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Plenty of Opportunities to Get the Kids Into Fishing


Take a youngster with you on your next trip to the lake

Arkansas Wildlife Editor Just because school has started again doesn’t mean the fishing opportunities for the youngsters have gone away for nine months. There are surely some great weekends with nice fall weather ahead, some Family and Community Fishing Program events still to come, the second Big Catch of 2021 is on the board for later this month (Sept. 18 at Lake Valencia in Maumelle), and there’s always a local fishing derby going on for the kids as well.

Or, you could just take your son or daughter to a nearby lake and get them started on the great experience of fishing.

Recently, 4-year-old Greyson Manning had quite the time on Lake Catherine with his dad, Justin Manning. Greyson hooked a whopper of a largemouth bass (top right) and also hauled in an armful of bream from Catherine. That’s one day we’re sure he will never forget. Speaking of Lake Catherine, our friends at Slycked Back Fishing in Hot Springs who report from the lake tell us that the lake is in the initial onset of fall transition; this happens at Catherine sooner than other lakes, they say, because it’s actually a river and water temps stay down in comparison to the chain of lakes (Hamilton, Ouachita) that feed it. With 70s temps just around the corner, the fishing should really perk up. Bass, they say, will begin to feed heavily on large bait presentations like Texas-rigged large worms or deep-diving and mid-range cranks, as well as a floating worm. At this time, use colorings such as Junebug and Watermelon almost exclusively except for the shad colorings of the crankbaits.

Topwater presentations are also good now in the shaded areas and at night.

Spotted bass can be caught in large numbers on the drop-shot rig with a Zoom Trick Worm in Watermelon Seed or drop-shot worm in deeper areas like points and the moving current that runs down submerged rock bluffs.

Walleye are also still a good target in the lake and in the tailwater that falls below Carpenter Dam, according to guide Shane Goodner. Also, catfish have been caught below the bridge in the main channel and below the dam on cut bait and live minnows as these fish have completed their spawning cycle, Shane says. The majority of cats caught have been in the 4- to 8-pound range.

Blue catfish are the dominant species in the tailrace area. White bass and bybrid bass are thriving in the tailrace as well, plus those 3-pounds-or-so walleye. The area is well known as a good spot in spring and early summer for rainbow trout, though the past three years have been hampered by high water and flooding. Look for the trout to resume again with the AGFC’s stocking program there around Thanksgiving, when the tailrace temp drops below 60 degrees.

Besides the Hot Springs area, there are other exciting reports from around the state in our post-Labor Day holiday look at Arkansas fishing. Be sure to check out the reports this week and reignite that child within you and go find a place to catch some fish.

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