HOT SPRINGS ARKANSAS AREA LAKES FISHING REPORTS
From The Arkansas Game & Fish Commision Web Site
Updated January 11, 2017
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As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake's elevation was 569.79 feet msl (full pool - 578.00 msl).
(updated 1-11-2017) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 for out of state) said black bass are fair and being caught with pig-n-jigs fished near brush 12-25 feet deep or lip less crankbaits. No reports on walleye. Stripers are still fair on live bait or trolling jigs. The central area of the lake is the best area for these fish. No reports on bream. Crappie are fair; try using minnows or crappie jigs at depths around 15-20 feet deep fished near brush. There were no reports on catfish. Water temperature on Tuesday of this week ranged 44-50 degrees and the water is clear. 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 12-21-2016) Phillip Kastner of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports said on US97 a lot of crappie being caught these days. This colder weather has kind of moved the crappie into more if a schooling pattern, typical wintertime fishing. You talk to the old-timers, they enjoyed springtime fishing, but when they loaded t heir freezers they were catching them in January and February when the water was its coldest. That's what we're dealing with. This week of 30-and-below temperatures has really cooled our lakes, it's made these crappie school up around brush piles, made them a lot more predictable, and guys are catching `em. They are slabs and the meat is just as firm as it can be. If you catch them now when the meat is firm on them, you can blacken them in a cast iron skillet like you can a walleye fillet. You can use live minnows in 10-12 feet of water. Some guys a Bubble core. If it's not too windy you can tie a line, but if it's windy most guys are using a bubble pole cork in 10-12 feet of water around these timberlines.
(updated 1-11-2017) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch'em All Guide Service, reports that the winter drawdown for Lake Catherine is now complete. A 5-foot draw will be in place until early March. Water temperature is 49 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 sandbar dangers are numerous and made more life-threatening by fast water conditions. Lifejackets should always be worn by boaters and waders alike when on the water. Presently, Entergy is running a 3-hour-per-day generation schedule until further notice. It's usually in the evening time, but if cold temperatures occur in the morning the flow will likely be scheduled then. The rainbow trout season has begun with a small November stocking of trout in place followed by a full 3,000 fish for December. Rainbows were absent in the lake in the early fall months, and this influx of fish always jumpstarts 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 sand bars 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 grey 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 casted 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 streamer 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. These proven techniques will catch trout all season and should be adhered to by anglers serious about catching limits of trout. 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.