The spotlight currently is on deer hunting, but quite a few Arkansans are enjoying good fishing action here in mid-October.
This is nothing new. Fall ranks just slightly behind spring as the top period for fishing in our state.
Eric Green of Mountain Home made a catch a few days back that stirs the souls of everyday anglers who fish from a bank, not a boat. Green landed a 51-pound striped bass on Lake Norfolk.
Even more notable is that he did it on 10-best line spool on a worn-out bait casting reel. As he explained things, the reel’s bearings were shot. The reel really served as a holder for his line, not an implement in applying pressure to the fish. Green said it took him about 45 minutes to land the big striper, most of that time with all the line out, off the reel. He was looking at the knot that tied the line to the reel’s shaft.
“I just put my thumb on the line and horsed him back the best I could,” he said.
Green was using a suspending Rogue lure and was fishing in the Quarry Cove area of the lake.
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Good reports of good bream catches on Lake Conway and good crappie catches on Lake Conway, Nimrod Lake and Lake Overcup have come in the past few days.
Experienced anglers know a couple of key things about this fall fishing. One is the water does not cool off nearly as rapidly as the air. Most lake temperatures are somewhere in the 70s despite our recent nights of 40-degree and 50-degree temperatures.
Still, cooling waster temperatures should tell the angler to slow down with lure action. Cooler water, slower fish movements, and this includes chasing a bait.
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Do you take a fishing rod to deer camp?
This depends on where your deer camp is, naturally, but a good many Arkansans do a doubleheader in the fall – hunt early, fish in midday, hunt late. Keep in mind, too that we’ve got 10 more days of dove hunting before a break in the split season.
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The fishing word on Lake Conway from Bates Field and Stream at Mayflower is that the lake is stained and dropping. Bream reports are good with red worms and crickets. Crappie are excellent. Try minnows and jigs in chartreuse or white around Arkansas Highway 89 bridge, Gold Creek and Caney Creek. Bass are fair; use minnows. Catfish are good with worms, shad and minnows.
And from Greers Ferry Lake, guide Tommy Cauley said the water temperature ranges from upper 60s to about 73. White bass and hybrid bass action slowed some after the winter weather but the big portion of the shad is moving out of deeper water and the action is going to be good on into January. Try top-water baits, swim baits, in-line spinners and spoons for the best bite. Look in 40 feet of water on the edge of main flats just about anywhere you are on the lake. Crappie are eating in about 12-15 feet of water, suspended in the pole timber, and want jigs or jigs tipped with minnows. Catfishing is good on the lake, as it is overlooked this time of year for various reasons, but plenty can be caught on lines and jugs baited with cut or live bait, as they will stay active until the water gets into the 50s. The weather shut off the walleye bite, but as this warming trend gets into full swing, you should see fish showing up again in 28-30 feet of water. Dragging nightcrawlers and crank baits; some of them will be caught under the hybrids eating what they spit up. Bream are active and eating small crank baits, crickets and nightcrawlers in 6 inches of water out to 27 feet. The bass action has slowed. Try shallow-water baits, spinner baits, top-water buzz baits and small cranks. The in-between fish will hit jigs and jig-head worms; the deeper fish will eat drop-shots, jigs, C-rigs and the Arkansas Claw out to 50 feet of water.