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Statewide Travel 4

It’s Always Fishing Season in Arkansas


Fishing truly is every man’s (and woman’s) sport. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a state-of-the-art carbon fiber rod or a stick from your backyard. Add some line, a hook and a piece of hot dog and you’re in business. As long as you have a place to fish, fishing is possible in any weather, and it’s always fishing season in Arkansas.

Arkansas weather has its highs and its lows and can be wholly unpredictable. A cold snap could put a damper on a weekend kayaking adventure. Severe weather could have you packing up the tent and heading back home. One thing is certain – the fishing is always good in Arkansas. Let’s break it down by season.

Winter Fishing

Colder temperatures will have you bundling up, and fish aren’t much different. When water temperatures fall, fish will group together. Find the group and you’ve got more fish on your lure and a better chance of reeling one in.

December – Fish the tailwaters of the Arkansas River to find winter panfish.

January – Find lunker walleye in the deep, cold waters of Arkansas’s biggest lakes like Greers Ferry, Norfork and Lake Dardanelle.

February – Head to small oxbow lakes and fish for crappie.

Spring Fishing

As the weather warms, the fish move up from the depths and feed more. Select a smaller bait and choose your location carefully to capitalize on the spring spawn. Keep up with stocking programs through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to take advantage of the newly stocked waters in the spring fishing season.

March – White bass and hybrid stripers are feeding on shad. The White River Access near Goshen is a hot spot.

April – Crappie is spawning in some of the larger lakes with Beaver Lake being one of the best.

May – Take advantage of spring stocking and fish for rainbow trout in Bull Shoals Lake or give bowfishing a try!

Summer Fishing

The summer heat is hard to beat, but the dog days of summer were made for fishing. Find a shady spot and dip your toes in the cool water, go wading or grab a flashlight and try night fishing.

June – Wade fishing will have you bringing in bream and redear sunfish. The Henry Gray/Hurricane Lake WMA is a honey hole worth exploring.

July – Try a little fishing in the dark! Summer nights are ideal for catfishing. Try Lake Ouachita, Lake Conway or Austell Lake inside Village Creek State Park.

August – Top-water bass fishing is exciting in the summer months. Find summer bass in tailwaters and large reservoirs. Lake Maumelle and Arkansas River are prime locations in late summer.

Photo courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

Fall Fishing

Gamefish are packing on weight for the coming winter, so it’s a great time to capitalize on that feeding frenzy. Bright days may attract you to the water, but fishing is great on cloudy, rainy fall days.

September – Check out Lake Nimrod for striped bass that are feeding on shad along windblown banks.

October – Flathead are feeding to prepare for winter and bass are moving from the cooler depths to more shallow waters as the nights begin to cool and rainy day fishing on Lake Catherine will have you loading your cooler.

November – Brown trout spawn in November, so head to the Little Red River below Greers Ferry or to the White River below the Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams to get in on the action.

We’d love to hear about your favorite fishing season. Leave us a comment or join the discussion in the OnlyinArk Facebook group.

Header photo courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and teaches art part-time at a local private school. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas where they raise chickens, farm hay and bake bread. Julie loves adventure and sharing it with her husband and son. They frequent the trails, campgrounds and parks of Arkansas, always on the hunt for new adventures and new stories to share. Learn more on her blog Seek Adventures Media.

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4 responses to “It’s Always Fishing Season in Arkansas”

  1. […] locations in Northwest Arkansas) Favorite Activity: outside of storm chasing, probably hunting and fishing! Favorite Museum: Downtown Fort Smith Historic Museums Favorite City: Fayetteville; I love the […]

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