Last Updated May 3, 2019
Pickwick has seen incredible catches of bass in April, lots of two pound – plus fish and some lunkers. The shad kills this winter not only put weight on the bass, but has made them more aggressive as there are fewer baitfish for the predator population. Rattletraps and Red Eye Shads in half and three quarter sizes have been good choices. There will still be some late spawners in early May as cool weather has delayed their activity, but for the most part, you can look for a little tougher bite due to those recovering from the spawn. As the month progresses, fishing will improve as the feeding resumes. Look for bass around any cover where fry are gathering. Grass beds will begin to show so fish the edges and pockets where action is observed. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, Flukes and weedless plastics should be good. Late in the month, smallmouth and bigger largemouth should be heading to the humps and ledges for the summer. Deep divers, jigs, A rigs, large plastic grubs and worms as well as shaky heads will come into play. Colors such as Pickwick green and sprayed grass will be good.
See our special section for May tips
See our special section for May tips
731 422 0950 - This spring saw more big bass caught. This can be attributed to several factors. Among them are the shad stockings by TWRA, some have been hanging around the trout net to feed on the escapees. Early May might still see some spawning activity due to all the cool April weather. Lizards will still be a good choice for these shallow fish. Later month will see the early and late bite on topwaters and spinnerbaits. Be observant for breaking fish around bluegill beds that will be abundant attracting bass feeding up after their spawn. The bluegill and shellcrackers will be the featured specie in May and literally thousands will be on the beds in backs of coves and shallow flats. Catfishing will also be picking up and some real giants lurk here, some over the fifty pound mark. Crappie will be slow from mid month on.
Gibson County Lake
731 855 2990 - As with most of the area TWRA lakes, Bream will be the star specie for anglers looking for action and table fare. They may be found in the backs of coves, along the old creek channels that are lined with trees, and in the brush lines extending into the lake. Catfishing will also be getting in full swing as waters warm. Bank fishermen may choose the area around the pier for catfish. Livers, worms, or prepared bait will all be effective. Bassin' will be good as spawners will be feeding after the spawn, especially from mid month on. Many over the eight-pound mark have been weighed this year. The sparse grass that has been covered by spring floods presents a different opportunity that calls for working lures over the top of it. Rats, frogs, and floating worms would be good choices. Look for the bigger bass to be heading to the creek channels and deep holes at late month. That's when the big worms and jigs will be good choices. Top water fishing will be good early and late. Use these baits on the flats and shorelines close to deep water.
Glenn Springs Lake
901 853 5253 - Bass anglers look forward to May as the grass starts coming on strong. That's when the frog bite really gets exciting! Shoreline vegetation and grass beds make this a fun activity if you know how to adapt to the condition. Heavy line and a stout, long rod are a must for getting bass out of the goop. Bream and redear sunfish will be bedding and anything placed in their beds will get bit. Catfishing is what this lake is so noted for and May is when they really start biting. Any stink bait or natural bait will get them. Jugging is allowed except on weekends and holidays. Boats w/ motors are available for rent.
Herb Parson's Lake
901 861 5087 - May is bluegill month on this old TWRA Lake. Beds in the hundreds can be found at the backs of the short coves. Crickets, red worms, Beetle spins, or fly rod poppers are all great so choose your weapon. The catfishing will also be improving as waters warm. Whether by boat or bank, folks can catch the limit due to regular TWRA stockings. Most will be in the three -pound class but a few monsters over thirty always show up each summer. Crappie will be slowing down and may be caught in the deeper sections by slow trolling. There is sill a ten inch size limit and many will be fun to catch but will be under the slot. Bass will be coming off the beds and by mid month should be in a feeding mode. There is a ten fish limit and no slot limit so be advised. Use top waters early and late and fish crank baits or plastics around shoreline cover later in the day. Some will be shadowing the bream beds and will be susceptible to lures resembling bluegill. A prop lure worked around the beds is a good choice. Yellow bass are always fun and can be caught using ultralight tackle. There is no limit on these so catch and keep as many as you can.
Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake
Better get ready for more big bass this year. Now in its 7th year of public fishing, bigger bass are showing up more frequently. The twelve pound mark was reached two years ago. This is a deep lake and spawning may be extended on into May. Search for spawners in the shallows where a hard bottom is located which is most any cove. Lizards pitched to beds near shallow cover can be dynamite. Early morning and late evening topwater fishing will be red hot on spawners as soon as they recover from the rigors of spawning. Bass will remain shallow for quite awhile as they will be scavenging the bream beds which will be numerous. This is also a great time to carry kids to catch some of those monster 'gills that this lake has become known for. Just get some crickets and hang on! Crappie will be in the shallow water mix until the lake gets heated up at month's end. Then, trolling over open water will be the best method. Catfishing will be improving, as they will begin spawning around logs and riprap. Any standard catfish bait will get them. By month's end, the pleasure boaters and jet skiers will be in abundance so go early if you plan to fish outside the protected zones under the power lines. Permits are required and can be obtained at the lake store where there is also a limited supply of bait and tackle.
Shelby Forest-Poplar Tree
It's time to get your cricket box and paddle your boat to the coves at the east end of the lake. All of these coves are loaded with bream beds. To really fish them thoroughly, stay off them and start at the deeper edge and work shallower. Catching the ones on the outer beds will keep from spooking the ones that closer in. Fly rods with poppers and bream killers are great choices to use here. There will also be some beds on the short points on the sides of the lake. You will probably snag a crappie at these. Bass fishermen would be advised to head to the large cove on the north side about halfway down the lake. There could be a few late spawners that would hit a lizard or tube pitched into the bed. As the weather heats up, you will have to go early or late and use top waters or Rapala minnows. Fish around the bream beds or by the riprap at the dam. The Park opens at 7a.m. so you don't have to get up too early. Boat rental is open and permits are required.
Boondocks guide Billy Doyle (901 497 1577) reports the best bass fishing on the Wolf is after the water settles. He and his guests were catching 20 to 30 bass a trip, many in the three to five pound class and one over 11 last year. The Hatchie was falling at press time but a rain event could easily mess it up. Watch the Mississippi and when it falls quickly, so will the Hatchie. It has been known to fall as much as four feet overnight. This is when run out fishing is at its best. Refuge lakes will open as soon as the roads are passable. Windrow Road is open and the McCool Lakes will be also. Oneal Lake is open every day with catch and release on bass in effect until June first. The lake is very clear. A two fish limit will then be in effect. Regulations ask that you please remove any pickerel you catch. Last year the bream and crappie were thick and easily caught. The high water has inhibited the weed and pad growth but they will be coming on strong with the warmer weather.
Beech Lake Marine-731 968 8492 - As with many of our Mid South lakes, spawns have been sporadic with the best conditions arriving in late April. There will be some spawning around the full moon in early May and bed fishing for bass with lizards and tubes will be possible. There will be a slow bite on those post spawners, but given a few days to recover, and the top water bite will kick in. Look for fry around any cover. Logs, brush, lily pads, and grass beds will be the places to target before the hot weather drives them deeper. Even then, the same cover will be good early and late. Grass beds and pads will be excellent holding places. Crappie are abundant. Bream and catfish will be sought after species as they begin their spawns. Bream will be in the backs of coves and shallow flats. Catfish prefer the riprap banks.
The big river has been in for several weeks. Watch the Memphis gauge as the Mississippi River was falling below 16 feet, wait a few days for the water to settle and go. When the fall occurs, look for places where water is coming in from fields and creeks. These are where you can strike it rich with a fishing bonanza. Minnows and crawfish will be washing out of these places and predator fish will be waiting in big numbers. Nearby smaller lakes such as Crutcher and Heathwright Pocket will be red hot for all species.
731 847-2444 - The Tennessee River will, hopefully, be at summer pool in May and the stable level means good fishing. Shallow fishing for bass will be prime. Target buck brush, grass with yellow flowers, logs, and stumps for some of the year's best bassin'. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, plastics, shallow crank baits, take your pick. Put a lure in front of a bass and it will strike. Look for fry being chased and pitch a lure there. White is always a good color as it is close to the color of the fry. Bream will be bedding in the coves and sandy flats. The crappie spawn will be over but some can be caught in the deeper mats. Catfishing will be kicking in and will steadily improve as the month progresses.
All the Northeast Arkansas lakes will be rounding into good shape as the rains become less frequent. Look for excellent bream fishing at Bear and Storm Creek lakes as well as Horseshoe in the southern counties. To the north, Big Lake, Mallard, Poinsett, and the Village Creek Lakes will be excellent. Bass fishing will be excellent at Horseshoe, Mallard, and the Black River as soon as it clears. Catfishing in the St. Frances, Cache, and Black is already good. A small lake that gets little pressure is Mound City Lake just east of Marion. A jon boat is advisable as the ramp is narrow and shallow. The lake is about a mile long and can be covered in a few hours. It holds a good population of all game species. There is a launching fee that is minimal.
Our source for Dale Hollow, Bobby Gentry, told us, "The Dale Hollow bite is doing good. We are in a post spawn and they are on wood and bushes. We are catching fish shallow out to 10 ft close to the flats. You have some late spawning fish but most have spawned. Water temperature is around 64 to 65 mid lake. Ned rigs and swim baits have been my best bait. When the wind is up get a jerk bait out and it will catch some nice fish. Night bite has started picking up…jigs and jerk baits on walls and points are good choices. Anything you want to ask me you can find me on Facebook and Instagram. My website is www.bobbygentry.com or search Bobby Gentry Fishing. Thanks and Good fishing my friends."
Our source for Old Hickory, Joey Mallicoat, told us, "The water level is currently 444.80 and the water temp is in the high 60's. The bass fishing has been on fire. There are a ton of fish up shallow and have been rather easy to catch. My favorite technique this time of year is flipping creature baits around shallow cover. This can produce a lot of bites throughout the day and can occasionally put a big fish in the boat. The weed beds are starting to green up and are holding fish. I look for the frog and swim jig bite to become a player. I like to target grass beds near deep water, but are close to the spawning grounds as the fish will stop here first after they spawn. They will also be a hot spot for shad to spawn in once that gets going. The shad spawn typically happens in the first hour of daylight and can provide a great opportunity to load the boat first thing in the morning. Any shad imitation will work. I normally like to throw a smaller spinnerbait or a walking top water bait. Remember to always be cautious while navigating the river and to always wear your life jacket and kill switch."
Our source for Percy Priest, Joey Mallicoat, told us, "The water level is currently at 490.90 and the water temps are in the high 60's to lower 70's. The bass fishing has been incredible during the last month. The fish are being caught every way imaginable. With a large amount of fish spawned out already the large females have pulled out to secondary points outside of spawning areas. My favorite technique to catch them is a 5 inch paddle tail swimbait on a 1/2 ounce swimbait head as well as a Strike King 5xd crankbait. Any shad color seems to work fine. If I want to catch numbers I will beat the bank as there are tons of buck bass up shallow still. I like to drag a 1/2 ounce football head jig or a Carolina rig paired with a craw imitation. With all the fry guarders up on the bank this can make for some 50-100 fish days if you hit it right. The crappie are being caught around shallow brush on jigs and minnows. The majority of them are spawned out already as well. Remember to always be cautious while operating a boat and to be aware of other boaters. With the warm weather here the lake will begin to get crowded."