Pages Navigation Menu



Fishing in Arkansas

fishing1About Arkansas

Arkansas borders six different states and is located in the southern region of the United States. The Mighty Mississippi River defines the eastern border. It has every land type from Mountains to Plains. The name in the Quapaw Native American Language means “ land of the down river people”. Considering that they were located along the Mississippi River that was very appropriate. The fishing in Arkansas is great sport and a lot of world records. There are as many varieties of fish as there are places to go fishing in Arkansas.


Arkansas is known for its temperate climate. It is warmer and more humid the further south go. It snows in the northern cities during the winter months. The rainfall in the mountains is 45 inches a year whereas the lowlands get a greater amount of precipitation.

Arkansas River Fishing

fishing1Bodies of Water

There are more than 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of river throughout the state. The fish and game commission maintains 52 lakes for fishing in Arkansas. These are tailor-made for fishing. The Corp of engineers also has lakes for the express purpose of fishing in Arkansas.  Most of the lakes maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers have campgrounds, drinking water, showers and restrooms. Seven of them are near Marinas that operate all year. A lot of fishing in Arkansas takes place in the Ozark Mountains.

Here you will find lakes like Bull Shoals, Greers Ferry, Norfork, Beaver and Dardanelle. The Quachita Mountains have these lakes the DeGray, Greeson, Hamilton, Catherine, Nimrod and of course the Quachita Lake.

fishing1Species of Fish

When you go fishing in Arkansas there is a chance you will catch a fish you are unfamiliar with. The waters of Arkansas contain a combination of species. Some are primitive and have long histories in these waters and others are exotic transplants. Arkansas rivers’, lakes and streams boast over 233 species of fish. The differences in topography and geology between the northern region and southern region led to the distinctiveness of the species that developed there. There are four endangered species in the waters of Arkansas, so while fishing in Arkansas be careful of them. They are the Pallid Sturgeon, the Ozark Cavefish, the Arkansas Shiner (which is almost extinct) and the Leopard Darter.

The list of game fish looks a little like this:

  • Small Mouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Large Mouth Bass
  • Yellow Bullhead Catfish
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Blue Catfish
  • Black Bullhead Catfish
  • Brown Bullhead Catfish
  • White Crappie
  • Black Crappie
  • Blue Gill
  • Brook  Trout
  • Rainbow Trout

For more information on the species of the waters of Arkansas visit

fishing1Licenses, Permits and Limits

The limits on fish you can actually keep while fishing in Arkansas is strictly enforced and they vary by city and county. There are some species that can be caught without limit. Most all the trophy fish have enforced limits. Here are just a few to give you and idea of what to expect when you are fishing in Arkansas.

  • Black Bass                                                                          10
  • Striped Bass                                                                       6
  • Pickerel                                                                               6
  • Trout                                                                                   5
  • Tiger Muskie                                                                       6
  • White Bass                                                                         25
  • Yellow Bass                                                                       no limit
  • Crappie                                                                               limit by location
  • Walleye                                                                               6
  • Bream                                                                                 50
  • Rock Bass                                                                           10
  • Small Mouth Bass                                                              4

As a lot of the limits are territorial it is best to check with the Arkansas Game and Fish department or visit them online at they have zone maps and area guides to the best fishing in Arkansas.

Some of the places for Bass fishing in Arkansas are:

  • White River Delta
  • Beaver Lake
  • Dierks
  • Bull Shoals Lake
  • Dequeen Lake

For trout you can try:

  • Lake Taneycomom (this is said to produce some of the largest Trout in the state)
  • Norfolk
  • Greers Ferry
  • Lake Hamilton


You may use most conventional or fly gear in while fishing in Arkansas. Some counties only allow single hook fishing. Most places in Arkansas will allow any of the following rod, reel, pole, line, net, yo-yo and minnow seines. There is a strict ban on commercial fishing tackle throughout the state for game fishing. You may not use gill nets, hoop nets, Trammel nets, traps or snags to catch or kill game fish in Arkansas.