NSKA River Run Preview

The scenic rivers of NW Arkansas will be the site for the June 10 NSKA River Road Runner tournament. Paddlers will be choosing their fishing location from moving bodies of water within a 50 mile radius of Cabela’s. Originally scheduled for May, the heavy spring rains moved this event to June.

As anglers choose their water, the key is understanding the “scenic river” requirement. There are some important boundary rules you need to know.  Beavertown (and below Beaver Dam) is out of play. On the White River, only above (south of) Twin Bridges is in play, and on War Eagle, only above (south of) the War Eagle Mill is in play. Several other rivers mentioned below are also options for the NSKA River Road Runner.

River Run Roundtable

I don’t have much data for use in trying to determine how this will go down so I asked a couple of local kayak river rats to help with the preview – Sam Philip and Jason Cossey.

With a 50 mile radius and “scenic river” waters, what are the main rivers you think will be used by anglers?

  • Jason – The Elk, Illinois and Kings will probably be the best, but you can’t rule our the White and War Eagle.
  • Sam – Elk River, Illinois River, Kings River, War Eagle and Indian Creek.

How will river fishing affect the number of limits and the size of the fish in the limits?

  • Jason – Rivers can have big fish, but I think a 14″ limit with a 18-19″ kicker will take the top spot.
  • Sam – In general you average fish length will be smaller, however, there are several locations on the rivers mentioned where “lake” sized limits can be caught.

What is your prediction on winning limit length and big bass?

  • Jason – 72-74″ is my prediction but could go bigger.
  • Sam – I think 84-85 inches will be a good number for this event. Big bass being 20.50.

How do you think rains over the last month will affect the event?

  • Jason – Rains will bring up the levels and make them muddy, but they clear pretty fast. It will hurt smaller waters because of the muddy conditions.
  • Sam – The rains of late haven’t been enough to really affect the smaller rivers. Unless we see a large amount of rain on Thursday or Friday I don’t see it being an issue at all. The smaller rivers can clear up and level out within 24 hours.

Sam also added that he always looks forward to river events and that he’s curious to see who fishes actual scenic rivers, and who seeks out the slower, deeper waters in a few of the larger ones. Overall I’m also curious how this will play out. For me, as primarily a lake angler, I’m completely out of my element in a river event. I’ll happy if I can just get a limit.

I’m thinking some of the same things as Jason and Sam for the weekend. I’ve always fished Beavertown in river events, so will have to try somewhere else. I have a feeling War Eagle or the Illinois just into Oklahoma will produce the top limit. This year, every tournament has over-performed previous trends on winning length, but I think this time we’ll be looking to top out around 75″ for first place, partly because with a big turnout, there will be a lot of yaks in the water on these small tributaries.

NSKA Tournament Director Jeff Malott has larger expectations for the weekend. He’s predicting a 90+” limit with a 20″ big bass based on folks he’s been talking to who have been pre-fishing.

A few important reminders:

  • Captains meeting will be online Friday night, must view this! Jeff will also be doing a FB Live rules update tonight (Wed, June 7) that you should view as well.
  • For NSKA, you CANNOT fish from outside your kayak at any time. You can get out to stretch, drag your boat, etc., but casts must be made from inside your kayak.
  • 50 mile radius is as the crow flies, not by road.

Good luck to all, wear your PDF and have fun!

Read recent articles: Reins Slip Sinker Review , Fishing with Eric Jackson

 

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