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Arkansas Sportsman
The Best Of Arkansas’ Cats

Other state-park catfishing hotspots include 31-acre Lake Walcott in Crowley's Ridge State Park (Greene County), the 8-acre lake in Devil's Den State Park (Washington County), a 3-acre lake in Logoly State Park (Columbia County) and an 11-acre lake in Old Davidsonville State Park (Randolph County).

CITY LAKES
If fishing for abundant 1- to 2-pound channel cats sounds like fun, try one of the dozens small city-owned impoundments scattered from border to border. Channel catfish are stocked regularly in most of these waters, and though often overlooked by the bulk of Arkansas' fishing populace, catfishing on these neglected waters is, at times, nothing less than superb. In recent years the AGFC also has stocked some trophy blue cats in these waters, including fish up to 70 pounds, thus increasing the trophy potential of each body of water.

Among the best are MacArthur Park Lake and Otter Creek Park Lake in Little Rock, Lake Atalanta in Rogers (60 acres), Bald Knob Lake (200 acres) and Siloam Springs City Lake (35 acres). Small catfish-filled city lakes also are found in or near the cities of Benton, Booneville, Camden, Charleston, Clarksville, Dierks, Eureka Springs, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Mena, Nashville, Newark, Newport, Ola, Paris, Pottsville, Prairie Grove, Van Buren, Waldron and many others.


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COOL MOUNTAIN STREAMS
Many catters don't realize that Arkansas also has many cool, clear mountain streams offering outstanding opportunities for catching catfish. A look at the out-of-print AGFC brochure Fish Arkansas supports this contention.

Fish Arkansas lists the types of fish found in 24 coldwater and coolwater streams. The streams listed are Big Piney Creek, Buffalo River, Caddo River, Cadron Creek, Cossatot River, Crooked Creek, Current River, Eleven Point River, Illinois Bayou, Illinois River, Kings River, Lee Creek, Lower Little Missouri River, Lower Little Red River, Middle White River, Mulberry River, North Fork River, Spring River, Strawberry River, Upper Little Missouri River, Upper Ouachita River, Upper Saline River, Upper White River and War Eagle Creek.

All but one of these -- the North Fork River -- were identified as having healthy populations of channel catfish. All but two -- the North Fork River and Crooked Creek -- were shown to have good numbers of flathead catfish. Blue catfish were listed as residents in the Big Piney, Illinois Bayou, Illinois River, Kings River, Lee Creek, the Middle, Upper White, the Mulberry River and War Eagle Creek.

According to Fish Arkansas, no other type of fish, not even trout or the spotted bass or smallmouth, inhabits more of Arkansas' mountain streams than catfish. And because these waters garner so little attention from catfishing enthusiasts, their fishing potential is extraordinary. If you live near one of these streams, I suggest you fish it often and learn the holes most likely to harbor catfish. You may find some of the year's best catfishing not in a big Corps of Engineers impoundment or a broad bottomland river, but in a small stream right in your back yard.

(Editor's Note: An autographed copy of Keith Sutton's latest book, Catfishing: Beyond the Basics, can be ordered by sending a check or money order for $24.05 -- which includes shipping and Arkansas sales tax -- to C&C; Outdoors, 15601 Mountain Dr., Alexander, AR 72002. To place credit card orders, log on to www.stoegerpublishing.com)


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