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May 19, 2020 Comments Off on Sweeping up those odds, ends Latest

Sweeping up those odds, ends

Flip Putthoff
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Let’s serve up an outdoors snack plate today, tidbits of this and that, which may not make an entire column but are noteworthy nonetheless.

• Folks who launch boats at the Arkansas 12 bridge ramp on Beaver Lake have wondered for months, “What’s with all those trailers full of chain-link fence, tarps and stuff taking up space in the parking lot?”

The answer is the Arkansas Transportation Department hired a contractor to paint the bridge way back when the lake was lower. The contractor parked the trailers at the bridge ready to start the job, said Landon Thurman, a Beaver Lake park ranger with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Then the lake level rose quickly after heavy rain, and the contractor wasn’t able to start work. Those trailers have been sitting at the bridge ever since.

As high as the lake is now, and with more spring rain to come, Beaver Lake will likely remain high for a while.

• This is the fourth consecutive spring that Beaver Lake has been full to the brim. High water years create excellent spawning conditions for game fish, particularly black bass and crappie, so anglers can smile about another good spawn this spring.

In last week’s column, fisheries biologist Jon Stein with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said the excellent crappie fishing going on now at Beaver is mainly because of high water during the last three springs.

• Striped bass are a prized game fish at Beaver Lake, but stripers don’t spawn naturally in reservoirs like black bass, crappie, walleye and catfish. Stripers need a river environment to spawn. So about 150,000 fingerling stripers a few inches long are stocked in the lake each year by Game and Fish.

Beaver will not get its usual stocking of stripers this year. Coronavirus issues have slowed work at Game and Fish hatcheries around the state. Fisheries workers stand shoulder to shoulder in much of their work, and that includes wrangling the striper fingerlings to stock at Beaver, Lake Norfork and other reservoirs.

Missing one year of stocking shouldn’t have a negative impact on the striper fishing at Beaver, according to Game and Fish.

• No doubt the new Monument Trails at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area are popular with hikers and mountain bikers. We noted a new sign last week while riding the Wolf Den Loop of the trail system. Bike riders are encouraged to ride the loop in a clockwise direction. Hikers may walk in either direction.

Bikers on the Karst Loop must ride that trail counterclockwise. Hiking is either way.

• In today’s feature about fishing at Lake Fort Smith, filleting 36 crappie was a formidable chore after our day of fishing. I figured I’d have to recharge my cordless Rapala Ion electric knife at least once before the job was done.

Friends and neighbors, that knife filleted every one of those crappie and never even slowed down. It’s one heck of a knife. I’ll wager it could have done another 36, but then we’d be over our limit.

• Super Glue is a fisherman’s friend. A tip from fishing report contributor Kenny Stroud of Siloam Springs is super. Any time you thread a grub, plastic worm or swim bait on a jig head, add a tiny drop of Super Glue where the lure meets the jig head. It keeps the lure from sliding down the jig-head hook while fishing.