Fishing in Arkansas

Brock Stockland

Did you know that Arkansas is home to more that six hundred thousand acres of lakes and ninety thousand miles of rivers? Did you know that Arkansas is the home of the only lake that annually hosts a FLW tournament? These are just a couple of themany features that truly make Arkansas the Natural State.

Over the past few weeks I have been creating my own fishing report in the form of a journal. The report is mainly over fishing largemouth bass in Northwest Arkansas but it also includes information on other species such as Rainbow and Brown Trout. The report includes whether conditions, which were literally almost the exact same almost every day, and water temperatures, which were also all very similar due to the time period of when I went fishing.

With it being early fall the bass are beginning to move from their late summer pattern, holding deep and feeding very early and very late, to their early fall pattern which is to move shallow and chase shad throughout the day. This can leave bass anglers with some tricky conditions. The bass tend to be scattered throughout the lakes and rivers right now because they are all progressing at different speeds and they aren’t all actively feeding at the same points throughout the day. So really there isn’t much of a pattern to follow. However I have managed to have some success over the past couple weeks bass fishing. From October tenth to present, I caught approximately forty five bass. Most of my fishing was done on beaver lake, but I got the chance to fish on Lake Dardanelle one day and Grand Lake in Oklahoma one day as well. There was no apparent patter on Beaver lake at all. Most of the fish I caught all came off different techniques and lures. On Lake Dardanelle the pattern I found was to fish shallow wood. Whether it was lay downs or stumps, it was almost all holding fish. Grand Lake was where I caught my biggest bass, which was about four pounds. One awesome feature of North West Arkansas is how close we are to so many amazing bass lakes. Within 2 hours in every direction is an absolutely killer bass lake. To the north it is Table Rock (really more north east but same thing) to the East it is Bull Shoals lake, to the West are all the Oklahoma lakes such as Grand Lake, and to the south you have Lake Dardanelle.

Possibly one of the best fishing trips you can take in the entire country is to go Trout fishing below the Bull Shoals dam on the White River. Every year the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stocks hundreds of thousands of Brown and Rainbow Trout below this one dam. It is not uncommon to hear of Brown Trout being caught in excess of ten to fifteen pounds. In fact Arkansas is home to the forty pound four ounce world record Brown Trout. Over fall break I got the chance to fish on this amazing stretch of the White River, we literally caught too many Rainbow Trout to count and I caught a four pound brown.

It is no coincidence that Arkansas is also home to many of the largest companies in the fishing industry. In Mountain Home alone, you have the Bass Cat Boats company, the Ranger Boats company who also makes the Stratos and Triton bass boats, Denali Rods, Shawnee and Supreme river boats, and EZ load boat trailers. North West Arkansas is home to War Eagle Lures, Arkie Jigs, and several other lure companies. These are just a handful of some of the industry leading companies that all call the Natural State home. To many people fishing is just a hobbie, but to many of the citizens of our state who work for these companies it is their livelihood. In 2011 alone four hundred ninety six million dollars were generated for the Arkansas economy from fishing related purchases alone. It is easy to see that in Arkansas fishing is more that just a weekend hobby. It is a way of life and a means of providing for the families of many Arkansans.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Brock Stockland




Fishing Report


Beaver Lake

It was very windy and the water temperature was in the mid eighties. Most bass were caught on a Texas rigged worm in watermelon red north of the twelve bridge.


Grand Lake

It was a sunny day with a slight breeze. Twelve bream were caught while flipping a small craw along rock banks for bass. Three bass were caught on a Texas rig flipping a craw in Yabby Mudbug, and my four pounder was caught on a Carolina rig with a Junebug colored worm.


Beaver Lake

The head on my boats prop spun so I was stuck in Praire Creek. The water was eighty three degrees and very clear. I had very limited success because of the issues with the motor.


Nice afternoon to be on the water. Water temperature was in the low eighties. Four bass were caught in Clifty. Bass seemed to be interested in bream imitations and shakey heads.


Beaver Lake

Fishing was SLOWWWW. We fished a tournament with twenty boats and over half the boats didn’t weigh a fish. I had a four pounder get of at the side of the boat after bitting on my deep diving crankbait.


Beaver Lake

The bite finally moved shallow. The bass were holding in about 2 feet of water and were responding to plastic worms on a Texas rig flipped into brush. No huge fish were caught but the numbers were very good.


Lake Dardanelle

All the bass were caught shallow holding to wood. The water was about eighty degrees and very dirty. Bass came of junebug colored craw imitations. About eight bass were caught and they were all keepers.

10/19 and 10/20

White River below Bull Shoals Dam

Dam was running eight units and the water was extremely clear. Fishing was good from Newland’s Resort all the Way down to Sportsman’s Resort. I caught one nice brown on a Rapala X-Rap and a lot of Rainbow Trout were caught on a Black and Silver Rapala Shad Rap. The bite was best around mid day but there was never a bad time to be on the water.