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Fishing is an all-encompassing, accessible way to spend time outdoors, alone or with family. With a fishing season that never ends, the state of Arkansas is full of great fishing spots waiting to be explored. If you have a fishing license and some patience, you can fish here 365 days a year.
This sport crosses demographics and abilities, offering a unique appeal to residents and tourists, and surpassing a world of other physical activities. Many outdoor adventures can be physically challenging: a deterrent if you are out of shape, have a physical disability, or come with small children. The cost of joining sports leagues is high, and often time-consuming and limited to specific age groups. Fishing is easy to learn and equipment is relatively inexpensive. With your catch, you can feed yourself and your family, making it the perfect activity for both beginners and experienced outdoor enthusiasts.
Whether you prefer to fish from the shore or a boat, whether you would like to cast your pole in a lake, a river or a pond, Arkansas will oblige with an abundance of crappie, catfish, trout and a host of other fish. Make sure you have purchased a fishing license ($10.50) and if needed, a trout permit ($5.00 or more).
Size: 40,000 acres
Common species: catfish, largemouth bass, walleye, common bream, smallmouth bass, spotted bass
Although not overly popular for catfishing due to its difficulty, there are some enormous catfish held by the waters of Lake Ouachita. A 39-pound channel catfish was caught here in 1989 (the state record as of this writing), but blue and flatheads are also large and prolific. This lake also ranks as one of the best bass fishing lakes in the state.
Size: 6,700 acres
Common species: catfish, bass, bream, crappie
This man-made lake is relatively small but mighty. It is full of shad and sunfish and deep pockets of old logs which create prime habitat for flathead catfish. Blue and channel are regularly stocked by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Size: 5,300 Acres
Common species: crappie, largemouth bass
Near Lake Village, Lake Chicot is North America’s largest oxbow lake and the largest natural lake in Arkansas. For the best chance at finding large channel and flathead catfish, stay near the cypress and willow trees.
Size: 214 miles
Common species: catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, crappie, cutthroat trout, bream/bluegill, walleye
It is not uncommon to pull trophy fish from the waters of the Little River, a tributary of the Red River. Big tackle, heavy line, and a serious rod and reel are crucial to landing the big one.
Size: 34,300 acres
Common species: bass, crappie, catfish, bream
Mild winters lead to one of the best bass habitats at this beautiful lake. Largemouth are found near the upper part while stripers are found in the lower portions. White bass are native to the Arkansas River and are also found here. Lake Dardanelle is also well-known for crappie fishing.
Size: Bull Shoals – 45,440 acres, Norfork – 22,000 acres
Common species: bass, crappie, channel cat, bream, walleye
These twin lakes located in northern Arkansas are renowned for lunker bass fishing. Boats are available for rent in several locations around both lakes and can aide in reaching some of the better fishing spots. Largemouth, spotted and white bass are found throughout.
Consistently a top trout stream in the country the Little Red is regularly stocked with Rainbow and brown trout. Brown trout are naturally reproducing, and both species are prolific in the tailwaters of the Greers Ferry Dam.
Size: 102 miles (first 29 miles ideal for trout)
Common species: trout, catfish, bream, bass
Size: 722 miles (first 100 miles are ideal for trout)
Common species: trout, bass, walleye, catfish, crappie
The Bull Shoals tailwaters at the upper White River provide for over 100 miles of excellent trout fishing. Fly-fishing is a popular fishing method but certainly not the only means for catching trout along the White.
Size: 3,550 Acres
Common species: crappie, largemouth bass, bream, white bass, catfish
This small lake contains over 70 miles of shoreline and is perfect for boating and catching crappie. It is ranked nationally as one of the top 15 lakes for crappie fishing.
Size: 35,000 Acres
Common species: crappie, striped bass, largemouth, spotted, white bass, flathead and channel catfish, rainbow trout
After a day of hunting diamonds, you will want to relax at Lake Greeson and fish for crappie. The water and shore offer beautiful scenery and is the perfect recreational lake. The area just below the Narrows Dam is also loaded with rainbow trout.
Arkansas Game and Fish aims to encourage fishing amongst the younger and older populations across the state. To that end, they have created fishing spots in urban areas aimed at catering to these groups. Each location hosts regular fishing events and clinics. These waters may be fished only by persons 15 and younger and 65 and older, or holders of a disability license. Properly-licensed individuals that are 16-64 years old may assist and fish with someone who is a youth or disabled and is actively fishing.
Click here for a complete list of these special fishing areas.
Photos provided by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Recreation.
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