The Overall Picture:

As of Monday, 11 September, the water surface temperature currently ranges from 80-85, depending of course, on location and time of day. Cloudy days and cool nights have dropped surface temps, again this week in many locations. Little River's clarity improved, at approx 24-36"; & main lake clarity approx 18-20" visibility. Upriver oxbows remain very good water clarity over the last week and varies from 4-6 feet in places. USACE recently reworked all Little River markers and navigation much improved. As of Monday 9/11, the lake level has fallen from last week, and is approx 1 inch above normal pool, at 259.28 feet. Current in Little River slightly decreased, with release at the dam 159CFS as of Monday, 11 September. The tailwater elevation below the spillway is 224.01 Discharge is one gate open 0.37 feet.

The activity levels of Bass are improving w/ the cooler water temps. Best feeding periods still remain early and late in the day, but are generally improving during the slower periods. Juvenile and yearling Black Bass continue randomly schooling, and are chasing shad and baitfish in Little River along the edges of lily pads, and in the oxbows all along Little River. Take a kid fishing! Several large schools were breaking top water in schooling activities again in Mud and Horseshoe oxbow lakes over the past several weeks. A few of these schools are being found to contain a small population of young adult bass ranging from 2-4 pounds in addition to the juveniles.

The Details:

Much cooler weather remained in the region over the past couple of weeks, and has much improved conditions, and water temperatures, as well as the attitude of a few larger fish. The taste of fall is truly a nice break from this past hot mid summer months! The cooler weather nights, light rains and cloudy days helped keep the surface temps down in many locations as much as 8 or 10 degrees, compared to only a couple weeks ago.

Largemouth Bass are liking the cooler water temps as well with more abandon and aggression during the mid-day typical summer non-feeding period. Of course, the highest feeding periods still remain early and late in the day, or at night, but this past week showed they were willing to bite almost all day long with some repeating frequency on Rat-L-Traps and twitch worms. In addition, the schooling bass that have been roaming Little River for the past 2+ months and breaking, are showing signs of a larger fish population contained therein, as several schools this week of smaller fish, yielded some 2.5 to 3.75 pound young adults. Throwing Traps beyond the school, and letting the Trap countdown sink to approx 8-12 feet, then ripping back through the lower quadrant of the school seems to be the best method for finding the larger fish. The bass remain very good from about daylight until 11am then again after 7pm, in any vegetation along Little Rivers deep channel swings. The best bite for us lately remains Bass Assassin Shads in salt & pepper silver phantom; crystal shad; or gizzard shad colors, and also Charm Assassins-wacky rigged, in silver ghost color. For reaching schools busting just out of reach with a Bass Assassin, we have been literally wearing them out on 1/4oz to 1/2 oz Rat-L-Traps using the Transparent Hologram color (clear/ shad pattern). These fish range in depths of 2 - 7 feet, remaining close parallel to the vegetation, early and late in the day. Transparent or bone colors and shades, and natural very light blues, or shad patterns have been producing on Traps and crank baits lately. Clear has been a good choice for top water Baby Torpedoes too.

For approximately the past few weeks, we have lost the buzz bait bite, or cant seem to appease these fish with one, no matter what we did to change up the buzz bait. Slow, fast, nothing mattered as they would not hit us. We recently began experimenting w/ our buzz baits, and bent the blades where we could retrieve it even S - L - O - W - E - R and dropped in size from a 1/2 oz buzz to a 1/4 oz buzz head, oversized the blade, and put on a blue glimmer skirt with some Christmas pearl holographic tinsel. VaBAMMM!!! We have had these 2 to 2.5 pound bass nocking the bark off this buzz bait last few days out! I guess it really does matter about color and size, most especially when the bass have a choice of diet menu items in mid to late summer..........but these silly rascals have been hitting it way up in the middle of the day.....granted, it works best with lower light direction, early and late.

Eager Beavers in watermelon red are catching bass from 2-3lbs, around cypress trees. The best bite on the Eager Beaver has been on cypress tree knees (5-6 feet off the base of the tree) in 8-10 feet of water. Best color the past couple weeks for Texas rigging soft plastics, seem to be smoke/black/red flake, watermelon-red or apple seed.

Carolina rig and jig bite is improved, perhaps with that overall bite improvement, and Texas craw color on jigs with a green pumpkin craw trailer. Carolina rig bite was fair this week, we caught between 7 and 10 bass around 2-4 pounds each, using a blackberry lizard on a 12" leader one afternoon along the river. We caught 3 decent, fairly chunky, keepers around 16-17" long each, down the first pass of the channel wall drop-off from the 6 - 8 feet shelf down to between the 13-18 foot shelf. We liked what we saw in the span of about an hour, so we turned around and went back down the same channel wall, going the other direction the second time down it. We caught around 5 or 6 the second pass we made, and the best bass out of that 2-pass run, down a steep channel wall of Little River, weighed about 3.9 on our digital scales. We would have most likely, and honestly, weighed about 9.5 pounds w/ our best 3 keepers from that stretch.

White Bass remained schooling up Little River this week. Stay quick throwing a clear Rat-L-Trap or Baby Torpedo, when you see the top water frenzy start. Action is only short-lived, and lasts for 2-3 minutes at a time, but catches are common of 20-40 fish, from different schools, in just a few hours, on numerous occasions. Back to back, repetitive catches are and have been, very common lately, on whites. They are a blast to battle.

A few more Crappie fishermen are venturing out again, over the past few days due to improved weather. They have been telling us their catches are decent size ranging from 12-14" in length, at 10-18 feet depths on jigs in white or smoke, and on smoke Cordell paddle tail grubs using a 1/8oz jig head, in contact w/ planted brush piles.

Blue Cats and Channel Cats this week are fair on yo-yos and trotlines using chicken livers and Charlie blood bait hung from cypress tree limbs in 8-12 feet depths, and along the outside bends of Little River w/ their trotlines.

We heard Channel Cats and Bream fishing, both, were good on catalpa worms, and crickets around the Millwood State Park and up Little River at Jack's Isle.

}> Millwood Lake & Little River Conditions Report

Fish Species: Bass
Bait Used:
Tackle Used:
Method Used:
Water Depth:
Water Temperature: 80 - 85
Wind Direction:
Wind Speed:

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About The Author: Captain Mike Siefert

Company: Millwood Lake Guide Service

Area Reporting: Arkansas - Millwood Lake

Bio: Since 1992, Millwood Lake Guide Service has supported and worked with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and The US Army Corps of Engineers regularly, Catch and Release Foundation, Black Bass Federation and Restoration Projects.

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Mike Siefert