The AGFC is Still Stocking Arkansas Lakes with Trout for Winter Fishing Season
Lake Bentonville, Arkansas, is buzzing with anglers who come in droves for a chance to catch trout.
The lake is just one of several across the state that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) stocks with trout for winter fishing as part of its Family and Community Fishing Program. The agency begins stocking the fish in November when the water temperature drops enough to sustain cold-water trout and continues until February. Once the water temperature rises above 70 degrees in the spring, the program shifts to stocking channel catfish.
Northwest Arkansas has several lakes that are stocked with trout, including Springdale’s Lake Bentonville, Murphy Park Pond, Shaw Family Park and Lake Springdale, and Lake Atalanta in Rogers. In the River Valley area, Torraine Lake, Wells Lake, and Carol Ann Cross Pond, all in Fort Smith and Van Buren Municipal Pond receive regular trout stocking.
Trout lovers in the Bella Vista area can head to Lake Brittany, which is stocked by the Bella Vista Property Owners Association. Trout are purchased from a private fish hatchery for the exclusive use of POA members and their guests.
Arkansas anglers use different techniques to catch trout, with many using scented bait, such as Berkley Power Bait. It's a prepared bait that comes in nuggets or dough form, making it easy to thread onto a hook.
While some fishermen rely on scented bait, others prefer the control and flexibility that a lure provides. Fishers can use lures to mimic the movements and depth of a trout’s natural prey, making them attractive to the fish.
Arkansas’ last trout stocking of the season was on Feb. 23, 2023, with thousands of trout released into the lakes. With plenty of cold water remaining in March, there's still ample time for anglers to catch a trout dinner before the season ends.
Locals looking to get in on the action are best advised to go fishing immediately after a stocking. Word spreads quickly which means that catches slow down over time until waters are restocked again.
As the weather warms up and the trout season draws to a close, the lakes will soon be filled with channel catfish. But for now, Lake Bentonville, along with the other stocked lakes, remains a haven for trout lovers who are determined to reel in a big catch before the season ends.