HOT SPRINGS ARKANSAS AREA LAKES FISHING REPORTS
From The Arkansas Game & Fish Commision Web Site
Updated February 22, 2017
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
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 571.48 feet msl (full pool – 578.00 msl).(updated 2-15-2017)
Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports in Hot Springs said on US97 radio that there was a big wind out on the lakes last weekend. It didn’t matter where you were trying to go, it seemed it was blowing around corners. There were a few good sacks caught, however. Brian Bean won the ABA tournament on Lake Ouachita. He had a pretty good sack of fish like they always do,16.5 pounds or so for five fish is a good sack. Bean said caught it on a jig. Mark Ellis got second, he had 16 pounds as well on a jig. 16 pounds is a great sack for one guy to catch five fish. Kastner said he talked to a lot of the guys, and it was warm; even though it was windy it was warm wind, at least. They banked on going into the backs of these creeks. Lot of guys threw a Rat-L-Trap and a crankbait in the backs of these creeks trying to get some of this warmer water that’s rolling in and the fish just weren’t there. They were more in the mouths of creeks and that’s where these guys caught the better stringers of fish.
(updated 2-15-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said that black bass are good and being caught with pig-n-jigs fished near brush 6-20 feet deep or with Alabama rigs in major creek basins. Walleye are fair and being caught up the rivers during their spawning run. Stripers are very good on Bama rigs. The west end of the lake is the best area for these fish. They are staging to make a spawning run up the rivers. No report on bream. Crappie are good. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. No reports on catfish. Water surface temperature ranges 48-52 degrees. The water clarity is stained. Call the Mountain Harbor fishing guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – to book a trip or for more information.
(updated 2-22-2017) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said the water is warming into the upper 50s and the bass and crappie are staging and moving into the shallows to spawn. Darryl told everyone it would be an early spring this year. Well, it is upon us now.
(updated 2-22-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 49 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The 5-foot winter drawdown is in place until early March, so waders and boaters should use extreme caution when navigating the channels below the dam. Fast currents and slick rock structure make the entire area very dangerous especially when the turbines are running. Rainbow trout are plentiful in the tailrace from the dam to the bridge with thousands of fish thriving in the nutrient rich water. Thousands more trout are scheduled to be stocked this month which will make fishing opportunities excellent for area anglers. Fly fishermen are 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 Wooly 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 bait fish 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 during freezing temperatures, which will attract numbers of bass in any weather or current flow. The walleye spawn is about to begin with smaller males present in the tailrace below the bridge. The larger females will migrate into the area in the next week to 10 days. 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 slack water. The majority of fish will be in the 3- to 5-pound range.