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The shovel work is finished at Lake Poinsett, but biologists are still laying the foundation for good fishing in the newly renovated lake in Poinsett County.
In late April, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stocked thousands of baitfish into the waters of the lake being refilled in an effort to produce a fantastic fishery in the coming years.
“This was the second stocking of baitfish for Poinsett since its water level was high enough to support the fish,” Brett Timmons, district fisheries supervisor at the AGFC’s Jonesboro regional office, said. “To date we’ve stocked 41,282 bluegill, 86,940 fathead minnows, 10,234 golden shiners and 1,995 threadfin shad. We’re planning more golden shiners and redear sunfish this year as the lake fills to full pool.”
Timmons said the stockings are intended to get a strong forage base in the lake before predator fish like catfish, bass and crappie are stocked next year, if water levels continue to rise and the forage base responds as expected.
“That’s the most important thing about rebuilding a lake, you have to have a good prey base before you start putting predators in it,” Timmons said. “We have to give the prey time to establish their population before we add predators.”
Lake Poinsett, which was created in 1961 with the damming of Distress Creek, saw a significant drop in water level five years ago because of a failure in the water control structure. The AGFC moved ahead with plans to completely renovate the lake, which was more than 60 years old, well beyond the age where prominent fisheries tend to see production fall off.
Now complete, the $3.3 million Poinsett project is AGFC’s largest lake renovation completed to date.
“This is an important fishery for anglers in northeast Arkansas,” Timmons said. “And we couldn’t have done the work without all the help of the community.”