Arkansas River Striper Fishing


Striped Bass Fishing on the Arkansas River is another gem in Arkansas Fishing.
There is a significant population of Striped Bass in the river and they are naturally reproducing.

Arkansas River
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Arkansas River
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The Arkansas River's
Last 40 Miles.

Barrow pits of
the Arkansas River

The Mississippi River
and Tributaries Project
Levees of the lower
Arkansas River

Striped Bass in the Arkansas River can be found from the Oklahoma border to the Mississippi River, a distance of 310 miles. Stripers concentrate in the tailwaters of the 12 dams that divide the river into pools making striped bass easy to find.

Fishing below the Dam on the Arkansas River. Striper fishing on the Arkansas River Arkansas River Striped Bass Nice stringer of arkansas river striped bass  
Striped Bass Anglers below an Arkansas River Dam controlled by
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Little Rock District

A deal in the 70s by AGFC Riley Donahoo and fisheries biologist Andrew Hulsey had fingerling Striped Bass flown in from South Carolina and stocked into the newly formed Lake Dardanelle. They thrived reproduced and migrated up and down stream.

Arkansas River Striped Bass Population, if considered on a total per-acre basis, might be smaller compared to populations in some Arkansas lakes, but below the dams the fish will stack up, the densities are thick and the fishing can make grown men hide their rods to rest. Fish above 20 pounds show up regularly and fish in the 5 to 15-pound range tend to keep Striper fishermen very busy.

The Arkansas River offers very convenient fishing from Fort Smith, Little Rock and Pine Bluff. Lock and Dam 13 in Barling and the Jeta-Taylor Lock and Dam in Ozark are rated as outstanding striper waters.

The Arkansas River offers very good public access for bank-fishing. In fact, the bank-fishermen enjoy somewhat of an advantage over boating anglers at times because they are allowed to fish closer to the dams, and stripers like the swift currents of the tailwater.

Anglers must keep in mind always wear a personal flotation device when a boat is moving or standing on slippery banks, but this is particularly important when you are fishing below a dam. Also, it is imperative they have a knife near their anchor and handy in case you are fishing below a dam and the Corps of Engineers opens another gate. The sudden surges in water volume and force are powerful enough to flip a boat, and it often leads to drowning in the swift, churning water.

How Safe Is Your Boat

The US Coast Guard and the United States Power Squadrons welcome you to this special group of pages that can result in your becoming a safer boater. Visit the "Virtual VSC" page and do a self-evaluation of your own boat, this is just between you and your boat.

Arkansas River Striped Bass Fishing

Striped Bass in the Arkansas River are drawn to dam tailwaters and heads of islands. They also lurk behind objects that break the current, such as bridge piers and stumps, waiting for prey that is carried on the current.

During heavy water-flow situations, when stripers are in the tailrace, cast toward the dam and keep the grub as close to the top as possible. Allow the water flow to work the lure downstream, and reel and 'pop' the grub while it is flowing downstream. This keeps the lure up where the stripers are feeding and will keep you from hanging up."

In boats begin fishing 100 yards from the dam, which is as close as you are permitted to go, concentrate your efforts within a mile or so of that point. Fish rips between current lines, on the backsides of sunken rock piles and in cuts in the banks.  River Fishing Tips for Stripers

Bucktail jigs or soft-plastic minnow-bodied baits on leadheads also work well beneath the surface. Depending on current, the head size might range from 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce.

Striper fishermen working from boats should not overlook wing dams within the first few miles downstream of the dam, especially if a fair amount of water is running. Stripers will hold right along break lines formed by the rock walls and wait for food to get washed overhead. 

“Big bait, big fish” is the rule for trophy Striped bass on the River (30-40+lbs). Large stripers are caught each year by trolling Large Plugs or large Live bait.

Summer is prime time for trolling the Arkansas river where striped bass are present. In hot weather, the fish tend to congregate in the cooler water below the dams and at the mouths of feeder creeks or spring holes. Trolling at night and early in the morning in places where cool and warm water meet can be productive.

Stripers will hold around standing logs that have washed off the bank. If there is flowing water.  When the current is present Stripers often suspend around submerged cover such as downed trees in shady areas along the bank.

For someone who is after a trophy, don't put anything in the water under 10 inches. It’s hard on your psyche to do it. You might go eight hours without a bite. When you get one, though, it’s definitely a memory of a lifetime.

When the stripers are working, and there’s a fog on the river in the morning, you can hear them chasing bait. You might have six or seven lines out and every one of them will load up with a fish.

On days when strikes are few and far between uses 4 to 6 inch shad. Pull these baits over gravel bars that might be three feet deep in a twenty-foot river channel, like where a creek comes out,  “Look for the ambush points". If your pulling live bait, try to get them close to the bank. But you will be constantly reeling in and putting them out because of the cover.

Patience and determination are required to catch a big striper. When first hooked in current you just hang on and you do your best, You don’t horse it in; you wear it down.  When you fish with large plugs or with live bait, a jumbo striper will strike with ample aggression to set the hook itself. Then it’s up to you. In rivers, the aim is to keep the fish from diving into cover by watching its direction and turning its head. A strong dip net with a 26- to 30-inch hoop is helpful to land the fish.

“If you hook a really big fish, you can chase it down with your trolling motor, try to keep the line as vertical  (keep the rod up)  as possible, This makes the striper have to fight harder, and it tires out sooner. Always keep your rod loaded and your drag set. This lets the fish run at you, and the rod will pick up the slack and will always keep the hook tight in the striper’s mouth.”

Striper fishing in the Arkansas river may be the best keep secret in Arkansas.
With the population reproducing itself since the seventies the river is loaded with stripers waiting for you to create some awesome memories.

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