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ARKANSAS WILD chill & thrill

adventures

plus! 2019 fishing guide

jeffrey glasbrenner the wild interview

MAY 2019 ARKANSASWILD.COM ARKANSASWILD.COM | 1


more than just trout.

1777 river road | lakeview, arkansas 870-431-5202 | gastons@gastons.com gastons.com | lat 36 20’ 55” n | long 92 33’ 25” w

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MAY 2019 ARKANSASWILD.COM

ON THE COVER: Warmer weather means Arkansas adventures as Gabe Holmstrom of Little Rock attests. PHOTO BY Matthew Martin

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ARKANSAS FREEDOM FUND GETS VETS MOVING 14

NO LIMITS

Jeffrey Glasbrenner, the WILD Interview

16

2019 FISHING GUIDE

17 Arkansas hatcheries keep The Natural State stocked 18 Fly-fishing for beginners 22 The lure for what ails you

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YOUR BEST SUMMER EVER 20 WILD Arkansas adventures DEPARTMENTS

10 OUTDOOR ESSENTIALS 46 ARKANSAS NOTEBOOK

4 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

This page: Take in the beauty of Arkansas waterfalls including the stunner Thunder Canyon Falls. Photo courtesy Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism


WANTED:

RUGGED, OUTDOOR TYPE FOR LONG WALKS.


ARKANSAS WILD ARKANSASWILD.COM FOLLOW US FOR MORE WILD

DISCOVER

DIAMOND LAKES THERE’S A LOT TO LOVE ABOUT THE DIAMOND LAKES REGION. Much of which you can see all around you – scenic drives, lakes and rivers, mountains, forests, state parks, attractions – while others are waiting to be discovered when you dig a little deeper. There are a myriad of lodging options from downtown hotels to lake resorts, and award-winning marinas to use as outposts to access lake adventures. It’s a special place with history, adventure and beauty in these Ouachita Mountain foothills. ARKADELPHIA · CADDO VALLEY · GLENWOOD · HOT SPRINGS · MALVERN · MOUNT IDA · MURFREESBORO

#EXPERIENCEARKANSAS

KATHERINE DANIELS Publisher katherine@arktimes.com DWAIN HEBDA Editor dwain@arktimes.com MANDY KEENER Creative Director mandy@arktimes.com LESA THOMAS Senior Account Executive DARLENE SIMPSON Account Executive

1 NATIONAL FOREST 1 NATIONAL PARK 1 PUBLIC DIAMOND MINE 5 STATE PARKS 3 IMBA EPIC RIDES 5 LAKES 3 RIVERS

WELDON WILSON Production Manager/Controller ROLAND R. GLADDEN Advertising Traffic Manager KATIE HASSELL Art Director/Digital Manager MIKE SPAIN Advertising Art Director ROBERT CURFMAN IT Director HANNAH PEACOCK Social Media LINDA PHILLIPS Administration ANITRA HICKMAN Circulation Director

QUARTZ CRYSTAL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD ALAN LEVERITT President

This ad is paid for with a combination of state funds and private regional association funds. 6 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

Arkansas Times Limited Partnership 201 E. MARKHAM ST., SUITE 200 LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985 All Contents © 2019 Arkansas Wild


CONTRIBUTORS

LUKE “DEUCE” COOP is obsessed with

everything outdoors – moving water in particular. Look for him on (or occasionally in) the river, in camp or LuMber Creative on Facebook where you can find out what he’s up to.

STACEY BOWERS, North Little Rock

native, is a writer, editor and jewelry designer under the nickname Bang-Up Betty. When she’s not at her workbench, she loves hiking and traveling Arkansas and beyond.

Hardy

DREW HARRIS , a Jonesboro native, is an

active fisherman, writer, photographer and all-around outdoor type. He loves nothing more than being outside and capturing the place he calls home, no matter the season. Find him at drewharrisphotography.com.

JILL ROHRBACH loves writing about

outdoor adventures and is a board member of Trout Unlimited Chapter 514. She has 25 years of experience as a journalist and travel writer. She and her family reside in Northwest Arkansas. ARKANSASWILD.COM | 7


FROM THE EDITOR

WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE? It sure seems like just yesterday we were ushering in 2019 and now here we are, darn near the halfway mark of the year. Before long another school year will be history and the summer sun will be high and hot in the Arkansas sky. Speaking of which, how are those New Year’s resolutions holding up? Are you being your best you, seeing new places, trying new things? Well, if not, don’t sweat it—we all get a little ratty around the edges now and then. Which is why we’ve put so much into this issue of Arkansas WILD, to help you break out of the slump you’ve suffered all winter and make vacation season all that it’s meant to be. First, our writers have covered one end of the state to the other to bring you 20 of the best summertime adventures The Natural State has to offer. Wanna jump out of a plane? We’ve got you covered. Wanna float the Caddo? Same deal. Maybe you just want to soak in the quiet beauty of a prairie or add some lake time to your Hot Springs adventure. Check, double check and then some. You’ll also be inspired by our interview with Little Rock adventurer Jeffrey Glasbrenner. He’ll share his insight on conquering our own personal Mt. Everests. We also bring you our annual fish focus with all the advice, gear and spots you need for a relaxing day out on the water. Summer is a time to enjoy the Arkansas outdoors to the fullest and that’s exactly what we hope you do, fair reader, while bringing us along, of course. Send us a photo or drop us a postcard of your adventures—we can’t wait to see where you’ll go! Wander far,

Dwain Hebda Editor, Arkansas Wild

SPECIAL THANKS...

When Little Rock’s Gabe Holmstrom isn’t improving things in the city’s core as Executive Director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, he can be found out in the wild with his trusty Jeep Grand Wagoneer. We were so taken with his vintage ride, we asked if we could put it on this month’s cover, him included. He graciously said yes and we are the better for it. Thanks, Gabe. 8 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019


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OUTDOOR ESSENTIALS

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1. TOUGH LITTLE TYKE

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OK, so the resolution isn’t crazy high and waterproofing is limited to a splash-proof lens cover, but for the weekend warrior, these are small concessions. TomTom’s bullet-shaped beauty is jammed with technology and its app features a function that will automatically assemble your best shots. Best of all, with a shake it will create a compilation video that’s a snap to upload. (tomtom.com)

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3. LEADING THE PACK

From the name synonymous with outdoor adventure, GoPro’s newest improves upon its predecessor thanks to HyperSmooth in-camera video stabilization. It’s so good, people are ditching their gimbals. The company’s editing program TimeWarp syncs with HyperSmooth for the sleekest time-lapse photography ever. Waterproof to 10 meters, too. (gopro.com)

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4. STEADY THE ADVENTURE

5. AFFORDABLE PERFORMANCE

5 10 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

Looking to get a full-functioned action cam without the heavy pricetag? Check out the 4K+, which delivers comparable performance at a much lower cost. YI’s model delivers smooth 4K/60fps video, voice commands and a bright, crisp display that helps when framing in sunlight. The camera isn’t waterproof, but a waterproof casing is an available add-on. (yitechnology.com)

PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF VENDORS

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Silky smooth stabilization, 8MP still photo and 4K/30fps video filming steal the show here. The unit’s Balanced Optical SteadyShot smooths out your gnarliest adventures. A wristworn touchscreen accessory called Live-View allows remote operation, though experts give that gizmo mixed reviews. But cheer up: Sony throws in a waterproof housing, good to 60 meters. (sony.com)


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TRIBE

MISSION POSSIBLE AFF GETS VETS OUTSIDE AND ACTIVE BY MARK CARTER

PHOTO COURTESY ARKANSAS FREEDOM FUND

Navy veteran Jason Lentz of Fort Smith, with his kids Brianna and Zachary at the Arkansas Challenge bike ride in Little Rock, credits AFF with getting him “off the couch.”

I

ts name may suggest political fundraising, but the mission of the nonprofit Arkansas Freedom Fund is simple: Get veterans outside and active. Nonpartisan, nonpolitical and for good measure nondenominational, the group’s lone focus is providing opportunities for U.S. veterans of military service to connect and engage in outdoor activities. AFF was founded in 2010 by retired veterans Mark Leonard, Don Kennedy and Fred Stuebe, and two of its biggest annual fundraising events are upcoming: The Freedom Golf Scramble at Diamante Golf Club in Hot Springs Village on May 13, and the AFF “Fishing with Heroes” Bass Tournament at Lake Dardanelle in Russellville June 7-9. These fundraisers are crucial to the organization’s operations. Along with private donations and some corporate sponsorship, they make up the volunteer organization’s entire operating budget. “We can say for a fact that 100 percent of every dollar that comes in goes back into programs,” said Leonard, the driving force behind the group and its executive director. AFF fills a gap, serving veterans not eligible for assistance from other private organizations. Leonard noted the Wounded Warrior Project, for example, only assists post-9/11 veterans injured in combat. “That leaves out a lot of veterans,” he said. AFF indeed is distinguished by its reach – serving all branches of service, all conflicts, injured or not – and also its focus of keeping vets active. AFF offers free recreational and rehabilitative programs in hunting, fishing, hiking, golf, cycling, kayaking, martial arts and 12 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

even scuba diving. Each activity is adapted to veterans’ specific needs. Jason Lentz, a U.S. Navy veteran from Fort Smith, lost his leg in a post-service accident and heard about AFF through the Veterans Administration. Now he’s a regular participant in the annual AFF Arkansas Challenge bike ride held each October in Little Rock. “When I first heard about it, I had just lost my leg and was depressed,” he said. “AFF provided me with a bike and invited me to come ride with them. That began my healing process and gave me a reason to get off the couch.” AFF programs are held across the state. Its hunting program, for example, includes 650 exclusive acres in Calhoun County. Leonard estimates that 180 hunts are held annually on the “Freedom Hunters Lease,” made available through support from Fidelity Information Systems. Leonard likes to say AFF’s “main purpose in life is to get vets outside and active.” But he recognizes the organization’s most important role may be reintroducing vets to the camaraderie and bond unique to soldiers. “These programs give veterans back a brotherhood and get them involved with a new family,” he said. “In the military, units grow close and that’s hard to replace when they come home. We let them know that no one is out there alone. AFF provides vets with a new friendship base, all designed to help, assist, mentor and support so they’re not just sitting at home.” More information on AFF and its programs is available at ArkansasFreedomFund.org.


ARKANSASWILD.COM | 13


JEFFREY GLASBRENNER, THE WILD INTERVIEW BY DWAIN HEBDA

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n 1980, while Jeffrey Glasbrenner cut hay with his father on the family’s Wisconsin farm, an equipment accident cost him his right leg below the knee. Doctors didn’t give him much latitude to do anything at the time; in fact, he routinely tells of being issued a list of activities he couldn’t do upon being discharged from the hospital. Being 8, he bought into it, staying on the sidelines and wondering what the future held. He had no idea what the accident had actually given him by way of motivation and drive, so long did it lay dormant. Arriving at college, a dorm mate spotted him and invited him to join a wheelchair basketball team. He sucked at first, but loved the competition, and he worked obsessively to

14 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

Glasbrenner on a recent trail run: “I’d rather be different than average.”

improve. That passion eventually lead to Team USA and two world titles, three Paralympics and playing professionally in Europe. Basketball success loosed a floodgate of other goals, starting with Ironman triathlons, of which he’s finished more than two dozen, including a jaw-dropping eight in eight months in 2010. Triathlons gave way to mountaineering, an obsession that led him all over the world to scale its most famous peaks, capped by climbing Mount Everest in 2016. Arkansas WILD caught up with the Little Rock-based professional athlete, author, movie consultant and motivational speaker to learn about conquering the personal Everests that live within each of us.

PHOTO BY DREW HARRIS

NO LIMITS


PHOTO COURTESY OF: JEFFREY GLASBRENNER

ARKANSAS WILD: Do you ever wonder where you’d be right now if there hadn’t been the accident? I do wonder that, but I think everything happens for a reason so I try never to look back. I could still be on the farm in Wisconsin, which would be great, but I didn’t have that path. My parents always said look forward; if you dwell on your past, the only thing you’re doing is living in your past. I always try to focus on what I have in front of me rather than what happened to me when I was 8 years old. Do most people recognize their own disability? I don’t think they do. That’s very true. I don’t know what you deal with. You could have your own personal struggles or addictions. But you can see mine and therefore you automatically feel sorry for me, at least a lot of people do. I’m like, don’t feel sorry for me because I can do as much if not more than anyone else. Having a disability is just part of what I have to deal with. I think as a kid I developed thick skin; I’d rather be different than average. What is Step One of overcoming our own Everest? I think it’s just getting out of your own fear. Most people don’t like change, they want to go to their job and do the same thing every day. It feels comfortable. For me I always try to get out of that comfort zone and set those goals. I just started Crossfit a couple months ago and like, endurance I can beat pretty much anyone but when it comes to strength, I’m the worst in the class. But that inspires me to make my weakness a strength. The first step, I think, is recognizing your passion. So many people don’t know what they want to do. They don’t know who they are. I was very fortunate to always be told I couldn’t do something and then I discovered that I could and I thought that was just the greatest thing in the world. I never looked back. I was proud of that new goal and that new challenge, that new something. Does one feed into another? If we push through our first fear, do we find a whole new world? I think that is a great statement. I didn’t know I could play sports and all of a sudden I played wheelchair basketball and I’m like “Wow! I can be good at this.” All of a sudden, I saw this program on TV that people are running, biking and

swimming and I’m like “Oh, maybe I can try this!” I was out in Colorado for a few years and I was exposed to rock climbing and I was exposed to hiking and just being out. There’s a whole new world. Most of us just see every day in front of us. Most people are just so comfortable living in that little zone and they’re just afraid to give that little extra. It’s a little bit uncomfortable doing that little bit more, but when you do that little bit uncomfortable, all of a sudden it becomes easier and then a new world opens. Then you want more. That’s the only way to get good, the only way to be the best, if you suck for a while.

Scaling Everest, one of many peaks Glasbrenner’s conquered.

I hear you say if you’re going to be the best you almost have to be selfish. Yes. Right. It’s very selfish. Do people have to give themselves permission to be selfish within that space? I think the key in life is just having that balance, you know? I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my wife and my family. [For Everest] on the front side of it we sat down for a long time and talked about the pros and cons of me doing this. Death being a big con. That’s the bad side of that coin, you know? But the whole thing is, I just really feel like if you don’t really push yourself like that, are you truly living? The hardest thing about Everest is not physical, it’s mental. I mean you’re isolated, you’re totally alone. You don’t have your electronics to keep in touch. You are isolated and every single day you’re worried about the next day. Do you stay where you are? Do you go back down or do you go up the mountain? Life gets real simple.

How do the lessons of conquering our personal Everest inform the other areas of our life? It makes me appreciate the moment. In mountaineering we have this rule: Don’t make it to the peak and miss the point. The whole point is truly the journey. Another way we always like to say is, the summit’s for the ego, the journey is for the soul. So for me it’s just bringing that whole process together. So, about the whole “I’m too busy,” excuse... Are you really? It’s just an excuse. We all have them. I have them some days, too. Some days I don’t feel like doing this or that but I still get it done. I just think maybe people haven’t found their passion or they haven’t found their purpose. Maybe they’re busy because they don’t want to do that. Maybe they’re busy because they’re afraid to fail. My biggest learning moments come when I’m the worst in those Crossfit classes. It’s like, all right, what’s this guy doing to beat me? How come he’s stronger than I am? Then you learn and try to find a way to get better. You don’t have to win, but you can get better. During one of your Ironmans, you ran right by the hospital that gave you that piece of paper listing everything you supposedly couldn’t do. If you were still dragging that around today would you be so effective? Or is it still a fuel? It fuels my fire, for sure. You tell me I can’t do something, I’ll prove you wrong tomorrow. I guarantee it. When they handed me that piece of paper, of this is what I can do, this is what I can’t do, and then you start realizing that maybe it’s not someone else’s decision. Maybe it’s my decision what I can and cannot do. I think that was the biggest thing I learned from that sheet of paper and that moment at the Ironman. So many people are just afraid to try. I think if they just kind of took that first step toward that summit, then it becomes easier. Everyone’s so focused on that summit they can’t really take a look around and see that next step in front of them. The next step is not that bad. Then the next couple steps, it’s not that bad. All of a sudden, you’re halfway up that damn mountain before you know it. Then you can take a look around and enjoy the view. ARKANSASWILD.COM | 15


PHOTO BY DREW HARRIS

2019 FISHING GUIDE

There’s nothing that binds the generations together quite like Arkansas’s fishing waters. From clear-running trout streams to glittering lakes to the mighty river that’s our namesake, the opportunities to fish here are nearly endless. This year’s Guide highlights some great spots, shows off some cool gear and wraps it all up with the advice and expertise of professionals to make your fishing trip a success. 16 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019


FISH CULTURE IN ARKANSAS FISH HATCHERIES KEY TO CONSERVATION

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION

BY HAILEY HUDSON

Smallmouth bass fingerlings, shown here, are just one species of fish raised at Arkansas hatcheries.

A

n integral aspect of Arkansas’s conservation efforts and heritage are its fish hatcheries. Arkansas has five hard facilities and a net pen operation and these hatcheries support conservation in many ways. “Hatcheries can be used to propagate and rear rare fish, mussel species and amphibians for augmentation purposes,” said Benjamin Batten, chief of fisheries at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “Many federal hatcheries are used to support conservation and sustainability of species of greatest conservation need. There are at least 233 fish species that occur in the state [and hatcheries produced] 18 species in 2018.” Hatcheries are a vital part of the state’s economy. According to Batten, direct expenditures in fishing equal around $500 million annually. The work performed also improves water quality throughout the state. “Fishing contributes to the health, wealth and well-being of Arkansans,” Batten said. Production season for fish hatcheries starts in early March. Walleye spawn first; in April, bass, crappie and stripers follow. Forage species such as shiners, minnows and bream begin spawning in April and conclude by June, followed by catfish and finally grass carp. “In a nutshell, a lot of species spawn in spring and early summer months and we harvest and stock 60 percent of total production throughout that time frame,” said Thomas Laird, AGFC assistant chief of fisheries (culture). The day-to-day operation of a hatchery takes a lot of work. According to Laird, employees check water quality first thing in the morning, then harvest, sort and stock fish to give drivers enough time to distribute fish

across the state. Tasks such as fertilization of ponds, feeding, chemical application and maintenance on grounds, buildings and equipment make up the rest of an average workday. Arkansas’s fish hatcheries are an essential part of the state’s economy and provide a lot of jobs. But they’re also facing a host of challenges and issues. Most pressing is the problem of the facilities themselves. Aging infrastructure is a problem, Batten says, and repairs on the 40- to 90-year-old hatcheries will be expensive. Without the repairs, though, the hatcheries won’t be able to operate at full potential. Laird agreed with Batten’s assessment, adding the fisheries division is working hard to do something about it. Two renovation projects are planned that will keep production numbers steady while lowering operational costs, and a new building to be built at the Joe Hogan hatchery in Lonoke allows flexibility for innovative culture techniques such as producing intensive advanced bass, crappie and catfish. Where does Laird see Arkansas’s hatcheries in 10 years? “I see a more modern culture system that is able to meet the conservation needs of our agency management staff and the anglers of this state,” he said. “A system with the flexibility to produce more species and numbers with a reduction in footprint and cost.” Batten added AGFC hatcheries are currently used in many ways for recreational fishing augmentation. “However, if current negative trends in aquatic habitat alteration, invasive species expansion and climate change continue, we may have to shift our focus to more conservation-focused fish culture.” ARKANSASWILD.COM | 17


GET YOUR FEET WET FLY-FISHING FOR BEGINNERS

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM

BY JILL ROHRBACH

Learn the basics to start enjoying Arkansas’s trout waters.

F

or some, the most difficult part of fly-fishing is the cast. For others, it’s learning what flies to use or how to present them in the water. Regardless of which part you find challenging, the reward for learning is time well-spent in nature. GEAR “The classic trout fly rod is a five-weight,” says Steve Dally, manager and guide at Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher in Cotter. “If you want to do a little more smallmouth bass fishing you might want to choose a six-weight. They’re both going to be 9 feet long. That is the standard length. It works best for the most people.” Buy the best rod you can afford and quality fly line. Look for a rod with a repair program; rods break for various reasons and the cost of a rod isn’t as daunting when for nominal cost it can be repaired. Dally says the fancy hat, wooden net and vest can come later; the pocket on your waders holds most things you will need, and if you’re fishing from a boat you won’t even need the waders. “Our biggest-selling outfit sets you back about $170,” says Dally, including rod, reel, fly line and leader. “All you need are some flies and water and you can go fishing for some trout.”

18 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

LEARNING TO CAST “Knowing how to cast is essential to success on the river,” John Sturgis, Arkansas Trout Unlimited Council chairman, says. “It begins with hand position and balanced grip, using your thumb to accelerate weighted line.” With a spinning rod, you cast the heavier lure or bait to zing your line out. With a fly rod, the weight of the line carries the line out to deliver the practically weightless fly. Trout Unlimited chapters and fly shops often hold clinics for fly casting, fly tying and river fishing instruction. Practice casting in your yard in calm and windy conditions. Ponds are a good place to practice as well. “Getting to be a really good caster takes time,” Dally says. KNOTS AND FLIES The surgeon’s knot and clinch knot are the two most popular for fly anglers. The internet and YouTube are full of educational videos by fly-fishing experts teaching the fine art of tying. Your local fly shop is the best place to ask questions about how to fish certain flies. When headed to a river, stop in the nearest fly shop and ask what the fish are biting on as it can change from day to day or with the seasons.


FISH FRIENDLY Safe handling of trout is one of the most important pieces of information for the beginning angler. Key tips include: •Keep the fish in the water as long as possible; only take it out to remove the hook and take a quick photo. •If the hook is embedded in the fish, cut the line and release the fish. Don’t try to rip the hook out. Many fish can survive, and later pass, a hook that is embedded. •Don’t play the fish for an excessive amount of time. Land it as quickly as possible and release. •If fishing during the spawning season, avoid trampling on redds, which are areas of cleared gravel where brown trout spawn.

SAFETY Sturgis says it’s important to wear eye protection and sunscreen. He also advises wearing a wading belt to minimize filling your waders with water, which in a worst-case scenario could result in hypothermia or even drowning. When fishing cold trout waters below Arkansas dams, be aware of water generation. Water flows are driven by hydro-electric demand and flood control. Listen for a horn to blow when generation starts. Always be aware of water depth and move to the bank if you see the water is rising. It can happen quickly and you don’t want to get caught in a swift current on the wrong side of the river. REGULATIONS “It is very important for all anglers, regardless of whether they are just beginning or not, to familiarize themselves with the regulations for a particular fishery,” says Christy Graham, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission trout management program supervisor. “Trout regulations differ across the state, so folks should always check to see what regulations apply to the area they are going to fish.” Size limits restrict anglers to the harvest of particular sizes of trout. Harvest limits restrict anglers to the number of trout they can keep during a trip. Tackle restrictions limit anglers to certain types of tackle in certain areas. There are also trout waters with special regulations such as catch-and-release areas, restricted to artificial tackle with barbless hooking points. Complete AGFC fishing regulations can be found online at www.agfc.com/en/fishing/general-fishing-regulations/.

COME FIND YOUR ARKANSAS

arkansas.com Buffalo National River - America’s First National River arkansas.com/MyArkansas

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TIPS FROM A PRO

LAKE HAMILTON LOCATION: If the water is muddy, well, good luck. Stained/muddy water puts fish in a funk, especially if it’s recently stained, and it will take bass about three days to adjust. If the lake is too clear, fish are more skittish and finesse tactics are required. If I can find water that is slightly stained, the fish can be apt to bite, especially a reaction bite with moving baits. Additionally, dirtier water heats up faster, moving the fish shallower. SPOTTING: Get a map of the lake before you go out. Look for north shore pockets with channel swings that come close to the bank to start. Then move to more tapering points (primary and secondary) moving from the mouths of the coves to the back. The north shores of pockets are where the sun shines the most and where the water warms the fastest, especially stained water. I like to look for rocky transitions and shell bed, hard bottom areas as these hold heat better. I like to start shallow (0-15 feet in stained water; 10-30 feet in clear), and then go deep if nothing works. If I can’t find anything shallow, I will move out to the first drop-offs with some rock on it and use the same baits. If that does not produce any fish, I will chunk a football jig on deep points and channel swings. BAIT/LURE: After the water temperature gets above 55 degrees, I’ll start tossing several types of frogs. My go-tos for Lake Hamilton are a Live Target Hollow Body and a Horny Toad. Fish are moving in the shallows to spawn and when I throw a frog,

20 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

it can be a great reaction bait. If they are not biting a frog, I will change to a shaky head Senko. I like to start with moving baits because they cover a lot of water. The color of these baits depends on water color. Use natural colors for clear or lightly stained water; fire tiger, chartreuse/black for stained water. I start with jerkbaits (shad colors, clown), Rat-L-Traps (red or shad colors), Alabama rigs, white or chartreuse/white finesse spinnerbaits with a Colorado/ Willow blade combination. Swimbaits and square-billed crankbaits or Wiggle Warts can also be a good choice. If the moving baits are not working, go to a slow presentation: Finesse jigs with a compact trailer, Ned rig, shaky head or Texas rigged creature bait are all good choices. Again, plastics color depends on water clarity; I would start with

watermelon or green pumpkin for clear water and black or black/blue for stained. AFTERWARD: To get a bite to eat on the water before you take the boat out, Bubba Brews is a great spot. Another great Hot Springs place for pizza and a beer is Grateful Head, but parking is limited so leave your boat at home. For a nice evening out, the Steinhaus Keller has great German food. Again, there is limited parking, so leave the boat at home. Lynda Gessner is a champion angler with Mr. Bass of Arkansas (MBOA) and Lady Bass Angler Association (LBA A), as well as competing via Hawg Hunters of Hot Springs and St. Louis Gateway Bass N Gals tournaments. Her heaviest competitive bass stringer weighed in at 22.50 pounds.

PHOTO COURTESY OF: LBAA

Lynda Gessner shows off some prize-winning fish at a recent LBAA event.

LYNDA GESSNER


ARKANSAS BIG BASS BONANZA SET FOR LATE JUNE

Arkansas’s largest amateur angler tournament, the Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza, will be contested June 28-30. The event covers more than 300 miles of the Arkansas River within the state’s boundaries. Last year’s winner, caught at the Pine Bluff pool, weighed in at 6.03 pounds. The event awards more than $100,000 in prizes, including $50,000 first prize to the top overall fish and the Willow Award, presented to the top catch by a parent-child or grandparent-child team. Additional cash prizes will be awarded by hour and for top fish out of each of five competition pools. Those pools include Clear Creek Park in Alma, Dardanelle State Park (Russellville side), Little Rock/North Little Rock launch ramp, Pine Bluff Regional Park and Pendleton Bridge. For complete rules and entry requirements, visit arkansasbigbass.com.

NEW EVENT TEACHES FLY-FISHING BASICS

Women, Wine & Fly Lines, a new event teaching women the basics of fly-fishing, is set for June 2 at Sassafras Springs Vineyard and Winery in Fayetteville. The event will include hands-on experience with several activities, including casting, rod and reel setup, knot tying, fly tying and more. It’s also a chance to connect with other women who fish while enjoying a glass of wine. The event focuses on women but welcomes men. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.com; for $25 receive registration, two glasses of wine, food, instruction and a chance to win a full day of guided fishing on the White River from Brad Sperry of Arkansas On The Fly guide service. For more information on the event, contact Jill Rohrbach of Trout Unlimited Chapter 514 at (479) 444-8060. For those who can’t make the event, consider joining the Facebook group Arkansas Fly Girls as another way to connect to female anglers. Or visit Arkansaschaptertu.org for details on Arkansas Trout Unlimited Chapter 514.

PROFESSIONAL SERIES FISHING CALENDAR

PLAN A TRIP TO CHECK OUT THE PROS THIS SUMMER!

FLW TOUR PRESENTED BY EVINRUDE

MAY 2-5

Fishing League Worldwide Lake Chickamunga, Dayton, Tennessee

LBAA

MAY 10-11

Women’s Pro Bass Tour /LBAA Toledo Bend, Texas

BASS PRO TOUR STAGE 6

MAY 17-22

Major League Fishing Table Rock Lake, Branson, Missouri

BASS PRO TOUR STAGE 7

MAY 31-JUNE 5

Major League Fishing Grand Lake, Grove, Oklahoma

FLW TOUR PRESENTED BY T-H MARINE

JUNE 27-30

Fishing League Worldwide Lake Champlain, Plattsburgh, New York

WILDCARD

JUNE 28-29

Women’s Pro Bass Tour/LBAA Logan Martin, Alabama

LADY BASS CLASSIC

SEPT. 19-21

Women’s Pro Bass Tour/LBAA Caddo Lake, Louisiana ARKANSASWILD.COM | 21


THE LURE FOR WHAT AILS YOU

A GOOD DAY ON THE WATER BEGINS WITH THE RIGHT LURE We asked Bruce Stanton, vice president and general manager of Pradco’s Fishing Division, for his secret weapons. Check them out online (lurenet.com) or at your favorite retailer.

1

1. YUM DINGER “A heavily salted stick worm, it sinks

slowly. It’s a great lure for prespawn, spawn and postspawn. You can rig it weightless with a 5/0 hook, you can put it on a jighead with a 4/0 hook or you can Carolina rig it. It’s such a versatile lure.”

2

2. REBEL P60 POP-R

3

“Postspawn all the way through the fall, when you’re throwing topwater you need a topwater Pop-R. Just kind of fluttering along the surface. Got a little dressed treble hook on it. Anybody can use a poppin’ bait.”

3. REBEL CRICKHOPPER

4 5

4. HEDDON X9236 SUPER SPOOK JUNIOR

“A 3½ inch version of the original Zara Spook, it’s a walk-the-dog bait, just the perfect size for the Arkansas River catching white bass, stripers, largemouth, spotted bass. Postspawn, May through usually late October to early November, you can throw that on top all the time.”

5. REBEL F77 CRAWFISH

“Probably my personal favorite. It’s one of those Rebel lures we say is the closest thing to a fish-catching guarantee because it looks just like a real crawfish. It swims just like a real crawfish. You just throw it out, reel it in and it catches fish.”

22 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF VENDORS

“An ultralight lure you’d use on 4- or 6-pound test line. Spin it out somewhere between 5½ and 6½ feet. Throw it on the water like a grasshopper, kind of twitch it along and the old smallmouth will come up and hit it. A great dualpurpose lure, especially in the Ozarks and Ouachitas.”


TIPS FROM A PRO

BUFFALO RIVER

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: GABE LEVIN

GABE LEVIN

LOCATION: When fishing clear water like the Buffalo River, visual data is all around you. Wear polarized sunglasses to help you see in the water. If you’re catching fish, notice the characteristics of the water you’re fishing. What does the bottom structure look like? How much depth and current is there? If you aren’t catching fish, look for them as you paddle around. If you can visually locate them, then you can start to determine why you aren’t catching them. Are they positioned deeper or shallower than you expected? Are they exhibiting a specific feeding behavior, busting minnows against the surface, protecting a spawning ground or cruising the shoreline? The more you can see, the more pieces to the puzzle you have. Fishing from a boat will increase your river access dramatically over wade fishing, but only to the extent you can control the watercraft’s position. To get your lure/fly to the river bottom in likely spots, you’ll need to slow your drift speed considerably. The ideal way to fish moving water is with a partner, where one angler focuses on boat positioning while the other focuses on accurate and effective casting. If you must fish alone, move out of the strong current into slower areas and point the boat upstream to help keep yourself in place. SPOTTING: Catching the Buffalo River’s scrappy smallmouth bass is mostly a matter of timing. Being a popular tourist destination, the river is best fished on weekdays because the weekend and holiday crowds send most of the better fish hiding under the rocks. The Buffalo River’s water volume is always changing. Fortunately, you can gauge

Levin shows off a beauty from a recent day on the water.

height at waterdata.usgs.gov. The ideal range for fishing is 4-6 feet on the St. Joe gauge. In this range, the water is greenish clear and moving at a moderate pace. Below 4 feet, the river can still fish well, although the bass will be extra wary and floating becomes more strenuous due to shallow rocky shoals and long stretches of little current. Above 6 feet, the water starts to lose clarity and moves so quickly it becomes difficult to get your lure or fly in front of a fish. FLIES/LURES: When water temperature is below 60 degrees, bass will be mostly in deep pools near large boulders and ledges. Choose heavily weighted lures/flies that imitate natural bass prey like minnows and crayfish. Let the lure sink to the bottom before retrieving very slowly. Bass will be a little slow to respond in cold water. As water temperature rises into the 60s and 70s, bass feed in shallower water that has both structure and current. Fish the transitions from fast to slow water

and from shallow to deep. Try Hada’s Craft Fur Clouser Minnow and Hada’s Creek Crawler for flies and small plastic tube baits or other plastic crayfish imitations on conventional tackle. Observe the minnows and crayfish in the river and try to make your lure/fly look and act like the real thing. ENJOY THE RIDE: Stop for a moment and look around you. The Buffalo was the very first river to obtain National Park status and for good reason. It’s visually stunning and loaded with aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. It has over 60 species of fish, a statistic of biodiversity nearly unparalleled among rivers. Don’t get so absorbed in catching them that you fail to notice the paradise surrounding you. Gabe Levin grew up on Little Mulberry Creek with a fly rod in his hands. A guide with Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher in Cotter, he’s an expert on the Buffalo River, the White and Norfork tailwaters and Crooked Creek, where he calls home.

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 23


HOOKED ON ARKANSAS

FORT SMITH LURE MANUFACTURER STOCKS THE WORLD’S TACKLE BOXES

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: PRADCO

BY DWAIN HEBDA

A rack of bobbers dries prior to packaging at the Pradco facility in Fort Smith.

E

arly afternoon on a recent weekday, Bruce Stanton is in a familiar mode: Doing six things at once. The Tennessee native and longtime vice president/general manager of Pradco’s fishing division is headed to a major fishing tourney where he’ll work the room among the best pro anglers in the world on the merits of his company’s products. Then, he’ll shake hands with dozens of other regular Joes, the backbone of any outdoor manufacturer, telling some what’s new and reminding others that the company still makes the models that put Pradco on the map. It’s not the most efficient way a global lure-maker reaches its audience, but the personal touch still has its place. “Yeah, it’s just like Coke and Pepsi or Ford and Chevy,” Stanton said. “You see brand loyalty and that’s part of what we do as marketers. We’re building our brand communities. We’re speaking to customers the way they want to be spoken to and building that brand loyalty.” “Once someone starts using your brand, they’re probably going to stick with it unless you give them a reason not to.” Such tactics are challenging enough for just one brand, let alone the 16 brands of lures the company has collected through the years, manufactured tip to tail or in part at the company’s 120,000-square24 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

foot Fort Smith facility. All told, it’s a catalogue 4,000 SKUs deep, nearly six decades wide and still evolving to meet the changing times. “When I came to Pradco 23 years ago, probably 95 percent of our business was hard plastic lures, brands like Rebel, Bomber and Heddon,” Stanton said. “Between Booyah and War Eagle, we have grown to be the No. 1 market share in the United States in the spinnerbait category. We’ve invested heavily in those two brands.” “Over the last 20 years the market has shifted more toward consumables, soft plastics and what we call wire bait – spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and jigs, predominantly. We weren’t really in soft plastics, so we had an organic launch with Yum in 2002. It probably took six or seven years, but it became our biggest brand.” The operation dates back to 1962 when George Perrin decided to turn his Fort Smith plastic injection molding company to fishing lures. He named it Rebel Lures after then mascot of Fort Smith Southside High School, which also opened that year and at which Perrin’s daughter was a member of the first graduating class. In 1980, Perrin sold to EBSCO Industries of Birmingham, Alabama, parent company of Pradco Outdoor Brands. The new ownership quickly began assembling competitors, starting with Cotton


Cordell Lures of Hot Springs and Michigan’s Heddon Lures, the oldest fishing lure in the world, founded in 1894. Today, Pradco is a major player, selling in more than 60 countries and stocked in the behemoths of the sporting goods universe, including Walmart, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and others. Amazon and the company’s own online presence fatten sales appreciably. At its size, the company can afford to hang on to legacy models, even as it pushes the envelope for a new generation of anglers, which, Stanton said with pride, is exactly what it does. “In our Heddon brand, the Zara Spook is one of the most famous lures in the world,” he said. “The original Spook has the old-style, screw-in hook hangers, the oldstyle O’Shaughnessy hooks. There’s no split rings; it just looks like something that was made in the 1940s. We still make that and there are certain consumers that really like that.” “There’s also guys that fish tournaments and younger guys that want split rings and updated hooks and updated lure patterns with realistic eyes and holographic patterns. So we have a full line of Super Spooks and One Knocker Spooks that preach to the new audience. The volume’s there where you can do both.” As for the future, Stanton said the company’s competitive spirit is as keen as ever and they continue to look for opportunities to grow via acquisition. But, he’s quick to add, it’s the company’s Arkansas roots that are the key ingredient for the company’s longevity. “We fish; it’s our lifestyle. It’s what we do,” Stanton said. “We’re businessmen, but fishing’s very important to us. And when you can live in a rural state like Arkansas with so many great rivers and lakes and creeks, I mean, it kind of sets the tone for your business. “My office is full of people that, man, they live it. Some of them fish tournaments, some of them can’t wait to get in a kayak, some of them can’t wait to get to go wading. We’re outside and we’re fishing. It just helps us make a better product.”

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TIPS FROM A PRO

BEAVER LAKE LOCATION: Beaver Lake offers all three species of bass. You have smallmouth, largemouth and spotted Kentucky bass. If you want to predominantly target smallmouth and spotted bass, the lower end of the lake is going to be better, at about the Highway 12 bridge to the dam. In May and through the summer months, the upper river arm of the lake will be more consistent for largemouth. So that would be from the Highway 12 bridge up the river, really, as far as you care to venture. SPOTTING: When you look at May through the course of the summer, I definitely recommend the first three to four hours around daybreak and then the last three to four hours up until dark and even fishing after dark. The biggest thing to focus on, whether you’re fishing up the river or fishing down lake, you can’t go wrong fishing the points, anywhere you’ve got a point extending out into open water that has a strong drop. BAIT/LURE: Probably my No. 1 go-to would be a Carolina rig. My favorite bait to Carolina rig that time of the year on Beaver Lake would be a Big Bite, we call it a coon tail. It’s a little 4½- inch ringworm that’s just a perfect morsel. As people get to be a little more advanced, a football jig—or a hardhead, as we call it—with a plastic trailer, a crawl-style trailer, something that Big Bite makes would be my choice there. Early in the morning and late in the evening you can get some real topwater action; if you have a cloudy day, they’ll bite topwater through the

26 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

course of the day. A Big Bite suicide buzz toad or a suicide buzz shad would be great topwater bait early and late. When you start talking about the largemouth fishing up the river, Carolina rigging can also be a good tactic up there. I might bulk the size of my bait up a little bit, throw something like a Big Bite frighting frog or a Big Bite battle bug, a bigger worm. Rather than throwing the little coon tail I might increase it to a creek tail 7-inch worm or a mag finesse worm, something of that nature. The other thing that is really going to work well is crankbaiting up the river. The whole variety of SPRO crankbaits—the bait that John Crews has designed, the Little John Series, the DD Series or Russ Wayne’s Bad Papa series— are all good crankbaits. Then, my new SPRO RkCrawler series

could also be implemented into those crankbaiting situations. SECRET WEAPON: One of my must-haves is my Garmin electronics with builtin mapping to figure out how deep the fish are relating. Even someone without electronics, you have to have a depth finder of some kind or you have to have a good topographical map of the lake. As long as you fish the appropriate depth, you’re going to have a blast on Beaver Lake. Arkansas native Mike McClelland earned the nickname “McStick” the oldfashioned way: by winning eight tour-level events and collecting 35 Top 10 finishes and more than $1.9 million in winnings in his 31-year career. McClelland is affiliated with Major League Fishing (MLF).

PHOTO COURTESY OF: MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING

Veteran fishing pro Mike McClelland grew up fishing Arkansas waters.

MIKE MCCLELLAND


Come Face to Face With the Catch of a Lifetime

350 Rainbow Loop | Heber Springs, AR | 501-362-3139

www.lindseysresort.com


28 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019


ARKANSASWILD.COM | 29


Your Best Summer Ever

There’s so much to see and do in Arkansas, it’s hard to know where to start. Fear not, itinerant traveler—we’ve compiled a list of 20 great adventures to suit every mood and vacation goal. Whether you like thrills, love to chill, need to plan for the kids or just want to explore, we’ve got something to suit your taste. BY LUKE COOP, STACEY BOWERS, APRILLE HANSON & DREW HARRIS 30 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

PHOTO BY MATTHEW MARTIN

chill & thrill adventures


PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: HOT SPRINGS CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

1. outdoor adventures, just minutes away

When nature harmoniously meets city life, as it does in downtown Hot Springs, roughing it can be overrated. Imagine stepping outside your hotel, hiking the Hot Springs Mountain Trail, the Gulpha Gorge Trail or one of the many National Park System trails nearby, then cooling off after your hike with a beer brewed with spring water at Superior Bathhouse Brewery. Don’t forget your bike. About 10 minutes from downtown lies the recently refurbished Northwoods Trails. Northwoods offers 16 miles of bike trails ranging from beginner level to advanced. A Hot Springs getaway wouldn’t be complete without time spent lakeside. With Lakes Hamilton, Catherine and Ouachita nearby, there’s ample opportunity for boating. Some local outfitters will deliver kayaks, SUPs or a fishing kayak to your lake of choice and pick them up, so you can cruise back to the hotel after a day on the lake without the hassle of transporting gear. —SB

2. a treasure around every corner There are more than 12,000 hidden treasures in Arkansas. But it’s not about the loot—it’s about the adventure of searching. Geocaching involves searching for a hidden container called a cache and signing the log sheet within. Some caches include an item, or “swag,” which geocachers are encouraged to take and replace with something else. Download the Geocaching app to reveal coordinates for caches nearby. A compass guides the person to caches; coordinates can also be loaded into a GPS tracker. —AH

= thrill

= chill

FIVE COMMANDMENTS OF GEOCACHING

• If a geocacher hides a cache, they must list the coordinates at Geocaching.com for people to find it. • After a cache is found, the finder signs the log sheet, then logs it in their Geocaching app. • If a cache contains an item and the finder takes it, they must replace it with a trinket of equal or greater value. • Some caches contain trackables, to migrate from cache to cache toward a final destination. The finder logs the number online, then places it in another geocache one step closer to its goal. • A cache is never buried and should always be put back in the same place for the next person to find. —Geocaching.com

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 31


For a different kind of wild this summer, lasso your herd and head to Newton County to meet up at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. Nominated as one of USA Today’s Ten Best Guest Ranches, Horseshoe Canyon provides an amazing dude ranch experience. Choose from trail rides on the 640-acre spread, zip-lining across a canyon, rock climbing, critter watching (domestic and wild) or lounging by the pool. Once the corral is shut, watch the light fade from the porch of your modern rustic cabin or head over to the lodge for dinner or a snack. Other activities in the area include floating the Buffalo (rain dependent), enjoying spectacular hikes with worldclass scenery or just kicking around in the quaint little mountain town of Jasper a mere 7.5 miles away. —LC Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Jasper, AR (36.0047° N, 93.2928° W) More Information: horseshoecanyonduderanch.com

4. underground trailroad

If you’ve got the subterranean homesick blues, Arkansas has the cure. The Natural State was, after all, covered by a shallow inland sea a mere 350 million years ago. The silt and sediment created limestone, which is porous and easily eroded into caves. Most caves are on private property and off-limits due to White Nose Syndrome, a disease which has decimated the native bat population by up to 80 percent. However, there are still numerous Show Caves accessible to the public. When you enter a cave, you’re almost immediately immersed in an environment that might best be described as alien. It isn’t. Species like the moth fly, camel cricket and Ozark Zig Zag salamander have been around for millions of years. You can feast your eyes on cave bacon and cave popcorn as you duck behind a cave curtain. More than 20 semiprecious stones are found in Arkansas caves. —DH Blanchard Springs Cavern, Fifty Six (35.9639° N, 92.1793° W) blanchardsprings.org Onyx Cave, Eureka Springs (36.4412° N, 93.6842° W) onyxcaveeurekasprings.com Mystic Caverns, Marble Falls (36.1196° N, 93.1267° W) mysticcaverns.com Bull Shoals Caverns, Bull Shoals (36.3795° N, 92.5836° W) bullshoalscaverns.com

32 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

PHOTO COURTESY OF: HORSESHOE CANYON RANCH AND DREW HARRIS

3. giddyup buckaroos


5. ah, sugar, sugar

On state Highway 110 near the Little Red River in Heber Springs, adventure is hard to miss; in fact, it’s towering at 690 feet, Sugarloaf Mountain. “[Sugarloaf is] a real high-quality experience that can be done in a short period of time or you can spend all day out there,” said Frank Barton, founding council member of the Sugarloaf Heritage Council. There are four main trails: Summit Trail: The 0.66-mile roundtrip hike is the main attraction, offering spectacular views up and down the lower Red River Valley. The trail requires some fitness and agility, there are no stairs to the top and no guardrails when you get there. Tonowanda Base Trail: The 1.3-mile trail is moderately difficult but includes benches and has bridges across deep ravines. It circumnavigates the base of the mountain with its many native trees and wildflowers. Hidden Pond Trail: This 0.25-mile paved trail is the easiest and is ADA-compliant. It leads to a “pretty little spring-fed pond in the middle of the woods,” Barton said. PHOTO BY NOVO STUDIO

Wildlife Trail: Located in the bottoms area west of the mountain, the one-mile trail is the most recent edition by the council, part of a proposed 11-mile trail heading into the city. —AH Sugarloaf Mountain, Heber Springs (34.5204° N, 93.0821° W) More Information: sugarloafheritagecouncil.org

PHOTO COURTESY OF: ARKANSAS NATURAL HERITAGE COMMISSION

6. slow things down at cherokee prairie

If you want to get away from it all and relax in the simplest way possible, consider an excursion to Cherokee Prairie. With gorgeous wildflowers, beautiful butterflies and huge expanses of open sky, the prairie is the perfect setting for a picnic. Cherokee Prairie Natural Area is one of the largest remaining tracts of tallgrass prairie in the Arkansas Valley ecoregion. Gazing out over Cherokee Prairie is like looking into history. When settlers arrived in the area, there were approximately 135,000 acres of prairie; it’s estimated that less than 1 percent of the tallgrass area remains, as most was converted to pasture and farmland. See the prairie in May and June, when wildflowers and butterflies abound. Be sure to practice “leave no trace” principles, meaning carry out everything you bring into the area. Only foot traffic is allowed, so leave bikes and ATVs at home. Stay informed about hunting seasons through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. —SB Cherokee Prairie Natural Area (35°20’07.9”N 94°02’18.0”W) Presson-Oglesby Preserve (35.2970° N, 94.0363° W) H.E. Flanagan Prairie Natural Area (35°21’32.8”N 93°59’51.2”W)

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 33


The phrase mountaineering may bring places like Mount Everest, K2 or the Matterhorn to mind, but Arkansas’s rocks deliver just as much challenge and thrill. Arkansas’s elevation tops out at 2,753 feet, so you won’t need oxygen. Technically on the Ozark Plateau, the rugged Boston Mountains in northwest Arkansas offer bigtime adventure and spectacular views from the top. The sire for climbing in Arkansas, Sam’s Throne (35°52’43.31N, 93°02’41.67”) on state Highway 123 south of Mount Judea is tough to beat with multiple trad routes and fewer sport routes. The climbing area near Cowell (35°52’34.23”N, 93°07’36.44”W) off Highway 7 offers a great mix of sport or trad climbing and bouldering. Great for a family outing or picnic, it’s a splendid area to explore and take in the sights. —DH

7. chasing waterfalls

In Arkansas, April showers bring more than May flowers; during the rainy spring months, The Natural State’s waterfalls really put on a show. To avoid the deluge of tourists at more high-profile falls, consider visiting a less-traveled trail for a more off-the-beaten-path experience with a gratifying view at the finish. Thunder Canyon Falls in the Buffalo National River Wilderness is an especially rugged adventure. Seekers should have a solid understanding of navigation using a topographical map. For a less involved adventure, consider a trip to Triple Falls (Twin Falls), a Buffalo area beauty that’s just a two-minute walk from a parking lot. The incredibly photogenic falls are located on private property at Camp Orr Boy Scout Camp, which kindly allows public access. While the most breathtaking views are when waterfalls are flowing heavily, high water can mean blocked roadways. Call ahead to a ranger station or outfitter to check conditions. —SB

34 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

FOR THE UNINITIATED,

Trad describes traditional mountaineering with no help from those who’ve gone before you. Sport routes let climbers take advantage of known routes with bolts already in place. Bouldering requires nothing but a helmet; you only climb as high as you feel comfortable falling.

PHOTO COURTESY OF: NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE

8. high on the natural state


9. great rides for kids PHOTO COURTESY OF: BRANNON PACK, OORC PHOTO

Pondering a summer single track weekend for the family? Ozark Off Road Cyclists has you covered. Read on for a small sampling of the adventure to be had. Great Passion Play Trails, Eureka Springs Perched above Eureka Springs and spanning 600 hilltop acres, this property is home to a multiuse and bike-only trail complex. Of particular note is the Genesis trail, built for beginners and families. Runway Bike Park, Jones Center, Springdale An all-weather park, Runway focuses on the progression of every kind of rider. It’s home to the largest asphalt pump track of its kind in the country and best of all, it’s free! Fossil Flats Trail, Devil’s Den State Park, Winslow Fossil Flats was The Natural State’s first official mountain bike trail and still delivers family-friendly thrills every day. For more information visit Ozark Off Road Cyclists. ozarkoffroadcyclists.org—LC

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 35


11. bucket list trout fishing on the norfork

The Norfork River, a tailwater below Norfork Lake, is a scant 4.8 miles before its confluence with the White River. Despite its length, this river offers some of the best trout fishing in the world. The grand slam of trout fishing—meaning a cutthroat, rainbow, brown and brook trout—is there for the taking. The Norfork offers year-round fishing with patterns dependent on water level and flow. With higher water levels, throw streamers or flesh flies with sinking line. Lower water means smaller patterns like a bead head or midge. Before you go, check fishing regulations at agfc.com/en/zone-map/ fishing-map/694/ —DH

Looking for water that moves but doesn’t move too fast? Heed the call of the Caddo River, suitable for any able-bodied floater in a kayak, canoe, raft or tube. A popular section is Caddo Gap to Glenwood offering the perfect mix of water and speed for an easy, family-friendly thrill. For a slower pace try Glenwood to Amity and don’t forget your rod and reel. Whichever section of the Caddo you choose to float, odds are you’ll have a great day. Make sure to check waterlevels, 5.6-7.25 feet on upper sections, 5.2-6 feet on lower sections are ideal. —LC Caddo River Class I-I+ Put in: Caddo Gap (34.4001° N, 93.6194° W) Take out: Amity (34.2648° N, 93.4610° W) Additional Guidance: caddoriver.com arkansascanoeclub.com arkansas.com/fishing-spot/ caddo-river-0

12. mighty fine wine The rolling countryside sitting atop the Arkansas River Valley on state Highway 186, running north and south between I-40 and U.S. Highway 64, is dotted with small ponds and acre after acre of vineyards. This region of the state is the heart of Arkansas Wine Country You can easily spend a day here sampling the local vino; every grower has a tasting room, some with cafes 36 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

to fuel your adventures. Chances are, the grower or a member of their immediate family will be personally pouring you a taste and can tell you anything you want to know about its production. Audrey House, owner of Chateau Aux Arc (chateauauxarc.com), said anytime is the right time to visit Altus and the key to success is simply not to be in a hurry. “We have something very unique that stands up to the rest of the world,” she said. “When people come to an Arkansas winery, they’re taking a piece of Arkansas home with them.” —DH

PHOTO COURTESY OF: DREW HARRIS

10. slow ride


PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: PARKS AND TOURISM

13. wet and wild whitewater

If you’re able-bodied and a good swimmer, Big Piney is considered one of the best water rides in the state for all kinds of recreational traffic. But the 10-mile stretch between Helton Farm and Longpool is where the fast action is, featuring heartpounding spots like Roller Coaster, Surfing Hole and Cascades of Extinction. Tips for success on Big Piney include: Be a competent swimmer. Wear your PFD.

Big Piney Creek, Class I-II+

Seek (and heed) expert advice. Moore Outdoors, (moreoutdoors.com) has been hooking folks up on the Big Piney for 41 years. This makes them the go-to for the beginner and experienced paddler alike. —LC

Put in: Helton Farm (35.6126° N, 93.1613° W {Treat}) Take out: Long Pool Recreation Area (35.5489° N, 93.1609° W) Additional Guidance: Arkansascanoeclub.com arkansas.com/fishing-spot/big-piney-creek

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 37


The Pig Trail Route: Brashears (35.8117° N, 93.7956° W) to Oark (35.6895° N, 93.5724° W) Roadside Attractions: Turner Bend has been open since 1911 and offers a wide assortment of aids to motorists, including food and drink, restrooms, canoe rentals and campgrounds along the beautiful Mulberry River. At Oark, be sure to visit the Oark General Store and Café. Opened in 1890, it is the oldest continually operating store in Arkansas. Try the burgers and get a taste of history. 38 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

15. try birding on your next vacation Bird watching is more than just watching birds, it’s a natural history lesson. The state boasts about 400 bird species out of 10,000 in the world. All you need is a good pair of binoculars and some time to enjoy this relaxing activity —AH Check out these recommended birding spots:

Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge, Pope County (35.1408° N, 93.0597° W) Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge, Crittenden County (35.3437° N, 90.2127° W) Millwood Lake, Little River County (33.7438° N, 93.9776° W)

PHOTO COURTESY OF: MEL WHITE

When you think of exciting roads for motorcycling in The Natural State, nothing comes to mind faster than the Pig Trail, state Highway 23. Recognized by a USA Today reader’s poll as the No.1 ride in the United States, this National Forest Scenic Byway is a great ride any time of the year. The 24-mile route runs north and south between Highway 16 at Brashears and I-40 at Ozark. Headed north from Ozark, you can take respite from the road at Turner Bend on the Mulberry River or a trailhead on the Ozark Highlands Trail just before the Franklin and Washington county lines. The Federal Highway Administration designated the Pig Trail Scenic Byway a National Forest Scenic Byway in 1989. Aside from the traditional safety gear motorcyclists should always wear, avid biker Duke Boyne of Rogers says the key to success on the Pig Trail is looking ahead, “through the hairpin corners. If you fixate your vision on the side of the road, you’re gonna go to it and end up in the woods, wrecked,” he said. Boyne also suggests giving plenty of space between you and your riding partners, “for obvious reasons.” Was it named for the backroads route to the big game in Fayetteville or for the twisty tail of a feral swine? Decide after the ride. —DH

PHOTO COURTESY OF: DREW HARRIS

14. ride the pig trail


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Soaring through the sky with a hang glider – an aluminum frame with a sail cloth wing and no motor—is as close to birds eye view as one can get. There are two main hanggliding spots in Arkansas, reserved for certified hang gliders who use their own hang gliders.

Mount Magazine, Logan County (35.1673° N, 93.6449° W): It is the state’s highest point at 2,753 feet. Gliders take off from a ridge that To find the Holy Grail of thrill-seeking in Arkansas, look to the sky. Whether is about seven miles long with hang gliding or parachuting, there are plenty of airborne thrills for any beautiful views of Blue Mountain adventurer. Lake. For the past two years, Fayettefall has been helping skydiving rookies cross Mount Nebo, Yell County this extreme sport off their bucket lists while providing a home base for local (35.2174° N, 93.2467° W): At parachuting fanatics. 1,350 feet, it has three launch For first-timers, pilot Jacob Crutchfield and veteran skydiver Brandon sights and multiple wind Cawood facilitate a breathtaking time. Beginners are encouraged to jump directions. The three miles take tandem first, with a guide joining them to make sure they’re comfortable. about 10 minutes. —AH Once the newbie is confident, they can try diving solo. At heights of 9,000 to 10,000 feet, divers are privy to incredible views, especially when the leaves are changing in autumn. After 25 to 30 seconds of free-falling, divers deploy their parachutes for a three- to five-minute descent – faster if you spiral on the way down. Cawood said the square parachutes used by Fayettefall provide a softer, smoother landing. —SB

16. it’s a bird, it’s a plane...

18. on gossamer wings

With flowers blooming and warm days, it’s prime time to view some of Arkansas’s most beautiful natural attractions, including dozens of species of butterflies. “In summer, the Diana fritillary (Speyeria diana), one of the most spectacular butterflies in the U.S. and the official state butterfly of Arkansas, can be found in open woodlands, especially in the Ouachita Mountains,” said Samantha Scheiman, grants coordinator, field assistant and resident butterfly enthusiast at the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. Scheiman advises butterfly seekers that the warmest part of the day, mid-morning to late afternoon, is the best time to search, especially on sunny days with little wind. She also recommends visiting the butterfly gardens at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville. —SB Cherokee Prairie Natural Area, Franklin County (35.3355° N, 94.0384° W) Chesney Prairie Natural Area, Benton County (36.2187° N, 94.4821° W) Middle Fork Barrens Natural Area, Saline County (34°38’15.3”N 92°50’31.5”W) Terre Noire Natural Area, Clark County (34°05’13.1”N 93°10’23.6”W)

Warren Prairie Natural Area, Bradley and Drew counties (33.5799° N, 91.9845° W) More Information: naturalheritage.com/natural-areas 40 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

PHOTO COURTESY OF: DWAIN HEBDA/FAYETTEFALL

More Information: fayettefall.com

PHOTO COURTESY OF: FAYETTEFALL

17. fly like an eagle


PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: TURPENTINE CREEL WILDLIFE REFUGE

19. turpentine creek is the cat’s meow

Wanna get a little wild with the family this summer? Check out Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. It’s an enriching opportunity for family fun in a wild environment. Activities include guided walking and trolley tours, summer day camps for kids, volunteer opportunities, scavenger hunts and much more. If you want to stay and play (and you do), options range from air-conditioned, safari-style wall tents to luxury lodges. You can even book the tree house! Nearby outdoor activities, minus the lions, tigers and bears, include the Kings River, Beaver Lake and Table Rock Lake. —LC Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (36.3099° N, 93.7556° W) turpentinecreek.org

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20. zip-lining: a great family adventure

Watching the flowing waters of the Buffalo River from the tree tops is the unique ziplining adventure offered by Buffalo River Canopy Tour. The 2½-hour tours accommodate up to 10, ages 7 and up. Harnessed participants zip along cables at the mountaintop overlooking Ponca. Experienced tour guides share trivia about the area’s history and nature. On the ground, activities include canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, swimming, hiking and a mountain bike trail opening in June, what Albers described as “the largest downhill in the central U.S., dropping almost 1,300 feet.” —AH Buffalo River Canopy Tour, Ponca, AR (36.0228° N, 93.3632° W)

More Information: buffaloriver.com/pages/zipline

your ozark adventure headquarters Featuring

Buffalo National River Great Escapes

Scenic Ozark Mountains Guided Trips for Smallmouth Bass, Trout and Largemouth Bass Canoes • Kayaks • Rafts Johnboats • Hiking • Camping Near Buffalo Point Campground Lodge Cabins with Fireplaces and Jacuzzis Packages and Gift Certificates Available

23 Highway 268 E. Yellville, AR 72687 (800) 554-8657

wildbillsoutfitter.com 42 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

Wild Bill’s Outfitter is an authorized canoe concessioner of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. *Ads paid for using a combination of private and state matching funds.


STAY & PLAY

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF: ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM

REAL ESTATE & PROPERTIES Some of the best bonding experiences happen outdoors, and that starts with comfortable lodging near the natural, wild spaces where you want to be. Arkansas Wild has compiled some of the best spaces to STAY & PLAY. Here you will find lodges perfect for a weekend getaway, hunting cabins for that once-in-a-lifetime duck hunt, a new vacation home, or that next place to relocate in The Natural State!

Make your next vacation an Arkansas adventure —STAY & PLAY in The Natural State! Stay & Play is a special feature of Arkansas Wild with statewide distribution, including state parks, resorts, large chain grocery stores and outdoor outfitters. Plus, its promoted online with Arkansas Wild digital media. If you would like to list your commercial or residential properties and rentals, contact katherine@arktimes.com.

A Special Advertising Promotion ARKANSASWILD.COM | 43


STAY & PLAY REAL ESTATE & PROPERTIES

BEAR CREEK LOG CABINS

6403 N HWY 65 | ST. JOE, AR 870.448.5926 buffaloriverlogcabins.net

If you are looking for a rustic retreat near the Buffalo National River at Tyler Bend, look no further than Bear Creek Log Cabins. There are three cabins scattered over hundreds of acres, all with access to the fishing holes of Bear Creek—a tributary to the Buffalo—right on the property. The ranch is less than five minutes south of Middle Buffalo access areas and the Ozark Highland Trail, but you will also find plenty of trails right on the Bear Creek property for hiking, biking or ATV use. It is a photographer’s paradise, with sweeping views of the buttresses that line the creek and wildlife on every adventure. The nearby private Lake House property, with a 22-acre stocked lake with dock and fishing boat right out the back door, is also a favorite location. The spacious cabins feature native rock fireplaces, outdoor fire pits, charcoal grills, full kitchens, linens, flat-screen TVs with satellite reception (including SEC and ESPN channels), and heat/air that will accommodate up to 40 guests. Bear Creek is open year-round, offers hunting in season, and is petfriendly. Special winter discount rates are available in January and February. Bear Creek Log Cabins will quickly become your go-to getaway destination. 44 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

A A Special Special Advertising Advertising Promotion Promotion

• ELK AND OTHER WILDLIFE WATCHING • PRIVATE ROADS FOR HIKES AND ATV TRAILS • LESS THAN 5 MINUTES SOUTH OF THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER • OZARK HIGHLANDS TRAIL LESS THAN 5 MINUTES AWAY • 45 MINUTES TO COTTER FOR TROUT FISHING


STAY & PLAY REAL ESTATE & PROPERTIES

GASTON'S WHITE RIVER RESORT

1777 River Rd. | Lakeview, AR Gastons.com 870.431.5202

Gaston’s White River Resort began in 1958 with six small cottages and six boats. Today, Clint Gaston carries on the family legacy with over 400 acres and 79 cottages— ranging from two double beds to 10 private rooms—an airstrip, over 70 boats and a state-of-the-art dock. Gaston’s Resort also features an award-winning restaurant, private club, gift shop, tennis court, playground, game room, duck pond, three nature trails, swimming pool, conference lodge and fly-fishing school. Led by master fly-fisherman Frank Saksa, the fly-fishing school is a one-day course for two people. Combining a bit of in-classroom teaching with hands-on experience, these classes are a wonderful introduction to the art of fly-fishing. And the fishing is always good at Gaston’s. The White River stays the same temperature year-round, which means the trout are always active. Fly-fishing is not the only way to fish, either! In fact, over 85% of everyone who fishes in the area is spin fishing. You can produce excellent results either way—just have fun! Gaston’s offers a Bermuda grass airstrip that is open to everyone—not just guests who are staying in the cottages. Feel free to fly in for breakfast, lunch or dinner any day of the week, or on Sunday for the restaurant’s famous Sunday brunch. The resort has been featured in every major airplane and flight magazine in the world, and it is known as the best fly-fishing destination in this part of the country. Visitors fly in from all over the country to experience some great trout fishing, or just to enjoy a meal with a great view in the first-class restaurant. Gaston’s has a wide variety of different packages—perfect to suit you and your party. In addition to the basic accommodations, there are several larger cottages and lodges where guests can hosts larger parties and events, all of which offer free Wi-Fi. Whether you need a crib, extra blankets or handicap-accessible utilities, Gaston’s will strive to make you as comfortable as possible. Just let the capable staff know what they can do to make your stay perfect. Your dogs are welcome, too! A Special Advertising Promotion

• COTTAGES AND LODGES FOR SMALL AND LARGE PARTIES • YEAR-ROUND TROUT FISHING AND INSTRUCTION AVAILABLE • AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANT • PRIVATE AIRSTRIP • DOG-FRIENDLY

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ARKANSAS NOTEBOOK

1

Woolly Cabin:

w o l l o H y l l -Woo State Park 2

O Built 1882 O One room log cabin O Moved to park, 1975

3 ! Campsite

Mom caught a catfish!! The butterflies here are beautiful!

Huckleberry Trail

Love the peace and quiet! Huckleberry Trail = great hike through the woods 2

ces!! Canoe Ra

Swimming area

tt e n n Be e k La

1 3

46 | Arkansas Wild ¸ may 2019

Woolly Hollow State Park 35.2887° N, 92.2870° W


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The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is now offering a full lineup of outdoor skills courses.

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Courses will include fishing, hunting, archery, trapping, conservation leadership, paddle sports, game-calling, watchable wildlife and marksmanship. You’ll have a chance to learn and hone your skills from some of Arkansas’s best outdoor enthusiasts. Skills and training courses will be offered year-round at AGFC nature centers and education centers as well as local community centers.

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Learn more at AGFCOutdoorSkills.com

Profile for Arkansas Times

Arkansas Wild | May 2019  

20 Chill and Thrill Adventures Jeffrey Glasbrenner The Wild Interview 2019 Fishing Guide

Arkansas Wild | May 2019  

20 Chill and Thrill Adventures Jeffrey Glasbrenner The Wild Interview 2019 Fishing Guide