The Arkansas Fish and Game Commission, which carefully regulates both Arkansas
fishing and hunting, is one of the leading factors in preserving the beautiful
wild places and scenic state
parks of the state. This means you can enjoy fishing in Arkansas side by
side with other pursuits, including hiking
on hundreds of miles of trails, canoeing, camping
in pristine regions around the state, and even while driving along the beautiful
Talimena Scenic Byway.
In addition to the many lakes, there is Arkansas river fishing as well as fly fishing in Arkansas for such sport fish as trout and bass. Even unorthodox Arkansas fishing is possible—a record 56 pound, 4 ounce buffalo bigmouth was taken with a bow and arrow from Calion Lake in the southern part of the state near Texarkana. In the language of anglers, this is called "unrestricted tackle."
There is great Arkansas fishing to be found in more than 600,000 acres of
lakes and 9,700 miles of rivers
and streams scattered across the length and breadth of the state. You can go
fly fishing in Arkansas for trout, plug for largemouths on famous Mallard Lake,
or jig for crappies on a river oxbow shaded by stately cypress. More than fifty
lakes managed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Corps of Engineers
offer camping sites, picnic sites, swimming beaches, and boat launching ramps.
Many of the hundreds of miles of hiking trails follow the course of rivers or
circumnavigate lakes with handy fishing spots along the way.
There is even city fishing in Arkansas as so many cities are on or near the water. The state has a very active Family and Community Fisheries Program that enhances and creates urban Arkansas fishing destinations so that excellent fishing is available within a stone's throw of all residents. You'll find these spots in West Memphis, Little Rock, Hot Springs, Hope, Jonesboro, Sherwood, and Rogers - among others.
Fly fishing in Arkansas is the penultimate for the true purist. And rainbow trout is the penultimate species they seek. Arkansas river fishing provides the best environment for this kind of fishing that most anglers consider an art. A prime destination for fly fishing in Arkansas is the White River. The best spots on this legendary trout river are north of its source in Fayetteville all the way to Branson, Missouri, Although they occur year round in the state, trout prefer cold water. This means you should seek the rivers at higher altitudes and that the colder months are the best times.
Before you head off on your Arkansas fishing adventures, be sure to familiarize yourself with the state's rules regulating the sport. There are different regulations for Arkansas river fishing than for fishing in the many lakes, whether you are on private property or state-owned property. There are size limits, requiring you to throw back fish under a certain size, and legal seasons apply for different fish species. So, when to go on your angling trip depends on what fish you're looking to bring in. Some areas are actually "catch and release" areas, meaning you are fishing in Arkansas for the sheer joy of the sport, and must release everything you catch regardless of size and species. And don't forget about obtaining the proper license.