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July 2003

Bull Shoals Lake

Mother Nature has smiled on Bull Shoals Lake recently with lots of sunshine and beautiful days with temperatures in the upper 70’s to mid 80’s.  We have bushes and buck brush submerged all over the lake.  The bass haven’t moved into them as yet but this year’s and last year’s spawn are hiding in them and that is great.  Crappie have been slow the last few days.  This is a normal reaction for this time of year as they move to their summer haunts in the brush piles and standing trees on the main lake bluffs.  Live bait (crappie minnows) on split shot rigs are the best way to fish at this time until the crappie load up in their summer areas.

Largemouth bass have moved to the deep water areas in the pockets, cuts and creeks.  Watersheds, transition bank drop offs and drop offs on the side of flats have become their new homes with the rising lake.  There is some top water action in the morning on Zara Spooks and Spit’N Image lures but it is not a sure thing as yet.  Best baits and technique have been suspending rogues, Lucky Craft Pointer 78’s on windy days and jig and pigs, centipedes or lizards on a Carolina rig and Sinko’s or flukes.  Small bass are still on a good bite especially the 2 to 3 pounders.  They did make a structure move this last week to what we call “do nothing” banks, which are banks with no apparent rock patterns or formations.  They are in about 20 to 28 feet of water holding on stumps or small rock piles.  This pattern is very strange with the lake warming up.  Best baits have been Mojo rigged centipedes, finesse worms, brush hogs and tube baits or hula grubs.  Dragging across the bottom is the key to finding strikes.  Kentucky bass are roaming under shad and in and out of banks and secondary points. Some are pushing up shad and can be caught on Zara Spook Jrs. or Pop R’s, some are on transition areas along the banks biting on centipedes or grubs and a few are holding on the deep side of points and will bite Spider Jigs, tubes and finesse worms.  It is not that you can’t catch a few, we just can’t pinpoint what pattern they are on. 

Walleye are doing some goofy things for some reason.  They have moved up onto the flats in the upper lake areas and some good sources say crawler harnesses with silver blades during the day and chartreuse blades in the evenings are catching limits of nice walleye across the flats daily.  They are in 15 to 22 feet of water and what they are doing there no one knows.   Other walleye throughout the lake are biting Suspending Rogue, Jrs. in the evening along chunk rock points and during the daylight hours they are sliding off their feeding points and hitting Bill Norman’s in 140, 149 and 153 colors in the DD14 size over 30 feet of water.

Trout fishing on the White River has been good with Berkley Power Eggs in yellow, white and Berkley’s Earthworm.  Buoyant spoons, Blue Fox, Little Cleos, and Rooster Tails have worked the best when there is some generation. The fly fishermen have been doing well on olive and black Woolly Buggers, gray sow bugs and scuds.  Browns are being caught on Rebel Brown Trout jointed Minnow Floats, CountDowns and nightcrawlers.

Remember to keep only what you can eat and release the rest for another day.  We thank Rick Culver of Wilderness Trail for this report.  For more information call Rick or Sue Culver at Wilderness Trail at 870-445-2703, e-mail them at or check out their web site at

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