This weekend is the Western Arkansas Kayak Anglers Lake or Reservoir Road Runner to any publicly accessible Arkansas Lake. The question is which lake will produce the winning limit of big bass? There are a few lakes that could be contenders, or at least some of the most obvious choices that anglers will get to choose from.
In kayak fishing a road runner event means anglers have the choice of fishing a variety of waters within a pre-determined radius and must account for drive time to turn in their scorecard on time. For this event, lakes must be publicly accessible (no private or membership lakes) and must be an officially named lake or reservoir. With rivers, creeks and Arkansas River backwaters off limits, here are some of the Arkansas lakes most likely to be fished:
Lake Greenwood – This little lake on the south side of Greenwood is nice lake not too far from Fort Smith. I fished this in a tournament last year and did fairly well. Mixture of grass with some cover and an old railroad bridge which divides the lake into two parts. This should be a popular spot.
Lake Dardanelle – Although this is a Lake or Reservoir only road runner, for this event there is an exception allowing Lake Dardanelle. This is a bit of a drive but could pay off for someone who knows how to find the fish on this lake. This large body of water should give you plenty of options to find what you are looking for.
Lake Atkins – Lake Atkins is a wild-card for someone willing to make the longer drive. There is no doubt there are big bass in this lake and a lot of them. For someone trying to win total length and big bass, this is a good bet.
Jack Nolen – I’ve not fished Jack Nolen and have heard from some anglers that this little lake is a great fishery, while hearing from others that they don’t care for it. Based on who I’ve talked to, I tend to believe that it is a good lake for bass and provides a variety of cover options. Might be a sleeper location.
TJ House Reservoir – I know nothing about this lake and have never been there. Some online sources say there are bass here, but I don’t see it being a factor this weekend. There are just too many other options.
Charleston City Lake – WAKA already has held one tournament here this year and the fishing was reportedly very tough. The tournament I fished there previously was also a bit difficult, but I am told there are fish here. Will anglers stay away of this shallow lake because of the recent tournament history?
Lake Fort Smith – Most anglers competing will likely be familiar with Lake Fort Smith, a beautiful lake nestled in the mountains. There are bass in this lake and all types of cover, and could be an advantage to anglers who’ve fished it before. As a bonus, Lake Fort Smith is the site of an Arkansas Kayak Anglers tournament in June, so this would double as a pre-fishing opportunity.
Sugar Loaf – This lake is about 45 minutes south of Fort Smith and is a pretty little lake. I’ve fished here once and it has lots of grass as its primary feature. There are some fish here, just not sure how big they are.
Some other lake options for the weekend include Blue Mountain, Ozark City Lake, Waldron Lake and Lake Hinkle.
There are certainly many other lake options for kayak fishing in the Arkansas River Valley, but these are some of the most common destinations. Normally, some Washington County lakes might come into play on this event, but with the AKA road runner the very next day, those lakes are off limits, keeping this event south of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel.