If you can believe a fisherman then here’s a tale for you. We’ll call them crappie in this story but they’re known by many different names in Arkansas and southern Missouri; paper mouths, Sacalait, slabs, specks and the large ones are called netters, the medium ones lifters and the small ones are called tater chips.
Regardless of what you call them, if you’re looking to fill up a stringer of crappie the guys over at Fishhound.com say Lake Dardanelle is your best bet in Arkansas.
Fishhound.com and a host of industry experts including veteran outdoor writers, professional crappie anglers, and organizations such as Crappie USA, Crappie Masters and Crappie Nation list Lake Dardanelle as the ninth best crappie lake in the United States and first in Arkansas.
Fishhound’s Vice President of Operations Rick Patri said they devoted considerable time and resources to develop this list based on feedback from some of the most experienced and knowledgeable crappie fishermen throughout the United States.
Lake Dardanelle sits behind Dardanelle Dam on the Arkansas River and is one of the most accessible and attractive recreation areas in Arkansas. With nearly 40,000 acres of boating and fishing waters rimmed by choice picnic and camping areas, it’s an ideal leisure-time destination. Lake Dardanelle spreads westward behind Dardanelle Dam into Pope, Yell, Logan, Johnson, and Franklin Counties. At two miles wide in some places, it reaches 50 miles upstream to the Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock and Dam and has 315 miles of shoreline.
Crappie, bream, and largemouth bass are stocked in the lake and provide excellent sport fishing. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission studies of bass tournaments across the state revealed that Lake Dardanelle is also the most productive bass fishery in the state. With no closed season and mild winters, fishing is pretty good year round on Lake Dardanelle.
Landing three spots back on Fishound’s list at number 12 is Nimrod Lake, another Corps of Engineers reservoir that was built in Arkansas to control floods and over time made a name for itself as a crappie hotspot in the United States. Arkansas was well-represented on the list with six lakes in the top 50.
“These are bodies of water that earned well deserved reputations for producing big numbers of fish as well as some real monsters,” said Patri.
The six Arkansas lakes on Fishhound.com’s 50 Best Crappie Lakes:
9. Lake Dardanelle, Ark.
12. Nimrod Lake, Ark.
39. Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir, Ark.
40. Lake Greeson, Ark.
41. Greenwood Lake, Ark.
48. Lake Hamilton, Ark.