HUGHES (AGFC) – Anglers in east Arkansas soon will have an improved free launching site on Horseshoe Lake in Crittenden County. The Nancy and Pat Bonds Horseshoe Lake Access on the southwest corner of the lake will be temporarily closed to complete a major renovation for anglers to enjoy this gem of the Delta. The access is scheduled to reopen at the beginning of June.
The land and access were donated to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 2015 by Nancy and Pat Bonds to offer a fee-free boat launch for anglers on the lake. AGFC biologist Justin Homan says the access is in need of repair, and funds have become available to do a large-scale renovation to improve the site immensely.
"We'll be able to complete a concrete ramp that two boats may launch at a time from, and create an asphalt parking lot that will stretch over the existing gravel one as well as the grassy area that many anglers had to park before," Homan said. "We'll stripe it for 30 boat parking areas on the asphalt and will even have a 20-foot floating courtesy dock to help anglers launch and load their boats."
The original cost of the ramp and dock was estimated at $195,000, but the Commission approved an additional $65,000 in February to add the paved parking lot. The $260,000 to create the improved access was gathered from Marine Fuel Tax funds, which comes from sales of gasoline and diesel used in boats and is earmarked for improving and maintaining access to the water for the public.
Homan understands the timing of the temporary closure is coming at a time when many anglers will be wanting to launch from the facility, but it could not be avoided. He adds that the end product will be worth the temporary inconvenience.
"I know there are a lot of tournaments that go out of this access, and I always see a lot of crappie anglers launching from here while I'm catfishing with my daughter," Homan said. "I'll be put out a little myself with the closure, but we need to get this project done as soon as possible to ensure it is completed in time for summer use."
As an alternative, Homan suggests anglers use the access at Kamp Karefree on the north end of the lake until the construction is complete.