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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Crappie fishing is good at all lakes in the region this spring.

Ah, April in Arkansas, and what a lovely April it's been. The dogwoods have been stunning this month, and the fishing is good. If it's hiking, biking, mushroom hunting or anything outdoors, it's happening now.

It's a good time to serve up a column full of nuggets, tidbits of this and that gleaned from the springtime outdoors.

• Two kinds of fish stoke the spring fishing fever for scores of anglers. That's white bass and crappie. Word from the water is that fishing is excellent for both this spring.

The Twin Bridges area of the White River, where Arkansas 45 crosses the river and Richland Creek east of Fayetteville, is white bass central during April.

Mike McBride of Winslow, who prowls the river in the spring, said the white bass spawning run up the White River is the best he's seen in years. He rates it a "high seven or an eight." White bass are often caught into the first part of May.

The White River gets most of the attention, but the War Eagle River has been nothing to sneeze at. Tomek Siwiec of Rogers fishes the river with his fly rod. He gives the run a seven.

"What's been good this year is we've caught more big female white bass," he said.

Siwiec also fishes the region's small lakes for crappie. A recent trip to Bob Kidd Lake near Prairie Grove produced a heavy catch of crappie, he said. Casting a small jig into shallow water produced slab after slab.

Crappie fishing is excellent at Beaver Lake. Aaron Jolliff at Hook, Line and Sinker in Rogers has owned the store 24 years. He says the crappie fishing this spring is the best he's seen since he opened the store.

It's obvious lots of anglers would rather feed 'em with minnows than fool 'em with jigs. Mike Whitehouse at Hickory Creek Marina said he sold 110 dozen minnows on Saturday, April 20 and 70 dozen on Easter Sunday, "and that was a slow day," he said.

• A drive to Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area for an afternoon mountain bike ride was an eye-opener on what a cycling destination Northwest Arkansas has become.

Of the nine cars parked at the trailhead, six of them sported out of state license plates. Nebraska, Wisconsin and Manitoba were among them.

• Our recent column about hiking to see our glorious waterfalls made a point to hammer home how vitally important it is to keep safety in mind. High, sheer cliffs are the norm in the realm of Ozark waterfalls.

Two tragic falls recently in the Hawksbill Crag area near the Buffalo National River are sad proof. One was at a waterfall that people can see on the hike to the crag.

Safety was on the minds of everyone in our group on a recent hike to Magnolia Falls, another stunning waterfall deep in the forest south of Boxley. It's a flowing beauty all right, but there are more places to fall, more places to be careful around, than most cascades.

We'll have a feature on Magnolia Falls in NWA Outdoors in the coming weeks. This one isn't recommended for children. What is recommended is an extra awareness of safety when visiting any waterfall or overlook. It's easy to get enamored by the beauty, wrapped up in shooting pictures and lose track of the edge.

• A recent column addressed the need for an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission shooting range in our part of the state. It mentioned the nice rifle range at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, but that range is now closed indefinitely for repairs. That means even fewer places to shoot here in our corner of the state.

Flip Putthoff can be reached at fputthoff@nwadg.com

Sports on 04/30/2019

Print Headline: Spring has Ozarks outdoors on fast track

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