Looking for largemouth and small mouth bass fishing?
If you are looking for a place to vacation that has great Arkansas bass fishing, lots of bass fishing tournaments and a touch of Paradise, we invite you to visit the Ozarks. Tucked between the mountains there are two Corps of Engineer lakes that are crystal clear and full of fish. They are the Norfork Lake in Baxter County and Bull Shoals Lake in Marion County.
Norfork sits at 554 feet above sea level and is a 22,000 acre impoundment with excellent crappie, striper, largemouth bass and small mouth bass fishing. Bull Shoals Lake is an impoundment of the White River. It is 83 miles long, has 1,123 miles of shoreline, 45,440 acres at normal pool and sits 654.23 feet above sea level.
Bull Shoals Lake is a significant fishery with a national reputation. This lake has it all - Blue Gill, Walleye, Catfish, Crappie, spotted (Kentucky) bass, White Bass, largemouth, small mouth bass fishing. Whatever your pleasure is you can find it here, including excellent bass fishing tournaments.
To be fished effectively, clear water dictates that light line must be used. Bull Shoals Lake has a green stain to it, which is brought on by the spring pollen off the trees; therefore moss green monofilament is the color of line that disappears in the water. Bass lures can be handled on 6 to 12 pound test line, walleye baits on 6 to 8 pound test line, crappie and white bass baits on 4 to 6 pound test line. This is not a lake with aquatic vegetation, so heavy tackle is not needed. Even during high water, anglers need to keep the boat far enough away from the bank so they don't "spook" the fish. Local experts tend to prefer natural colors in lure selection (shad or crawdad) due to water clarity.
Spring Arkansas bass fishing (April through June): During this period the lake starts to warm up and when it reaches 52 degrees the walleye move into the creek arms to spawn and the bass start to put on the feed bag and position themselves in transition areas in the creeks and coves. Once the lake temperature reaches the upper 50's the Smallmouth bass move onto gravel banks and sandstone ledges to spawn. Tube baits, Sinko's and jig and pigs will definitely get you a sore arm from a whole lot of action.
When the lake temperature reaches 60 to 62 degrees, the largemouth and spotted (Kentucky) bass will move up to spawn. The largemouth will move to the back of the creeks and the spotted (Kentucky) bass will move up onto chunk rock banks. Jig and pigs, Flukes, Sinko's and lizards are key baits for both species. After spawn, you can pound the banks with top water baits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits and have a blast.
Summer Arkansas bass fishing
July through September: Largemouth bass can be found anywhere from the shallows to depths in excess of 40 feet. They tend to form small schools and relate to flat areas of ledges, old roadways or deep stumps. Most feeding occurs early or late in the day. Surface lures (Zara Spooks, Chug Bugs, Pop R's, etc.) work well on calm mornings if bass are feeding on shad. Smallmouth and spotted (Kentucky) bass can be found on points composed of pea gravel and chunk rock. The banks and points that "stair-step" into deep water seem to be more attractive to the fish. Spinnerbaits and crank baits work well on cloudy days. Spider jigs, grubs and Sinko's fished on a Mojo rig work well if the wind is down.
Fall Arkansas Bass Fishing
October and November: This is a time for transition for most species as they move from summer to winter holding areas. Active moving fish means a superb bite. Almost any technique you wish to use will catch largemouth, Smallmouth and spotted (Kentucky) bass. Buzzbaits in the mornings are a blast and crank baits on windy days can be exciting, but it is hard not to throw a spinnerbait and get the pole jerked out of your hand. The fall pattern will continue until the lake temperature drops below 60 degrees, then it is time to slow down as reaction baits will shut off.
Winter Arkansas Bass Fishing
December through March: Some people say that winter is a tough time to catch bass. That can be argued against. The bass will school up with the shad in the warmest water they can find and with a little graphing they are easy to spot. Football jigs fished along the bottom through the schools will produce some great action. Another technique that is used is spooning vertically and ripping the spoon through the shad. This technique will trigger the largemouth and spotted (Kentucky) bass under the shad and you might even catch a walleye or two.
This is just a short outline on what Bull Shoals Lake has to offer.
Article written by Rick Culver (Ranger Pro Staff and owner of Wilderness Trail)