Fishing reports are scarce as anglers are just now trickling back to the water after the subzero freeze. Here is a fishing forecast of tactics to try as the weather and waters warm.
Aaron Jolliff at Hook, Line and Sinker in Rogers said Alabama rigs, jerk baits, crawdad-colored crankbaits or jig and pigs are good lure choices for black bass in cold water.
For striped bass, troll with Alabama rigs. Good live baits are brood minnows or shad. The south half of the lake may produce the best striper fishing.
For crappie, try minnows or jigs 20 feet deep around brush. Average surface water temperature is 38 to 40 degrees.
Beaver Dam Store said power generation takes place on cold mornings creating high water conditions. Drift fishing in a boat may be best during high flows.
Try Power Bait in bright colors combined with a waxworm or nightcrawler. Good lures to try are small olive-colored jigs. Small crankbaits such as Flicker Shads or countdown Rapalas are good choices. Small spoons are worth a cast. Red and gold or red and silver are good colors.
Fly fishing with woolly buggers or midges in low water may get trout to bite. Good midge colors are copper and black, red and silver or root beer.
David Powell at the lake office recommends fishing for crappie with hair jigs 15 feet deep or shallower. Try fishing near the intake tower.
Mike Carver at the lake office said crappie typically bite jigs 10 feet deep during winter. Try a jig and pig for black bass.
Chip Wiseman at Hook, Line and Sinker in Bella Vista suggests using Alabama rigs or jerk baits for black bass on all Bella Vista lakes.
Trout bite well in winter at Lake Brittany on Power Bait or Gulp bait. Red and gold spoons may work.
Kenny Stroud in Siloam Springs recommends fishing for black bass at Swepco Lake with soft plastic lures or swimbaits. Try top-water lures at sunrise, sunset and cloudy days.
Stroud recommends fishing for black bass with hair jigs in dark colors. Small jerk baits may also work. Work lures slowly.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation advises using extreme caution on lakes because the water is so cold.
Try fishing for black bass at Grand Lake and Lake Eucha with Alabama rigs, crankbaits or spinnerbaits around docks, in coves and along points. Go for catfish with stink bait, liver or cut bait.
At Lake Tenkiller, fish for crappie around docks or timber with jigs or small crankbaits.
Table Rock Lake
Focused Fishing Guide Service said the recent freeze caused coves and creek arms to ice over and dropped the water temperature to the upper 30s to 40 degrees. That should result in a die-off of threadfin shad, which begin to die in water colder than 42 degrees. The water has warmed some, into the low 40s in some areas.
The shad kill should make black bass fishing tough for one to three weeks because fish can gorge on dying shad. Once the shad kill is over, when the water warms somewhat, use Alabama rigs, jerk baits, swim baits or jig and pigs.
Good spots to fish will be where spring-fed creeks bring warmer water into the lake.