HOT SPRINGS ARKANSAS AREA LAKES FISHING REPORTS
From The Arkansas Game & Fish Commision Web Site
Updated November 30, 2016
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As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 570.18 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).
(updated 11-30-2016) David Draper of the Lake Ouachita Striped Bass Association said the group Lake has noticed that the lake level is a little low. The surface temperature is a little over 60 degrees and the water is clear. David said he was able to do some fishing on Sunday but did not have a lot of luck. He said he was encouraged by marking a lot of striper and they were at all different depths from 15 feet to 45 feet. The problem was they did not seem interested in eating. He was fishing with minnows and his party caught several black bass but only caught one striper. David said he thinks the striper are starting to move into the channels, and once the water temp drops a few more degrees the fishing could be good.
(update 11-30-2016) Phillip Kastner at Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 said he got a good report from one angler out of Lake Ouachita who caught a mess of crappie on just a jig and a spoon. He was using a small, 3/8-ounce chrome spoon around brush piles and caught 5-6 crappie off every brush pile he stopped at. Saw the pictures and he had a bunch of good crappie. So this cooler weather seems to have spurred on a pretty good crappie bite. You can also use a grub or a jig around those same brush piles and get you some crappie. Also some walleye and bass, as they'll hit anything now.
(updated 11-23-2016) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said water temperature is ranging 62-66 degrees and the water is clearing. Black bass are good and being caught with spybaits and topwaters fished over main lake and secondary points. Walleye are still fair and are being caught jigging CC spoons. Stripers are fair on live bait. The central area of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are slow. Crickets, maggots and redworms are best fished 20-25 feet deep. Crappie are very good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. No report on catfish. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) and Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
(updated 11-16-2016) Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips reported crappie are biting exceptionally well on live bait 8-12 feet deep in 18-24 feet of water on brush piles where much deeper water is nearby.
(updated 11-16-2016) Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said the recent cold nights and early mornings haven’t adversely affected fishing. Pay attention to what’s going with the early morning fog. That’s the tattle tale, where the fog line is in the creek. Because, if you pull up and there is a heavy fog line in the very back of it and not much at the mouth of it that tells you that the warmer water is in the back of the creek. If you go into it and it’s foggy on the main lake and not as foggy in the back, that tells you there is colder water going into the back of the creek and the warmer water is still on the main channel, so you’ve got to fish the fog. That’s what the old-timers said, don’t leave the fog because the fog is the warmer water. There are plenty of shad moving around and if you go to into any of these creeks, it’s going to tattle on exactly what’s going on. The shad are what you’re chasing because that’s what the fish are chasing, that’s their food source. Lot of guys are catching crappie right now fishing in brush. If you’re going after bass, you’ve got to focus on shad, that’s what they’re eating. Keep your eye on the shad. Main thing that guys are talking about is chasing those shad balls around the lake. If you go out right now you have to have an Alabama rig tied on. You’ve got to have a spoon tied on. And everything you throw really hinges on that shad chase; the other thing going on is that crawfish migration. Anytime on Hamilton you’ve got to have an Alabama rig tied on.
(updated 11-30-2016) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the winter drawdown for Lake Catherine is now complete. A five-foot draw will be in place until early March 2017. Water temperature is 63 degrees below the dam with clear conditions in the tailrace. Boaters need to use extreme caution when navigating the area since the low water conditions have exposed many underwater hazards. Rock and sand bar dangers are numerous and made more life threatening by fast water conditions. Life jackets should always be worn by boaters and waders alike when on the water. Presently, Entergy is running a dual generation schedule with a 3-hour period in the early morning followed by a 3-hour period in the evening. The rainbow trout season has begun with the Game and Fish Commission stocking 1,525 trout below the dam. Rainbows have been absent in the lake for months and this influx of fish always jump starts the fall fishing below Carpenter Dam. Bank fishermen can use wax or meal worms fished just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms and nightcrawlers also well work when using this same technique. Live bait presentations give anglers the best opportunity to catch trout, as artificial lures are often ignored by finicky trout. Spin fishermen will have success casting Rooster Tails in 1/16- or 1/8-ounce weights over sandbars and exposed rock structure. Brown or white colors are best and most effective during periods of generation. Trout adapt quickly to feeding on available forage and will begin feeding heavily on the shad population. Small jigs in gray or white will draw strikes from hungry trout along with small silver spoons fished in the current. Fly fishermen can easily access areas that hold numbers of trout. Shoals are a target area with the head and tail regions normally holding the most fish. Micro-jigs in black or white cast with a strike indicator will catch trout holding in and around current flow searching for prey. San Juan worms in hot pink or red will also work well along with small streamers in sliver. Baitfish provide a huge part of the diet of rainbow trout below Carpenter Dam, so matching the forage is critical to fishing success in Lake Catherine. Stripers will move into the tailrace as the rainbow trout stockings become more regular. Alabama rigs, C-10 Redfins, and heavy jigs are deadly lures to use when attempting to catch these large predators. Heavy rods and lines are recommended. Topwater activity will increase with the presence of trout, and fishermen need to watch and react quickly when feeding begins.