SPEAKING OF FISHING : Three local waters in Top 10 list

Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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Which water hole is your favorite spot to wet a line ? Anglers living in NWA have numerous fishing options such as Corp of Engineers Reservoirs, city lakes, natural lakes, county and corporate owned lakes., in addition to cold and warm water streams which are available to float or wade fish. With so many of these places scattered throughout Northwest Arkansas, it would take months to fish each one.

So what are the top 10 places ? I have come up with a list of my top-10 favorite places. Each location was selected because of its uniqueness, scenic view, access, and just being able to catch fish there. All are within a day's drive from anywhere in Northwest Arkansas.

No. 10 is Siloam Springs City Lake (35 acre ). It has bass and pan fish with easy access.

No. 9 is the Buffalo River (a national treasure ). You can float, fish and camp on it.

No. 8 is the Upper White River. The white-bass run in the spring is second to none.

No. 7 is Bob Kidd Lake, near Prairie Grove (200 acre ). Pan fish thrive there.

No. 6 is Grand Lake. Go snagging.

No. 5 is the Illinois River. Smallmouth and bream fishing is excellent with modesty angling pressure.

No. 4 is the Beaver Lake tailwaters, using fly rods and trout fishing.

No. 3 is Kings River where smallmouth bass abound.

No. 2 is Beaver Lake (28, 000 acre ). This multi-species lake has everything from stripers and walleye to bass and crappie, and more.

The No. 1 place to fish is Lake SWEPCO near Gentry (500 acre ). There's no place else like it in Arkansas. During winter months hot water comes out of the discharge keeping the reservoirs water temperatures warm. Where else in Arkansas can you fish topwater baits in January and catch largemouth bass ?

These 10 destinations are loaded with bass, walleye, catfish, bream, bluegills, trout and other species. As you can see Northwest Arkansas is blessed to have so many choices available to fish. As for me, I'm going to the No. 1 pick and see if I can't catch me, a big ol' largemouth on a topwater bait. Beaver Lake fishing report Species: Largemouth, spotted, smallmouth, hybrid, stripers and white bass.

Water condition: Very clear in the dam area, clear in the mid lake area. War Eagle River and White River arms are stained, back of creeks are muddy.

Water temperature: 76 degrees at Blackburn Creek.

Lake level: 1110. 1. Last year at this time it was 1109. 1.

Effective lures: Black, spotted, smallmouth bass - Excalibur Xz 2 Zell Pop in shad patterns. Yum Houdini Worm in green pumpkin or watermelon red flake, Bomber Fat Free Shad in shad patterns, Cotton Cordell Crazy Shad in Smokey Joe. White bass - Heddon Tiny Torpedo in G-finish Shad or black shiner / glitter. Stripers, hybrids - Bomber Hellbender in white with Booyah Bucktail Jig in white / aqua shad.

Patterns: Black, spotted, smallmouth bass - The lake's river arms are beginning to show signs of turnover. While in the lake's lower two-thirds bass continue to be in summer habitat. Techniques such as dropshotting, Shakey Head, or scattered topwater action has caught the majority of bass. Anglers can look forward to great fall fishing with the heavy rains which should raise lake levels and lower lake temperature. White bass - Anglers have found catching whites easy, just finding their schooling locations hard. Early and late evening whites have been schooling in the Coppermine area of the lake. Stripers - Warm lake temperatures continue to keep large stripers, 30 pounds and over hidden. Numerous smaller stripers continue to be caught on live bait such as shad, Black Salty's and shiners.

Brad Wiegmann is a professional fishing guide. Contact him at 756-5279 or by e-mail at: cuppy @ alltel. net.

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