Plan a Bass Fishing Vacation in Arkansas!
The combination of size, fighting ability and distribution throughout the state make largemouth bass fishing the most prevalent type of sport fish in Arkansas. Recreational bass fishing is popular across the country, and tournament fishing has amped up in The Natural State over the past couple of decades making Arkansas a great destination for a bass fishing vacation.
The AG&FC boasts one of the nation's largest warm water fish hatchery systems with four warm water hatcheries. Each year, hundreds of thousands of largemouth bass fingerlings and yearlings are produced for stocking into new and renovated lakes, existing fisheries and private farm ponds.
Arkansas has three bass known as black bass - largemouth, spotted and smallmouth - and of those the largemouth is the largest. Adults average 10 to 20 inches in length and a half to four and a half pounds, though eight-pound fish aren't uncommon. There are two subspecies of largemouth bass in the state - the native northern largemouth bass and the introduced Florida largemouth bass.
Seasonal Movements of Largemouth Bass
Spring movements of largemouth bass in southern waters usually occur from February to April. Largemouth bass move from deep water to warmer shallows in the spring, several weeks before spawning begins. Males usually move first when water temperatures pass the 50 degree mark. Largemouth bass increase their feeding activity during this time known as the pre-spawn. Spawning occurs when the water temperature reaches 63 to 68 degrees, and the post-spawn period occurs after the water temperature hits the low 70s.
Both males and females feed heavily in the shallows during the post-spawn. During the summer, when waters are above 80 degrees, largemouth bass move to deeper, cooler water during the day, feeding in the shallows in the mornings and evenings. These fish become lethargic as water temps drop below 50 degrees in the winter. However, several consecutive sunny, warm days will perk them up again to feed.
Largemouth Bass Fishing Tips
Primarily feeding on fish, insects and crayfish, largemouth bass are caught on a variety of natural and artificial baits such as plastic worms, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and surface lures. Good choices for natural bait are minnows, night crawlers and salamanders.
Cover is important to the largemouth bass habitat. Fish for largemouth bass in rock piles, weed beds, submerged timber, brush and other objects that provide them shad and security. Places to catch largemouth bass - Arkansas River, Lake Ouachita, Lake Millwood, Greers Ferry Lake, Lake Conway, Bull Shoals Lake, Beaver Lake, Felsenthal, Lake Chicot, Lake Norfork, Horseshoe Lake, DeGray Lake, Lake Dardanelle, Lake Greeson, Lake Monticello, Table Rock Lake, White River, Lake Columbia, Lakes Dunn and Austell.
Arkansas Smallmouth Bass
Notable small streams offering opportunities for smallmouth bass action are Crooked Creek, the Caddo, the forks of the upper Little Red and Saline Rivers, the upper Cossatot, and America's first National River, the Buffalo.
Arkansas is home to several major lure manufacturers and bass boat companies.