Lakes & Rivers

Lakes and Rivers: Dive into Overflowing Fun

Fishing, swimming, boating, floating—whatever wet and wild adventure you’re up for, you can do it in the river valley. Known for its thriving fishery, the 34,300-acre Lake Dardanelle is a reservoir connected to the Arkansas River. This conjunction of lake and river has been featured as a major bass fishing tournament location. In addition to all of the camping and meeting facilities at Lake Dardanelle State Park, there is a world-class tournament weigh-in facility and three marinas serving both bodies of water.


Fly fishing the Big Piney
Fly fishing the Big Piney

Arkansas River

The state’s namesake river is also one of the country’s’ best fisheries. This majestic waterway flowing through the valley is loaded with game fish like bass, crappie, catfish stripers, and bream, and also popular for water sports. You’ll find parks, marinas, and several access points for fishing and picnicking on sandbars throughout the region.

Blue Mountain Lake

The lake provides fishermen with several species of game fish such as largemouth and white bass, crappie, bream and catfish.

Lake Dardanelle

Stretching fifty miles through the Arkansas River Valley, Lake Dardanelle is the premier location for fishing in the region and one of the most popular lakes in the state for tournament fishing. Both white and largemouth bass, bream, catfish, crappie and more school abundantly in 34,300-acre reservoir below the steep bluffs and tree-lined shores. Bow fishing for gar is also popular. Several marinas and boat launches are located on the lake, as well as campgrounds, cabins, boat rentals, fishing guides and tournaments.

Harris Brake Lake

The third largest lake owned by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was built in 1955 and is well known for bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass and redear sunfish. Fishing, camping, cabins, boat rentals and boat launch located in eastern Perry County off Hwy. 9 South.

Fourche River

This Arkansas River tributary flows out from Lake Nimrod in southern Yell County with several launching areas and good fishing.

Horsehead Lake

The Horsehead Lake Recreation Area is cooperatively managed by the US Forest Service and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. It features a 98 acre mountain lake with a developed camping area, restroom facilities with showers, a swim beach, playground, and picnic area, most of which are fully accessible.. There is a boat-launch ramp with wake limit on the lake. No skiing allowed and 10 hp motor limit. Horsehead Hiking Trail is good for short-term day hikes. It provides a variety of experiences, with a distance of 3.0 miles in length. The trail is constructed in a loop to return the hiker to the point of beginning. Location: 8 miles northwest of Clarksville on State 103, then west on State 164, 4 miles, then right on gravel Forest Road 1408, 3 miles. Call 479-754-2864 for more information.

Lake Ludwig

Located 10 miles south of Ozone or 8 miles north of Clarksville, Lake Ludwig offers a sandy swimming beach, boat launch area, picnic shelter and fishing pier. Call 479-754-2864 for more information.

Lake Overcup

Bass fishing on Lake Dardanelle
Bass fishing on Lake Dardanelle

Considered one of Arkansas’ crappie hotspots, Lake Overcup is a 1,025 acre lake with marinas, camping, and boat rental. Fishing can be done from the bank of the mile-long dam or from the earthen jetty at the south end of the lake. Two wheelchair-accessible fishing piers are also available – one adjacent to Overcup Landing on the northeast corner and the other next to the landing off Ark. 95. Located North of Morrilton just off I-40.

Lake Atkins

Owned by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Lake Atkins features major sport fish such as Largemouth bass, redear sunfish, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish and flathead catfish.  Located south of Atkins off Hwy 105.

Lake Brewer

Another popular fishing spot (1,200 acres) located north of Plumerville off Highway 92. Boat launch available.

Nimrod Lake

Arkansas’s oldest lake created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nimrod Lake’s 3,500 acres features several campgrounds and access areas south of Plainview off Hwy 60. Best known for slab crappie fishing Other major game fish available include largemouth bass, bream, catfish and white bass.

Cove Lake

This pristine lake at the base of Mount Magazine in Logan County offers visitors a variety of outdoor pleasures including swimming, boating, camping and fishing. Home to catfish, bass and perch.

Kingfisher Lake

Popular Yell County fishing spot in Yell County located within the Galla Rock township.



Big Piney Creek

Big Piney begins in the Ozark National Forest then flows south by southeast about 67 miles through Pope and Johnson Counties to Lake Dardanelle on the Arkansas River. The river is rated class I to III, with many advanced rapids to navigate. With the exception of a couple of popular pull off spots, two campgrounds are available along the route: Haw Creek Falls and Long Pool. Considered by some to be the classic Ozark stream, it tumbles in a twisting course from its rugged headwaters region toward the Arkansas River. With rapids, bluffs and overhanging hardwoods – the Big Piney has it all.

 Little Piney Creek

Twenty miles southeast through Hagarville to Lake Dardanelle is Little Piney Creek – a smaller and slightly more gentle version of its sister, Big Piney Creek. Little Piney is a Class I to II, moderate whitewater stream of incredible natural beauty in the Ozark National Forest of Johnson County. Day trips consisting of 5, 7 or 12 miles are a preferred choice and provide a relaxing, scenic float.

Blue Mountain Lake

Illinois Bayou

Perhaps the only bayou in the country featuring class II/III white water. The Illinois Bayou is actually four streams and recommended only for experienced canoeists.

Mulberry River

As an official member of the National Wild and Scenic River System, this 62 mile river offers a superb 45.2 mile whitewater roller coaster with at least 20 significant class I-III rapids to negotiate. From its beginnings, deep in the Ozarks to its confluence with the Arkansas River, the Mulberry pours over ledges, shoots through willow thickets, and whips around sharp turns, giving an exhilarating experience for canoeists. Several campgrounds located along its route provide ample opportunity for overnight trips. There are outfitter services near the most popular points of entry.