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Lake Conway boat lane input needed

BY Randy Zellers

ON 02-14-2024

Lake Conway Boat Lane Pic 1

MAYFLOWER — If you missed last week’s meetings to offer ideas on new boat lanes to be added to Lake Conway, there’s still time to add your input. According to Nick Feltz, regional fisheries supervisor for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the planning team will accept suggestions for new boat lane locations on Lake Conway until Feb. 25.

Feltz, who is overseeing the Lake Conway renovation, says about 45 people have submitted suggestions for boat lane improvements since last Saturday. All 23 miles of existing boat lanes will be cleared of stumps during the drawdown and will be widened to 50 feet throughout the lake.

“I measured the street in front of my house and it’s only about 25 feet wide, so the new lanes should be plenty wide,” Feltz said. “We’re also going to mark them with large wooden utility poles that will be easy to see and should last a long time. We want to take care of these boat lanes once and for all during the project so we don’t have to come back and revisit them after the renovation is complete.”

In addition to the existing lanes, Feltz hopes to add up to 9 additional miles of new lanes to make navigation even better, and that’s where the public input meetings came in.

“There are some areas we know that could use a new lane, like near some of our primitive public accesses,” Feltz said. “But here’s the public’s chance to mark what lanes they would like to see added, too. We plan to compile everyone’s ideas and try to accommodate the most popular locations, if the depth will allow it and we’re not removing a lot of live cypress trees.”

More than 70 interested landowners and boaters participated in last week’s public meetings about the Lake Conway boat lane project. In addition to the boat lane portion of the meeting, they were updated on some of the work done for the project. 

“We were able to get a lot of groundwork done and check a lot of boxes during the low water we had from November through December,” Feltz said. “We have more than 120 sites established with baseline data to monitor sediment consolidation throughout the lake during the drawdown,” Feltz said. “Watching that will be critical to making decisions on when to bring the lake back post-renovation. If we start seeing the progress slow to a point that it’s no longer beneficial and all other aspects of the project are complete, we may be able to refill the lake sooner than the original timeline. Everything about this project will be adaptive to the conditions and results we see.”

Feltz also highlighted the repurposing of the Lake Conway Nursery Pond, which is now a 60-acre public fishing opportunity packed with bream, crappie, bass and even rainbow trout during winter. He also touched on other projects, such as placing radio transmitters in a variety of fish species to watch their movement through the drawdown. 

“Really one of the biggest things we were able to do while the water was low was to have prospective contractors make site visits to see exactly what they were getting into when they bid on the boat lane renovation project,” Feltz said. “Contractors are really hesitant to bid on a project like this without being able to see under the water and know what they’re up against. And we’re confident that the ones that showed interest have the capability to do the job right.”

Anyone who would like to contribute input about boat lane locations can still participate in the process. Maps and instruction packets for feedback are available at the AGFC Mayflower Field Office at 213A Highway 89 South in Mayflower and at Bates Field and Stream convenience store in Mayflower. A downloadable version of the boat lane map and instructions also is available at

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