the moon phase at minimal, fishing has really slowed down. Bass have moved out deep once again to gravel shoals and drop-offs in the 15- to 20-foot range. Many of these fish have suspended and the only chance of getting bit is to throw a Strike King Sexy Shad deep-diving crankbait until your arm falls off or until Mama calls you home. Make sure you get your crankbaits down and grinding the lake floor. If you can’t feel constant bottom, add lead or downsize line. No crappie reports. Catfish as always and forever are excellent. “Here’s to you, catfish!”

(updated 7-25-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said spoons and swimbaits are catching the white bass, black bass and hybrid bass in the creek arms. Use sonar for the large concentrations of shad, you'll find the feeding fish early in the morning.

(As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 573.78 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).

Lake Ouachita

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 572.86 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).

(updated 8-8-2018) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 online said on Tuesday the FLW pros have been practicing this week in preparation for the FLW’s Forrest Wood Cup Friday through Sunday on Lake Ouachita. In discussing the prospects of the tournament with Tom Duke, Phillip said, “It’s really, if you look at the water, it’s going to be a wild card. The temperature is going to drop close to 20 degrees in the next 48 hours. And the difference also between being high sun and the sky the way it is (Tuesday) and cloudy and rainy like it’s supposed to be Thursday, it will be a completely different scenario than what they’ve been practicing with right now. I look for things to be changing. It’s not a secret for them that they have to adapt. Certainly they have and will.” He notes that “each of the guys that have won around here have all fished differently” and it will come down to “decisions they make on the fly. The old pattern of throwing a Texas-rig worm and topwater bait all day, don’t get me wrong, that will catch a lot of fish. But a lot of these guys live on square bill and throw it in places you and I wouldn’t normally do it. And there are a lot of drop-shot fishermen. I can’t put my faith in that but it worked three years ago for Brad Knight. You and I fish completely different that these guys and that’s why these guys are touring pros and we’re not.

Tom Duke added, “Brad Knight, a drop shotter, stayed up in the Blakeleys the whole time,” and Phillip concurred. “He was fishing the drop shot in 5-8 feet of water. Who’d a’thunk it. This guy’s throwing a spinning rod, 8-pound line, 10-pound line in 8 feet of water on structure, on brush. I would have never fished like that, it wouldn’t have entered my mind. Wouldn’t have had the patience.”

So, Tom and Phillip urge the regular anglers on Ouachita to give the pros a wide berth during the weekend (the lake is off-limits to the pros on Thursday before the tournament), and those guys are fishing for big money and it’s their livelihood. But there’s plenty of opportunity for the weekend anglers on a big lake. Phillip notes the walleye catch that’s been going on the last couple of months. “It’s amazing, it’s still going in full swing. There are so many people catching walleye still on Ouachita that I’m having to re-display our walleye section basically once every other week. I’m just surprised at how much of this stuff that we’re selling. Between bottom-bouncers and nightcrawler harnesses, and nightcrawlers and spoons, guys if you’re not going up there trying to catch walleye, you’re missing the deal because it’s going on every day.”

(updated 8-1-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still good. Texas-rigged worms and drop shot finesse worms are working well. Walleye are still excellent. Try using a CC spoon near brush or drop-shotting a nightcrawler for these fish. Stripers are good on live bait. Major creek mouths and main lake points on the eastern part of the lake are the best for these fish. Bream are very good and being caught on crickets and worms in 15-25 feet water near brush. No report on crappie. Catfish are still very good. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature continues to range from 84-88 degrees. The water clarity is clear. Contact the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717; Chris Darby, 870-867-7822; and Jerry Bean, 501-282-6104 – for more information.

Visit Trader Bills Ourdoors Here

Visit Mountain Harbor Marina & Spa at Lake Ouachita Here

Visit Poorman's Guide Service Here

Diamond Head Resort & Marina on Lake Catherine Here

Visit Catch em All Guide Service Here

Visit Striped Bass Adventures

Visit Family Fishing Trips Guide Service @ Lake Hamilton and more


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