Four Arkansas lakes land on Bass­mas­ter Mag­a­zine’s 100 Best list

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST/TELEVISION - BY JILL ROHRBACH

Four Arkansas lakes are on Bass­mas­ter Mag­a­zine’s re­cent 100 Best Bass Lakes rank­ings.

This year, the rank­ings high­light the top 12 fish­eries in the na­tion re­gard­less of lo­ca­tion. The re­main­ing lakes are ranked within one of four re­gions — North­east­ern, South­east­ern, Cen­tral and West­ern — so read­ers can eas­ily iden­tify the ones near­est to them.

In the Cen­tral Di­vi­sion, Arkansas’s Lake Dar­danelle comes in at No. 17; Mill­wood Lake is No. 20; Lake Oua­chita is No. 22; and Bull Shoals Lake is No. 24.

Lake Dar­danelle is one of the most ac­ces­si­ble and at­trac­tive re­cre­ation ar­eas in Arkansas. Lo­cated about half­way be­tween Lit­tle Rock and Fort Smith, the lake stretches some 50 miles as part of the $1.2 bil­lion Arkansas River Nav­i­ga­tion Sys­tem. It has just more than 34,000 acres of boat­ing and fish­ing wa­ters and 315 miles of shore­line. It is rimmed by pic­nic and camp­ing ar­eas. Fish­ing is avail­able year-round. The lake has one of the most con­sis­tent bass habi­tats in the Arkansas River sys­tem.

Mill­wood Lake, on Arkansas 32 nine miles east of Ash­down in south­west Arkansas, was formed when the state’s long­est earthen dam was com­pleted across the Lit­tle River. Much of its more than 29,000 acres are flooded tim­ber, which pro­vides cover for its wide va­ri­ety of fish, in­clud­ing large­mouth and spot­ted bass, crap­pie, white bass, striped bass, chan­nel and flat­head cat­fish, and bluegills. Boat lanes lead the way through the tim­bered wa­ters, and there are 5,000 acres of open wa­ter near the dam.

Lake Oua­chita, the largest lake at 40,100 acres, was cre­ated when Blakely Moun­tain Dam im­pounded the wa­ters of the Oua­chita River near Hot Springs. The lake is sur­rounded by the Oua­chita Na­tional For­est and has one of Arkansas’s most pris­tine shore­lines at some 970 miles. Lake Oua­chita is well-known for its pro­lific fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially for striped bass and large­mouth bass.

Bull Shoals Lake and the White River be­low its dam are syn­ony­mous with fish­ing in Arkansas. The U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers project, lo­cated in north cen­tral Arkansas on the Mis­souri-Arkansas state line, en­joys a wide rep­u­ta­tion for lunker bass fish­ing along with its twin, Lake Nor­fork, just to the east.

In­clud­ing the por­tion lo­cated in Mis­souri, the lake to­tals some 45,500 sur­face acres. Scrappy large­mouth bass, spot­ted bass and white bass abound in the lake, along with crap­pie, chan­nel cat, bream and wall­eye.

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