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GT Tompkins

Exploring Oxbow Lakes in Arkansas River Valley

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      Hey fellow micropterus salmoides anglers! Hopefully everyone had a decent New Years.

     I live in Fort Smith, Arkansas which happens to have the Arkansas river flowing adjacent to the city. What i just found out recently from viewing Google maps satellite view is that the Arkansas river system has an extremely complex network of backwaters, sloughs, huge ponds/small lakes, and oxbows.

      Ive been going to one particular backwater area near my house for a few years now and it has really made me appreciate these type of fisheries. One example of why I like the spot is in 2017 i spent atleast 100 hours on my kayak and on shore at the backwater area down the road from me. Ive maybe seen a dozen people. Second, the fishing is awesome. It can be challenging to find them but they are always quality fish.

       This year i really want to venture out further and explore some new locations so i have been searching on google maps. Some of the spots that have really caught my eye are two medium sized Oxbow lakes in my area. The oxbows ive been looking at are cut off from the river. The bigger of the two, Hollis Lake, is completely separated from the open channel by a dike so it never gets flushed (I am prepared to find it silted over, but i am being optimistic at the same time). The other, Cherokee Chute, recieves water from the river during flood season when the water is high enough. There are many, many more unnamed oxbows as, well. Some completely separated, some recieve water in flood season, and some are connected to the open channel.

       When the weather gets more comfortable, i plan on waging an all out war with these river bass starting with these oxbows. I plan on getting a fishfinder/SSS for my kayak so i can fish (and map) these 'new' spots as efficiently as i can. If i can help it, i will be going to several dozen new spots on the river system in 2018. Im just curious if any of yall have spent much time fishin  oxbows and if so what type of attack plan would u recommend?     

               -GT

 

       The pics ive included are of Hollis Lake, Cherokee Chute, and an unnamed oxbow. Btw there are approx 20 platforms/docks on Hollis lake that i have seen on satellite view. Im extremely curious as to what these are...  

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That's cool. Good luck on your adventures. Keep us up to date on how it goes. Glad to see another arky on here. 

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4 hours ago, ohboyitsrobby said:

That's cool. Good luck on your adventures. Keep us up to date on how it goes. Glad to see another arky on here. 

Thanks bud. Will do. 

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Love fishing Oxbow Lakes 😉

 

Having trouble finding the "platform" you have marked, can you explain a little about them?

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It's been a long time since I've been there, but I duck hunted Hollis many years ago.  I remember it to be mostly shallow, but I could be wrong.  It's probably been close to 20 years now since I've been.  

Good luck on your adventures....looking forward to hearing about it! 

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On 1/3/2018 at 6:32 AM, Catt said:

Love fishing Oxbow Lakes 😉

 

Having trouble finding the "platform" you have marked, can you explain a little about them?

Well i havent been there yet but ive seen them from satellite view. There are many of them and each one looks different, atleast from aerial view. When i go there i will definitely take pictures! If you want i can look up a few and send you the coordinates 

 

10 hours ago, Hog Basser said:

It's been a long time since I've been there, but I duck hunted Hollis many years ago.  I remember it to be mostly shallow, but I could be wrong.  It's probably been close to 20 years now since I've been.  

Good luck on your adventures....looking forward to hearing about it! 

No kidding? If it was shallow then, it is probably just a sludge hole now. I will let you know though! Do you remember seeing wooden docks/platforms around the lake?

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@GT Tompkins I'm thinking they are oil/gas platforms, there's a lot of them in our local marshes.

 

Fishing em can be hit or miss depending on surrounding water depths.

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10 hours ago, GT Tompkins said:

Well i havent been there yet but ive seen them from satellite view. There are many of them and each one looks different, atleast from aerial view. When i go there i will definitely take pictures! If you want i can look up a few and send you the coordinates 

 

No kidding? If it was shallow then, it is probably just a sludge hole now. I will let you know though! Do you remember seeing wooden docks/platforms around the lake?

We did get our big 20' hunting boat in there, so I know there were definitely deeper channels.  I just remember there being a lot of shallow areas too.  I would give it a try for sure.   Seems like there was concern of pollution in there a while back too, but I may be remembering that wrong.  

Edit:  I did a quick google search on Hollis lake and found some hunting forum postings from a while back.  Apparently it is all private and completely surrounded by private land and you need permission.  There are four different owners of the land surrounding the lake and they lease it out to duck hunt.  I definitely wouldn't go there during duck season, there will be a lot of hunters and they will run you off if you don't have permission.  They also mentioned it is difficult to access with all the posted land around, so you may have to take it off your list.  Duck leases are going for $5K to just access a part of the lake.  

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