13 Best Walleye Fishing Lakes & Rivers in Arkansas

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Walleye are one of the most overlooked gamefish in Arkansas, which is crazy because they are the best-tasting fish (yes, even better than crappie). 

However, few anglers in the Natural State target walleye because these fish spend most of their time in deep water or feeding at night.

During early spring, walleye are at their easiest to catch because they move to shallow gravel flats to spawn. 

Below you’ll discover the best walleye fishing spots in Arkansas, no matter the time of year.

Top Arkansas Lakes for Walleye Fishing

Arkansas lakes are full of a wide variety of fish, from crappie to catfish, to largemouth and smallmouth bass, and of course, walleye. 

While certain locations are better for specific species, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission manages the following lakes for walleye. 

This means they regularly stock these waters or have special regulations for walleye. So the spots we’re about to share have more and larger walleye to catch.

Greers Ferry Lake

In the late 1980s, Greers Ferry Lake near Heber Springs was the pride and joy of Arkansas walleye fishing.

The largest walleye in the state were caught here in large part because the AGFC stocked trout in the lake, more of which seemed to be eaten by walleye than caught by anglers.

However, the AGFC stopped the trout stocking program in the lake, and the size of the walleye anglers caught began to come back down.

Today, walleye fishing is still excellent in terms of numbers; it’s just not as likely you will break the state record here. 

The South Fork, Middle Fork, and Devil’s Fork are the three best places to begin during the spring because this is where most walleye move shallow to spawn. 

Using minnows and small bluegill are two of the best ways to target big walleye with live bait. Jerkbaits, crankbaits, and jigs are some of the best lures to use.

During the summer, try trolling with deep-diving crankbaits lower in the water column to catch walleye, which avoid brighter light during much of the year.

More: Complete Guide to Greers Ferry Lake Fishing

Bull Shoals Lake

Located near Mountain Home, Bull Shoals Lake has a longer history as a great bass lake but recently become a walleye hotspot; if you want to catch bigguns’, visit this lake. 

Some of the best places to target walleye on Bull Shoals are rocky areas near incoming creeks. The mouths of Big Creek, Brushy Creek, and Big and Little Music Creeks are all great locations to land a lunker walleye.

Stephen Gaston of Southern Walleye Guide Service shared that the best walleye fishing on Bull Shoals Lake often occurs from May through September on the southern third of the reservoir.

Since walleye primarily feed in low-light conditions, you should try fishing at night to increase your chances of bringing home dinner.

It’s best to use lures near the bottom, such as deep-diving crankbaits, jigs, and spoons, because walleye tend to stick near the bottom of the lake.

Nightcrawlers, minnows, and small baitfish are the best live baits to target walleye.

More: Complete Guide to Bull Shoals Lake Fishing

Norfork Lake

Arkansas Game & Fish Commission has stocked walleye in Norfork Lake for years, which has led to solid numbers of quality fish. 

Don’t be afraid to fish Norfork any time of the year. However, you’ll need to target different areas at specific times of the year.

In late winter and early spring, walleye move shallow into the backwaters and creeks to spawn. As the water begins to warm, they move back to their main lake areas around deeper brush piles, rock piles, and flats.

During the summer, fish around cliff edges because walleye will move to depths around 25 feet deep in search of cooler water and baitfish such as shad.

Trolling and jigging are the best ways to target walleye at this depth. 

As fall transitions into winter, slowly trolling live bait works very well to get walleye to bite.

If you want to catch another tasty fish in Norfork Lake, it also happens to be one of many great places to catch crappie in Arkansas.

More: Complete Guide to Norfork Lake Fishing

Beaver Lake

Young walleye were stocked for several years by the AGFC in Beaver Lake, which has led to an excellent population of quality walleye for anglers to catch. 

For the best results, fish during low-light times, such as before sunrise and after sunset. 

You’ll need a boat to catch walleye consistently at this giant reservoir. However, you have an opportunity to catch them from the bank when they move shallow in the spring.

War Eagle Creek and below Beaver Dam are great spots for shore anglers.

Floating a bobber and minnow, crawler, or jig are some of the best ways to get a bite. 

The best fishing methods from a boat are drifting or slowly trolling live bait, crankbaits, and jigging spoons.

More: Complete Guide to Beaver Lake Fishing

Lake Ouachita

While Lake Ouachita is known for other species of fish, such as largemouth bass and stripers, walleye fishing is the lake’s best-kept secret.

Walleye anglers regularly catch double-digit fish near weed beds and rocky humps.

Crankbaits are the local favorite, but don’t overlook using live bait, especially nightcrawlers.

You will need a boat to access the best walleye fishing spots; however, during the spawn, you can catch them from the bank on rocky flats in the upper parts of the river and creeks.

Lake Ouachita has a variety of excellent fisheries, including some of Arkansas’ better catfish fishing.

More: Complete Guide to Fishing on Lake Ouachita

Lake Hamilton

The Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery keeps walleye well-stocked in Lake Hamilton. It contributes significantly to why Lake Hamilton boasts more walleye per acre than any other lake in Arkansas.

The Big and Little Mazam creeks and Hot Springs Creek are the best places to begin since the walleye have plenty of access to shallow flats and deeper holes.

Late winter and early spring are the best times to go because fewer people are on the water, and walleye are congregate to spawn on the rocky flats.

More: Complete Guide to Fishing on Lake Hamilton

Lake Catherine

Finishing off the best walleye fishing lakes along the Ouachita River is Lake Catherine. 

In late February to early March, below the dam is a great place to start walleye fishing. There’s plenty of access to the water for bank anglers, and the dam prevents the walleye from going any farther upstream on the Ouachita River, so they stack up there to spawn.

During the rest of the year, target the reservoir’s rocky humps, ledges, and other transition areas with deep diving crankbaits, jigging spoons, and jigs. If you prefer to fish with live bait, try nightcrawlers, minnows, or small bluegill.

Top Arkansas Rivers for Walleye Fishing

Arkansas also has lots of rivers that have excellent walleye fishing. Some rivers have good public access, while others require a boat to reach the best spots.

Spring River

Best known as a top Arkansas trout river, the Spring River also boasts incredible walleye fishing from Mammoth Spring to its mouth at the Black River.

Whether you’re fishing the cooler waters towards Mammoth Spring or the warmer waters farther downriver, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to catch walleyes throughout the year. 

Target deep holes and current breaks using bottom baits.

Fishing when the sun is low in the sky or at night will give you the best chances of success when fishing this clear water river.

Current River

The Current River is best known for its spectacular smallmouth bass fishing. However, many anglers overlook walleye fishing here. 

It won’t have the biggest or most walleye in Arkansas, but it’s a good way to spend a winter day on the water.

Target the deep holes around brush piles with live minnows near the bottom during the winter. 

The bite is much less active during the summer, so many anglers don’t bother walleye fishing at this time on the rivers. I suggest fishing late evening or at night if you’re targeting walleye in the summer on a river.

Eleven Point River

Though there are fewer walleye in the Eleven Point River than in the Spring River, you can still find them during the winter.

Fish the deep holes using big shiners or soft plastic lures near the bottom. 

Often finding a current break near a drop-off is the key to finding where the walleye are hiding in the river.

Saline River Middle Fork

The Middle Fork of the Saline River, near Benton, is the best walleye portion of the river.

The Saline River is often overshadowed by other rivers that cut through Arkansas but offers anglers great smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing when the walleye don’t want to bite.

Stickbaits and other lures that imitate minnows are often good choices if you don’t have live bait. 

Prime river walleye fishing takes place during the winter as the fish prepare to spawn. 

You’ll need a kayak, canoe, or jet boat to access the best spots.

Lower Kings River

The last several miles of the Lower Kings River is the best walleye waters before it enters Table Rock Lake on the Missouri border.

As with all rivers, the best time to catch walleye is during the winter when they’re in pre-spawn mode.

You can find them congregated in deep holes, which means once you catch one, there’s likely more nearby, so hurry and get your bait back in the water.

Lures that stay on or near the bottom are best to use when targeting walleye, which won’t necessarily bite your offering unless it’s down at their level.

Small bluegill, minnows, and nightcrawlers are the best live baits to entice a walleye to bite on the Kings River.

Caddo River

For two reasons, the best walleye fishing takes place during the winter on the Caddo River. 

The first is because you don’t have all the other float traffic that’s there during the summer, so you’ll have much of the river to yourself during the cooler months.

The second is that the walleye are in their wintering spots, deeper holes in the river, to prepare to spawn. 

Walleye jigs with large minnows are often the best way to catch them on the Caddo River, but don’t be afraid to try artificial lures like lipless crankbaits or small soft-plastic swimbaits if you don’t have live bait.

The Caddo River also offers some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in Arkansas.

Catch More Walleye

Check out some of the best ways to catch these fish with our walleye fishing how-to guide, including favorite lures, baits and techniques.