July 12th, 2004|
Arkansas' Spring River was first stocked
with trout around the turn of the century.
Today, a modern hatchery operation is
maintained by the Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission on an island just below Dam #3
and is accessed via State Highway 342.
Rainbows, Browns, Cutthroat, and Brook trout
are stocked regularly. The Kroger food company
donated the hatchery to AGFC in 1985. USFWS
also operates a hatchery in the town of Mammoth
Spring, near the source of the Spring River.
Mammoth Spring discharges 9 million gallons of
58-62 degree water every hour into the river,
creating ideal habitat for a variety of fish
species in addition to trout. The first 10 miles
of the Spring River is considered trout water, but
the first 2.5 miles from Mammoth Spring to Dam #3
consists of ideal fly fishing water and higher trout
densities than does the downstream portion.
We spent the first afternoon catching up on each other's lives and activities of the past 18 months. We had dinner at a locally famous catfish restaurant. We returned to the condo to spend a very pleasant evening out on the deck overlooking Thunderbird Lake discussing the things families discuss during reunions..."the kids," work, politics, current events, and our favorite, new TV commercials. Understandably, we spent a good amount of time on subjects pertaining to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan…a subject that has consumed every waking moment of my eldest brother's life for the past 12 months. But we also discovered the magic of lighted ice cubes!
We caught some trout, of course. But that always seems to be a relatively insignificant peripheral to our outings on the Spring River. We watched as a grandfather introduced his grandchildren to the joys of catching trout on a Snoopy Pole. I couldn't help but hope this grandfather and his grandchildren might also experience a similar bond...held together by the cool waters of the river and the trout that lie below her surface.
About Ken:Ken graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1988, and spent the next several years serving in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst and Russian Language translator. He is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Leaving the nation's service in 1993.
Ken is also a published outdoor writer and historian, having penned articles and stories that have appeared in several national hunting publications like North American Hunter magazine, on GunMuse.com, in regional and local newspapers, and historical and literary journals. He also provides hunting and dog training seminars for Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods retailers nationwide and works with other outdoors businesses and conservation organizations in the fields of public relations, promotional marketing, fund-raising, and advertising. He also is a partner in Silver Mallard Properties, LLC. He currently resides with his wife, Wilma, their Weimaraner, Smoky Joe, and their Labrador Retriever, Jake, in Branson, Missouri, where he founded the Branson/Tri-Lakes Chapter of Ducks Unlimited in 1998.
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