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Nov. 14, 2018

Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications

TEXARKANA - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will reopen the gates leading to Mercer Bayou on Sulphur River WMA this week for hunters to access the area during the 2018-19 duck season. 

The boat ramps have been closed since a major renovation began in 2017, a common practice to rejuvenate aging reservoirs in Arkansas. Aquatic vegetation had taken over much of the shallow lake, and fisheries supervisors scheduled the drawdown to reduce the vegetation and allow the silt layer to compact and dry, while also reducing the number of undesirable fish species found in the Bayou. Cutting boat lanes, marking navigation channels, and creating fish attractors are also part of the plan in the renovation project. However, unusually wet weather has kept the Sulphur River high enough to refill the Bayou, despite the water control structures being opened. In an effort to let hunters make the best use of the public hunting and fishing area, lake managers will reopen the gates at the boat ramps and allow people to launch boats for hunting and fishing purposes when natural water levels allow.

The water-control structures on Mercer Bayou will remain open to prevent any further delay in the renovation when water levels recede. So, interested duck hunters and anglers should pay close attention to the lake level to determine if the ramps are usable. Boats will be allowed, but no other motorized vehicles may be used on the WMA.