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Statewide Benton Hope
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Fishing with Dad in the Natural State

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We always caught fish and this trip was no exception, but it was abnormally cold for mid-February. It actually wasn’t that bad until it began to sleet. As we were crossing the lake and I was watching ice crystals form in my Dad’s beard, I decided that I would never beg to fish in the winter again.

I was lucky. My Dad retired when I was 4, and stayed at home with me while my Mom continued to work. Having a little girl around didn’t stop my Dad from hunting or fishing; he just took me along. I loved it. From Spring Break until September, we were on a body of water every chance we had. During the summer months, I would have to wear long sleeve shirts and my Dad would bungee cord an umbrella to the boat seat to provide shade for my pale skin.

Only In Arkansas

Bounty from a day of fishing with my dad.

Yes, I learned important survival skills on our fishing trips, but I also learned lessons that would spill over into all areas of my life. My Dad gave me my first lessons in Ecology and instilled a respect for Mother Nature into my soul. I learned how to use my imagination to quietly entertain myself for long hours, which fostered my creative spirit. I also learned the value of being still and patiently waiting for the “big catch” to come to me.

It probably doesn’t surprise you that I am married to a man that is exactly like my Dad. My husband and I are currently trying to teach our young boys the same lessons by taking them to great fishing holes, that are off the beaten path.

Only In Arkansas - My husband Aaron and our son Evan holding Crappie

My husband Aaron and our son Evan holding Crappie.

If you just want to fish, and don’t care what you catch, the Saline River outside of Benton, the Ouachita River between Mena and Oden, and Milwood Lake west of Hope are great places to start. Every kid loves to catch feisty bream, and Lake Winona near Paron makes for an exciting day. I love to eat fried crappie and fishing on Blue Mountain Lake in Blue Mountain and Nimrod Lake south of Ola on HWY 7 always provide ample fish for a huge meal. If your kids are a little older and looking for excitement, you can fish for monster catfish on the Arkansas River at Tar Camp or trophy striper on Lake Greeson in Daisy. Most importantly, consult the Arkansas Game and Fish’s current regulations for your location before you head out, always wear your life jacket, and be safe!

I bet there are hundreds of other honey holes in Arkansas, so where is your favorite place to cast a line?

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Arkansas Women Blogger member Ashley Ederington lives on a 125-acre hobby farm with her husband and two sons in Bismarck. When Ashley isn't running marathons, the family loves to explore the beautiful outdoors in Arkansas by hiking, hunting and fishing. You can follow the family's adventures on their blog: The Ederington Family or Ashley's running blog: Maniac Mom.

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