Arkansas striper fishing
Fishing Reports from The Arkansas River
Time Data flow for the Arkansas River projects from the Army Corps
Bass fishing on the Arkansas River in another gem in Arkansas Fishing there is a significant population
of striped bass in the river.
Stripers can be found from the Oklahoma border to the Mississippi River in the
Arkansas River, a distance of 310 miles. Stripers concentrate in the tailwaters
of the 12 dams that divide the river into pools making stripers eaiser to find.
A deal in the 70s by AGFC Riley Donahoo and fisheries biologist andrew Hulsey
had fingerling Striped Bass flown in from south Carolina and put into the newly
formed lake Dardanelle.They thrived reproduced and migrated up and down stream.
Arkansas River now supports a naturally reproducing population
of striped bass, which, along with the Red River makes the two
rivers the only known water in Arkansas to have natrural reproduction.
Arkansas River Striper Population, if
considered on a total per-acre basis, might be smaller compared
to populations in some Arkansas lakes, but below the dams the fish
will stack up, the densities are thick and the fishing can make
grown men hide their rods to rest. Through spring and early summer
these areas serve up very fast and furious action.
The Arkansas River Fish up to about
20 pounds show up pretty regularly and fish in the 5- to 15-pound
range tend to keep Striper fishermen very busy.
The Arkansas River offers very convenient
fishing from Fort Smith, Little Rock and Pine Bluff. Lock and Dam
13 in Barling and the Jeta-Taylor Lock and Dam in Ozark are rated
as outstanding striper waters.
The Arkansas River offers very good
public access for bank-fishing. In fact, the bank-fishermen enjoy
somewhat of an advantage over boating anglers at times because
they are allowed to fish closer to the dams, and stripers like
the swift currents of the tailwater portion.
Arkansas River Striper Fishing Tactics
During heavy water-flow situations, when stripers are in the tailrace, cast
toward the dam and keep the grub as close to the top as possible. Allow
the water flow to work the lure downstream, and reel and 'pop' the grub
while it is flowing downstream. This keeps the lure up where the stripers
are feeding and will keep you from hanging up."
In boats begin fishing 100 yards from
the dam, which is as close as you are permitted to go, concentrate
your efforts within a mile or so of that point. Fish rips between
current lines, on the backsides of sunken rock piles and in cuts
in the banks. River Fishing Tips for Stripers
Bucktail jigs or soft-plastic minnow-bodied
baits on leadheads also work well beneath the surface. Depending
on current, the head size might range from 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce.
Striper fishermen working from boats
should not overlook wing dams within the first few miles downstream
of the dam, especially if a fair amount of water is running. Stripers
(along with largemouths, white bass and various other kinds of
fish) will hold right along break lines formed by the rock walls
and wait for food to get washed overhead.
“Big bait, big fish” is
the rule for trophy Striped bass on the Arkansas River (30-40+lbs).
Large stripers are caught each year by trolling Large Plugs or
large Live bait.
Summer is prime time for trolling the
Arkansas river where striped bass are present. In hot weather,
the fish tend to congregate in the cooler water below the dams
and at the mouths of feeder creeks or spring holes. Trolling at
night and early in the morning in places where cool and warm water
meet can be productive.
Stripers will hold around
standing logs that have washed off the bank. If there is flowing
an ambush fish. If not, they’re swimming. They have to have
something running over their gills all the time. The bigger they
get, the more oxygen they need.” When the current is present
Stripers often suspend around submerged cover such as downed trees
in shady areas along the bank.
For someone who is after
a trophy, don't put anything in the water under 10 inches. It’s hard on your
psyche to do it. You might go eight hours without a bite. When
you get one, though, it’s definitely a memory of a lifetime.
When the stripers are
working, and there’s
a fog on the river in the morning, you can hear them chasing bait.
You might have six or seven lines out and every one of them will
load up with a fish.
On days when strikes
are few and far between uses 4 to 6 inch shad. Pull these baits
over gravel bars that might be three feet deep in a twenty-foot
river channel, like where a creek comes out, “Look for the ambush points".
If your pulling live bait, try to get them close to the bank. But
you will be constantly reeling in and putting them out because
of the cover.
Patience and determination are required to catch a big striper. When first
hooked in current you just hang on and you do your best, You don’t
horse it in; you wear it down. When you fish with large plugs or with
live bait, a jumbo striper will strike with ample aggression to set the
hook itself. Then it’s up to you. In rivers, the aim is to keep
the fish from diving into cover by watching its direction and turning
its head. A strong dip net with a 26- to 30-inch hoop or a Game Lip Grip
is helpful to land the fish.
“If you hook a really big fish,
you can chase it down with your trolling motor, try to keep the
line as vertical as possible, This makes the striper have to fight
harder, and it tires out sooner. Always keep your rod loaded and
your drag set at 70 percent of line strength. This lets the fish
run at you, and the rod will pick up the slack and will always
keep the hook tight in the striper’s mouth.”
Big stripers can succumb to stress in
summer. If the fish is to be released, it can be revived by holding
it by the tail beside the boat (with one hand held under its belly)
and letting the current work water through its gills until it has
the strength to swim away.
It’s a full-boat operation to
land a big striper. The boat catches the striper. Someone has to
run the boat, someone has to work the net and someone has to reel
in the fish. Decide who will take the rod first before you start
fishing. You don’t have time to argue about who gets
All Stripers All The Time!!