Two options studied for North Fork River catch and release

LITTLE ROCK, AR (AGFC) - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is looking at two options for an expanded catch-and-release area on the North Fork River below Norfork Dam.

Disagreements have developed between fishermen and businesses in the area over the proposal, which grew out of citizen advisory committee workshops used to develop a fisheries management plan for the tailwater.

The existing catch-and-release area in the trout-rich stream is about a mile long. After input from trout anglers, the AGFC staff recommended expanding the zone to 2.6 miles (slightly more than half of the distance from the dam to the stream's junction with the White River at the town of Norfork). Under this plan, the catch-and-release area would extend to six-tenths of a mile below the Ackerman Access.

The other option being studied is to end the catch-and-release area at Ackerman Access, making the area 2 miles.

The fisheries staff also is recommending allowing the use of artificial lures with barbless treble hooks in the catch-and-release area after hearing reports that there is little difference in harmful effect to trout from artificial lures with single barbless hooks compared to barbless treble hooks.

AGFC commissioners will make a decision at their Sept. 24 meeting in Little Rock. Persons may express their opinions on these proposals in writing before Sept. 17. For more information on the proposals go to http://www.agfc.com/fishing/default.aspx. Letters can be sent to North Fork Trout, Fisheries Division, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205. Comments can also be e-mailed to Jeffrey S. Williams, trout management supervisor, at j_williams@agfc.state.ar.us or information@agfc.com.