Crappie, Walleye, Striper, Hybrid & More
Crappie are so abundant in the Mississippi and its backwaters that the Arkansas state limit inside the river levees is 50 a day.
The 156,000-acre White River National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Arkansas is home to a host of small, timber-filled lakes that offer perhaps the best bream and cold weather crappie fishing in the state. Located in the floodplain of the lower White River, the lakes are bountifully restocked with each winter's floods.
The refuge offers primitive camping and portions of it are open for fishing from March 1 to November 30 only. For a refuge brochure including a map and fishing and hunting regulations, call 870-946-1469 or write White River National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 308, DeWitt, AR 72042.
Other crappie waters: Cane Creek Lake near Star City; Spadra Creek and Little Spadra Creek near Clarksville, and Lake Overcup north of Morrilton.
In search of the best places to fish for walleye? Arkansas contains plenty of walleye fishing hotspots and few anglers vying for this species. No other state consistently produces walleyes as big as The Natural States'. The world-record 22-pound, 11-ounce walleye was caught in Greers Ferry Lake in March 1982. It has been said that Arkansas has some of the best walleye fishing in the United States.
A cool water fish, it's commonly found in water temperatures from 65-75 degrees. Walleye like clean streams and lakes with rock, gravel and sand bottoms and a good combination of pools and riffles.
Most are caught at night and on cloudy days (they avoid bright light) on a variety of natural and artificial baits. Minnows and bream are effective natural baits while minnow-imitation artificial baits work best in winter and spring. Try jigging spoons and trolling deep-running lures in the summer when walleyes are in deep water.
Some of north Arkansas's waters that support good walleye populations include Bull Shoals, Greers Ferry, and Norfork lakes, and the Eleven Point, upper and middle White, Kings, Spring, Black and Current rivers. Try walleye fishing in these west-central waters: Saline, Ouachita and Little Missouri rivers and Lakes Hamilton, Ouachita, Catherine and Greeson.
Striper Bass Fishing & Hybrid Striper Fishing
Although striper bass fishing is popular in many Arkansas lakes, striper bass are not native to the state. Stripers must be stocked in Arkansas's waters because, while they can live in freshwater, this saltwater bass species cannot reproduce in it. The AG&FC stocks striped bass in the Little River and in these lakes: Beaver Lake, DeGray Lake, De Queen Lake, Greers Ferry Lake, Lake Catherine, Lake Greeson, Lake Hamilton, Lake Maumelle, Lake Norfork and Lake Ouachita. Many of these lakes also have hybrid striped bass.
Hybrid striper bass, a cross of the striped bass and white bass, were introduced into Arkansas waters (DeGray Lake) by AG&FC in 1975. Greers Ferry Lake and Heber received a stock the following year. Lakes that have held the record hybrid at one time or another include DeGray, Greers Ferry, Little River and Lake Hamilton. Other good striper hybrid fishing can be found on Beaver, DeQueen and Storm Creek lakes.
Arkansas Striper Association
Looking for really big catfish? Arkansas is a great state to try for record catfish, which are among the largest Arkansas game fish.
Numerous city lakes offer catfish fishing fun, like MacArthur Park Lake in Little Rock or Lake Atalanta in Rogers. Other waters thought to be holding record cat include:
Check out these other honey holes that may be hosting a record catfish: White Oak Lake in South Central Arkansas; Lake Hinkle, an AG&FC impoundment 12 miles west of Waldron; Little River, below the dam on Lake Millwood; Lake Wilhelmina; Lake Grampus, a Bayou Bartholomew oxbow east of Hamburg; Lake Greeson, a 2,500-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake near Murfreesboro; Lake Poinsett near Harrisburg; and, DeGray Lake near Arkadelphia, a Corps impoundment.
When you're looking for really big catfish, you'll find that the mighty Mississippi for sizeable channel, blue and flatheads. By sizeable, we mean world-record, 100-pound-plus possibilities. The Mississippi extends the length of Arkansas's eastern boundary. A good place to start when trying to decide where to fish this big stretch of water is at the junctures of the river with its large tributaries such as the St. Francis, White and Arkansas rivers.
Fishing for Panfish
Going fishing for panfish? The Buffalo National River provides a beauty of a float and plenty of panfish too. Sunfish, which can be caught on ultralight tackle, are an excellent target for young anglers. Longear sunfish thrive in just about any Arkansas fishing hole and green sunfish are even more prolific. If you would like to try fly fishing for panfish, here is an interesting article titled "Fly Rod Tactics for Spring Panfish," by Erich Hartmann.