Some encouraging reports of good bream action are trickling in despite the storms that blow through our area seemingly every time we get set for some fishing. Bluegill and redear bream are being taken on Lake Conway.
Today, most everyone calls them redear. Nearly absent is the old nickname of "government improved bream."
That one came about more than a half century ago, and fisheries experts tell us it was something of a joke or misnomer. The government never improved anything, did it?
At the start of the lake-building era across the nation, fish stockings often included bream from hatcheries. Supposedly, the birth of the "government improved bream" was something like this: An onlooker asked, "Hey, mister, what kind of fish is that you're putting in the lake?"
Answer: "This is some of those new bream from the hatchery."
"Yeah. They grow bigger, and they're better to eat and more fun to catch."
The "government improved bream" legend was born.
In reality, the "government" did nothing with the redear bream except raise good numbers of them in hatcheries. The fish have adapted well in places like Lake Conway. It's to the point nobody remembers or cares that they came from hatcheries - some of them. They are fun to catch, and they are good eating, and they can grow large and feisty.
The redear is a native sunfish species in Arkansas just like the bluegill and the many other members of our bream family. You have to look closely sometimes to see the bit of red or reddish-orange on the ear flap that gives the fish its name.
Many bream specialists say redears favor live red worms in contrast to bluegills, which often prefer crickets. Work for redears near the bottom of a lake. They may be shallow, but it'll be close to the bottom in shallow water. Hunt around stickups, stumps and logs for them.
Rick Bates at Bates Field and Stream said the water is clear and back to normal. Bream are being caught on red worms and crickets. Crappie are biting fairly well on shiners near trees. Bass are biting fairly well on spinner baits. Catfishing is slow.
Dan Zajac at Gold Creek Landing said bass are biting fairly well early in the morning on buzz baits. Crappie have been hitting fairly well around live cypress trees in 5 to 6 feet of water. Bream are biting well on red worms and crickets. Catfishing is good on trotlines baited with bream.
LITTLE RED RIVER
Billy Lindsey at Lindsey's Resort said the fishing is excellent. The water level varies and no generators were used on Saturday until noon. Trout are biting well on Power Bait and wax worms.
GREERS FERRY LAKE
Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry is falling and it looks like it should be back to 4 feet above pool by July 4. Many black bass are still shallow and can be caught on top-water lures, buzz baits, spinner baits and soft-plastics. The deeper fish can be caught on Carolina-rigged worms and lizards, Texas-rigged worms and football head jigs dragged along ledges. Catfish are biting everything everywhere, especially trotlines and jugs baited with soap and bream. The walleye fishing is hit-or-miss, but when it's good, it's good. Most angler catching fish are using nightcrawlers or bass tackle around flooded bushes. Bream fishing is good all over the lake. Whites and hybrids have slowed in places and picked up in places and can be caught with spoons and in-line spinners. Word has gotten out about the night fishing under lights, and boats are stacked on top of one another, but not all are catching fish.
HARRIS BRAKE LAKE
Coffee Creek Landing said the water is back to normal and murky. Fishing is slow, and there's not much to report.
Lakeview Landing said the water is high and murky. Bream are biting fairly well on crickets. Crappie are slow. Bass are biting well on black and blue jigs. Catfish are biting well on crayfish and goldfish.
Overcup Landing said the water is a little high and clear. Bream are biting well on red worms and crickets near the banks. Crappie are biting well on small minnows near brush tops. Bass are biting fairly well on topwater plugs and soft plastic crawfish. Catfish are fair on trotlines with live bait.
Roger Nesuda at Jolly Roger's Marina said the average surface water temperature is 75 degrees and the water level is 1.2 inches above the spillway. Largemouth bas are excellent in 6 to 12 feet of water. Deep-running crank baits, heavy spinner baits and jigs are working well. Spotted bass are biting well in 6 to 14 feet of water on jigs, tubes and deep-diving crank baits. White bass are biting well and are schooling in the middle of the lake from North Shore to just north of Jims Island. CC spoons and clear Near Nuthins or Rogues are working well. Crappie are biting well in 15 to 20 feet of water on minnows and 1/32-ounce jigs. Bream are moving to shallow cover and are biting excellently on worms and crickets. Saugeye are fair in 10 to 15 feet of water on Road Runners and jigs. Catfishing is good on minnows, worms and prepared baits in 8 to 15 feet of water.
Charlie Hoke at Charlie's Hidden Harbor in Oppelo said the flow is 57,000 and boaters are beginning to get on the river again. Bas are biting well on green pumpkin Zoom U-tail worms fished along the front side of jetties. Catfishing is good on and around jetties on shad fillets. Bream are moving to the sandbars and are bedding up. Crappie are in 3 to 6 feet of water and are fair on minnows.
In the Little Rock area, Hatchet Jack's Sport Shop said in Fourche La Fave the bream are biting well on crickets, bass are biting well on buzz baits and chartreuse spinner baits, and catfishing is good on large minnows and cut shad. At Fourche Creek bream are biting well on red worms, crappie are slow, bass are biting well on pearl colored crank baits and chartreuse spinner baits, and catfish are biting well on cut shad and large minnows. In Maumelle River the bream are biting well on red worms, bass are biting well on white crank baits and spinner baits, and catfishing is good on cut shad and large minnows. In the Little Maumelle River, the bream are biting well on red worms, bass are biting well on plastic worms, and catfishing is good on cut shad and large minnows. At Burns Park the bream are biting well on crickets, the bass are biting well on chartreuse spinner baits and catfishing is good on skipjack herring and nightcrawlers.
John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service said the pattern is for around-the-clock generation of moderate flows with a few significant periods of no generation. This created some excellent conditions for drift fishing and some limited but excellent wading. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam has been fishing extremely well. Anglers reported success on midge larva patterns. The most effective were zebra midges in black or red with silver wire and silver beads (sizes 14-16). Other hot patterns have been pheasant tails and egg patterns. During the recent periods of no generation, anglers have done very well on partridge and orange soft hackles and green butts. There have been some decent midge hatches. The best fly for the midge hatches have been Dan's turkey tail emerger. Wildcat Shoals has fished extremely well. There have been some prolific sulphur hatches in the late afternoon. Though there has been some limited dry fly fishing, the most productive technique has been to swing soft hackles when the trout are keying in on the emerging sulphurs. The most productive flies for this situation have been partridge and orange and pheasant tail soft hackles. Rim Shoals has fished well. The sulphur hatch is still coming off on most days, but is diminished. The trout have not keyed in on the adults, but have been very active on the emergers. The best fly for this situation has been the partridge and orange soft hackle. The most productive way to fish the hatch however has been to fish copper John nymphs before during and after the hatches.