Eureka Springs, AR -(AmmoLand.com)- Arkansas Game and Fish Commission construction crews recently repaired and cleaned the stocking chute at Parker Bend access on the Beaver Tailwater to re-establish this important stocking site on one of Arkansas’s popular trout fisheries.
Extremely high water during 2015 caused the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open the floodgates at Beaver Lake five times. The force from the extremely high flow during these releases dislodged tons of gravel, which destroyed the parking area and undercut sidewalks at accesses.
James Rogers, AGFC construction specialist, immediately hired a contractor to fill in the undercut sidewalks to ensure the safety of visiting anglers.
“There were places a person could almost walk under, so we needed to get those done as soon as possible,” Rogers said.
The gravel also blocked the trout-stocking chute at Parker Bend access.
“Parker Bend doesn’t have a boat ramp that hatchery trucks can back down and they can’t back down on the gravel without getting stuck,” said Christy Graham, AGFC trout biologist. “The stocking chute is essentially a long pipe that runs from the river channel to a parking area that hatchery trucks can connect to and release their fish all the way to the water.”
According to Graham, the same number of trout were stocked in the Beaver Tailwater, but trout normally destined for Parker Bend were diverted to one of four other sites – Bertrand, Houseman, Highway 62 Bridge and Dam accesses. Anglers, however, still noticed an apparent lack of fishing success near Parker Bend.
The damage from the flooding was considered a natural disaster, eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance, but work to restore the pipe and fishing access could not begin until the funds were federally approved.
“The funds finally were approved last week and James Rogers with our construction division went to work,” Graham said.
Rogers says the access was closed for a few days and the parking lot was repaired and resurfaced with gravel. Signs that had been torn down by the raging water were replaced, including a bilingual Spanish/English sign explaining length limits for trout on the tailwater.
“We were also able to get the stocking chute cleared out with the help from a hatchery truck from Centerton,” Rogers said. “We scraped a path in the gravel to the channel with a backhoe, then the hatchery truck flushed the chute with water to blow out all the gravel that had accumulated in it.”
Rogers says the only things left to replace on the access are an interpretive sign on the tailwater and angling and a parking space for hatchery trucks to use while connecting to the chute.
“The floods ripped up the old asphalt drive hatchery trucks used to back down,” Rogers said. “Right now they still need to be careful backing in on some river gravel, but I’m hoping to find the funds to pour a concrete pad to make it much better for them to get in, drop off their trout, and get back safely.”
About Arkansas Game and Fish Commission:
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission plays an important role in keeping The Natural State true to its name. During the last 100 years, the agency has overseen the protection, conservation and preservation of various species of fish and wildlife in Arkansas. This is done through habitat management, fish stocking, hunting and fishing regulations, and a host of other programs.
For more information, visit www.agfc.com.