Arkansas lakes see new bass regulations

Some new bass fishing regulations are in order for two Arkansas lakes beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

Anglers in Arkansas should note some new bass regulations which began on Jan. 1, 2023. The changes are for two lakes in the Natural State.

On Norfork Lake, regulations for all three species of black bass have been changed. The new law states that largemouth and smallmouth bass must be at least 13 inches long to keep. The length limit on spotted bass (sometimes called Kentucky bass) has been dropped. Anglers can keep spotted bass of any length.

The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission encourages anglers on Norfork Lake to keep smaller, legal-sized bass of all three species. While this may seem counterproductive and a shift from a long-standing, nationwide push to release bass to fight another day, this lake is currently overpopulated with small bass, which stunts the growth rates of all fish.

The same problem has led to a change in Sugarloaf Lake’s largemouth bass slot limit, which has been removed. Anglers can now keep any size bass from Sugarloaf Lake. AGFC has stated that the slot limit has left this lake, like Norfork, full of stunted bass.

A third lake that anglers should take note of is Lake Monticello. This lake has been renovated and is currently slowly refilling to full pool. It is open for anglers, but all gamefish must be released immediately. 

For full information on fish and game regulations in Arkansas, click here.