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Great Fishing In Arkansas

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Guide to fishing in the Natural State

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

  • Beaver Lake
  • Blue Mountain Lake
  • Bull Shoals Lake
  • DeGray Lake
  • Greers Ferry Lake
  • Lake Chicot
  • Lake Dardanelle
  • Lake Greeson
  • Lake Hamilton
  • Lake Maumelle
  • Lake Millwood
  • Lake Ouachita
  • Norfork Lake

Arkansas is a paradise for anglers, offering a wide variety of fishing opportunities across its diverse waterways, including warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers. The state boasts an impressive array of fish species, ensuring there's something for every angler's preference. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake.

Warm water fisheries in Arkansas provide excellent angling experiences for species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, and sunfish. Lakes like Lake Hamilton, Lake Ouachita, and Lake Chicot are renowned for their warm water fisheries, attracting anglers with the chance to catch trophy-sized bass, plentiful crappie, and feisty catfish. These lakes offer ideal habitats and abundant forage for warm water species, creating thriving fisheries that appeal to anglers of all skill levels.

Cold water fisheries in Arkansas are dominated by trout, particularly rainbow trout and brown trout. The state's cold water lakes and tailwater areas below dams, such as Bull Shoals Lake, Norfork Lake, and the White River, provide exceptional trout fishing opportunities. These areas are regularly stocked with trout, ensuring a constant supply of fish for anglers to target. Cold water fisheries offer a unique angling experience, with trout known for their fighting ability and delicious taste.

Arkansas's ponds, both natural and man-made, provide additional fishing opportunities for a variety of species. These smaller bodies of water are often home to bass, bluegill, catfish, and other panfish. Anglers can enjoy the tranquility of fishing in a pond and have a higher chance of landing multiple fish during a day's outing. Ponds offer a more intimate fishing experience, making them ideal for beginners or those seeking a peaceful fishing getaway.

The rivers of Arkansas, including the Arkansas River, Buffalo National River, and Little Red River, offer anglers the chance to fish for a wide range of species in diverse settings. These rivers are home to bass, trout, catfish, and other fish species, providing thrilling angling opportunities for both fly fishing and conventional methods. River fishing requires anglers to understand the water currents and fish behavior, making it an exciting and challenging experience.

Arkansas's fishing opportunities are as diverse as its landscapes, with warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers offering a rich variety of fish species to target. From the thrill of reeling in trophy bass to the peacefulness of fishing in a secluded pond or the exhilaration of fly fishing in a rushing river, Arkansas has it all for anglers seeking memorable fishing adventures.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Arkansas

The state of Arkansas offers a variety of fishing for a variety of bass. Crappie fishing is available in most waters as is catfish and panfish. Some excellent trout fishing is available on some of the rivers and streams. Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, brown trout, lake trout, bluegill, flier sunfish, green sunfish, longear sunfish, redear sunfish, rock bass, tilapia, warmouth, white bass, yellow bass, yellow perch, stripers, alligator gar, bowfin, chain pickerel, longnose gar, northern pike, paddlefish, sauger, saugeye, spotted gar and tiger muskie in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams.

Major Arkansas Lakes & Species

Arkansas major lakes and fish chart

Lake & Fish Chart

This chart shows the major lakes in Arkansas, cross referencing them with the types of fishing to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments.

For a detailed list of primary fish species in AR, plus state fish records, see the list below.

Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.

Beaver Lake is a 30,000-acre impoundment located in the northwest corner of the state just east of Rogers.

Blue Mountain Lake is a 2,900-acre reservoir in northwest AR, at Waveland.

Bull Shoals Lake is a 45,000 acre reservoir located in the extreme north, center of the state just west of Mountain Home.

DeGray Lake is a 13,800-acre lake in central Arkansas, 8 miles north of Arkadelphia.

Greers Ferry Lake is a 32,000-acre lake located in north-central Arkansas 80 miles north of Little Rock.

Lake Chicot is a 5,000-acre lake in southeast Arkansas, near Lake Village.

Lake Conway is a 6,500-acre lake located in the center of the state just north of Little Rock.

Lake Dardanelle is a 34,300-acre lake situated in the north, north-central part of the state, immediately west of Russelville.

Lake Greeson is a 9,500-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Daisy.

Lake Hamilton is a 7,200-acre lake located mid-state slightly west of center, immediately south of Hot Springs.

Lake Jack Lee, aka Felsenthal Lock and Dam is a 10,000-acre lake located in the far south-central portion of the state, at Felsenthal.

Lake Maumelle is an 8,900-acre lake located 15 miles northwest of Little Rock in the center of Arkansas.

Lake Millwood is a 30,000-acre lake located in the far southwest corner of the state, immediately west of Saratoga.

Lake Ouachita is a 40,000-acre lake located mid-state slightly west of center, 25 miles northwest of Hot Springs.

Nimrod Lake is a 3,550-acre lake in the central part of the state, 5 miles east of Plainview.

Norfork Lake is a 22,000-acre lake located in the extreme north, center of the state just east of Mountain Home.

White Oak Lake is a 2,770-acre lake in southwest Arkansas, 2 miles southeast of Bluff City

Fish Species & State Records in Arkansas


Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 16 lbs 8 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 5 oz

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 15 oz


Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 38 lbs 0 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 80 lbs 0 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 116 lbs 12 oz


Black Crappie

Black crappie

World record: 6 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 0 oz

White Crappie

White crappie

World record: 5 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 7 oz

Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye



World record: 25 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 22 lbs 11 oz



World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 12 oz



World record: 15 lbs 6 oz

State Record: 9 lbs 0 oz


Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 19 lbs 1 oz

Cutthroat Trout

Cutthroat trout

World record: 41 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 10 lbs 2 oz

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 0 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 40 lbs 4 oz

Lake Trout

Lake trout

World record: 72 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 11 lbs 5 oz




World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz

Flier Sunfish

Flier sunfish

World record: 1 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 0 lbs 14 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.2 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 11 oz

Longear Sunfish

Longear sunfish

World record: 1.75 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 2 oz

Redear Sunfish

Redear sunfish

World record: 5.4 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 14 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 8 oz



World record: 4.4 lbs

State Record: 3 lbs 14 oz



World record: 2.4 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 8 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 5 lbs 6 oz

Yellow Bass

Yellow bass

World record: 2 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 2 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 1.24 lbs

Striped bass

Striped Bass


Inland world record: 64 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 64 lbs 8 oz

Hybrid Striped Bass

Hybrid Striper (Wiper)

World record: 27 lbs 5 oz*

State Record: 27 lbs 5 oz*

Other species

Alligator Gar

Alligator gar

World record: 279 lbs

State Record: 215 lbs 0 oz



World record: 21 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 17 lbs 5 oz

Chain Pickerel

Chain pickerel

World record: 9 lbs 6 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 10 oz

Longnose Gar

Longnose gar

World record: 50 lbs 5 oz

State Record: 35 lbs 12 oz

Northern Pike

Northern pike

World record: 55 lbs 1 oz

State Record: 16 lbs 1 oz



World record: 144 lbs

State Record: 118 lbs 9 oz

Spotted Gar

Spotted gar

World record: 9 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 15 oz



Estimated world record: 1,100 lbs

State Record: 5 lbs 0 oz

Tiger Muskie

Tiger muskie

World record: 51 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 23 lbs 12 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

State of Arkansas Fishing Information

The AR Game and Fish Commission website offers information on fishing and outdoor activities in Arkansas. Click here for an AR Fishing License.

Visit to find information about fishing boats in Arkansas.

Bass fishing book

Fish for big bass

Excellent largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers in AR.


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