Here in the frigid north, we’re having a “real” winter (not for wimps!) and the lakes have been frozen over for more than a month. I’ve been thinking of taking a kayaking vacation in late winter or early spring, and am interested in getting information about Bull Shoals Lake in north central Arkansas. Anybody out there in cyberspace who has been to this area? From what I’ve been reading, it looks like it’d be a good place to explore by sea kayak (I paddle a QCC 600x), but the tourist info emphasizes fishing and motor boats with no mention of kayaking or even photos of kayaks (which surprises me, because it seems like a lot of advertisers are now featuring kayaks in their ads). Any info on this area from another paddler would be appreciated. Thanks! -Merilee
The tourist information should give
an indication of the popularity of kayaking in much of the South. Its a beautiful lake, but the money isn’t in kayaking, yet. Its in fishing and power boating.
Arkansas = AR (not AK!)
Its a great place to paddle but you better bring your own Kayak.
If there are many paddlers up there I don`t know about them. Most people are power boaters either fishing or skiing.
I paddle at Greers Ferry lake which is a couple hrs south of there and hardly see anyone paddling even in the summer.
I paddle mainly in the morning in the summer because of the boat traffic but the rest of the year
I would think you would have to yourself.
Arkansas is Ar,Alaska is AK
South a little
Check out Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs AR.
here’s another AR idea…
Your profile also says you canoe and like wildlife watching and photgraphy…you could also explore our East Arkansas swamps and bayous. You would DEFINITELY need GPS and be comfortable and adept at using it, but if so, you could get out there and see lots of birds, woodpeckers, owls, other wildlife, etc.
If you want local input on that as well as on Lake Ouachita which as onepaddlejunkie mentioned is another good alternative - feel free to look around www.arkansascanoeclub.com/mb (particularly the “rec” board).
You may want to take a look at the
Arkansas River. It’d be sorta like paddling the Mississippi, but a bit narrower of a river. From Ft Smith to Russelville may be a nice float. Probably not much along the river to support a kayaker, and there is barge traffic, but the land is nice.
Hardly anybody paddles it…
Bull Shoals is very much dominated by the bass boat crowd in late winter/early spring, but at least you wouldn’t be competing with the water skiers and jet skis. It won’t be as crowded in February as it would be in the summer, but by March the bass fishermen are pounding it pretty hard. It is a very deep, clear lake, quite pretty (although I can never get past thinking about the White River that it drowned, which was the premier river of the Ozarks). Lots of coves and winding creek channels, wooded hills and bluffs. Bull Shoals is probably a bit less heavily used than Table Rock nearby, probably about as crowded as Norfork and Beaver. Beaver Reservoir is very pretty and interesting.
Of course, you’ve also got the Ozark streams, and I would choose the streams over the lakes any day. Even the normally crowded rivers like the Current and Buffalo are pretty much free of people in February and early March. The Current is so heavily spring-fed that it never freezes.
Paddle_Lupe knows what she is talking about. That onepaddlejunkie is pretty smart too (Hi Roy:-)
The Missouri big lakes are very nice, but they all cater to the bass fishing, Party Barge, Girls Gone Wild Set. Also, and this was not mentioned, Southwest Missouri is one of the more temperamental areas down here when it comes to weather. My daughter lives in Springfield, MO and it seems like it is always colder, snowier, rainier and stormier then about anywhere else.
With that being said, If you were to go a few more hours south, I think you will pick up a few degrees and have a little more temperate climate that might a big difference in your vacation.
Also, Al is right as well. I don’t know if I would really want to run a QCC down the Current River, but if you have not paddled an Ozark Stream, you have not lived.
Good Luck and have fun and let us know how it goes.
Sounds like you are a flat water paddler with the Qcc. I would stay in the lakes of Ar you can
t go wrong.<br /> This is a great time of year to paddle, there are<br /> more Eagles out than usual.<br /> Its 51 degrees with light rain and wind this morning <br /> I think Ill just look outside and wait till it warms to the 70`s this weekend.
Lot of Good Water
in that area including North Fork of the White River, Bryant’s Creek, the White River itself, Norfork Lake, the Buffalo, Kings River, and Crooked Creek.
Although I am not a sea kayaker I’ve thought a cool trip on Bull Shoals could include renting a house boat to use as a base camp to explore different parts of the lake. Divided among several paddlers the cost might not be too prohibitive.
Looking forward myself to trying to get away and enjoy a “southern” paddling vacation in Arkansas sometime this winter.
A paddle from Calico Rock to Allison is a great place to paddle. Its about 15 miles of the greatest trout fishing in the country.
We have a race there in the summer so I have paddled it many times.
You should be safe with the Qcc without dinging it up .
I was thinking to myself…Where the HECK is Bull Shoals Lake ??? Never heard of it. Then I saw the Arkansas reference.
AK, AR. same difference…lol
in NE Arkansas is a great river for floating if you don’t mind …beautiful scenery, 200 foot bluffs, a 200 foot waterfall, possibly seeing Elk. Just to mention a few of the great sights along this river. I have floated Ponca to Pruitt when the water was way up… some classII and 1 possible classII+, it swamped the canoe! But when the water is down it is a tame river and beautiful!!
BULL SHOALS LAKE
GO TO THE "WWW.EVERGREEN-RESORT.COM WEBSITE AND CONTACT THEM.IT IS A NICE CLEAN AND VERY INEXPENSIVE PLACE TO STAY ON THE LAKE.
THEY HAVE HOUSEKEEPING CABINS WHERE YOU CAN COOK YOUR OWN FOOD THEY ARE SMALL BUT NICE.
THEY HAVE PRIVATE ACESS TO THE LAKE A SHORT WALK AWAY.THEY ALSO HAVE AN OUTDOOR FISH CLEANING STATION.THE WHITE RIVER IS JUST BELOW THE DAMM IF YOU WANT A RIVER EXPERENCE.EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED IS CLOSE BY.
THEY ARE NICE PEOPLE AND WILL HELP YOU IN EVERYTHING THEY CAN. WINTER RATES ARE CHEAPER TOO. IF YOU FISH,THE LAKE IS FULL OF SMALLMOUTH AND WALLEYE AND THE RIVER IS FULL OF TROUT.