HOT SPRINGS ARKANSAS AREA LAKES FISHING REPORTS
From The Arkansas Game & Fish Commision Web Site
Updated August 16, 2017
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 8-16-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catchíem All Guide Service, reports that water temperature below Carpenter Dam is 63 degrees with clear conditions in the tailrace. The lake is now at normal summertime pool with Entergy scheduling 10-hour generation periods each day to help maintain lake levels. Boaters and anglers should use caution approaching the dam when the flow is at its highest peak. Fast currents and possible open floodgates are dangerous and keeping the proper distance from the area is vital for safety. Life jackets should be worn at all times. Rainbow trout fishing is extremely slow, which is the norm for this time of year. The bite is very slow and patience is key regardless of the techniques used. Live bait presentations are best presented under a bobber or just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms, nightcrawlers, waxworms or mealworms are an excellent choice along with live minnows and crickets. Artificial lures are nonproductive as hundreds of thousands of threadfin shad have migrated into the area to spawn. Summer trout fishing requires stealth and patience as the fish are extremely wary and the bite lasts for only a few hours. White bass are in the tailrace and are being caught on live minnows tight-lined over deep water below the bridge. In periods of current flow, jerkbaits in a black/silver pattern has worked well over rock structure and sandbars. These fish are spawning and should be present from the bridge to the dam until late July. Stripers have migrated into the tailrace to feed on the shad migration. Fish in the 20-pound class have been observed feeding below the bridge in the late evening while the floodgates are open. Anglers should downsize their techniques to match the forage. Smaller Alabama rigs and jigs are much more effective now than earlier in the spring. Casting weightless soft plastics perfectly match the injured shad drawn through the open gate flow. Strong lines and rods are highly recommended as many of these large predator fish are in excess of 20 pounds and are ferocious fighters when hooked. Anyone navigating the Carpenter Dam tailrace is urged to be aware of the generation schedules and always follow all park and lake regulations.
(updated 8-16-2017) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born and bred Xpress all-weld aluminum fishing boat, reports that over the last week water conditions have fluctuated drastically both in water flow and temperature. Fishing has transitioned from dock fishing to main points of the lake. Walleye are being taken in large numbers and large sizes while fishermen are targeting bass. Bass are showing very early signs of the fall shad binge. Fish are lurking near underwater main points in the 12-15-feet range and waiting in ambush positions. Fish are still sluggish due to the heat of the hotter days, but when the water cools drastically (as it does frequently) fish become active again. Big worms like Zoom Ole Monster worms in black or plum and large tube baits like Zoom Watermelon Tubes are working well off points in the 70-degree range, and taking good fish at that. Itís only a matter of time before swimbaits and Rat-L-Traps will be making a sudden appearance into the picture so do not rule out these baits when targeting fish.
LAKE HAMILTON(No 8-16 Update)
(updated 8-9-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports noted on US97 that there were lots of good reports right before Sundayís rain. The first 3-4 hours of daylight Sunday, quite a few boats that were out there and two of them in particular caught quite a few fish on topwater bait. Itís just incredible weather for August, anglers canít beat what weíre getting, he said. One key is paying attention to the weather maps in the coming couple of weeks with expected fronts moving through. You want to always be fishing on the low side of the fronts, before they pass through. If it turns into a bluebird day, you need to go floating. If it starts out clear bluebird and turns cloudy, get to fishing. They highs seem to shut the fish down.
Kastner said that before last weekend on Hamilton, a couple of guys preparing for a Friday tournament caught quite a few fish fishing around boat docks. Being that itís a little cooler, fish are moving out from under these boat docks on cloudy afternoons or right before dark. Donít be afraid to throw topwater around boat docks on Hamilton right before dark. Also, with cooler mornings those fish will move up in the shallows. The topwater bite has been good all summer long. Weíve gotten more rain that normal, kind of cools everything off. The crappie, bite for typical for August. Not so good. Not as many people going this time of year for Crappie. Hamilton bass fishing has been red hot. Throwing a Texas rig worm around brush the last three weeks. The bream, now thatís the one thing thatís been off the entire season, he said. Heavy rain in May pushed the spawn into June and July. Still lot of people are catching bream. They are deeper than expected; lot are catching at 10 feet of water right now. Easiest way to fish for bream when they are that deep is a drop-shot rig. Literally just tie an eighth-ounce drop-shot weight on, attach the bream hook about 6 inches above it, tight line it Ė donít use a bobber, just drop it straight down around (not in) the brush Ė and youíll catch some good ones.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake's elevation was 572.70 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 8-16-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are fair to good and being caught with topwater baits fished early and late. Drop-shots fished with finesse worms are still productive for spotted bass near brush. Walleye are fair and being caught on spoons or bottom bouncers on main lake humps and points near brush. Stripers are fair on live bait or big hair jigs. The eastern end of the lake is the best area for these fish. Bream are good in water 20-25 feet deep on crickets and worms. Crappie are slow. Try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 20-25 feet deep fished near brush. Catfish are still fair on live bait, stink bait and hot dogs. Try depths of 20-30 feet. Water temperature is ranging 82-86 degrees and the water is clear. Call the Mountain Harbor guides - Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) - for more information.
(updated 8-9-2017) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said he's getting good reports of walleye being caught in nice numbers. He notes that traditionally the walleye catch is about a month late. Last year in June, walleye fishing was great. This year it's the end of July, first of August before it's kicked in. Use bottom bouncing nightcrawler rigs, or catch them on a spoon, lot of things. They've moved up on humps arounds brush piles.
A lot of people catching walleye right now and, Kastner says, it goes about the time of frame that the Kentuckies are not going to be far from when you're going to be dunking crawfish on these humps. He said he wouldn't be surprised that if you went out there with crawfish and tried it that you could catch just as many walleye as Kentuckies right now because there's a bunch of walleye that have moved up on these humps. Go flip some large rocks over and collect a few dozen crawdads to use.
(updated 8-2-2017) Greeson Marine, dealer of Xpress boats in Hot Springs, said they have heard good reports of crappie being caught in the 8- to 14-foot range over brush pile tops. The best baits have been minnows tipped with a jig and live minnows on a snell rig. Bass have been biting topwater lures in the mornings and evenings. Go-To's like Whopper Ploppers, Zara Spooks and frogs are the weapons of choice. Some large fish have been netted recently by anglers fishing dark-colored worms and Yum Dingers in green or black off points in 10 to 20 feet of water. Texas-rigged worms have been the staple choice so far, but the drop-shotters are doing well also during the day. Black, blue and green spinnerbaits worked slowly start to turn on when the sun goes down over any type of drastic structure.
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