Management Plan for Cotter’s Big Spring Discussed

October 27, 2004

LITTLE ROCK - In an effort to expand trout fishing opportunities to more people and more areas of the state, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission discussed a trout management plan for Big Spring in Cotter during the agency’s monthly meeting.

Big Spring Man Made ChannelAGFC trout biologist Darrell Bowman told commissioners that, if approved, the fishery would be open to youths and handicapped anglers. “We’re proposing to open Big Spring to fishing and more actively manage it to provide quality fishing for youth and disabled anglers,” Bowman said. The Commission will vote on the proposed management plan at its November meeting.

For the past 40 years, Big Spring has been managed as a trout sanctuary for spawning trout. Fishing was not allowed in the man-made channel of the spring. The regulation preventing fishing has been relaxed somewhat to allow fishing derbies during special events. Trout were stocked directly into Big Spring for those fishing derbies. The spring never proved to be an ideal location for trout to spawn and contribute wild trout to the White River. The underground spring is located in north Arkansas just south of Cotter and emerges adjacent to the White River near the AGFC Cotter access area.

In other business, the Commission:

*Made permanent the ban on spinning and flapping wing decoys for the 2005-2006 waterfowl season. The decoys are defined as any “electronic, mechanically-operated, wind-powered or manually-powered spinning or flapping blade devices that simulate wing movement.”

The spinning or flapping-wing decoy will be making its last appearance in Arkansas during the 2004-2005 waterfowl season. Commissioners felt that removing the decoys from the duck hunter’s arsenal in the 2005-2006 season would give both hunters and retail outlets advance notice of the ban.

“We believe it’s fair to both buyers and sellers that we allow them one more season,” commissioner Sheffield Nelson of Little Rock has said. “We also want to save ducks for the future,” Nelson added. Commissioners have said in the past that the spinning and flapping wing decoys helped hunters kill more young ducks that were attracted to the wing flashes. The decoys will be allowed during the snow, blue and Ross’ Conservation Order season dates of Feb. 7 to April 30.

*Set the dates for the 2005 spring firearm and archery turkey season. Turkey season will be April 9 through May 6, 2005 in spring turkey zones 1, 2, 3, 4B, 5, 5B, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 9 and 10 with a bag limit of two turkeys. In spring turkey zones 1A, 4, 4A, 5A and 9A, the season will be April 9 through April 22 with a one turkey bag limit; and in spring turkey zone 17 the season will be April 2 through April 29 with a two turkey bag limit.

The commission also approved a special youth turkey hunt that will be held April 2-3, 2005 in all zones except zone 17. The youth hunt in zone 17 will be Mar. 26-27. Youths who have completed a hunter education course and be accompanied by an adult who is 18 years of age or older will be allowed to hunt during this period. Youths who have not completed a hunter education course must be under the direct supervision of an adult who is 21 years of age or older.

*Approved a land swap of 125 acres on the Ed Gordon/Point Remove Creek Wildlife Management Area in Conway County.

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