(Little Rock) – After working toward a solution for more than 13 years, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved the final piece of an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure a steady flow of water below Bull Shoals Dam on the White River at their most recent meeting January 13.
The AGFC, along with Arkansas’s congressional delegation, trout fishing enthusiasts, and area resort owners and outfitters worked together to solidify the agreement to improve the trout fishery below the dam. The White River minimum flow issue is an old one, dating back more than a half century when trout were first stocked in the White River below Bull Shoals Dam as a replacement for the native warm-water fish wiped out by the dam’s cold-water releases.
When water levels drop in late summer and early fall, dam gates are closed to keep Bull Shoals Lake levels high enough so generators can create power from flowing water. Air conditioning systems require the power during hot weather.
But trout in the river below the dam need lower water temperatures, deeper water and more area to thrive. With a low or minimum flow of water through the dam, these conditions will improve so trout can survive, according to AGFC fisheries biologists. Trout food producing areas also will be enhanced and expanded.
In other business, the Commission approved $97,044 toward a partnership with Audubon Arkansas to promote wildlife viewing on Arkansas’s wildlife management areas; approved a new agency vehicle policy; and received an update on the 2011 elk hunt. The total harvest for the hunt was 26 elk. There were 19 bulls and 7 antlerless elk taken during the hunt.