Last Updated July 10, 2019
Hatchie/ Wolf Rivers
Both had been on a rise again but fell fast, putting them back in the banks and murky. Catfishing was good on the high water with trotlines and limb lines catching lots of eating size channels and some big flatheads. Some were baiting up with catalpa worms for the best results. Others were using crawfish or cut shad. The Refuge lakes are all open. The bad news is that some of the Silver Carp are still present in the River as well as the oxbow lakes. Excellent bream fishing should be on tap. Early morning hours will be the best time to go. Oneal Lake is open and has fallen a few inches since the last rains. Bass fishing as been spotty and many of the bass have been fairly healthy. At least thee around 5 pounds were boated and released The best times to fish here are on cloudy days due to the clear water. The Lake was in the best shape we have seen it in along time. Bass fishing in the rivers has been sporadic with the weather playing a big part. As summer sets in, expect low water and better conditions, but small boats will be the only way to go.
Gibson County Lake
731 855 2990- July will be an early and late situation that means topwater basin' or plying the deep holes and channels with large worms or crankbaits. One angler reported catching 46 late one afternoon. last year. Watermelon colors are best for worms and shad colors for the crankbaits. Several large bass over the 10-pound mark have been weighed again this year. Be sure to have a large topwater tied on as schooling bass may appear at any time. The one specie that will be active and grow to unusually large size is the redear sunfish, better known as shell cracker. For some reason, this variety of sunfish has reached the two-pound mark at this lake. Most folks use red worms fished on the bottom. Once you locate a bed, it means constant action. Look for sandy bottoms near the timberlines. Cat fishing will also be red hot along with the weather. Night crawlers or stink baits are favored. Fish them on the bottom around the exposed logjams. The lake is low and clear due to the lack of rainfalls and navigation is tricky. The floating dock makes for better loading and unloading passengers. Remember that there is a no wake zone in most of the lake.
Glenn Springs Lake
901 835 5253-Hot weather means hot cat fishing here. That's for what this TWRA Lake is famous. Rod and reel and jugs can be used all week except jugs are prohibited on weekends and holidays. Catfish Charlie and night crawlers are popular as are catalpa worms when you can find them. The slime will be burning of as the weather heats up but the underwater coon tail moss will still be something to contend with. This will present different challenges to the bass fishermen who like to chunk frogs and weightless worms. A favored technique is to use Carolina rigged lizards in shade of green with long leaders to put them above the grass. There will be some top water activity early and late. Poppers and frogs will be effective. Bream and shellcrackers will be targeted, by those folks wishing for some tasty sunfish. Be sure and check the limits on these.Pier fishing can be productive for these.
Herb Parsons Lake
901 861 5087- As with last month, it's cat fishing season at Herb. This is the time of year when the hot weather provokes the cats to get hot, too! Just get a gob of night crawlers, a rod and reel, a lawn chair, and a cooler full of cold drinks and enjoy the southern summer catching those tasty, whisker fish. You can choose to go by boat, too. You might use that boat for bream and yellow bass that are also abundant. Try a fly rod and popping bug or ultra light to be sporting for these smaller species. If you are going for bass, early and late will be the tome to go. You should use top waters or Rapala minnows fished around points and plastics in the tops and lay downs. Black or purple are always good colors for the plastic, here. Crappie will be deep and difficult to catch.
731 738 2960-Cold Creek Grocery-The Big Muddy has not fallen in quite a while. The high water made it difficult to get to the Chute. Nearby oxbow lakes as such as Champion, Crutcher, and Heathright Pocket will also pick up whenever the River recedes. Weedless frogs are good choices in the duckweed patches. Crappie fishing traditionally has been good here as the cooler water brought in by spring floods seems to bring a later spawn and shad schools will be abundant. Favorite baits for bass are spinner baits in white, crank baits in blue and white, and blue worms. There are still "jumping carp" that should be respected but locals say they are not as abundant as in years past.
Sportsman's Resort 731 253 6581- July is, traditionally, a slow time for these area resorts. The good news is that most offer special summer packages. The best news is that the fish still bite. Cat fishing is great from shore or boat. Yo-yos are also good for those who like to catch them by that means. Others choose blocking or jugging. Bream still can be caught around trees that have "wooly" hatches. Some will bed up, only deeper than in July. Crappies can still be caught while trolling the deeper waters in the Basins with medium minnows. Bass fishing can be the best all year if you catch it right. Fish shady shorelines with white spinner baits, buzz baits, or crank baits. The ice storms of several years ago put many limbs down under the cypresses providing cover. Buzz baits can draw them out of this cover as long as there are minnows present. There will also be bass activity around the pad fields where creature baits, flukes, Senko style worms, and spoons will be good choices. Seed moss or duckweed will also attract minnows and bass. You might have to do some searching for the bass as they tend to follow the minnows but when they are located, you can be well rewarded. The very best time to go is on a dark, drizzly day. Yellow bass will be another target. Use small black Grizzly jigs tipped with wax worms and tight line them along the shady shorelines. The Washout can be good in summer as it has waters that reach the forty-foot mark. The fish will be holding near these deep areas but only from around six feet on up. Buzz baits early, plastics, and crank baits later on will catch them. Check out the article on snagging here for some rod bending fun! The Lake is near pool and navigation is easy. If a prolonged drought occurs, evaporation can quickly and drastically lower the levels and make for hazardous boating though the new spillway is retaining water much better. Always wear a PFD on this lake!
Beech Lake Marine- 731 968 8492- The Lake X in last month's Bassmaster magazine was, again, quite likely, Beech Lake, again. Several good tips are mentioned that might help bass anglers there. The heat is on and so are the pleasure boaters at some of these lakes. You must go early at Beech, Pine, and Pin Oak if you want to enjoy peace and quiet as you fish. The alternative is to go at night but check the gate schedule at Beech first or you could get locked in. For those who go, fish points that have grass or head to the pad fields in the back of Beech and use buzzers, Senkos, or flukes for bass. As the day progresses, move to the deeper ledges and humps with a Carolina rigged watermelon lizard. Deep diving crank baits are also an option. Shad colors are preferred. Anglers should not overlook the many boat docks and boat houses where baitfish congregate. The shade these provide harbors a potential bonanza of bass, bream, and crappie. Be observant of the fly hatches that occur frequently. There will be sunfish feeding on these; larger bass and catfish will be after these. Another option after the jet skies get going is to fish the mud line created by the wave action. Bass will suspend just inside the murky water and attack anything that swims by in the clearer water.
731 422 0950- The bream and shell cracker bite will last until late October but seems to be better around the full moon. There was a good bite on in June but folks at the store, say the beds now are much deeper, like ten or twelve deep. Cat fishing can be dynamite in the hot summer with shad guts and prepared very slow. Low water conditions can be expected unless a gully washer occurs. Bass fishing has been very good so far this year with several lunkers brought to the scales. The hot weather will mean early and late or overcast days for the best bite. Use top waters early and jigs or big worms later in the day. Fish the logs closest to the channels or around weed beds.
Poplar Tree Lake, at around 100 acres is amazing as it produces excellent bream action all season, even when it's hot. This is probably due to being very deep and clear. If the bream are not in the coves, they will be bedding on the points, just a little deeper. This is another good lake for fly fishers who use a small boat, canoe, or kayak. Crappie can also be caught all season by trolling the deeper channel in mid lake. Use minnows or the favored smoke colored curl tail grub on an eighth ounce lead head jig. Bass will bite early and late on minnow lures or small poppers. The south, shady shore is a good place for real lunkers and on up in the day due to its proximity to very deep water. Readers have reported a good bass trip catching several in a few hours on purple and black worms. Biggest was 4.5 pounds.
Carroll County 1,000-Acre Recreational Lake
This newest lake in the Region has been very popular with anglers this spring. Hundreds of bass up to and over 10 pounds have been boated, but the large majority was either side of a pound. Recent reports are that the grass lines that began as an asset have become more manageable extending a few yards into the lake. Some lucky anglers have caught bass schooling along these grass lines and boated good numbers of medium to large size bass on top water lures. Deepwater bass fishing is only fair as the forage that bass feed on is sticking to the grass, which provides cover and plenty of food for these. Those who have advanced electronics can catch the big ones on the many ledges off the shore. The bluegill population is also very strong and worth a try. Your best bet for these as well as crappie is the old roadbeds and gravel where the grass is not so thick. It will be interesting to see if hot weather knocks back the grass as it does in other lakes. Water clarity has a great effect on these conditions. Lake is at pool and there is a four wide boat ramp. Pleasure boating will be in full swing in July. Portions of the Lake are designated fishing only.
Perryville Marina-731 847 2444- Now that summer pool is present, things should stabilize, barring an unlikely summer flood. Bass fishing will be more toward the main channels and creek mouths. Top waters early, crank baits and jigs as the day progresses are good choices. Spotted bass can always be found around the barges moored to the shore. Riprap areas will hold a variety of species, from white bass to an occasional sauger. White crank baits in small sizes can yield results. Cat fishing on the main channel is the mainstay in the summer. The forty-foot depths at the old channel are the places to start with night crawlers or cut shad. Watch for willow fly hatches on the river and back in the creeks. These will draw all species to the feast. If you see birds flitting in the trees near the shore, best check it out for the flies. Crappie fishing in late June was surprisingly good and may last into the summer. The crappie will be holding in deep mats near creek mouths.
The Delta area is famous for its hot weather cat fishing and bream. Lakes such as Horseshoe, Brandywine Chute, Storm Creek, and Big Lake are known for giant bream and catfish. If you can stand the heat, you can catch a sack full. If you want to fish cooler water, go to the rivers. This has been an unusually wet period. Usually, this time of year, the St. Frances will clear significantly and is a great place to catch a bunch of Kentucky, spotted bass. Spinner baits and tubes are local favorites. The Black River also produces crappie and catfish. The lakes on Crowley's Ridge are open to the public and operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish always provide excellent fishing due to the management policies of the Agency.
Bass fishing in July means lunkers on the ledges and a good current to concentrate schools of large bass on ledges and humps. Electronics are becoming more and more crucial as anglers fish the depths during hot summer. For those who prefer to remain shallow, fish can be caught around grass and pads that are found in some bays. Small boat anglers can access the creeks in the backs of several bays for some good action. Crappie can still be caught in the summer. Again, proper use of electronics can mean success. Deeper channels and humps are going to be the places to find them. Bluegill will be bedding all summer along shorelines and points. Watch for the fly hatches that will attract all species. Catfish will be moving out to the main channel ledges. Night fishing with lights near the bridges is a very popular activity in July as it is very productive and enables anglers to avoid the extreme heat and pleasure craft disturbance. Summer pool had been reached. Boaters should exercise extreme caution in unfamiliar waters. High water that sometimes occurs means lots of floating debris and low water means plenty of hidden obstacles.
Our source for Percy Priest, Joey Mallicoat, told us, "The water level is currently 490.41 and the temperature is ranging from the low to mid 80's. The bass have been feeding like crazy and are schooled up on their typical summertime structure. My favorite technique has been a 5-inch Zoom Swimmer swimbait paired with a 3/4oz swimbait head. The fish are feeding heavily on schools of baitfish and this has been produced the better-quality bites for me. A deep diving crankbait has been getting me quantity, but again the better fish have been on swimbaits. I'm targeting structure in 17-20 foot of water. The structure can be anything from an offshore point/hump to a brush pile sitting in deep water. The fish are cooler in the deeper water and typically setup on structure to help ambush prey as it comes by. The night time bite has been tremendous as well. I have not caught any big fish, but we are catching quantity. The majority of which are coming on a 3/8oz black and purple spinnerbait. I have caught a few on a black buzz bait, but the bites have been few and far between. Typically, I target main lake points and I will slow roll that spinnerbait. The catfish are feeding up as well and I have heard of people catching large flatheads on noodles near main lake areas using live bluegill. Remember to always pay attention while boating during the summer as the number of pleasure boats on the water is much greater than normal."
Our source for Old Hickory, Joey Mallicoat, told us, "The water level is currently 445.52 and the water temps are ranging from the high 70's to low 80's. The bass fishing has been phenomenal this year on Old Hickory. There is an offshore bite on river channel bars and ledges, but the most dominate bite has been around the grass. There is a large amount of grass growing throughout the lake and has helped tremendously. I have been using a 3/8oz vibrating jig and have found the smaller isolated clumps have been better. Any deep channel swings in creeks and certain main lake areas have been holding fish. If you can find any of these banks with lots of lay downs or any type of cover chances are there will be a fish or two around. I have been using a black and blue 1/2oz jig paired with a black and blue craw trailer. The fish on the ledges have been eating a deep diving crankbait as well as 3/4oz football head jig. If you can find the fish schooled up, chances are they are ready to eat. This can make for a great afternoon of fishing it just takes a little searching and staring at your graphs. The crappie are being caught trolling crankbaits in shad colors on channel swing banks in the creeks. There are some catfish being caught on noodles throughout the lake as well using cut shad and live bluegill. The majority of the success coming after dark. Remember to wear lots of sunscreen and to stay hydrated throughout the day."