anglers ready for challenging, tasty walleye
Posted by: fishing on Wednesday, February
15, 2006 - 04:22 PM
| LITTLE ROCK - In the
pecking order of Arkansas angling, walleye fishing ranks way
down the list - well behind bass, crappie, bream, catfish and
But there is good walleye action in some of the
state’s waters, and the prime time is at hand.
weeks of late February through March are the usual times for
walleye to move into shallow water to spawn in tributaries on
several of the state’s lakes. But this depends on temperatures
of the water much more than the calendar.
With a milder
than usual winter, the magic thermometer reading of 47 degrees
could be a few days early in 2006.
operates a marina on Greers Ferry Lake and fished for walleyes
in the Little Red River before it was dammed to form the lake
in 1963. Bailey said, "Walleyes get active when the water gets
near 47 degrees. The males move up the creeks and tributaries
before the females do. Males run smaller as a rule."
Greers Ferry is Arkansas’ best known walleye fishery
but not the only place to catch them.
just west of Hot Springs, has numbers of walleye that may
rival Greers Ferry if a census could be made. Since Ouachita
is a little farther south than Greers Ferry, the magic
temperature of 47 degrees can come a bit earlier on it. Bull
Shoals Lake, Lake Norfork, Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine
all are impoundments on clear, gravel-bottomed mountain rivers
-- the Little Red, the White and its North Fork and the
Ouachita. They all have good walleye action in the
late-February-March time frame.
Several rivers are
walleye fishing venues. The Spring is known for rainbow trout
fishing, but walleye are right in there with the trout from
Mammoth Spring down to Hardy then in the warmer part of the
river down to its mouth. Current River and Eleven Point River,
like the Spring in northeast Arkansas, have good numbers of
walleyes. In central Arkansas, the Saline River in central
Arkansas near Benton and the Ouachita River from Remmel Dam
that forms Lake Catherine downstream to Arkadelphia offer
walleye fishing. Lesser numbers of walleyes are found in lakes
Greeson and Table Rock and in the White River in the
The start of the walleye action
can fluctuate, even daily. Greers Ferry fishing guide Tommy
Cauley said, “The (recent) colder weather has slowed the
walleye some, but they will be back in the shallows and
A first step in finding walleye,
besides reading the water temperature, not the air
temperature, is to look for gravel bottoms in lakes and the
feeder streams. Mike Armstrong, Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission’s chief of fisheries, said, “Walleye like clean
water with gravel bottoms in both the rivers and the lakes. If
the water is generally turbid (discolored or muddy), you won't
find walleyes on a consistent basis.”
Walleye go for a
variety of lures as well as live minnows and nightcrawlers
this time of the year.
Some fishermen combine a
lead-head jig with a live minnow and work it just below the
shoals in streams where walleyes spawn. Other good lures are
shallow-running stick baits or minnow imitations, either in
plain or jointed styles.
Arkansas holds the world
record for walleye, a 22-pound, 11-ounce fish caught on Greers
Ferry Lake in 1982 by Al Nelson of Quitman.
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