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Anglers in central Arkansas will have a new place to fish during the renovation of Lake Conway. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is repurposing the nursery pond that feeds the lake, and will open it to fishing with rod and reel beginning Oct. 28.
The 65-acre nursery pond on Nursery Pond Road has traditionally been used to raise forage and fingerling sport fish during spring with reduced competition for food and predators to supplement natural spawning activity on the lake. AGFC Fisheries Supervisor Nick Feltz said the pond will be managed to maximize the fishing experience for anglers while the renovation takes place.
“We’ve worked for the last few weeks to collect crappie from Lake Conway and relocate them to the nursery pond, and we focused on high-quality fish for anglers to enjoy,” Feltz said. “We also stocked the pond with adult channel catfish, adult Florida largemouth bass, and forage species like bream, fathead minnows and threadfin shad.”
In addition to stocking catchable-sized fish, the pond will be fertilized, aerated and outfitted with fish feeders to promote natural growth. The fish feeders and some additional fish-attracting structures will be placed within casting distance of the bank to increase angling success and satisfaction. A recently completed fishing pier from another location on Lake Conway also has been relocated to the nursery pond to increase angling access.
“We plan to add the fish feeders in spring, and the pier will be moved to a different location on the nursery pond very soon as its original placement was not ideal for anglers,” Feltz said.
The pond also has a boat ramp that anglers will be able to use, but all boat traffic will be done on a strict “no wake” basis. A small gravel parking lot has been created next to the boat ramp on the northeast corner of the pond. Additional parking and easy bank access is available on the west side of the pond on Greens Lake Road. No parking will be allowed on the levee road on the north side of the pond.
“Hunters, AGFC staff and other visitors use these roads every day, so we need people to pull as far to the side as they can while parking to allow other cars to pass,” Feltz said.
The pond will follow statewide creel limits, and no length limits are in place for this temporary fishery. Only rod- and pole-angling is allowed. No passive fishing gear (yo-yos, trotlines, jugs, etc.) is allowed. Once the renovation of Lake Conway is complete, the nursery pond will be emptied back into the lake and will resume its function of raising forage and sportfish for the newly renovated lake.
“When it is emptied, we hope some of the larger fish that we’ve placed in the pond will add a good initial boost of productive fish to the lake, that’s why we’re stocking the species we plan to focus on for the lake post renovation,” Feltz said.
Visit www.agfc.com/lakeconway for more information about the project and updates on the renovation.