CLARKSVILLE (AGFC) – Renovations to Horsehead Lake are now complete. Construction on the 63-year-old lake began earlier this summer.
The 100-acre lake was built by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 1950, in partnership with Ozark National Forest. It has provided decades of fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill and red-ear bream, mostly for residents of the area.
The lake is in the national forest, and the national forest operates a recreation area on the west side of the lake. A campground, picnic area, playground and restroom facilities are available. This recreation area is closed due to the federal government shutdown.
Repairs to the water control structure consisted of inserting a 320-foot, 18-inch pipe into the existing 24-inch outlet pipe, then grouting around the inserted pipe. The drawdown tower was filled with concrete and cut off at ground level. The new pipe has a gate valve attached to the downstream end so that the gate can be opened below the dam. The control valve is enclosed in a steel locked box.
The lake bottom was sown earlier with sorghum-sudan grass and later sown with winter wheat. This vegetation will increase the fertility and provide more food for the fish after it becomes inundated with water and begins to rot producing animal plankton (zooplankton) which is utilized by sportfish as they develop.
AGFC fisheries personnel placed fish structure in seven locations. These areas were marked and those locations will be available on the AGFC website. Additional structure has been placed near access areas on the east side of the lake. This area will be usable by bank and boat fishermen.
The lake is now in the process of refilling. Fish will be stocked as soon as there is enough water to access the lake from the boat ramp. Catchable channel catfish will provide fishing opportunities until the fingerling size bass, bream and crappie which will be stocked next spring are large enough to harvest. Fish stocked next spring should be large enough to harvest in 3 to 4 years, but sometimes in new or renovated lakes the fish grow much faster. Additional fish structure will be added as time permits.
Large tree stumps that were causing boating hazards were cut off 4 feet below normal water level. The concrete boat ramp also was extended 20 feet. The access area at the boat launching area was improved by deepening the shoreline allowing easier boat docking, cutting shoreline trees to allow more bank fishing area and placement of fish structure within casting distance. One access was improved by removing 6 smaller pine trees making for easier access to campers and fishermen. The access area improvements were funded with Marine Fuel Tax monies.
Over 230 tons of agricultural limestone purchased from Davis-Sikes Feed Mill in Scranton was hauled and dumped in five locations. The spreading of the lime along the shoreline and in the lake bottom and the access improvements were done by Robbie Berg Construction of Greenwood. Crisp Industries of Bridgeport, Texas submitted the low bid of $62,250 for the project.
Crisp then contracted Performance Plus of Atoka, Oklahoma to do the actual insertion of pipe, gate and grouting work. Performance Plus has extensive experience with dam repair work. Master Made Concrete with headquarters in Carbon City supplied the grout and concrete for the project. Equipment was rented from Alma Tractor Supply. Crisp Industries provided supervision, equipment and labor for all concrete work, steel box placement and removal of old drawdown tower.
The U.S. Forest Service painted all swim posts which hold the ropes and buoy lines at their swim beach. The Johnson County Road Department hauled and spread sand purchased by the USFS Service, on the swim beach. A total of 34 dump truck loads of sand were hauled and spread. USFS also did a lot of litter pickup on the lake bottom along their area as we did on the dam. We wish to thank all the local folks who helped pick up trash and litter in the lake and who followed directions and did not drive their 4-wheelers on the lake bottom so that the vegetation planted had a chance to grow.