Best Year-Round Fishing
Arkansas offers year-round fishing opportunities with no closed fishing seasons, making it an ideal destination for anglers seeking continuous adventure. The state's diverse aquatic habitats include renowned fishing lakes, rivers, and streams that provide ample fishing prospects across all four distinct seasons. While some specific trout water sections may close temporarily during spawning seasons, the mild climate and rich waters of The Natural State ensure that there's always a place to fish. Whether you're a local or planning a vacation fishing trip, Arkansas's open fishing seasons mean the best time to fish is simply whenever you have the time and inclination. With the fish always biting somewhere, every day is a good day for fishing in Arkansas.
Fishing by Season
Arkansas offers diverse fishing opportunities throughout the year. Each season brings unique conditions that can lead to fruitful catches. Here's what you can expect season by season:
In April and May, Arkansas shines with fabulous bass fishing on Beaver Lake, excellent walleye on Lake Ouachita, and superb trout fishing on Bull Shoals Lake. Stripers and hybrid stripers become particularly active, providing thrilling top-water action. For crappie enthusiasts, April is the month for spawning crappie, with locations like Lake Dardanelle being hotspots. May also brings bluegills to their beds, offering another great opportunity for anglers. The diamond lakes of Hot Springs, including Catherine, Hamilton, Ouachita, and DeGray, are known for good bass fishing this time of year.
June marks an ideal time for bream and redear fishing, especially when wade fishing. The summer nights heat up with excellent catfishing opportunities. For those looking for a robust fight, try bowfin in the rivers, oxbow lakes, bayous, and swamps of eastern and southern Arkansas. Summer also brings exciting bass fishing in the clear waters of rivers and tailwaters of dams, with Beaver Lake being a notable location. Walleye fishing is recommended in moderate to shallow waters, especially in areas with gravel or rocky bottoms.
Fall in Arkansas is perfect for float fishing amidst the beautiful foliage. Flathead fishing peaks in October and November, while striped bass are active in September. Bass move from deep to shallow waters in search of food, making early fall an excellent time for bass fishing. November is prime for floating on the upper Ouachita River for smallmouth bass, offering scenic and fruitful fishing experiences.
Winter doesn't mean the end of fishing in Arkansas. Trout fishing, especially for brown trout on the White River below Bull Shoals and Norfork dams, is prolific in November. Blue catfish are sought after on the Mississippi River, and Greers Ferry Lake becomes a hotspot for walleye. Winter crappie begins in mid-February, with shoreline shallows of oxbows like Midway Lake being popular spots. Bass fishing continues to be excellent, with the Ozark and Ouachita streams offering great float fishing opportunities due to ideal water levels and less crowded conditions.