Arkansas Fishing-Norfork-Bull Shoals Lake-White River-North Fork-Buffalo

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Spotted Bass (also known as Kentucky bass)

Spotted bass select fairly steep banks along the mouths of coves where there is a lot of gravel and occasionally quite a bit of silt, clay, or organic matter. Their spawning habitat extends farther back into coves than the Smallmouth’s. The spawning period begins somewhat later than the Smallmouth’s, usually by mid-April when the water temperature approaches 60 F. Spawning continues for two or more weeks depending on how fast and consistent the spring warm up is. Nest building and other spawning characteristics are similar to the Smallmouth’s.

After spawning, Spotted bass appear to inhabit deep and/or open waters in both Bull Shoals and Lake Norfork. They are often caught on spoons or trolling rigs at depths of over 40 feet where they are feeding primarily on shad. They also eat crayfish.

Both lakes contain excellent and fast-growing populations of Spotted bass and provide good fishing opportunities for these species. Currently Bull Shoals Lake holds the state record Spotted bass at 7 lbs. 15oz. Both lakes produce a number of 4 pound Spotted bass every year and a few in the five-pound range. Specific data from Arkansas Game & Fish Commission sampling of the Spotted bass population is available in the Bull Shoals and Lake Norfork Annual Reports