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February 15, 2023 Comments Off on Local experts to offer advice on Beaver Lake fishing Fishing, Latest

Local experts to offer advice on Beaver Lake fishing

Flip Putthoff
NWA Democrat-Gazette

Once the calendar turns to February, minds wander to warmer days and the start of spring fishing. A free program set for 2 p.m. March 19 at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area visitor center aims to get anglers ready for the most popular fishing season of the year.

On tap is a fishing panel discussion with four of the most accomplished anglers on Beaver Lake. Each is among the best at catching their specialty fish species. They’ll offer advice for catching crappie, black bass, walleye and striped bass at Beaver Lake.

Each will give a short talk about catching these species, then the program will open up for questions from the audience.

On hand will be Payton and Tiffany Usrey of Springdale sharing their expertise on catching crappie. Nick Frakes of Rogers is a top tournament bass angler who’ll offer tips on catching black bass. Jon Conklin of Goshen, a top walleye and striper ace, will talk about catching these two species that are wildly popular at Beaver.

The Usreys are a husband and wife crappie catching team adept at catching crappie on the coldest winter days, in summer heat and all days in between. They routinely put limits of crappie in their boat using jigs, crank baits and spider rigs, depending on the season of the year.

Nick Frakes is a household name among regular bass chasers at Beaver. He’s routinely at the top of the leader board at Beaver Lake bass tournaments. Frakes will call on his decades of experience on the reservoir to help the audience feel black bass attacking the water warms.

Jon Conklin, owner of Fish On guide service, is another all season fish catching machine. Walleye and stripers are his specialty, but if there’s a crappie, black bass, catfish, bluegill or any other fish prowling around, Conklin can get it attached to his hook.

Conklin would rather feed ’em live bait than fool ’em with lures when he’s on the lake to catch walleye or stripers. He’ll offer tips on trolling with nightcrawlers, which are like bacon to hungry walleye. When it’s stripers he’s after, Conklin routinely baits up with fresh threadfin shad he nets right out of the lake.

Each angler has been invited to bring any show and tell items to the program, such as rods rigged and ready for fishing or their favorite lures that work during spring and into summer.

Fishermen couldn’t ask for a better lineup of anglers to learn from at this spring fishing program. The saying goes that 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish. That seems to be especially true at Beaver Lake. All four anglers are not only in that 10%, but in the top 10% of that 10%.

A good crowd is expected so it might be wise to arrive early to get a good seat. A comforting thought is, by the time the program takes off March 19, spring will be only two days away.

Flip Putthoff can be reached at