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Hydraulic line failure causes St. Francis Lake to drop

PAYNEWAY - A gate on a dam that helps form St. Francis Lake on part of the St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area has malfunctioned. The gate failure allowed the lake to drop about three feet. Temporary structures have been placed in the dam and most of the water leak has been stopped.

A hydraulic line leading to a gate failed and allowed the gate at the Payneway Dam Control Structure to open. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission personnel and a contractor have been working all day to close the structure. Repairs to the hydraulic line should be complete within the next couple of days.

St. Francis Lake is a wide part of the St. Francis River. The lake supports good populations of both game fish and rough fish and provides a large amount of fishing opportunity. The lake is fairly shallow due to accelerated silt deposits over the years, but still provides good catfish, bass, bream and crappie fishing. The gate failure is not expected to impact the lake's fish population and should be only a temporary disruption.

For more information on the repairs, please call the Jonesboro Regional Office toll free at 877-972-5438. The AGFC will also post updates on the agency's Facebook page and website at