Best Place on the Arkansas to Catch Skipjack and Shad

Discussion in 'ARKANSAS RIVERS TALK' started by Grits, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. Grits

    Grits New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Arknasas
    Hello Everyone!

    This topic was referenced on my last post about my inability to catch skipjack below the dam at Murry.

    Where is the best place, on the Arkansas River, to catch skipjack between Fort Smith and the Mississippi?

    My fishing partner and I have deceived to make a day out of catching bait. My first thought was the warm water discharge by the nuke at Russellville. I also thought about the coal fired electrical plant at Redfield. Is there a warm water discharge on the Arkansas at Redfield.

    Are there warm water discharges anywhere where you can catch skipjack other than the two I mentioned?

    Thank you all for your help and have a good week.

    Grits
     
  2. TOPS

    TOPS New Member

    Messages:
    4,099
    State:
    Cabot,Arkansas
    As the Air temp drops and the water temp drops in the river the skips and shad will conjugate in the warm water of the hot water outlet of the nuclear plant here in London. I stopped posting info of the catch for the past two years due to the fact, when I post they were bitting alot of the local NON-members would flood the outlet and a member could not find a place to fish. Shoot me a PM and I will give you guys an update. Also I may need a seat in your boat.:wink:
     

  3. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Grits, that's a big section of river, so I can only tell you about the parts I know something about. Wintertime at the nuclear plant is the best place I know of for skipjack. There is no warm water outlet at Redfield. My daughter just finished a temp job there, and she said that they have their own cooling lake that does not connect to the river.
    The best place I've ever seen anywhere (anywhere!!!) to get shad is at Dardanelle Dam, IF the #1 turbine is running. That's the one closest to the bank, and on the Dardanelle side of the river, across from the locks. There's a concrete wall that runs down into the water, and the shad run that wall. I've seen them so thick where the wall runs into the water that the ones at the edge were being forced up onto the concrete. Be careful using a cast net here; let it sink too much, and you'll lose it on the rocks; if the shad are thick, you'll get more shad in your net than you can lift. At that spot, I generally use a dip net that has a 1/2" wire mesh net. A few scoops and I've got all a 5-gallon bucket will hold. NOTE: I used to live in nearby Atkins, but moved to Little Rock in 1990, so I don't know whether or not there are any restrictions on bank fishermen below the dam.
    As I said in my other post, my solution to the problem of getting shad or skipjack here in the Little Rock area has been to buy a small freezer for bait, and make a trip to Pickwick Dam on the Tennessee River every spring to stock up for the year. Fresh is definitely in first place as bait, but frozen skipjack is pretty close behind, and waaay ahead of whatever's in third place. Next spring, I'm going to try to make the Chattanooga Gathering, and just stop for a day or two at Pickwick on the way back, rather than making a special trip.
     
  4. flatbottom

    flatbottom New Member

    Messages:
    17
    State:
    Lamar, Arkansas
    Note that you can no longer access the nuclear plant discharge without a boat. Since 9/11 the roads leading to the plant have been barricaded and are manned by security guards 24/7. Additionally there is a cable running across the discharge canal preventing boats from getting near the administration building and the discharge flume.
     
  5. Grits

    Grits New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Arknasas
    Thank you for all your help. It looks like the terrorist even tried to effect catching catfish. I did not let them effect anything I do and I will not let them stop me from getting good bait.

    I am a little confused about where you can and cannot go. Is the place Jerry talked about catching shad with a dip net off limits. Can you get close enough to the warm water discharge to catch skipjack?

    TPL, there is always room in my boat for you and any other BOC.

    Thank again,

    Grits
     
  6. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Back up. Start over. The warm water discharge is at the nuclear plant. There's a discharge canal where boats have always been prohibited, but before 9/11 fishermen could walk up and down each side of the canal to fish. That's no longer allowed. The canal runs into a large cove off Lake Dardanelle. Before 9/11 you could take a boat up to that point, but since 9/11 there's a new cable barrier about 125-150 yards below that, and you can't go past that by boat or by foot. There's a good boat ramp in the cove, and you can take a boat up to the cable barrier that prevents you from going any closer to the plant. It's a good place to anchor and catfish; while you're waiting for a cat or striper to hit, you can usually catch some skipjack when the lake water is cold. Not a great place to try to catch shad with a cast net, and I don't think you'd have a prayer of catching any with a dip net.
    Below Dardanelle Dam on the Dardanelle side of the river, there's a powerhouse. The turbine outlet closest to the bank is designated as #1. There is a total of 12 outlets. There is a concrete wall that comes out from the dam right next to outlet #1; the top of the wall is about 15' above the water, and it's a great place to stand and catfish. About 50' out from the dam, the concrete wall starts sloping down to the water at a fairly steep angle--you need to be real careful on it. When water is coming out of #1 outlet, it creates a strong current along the concrete wall, and the shad love to run along it, against the current. There's a big eddy where the wall runs into the water, and the shad ball up there until they're ready to run against the current along the wall. Standing on the wall just above where it enters the water, you can either dip a net into the fast current, or, when the shad are balled up at the foot of the wall, simply scoop up all you want. If you dip into the fast current, remember that the shad are swimming against the current, so you make your dip with the current. Good thing, because the current is so strong you'd never be able to dip against it. You can throw a cast net off the end of the concrete wall out into the eddy, but be careful that you don't let your net sink so deep that it gets hung on the rocks. Also, if you use your cast net when the shad are balled up there, be careful that you don't get so many shad in your net that you can't lift it. If that happens, there's a danger of the net swinging out into the swift water; if that happens, the net is gone; if it's fastened to your wrist, you're gone with it. Again, I don't have any current information on whether you are still allowed to get on the wall. Hopefully, someone who fishes there will let us know.
    I hope this clears up the confusion. I was talking about two different areas, two different techniques, and two different types of baitfish, skipjack & shad.
     
  7. Smellycat

    Smellycat New Member

    Messages:
    530
    State:
    Harrison Arkans
    All I can say is J. Trew knows more about Dardenelle than anyone and I for one believe you can catch all the skipjack you can use in a year there, beginning very soon, Dec and Jan.
     
  8. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    While I have caught some skipjack below Dardanelle Dam, they've been few and far between. It's SHAD you can generally get below the powerhouse when they're running the #1 turbine. The warm water outlet of the nuclear plant is one of the best places I know of to catch skipjack in Arkansas, but only in the winter.
    At Murray L&D, the only place I've really had success catching skipjack is at the notch in the dike between the powerhouse discharge canal and the main river. But the water flow has to be just right. There needs to be something in the neighborhood of 20,000cfs more water coming out of one side than the other. If the floodgates are open enough to provide that flow, you can hike down to the notch and fish on the discharge canal side; if the floodgates are closed, or not open very much, and the powerhouse is really cranking, you can fish the river side of the notch. Either way, just do fan casts to different parts of the current.