Not far from the little town of Ethel in Arkansas County, a gravel road off the highway leads to several oxbow lakes in the heart of the White River National Wildlife Refuge. Our world contains many beautiful places, but in summer, none is more gorgeous than this verdant piece of river-bottom real estate.
The cypress trees in the lakes help make it so. These primeval giants (some have survived more than a millennium) live with their feet in the water and their knees in the air. Their broad, craggy buttresses are like whimsical sculptures shaped by nature’s hand. Their feathery leaves, greener than green this season, adorn long, horizontal branches that spread over each lake like cooling canopies. On a hot summer day, fishing in the shade of these ancients is a great way to stay cool and enjoy some quiet time away from the crowds.
Bass live in the emerald waters of the oxbows, and catfish and bluegills and crappie — lots of them. Because of these lakes’ remoteness, however, and because it is often difficult to launch a boat, visiting anglers are few. In summer, one might fish a lake for days without seeing another soul. And while you are there alone, or with a special companion, if you drop in a cricket or minnow, or cast a crankbait or spinner, you will catch fish after fish after fish, and your angling itch will be soothed.
Abundant fish provide endless opportunities for fun. But many who visit the refuge come primarily to “get away from it all” and enjoy this haven’s plentiful wildlife and natural beauty. If fish are caught, that’s just icing on the cake.
Should you visit this season,…
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