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AGFC planning angling increases for central Arkansas fishing holes

BY Randy Zellers

ON 07-19-2023


July 19, 2023

Randy Zellers

Assistant Chief of Communications

CONWAY — Arkansas Game and Fish Commission hatchery managers and other key members of the AGFC’s Fisheries team have been planning nonstop on ways to help anglers find some fish during the upcoming renovation of Lake Conway, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 1. In addition to all the work that will be done on Lake Conway, fisheries staff will be adding even more catchable-sized catfish to many nearby fishing locations to keep people busy during the project.

Tommy Laird, AGFC Chief of Fisheries, said he expects to double and, in some cases, triple the amount of catchable channel catfish being stocked in the Conway area beginning next year.

“We know we can’t replace all the opportunities Lake Conway offers, but we want to do everything we can to help anglers out while we’re working to improve it,” Laird said. “There are a lot of smaller lakes nearby that can handle additional anglers, but we want to make sure we account for that pressure.”

Father and son fishing
Laird says the hatcheries are planning additional stockings of catfish to Conway Station Park in Conway and Matthews Park Pond in Greenbrier, both part of the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program, to help anglers in these two cities who may have normally driven to Lake Conway.

“We have other local ponds in the Conway and Mayflower area like the pond at the Mayflower shooting range that we’ll also add catchable catfish to, with most of our stockings going up to 200 percent of their current rate,” Laird said. “And nearby lakes like Brewer Lake, Harris Brake Lake and Lake Overcup will see increases in catchable catfish stockings as well.”

The stockings will focus on catchable-size catfish.

“We will continue to stock other species at fingerling size according to recommendations from our fisheries management biologists,” Laird said. “Catfish are one of two species (trout being the other) that we can grow to catchable size in our facilities to give anglers more of that instant reward. Bass, crappie and other gamefish require much more resources and space to reach catchable size than we can accommodate in a hatchery setting. Mother Nature does the heavy lifting on those.”

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