"Fishing Successfully on Lake Conway." Yes, most of us would like to do that.
And it is the name of a new publication of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Go online to agfc.com, do a search for the publication, which is in PDF form, then download it to your computer or print it out to read any time. It is a 41-page capsule of the lake in photos and in text. The latter is in bullet form — short descriptions of features and information about the lake.
"Fishing Successfully on Lake Conway" is a creation of fisheries biologists Matt Horton, manager of Lake Conway, and Matt Schroeder.
Maps are key ingredients of the publication. There are combined satellite photos and land features. One map displays the tributaries, the feeder creeks, of Lake Conway. Another shows the several arms of the lake. Another shows the old ponds that were covered when the lake was completed in 1951. A map shows the access areas where boat ramps are available to the public.
There are four fishing piers where anyone, handicapped anglers included, can fish. Most of these have brush piles in the way within casting distance of the piers.
One map shows the boat lanes of the lake, handy for newcomers getting around on the water. When you are on the lake, the lanes are marked with posts with red and green bands at the top. These are similar to red and green buoys on the Arkansas River and on other navigable waterways.
Experienced boaters know the helpful 3R phrase, "red right returning." Returning means going upstream or returning from the sea. If you are boating upstream, you keep between the red markers on the right and the green markers on the left. Boating downstream, it is just the opposite — red markers on the left, green markers on the right.
There are fish identification photos so you can learn what this unusual thing is you hooked and caught. The freshwater drum and the yellow bass are a couple of Lake Conway species that often raise "what is this" questions.
Rules and regulations are covered and, fortunately, Lake Conway follows the statewide rules almost entirely. There are no length limits on bass, crappie or other game fish. The booklet points out that you can drive wood or cane stakes into the bottom for using yoyos or anchoring trotlines, but you have to remove them when finished fishing. Metal stakes cannot be used.
For many Lake Conway users, the last dozen or so pages may draw much attention.
The game fish species are separated with maps and tips on when and where to go after them on the lake. There are separate pages for spring crappie, summer crappie and fall and winter crappie. Crappie don’t move far, but they move enough to make it difficult to find them when the seasons change.
One page near the end of the booklet has photographs of different types of fish shelters or attractors that can be made by anyone and sunk into the lake safely below boat traffic depths.
Your own brush pile can be an asset. Make it from PVC pipe or other long lasting material, and you’ve got a spot to catch fish — hopefully — for years into the future.
The web link for "Fishing Successfully on Lake Conway" is http://www.agfc.com/fishing/Documents/FishingLakeConway.pdf