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The Pleasure of Fishing Governor Mike Beebe enjoys fishing in The Natural State’s bountiful outdoors.

A Special Word From GOVERNOR Mike Beebe Sport fishing and boating provide healthful recreation for more than 60 million Americans of all ages, and in Arkansas sport fishing is a wonderful, year-round pastime. As an avid outdoorsman and lifelong Arkansan, I know the satisfaction and relaxation that can be found on the abundant and scenic streams, lakes, and rivers of The Natural State. Fishing and boating promote respect for our nation’s and our state’s natural waters, wilderness areas, and wildlife. Fans of fishing from around the world are enthusiastic about the diverse and demanding angling opportunities that abound here. Whether you’re fishing for largemouth bass, stripers that top the scales at as much as 60 pounds, smallmouth bass, world-record walleye, or catfish, you’ll find something to your liking in Arkansas. So come to Arkansas with your fishing gear and enjoy our bountiful natural treasures while promoting conservation of our wildlife habitat. Sincerely,

Mike Beebe Governor

welcome Early spring is the prime time for fly-fishing on the White River near Lakeview.

welcome Welcome to the all-new Arkansas Fishing and Outdoors Guide, a partnership of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and members of the hospitality industry. Think of what you are holding as an introduction or refresher course on The Natural State’s great outdoors. The guide still provides detailed information on Arkansas’s extensive fishing opportunities, but it has expanded to include outdoor sections covering hunting, boating, hiking, birding, mountain biking, watchable wildlife, canoeing and kayaking, and much more. Those intimately familiar with the state may find something new to experience, and those who are just getting acquainted may be surprised at the adventure opportunities. This guide is a good start for anglers unfamiliar with the state’s numerous fisheries, as it is arranged by popular species and by each of the four seasons. Whether you enjoy the serenity of a trout stream, a quiet cove on a lake, a fun-filled family

outing or the thrill of hooking up with a trophy-size fish, you will find what you are looking for in Arkansas. Fishing in Arkansas can be as simple as a cane pole and a can of worms, as graceful as a fly rod and a flowing river or as exciting as a bass boat racing to the next hot spot. The Natural State offers 20,000 miles of fishable

Cook’s Lake offers great fishing year-round at Casscoe.

streams and rivers, 600,000 acres of lakes and numerous bayous, farm ponds, creeks and sloughs where anglers of all interests will find plenty to make them happy.


The weather is moderate and accommodating to your fishing plans each of the four seasons. Yes, even during winter. If you’re an angler – expert or novice – there’s just one word that adequately describes the Arkansas fishing experience: Paradise! The six diverse geographic regions – Ozarks, River Valley, Ouachitas, Central, Timberlands and Delta – create dynamic landscapes for unforgettable hiking, biking, fishing, floating, hunting, birding and more. Maybe you need a respite from the workday world. A stress-melting float down the scenic Buffalo National River, the country’s first national river, might be just what you need. It could be a hike through the state’s most inspiring and remote regions by way of the 165-mile Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail or the 223-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail. If you are a hunter, it might be a duck hunting expedition in eastern Arkansas calling your name. Regardless of your outdoor preferences, you will undoubtedly find exciting new opportunities here. All of that is right here at your fingertips. In the front, you will find all the fishing information. In the back, we spotlight an array of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by anyone. It’s up to you to take the plunge into what is sure to be a lifelong love affair with Arkansas’s outdoors. It’s not just the fishing season that’s open 24/7, 365 days a year. Outdoor adventure is available every single day in Arkansas. You can enjoy mountains, rivers, trails, bluffs, waterfalls, trout streams and championship bass lakes whenever you want. It’s what you would expect from a place known as The Natural State. For more information, visit www.arkansas. com or call 800-NATURAL to get a free Arkansas Vacation Planning Kit, which includes the Adventure Guide.

The Ozark Mountains have incredible opportunities for viewing wildlife.

getting started fishing Enjoy peaceful bass fishing on the Saline River in central Arkansas.

Getting Started Fishing What, Where, How, When This Arkansas Fishing and Outdoors Guide includes the what, where, how and when of the bountiful fishing opportunities in The Natural State. The “what” is a very generous list of freshwater fish species to test your angling skills. Whether you are a novice or an expert, there’s a fish for you. Species include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, striped bass, white bass, hybrid bass (striped bass and white bass cross), walleye, bream (bluegill, redear and others), plus black crappie, white crappie, several types of catfish and more. Where they are biting is easy to learn. This Arkansas Fishing and Outdoors Guide will steer you in the right direction with facts and information by species and by the season. Just refer to the index for a species of fish that interests you. The index also includes helpful “how to”

information. See the seasonal fishing articles for tactics and techniques during spring, summer, fall and winter. For up-to-the-minute information, visit for weekly fishing reports. You can register at to receive them by e-mail. These fishing reports cover popular bodies of water across the state and tell you which fish are “hot” or biting best, which bait or lures are being used and even tactics and techniques on how to catch them. There’s more “how” available from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission with free demonstrations and workshops on various fishing subjects during the year. The AGFC uses mobile aquariums during some of these activities. Call 877-676-6963 for more information. When can you go fishing? Anytime! If you are 16 or older, you will need a license to take or even attempt to take fish in Arkansas waters. Where To Buy Licenses Fishing licenses are sold at sporting goods stores, some discount store chains, boat docks and directly from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s regional or Little Rock offices. You also may buy your license by phone by calling 501-223-6349 Monday-Friday in the Little Rock area. Call 800-364-GAME (800-364-4263) across Arkansas and out of state. Licenses may be charged to your VISA, Discover or MasterCard by telephone or online at

Master anglers Hooking a trophy-sized lunker could land you in an elite group.

Master Anglers Not All The Big Ones Get Away Catching a state-record fish of any species is a rare, exciting event. Even for those skilled and lucky enough to land such a fish, it’s usually a oncein-a-lifetime experience. The Arkansas state-record alligator gar, for instance, was caught in 1964 and still stands at 215 pounds, the oldest fishing record on the books in Arkansas. Most anglers fish a lifetime and may never get close to breaking a record. But those who fish long enough are bound to catch something worthy of pride and

recognition. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Master Angler Program offers such recognition. Master Angler Program Arkansas’s Master Angler Program recognizes anglers who catch trophysize fish that meet demanding minimum weight requirements, but are not state records. Thirty-six species of Arkansas fish are broken into eight categories: black basses, sunfish, crappie, pikes and true perches, catfish, trout, true basses and rough fish. If you are fishing with a handheld line and catch a fish that meets the minimum weight requirements, you can participate in the program. To be certified a Master Angler, you must catch a qualifying fish in at least four different categories. They do not have to be caught in the same year.

Official entry forms are available at most boat docks and bait shops or from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205; 501-223-6300 or

The Master Angler Program is a great way for veteran anglers to bring new energy and excitement to their favorite sport. It also offers incentives for novices and allows them to create long-lasting memories of the big ones that didn’t get away. Categories And Qualifying Weights Black Bass Largemouth Bass ..................................................................8.0 Smallmouth Bass ...................................................................3.5 Spotted Bass ..........................................................................4.0 Sunfish Bluegill ...................................................................................1.0 Redear....................................................................................1.5 Longear Sunfish ....................................................................0.5 Warmouth .............................................................................1.0 Rock Bass ...............................................................................1.0 Green Sunfish........................................................................1.0 Hybrid Bream ........................................................................1.5 Pike and True Perches Sauger ....................................................................................2.0

Catfish Bullhead Catfish....................................................................2.0 Flathead Catfish ..................................................................20.0 Channel Catfish...................................................................12.0 Blue Catfish .........................................................................20.0 Trout Rainbow Trout ......................................................................8.0 Brown Trout ........................................................................12.0 Brook Trout ...........................................................................3.0 Cutthroat Trout .....................................................................5.0 Lake Trout .............................................................................5.0 True Basses Striped Bass .........................................................................25.0 Hybrid Striped Bass.............................................................13.0 White Bass .............................................................................3.5 Crappie White Crappie .......................................................................3.0 Black Crappie ........................................................................3.0 Rough Fish Bowfin .................................................................................10.0 Common Carp .....................................................................20.0 Gar .......................................................................................20.0 Paddlefish ............................................................................30.0 Grass Carp............................................................................30.0 Drum ....................................................................................12.0 Buffalo .................................................................................30.0

Set personal records as a Master Angler.

Master anglers

If you catch a qualifying fish in a single category, you will receive a clutch-back pin depicting fish in that category and a letter of recognition. Once you have caught a qualifying fish in four different categories and become a Master Angler, you will receive a certificate for framing.

Walleye ................................................................................14.0 Pickerel ..................................................................................4.0 Northern Pike......................................................................10.0 Tiger Muskie..........................................................................5.0

throughout the year, and you can catch them on simple, inexpensive tackle. It doesn’t get any simpler or less expensive than a cane pole, a bobber and a hook baited with a worm or cricket. For catfish, a good rule of thumb for bait is to go with something stinky. So, how many varieties of panfish are found in Arkansas? Arkansas fishermen use the word “bream” to refer to some members of the sunfish family. There are many varieties of panfish in Arkansas. The sunfish family includes crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and rock bass, to name a few. Anglers refer to some members of the sunfish family as “bream.” The bluegill, redear, warmouth, green and longear are often identified as bream. Most Arkansans would never refer to any of the basses, or even crappie, as bream. And catfish are separate critters entirely.

Panfish & Catfish

Crappie There are two species of crappie in Arkansas: black and white. White crappie are most common in Arkansas, and they are found in reservoirs, lakes, rivers and bayous of The Natural State. They can tolerate murkier water than black crappie and can thrive in basins with either soft or hard bottoms. They usually live near some type of cover. Black crappie prefer quiet waters. In most waters, a good-sized crappie is 1/2 to 1 pound. Crappie seldom live longer than five years. See the fish identification section on pages 25-27 for an illustration of crappie found in Arkansas. Catfish Arkansas is one of the nation’s top states for blue ribbon catfish opportunities. Catfish inhabit nearly every body of water in the state. Species include flathead, blue and channel. Consider the size of these monsters caught in The Natural State. Enjoy peaceful panfishing on Lake Enterprise in south Arkansas.

Fishing 101 Panfish Panfish are typically thought of as any game fish caught on a hook and line, not sold in a market and easily fitting in a pan. Throughout The Natural State, you can find waters loaded with crappie, catfish and bluegill. Fishing for panfish is how many Arkansans first learn their angling skills, and it’s a great way to introduce the uninitiated to fishing. It’s what many return to throughout their lives for the relative ease and enjoyment of leisurely fishing.

Flathead: 139 lbs., 14 ozs.; caught on a snagline in the Arkansas River, May 1982. Largest flathead ever recorded. Flathead: 80 lbs.; caught in Arkansas River, 1989, current state rod-and-reel record. Blue: 118 lbs.; caught in lower White River at the mouth of Big Creek, 1985. Blue: 116 lbs., 12 ozs.; caught in the Mississippi River near West Memphis in 2001. Current Arkansas rod-and-reel record. Channel: 51 lbs.; caught in Lake Wilhelmina in 1993. Weight and species were certified, but the angler did not enter the fish for record book consideration. One of the largest channel cats ever caught. Channel: 38 lbs.; current Arkansas rod-and-reel record caught in Lake Ouachita in 1989.

It’s not difficult to understand why panfish are so popular in The Natural State. They are found in every type of water from small ponds to big lakes and rivers. Most kinds of panfish bite

Trout Havens For Kids Introduce young people to the joys of fishing in Dry Run Creek.

Trout Havens For Kids Dry Run Creek Dry Run Creek, flowing from Norfork National Fish Hatchery, is a catch-andrelease stream where only youths under age 16 and mobility-impaired anglers may fish, and where trout must be released immediately after they are caught. Only artificial lures with a single, barbless hooking point can be used. In December 2005, this “little stream that could” gave up a rainbow trout that may have been bigger than the Arkansas state record. An 11-year-old angler from Kansas caught the trout, which was estimated at “somewhere near 25 pounds.” There was no way to officially measure the fish on certified scales since it had to be released immediately back into the water. The trout was caught on a white crystal bugger fly.

Collins Creek Collins Creek is a project like no other in Arkansas fisheries. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers teamed up to turn an intermittent stream into a year-round trout fishery. The creek, which is within JFK Park below Greers Ferry Dam, flows into the Little Red River. A buried line brings 40,000 gallons of 50-degree water to the creek every hour. Brook and rainbow trout have reproduced naturally in the creek; it is not stocked. Only youths under age 16 may fish on Collins Creek from its source to the wooden vehicle bridge in JFK Park. Big Spring The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and partners have modeled Big Spring fishery at Cotter after the hugely successful Dry Run Creek at Norfork. Big Spring is now a place for young and disabled anglers to enjoy trout fishing with a focus on conservation through catch-and-release management. Big Spring emerges adjacent to the White River near the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Cotter Access. Only youths under age 16 accompanied by an adult and disabled anglers may fish on Big Spring. Tackle and lure restrictions are the same as for Dry Run Creek and Collins Creek.

hooked on fishing Encourage kids to develop hobbies, such as fishing in Arkansas.

Hooked On Fishing – Not On Drugs Hooked On Fishing – Not On Drugs is a youth-based program that provides students with a positive alternative to drug use and other harmful behaviors. It emphasizes healthy life skills such as developing respect for oneself, the community and the environment in the context of aquatic education. The program is for students in fourth12th grades in Arkansas. Teachers, school

administrators or other groups interested in learning more about the program may contact Dawn Cook, program coordinator. Hooked On Fishing – Not On Drugs is a national program of the Future Fisherman Foundation. In Arkansas, it is a joint effort of Governor Beebe’s office, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Department of Education. Dawn Cook, Program Coordinator • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission 2 Natural Resources Drive • Little Rock, AR 72205 501-223-6476 • 501-680-0183 •

Educating Arkansas

Educating Arkansas Conservation Education Centers Growing The idea of creating conservation education centers in Arkansas was born when Amendment 75 (the Conservation Sales Tax) was approved in 1996 and increased the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s revenue. Part classroom, part museum and part playground, the centers are helping visitors of all ages to better understand Arkansas’s wealth of natural surroundings.

is a joint venture with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A classroom is used for school field trips and teacher training. Staff includes experts who teach compass and map reading, water quality testing, natural history and other programs.

Ponca Elk Education Center Since 2002, the Ponca Elk Education Center has been telling the tale of the Rocky Mountain elk’s introduction to the Ozarks with exhibits and interactive displays. Classrooms and a meeting room provide space for youth groups and school field trips to learn about the elk, which graze along the Buffalo National River.

Fred Berry Conservation Education Center On Crooked Creek Conservationist Fred Berry secured these 421 acres (including 2.75 miles of creek frontage on captivating, free-flowing Crooked Creek), and the area is developing into a wildlife-viewing site, complete with blinds, interpretive trails and an outdoor classroom. Also a great place to fish for smallmouth bass. Crooked Creek Bottom Trail provides easy access for fishing and wildlife watching.

Ponca is on Arkansas Highway 43 in Newton County, a quarter-mile north of the Arkansas Highway 74 intersection. Information: 870-861-2432. Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center Almost 5,000 acres of blackland prairie in the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Wildlife Management Area surround classrooms, a shooting range, lodging, two ponds and more. Restoration of the prairie is the focus of the center’s educational message. Grandview Prairie also features a staff of fishing, hunter education and boating education instructors. Grandview Prairie is in Hempstead County. From Interstate 30, follow U.S. Highway 278 west and turn on Arkansas Highway 73. Continue 14 miles to Columbus, turn north on Hempstead County Road 35 and go 2 miles to the gate. Information: 800-983-4219. Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake In one of America’s largest tracts of bottomland hardwood forest, the center

From Stuttgart in Arkansas County, follow Arkansas Highway 146 about 12 miles east and turn south on Arkansas Highway 33. Go half a mile and turn east on 33 Spur (Cook’s Lake Road). Continue about 2 miles and turn on the gravel road between New Salem Baptist Church and the white house. Go half a mile, turn right through the silver gate and continue to the lodge. Information: 870-241-3373.

From the intersection of Arkansas Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 62 in Yellville, travel west eight-tenths of a mile to Marion County Road 4002. Turn left and go 1 mile to the center’s parking lot. Information: 870-449-3484. Nature Centers The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission also owns and operates four nature centers throughout Arkansas. These centers are additional outlets that the AGFC Education Division uses for hands-on outdoors experiences. Each center focuses on the natural elements and ecosystems found in its region of the state. Free admission. Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center 1400 Black Dog Road, Pine Bluff, AR 71601 870-534-0011 Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center 600 E. Lawson Road, Jonesboro, AR 72404 870-933-6787 Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center 8300 Wells Lake Road, Fort Smith, AR 72923 877-478-1043 Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center 602 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72201 501-907-0636

Young nature lovers may one day pursue careers in conservation.


Minimum Requirements Applicants must be Arkansas high school seniors or Arkansas college undergraduates pursuing a career in the field of natural resources conservation with a cumulative grade point average of 2.5

(on a 4.0 scale) the first year. Applicants must not have received a full scholarship or grant from another source. Only resident students paying in-state tuition may apply. Selections are based purely on merit. Scholarship Conditions The scholarship grants $1,000 per semester. Applicants must submit a renewal application each semester, along with a current, official transcript to continue funding each year and are eligible for up to four years of scholarship funding. Scholarship funds are restricted to tuition, books, fees and lodging. Scholarships are paid directly to the college or university. Selecting Recipients A selection committee is made up of people not employed by the AGFC. It makes selections based on a standardized scoring system approved by the AGFC. For more information, visit conservation-scholarship-program.aspx.


Many fields of study can lead to a career in conservation. Education in law enforcement, fisheries management, wildlife management, public relations, environmental education and many other fields of interest may benefit the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The Conservation Scholarship Program uses funds from the sale of conservation license plates to let students reach their potential and pursue careers in conservation.

family & Community Fishing Enjoy fishing with family and friends at various Family and Community Fishing Program locations around the state.

Family and Community Fishing High-Quality Fishing In Urban Locations The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program provides convenient and exceptional fishing destinations in urban settings. These waters receive summer catfish and winter trout stockings. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fishing pole. Many waters have Tackle Loaner Program locations nearby. Tackle restrictions and reduced creel limits may apply. Refer to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s 2013 Arkansas Fishing Guidebook for regulations. A yellow and red bobber denotes Family and Community Fishing Program locations. Community fisheries include: Amon’s Lake (Mountain Home), Lake Cherrywood (Sherwood), Dardanelle City Park ponds, Entergy Park Pond (Hot Springs), North Little Rock City Park lakes, Sherwood Municipal City Pond, Sunset Lake (Benton), Cabot Community Pond, Little Rock City Park ponds, Martin Luther King Jr. Park (Pine Bluff), Murphy Park (Springdale), Willow Beach Park (Scott), Lake Valencia (Maumelle), Yell County

Wildlife Federation Pond (Dardanelle), Wells Lake (Fort Smith), West Memphis City Park Pond, Family Park Pond (Hot Springs), Pinnacle Mountain State Park (Little Rock), Pleasant View Park Pond (Russellville), Tilden Rogers Park Pond (West Memphis) and Glenwood Community Pond (Glenwood). Special family fishing is open to disabled fishing license holders (three-year or combination disabled license). One properly licensed person may fish with the disabled fishing license holder who must be fishing. Some waters require an angler age 16 to 64 to be accompanied by a youth under the age of 16 who is fishing. Special family fishing waters are: Lake Village Community Fishing Pond, War Memorial Park and First Tee/Lander’s (Little Rock), Regional Park Pond (Pine Bluff), Armory Pond (Magnolia), Bob Courtway Pond (Conway), Dr. James E. Moore Jr. Camp Robinson Firing Range (Mayflower), Mattocks Park Lake (El Dorado), Mike and Janet Huckabee Youth Fishing Pond (Hope), Salem City Lake (Fulton County), Craighead Forest Park Youth Fishing Pond (Jonesboro), Mom’s Lake (Clay County, Corning) and Walnut Ridge City Lake (Walnut Ridge). Summer Catfish and Winter Trout Stockings Thousands of pounds of 11- to 14-inch channel catfish are stocked into family and community fisheries during April, May, June and October. Big blue catfish in the 15- to 75-pound range are occasionally stocked in summer for trophy opportunities. More than 65,000 trout are stocked in family fishing destinations each winter from November through March. Most of the trout average 1 pound, but there are a few 2- to 5-pounders stocked at random locations. For more information, call 866-540-FISH (3474).

ARKANSAS Stream Team

Volunteers help keep Arkansas waters pristine at the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center at Ferndale.

arkansas Stream Team More than 9,700 miles of streams cut across The Natural State. These rivers, creeks, bayous and springs provide drinking water, water for irrigation and industry, recreational activity and revenue to the state and its residents. Unfortunately, thousands of miles of free-flowing, natural streams have been lost to damming, as well as industrial and agricultural pollution and other activities. Recent studies indicate we’ve lost more than 25 percent of the state’s smallmouth bass streams this century. This is where the Arkansas Stream Team comes in. Through this program, concerned citizens can become involved in stream and watershed conservation. Efforts revolve around three primary aspects of stream conservation: education, advocacy and stewardship. Education – The Stream Team provides information to increase understanding and appreciation of Arkansas stream

systems. Volunteers receive training in water-quality monitoring, bank maintenance and restoration techniques. Advocacy – People with first-hand knowledge of problems, needs and solutions are better equipped to weigh in on both sides of a stream issue and speak out on behalf of Arkansas rivers and streams. The Stream Team program teaches volunteers how to work for conservation of Arkansas water resources. Stewardship – The Stream Team program helps landowners and stream users plan and carry out projects by matching them with the appropriate agency or ongoing organizational efforts. Litter control, stream bank stabilization, streamside tree plantings, improvement of fish and wildlife habitat, water-quality monitoring and other special projects are all possible. Working with landowners, volunteers have repaired hundreds of miles of eroding stream banks. Stream Team members can adopt a stream, determine its current situation and plan a project based on their initial survey. This is done with the landowner’s approval and technical assistance from program sponsors. Projects can include litter pick-ups, water-quality monitoring, stream bank erosion control, watershed improvement and more. Your imagination is the only limitation. For more information, call 501-223-6300 and ask for the Stream Team Coordinator.

Fishing Records Fishing Records


Need local information? AGFC Offices 2 Natural Resources Drive Little Rock, AR 72205 501-223-6300 • Toll-free: 1-800-364-4263 East Central Regional Office 1201 Highway 49 North Brinkley, AR 72021 Toll-free: 1-877-734-4581 Fort Smith Regional Office 8000 Taylor Ave. Fort Smith, AR 72917 Toll-free: 1-877-478-1043 Hot Springs Regional Office 350 Fish Hatchery Road Hot Springs, AR 71913 Toll-free: 1-877-525-8606 North Central Regional Office Highway 56 North • Calico Rock, AR 72519 Toll-free: 1-877-297-4331 Northeast Regional Office 600-B East Lawson Road Jonesboro, AR 72404 Toll-free: 1-877-972-5438 Northwest Regional Office 455 Dam Site Road Eureka Springs, AR 72631 Toll-free: 1-866-253-2506 South Central Regional Office 500 Ben Lane • Camden, AR 71701 Toll-free: 1-877-836-4612 Southeast Regional Office 771 Jordan • Monticello, AR 71655 Toll-free: 1-877-367-3559 Southwest Regional Office 7004 Highway 67 East Perrytown, AR 71801 Toll-free: 1-877-777-5580 West Central Regional Office 1266 Lock and Dam Road Russellville, AR 72802 Toll-free: 1-877-967-7577

These state-record fish were caught by rod and reel. They are listed by species with weight, location, date, angler and angler’s hometown (Arkansas unless noted). SPECIES lb.-oz. PLACE DATE ANGLER *Bass, Hybrid Striped 27- 05 Greers Ferry Lake 04/24/97 Jerald C. Shaum, Shirley *Bass, Largemouth 16- 04 Mallard Lake 03/02/76 Aaron Mardis, Memphis, TN *Bass, Ozark 1- 00 Bull Shoals Lake 05/13/97 Gary Nelson, Oakland *Bass, Rock 1- 08 Norfork Lake 08/02/82 Jerry Heard, Everton *Bass, Shadow 1- 13 Spring River 07/05/99 James Edward Baker, West Monroe, LA *Bass, Smallmouth 7- 05 Bull Shoals Lake 04/01/69 Acie Dickerson, Lakeview *Bass, Spotted 7- 15 Bull Shoals Lake 03/26/83 Mike Heilich, St. Louis, MO *Bass, Striped 64- 08 Beaver Lake Tailwater 04/28/00 Jeff Fletcher, Golden, MO *Bass, White 5- 06 Mississippi River 10/27/05 Bill Nelson, Memphis, TN *Bass, Yellow 2- 02 Gillham Lake 04/26/09 Tony Dinger, De Queen *Bluegill 3- 04 Fulton County 08/07/98 Albert Sharp, Elizabeth *Bowfin 17- 05 Desha County 02/21/77 Doug Smith, McGehee *Buffalo, Bigmouth 50- 00 Lake Conway 09/10/07 Tony Worm, Conway *Buffalo, Black 92- 08 Lake Maumelle 02/26/01 Kenny Deluca, Paron *Buffalo, Smallmouth 68- 08 Lake Hamilton 05/15/84 Jerry Dolezal, Berwyn, IL *Bullhead, Black 4- 12 Point Remove Creek 04/11/86 Janet Story, Morrilton *Bullhead, Brown 2- 01 Bragg Lake 02/11/13 Gene Wallace, Camden *Bullhead, Yellow 2- 01 Magness Creek Lake 06/06/11 Chase Evans, Cabot *Carp, Bighead 103- 08 Arkansas River 05/14/07 Josh Keelin, Oppelo *Carp, Common 53- 00 Lake Hamilton 03/23/85 Lynn Bradley, Royal *Carp, Grass 80- 00 Lake Wedington 06/24/04 Nathan Taylor, Farmington *Carp, Silver 39- 04 Arkansas River 05/11/95 Ryan McKim, Alexander *Catfish, Blue 116- 12 Mississippi River 08/03/01 Charles Ashley, Jr., Marion *Catfish, Channel 38- 00 Lake Ouachita 06/03/89 Joe Holleman, Waldron *Catfish, Flathead 80- 00 Arkansas River 10/28/89 Wesley White, Hartford *Crappie, Black 5- 00 Lake Wilhelmina 06/06/11 Donivan Echols, Mena *Crappie, White 4- 07 Mingo Creek 04/12/93 Shelby D. Cooper, Bald Knob *Drum, Freshwater 45- 07 Lake Wilson 07/11/04 Chuck Piker, Hamburg *Eel, American 4- 12 Arkansas River 05/26/02 Gregg Armstrong, Sheridan *Flier 0- 14 Saline River 07/10/85 Harvey Jones, Warren *Gar, Alligator 215- 00 Arkansas River 07/31/64 Alvin Bonds, Clarksville *Gar, Longnose 35- 12 Taylor Old River Lake 06/28/05 Tommy Cantrell, Dumas *Gar, Shortnose 5- 13 Lake Dardanelle 09/25/11 Thomas Kremers, Clarksville *Gar, Spotted 6- 12 Mellwood Old River 10/03/97 Vernon Neal, Jonesboro *Goldeye 0- 11 St. Francis River 05/06/07 Randy Lee King, Forrest City *Herring, Skipjack 2- 10 Lake Dardanelle 01/03/04 Jeremy Whitcomb, Little Rock *Muskie, Tiger 23- 12 Spring River 06/27/95 Randy Wyatt, Thayer, MO *Pacu 7- 01 Lakewood Lake #1 07/22/95 Gerald H. Kennedy, North Little Rock *Paddlefish 102- 08 Beaver Lake 03/22/07 Michael Curran, Rogers *Perch, Yellow 1- 11 Bull Shoals Lake 03/23/10 Fred Rich, Lakeview *Pickerel, Chain 7- 10 Little Red River 01/06/79 Abe Vogel, Heber Springs *Pike, Northern 16- 01 DeGray Lake 12/27/73 Dick Cooley, Arkadelphia *Redhorse, Golden 1- 02 Spring River 05/27/11 D. Victor Waits, Holts Summit, MO *Redhorse, River 8- 02 Spring River 04/18/06 D. Victor Waits, Holts Summit, MO *Sauger 6- 12 Arkansas River 12/15/76 Claude Eubanks, Fort Smith *Saugeye 9- 00 Lake Frierson 01/30/12 Chris Owen, Alicia *Shad, Alabama 2- 13 Ouachita River 04/04/97 Monte Pascoe, Hot Springs *Shad, Gizzard 2- 14 White River 05/09/92 Charles Jordan, Mountain View *Sturgeon, Shovelnose 5- 00 Spring River 10/10/08 D. Victor Waits, Holts Summit, MO *Sucker, Northern Hog 1- 02 Spring River 05/27/11 D. Victor Waits, Holts Summit, MO *Sunfish, Green 1- 11 Pond, Dierks 04/12/76 Keith McCullough, Dierks *Sunfish, Longear 1- 02 Table Rock Lake 04/22/91 Carl Bohannan, Eureka Springs *Sunfish, Redear 2- 14 Bois d’Arc Lake 05/04/85 Glenda Tatom, Stamps *Tilapia 3- 08 Camp Robinson 10/26/11 Sheila Easterly, Little Rock *Trout, Brook 5- 00 North Fork River 06/03/02 Billy J. Meeks, Wylie, TX *Trout, Brown 40- 04 Little Red River 05/09/92 Howard “Rip” Collins, Heber Springs *Trout, Cutthroat 9- 09 White River 10/06/85 Scott Rudolph, Ozark *Trout, Lake 11- 05 Greers Ferry Lake 12/15/97 Clark Stevenson, Greenbrier *Trout, Rainbow 19- 01 White River 03/14/81 Jim Miller, Memphis, TN *Walleye 22- 11 Greers Ferry Lake 03/12/82 Al Nelson, Higden *Warmouth 1- 08 Black Dog Bayou 05/20/98 Michael Curtis, Pine Bluff *World record. Note: The brown trout is the 4-pound-line-class world record; the walleye is the 12-pound-line-class world record. These records were caught by legal means other than rod and reel. UNRESTRICTED TACKLE *Buffalo, Bigmouth 56- 04 Calion Lake 04/03/00 Benny Alexander, El Dorado *Buffalo, Black 105- 00 Harris Brake Lake 03/14/94 Kenneth Harvey, Perryville *Buffalo, Smallmouth 74- 00 Millwood Lake 04/15/07 Zane Barrett, Murfreesboro *Bullhead, Yellow 4- 09 Blue Bayou 05/22/05 Joshua Rosenbaum, Nashville *Carp, Bighead 70- 08 Crooked Creek (Arkansas County) 07/31/08 Gregory Mitchell, Roe *Carp, Silver 61- 00 Arkansas River 07/29/10 Nash Meyers, Greenbrier *Gar, Alligator 240- 00 White River 07/28/04 John Stortz, St. Charles *Gar, Longnose 54- 00 Arkansas River 08/04/11 Torry Cook, Warren *Gar, Shortnose 6- 12 Lake Conway 04/03/98 Robert Perkins, Conway *Gar, Spotted 11- 12 Lake Overcup 04/09/05 Joseph Miller, Clinton

Fish Identification Trout Popular Baits Live bait includes worms, sculpins, crayfish and sowbugs; artificial lures resembling minnows (spinners and spoons), dry flies, wet flies, streamer flies and flies that are tied to resemble nymphs.

Fish Identification

Black And White Crappie Popular Baits Best live bait is small minnows; artificial baits include small marabou-covered jigs, plastic minnows or small streamer flies.

Black Crappie

White Crappie

7-8 dorsal spines

6 dorsal spines Spots on side arranged into 7-9 vertical bars

Spots or blotches scattered irregularly on sides and fins 6 anal spines

Catfish Popular Baits A wide variety of baits including liver, worms, grasshoppers, shrimp, chicken, cheese and stinkbait.

Blue Catfish Sharp, dorsal fin spine

Flathead Catfish Deeply forked tail fin

Sharp, dorsal fin spine

Squared anal fin Upper jaw projects beyond lower jaw

Streamlined shape

Tail NOT deeply forked

Lower jaw projects beyond upper jaw

Channel Catfish Sharp, dorsal fin spine Deeply forked tail fin Upper jaw projects beyond lower jaw

Rounded anal fin Streamlined shape

Fish Identification Walleye Popular Baits Live baits include minnows, leeches, night crawlers, chubs and small salamanders; artificial trolling lures include jointed minnows and spinner rigs.

Walleye Spiny dorsal fin Glassy, marble-like eyes

Fish Identification

Streamlined shape

Sauger Popular Baits Live baits include minnows; artificial baits include lead head jigs and crankbaits.


Dark spots on a spiny dorsal fin

Large cloudy eyes

Sharp canine teeth

Cylindrical body with dark blotches on sides

Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass And Spotted Bass Popular Baits Floating minnow-type lures, crankbaits, plastic twisters and jigs; live bait includes crayfish, frogs and minnows; flies include Clouser minnows, streamers, poppers, woolly buggers and crayfish imitations. Uniform olive brown coloration, often with vertical bars

White Bass, Striper And Hybrid Popular Baits Live or cut baits such as shad, herring, suckers and shiners; minnow-like plugs and spoons, surface plugs, spinners or jigs; large streamers for fly-fishing.

Fish Identification Longear Sunfish, Green Sunfish, Redear Sunfish And Bluegill Popular Baits Insects, crustaceans and small fish; live baits include crickets and worms; artificials include poppers, flies and small jigs.

Longear Sunfish Wavy blue lines cross the cheeks

Ear flap with red or yellow margin

Redear Sunfish

Breast yellow to yellow-orange

Back and sides light olive-green to gold

Bright red or orange margin of ear flap

Green Sunfish Large mouth and long body that resembles a bass

Undersides are white or yellow

Powder blue gill cover

Brown olive-green sides tinged with emerald green


Females have yellow breast; males copper-orange

Nile Tilapia The Nile tilapia is a species commonly farmed in the United States. They resemble perch or bass in general shape.

Black blotch on lower rear of the dorsal fin

Ear flap entirely black

Nile Tilapia

A single long dorsal fin instead of two

Anglers “Catching On” To Breaking State Tilapia Record Since 2004, the state record for tilapia has been set six times. The first state record for tilapia, 1 pound, 14 ounces, caught in 2004 on Lake Hogue in Poinsett County, was broken in 2005 by a 2-pound, 4-ounce tilapia taken from Mallard Lake in Mississippi County. On Oct. 14, 2005, B.F. Glover of Guy caught a 2-pound, 7-ounce tilapia from Win Meadow Lake. On Sept. 11, 2007, Bob Embrey of Conway landed a 3-pound, 1-ounce tilapia from a Faulkner County farm pond. Dennis Show of North Little Rock set the state record with a 3-pound, 7-ounce tilapia he caught on Lake Jewett on Oct. 9, 2008. Sheila Easterly of Little Rock broke Show’s record with a 3-pound, 8-ounce fish caught on Camp Robinson on Oct. 26, 2011. The African fish grow fast until they die in cold water, usually in late November. There is no daily limit on this tasty table fish.

Fish Identification

Breast pale red, orange or yellow

Back is olive-green to rust-brown

Sizable walleye lurk in Greers Ferry Lake.


Record-Setting Walleye No One Has It Better Arkansas can lay claim to some of the very best walleye fishing in the country. Bragging-size walleye are those 20 pounds or greater. Only four states – Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Missouri – have ever produced walleye that big. Arkansas holds the world record on the 12-poundline class with a 22-pound, 11-ounce walleye caught from Greers Ferry Lake. When To Fish For Walleye If it’s big walleye you’re after, try late winter and early spring. The key to finding walleye in late winter is water temperature. When it rises to 42 degrees, they begin staying near spawning areas such as the mouths of tributaries and rocky main lake points. Most spawning takes place at a water temperature of 50 to 52 degrees. In Arkansas, this usually happens in early March. In summer, look for walleye in water 20-30 feet deep along submerged gravel bars. In fall, they move to shallow water as the temperatures drop and gather along ledges and gravel bars that are 2 to 15 feet beneath the surface of the lake. Windward banks are usually best for walleye fishing.

As winter approaches, walleye move into deeper water, sometimes to 50 feet or more. They’re hard to find and catch until they move into shallow water in February, beginning the cycle again. Where To Go Walleye are more widespread in Arkansas than most anglers realize. Greers Ferry receives the most publicity, and while it probably has more potential for big walleye than any other lake, it’s far from being the state’s only good walleye fishery. Walleye also are found in Bull Shoals, Greeson, Norfork, Ouachita, Catherine, Hamilton and Table Rock. Stream Fishing For stream walleye, north Arkansas’s Spring River is hard to beat. Some sampling surveys in recent years revealed more walleye than trout in the Spring River. Between Mammoth Spring and Hardy, try jigs in the foamy water below shoals and waterfalls. Farther downstream from Myatt Creek to the river’s mouth, walleye are scarcer but bigger, with several 12- to 15-pound fish caught in recent years. Boulders and riffle areas are the best spots for catching stream walleye. Stream-running walleye are also found in the Black, Caddo, Current, Eleven Point, Kings, Lower Little Missouri, Middle White, North Fork, Spring, Upper Little Missouri, Upper Ouachita, Upper Saline and Upper White rivers and War Eagle Creek. No matter the season, there are important sources of information no angler seeking walleye should ignore. Local bait shops, boat docks and anglers can provide valuable tips on baits, lures and tactics. Specific area information can lead to local bait and lure favorites that can increase your success.


Lake Columbia in south Arkansas offers excellent bass fishing.

A Bevy of Bass Largemouth Bass The largemouth bass is by far the most popular sport fish in Arkansas, according to a survey conducted by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The combination of size, fighting ability and distribution throughout the state makes the largemouth bass a game fish for everyone. The largemouth bass is the largest of the basses known as black bass. Other Arkansas black basses are the Kentucky (or spotted bass) and smallmouth bass. Adult largemouth bass averaging 10 to 20 inches in length and 1/2 to 41/2 pounds are common. The state-record largemouth bass caught on Mallard Lake in 1976 weighed 16 pounds, 4 ounces.

and Hamilton – and four major rivers – the Arkansas, Little, lower Ouachita and Red.

Striper Healthy populations of striped bass can be found in six Arkansas reservoirs – Beaver, Greeson, Norfork, Ouachita, Catherine

Stripers are caught along the entire 320-mile length of the Arkansas River in Arkansas, from the river’s mouth in Desha County to Fort Smith on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border. In spring, they migrate upriver into the tailwaters below river dams. Slack-water periods, when few or no gates

Hybrid Striper Ounce for ounce and pound for pound, few fish in Arkansas waters compare to the often-overlooked hybrid striper. These stocky sport fish, members of the true bass family, are created in hatcheries by crossing female striped bass and male white bass. Here are some of the lakes and rivers where anglers should find some great bass action. Arkansas River The Arkansas River offers 300 miles of fish habitat from Oklahoma to Mississippi. Even when you omit the portions officially named Ozark Lake and Lake Dardanelle, you will have a bassing area larger than any of the big man-made lakes in the state. Bass fishing competitions on the river are common.

are open, are great times for fishing with medium-weight tackle and live minnows. Spring anglers also congregate below the Ozark-Jetta Taylor Lock and Dam on the lake’s upstream end and below Dardanelle Lock and Dam, which impounds the lake. Lake Hamilton This 7,460-acre lake in Hot Springs is great for striper fishing. It is home to two previous state-record catches.

was caught on Greers Ferry Lake in 1988. This 31,500-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impoundment has produced several state-record hybrids, and the lake became the focus of nationwide attention when Jerald Shaum caught his world-record 27-pound, 5-ounce hybrid in 1997. In summer, many hybrid aficionados night fish with 8- to 10-inch live gizzard shad. Typical tackle is a 61/2- to 7-foot medium-action rod paired with a baitcasting reel spooled with 20- to 30-pound-test monofilament. For additional information on Greers Ferry, contact the AGFC’s Central River Valley office, toll-free 877-470-3650, or the Little Rock District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office, 501-324-5551.


Lake Ouachita Arkansas’s largest man-made lake (40,100 acres) has a variety of habitat – creeks, drop-offs, moss beds and knolls – a little of everything. Deep, crystal-clear, with a floor of rocks, trees and other cover, and plenty of baitfish, Ouachita is ideal for big stripers. One of the most popular methods for catching them is trolling with downriggers along the river channel from near the dam to where it is joined by the Little Blakely and Big Blakely creek channels. In May, many stripers also congregate in the upper end of the lake, especially in the area around the Arkansas Highway 27 bridge.

Lake Ouachita, west of Hot Springs, is known for excellent striper fishing.

Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir It’s 6,700 acres and still a good bass lake at over 50 years of age. Old creek channels that can be found on all sides of the lake are some of the best places to fish.

Hook a bass on any of Arkansas’s lakes.

Millwood Lake This lake has diverse visible cover, a lot of timber and structure. It’s an interesting lake to fish and has a lot of prime spots to catch bass. Greers Ferry Lake There are good odds that the next largemouth bass state record will come from Greers Ferry Lake. A largemouth bass that weighed 15 pounds, 15 ounces

Bull Shoals Lake Five- to 10-pound largemouth bass aren’t rare in Bull Shoals, and a 12-pounder has been boated in this lake known for excellent smallmouth and spotted bass, as well as other game fish. Beaver Lake Beaver offers clear-water fishing at its north end and dingy-water fishing in the tributaries flowing in from the south. When quick rises in its level move muddy water northward, the lake’s midsection often produces outstanding shallow-water fishing. Beaver Lake has given up several 40-pound-plus state-record stripers. In spring, these huge fish may be scattered all over the lake, but there are some areas and methods you can count on. One prime hot spot encompasses the

stocked annually, and stripers over 40 pounds are commonly taken. Many in the 30-pound class are caught every year. Shad are plentiful in Norfork Lake, so stripers average 21/2 to 3 pounds of growth per year. A 20-year-old striper in Norfork Lake weighs about 25 pounds.

Take in a beautiful sunset on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas.


huge flats near where the White River and War Eagle Creek join in the upper portion of Beaver. The main river channel averages 60 to 65 feet deep through this area, but is surrounded by flats that average from 10 to 30 feet in depth. Beaver’s spring stripers always can be found somewhere in this vicinity.

DeGray Lake Near Arkadelphia, this big (13,400 acres) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir can be counted on for good catches of largemouth bass. Some of the fastest action, however, is provided by striped bass and hybrid stripers. Anglers often find mixed schools of hybrid stripers and white bass. Both species run together, feeding on schools of shad, with the best action in summer in the hours around dawn and dusk. Look for schools thrashing the water’s surface near the dam and around the islands between DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge and Iron Mountain Lodge and Marina. When fishing for hybrids here, it’s best to rig some rods with topwater lures and others with spoons or crankbaits. Maps and info can be obtained from the Vicksburg District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 601-631-5054.

Creek mouths are among the best striper and hybrid fishing areas on 28,000-acre Beaver Lake, especially in summer. Some worth checking out include War Eagle Creek, the White River, Ford’s Creek, Cedar Creek and Rambo Creek. For lake info, contact the Little Rock District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office, 501-324-5551. Felsenthal A lot of largemouth bass come out of these Ouachita River bottoms all year long. If you know the workings of plastic worms, spinner baits and crankbaits, you’re ready for Felsenthal. Lake Chicot Arkansas’s largest natural lake (a Mississippi River oxbow) is stocked with Florida-strain largemouth bass, so be prepared with stout tackle. Norfork Lake The oldest of Arkansas’s large man-made impoundments, Norfork has consistent variety in its fishing. Norfork Lake contains one of the best striped bass fisheries in Arkansas, as well as black bass. The lake is

Bass are plentiful in Arkansas lakes and rivers.

Lake Dardanelle The 34,300-acre Lake Dardanelle has one of the most consistent bass habitats in the Arkansas River system. Experts will tell you that Lake Dardanelle at Russellville toward the upper end of the river is the place to go for big largemouth. Lake Dardanelle is also perhaps the best Arkansas River striper pool. Twentypound-plus stripers are always possible, and 2- to 6-pound bass are common. Look for stripers in the lower reaches of Dardanelle around the main river channel and the mouths of major creeks and streams. While the Arkansas River impoundments produce many striped bass, some anglers aren’t aware that hybrids are available in some pools as well. Hybrids up to 10 pounds have been caught below Ozark Dam, primarily in the fall and again in the spring spawning run. Hybrids are also in the pool below Dardanelle.

Lake Greeson The heaviest striper on record from Lake Greeson weighed an impressive 39 pounds, and many stripers over 25 pounds are taken yearly. Stripers were first stocked here in 1968, and fishing for these powerful brutes is exceptional. In May, look for fish running the Little Missouri River, mixed in with schools of white bass. Surface-feeding stripers frequently appear in the Chimney Rock area at dawn and dusk. Lake Greeson is north of Murfreesboro in west-central Arkansas’s Ouachita Mountains. Table Rock Lake An arm of this huge reservoir extends into Arkansas and provides good fishing for largemouth bass, striped bass, white bass and walleye in the Eureka Springs area. Smallmouth bass are popular game fish in Arkansas.

White River The lower portion of this famous river has excellent fishing for largemouth bass on its many oxbow lakes.

Smallmouth Bass One of three black bass in Arkansas, smallmouth bass have many colorful local names. “Bronzeback,” “red-eye,” “tiger bass,” “brown bass” and just plain “brownie” are used to describe this feisty fish. Smallmouth Haunts Although smallmouth occur in Bull Shoals, Greers Ferry and a few other lakes, most of the state’s bronzeback action takes place on streams.

In the Ouachita Mountains, smallmouth inhabit the Rolling Fork, upper Little Missouri, upper Ouachita and Cossatot rivers. Smallmouth streams a little farther east of these mountain rivers include the Caddo River, the lower Ouachita River just below Lake Catherine and the upper Saline River. White Bass The white bass is a schooling fish offering fast action. Its preferred habitat includes large, open lakes and moderate current streams. White bass fishing in the spring is best in the lake tributaries during the spawning run. Openwater fishing for schooling white bass is great in mid- to late summer. Where To Catch Them White bass are found in the Arkansas River and in all large lakes including Beaver, Bull Shoals, Norfork, Greers Ferry, Ouachita, Millwood, Maumelle, Nimrod, Hamilton, DeGray and Overcup. Fall Bass Allure Autumn provides superb largemouth bass fishing opportunities for Arkansas anglers. Bass move from deep summer haunts to shallow feeding areas as water cools, and the average angler can more easily fish for them. When this happens in spring, bass are preoccupied with spawning activities, but during fall, the only thing on their minds is food. Fall bass seem ravenous and willing to travel farther to take a lure.

Major smallmouth streams in the Ozarks include the Spring, Eleven Point, Current


Lakes Dunn And Austell At Village Creek State Park For over 20 years, Dunn and Austell have been delighting anglers with a steady yield of big Florida-strain largemouth bass. Since 1987, dozens of big bass have been caught in these two lakes. On February 28, 2012, a 16-pound, 5-ounce whopper was snagged from Lake Dunn. It would have been the state-record largemouth bass; however, the angler was not in possession of a valid fishing license.

and Strawberry rivers in northeast Arkansas. North-central Arkansas hot spots include Crooked Creek and the Buffalo and Little Red rivers. In the northwest, smallmouth prefer War Eagle and Big Piney creeks, Illinois Bayou and the Mulberry, Illinois, and upper and middle White rivers.

Trout Sunrise fishing on the White River is the best.

A Trout Fishing Paradise World records, pristine waters, dramatic scenery and some of the finest fishing resorts in the country are what make trout fishing in The Natural State so special. Arkansas has 153 miles of tailwater trout streams and 95,000 acres of trout-stocked reservoirs. There are rivers and streams that experts and novices alike will find challenging, rewarding and, above all else, fun. All that’s required is a fishing license, trout permit and your favorite tackle. Trout Rivers Greers Ferry Tailwater (Little Red River) This popular tailwater trout stream is beautiful in its own special way, running clear and cold, skirted by scenic hardwood hillsides alive with wildlife – otters, raccoons, deer, songbirds and eagles. Stocked rainbow trout provide the bulk

of the Little Red River’s fish population – hatchery fish raised on a diet of commercial trout chow. Yet few will ignore offerings of whole-kernel corn, night crawlers, cheese and other baits. There are wild fish, too – big brown trout, sleek and magnificent, that spawn on tumbling river shoals each fall. Fly-fishers try for both species using flies that include sowbugs, woolly buggers and a variety of emergers. The trout fishing stretch of the Little Red is 29 river miles from Greers Ferry Dam to Pangburn. But the Little Red is anything but little in the hearts of trout anglers who flock to the river in search of big fish. Every time you fish these waters is another opportunity to try to top the 40-pound, 4-ounce brown trout that the late Howard “Rip” Collins of Heber Springs landed on the Little Red. Bull Shoals Tailwater (White River) To trout fishing enthusiasts, the White River in north Arkansas is treasured water. Weather and water temperatures are excellent for trout fishing all year, and all four seasons produce almost equal fishing success. The trout habitat extends from the Bull Shoals Dam to Lock and Dam No. 3 below Guion, a distance of 101 river miles. Big brown trout are a top White River attraction, especially in the upper reaches of the tailwater when they come off their spawn in late January or

early February. Check the “bragging board” photos at the various trout fishing resorts and outfitters for impressive photos of big browns that have been caught. Rainbows are the White’s bread-andbutter trout. Cutthroat trout and brook trout swim in the White River because of stocking efforts by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Beaver Tailwater (White River) Another stretch of the White – the Beaver Dam tailwater – also offers trout fishing. This 8-mile stretch flows in a northerly direction just off U.S. Highway 62 between Eureka Springs and Gateway. It’s stocked throughout the year by the AGFC with rainbow and brown trout. The biggest trout recently have been caught downstream of the Houseman Access. The water here is gin-clear, so use very light line, 4-pound-test or less, whenever possible. That will greatly increase your chances of catching trout, whether you’re bait fishing or throwing artificial lures. The Beaver tailwater may not have the name recognition of Arkansas’s more prominent trout waters, but it certainly has plenty of rainbows and browns worth chasing. Spring River Spring River is unique among Arkansas trout streams; its cold water comes naturally from a spring rather than artificially from deep within a man-made lake. Every hour, Mammoth Spring releases 9 million gallons of 58-degree water, and the river stays cold enough to support a good trout population for 10 miles downstream.

Fishing and floating are popular on the beautiful Spring River in northcentral Arkansas.

The beauty of the White River is a joy to behold. From dogwoods blossoming snowy white along the banks in spring to the glow of burnt-orange leaves in autumn, this country captivates all who enjoy the outdoors. There is nowhere on earth that has such magnificent scenery, watchable wildlife and world-class trout fishing as the tail waters of Bull Shoals Lake, the White River. Accommodations range from campsites to first-class resorts. Fishing guides can put you onto big brown or rainbow trout, and fishing is excellent year round. For a trout fishing experience that feels surreal, come to the White River. – Heather Crunkleton Owner of Rainbow Drive Resort

Bank fishing is limited below Dam 3, both by streamside topography and the fact that both banks of the river are privately owned. There’s a small wade-fishing/bank-fishing area alongside the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery, but aside from this area, the best way to fish the river downstream from the dam is from a canoe. Rentals are available near the hatchery, or you can launch your own at the public ramp. The first 3 miles below Dam 3 provide the best action and the biggest fish. One-pound to 3-pound rainbows are fairly common, although most fish are recently released stockers. Brown trout provide a trophy-trout facet to the river’s fishing profile. Although you’ll find fish in deep-water runs, the best fishing is usually just below riffles and falls. Norfork Tailwater (North Fork River) Its official name is North Fork of the White River, but the local residents over the years shortened it to Norfork. This 5-mile stretch of water has produced literally hundreds of 10-poundplus brown trout, including a 34-pounder and a 38-pound, 9-ounce former world record. The current state-record brook trout (5 pounds) also came from the North Fork. It’s an excellent stream for boaters and bank anglers alike. The mainstay of the North Fork is stocking-size rainbows, just as it is on all the state’s other trout waters. Most fish caught here are rainbows from 11 to 14 inches long. To improve on an already good fishery, the stretch of river from the mouth of Otter Creek to 100 yards above River Ridge Walk-In Access (about 1 mile) has been set aside as a catch-and-release area. The North Fork is the best cutthroat trout fishery in Arkansas. Five-pounders are common.


Any trout fishing method can be used here with success, but many visitors choose a traditional float-fishing excursion. The standard White River rig is a long, lean johnboat equipped with captain’s chairs for fishing comfort, a drink cooler, a 9.9-hp motor to take you back upriver to your resort at day’s end and a guide who knows every riffle and pool in the river and what the trout like to eat.

Even though Spring River’s trout water area is short, it has a lot of diversity. The 3-mile stretch from Mammoth Spring to Dam 3 (an old hydropower structure) is ideal for wading or fishing from the bank, except for the deep section near the dam, which provides good boat fishing.

Another high-quality fishery in the area is Dry Run Creek, the outflow of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. This short stretch of nutrient-rich water has an excellent trout population, and it has been set aside as a special catch-and-release stream for properly licensed disabled anglers and for kids under 16. Only artificial lures with a single, barbless hook may be used, and fishing is from sunrise to sunset only.


Ouachita And Little Missouri Rivers Although they’re limited in size and big-fish potential, short stretches of both the Ouachita and the Little Missouri rivers provide excellent seasonal fishing for rainbow trout. On the Little Missouri, the AGFC releases trout in two areas. Below Narrows Dam, the coldwater release from Lake Greeson is suitable for trout during winter and spring. From early December until late April or early May, fishing for stocker-size trout is good from the bank on both sides of the river. The other Little Missouri trout fishery is upstream from Lake Greeson in the Ouachita National Forest near Albert Pike Recreation Area. This, too, is a small fishery, and the spring-fed stream above the lake provides a seasonal trout fishery. Like the tailwater section of river below Narrows Dam, this headwater region is also a bank-fishing situation. Upstream from Albert Pike, you’ll find trout all the way to Little Missouri Falls (about 6 miles). While the 81/2-mile run from Albert Pike to Arkansas Highway 84 is popular with canoeists, it’s not a good float-fishing stream. On the Ouachita River, coldwater releases from Blakely Mountain Dam (Lake Ouachita) and Carpenter Dam (Lake Hamilton) provide good cool-season fishing for put-and-take rainbows for short stretches below each dam, from the bank or from a boat.

Arkansas trout? It depends on weather, water conditions, season, the tackle you prefer using, whether you’re fishing from bank or boat, which trout water you happen to be fishing and a host of other variables. Fly-fishing is popular among Arkansas trout anglers, particularly on the White, North Fork and Little Red. Some favorite wet patterns include red fox squirrel hair nymphs, sowbugs, scuds, woolly buggers, sculpin and softshell crayfish patterns. A wide range of small artificials is effective in most Arkansas trout waters. Small minnow-type plugs are good, as are spinners, small crankbaits, spoons and small jigs. Effective natural baits include night crawlers, crayfish, sculpins and waxworms. Many anglers tip a marabou jig with a wax worm for an effective combination. Other popular baits are Velveeta cheese, marshmallows, canned corn, salmon eggs and commercial baits.

Area Stocked 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Bull Shoals Tailwater (White River) Greers Ferry Tailwater (Little Red River) Beaver Dam Tailwater (White River) Spring River Norfork Tailwater (North Fork River) Blanchard Springs

7. 8. 9.

Lake Hamilton Lake Catherine Lake Greeson (Narrows Dam) Tailwater (Little Missouri River) Upper Little Missouri River Lake Ouachita (Blakely Mountain Dam) Ouachita River Various City Parks

10. 11. 12.

Acres or Miles 92 Miles 26 Miles 8 Miles 10 Miles 5 Miles 3 Acres (1-Mile Stream Below) Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal

Trophy trout can be found on the White River.

Baits And Lures What’s the best bait or lure choice for

Minimum Flow

The bridge at Cotter spans the White River, an Arkansas treasure.

Minimum Flow If you’ve fished Arkansas’s world-famous tailwaters when water wasn’t being released below the dam, you have some idea of the problem that could be relieved by providing minimum flows. The White River minimum-flow issue dates back nearly a half century when trout were stocked in the White River below Bull Shoals Dam to replace the native warmwater fish wiped out by the dam’s coldwater release system. Bull Shoals and other White River system dams were built for flood control and power generation. Fishing wasn’t mentioned in the congressional acts that launched the dams, but Arkansas’s trout-fishing industry has grown to international renown and has become a major economic activity. The problem? When water flows are too low, multiple problems arise, like diminished food production, hampered small boat navigation and increased water temperatures.

Minimum flow is the release of water through a dam downstream when no water is being released for flood control or hydropower generation. This would maintain a small flow in the river below the dam. Minimum flow not only will improve trout habitat – it also could be used to produce electricity. Arkansas lost the rugged, wild beauty of the White River when dams were built for flood control and rural electricity. Minimum-flow releases are an environmental enhancement that will more closely simulate a natural stream and the river-flow conditions before the dams were built. The trout fisheries below the White River dams at Beaver, Bull Shoals, Norfork and Greers Ferry are valued at more than $180 million in direct expenditures by anglers. Minimum-flow releases recognize the tremendous environmental and economic value the White River brings to northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. Congress has authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release minimum flows at Bull Shoals and Norfork dams and has funded the costs for relocation of lakeside facilities impacted by the reallocation of lake storage. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission continues to work with congressional members and the Corps of Engineers to improve the state’s trout fishery. While the effects on anglers won’t be dramatic, minimum flow will greatly enhance a trout fishery already considered one of the world’s best.


Lake Maps

Distributed throughout the state, Arkansas’s 52 state parks offer a wide variety of scenic, recreational and educational experiences, including excellent fishing opportunities. Several parks are on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs and Game and Fish lakes. Seven others provide outstanding public fishing on small lakes within park boundaries. For more information, contact the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. A free state parks guide is available by calling 1-888-AT-PARKS.

Marianna, AR 72360 (Bear Creek and Storm Creek lakes). Many Arkansas cities, counties and major corporations own fishing lakes open to the public. The largest of these are 8,900-acre Lake Maumelle near Little Rock, owned and operated by Central Arkansas Water; and 7,000-acre Lake Erling near Crossett, owned by International Paper Company. Only lakes 500 acres and larger are listed on the fish chart.

The USDA Forest Service owns nine major public fishing lakes within the Ozark, Ouachita and St. Francis national forests. For more information, contact: Ouachita National Forest, USFS Box 1270, Hot Springs, AR 71902 (Sylvia and Shady lakes); Ozark National Forest, P.O. Box 1008, Russellville, AR 72801 (Cove, Wedington, Mirror, Shores and Spring lakes); or St. Francis National Forest, St. Francis Ranger District,

Lake Maps

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Lakes




39 37

Tiger Muskie Warmouth White Bass

Largemouth Bass Redear Sunfish Rock Bass Spotted Bass

Channel Catfish Crappie Flathead Catfish Hybrid Striper

Blue Catfish Bluegill

Warmouth White Bass

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission owns more lake acreage than any other state wildlife agency in the U.S. Lake Conway (6,700 acres) is the largest lake ever built by a state wildlife agency, and the AGFC owns four other lakes – Lower White Oak, Harris Brake, Hinkle and Overcup – that are larger than those owned by any other game and fish agency. All told, the AGFC owns and operates more than 30 manmade public fishing lakes covering more than 20,000 acres. It also owns more than 30 natural lakes open to public fishing on wildlife management areas and other locations throughout Arkansas. For more information on AGFC lakes, contact the Fisheries Division of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at 501-223-6371.


Blue Catfish Bluegill Channel Catfish Crappie Flathead Catfish Hybrid Striper Largemouth Bass Redear Sunfish Rock Bass Spotted Bass


Lake Maps


Corps of Engineers, Oxbows and Other Natural Lakes

Many oxbows and other natural lakes are open to public fishing in Arkansas, particularly along the Mississippi, White, Arkansas and Ouachita rivers in the eastern and southern portions of the state. Among the best of these are the natural lakes found within national wildlife refuges. For information on NWR lakes, contact: Big Lake NWR, Box 67, Manila, AR 72442, 870-564-2429 Felsenthal NWR, Box 1157, Crossett, AR 71635, 870-364-3167 Holla Bend NWR, Box 1043, Russellville, AR 72801, 479-968-2800 Wapanocca NWR, Box 279, Turrell, AR 72384, 870-343-2595 White River NWR, Box 308, DeWitt, AR 72042, 870-946-1468

Cool Water Streams ~ Warm Water Streams

river Map

While the fast-flowing, cool, mountain streams are usually more scenic and often more popular with visitors, the warm-water streams snaking their way across the Delta and Coastal Plain regions of eastern and southern Arkansas shouldn’t be overlooked by serious anglers. These sluggish, flatland waters teem with bass, crappie, bluegill and a variety of other sport fish. In some areas, bank fishing is popular, while in others, a boat is necessary for access. For Buffalo National River information, contact: Buffalo National River, 402 N. Walnut, Suite 136, Harrison, AR 72601;; 870-741-5443

River MAP

Scattered throughout the mountain regions of Arkansas are dozens of cool-water streams where anglers may catch smallmouth and spotted bass and a variety of other species that prefer cool temperatures. In addition, thousands of people each year enjoy Arkansas’s world-famous trout fishing in the White and Little Red rivers and other cold-water streams that hold trout.

Spring/Summer Fishing Summer is good for crappie fishing on Upper White Oak Lake near Camden.

Spring/Summer Fishing Springtime Is Arkansas Fishing At Its Finest When the mild temperatures take hold in the spring, that’s when you find some of the best fishing for bluegill, redear, crappie and largemouth bass. Here are some prime waters for early season fishing. Lake Ouachita Ouachita covers 40,000 acres at normal pool level, with a crooked, rugged shoreline and an abundance of islands, especially in the lower (east) end of the lake. There are also many shallow areas that provide excellent feeding and holding places for bass, with deep-water escape just a few fin strokes away. Bass anglers do well around these islands and shallow areas using surface lures, spinner baits, crankbaits, jigs and plastic worms. Arkansas River The shallow, backwater areas adjacent

to the Arkansas River are a great early season bass hot spot. You can find these backwaters almost anywhere along the river from Fort Smith to Arkansas Post. However, the lower ends of the 12 navigational pools generally contain more backwater areas than the upper ends of those pools because the water level is higher relative to the river bank in the lower ends of the pools. Upper White Oak Lake At 2,700 acres, White Oak is the second-largest of the AGFC’s public lakes. Crappie are abundant and hefty in White Oak, as are bluegill and redear. The star of the lake is the Florida largemouth bass. The lake has given up fish larger than 13 pounds – and most of these big fish are caught in the spring. Most lake veterans favor plastic worms for bass, but slow-rolled spinner baits and slowly worked surface lures also have accounted for some lunkers. Bear Creek Lake This 625-acre USDA Forest Service lake on Crowley’s Ridge has more than 15 miles of shoreline, and this makes for an abundance of good fishing for big bluegill and redear when the fish are in shallow water on the spawning beds. Look for beds of spawning fish on the gradually sloping banks, particularly near points, and also in the backs of the wider (and shallower) coves. The peak of spawning activity usually occurs during the new moon in April and again on the new moon in May.

sandbars where you can sit and enjoy night fishing. Two public recreation areas on the river – St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area and St. Francis National Forest – offer access for a first-rate nighttime catfishing junket. The Sunken Lands are scattered along 30 miles of river from Monette to Marked Tree. A flatbottom boat with a small outboard is the primary mode of travel for catfish anglers here. Boats can be launched at three concrete ramps – one at Stevens Landing east of Trumann, one at Oak Donnick south of Tulot and one at Siphons north of Marked Tree. All three species of big cats are taken by anglers who cast to breaklines in bottom structure. Deep holes, outside channel bends and areas above and below sandbars are good places to fish. Crayfish, night crawlers and blood bait are favored by many local anglers fishing for channel cats, but live sunfish and cut shad are preferred for flatheads and blues, respectively. Big cats can be taken from an anchored boat, from sandbars or by drifting with the current.

The Mississippi River near Helena-West Helena is an ideal spot for catching catfish.

Tackle Tips Simple tackle is best for darkside catting. A cane pole works fine, but most catters use a medium-action rod-and-reel combo for extra reach. Six- to 15-pound line and size 1 to 2/0 hooks are OK unless you’re fishing specifically for heavyweight fish. Fish on bottom using a split shot or small slip sinker to dunk your bait. Or use a bobber to float the bait slightly above bottom. Tactics If possible, fish near weedbed edges, river bends, inundated creek channels, log jams, boat docks, long points or other prominent structures. On dark, moonless nights, catfish hunt the shallows. Cast your bait near shore, not toward deeper water. On moonlit nights, start deep and work into progressively shallower water until you find fish. Fishing Holes and Campgrounds There are lots of great places where you can enjoy a summer catfishing trip in Arkansas. One favorite is the St. Francis River. Extraordinary populations of big flathead, blue and channel cats swim in this broad bottomland river, and during summer when the water level typically is low, there are plenty of

Pool 6 of the Arkansas River at Little Rock has for years been one of the Arkansas River’s hottest pools for consistency and numbers. Trophy blues, channels and flatheads always are possible. There’s excellent access for bank fishing in the first mile below Murray Lock and Dam and the North Little Rock hydroelectric plant on the north bank and at Little Rock’s Murray Park on the south bank. Some anglers bottom-bounce 1- to 2-ounce jigs tipped with cut shad or herring along the channels for numbers. Cast whole baitfish into grooves of slow-moving water immediately below the dam for a shot at a bigger catfish. Arkansas encompasses many other outstanding catfishing waters. Some of the best for a summertime camping excursion with the family include DeGray Lake near Arkadelphia, where you can enjoy an island campout/ catfishing combo; Lake Charles near Powhatan, which has a fishing pier and state park campground; Millwood Lake, which offers a campground and marina; and lakes Dardanelle and Ozark on the Arkansas River, both of which have excellent bank-fishing access and family campgrounds at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers parks throughout their lengths.

Cast your line on Lake Dardanelle at Russellville.

Spring/Summer Fishing

Nighttime Is The Right Time For Arkansas’s Summer Catfish Night fishing for summer catfish is a sport like no other. You can catch cats during daylight hours, especially during cloudy periods or when water is muddy. The odds of success improve, however, if you fish the hours between dusk and dawn.

FALL/WINTER Fishing Serene fishing awaits you on Lake Maumelle in central Arkansas.

Fall/Winter Fishing Even as the temperatures cool, there is still great fishing to be found all across the state. Whether it’s the brown trout spawning on the Little Red River or giant catfish on the Mississippi River, you are in for a treat. Here are some hot spots across the state that will likely yield consistent success. St. Francis River Sunken Lands Spotted Bass The Sunken Lands along northeast Arkansas’s St. Francis River were formed by the 1811 New Madrid Earthquake. Few people know about the region’s superb spotted bass fishing, but at

times, a visit here can produce a limit of 2- to 3-pounders in a single hour. Beaver Lake Stripers And Hybrid Stripers Beaver Lake supports healthy populations of both striped bass and hybrid striped bass. In November, this 28,000-acre Ozark Mountain impoundment serves up fast-paced action for both of these hard-hitting sport fish. The Little Red River Brown Trout The Little Red offers 29 miles of ideal trout habitat below Greers Ferry Dam at Heber Springs. Brown trout running 5 to 8 pounds are common, and a 20- to 30-pounder is always possible in the river that produced the 40-pound, 4-ounce world record in the 4-pound-line class. The brown trout spawning run occurs from mid-October through November, making this an especially good time to fish.

Mississippi River Blue Catfish In September, big blue cats, some topping 100 pounds, hold near river channel dropoffs, humps, holes, outside stream bends, log jams and toppled trees. Among the best fishing areas are the junctures of the Mississippi and large tributaries like the St. Francis, White and Arkansas rivers. Use heavy tackle – rods 8 to 12 feet long, big level-wind reels and 30- to 100-pound line. Shad, dead/cut herring and sunfish are common baits. Lakes Norfork And Bull Shoals Crappie November is prime time to catch crappie around the fish attractors made from shoreline trees on lakes Norfork and Bull Shoals. Positioned in clusters below the water’s surface, the trees create large brush piles serving as shelter for young fish, minnows and shad, and attracting black bass and crappie. Fish attractors are marked with blue-and-white reflective signs on the shoreline, and their GPS locations are available on interactive maps at Upon locating a marked sign, steer your boat 20-30 feet away from it. Using 4-pound-test line and a 1/16-ounce jig head, cast toward the fish attractor. Count down until you get a hit or hit brush. If you get a hit, use the same count the next cast. If you hit brush, use a shorter count. Winter Fishing Here are some places to try for hot winter fishing action. White Oak Largemouths White Oak Lake in southwest Arkansas has been a superb bass fishery since its creation in 1961. January and February are

considered the best bassing months by many local anglers. Big largemouths are usually around stick-ups, fallen timber and cypress trees on 5- to 8-footdeep flats with deep water nearby. Norfork And Bull Shoals Crappie Winter is prime time for catching crappie around man-made fish attractors in these north Arkansas U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs. Little Missouri Smallmouth Bass Along most of this stream, from the headwaters south of Big Fork to the backwaters of Lake Greeson and below the dam as well, you’ll find good action for smallmouth bass. Winter fishing is outstanding. The first float is from Albert Pike Recreation Area near Langley to Arkansas Highway 84, 81/2 miles of good smallmouth territory. The next section, Arkansas Highway 84 to Lake Greeson, covers 11 miles of smallmouth fishing paradise. Arkansas River Saugers And White Bass Saugers and whites up to 2 pounds are common catches on the Arkansas River this season. Fishing tailwaters is the way to load a stringer, with those below Ozark, Dardanelle and Murray dams among the best. Be on the water at night or just before dawn and dusk for best success.

Enjoy fishing, birding and wildlife watching near Montrose in south Arkansas.

White River At Mountain View Trout And Smallmouth The White River is a trout angler’s paradise. Concentrate on downstream waters near Mountain View. On this section, winter anglers enjoy action for brown and rainbow trout. Outside catch-and-release areas, try drift fishing with salmon eggs and night crawlers when water is high. During low flows, spinners, jigs and small spoons fished in deeper pools bring strikes, and fly anglers can try dry flies, nymphs and streamers. Large smallmouth bass often frequent the Mountain View area on the White and usually hit spinners or crayfish readily. Greers Ferry Walleyes On Greers Ferry Lake near Heber Springs, one doesn’t have to look long to find anglers who have taken huge walleyes. Fifteen- to 18-pounders are caught yearly during the late-February to mid-March spawning time, and many think this is the probable home of another world record. Most walleyes are caught in three tributaries – the Middle Fork, South Fork and Devil’s Fork of the Little Red River.

Fall/Winter Fishing

East Moon Lake Catfish And Bass For a real get-away-from-it-all trip, East Moon Lake in White River National Wildlife Refuge is hard to beat. This oxbow is in the south end of the refuge off Arkansas Highway 85 between Crumrod and Snow Lake. It’s tough to find, but well worth the effort. You can bass fish by day and catfish at night, camping in the primitive area (no facilities) at lakeside.

Arkansas Fishing Guide  

The Arkansas Fishing Guide is a partnership of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and memb...

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