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New Trout Fishery Geared For Youngsters, Disabled

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Collins Creek Waterfall
Collins Creek Waterfall
    Collins Creek fishing platform
Collins Creek fishing platform
October 29, 2004

New Trout Fishery Geared
For Youngsters, Disabled

By Craig Ogilvie, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

HEBER SPRINGS -- The world renowned trout fishing in Arkansas just got better for youngsters and persons with disabilities. The Collins Creek trout fishery project, located below Greers Ferry Dam, was officially opened during ceremonies Oct. 1.

With preservation and education as goals, the project was named for the late Howard "Rip" Collins, who landed the current world-record brown trout (40 pounds, four ounces) on the nearby Little Red River in 1992. Collins was among several members of the "Friends of the Little Red River" at a 1996 meeting with Game and Fish Commission personnel when the idea for the creek project was advanced.

"The Friends organization requested that we convert the intermittent stream that flows through the John F. Kennedy Park into a year-round trout fishery," according to Game and Fish district fisheries biologist Tom Bly. "We didn’t know at the time that it would take almost eight years to complete the project." The Friends of the Little Red River is a non-profit organization that promotes conservation and environmental awareness along the popular northern Arkansas trout stream.

Under a co-op agreement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned and built a cold-water supply line from the base of the dam to the creek. With a flow of 45 million gallons of water per year, the creek was transformed into a haven for trout. Game and Fish furnished bank stabilization, in-stream habitat work and built an access trail that roughly parallels the creek for about three-fourths of a mile. Most of the actual construction work was completed in 2003. The total cost of the project was about $380,000 and included some 500 hours of volunteer labor.

"The creek has produced rainbow and brook trout spawns," Bly adds. "We will not be stocking the creek, because it has everything needed for natural reproduction."

Following the path of the original creek bed, the stream's increased water flow has created cascading waterfalls on the upper sections and deep pools before flowing into the Little Red. Wooden bridges cross the stream at two locations and the lower portion includes three fishing platforms for the handicapped. The trail not only provides access to the stream at numerous points; it serves as a nature and hiking path. Parking is available a both ends of the trail.

Collins Creek is a catch-and-release stream. Only artificial lures with a single barbless hook on each pole are permitted. Youngsters under 16 years of age may fish anywhere on the stream. Properly licensed adults may fish the lower reaches, if accompanying an actively fishing partner, under age 16. Fishing hours are from sunup to sunset. In addition, the creek will be used in aquatic resources education, according to Bly. The upper trailhead and parking area are along the federal Fish Hatchery Road, at the eastern end of Greers Ferry Dam.

For general information about Collins Creek, contact the William Carl Garner/Corps of Engineers Visitor Center at (501) 362-9067; or visit www.swl.usace.army.mil/parks/greersferry/hiking.htm.


Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"