Fishing in russellville/Dardenell area

Discussion in 'ARKANSAS RIVERS TALK' started by kwink, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. kwink

    kwink New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    arkansas
    I have never done any river catfishing before, I am planning on fishing below the dardenell dam from the bank. Does anyone have any tips for a greenhorn?
     
  2. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Welcome to the BOC, Kyle! I used to live up that way, and fished that area a LOT back in the 80s. I still fish it every once in a great while. I'll be glad to give you what info I can, but bear in mind that it's old info, and things do change. It will help if you tell us what you're fishing for, and what kind of tackle you have.
    Dardanelle is a great spot to bankfish, but it can present some problems, depending on what your trying to do. Other than snagging, some of the fishing methods there include fishing the generator outlets, either on bottom or under a float. To have any luck, you generally have to reach out at least as far as hole #4 or #5; further is almost always better. That's one of the situations where being able to cast a country mile is a definite plus. Another method, mostly for blues, is to cast your bait with a heavy sinker into the center of one of the boils, keep your rod tip fairly low while you feel for it to hit bottom, and when you do, raise your rod tip sharply to lift your terminal rig off the bottom to keep from getting hung up. Drop your rod tip and reel in the slack line; feel for the weight to hit bottom again, lift the rod tip, etc., till your line is pointing downstream at about a 45 degree angle. Then reel in as quickly as possible. Be sure to watch what the other anglers on the wall are doing before you start casting out, or you'll cast across their lines and cause problems. It's almost like a dance; the bottom guy casts, his line drifts down a little, the next guy casts above him, his line drifts down, the next guy casts, etc., till the top guy casts. That's the only way 6 or 8 guys are going to be able to cast out and drift their baits downcurrent without hanging each other. DO NOT try this with a regular sized rod & reel. If you don't have the right tackle, fish in #1 or #2 hole, or in the corner. Or go downstream off the wall. For flatheads, the method generally used is to usea live bream and a really heavy weight attached by a fairly light line. Cast downstream at about a 45 degree angle, let the sinker hit the bottom and hang up. The line should be downstream enough that it doesn't interfere with the guys drifting their baits downstream. Sit down and wait for a flathead to eat your bream. Pull. Break off the sinker. Fight the flathead. When fishing this area, bear in mind that I've seen guys with a Penn 309 spooled with 50# mono get spooled by a big fish they couldn't handle. Just downstream there is (or used to be) a concrete walkway where you could stand to fish the current. You can expect to catch just about anything along there, including cats, stripers, crappie, bass, bream, and an occasional gar or turtle.
    On the locks side, there is sometimes some good fishing between the locks and the bank. There are also some good spots all along the park, all the way down to, and even a little below, the boat launching ramp. This side of the river is much more suited for normal sized fishing tackle.
     

  3. kwink

    kwink New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    arkansas
    Also Jerry, I am using a 7 foot heavy action catfish rod spooled with 50# line. I am planning on trying to catch bait fish with my cast net. And i was wondering how heavy of sinkers should i use at the dam and overall on the river?

    Thanks again, Kyle
     
  4. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,755
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    kwink sinker size will depend on how much water they turning loose.
     
  5. Wiscars

    Wiscars New Member

    Messages:
    93
    State:
    Arkansas
    Kwink, Your question was actually the best bait; and you hooked the biggun for good river info:Jtrew :wink: Don't just listen. Pump him. Don't just reel, pump him for more. Like that hole even with the turn around. Yeah that's it ! We all learn from them that were here before us. Fortunately,Jerry is still with us and a wealth of info. So pump him. We all can listen up and save some tackle and shoe leather too! Kwink, you certainly have beginners luck in your favor. Now get the net under that monster.:smile2:
     
  6. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Kyle, if they're running the #1 turbine (the one closest to the bank), you'll have to be careful throwing your net at the bottom of the wall where it slopes down into the water, or you'll get so many shad in it you can't lift it. I seldom use a net at Dardanelle; I prefer using a shad dip net that I can use on the shad bunched up there, or get them where they are running alongside the wall in the swift current. Don't even try to throw your net in the swift current. You want to be very careful not to let your net sink too deep off the end of the wall, too. It's real easy to hang your net on the rocks. I've torn up a couple there, which is why I prefer the wire dip net.
    Poisonpits is right about the current dictating the size of the sinker. Over between the locks and the bank, it's calm, and you'll only need a half ounce or so; downstream from there, you'll need anywhere from 1 to 4 ounces; below the powerhouse, you'll need anywhere from 4 to 8 ounces. If you plan to go after flatheads, you also may want to make up some 8 ounce spider sinkers. They have coathanger wire coming out of the bottom like a treble hook so they will snag on the bottom. Being fairly soft wire, you do stand some chance of the wire straightening out so you can retrieve your sinker, but you'll usually lose it. Check out the sinker sacrificer rig in the library for this type of fishing. Downstream from the powerhouse you'll probably need 4 to 6 ounces, depending on how far down you are. Don't count on being able to get out any further than hole #5 with your 7' rod. When I use my 8' rod, that's about my limit. I usually use a 14' "river rod" there, specially built for such fishing.
    I never tried reaching it from the bank, but there's a hole downcurrent from the powerhouse right even with the white fence at the end of the turnaround just past the parking lot. If you are able to get out that far, you'll need 6 or 8 ounces to hold bottom, 4 to 6 ounces if you plan to bump along the bottom. The current is still pretty swift along there. When I'm drifting, I usually drift through that hole, then motor back up for another drift.
    Incidentally, if you've got kids along and need to keep them busy, put them in the very corner where the concrete wall meets the dam, fishing with worms. That spot's usually full of drum, which don't seem to be worth a darn as bait there.
     
  7. kwink

    kwink New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    arkansas
    Jerry as you know I am new to river fishing and the area, Which side of the dam should I fish from (russellville or dardenelle side), and where can I get a 14' river rod?
     
  8. kwink

    kwink New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    arkansas
    What would be the best hook size for using shad. I have never used shad for cats?I am used to using shad for trout on the white river, is there any simularity?
     
  9. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,755
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    kwink i fish the dardenal side of the river and i fish down by the telephone poles that stick out in the river.5/0 hooks should be good for small shad and small pieces of cut shad but when i fish big baits or live perch i will go up to as big as 10/0 king kayles.
     
  10. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Kyle, I can't tell you which side to fish. That's something you'll have to decide for yourself after spending a little time watching the action on each side. You won't need a 14' river rod unless you're planning on fishing the powerhouse side. If you decide to buy one, check Rush Sporting Goods in Russellville, or Murphy's Sporting Goods in Dardanelle. Once you've regained consciousness after seeing the price, try to find a used one. Check the classifieds, ask around, and check the pawn shops. Incidentally, the older Fenwick blanks used to make these rods were American made; later ones come from overseas somewhere. The 'river rods' I'm talking about are gold in color, and the handle & eyes are wrapped with heavy cord instead of thread. Watch out for other types claiming to be 'river rods'; they are generally de4signed for surf fishing. I broke 3 brand new ones in one day, then got my money back from Wal Mart, added some to it, bit the bullet, and bought the real thing. Never been sorry. You'll need a reel to match it. If you decide to go with Abu, I wouldn't go any smaller than a 7000. My personal preference is a Penn, because of their toughness and the fact that Penn carries the parts needed to repair their reels. Abu quits carrying parts for reels 5 years after they quit making them (or so I was told by a guy who owned a reel repair shop). I do know that I took a Peen reel there to have the clicker replaced and had no trouble whatsoever getting the parts; I bought that reel (Jigmaster 500) in January of 1966. The fact that you're getting it for distance casting kind of rules out the 209; it's a great reel, but there are better Penn reels for distance. A 309 isn't bad at all; you'll probably see quite a few at Dardanelle, especially with the snaggers. Another good Penn is the Jigmaster 500, which you can get pretty cheap on ebay. But my choice would be the Penn 320 GTi or GT2. These are basically the same reel; the GT2 is just the newer model. They don't cost that much more on ebay than the Jigmaster. I got one for $45 plus shipping.
    Keep your eye out for some party balloons; the long skinny ones used to twist into funny shapes. They make great floats, and don't cause as much air resistance as regular floats or round balloons, so you can cast further with them. Even if you are planning on bottom fishing, it's worth having a dollar's worth of those balloons in your tackle box, just in case you change your mind.
     
  11. Wiscars

    Wiscars New Member

    Messages:
    93
    State:
    Arkansas
    A hand pump, like those used to inflate basketballs and soccer balls, really helps save the jowels blowing up those hot dog balloons. The plastic ones are pretty cheap at sporting goods stores. :wink:
     
  12. kwink

    kwink New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    arkansas
    Hi Jerry I'm not familiar with using ballons or floats. How do you set a rig up with them?
     
  13. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    When you're using those long, skinny 'hot dog' balloons, you won't ever need to blow them completely up; about halfway will be about right for 6-8 ounces. Use your fish to squeeze the 'bubble' up toward the top, leaving 2"-3" of unused balloon at the open end. Wrap this twice around your line where you want your float, and tie it securely. Using a long rod, it's no trouble to have your float set 8'-10' deep and still be able to cast OK. Generally, 6'-8' will be deep enough, and sometimes the cats are feeding so shallow you can see them breaking the surface. Set your depth accordingly. Remember, the larger the bait, the more wind resistance, and the shorter the cast. To get maximum distance, you'll want to use a smaller bait than you might normally use.