Oct. 6, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
SEARCY – After a two-year wait for water conditions to be right, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is beginning work to repair the ramp and access at Nimmo on the Little Red River. The project is expected to take at least two months.
The Nimmo Access is about 3.7 miles from the confluence of the Little Red and White rivers, south of Henry Gray Hurricane Lake Wildlife Management Area. Matt Schroeder, AGFC Fisheries district supervisor in the Mayflower office, said the river level at the access has “nearly been constant flows for two years, and to get it timed up to get the work done has been tough.”
The access repair was part of a project that the Commission OK’d in summer 2019 to use Marine Fuel Tax funds totaling $538,900 to tackle 15 projects of repairs and upgrades to boat ramps and access points around the state.
“I got an email Friday out of the blue from Kirk Keller, our regional maintenance contract coordinator over that part of the state, that said we will begin work soon,” Schroeder said. “He’s been watching the river and it looks like it’s low enough for work to begin.”
Bull Shoals Lake in north Arkansas has been at a high level through spring and summer for the past few years because of heavy rains across the northern half of the state. Water releases by the Army Corps of Engineers to lower the Bull Shoals Lake level have kept White River levels up. Also, water is released from Greers Ferry Lake’s dam and travels the Little Red River to the White River, but a high White River can keep the Little Red backed up in the Nimmo area as well.
Last Thursday, though, the White River water level gauge at Augusta, north of the Little Red-White confluence, had fallen to 16.23 feet, nearly 10 feet below the flood stage of 26 feet.
The work will result in the ramp and access area being closed for the next two or more months. “If we don’t get a lot of rain, it should be completed in the time expected,” Schroeder said, “but if we have really wet weather and they start generating more water (at the dams), that could push that further into next year.”
The Nimmo access is a popular spot for waterfowl hunters to put in during duck season, so its temporary closure will require use of other nearby accesses. The good news is that two access points are not far away. For the next several weeks, anglers and hunters are advised to use the West Point Access on the Little Red, about 15 miles upstream from Nimmo, or the Georgetown Access, about 13.5 miles south of Nimmo on the White River, until the project is completed.
“It’s unfortunate timing, but when timing is right with the water level, repairs have to be made when they can be made,” Schroeder said.