AGFC Fisheries biologists were busy sampling crappie across the state this fall. In north-central Arkansas, the biologists sampled Bull Shoals Lake and focused on the Jimmy Creek and Mountain Creek arms of the reservoir. During a previous creel survey, crappie were the second-most-sought-after species on Bull Shoals Lake behind black bass. Crappie sampling took place during September, October and November by setting multiple nets in areas where crappie were likely to be moving during the fall. Nets were set without bait as the crappie follow the net up into funneled hoops, making it hard for them to find their way back out. Nets were set for 48 hours in each creek arm each month. The crappie were measured and weighed, and a subsample will be aged at a later date.

    The data collected from these samples will help biologists assess the health and population of crappie in the lake. This data will also be added to a database that tracks the changes in the population to monitor whether regulations need to be updated to keep crappie fishing at its best.

    Over the three months of sampling this year, biologists caught 576 crappie. The sizes ranged from 4.3 inches to 13.8 inches, and the average size seen was 9.5 inches and half a pound. The biologists have not yet aged fish from this year’s sample, but previous aging indicates it takes about three years for a crappie to reach a harvestable size of 10 inches.

    Anglers have had a good year of crappie fishing and have recently been catching fall crappie using jigs and minnows around the AGFC brushpiles.

    * Get the kids out to one of two locations this Saturday to learn about trout fishing and participate in special winter fishing derbies. The AGFC will be sponsoring educational fishing opportunities open to all in Russellville and Pine Bluff on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration is required for the events, and participants need to bring their own fishing gear. But children 15 and under don’t need a license to fish (anglers 16 and older WILL need a trout stamp and fishing license). The Russellville Trout Day is planned for Pleasant View Park Pond and being presented by CADDIS Fly Fishing Club. Prizes will be awarded and everyone can take home their catch of fresh fish. A special fishing clinic is planned for 6:30-7:30 Dec. 2 at the Hughes Community Center in Russellville. Visit, to register for the Russellville Trout Day and fishing clinic.

    The city of Pine Bluff will bring its first Trout Day celebration to Martin Luther King Jr. Park Pond. The AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program has stocked the pond with trout. To register for the Pine Bluff event, visit