Feb. 2, 2022
QUITMAN — Anglers interested in putting a canoe or kayak on Cadron Creek in Cleburne County and a new access dedicated to launching these small craft thanks to a project funded by Marine Fuel Tax funds.
The project developed as the Arkansas Department of Transportation undertook an effort to replace the Arkansas Highway 124 Bridge west of Quitman, which offered Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff to look at improvements to access along the North Fork of Cadron Creek. With the limited space and steep incline, engineers in the AGFC’s Operations Division researched possible solutions to create a boat slide that would allow users of kayaks and canoes the ability to place a small watercraft in the water by hand.
“They developed this slide based on similar launch facilities in other parts of the country,” Matt Schroeder, fisheries supervisor at the AGFC’s Mayflower office, said. “It’s very robust and should last for many years.”
Schroeder says Cadron Creek, which is the largest free-flowing stream in central Arkansas, has excellent fishing opportunities that are sometimes overlooked.
“I’m even a little hesitant to talk about it because it’s one of my own favorite hidden gems,” Schroeder said. “But there are excellent spotted bass and largemouth bass populations as well as some of the largest green sunfish I’ve caught. My son and I will go there with ultralight rods and have a great time fishing for those jumbo green sunfish.”
Boat slides and other non-traditional access points on some of Arkansas’s waterways may be more common in the future, thanks to a recent modernization in the agreement between the AGFC and the ArDOT. At the Commission’s January 13 meeting, AGFC Commissioners authorized AGFC Director Austin Booth to finalize an agreement that would not only devote more funds to projects for boating access in Arkansas but also expand the sorts of projects that money could be used to develop.
AGFC Chief of Staff Chris Racey said the Marine Fuel Tax Program delivers about $1.7 million per year in projects to Arkansans, but the calculations are based on fuel use patterns and equipment available in 1967 when the program was established.
“With larger outboard motors, more boaters on the water using kayaks and canoes and the recent spike in boating recreation, we worked with ArDOT engineers to develop new calculations and make expansions like this boat slide much more of a possibility in the future,” Racey said. “I’m really excited about the ways we can offer Arkansans more access to the great boating and fishing opportunities we have throughout the state and hope accesses like this one at Cadron Creek are just the beginning of a new era in boating recreation in Arkansas.”