MAGNOLIA, AR (News Release) –The extensive drawdown was scheduled for Lake Columbia just outside Magnolia. The two years of drought that followed were not in the plan.
Fisheries biologists of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission routinely use drawdowns as management tools. Among other results, drawdowns allow natural vegetation to sprout around the edges, and this has been a positive for Columbia, said Jason Olive, district fisheries supervisor for the AGFC.
The drawdown was in 2010. The droughts followed in 2011 and 2012. Fishing in general suffered although it did not entirely disappear. Some anglers grumbled, and Columbia is managed as a trophy largemouth bass lake.
“Columbia is a shallow lake,” Olive said. “Our drawdown dropped the water level five feet then the two years of drought dropped it more, about eight feet. The fish were crowded into little space, and the crappie were especially hit hard.”
The water level came back up in 2013, fresh stockings of fish were made, and here in 2014 the catches are encouraging for bass, bream and catfish. Crappie? Not yet, Olive said. But these are coming along.
“The lake manager told us about a 12-pound bass brought in just a few days ago,” Olive said.
There is a special regulation for largemouth bass fishing on the lake. Ten bass a day may be kept, but only one can be more than 20 inches long. Also, common carp cannot be used as bait for any type of fishing.
Columbia is a water supply for Magnolia and other communities. It is an impoundment of Beech Creek and covers 2,950 acres with management of the fish in charge of the AGFC. There are several boat launching facilities on the lake, and bait, tackle and other supplies are available in nearby Magnolia. It is reached by Arkansas Highway 344 northwest of Magnolia.
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