Lake Ouachita Walleye

Lake Ouachita offers some of the best walleye fishing in the country and the fishing pressure is light.

February through March are the usual times for walleye to move into shallow water to spawn in Lake Ouachita depending on temperatures of the water. Walleyes get active when the water nears 47 degrees. The males move up the creeks and tributaries before the females do.

The planned 2016 Lake Ouachita Nursery Pond fish crop will be walleye fingerlings.
Walleye fry from annual Hulsey Hatchery spawning project will be stocked into the pond late March 2016 and grown to fingerling size prior to their release.

Habitat
The walleye is a cool-water fish, commonly found in water temperatures from 65-75 degrees but will leave this zone to find food or avoid intense light. Walleyes are seldom found at temperatures above 80 degrees for long periods of time. Walleyes inhabit clean streams or lakes with bottoms containing rock, gravel and sand. Hard bottom areas are used rather than softer types. Streams must have a combination of pools and riffles to hold a good walleye population. Lakes need gravel and rocky shorelines with relatively clear and deep water. Transitions areas between mud, sand and or rock are usually where walleye are found.

Spawning of Walleye occurs in mid February thru March when the water temperature reaches 50 degrees. Males arrive at spawning sites before the females. In the Ouachita river above the lake, most spawning occurs in the first few riffle areas with gravel bottoms and steady current. In the lake shallow rocky shorelines provide ideal spawning habitat.

The water depth where walleyes spawn varies from 5 feet to a few inches. Females are accompanied by one or more males, and the eggs and sperm are spread over the stream bottom. Walleye eggs are very adhesive and stick well to the gravel bottom. The eggs hatch in six to 18 days depending on the water temperature.

Walleyes are caught on a variety of natural and artificial baits. Because they avoid bright light, a lot are caught at night and on cloudy days. Natural baits, like minnows and bream, are most effective in the pool areas of streams and when fished over lake structure. Minnow-imitation artificial baits are effective in winter and spring. These lures are worked in riffles and fished around structure in pools and lakes.

In summer, when walleyes are in deep water, jigging spoons and trolling deep running lures are effective.

Fishing tips & techniques for Walleyes in Lake Ouachita:

At night use jigs that move around, however not constantly moving, as walleye are the type of fish that tend to stay towards the bottom of the water. But using bright jigs at night often help the walleye see them, and eventually after patience the walleye will go after the jig. Once the walleye taps at the jig a few times, then it will usually attempt to carry it off. When this occurs, give the walleye a little slack to make it think the jig is not putting up a fight. It is better to use a little extra weight at night as well. This allows the jigs to stay in one position and wiggle rather than move with any undercurrent.

Locate pods of baitfish that can range as deep as 50-feet. Look on the points and inside turns, flooded stands of trees and brush-piles are magnets for baitfish and walleyes in Lake Ouachita.

Fishing wood can be tricky, heavy effectively imitate native baitfish with their flash and wobble. That, and staying vertical is critical in the presence of so much lumber.

When vertically fishing spoons at a multitude of depths, it's essential have better feel and control by using a high-sensitivity braid which transmits feel better than anything else. Attaching a section of fluorocarbon leader - 18 to 24 inches - with an Invisa Swivels softens the hook set while eliminating line twist. 

Two mainstay presentations, when not jigging vertically, are running bottom-bouncers with spinners and fresh kept crawlers from a Frabill Crawler Crib and jig fishing with minnow-imitating plastics, like Trigger X Action baits.

Bottom-bouncer and crawler combo makes for a nasty, snag-stopping trolling pattern.  color selection - blade sizes - trolling speeds.

Jig fishing preferred early in the season for walleyes over and around points, creek arms, and sunken islands near shoreline breaks.

Fished over the tree tops or on gravel points early in the season, stickbaits are deadly.

The Southern 'Eye Slip-bobber fishing method.

Fish small jigs opposed to plain hooks; incorporate attracting beads and even a touch of hair or feather on a jig.

Live bait is strongly endorsed  tipping with a half of crawler, whole shiner minnows.

Recommend Walleye Lures:

  • Luhr-Jensen Crippled Herring.
  • Jigging spoons 1/2-ounce plus
  • Rapala Husky Jerks
  • X Raps
  • Shad Raps
  • Grubs
  • Hair Jigs
  • Road Runers
  • Rouges

Lake Ouachita is located in Garland and Montgomery Counties,Arkansas,
13 miles west of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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