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Arkansas Sportsman
In Search Of A Stream

The Kings has a justified reputation for producing heavyweight bronzebacks, and you should pack some largemouth-sized lures along with your scaled-down smallmouth gear. Warm Fork Creek, which leads to the Rockhouse access, will hold some smallmouths, and Osage Creek, which flows into the Kings River just above the U.S. Highway 62 bridge outside of Eureka Springs, has an excellent population of 12- to 14-inch smallmouths, according to AGFC biologists who sampled fish populations there in recent years.

Depending on the time of year you're fishing and water levels, you may find it worth your while to paddle into Pine Creek, Bee Creek or Brush Creek -- all tributaries of the Kings River in northwestern Carroll County. The Kings River has a daily limit of two smallmouths, with a 14-inch minimum-length limit and includes a long stretch of water with a limit of one fish, minimum length 18 inches.

CADDO RIVER
Covering 40 miles in southwestern Arkansas within the Ouachita National Forest, the Caddo River is a first-class float stream for beginning canoeists and has a generous population of sporty smallmouth bass. The Caddo's source is west of Black Springs in southwestern Montgomery County, and it flows eastward and southward into DeGray Lake in northern Clark County.


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Although locals often ply these calm waters with crawfish or shiners, it's a great place to switch-hit the fish with fly-fishing gear. Streamers such as Woolly Buggers and Clouser Minnows imitate those two popular natural baits, and brightly-colored popping bugs will bring out the best in the river's smallish but aggressive smallmouths. Just before sunset in the summer months, you may even have a chance at some dry-fly fishing when hatches of large mayflies occur.

Between Caddo Gap and Glenwood, the most popular stretch of the river among paddlers, consider exploring Gap Creek and Fivemile Creek, and you'll encounter the river's South Fork before you reach Glenwood. Once you cross over into Clark County, tributaries worth exploring include Carey and Sugarloaf creeks -- depending on water levels, which can vary with the seasons. The Caddo has a two-fish limit, and both must be at least 12 inches.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
The AGFC's 2006 Fishing Guidebook, available free at bait and tackle shops and outdoors-related businesses statewide, contains information about all the rivers and creeks mentioned here, including special regulations for smallmouths.


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