2011 winter drawdown scheduled for Hamilton and Catherine 

HOT SPRINGS — The annual drawdown of lakes Hamilton and Catherine will be 5 feet this year. Both lakes will be slowly lowered from Nov. 5 through Nov. 13.

Entergy Arkansas will gradually make these adjustments at a rate of approximately 4-6 inches per day. The water released at the dams will be used to generate hydroelectric power. Entergy Arkansas will return the lakes to their normal summertime levels in early March 2012.

In addition to facilitating shoreline maintenance and inspection, the annual drawdown is part of a plan to help control nuisance aquatic vegetation. Entergy Arkansas coordinates the annual winter drawdown with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Fisheries, vegetation, facility management and downstream water needs are the key factors considered in deciding the drawdown’s depth and timing.

The annual aquatic vegetation inspection has identified a new non-native aquatic vegetation on Lake Hamilton called Alligatorweed. Originating in South America, it surfaced on Lake Hamilton approximately four years ago, but only recently started being a problem for some lakefront property owners.

Great Outdoors Expo planned 

at Greenbrier 

on Sept. 17 

GREENBRIER — The first Greenbrier Great Outdoors Expo is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17 at the City Event Center. The show highlights hunting, fishing and camping. Door prizes, demonstrations, activities for kids, concessions, and information and products for all outdoor needs make up the event.

Participants can even try their hand at archery or skeet shooting or learn to tie a fly fishing lures. The latest boats and ATVs will be displayed. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children ages 12 and under. The City Event Center is at 5 Lois Lane. For more information call 501-679-6362.

Get more out of your fishing bait with a little ice

LITTLE ROCK — It is a simple hot weather fishing strategy, but many anglers don’t follow the logical plan.

Keep your bait cool, advise anglers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Minnows, worms, nightcrawlers, crickets, meal worms, wax worms all cannot take the kind of heat Arkansas is experiencing. Even if you go out at daybreak, the bait will suffer unless some cooling is used.

Many fishermen simply put the bait in the cooler that has their drinks and some ice. Ugh, you say? OK, use a separate cooler.

With minnows in a metal or plastic foam bucket, a handy cooling agent can be a plastic drink or water bottle filled about three-fourths full with water and frozen. Drop it in with the minnows, and they’ll be fresh and lively for most of the day – or as long as you can stand the heat.

That frozen plastic bottle or several of them can keep containers of worms in good shape for hours. The cricket container can fit in a cooler with ice bottles around it.

If you use a separate cooler for the bait, it can do double-duty holding the fish you catch, fish like bream and crappie. Bigger fish, of course, need a larger cooler. If your boat has a live well, a bag of ice purchased on the way to the lake or river can keep it cool for several hours. Block ice lasts longer, too.

USDA allocates CRP acres to support habitat restoration 

LITTLE ROCK — Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Farm Service Agency approved the reallocation of 153,972 acres for the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement initiative, through the Conservation Reserve Program.

Created in 2008, SAFE is a voluntary program designed to address state and regional high-priority wildlife objectives. The reallocation of these acres will support conservation and restoration of important habitat for wildlife in Arkansas including: bobwhite quail, wild turkey, cottontail rabbits and many declining grassland-dependent wildlife species. SAFE projects are located in Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Tennessee and Texas.