LITTLE ROCK — Last month Jon Stein, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission fisheries biologist in northwest Arkansas, had the opportunity to present to AGFC commissioners and the public the highlights from the latest large-scale habitat project at Beaver Lake. Biologists created 145 new fish attractor locations during the project, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to habitat and fish-attracting cover the AGFC has placed in the last five years. Thanks to the AGFC’s interactive map, you can get the exact GPS location of each fish attractor to load to your smartphone or fishfinder to get a head start on the search for more fish.
According to Jason Olive, AGFC assistant chief of fisheries, AGFC staff have added 7,335 new fish attractor sites across the state during the last five years.
“We added 735 sites in large-scale projects where we brought many hands together during a short window of a few days in a coordinated effort, and those get a lot of attention,” Olive said. “But staff are always busy building more on their own, and 6,600 sites were created in smaller projects handled at the local level. Each one of those sites had multiple trees, pallets or PVC structures, so the actual amount of individual brush piles, trees or structures ranges in the tens of thousands.”
Fish attractor locations as well as fishing access points to most lakes and rivers in the state can be found through the AGFC’s interactive map at www.agfc.com/maps. Click on the Interactive Map tab and zoom in to the areas that pique your interest. Fish attractors are labeled with a symbol of a white fish inside a blue square. Zooming in closer may reveal multiple attractors within the location. Clicking or tapping on the fish icon will open a box that describes the attractor’s location and construction materials. The latitude and longitude may be copied and pasted to your GPS device or Google Maps on your phone to take you to the attractor you are interested in. If you have a good cellular data signal where you fish, you can also click the “locate me” pin button in the upper left portion of the screen to place a blue dot where you are on the map.
For people who have a GPS-enabled fishfinder, the entire list of all fish attractors for each lake the AGFC manages also is available for downloading and easy navigation. Visit www.agfc.com/fishattractors from your home computer and you will be able to download data files compatible with most major fishfinder and GPS units. A list of videos on the AGFC’s YouTube page can walk you step-by-step through the download process to help you get on the fish faster than ever before.