Good Things Expected for Arkie Division Opener on Ouachita - Major League Fishing

Good Things Expected for Arkie Division Opener on Ouachita

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January 18, 2021 • Kyle Wood • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

The 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division starts its season on February 13 on Lake Ouachita in Mount Ida, Arkansas. With multiple patterns available for anglers and limits in the upper-teens to 20-pound range possible it should be a great way to kickstart the season.

Tournament Details

Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division

Lake Ouachita

Mount Ida, Arkansas

February 13, 2021

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Seen here in the summer, Ouachita is one of the most scenic lakes in Arkansas.

How the Fishery Sets Up

Lake Ouachita is a deep, clear mountain reservoir located in western Arkansas within the Ouachita National Forest, a 1.8 million-acre wildlife-rich area that sprawls clear across the Oklahoma border. Construction of the dam took place from the late 1940s to the early 1950s and, depending on the water level, the lake covers about 40,000 surface acres, with approximately 975 miles of shoreline.

Ouachita is a short drive from nearby Hot Springs, Ark., yet due to its location within the Ouachita Mountains and National Forest, there is very little development along its largely remote shoreline.

Standing timber, hydrilla and other grasses, and natural structure such as points and humps provide most of the fishing targets.

Dylan Hays spends a lot of time on Ouachita.

What to Expect

While there should be fish up on the bank to be caught, the offshore bite is likely to be the mainstay for this tournament. Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro and Ouachita guide Dylan Hays agrees with that.

“It’ll be a typical highland reservoir wintertime tournament I think,” says Hays. “You can catch ‘em on a jerkbait, crankbait, swimbait, A-rig and jig. There will even be a decent lipless crankbait bite in the grass, too. That grass bite is something that’s good every year around this time. You can catch ‘em in the drains like you do in Texas.”

Even with good prospects from a grass bite, brush piles and standing timber are certainly going to provide some solid bags, especially with the help of forward-facing sonar.

“Your groups of fish are going to be found off the bank and that’s probably where it’s going to be won at,” Hays adds. “Someone will catch them around brush, timber or a ditch.

“And you can’t forget about LiveScope. There’s a lot of fish being caught off of brush or timber with that right now.”

With prospects of good fishing, Hays believes given the time of year, Ouachita will show out in terms of a winning weight as well.

“I really think it’ll take something in the upper-teens or low 20s to win this tournament,” Hays says. “They catch ‘em pretty good in the wintertime here.”

Bryan Thrift knows his way around an umbrella rig and a lipless pretty well.

Baits and Techniques

Look for this tournament to feature a mix of hard baits and soft plastics. Lipless crankbaits, Wiggle Warts,  SPRO Mike McClelland Rk Crawlers or Rapala DT6 crankbaits will help cover the bank and grass. Out deeper, small swimbaits, umbrella rigs and football jigs will draw fish from brush and timber.

“You’ll be able to catch them kind of however you want, but that lipless bite or and A-rig might be hard to beat,” Hays says.