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JHARVNC | Wells Lake Fishing
Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center

You’re Invited to Fish

Visitors of all ages are welcome to fish in Wells Lake. Even novices can enjoy this sport. Give it a try!  Poles and tackle boxes are available as loaners. You will need to supply the bait.

Remember, if you are 16 or older, you need a fishing license to fish at Wells Lake and in all Arkansas waters. You can purchase one at the nature center.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are one of the most sought after freshwater game fish in the U.S. These bass are found in nearly all Arkansas waters. Adult largemouth bass eat mostly fish, crayfish, and insects. They can be caught with a variety of natural and artificial baits.

The state record for largemouth bass stands at over sixteen pounds, but one to three-pounders are the most common catch. 

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are the most widespread and plentiful catfish in Arkansas. They do extremely well in lakes and ponds. Channel cats can weigh up to thirty pounds. These bottom dwellers eat fish, insects, mollusks, crayfish, and sometimes plants and debris. Some of the best baits for catching channel catfish are chicken livers, earthworms, and minnows.

Like the blue catfish, channel catfish have a deeply forked tail, but channel cats are smaller and less hump-backed than blue cats.  

Redear sunfish

Redear sunfish often weigh one pound or more. These spunky fighters are bottom feeders who prefer deep water. Redear do better in lakes with vegetation because of the normally abundant aquatic insects available. Redear are often found in submerged log piles along dams and shoreline. You can catch these fish with either live bait – they prefer worms to crickets - or with tiny artificial baits. 

Redear sunfish get their name from their red-tipped ear flaps.


These small fish are plentiful, occurring throughout Arkansas. Bluegill average weights are less than half a pound although the state record is over 3 pounds. Bluegills will take live bait such as worms or crickets, or tiny artificials.

Bluegills are named for the bright blue gill covers and chin of breeding males. 

Rainbow Trout

No trout are native to Arkansas, but millions are stocked today in colder waters. Rainbows are the most common trout stocked in Arkansas. They may reach over 15 pounds, but one-pounders are more common. They have pinkish stripes running along their sides.  They can be taken with artificials, as well as with baits such as canned corn, nightcrawlers, crayfish, and even cheese balls. These are stocked annually, usually in February, in Wells Lake.