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September 10, 2020 Comments Off on Lilies of the lake Featured, Fishing, Latest

Lilies of the lake

NWA Democrat-Gazette

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 bright blossoms of water lilies are a sight to behold during summer at Lake Sequoyah.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

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.

Alan Bland of Rogers paddles Aug. 3 2020 near the old bridge that spanned the White River before Lake Sequoyah was built.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

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.

Lake Sequoyah is ideal for fishing or exploring by canoe or kayak. Power boats are allowed. There are no horsepower restrictions, but Sequoyah is a no-wake lake.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

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.

The surface of lily pads repels water similar to the way liquid mercury rolls off of any surface.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

Shallow water and a mud bottom on the upstream end of Lake Sequoyah allows water lilies to grow.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

Shallow water and a mud bottom on the upstream end of Lake Sequoyah allows water lilies to grow.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)