Arkansas

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Fishing in Arkansas

Nicknamed “The Natural State,” it’s no surprise that Arkansas provides plenty in the way of fishing opportunities. From the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests to the Mississippi River, rich waterways are abundant. Come fishing in Arkansas and discover beauty and excitement, as you get back to nature. 

What fish can I catch and where?

Trout

Fishing in Arkansas is synonymous with Trout fishing. From the vast rivers and lakes to the man-made reservoirs; Brown, Rainbow, Cutthroat, and Brook Trout all make for an exciting fishing trip at some point during the year. 
 
Hit the White River’s 100 miles of Trout-fishing waters, and you’ll get your fill of these exciting and delicious creatures. The world-record Trout was caught in Little Red River in May 1992, so you have plenty of options in summer too. 
 
Whether you’re using spinning gear or catching them on the fly, these beauties promise a lot of fun. Take your own rod and reel or hop aboard a charter and see for yourself.
 

Bass

You can also help yourself to a healthy dose of Bass fishing in Arkansas throughout the year. With Largemouth, Smallmouth, Striped, and Hybrid Striped Bass on offer, you always have the chance of catching something exciting and delicious.
 
The lakes in the east and west of the state offer up plenty of action in the cold months, with Hybrid Striped and Largemouth Bass looking for your bait as a winter treat. When summer hits, the fish go mad. Target all kinds of Bass from the timberlands to the Arkansas Delta, and test a range of fishing skills to fill the freezer.
 

Walleye

In the shoulder seasons, Walleye reigns supreme. Come fishing in March or in fall, with the west of the state offering the most productive fishing grounds. These tough-fighting creatures are sure to keep you entertained throughout your trip, as you work hard for great rewards.
 

Crappie and Catfish

Often overlooked for some of the stronger fish in the state, Crappie and Catfish offer a culinary delight when fishing in Arkansas. Crappie inhabit lakes, while Catfish dwell on the riverbeds, offering more than just a potential for bycatch. Target Crappie year-round, and Catfish in summer for the best results. 
 

How to Prepare

Before fishing in Arkansas, you’ll need to get yourself an AR fishing license and, in some waters, a Trout permit. You can get these online, at any dealer such as Walmart, or directly from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. 
 
Other than that, you’ll need to make sure that you have everything to keep you comfortable throughout what promises to be a thrilling day out. With fishing year-round, you’ll want to keep an eye on the weather to make sure you take appropriate clothing in both winter and summer, and don’t forget to stock up on drinks and snacks!
 
With hundreds of miles of Trout-fishing lakes, and hundreds more freshwater lakes, why not make Arkansas your next stop for a fishing excursion? Come and discover serenity in the aptly-named “Natural State.”
Arkansas
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Arkansas Fishing Seasons

January
Don’t let the winter blues get you. Head out for a fishing excursion and get your fill of Brown and Rainbow Trout. Hit the White River’s shallow creeks and test your skills against these tough-fighting, delicious creatures. 
February
The cold weather brings with it plenty of fishing opportunities to keep you warm. Head ice fishing on the lakes for a range of Bass, or hit the mountain streams and get your fill of Trout fishing too.
March
Walleyes and Stripers come out to play in March, giving you the opportunity to mix up your fishing styles. Troll for these beauties or bottom fish for Bass in the lakes, as you push your strength to the limit.
April
Diverse fishing awaits from the timberlands to the Mississippi. Crappie join Striped and Largemouth Bass to make sure that you’ll head home with something worthwhile for dinner and beyond.
May
As the weather warms up, so does the fishing. Trophy-sized Trout can be found in the Little Red River, while Largemouth and Hybrid Striped Bass fill the lakes, giving you more bang for your buck as the season kicks in.
June
There’s no doubt that it’s time to go fishing come June, with the peak of the fishing coming this month. Get your fish on across the state as you target anything from Catfish to Walleye in Arkansas’ diverse waters.
July
With the kids out of school, why not make the most of summer? Introduce them to a healthy, exciting, outdoor hobby! Start with Crappie and work your way up to Largemouth and Striped Bass, or even Walleye.
August
White River is the place to be in the most popular month of the year to go fishing. Catfish and Walleye fishing hit their peak, accompanying the year-long population of Trout and Bass, giving you more for your buck.
September
Whether fishing the rivers or the lakes, you can’t go wrong in September. As the kids go back to school, the crowds dwindle, giving you more freedom to explore the waters by yourself. Come make the most of it!
October
It may be quiet on the water, but there’s no shortage of fishing for you to practice. Bluegills join the Bass party, adding a new dimension to casting away on the productive waterways of the “Natural State.”
November
While the weather may be turning, there’s no sign of the fishing cooling off. Get on the water in November for some of the best Bass fishing. Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass are abundant, making it ideal for pros.
December
End the year in style with a trip to the rich waters around the state capital. Rainbow Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass reappear, while Crappie will also make sure that you have a warming dish at the end of the day. 

Arkansas Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Arkansas

Fishing with Jason the first time
Jaime Y. fished with Sugar Creek Outfitters on August 9, 2020
Trust your guide and look at their reviews
Stormy Half Day with Jason
Dawn G. fished with JL Guide Service on July 7, 2019
Drop shotting with live crickets caught us at least 6 different species of fish. Seeing as I'd never fished this lake before I opted to hire a guide. Another good idea is to question the locals. Local bait shops can provide great references. If you don't have access to a boat there is a good chance the locals can refer you to a good bank fishing spot.
Full Day trip with J.T Crappie guide Roger
Kathryn G. fished with J.T. Crappie Guide Services on June 29, 2019
Communicate with your charter before hand. We were made aware the fish weren't biting as much as usual but we decided to do our fishing anyway. But if you aren't aware it could be frustrating
Bass Fishing with Jason
Jennifer P. fished with JL Guide Service on May 16, 2019
Charter a boat the guides know all the sweet spots.
Family Fun
Bruce N. fished with JL Guide Service on July 27, 2018
Use a guide with knowledge of the lake. Bring bug spray.
re: whole day with Captain Jason
James B. fished with JL Guide Service on July 3, 2018
Get on the water early while it is cool.
Half day trip with JL.
David Y. fished with JL Guide Service on April 30, 2018
We had a 3 day trip on the lake. Weather was great, but the wind kept us from hitting our spots.

Top Fishing Techniques in Arkansas

Top Targeted Species in Arkansas