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NWA outdoor briefs

by Flip Putthoff | February 16, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Crappie make comeback at Swepco

Anglers used to catch crappie at Swepco Lake near Gentry many years ago, but crappie have not been observed in sampling with electrofishing and netting research from 2009 to 2018, said Jon Stein, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission regional fisheries supervisor.

Game and fish began stocking black crappie in 2018 to reestablish the population, Stein said.

The fisheries staff sampled Swepco Lake with trap nets to look at the new crappie population from October 2020 through January 2021. Staff collected over 100 crappie in the sampling effort and observed fish from each time they were stocked. This is an improvement from netting only six crappie in 2019.

Students sought for art contest

Arkansas Wildlife Federation and Creative Ideas have come together to promote wildlife education through the arts in

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade are encouraged to submit artwork for the annual Wildlife of Arkansas Student Art Contest.

Artwork must be submitted by March 15, 2021. The Wildlife of Arkansas Student Art Contest is free and open to all kindergarten through grade 12 students in Arkansas. Work may be submitted online through a portal on wildlife federation website,

The competition is supported through an education grant from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Winners in each grade will receive cash awards, trophies and certificates.

Team Trail sets schedule

Northwest Arkansas Team Trail will hold four regular season bass tournaments and a two-day championship at Beaver Lake.

Regular season tournaments are scheduled for March 20, April 24, May 11 and Sept. 11. The championship is set for Oct. 2-3. All tournaments are out of Prairie Creek park.

Registration forms are available at Hook, Line and Sinker in Rogers and Bella Vista, Bradford Marine and ATV in Springdale and Southtown Sporting Goods in Fayetteville. Visit for details.

River access road closed

Buffalo National River has closed the road to Kyle's Landing access, located between Ponca and Jasper, during maintenance work. The road is expected to reopen by March 1, said Cassie Branstetter at Buffalo National River headquarters in Harrison.

Teams test outdoor skills

Registration is open for the Brewha Bushwhack outdoor skills team event, to be hosted by Pack Rat Outdoor Center on April 10.

Teams of three or four people visit check points around the Mulberry River and earn points by building a fire, paddling a canoe, tying knots, rappelling, identifying plants and animal tracks and more.

Entry fee is $99 per person. Profits benefit the Mulberry River Society. Register at Call the store at 479-521-6340 for more information.

Racers tackle gravel

Registration for the Big Sugar NWA gravel bike race will be from April 1-10 for the event set for Oct. 23.

Cyclists can choose the 100-mile or 50-mile race over gravel roads in the region. Entry fee is $140 for the 100 mile and $80 for the 50 mile. Register at

Crews light prescribed burns

Buffalo National River and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission fire operations specialists plan to conduct prescribed fire operations on approximately 6,000 acres in Newton and Searcy counties in spring 2021.

These burns will be conducted only when specific weather and on-the ground conditions are present. This "prescription" allows firefighters to maintain precise fire control and reduces the amount of underbrush and downed vegetation that could act as fuel for wildfires. To assure visitor safety, some trails and roads may be closed temporarily during the burns.

The burn units vary in size from 200 to 3,000 acres. The largest units are located near Mount Hersey and Carver along the Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area.


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