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Sports 0

Winter cold means world-class fishing in Arkansas


Each winter, a special set of circumstances sets the stage for an incredible opportunity for trout fishing in Arkansas, especially on the Norfork and White rivers. The Shad Kill refers to a natural phenomenon, in which tiny fish of the shad variety die due to frigid weather and other unfavorable conditions. The shad sink in Bull Shoals Lake and are pulled through the turbines of the dam before being fed into ensuing river.

The Shad Kill at the junction of the Bull Shoals dam and White River is particularly known for its out of this world fishing. After the shad are pulled through Bull Shoals dam and into the White River, an intense variety of brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout await. Having spent their energy either surviving the cold weather or spawning, these trout are hungry and ready to gorge themselves on a fresh supply of shad. This makes for all but perfect conditions for some high quality fly fishing.

Even though we’ve had a more mild winter here in Arkansas, don’t let that soften your supply of thick layers to prepare you for the colder weather. Fishing in February is exciting, but only if you properly layer yourself with thermal tops and bottoms, wool socks, and waterproof waders for those looking to venture into the river. Another “must-do” preparation step is to get your fishing license with the trout permit, which can be purchased for under $20 at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website with ease. After you’ve properly prepared yourself with rod and reel, layered clothing, and a fishing license, you are set for some of the best fishing of the year.

The best time to fish is in the early morning, before the trout are spooked by other fisher friends. Also, as the sun rises on a day without clouds, the water becomes much more clear, making it easier for fish to spot you and your intentions to take them away from their friends and family. Sunset is also prime time for fishing.

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Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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