Millwood Lake Fishing Report – July 30

Updated: July 31, 2018

The Overall Picture:

As of Monday, July 30, Millwood Lake level has almost reached 100% of 24″ drawdown pool today, is currently falling, approx 23 inches below normal conservation pool and lake level (as of Monday) at 257.3 ft-msl; and the discharge was near 168 CFS for Little River, Monday, according to the USACE. The tailwater below the dam and gates, as of Monday has dropped accordingly with gate released, approx 224 ft-msl. Water temps have been stable over the past week. Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on our website helpful links page, or at the US Army Corps of Engineers website for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions while the Corps of Engineers drawdown is in effect. This 24″ reduction of normal pool elevation is bringing stumps and broken timber to, and very near surface pool. Use extreme caution in navigation during ongoing drawdown conditions on Millwood. Statement from the USACE indicates as follows:

ASHDOWN, Ark., – The Army Corps of Engineers will begin a drawdown of Millwood Lake July 16 in an effort to improve shoreline vegetation. The lake will be held near elevation 257.2 until late August, at that time the lake will be permitted to rise as conditions allow, with the target to be back to conservation pool, elevation 259.2, by the end of October. During the drawdown, boaters should exercise extreme caution and always wear a life jacket because submerged stumps and shallow areas will be more prominent, especially in boat lanes. The drawdown exposes an extensive amount of shoreline for re-vegetation; promoting water quality, habitat for wintering waterfowl and fish production. Additionally it concentrates prey fish for predator consumption, promoting growth and production for larger fish. The drawdown was requested by the Southwest Arkansas Water District from their consumptive storage in coordination with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

For more information on Millwood Lake and the drawdown contact the Millwood Project Office at 870-898-3343.


NO-WAKE ZONES are in effect at White Cliffs Campground on Little River, and marked with No-Wake buoys.

Surface temps as of Monday, are ranging near 85ºF early to 90ºF range later under full sun, depending on location. Continue to use caution in navigation on Little River and Millwood watching for random, broken, or floating timber.

Clarity and visibility continue improving over the past week, but remain stained in places, especially up river. The main lake and lower sections of Little River continue to improve, are not quite as stained as the upper regions of Little River. As of Monday on main lake structure away from current, clarity & visibility is moderate stain, ranging approx 10-15 inches. Little River’s visibility ranges 10-12 inches with heavy to moderate stain, depending on location and current. The oxbow’s clarity currently ranging approx 20-30 inches depth of visibility depending on location. Clarity and visibility can change dramatically on Millwood in just a few hours with high winds, rain, or thunderstorms.

To volunteer for one of the cleanup dates or ramp and USACE park information, contact Tony Porter at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office. To receive project updates, daily lake level information updates, gate release flows, tailwater information, park and campground information, or volunteer, call the US Army Corps of Engrs toll-free Millwood Project  information line at 888-697-9830 or the US Army Corps of Engineers’ main number to verify another Corp of Engineers project is open, at 877-444-6777. Call the Millwood State Park at 870-898-2800. Call the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for an officer, biologist, or to report AGFC regulation violation at 800-482-9262. Also reach the US Corps of Engineers at 870-898-3343 for more information.

The Details:

Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass along with Kentucky Bass have been randomly surface schooling on shad in Horseshoe and McGuire oxbow lakes along Little River for the past week or so, usually around mid morning, over deep water 12-20′ of depth, and at mouths of creeks dumping into Little River on points, between 12-18 feet.  Bass remain active early up to 2-4 pounds on topwaters, and cloud cover mornings remain seeing best activity, over the past few weeks early at dawn. Feeding activity levels taper off except for the schooling fish much after daylight’s first couple hours. Best baits drawing reactions, at early morning, over the past couple weeks continue to be Buzzbaits, soft plastic Frogs, Cordell Crazy Shads, Stuttersteps, and Jitterbugs at dawn near pads and vegetation. Buzzbait colors drawing best reactions lately continue to be Hot Firecracker, Spot Remover, black, or Hot Cotton Candy. Best buzzbait bite working is across flats near creek channel swings, with stumps and laydowns, and around lily pads. StutterSteps, Cordell Crazy Shads, Arborgast Jitterbugs, and Moss Bosses continue working in the slop, are all getting fair to good reactions from Largemouths in creek channels near stumps, cypress trees, and lilly pads. The surface schooling Bass are showing up randomly along Little River and the oxbow lakes most days, mid morning. 1/4 to 1/2 oz Rat-L-Traps in Millwood Magic, Ghost, Holographic Transparent Shad, Livin Chrome, and Blueback Herring are catching these schoolers breaking surface on shad. Additionally, Little Georges, Hammered Cordell spoons, Kastmaster casting spoons, Rooster Tails, and H&H single spin spinnerbaits are working near and around vegetation for these surface breaking fish. Majority of these surface breakers are appearing to be younger buck bass, adolescents and juveniles 1-2.5 pounds in size. Tons of Fun. Take a kid and get them involved in these schooling bass!

After the topwater activity diminishes, a fairly decent bite can be had by shallow running squarebill crankbaits, 2.0 & 3.0 & S-cranks, Echo 1.75’s, to draw a few good random reactions by deflecting and banging/deflecting them off stumps, from 8-10 feet deep in creek channels and points. The bass around 14-15″ in length are randomly responding to crankbaits in shad and bream colors. Best color of cranks in the oxbows, like the 2.0 S-cranks, and Echo 1.75 squarebills, for the past couple weeks or so have been the Bold Bluegill, Millwood Magic, and Ghosts. Increasing size up to a 3/4 oz Rat-L-Trap, fished much slower and deeper will draw a few random hits during late mornings in creek channels and across points converging with Little River. Best colors of Traps over the past week or so have been Millwood Magic and White Smoke. The Squarebills, S-cranks, and Echo 1.75 cranks and shallow running crankbaits in bream, Bluegill ghost, and Tennessee Shad colors are working near creek mouths and points extending into Little River for the past week or so. Working the cranks in a stop and go, slow retrieve will draw a better reaction than fast retrieves. The drawdown currently in process will bring majority of predator Largemouths to creek mouths and points in junction with Little River in short order.

Bass Assassin Shads in Grey Ghost, Salt & Pepper Phantom, Violet Moon, and Rainbow Shad colors remain working over the past couple weeks near creek channels with stumps and vegetation. Magnum Tubes like Gitzits, over the past couple weeks have been working on stumps with best reactions on Black & Blue tail, Watermelon Magic, Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse tail, or Bluegill colors.

After 8-9 am early topwater bite, switching to medium diving cranks, or a big, bulky, 10″-12″ worm around stumps on points and deeper in the creeks, will draw a few reactions from feeding Largemouth Bass, and on points dumping into Little River, and secondary points along Little River. Berkley Power worms, and Zoom Ole Monster 10″-12″ worms in June-Bug/Red, Black, Blue Fleck, Red Shad, Junebug colors are drawing random reactions from Largemouths along steeper vertical washouts, ledges, and stairsteps along Little River and near creek mouth junctions, points, and intersecting feeder creeks dumping into Little River.

Vertical jigging spoons are still working with Kentucky (Spotted) bass and schools of Largemouths in Little River behind points and washouts. Schools of Kentuckies and Largemouths feeding on river shad, will hit vertical jigged spoons with abandon, once the topwater bite subsides late in the morning. We have been using Cotton Cordell hammered spoons over the past couple weeks, with added bucktails. Some mornings a white bucktail is best, and seems like cloudy mornings that a red bucktail works better. Between Jack’s Isle and Hurricane Creek along Little River, in 10-15 foot of depth where broken timber and stumps are located, will find the most aggressive spoon-bass feeders. Hurricane creek had some spoon feeding bass early one morning last week, and surface schooling Kentucky Bass and White Bass several days where bends of creeks contained deeper water in the 10-15 feet depth range.

White Bass: Whites continue hitting vertical jigged 1/2oz to 1oz slab spoons in Little River between Jack’s Isle and first entrance into Mud Lake, and surface feeding in Horseshoe and McGuire with the Largemouths herding shad over the past few mornings.

Crappie: No Report

Cats: Cats improved this week along Little River on trot lines using cut bait, chicken livers, gizzards, and minnows on YoYo’s hung from Cypress trees with live minnows.

Bream: Were biting well at the Millwood State Park and at Jack’s Isle over the past couple weeks using red worms, and crickets. These aggressive Bream were biting from the bank and the floating dock from 3-6 feet of depth.

Wear your Life Jacket and kill switch!!  If you are suddenly or unexpectedly thrown from your boat, it could be your only chance of survival. Use caution navigating Little River in low light conditions, SLOW DOWN, and pass friendly to other boaters!  As always, careful watch for any random floaters and debris in Little River’s current, and wearing your PFD and kill switch is a requirement!

Visit with us on our website, YouTube, and on Facebook, for the most current Millwood Lake fishing and water conditions report, updated weekly. See some great catch and release photos, sponsor links, tons of great information and resources on the lake available to you, along with excellent related direct links to Arkansas’ State Parks, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Black Bass Program, The US Army Corps of Engineers, and tons more great fishing stuff…

Use extreme caution in navigation, wear your life jacket and let us know how we can help you GET OUT THERE!