Striper Time In Arkansas

Striper Time In Arkansas

Last December, I was being taxied through the Ozarks, compliments of Northland Tackle, Frabill, Marcum, and Gaston's White River Resort. Though we caught and photographed some big shell crackers and nice largemouths, the highlight of the trip was a jaunt over to Lake Norfork for stripers.

In past winters, I've made quite a number of sojourns to Norfork and Lake Ouachita for winter and spring stripers. Never disappointing. Most particularly awesome is the memory of so many rises to a waking Cotton Cordell Red Fin. Rises. Right. Sounds like a trout sipping callibaetis off the surface film. A sasquatch throwing boulders at you from the Ouachita Mountains would be a more accurate description of the surface disturbance caused by a striper rising 20 feet or more from submerged trees to crush a muskie-sized minnowbait. Then drag it right back down into those trees.


Arkansas isn't the Keys. No palm trees, coconuts, rain forests, or exotic fruits. But you can have the little umbrella in your drink while enjoying weather far milder than we're accustomed to in Minnesota. And it can be as exotic as you want to make it. During the full moon in February, some of the world's biggest brown trout come, backs out of the water, slashing at bunny strips. You haven't experienced trout fishing until you've dropped a big streamer ahead of a boil the size of a Volkswagon out there in the moonglade.



Or you could go cliff jumping.


Or not. The water will be around 45°F or so, on the average. Like I said. It's not the Keys.

But Arkansas is a great winter destination for anglers. If you really must drop a callibaetis down softly on the surface film, you can do it on the Little Red River. You'll catch more trout with a scud, but I'm just saying. In fact, you'll catch more trout than you've ever caught in a day unless you're just so-so with a fly rod. In which case you should take a drift down the White River and boondoggle a 3-inch, red, plastic worm. The last time we did that we caught 50 rainbows per hour. Apiece.


You can go bass, walleye, or crappie fishing on Bull Shoals or any number of lakes. On many of these reservoirs, bass and crappies are way up the creek channels, alternatiing between shallow coves and deeper channels, sometimes invading water 4 feet deep. Many of the crappies you catch will top 2 pounds and you won't have to drill a hole in the ice to catch them.

Or take the family to the hot springs. In Hot Springs. Maybe that will seem tropical enough. Me? My kids are grown up, but still talking about the hot springs. I'll be on Norfork. Maybe Beaver Lake. Or Ouachita. Fishing stripers. Leave a message.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

This recipe for Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad is heart healthy, paleo- and gluten-free diet friendly. Fish Recipes

Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad Recipe

This recipe for Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad is heart healthy, paleo- and gluten-free...

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures. Walleye

The Lowdown on Walleye Hardbaits

Steve Ryan - May 28, 2019

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures.

Which of the ten is the best? You decide. Bass

10 Best Bass Fishing States In America

Matt Straw - November 01, 2017

Which of the ten is the best? You decide.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Room Full of New Gear from L.L. Bean

Room Full of New Gear from L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean's Jeff Miller shares a room-full of new gear for 2020 with Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

Berkley

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north or south, will help you pinpoint their predictable locations year after year. 

Walleyes spawn in spring, but spring may arrive in February in Mississippi, March in Walleye

Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right in front of them. Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...


Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at catching Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

See More Stories

More Bass

What makes intercepting a trophy smallmouth more likely? The answers might be surprising. Bass

Catching Trophy Smallmouth Bass

Matt Straw - July 01, 2019

What makes intercepting a trophy smallmouth more likely? The answers might be surprising.

Smallmouth bass guide Chris Beeksma doesn't hesitate to pursue outsize bass on light tackle. Bass

Smallmouth on Light Line

Matt Straw - May 21, 2018

Smallmouth bass guide Chris Beeksma doesn't hesitate to pursue outsize bass on light tackle.

When bass flood the banks in the spring to spawn, they can be easy pickings for skilled anglers. Bass

Solving Postspawn Bass

Pete Robbins - June 01, 2018

When bass flood the banks in the spring to spawn, they can be easy pickings for skilled...

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×