Some come for the fish. Others are drawn by the flowers. Blossoms, bluegill and bass are a boater’s dream during summer at Lake Sequoyah.
The 389-acre lake tucked away in the southeast corner of Fayetteville offers good fishing any season of the year. During summer, the rippled water is alive with acres and acres of water lilies and round, green lily pads bigger than the largest pizza pan on earth.
The yellow lily blossoms are a sight to behold on the upstream half of the lake. Visitors crossing the one-lane bridge that spans the heart of the lake can spot the flowers about 200 yards south of the bridge.
A kayak or canoe is ideal for getting an up-close water lily experience. All of the upstream end of the lake, south of the one-lane bridge, is a low-land wonder, a swamp-like realm of flooded grasses, brush and water lilies.
Exploring the upper reaches of Lake Sequoyah is like visiting a majestic southeast Arkansas swamp without leaving the Ozarks. Quiet ribbons of water await the skippers of any vessel, though the shallow water may be most suited to canoes and kayaks.
These watery fingers lead into mysterious bays where great blue herons wade silently to catch a fish meal. Paddlers might flush a flock of colorful wood ducks and send them winging through the trees sounding their whistling calls.
Toby Carroll has heard visitors sing the praises of the lake’s shoreline wildlife. He works in the lake office, situated next to the boat launch.
“We have bird watchers who come here a lot, and they’re always impressed with the numbers and different kinds of birds they see,” Carroll said.
The count of feathered visitors will increase through late summer and autumn with the fall migration of waterfowl and songbirds in full swing. Boaters and anglers may also surprise deer and the wary wild turkey as they explore the lake and the entire 1,400-acre Lake Sequoyah Park.
The city of Fayetteville purchased the property in 1958, says the city’s website. Lake Sequoyah was built as a water supply, but the city stopped using it in the 1960s when Beaver Lake was built.
Anglers testify it’s now a fish-fry supply lake. Fishing for catfish, crappie, bluegill and black bass is good.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently studied catfish and crappie numbers at Lake Sequoyah, said Jon Stein, district fisheries supervisor with the agency.
The catfish study found the average size channel catfish in the lake is 3 pounds. Channel catfish up to 10 pounds dwell in the depths, Stein said. The crappie population is good. There are lots of crappie 10-inches or longer and lots of 1- and 2-year-old crappie that are growing well.
Alvin English of Fayetteville likes to fish the lake for crappie. English uses minnows, but prefers medium-sized bass minnows over the smaller crappie minnows most anglers use.
“Last week, I caught 15 crappie in two and a half hours fishing four or five feet deep under a bobber around exposed timber,” he said.
Large bluegill at Lake Sequoyah can’t resist crickets, English added.
English likes the quiet, the fishing and the wildlife. The blossoms of water lilies are a bonus sight.