Welcome to the first issue of Steve & Lisa’s Fishing Report, where they’ll give you tips and conditions for local fishing holes in Saline County. See more info about Steve and Lisa at the end.
Sunset Lake – Since we are into January, and when some people are just starting off to get into fishing. That is due to their hunting season is almost to the end. I thought I would just recap on the places that I report on. This lake is an Ark Game & Fish family & community fishing program destinations lake. You will find the regulations in their book. Which is 3 catfish per person, bass have to be released immediately, 30 crappie per person, 25 bream per person. It is open to fishing with rod or pole only. And open to electric trolling motors only. It is stocked with only catfish, several times during the year usually with the month of September being the last time. Sunset Lake is a good lake to take kids to, it also has an easy 1 mile paved walking path around it. It has a fishing pier, and a bridge that goes over to the other side of the lake. It is off the service road right past the Saline County Fairgrounds. take Fairfield Rd. down to Henry St, It’s behind the National Guard Armory, and across from Sunset Trailer Park. You can watch for my Facebook post for when the lake is stocked or you can check it before you venture out to go fishing. All you do is Google Arkansas Game and Fish stocking ponds, it will show all the ponds that they stock and the date it was stocked. Benton is at the top so it’s pretty easy to see quickly. Usually after being stocked, you can catch them on anything from minnows, worms, wild cat stink bait, sonny’s dip bait, bait shrimp, chicken livers and yes crickets. The bass will do good on minnows, worms – live and plastic – and several other kinds of artificial baits. While your bream will go for red worms and crickets and little jigs like the brown 1/16th oz rock hoppers, I take them and actually put a bobber on and a split shot on down by the weight in order to add some weight to be able to throw it better, for the 16th oz is the biggest they make on these. And I throw it out there and slowly reel it then let it set. They seem to kind of resemble a cricket. I have caught crappie off of them as well. Crappie that will do good on crappie minnows, jigs, Bobby Garland and Kalin’s, some people tip a minnow or a jig with a crappie nibble. I have seen both big catfish and crappie come from there. This is also where the Benton Police Department along with Ark Game & Fish have their yearly Kids fishing derby in the month of June. I always post that as well donate bags of fishing goodies for the kids.
Saline River – Keep in mind that since all the road construction is going on, that the I-30 access down past Sunset Lake is closed for about 2 yrs they are saying. But you have Lyle Park Access, It’s off of Hot Springs Hwy, turn left onto Lyledale Rd., go all the way till you will have to turn right onto River Crest Cir. The other access is Peeler Bend Rd. access, Go on I-30 like heading toward hot springs, but you want to take the Sevier Exit and stay on the frontage road, there will come to where you will cross over a bridge the Saline river runs under that. The next road to your right will be Peeler Bend Rd. take it, follow it all the way down to the boat ramp. Saline River has bass, crappie, catfish, bream & walleye. October thru Feb has proven to be very good for the walleye, using a brooder minnow but you could also use bass minnows, but the best results for us and lots of others have been on the brooders, I know of one guy that used the black saltys and caught them. They are pretty much all in the river, from the spillway to Lyle Park, Peeler Bend, the 4 forks of the river. to Tull and Shaw but those are two places that are limited to be able to get to. Catfish do good on night crawlers, chicken livers and goldfish. In the summer trotlines with bream or goldfish seem to work very good. Crappie do good on crappie minnows, Kalin’s 2″ grubs in the Tennessee Shad color, and also on zing tails in the colors firetiger and rainbow trout. Firetiger colored small crankbaits also do good. Bass do good on brooder and bass minnows, also crank baits, 4″ green pumpkin lizards, baby brush hogs in green pumpkin and watermelon red. Bream will be doing great with crickets come around May or so, they will also go after red worms. Gar are plentiful in the river, and can provide in being fun to catch, but with their teeth might be hard to land. But you can fray some twine onto your hook and their teeth will get tangled up in that as they go for your bait and then they can’t get off.
Bishop Park Ponds – These are at Bishop Park on Boone Road, there is one at the road named Lake Norma and the one at the back is named Lake Charles. They have Hurricane Creek that runs back behind them, which comes from Hurricane Lake. So when it floods those fish come from the creek and gets stuck into the ponds. While they both have bass, crappie, bream and catfish. The back one is the only one that is stocked to my knowledge only once a year. For it’s owned by the city of Bryant and it is not like Sunset Lake a Game & Fish lake. September the city has a Bryant Fall Fest and they have the back one Lake Charles stocked with catfish for their annual fishing derby. While I have had several customers say they have did best out of one lake and not out of the other then vice versa. I have seen nice big bass out of the front one, and crappie, and I have seen very nice crappie out of the back one and catfish. Red shad plastic worms have done well on the bass out of Norma, as well as bass minnows. And bass minnows and brooders do good on bass out of Charles. So perhaps it’s hit and miss, it’s fishing! Crappie bite good on crappie minnows. Catfish can be caught on night crawlers, chicken livers, cut baits too. Bream on crickets and red worms. Charles does have a dock on it though where Norma doesn’t.
Lake Norrell – 13 miles from my shop, it is owned by the City of Benton. Has 280 acres. This is the lake you want to check out around May, for it has some of the biggest red ear bream. Several locals use crickets fishing on bottom ending up with great results. I have seen big crappie from there as well but it’s a hard lake to crappie fish. Usually nice ones but not really big in numbers, crappie minnows and also Kalin’s 2″ grubs in the color bleeding Tennessee Shad do good.Catfish do good on night crawlers as well as red worms. They are also caught on chicken livers, black saltys and goldfish. Bass do good on brooder minnows, spinner bait, crank baits and plastics.
Lake Winona – This lake has a surface of 1,240 acres. It is 35 miles west of Little Rock in the Ouachita National Forest and has a watershed of 43 square miles. There are bass, crappie, bream, catfish and walleye. One good thing about this lake it’s a fishing only. There is not a whole lot of pressure on it, mainly because of the 7 miles off paved road to get to it. Many have said if you got a nice truck and boat, you don’t want to risk them going down it. Bass doing good on minnows, lots of small ones are known to be caught, also crank baits work good here. Crappie seem to like the bigger minnows though and they are usually very nice ones being caught, Kalin’s 2″ grubs in the color blue and silver seems to be a hit. Catfish bite on crawfish, bait shrimp, chicken livers and night crawlers. Bream on crickets and red worms, Walleye do good on brooder minnows, and I have in the past heard of some being caught off of spinner baits.
Steve & Lisa Spencer have owned Lisa’s Bait Shop at 2112 Watts Road in Benton since 1985. They are happy to serve you 7 days of the week. Click image below to visit them on Facebook.