The first Western Arkansas Kayak Anglers tournament of 2016 will be held at a beautiful, but infamous body of water located south of the Bobby Hopper tunnel on I-49. Lake Fort Smith is a 1,400 acre fishery surrounded by the scenic Boston Mountains and is one of the most beautiful lakes in Arkansas. This mountain lake can be quite clear, but like last spring, the lake is currently dirty and muddy – which some anglers will love and some will loathe.
Lake Fort Smith (which is not located in Fort Smith, Arkansas) is probably only infamous in my mind because of the two nightmarish tournaments I spent there last year. This lake is the site of my personal best both in fishing tackle broken off and rod and reel combos lost. Otherwise, it’s great.
The tournament is on Saturday, March 12, and will start from the boat ramp in the state park area. Captain’s meeting is at 5:30 a.m. and will take off around 6:00 a.m., with scorecards due in the bucket by 2:00 p.m. Read more about it on the WAKA 2016 Opener at Lake Fort Smith Facebook page. Lake Fort Smith has the best ramp, parking and setup area of any of the tournaments I’ve been to – it’s really a nice place to hold an event.
The lake itself is fairly new creation, a combo of old Lake Fort Smith and Lake Shepherd Springs which re-opened in 2008. High winds out of the southwest or northeast can make it difficult, but the orientation of the lake can blunt some winds from the northwest or southeast. The most prominent attributes are the dam to the far southwest end and the main feeder creek far to the northeast. The ramp, park and the marina are situated in a large cove on the northern side of the lake. This lake has a lot of great scenes like waterfalls, small creeks, coves and bluffs. Do be wary crossing the lake in a kayak, there are boats that will motor through, so be sure to have your visibility flag deployed.
Last year’s two tournaments out there were held after the spawn period, so the lake should be totally different this time around. Dock talk says the water is already stained, with lots of rain on the way this week. The great thing about this lake is that if you want to fish bluffs, go ahead. Like a big flat or rip rap areas? Go ahead. And if you like standing and fallen timber, Lake Fort Smith has it. Basically, you can fish how you want to thanks to the variety of options.
Razoryak Tournament Trail events are a fun way to meet other kayak anglers, improve your fishing skills and to enjoy friendly competition. To participate in this WAKA event, no advance registration is required; you can show up with your entry fee, hawg trough and kayak on tournament day. Be sure to review all of the information on the 2016 WAKA Opener event page and check out the WAKA-RTT Schedule for info on future events.