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Paparock

Mammoth Springs Tiger Musky

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One of the most interesting fish I ever encountered in Arkansas was in the cold spring water just south of Mammoth Springs. They are Tiger Musky. They are beautiful fish and super spooky in super clear water. I never tried fishing for them as I was always working at my resort 24/7/365 and just never took the time to try for them but I did admire them when I was dropping of clients on the river that were mostly just there to paddle the river. We did get a few anglers but the "tigers" were mostly incidental catch by those fishing for trout near the upper reaches of the Spring River. Usually they only god a fast run and "snick" as those razor sharp teeth cut their line. Only a very few would bring tieable wire leader and serious fish for the "Tigers". There were some monsters in those big pools south of where the Mammoth Spring comes out of the ground. If they saw you it was over and you had to sneek and make long casts. I kept wanting to try but never took the time. They sure are beautiful fish.

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Since back in the 90's and I don't think they did it very long.  I remember them growing up a little after they first stocked them, watching them feed on the fresh fingerling brown, cutthroat, and brook trout they toss in.

I always wondered why they did it, introducing a major predator when you are trying to establish another bunch of fish .  And that is probably one of the reasons you hardly ever catch a brown, cutthroat, or brook trout on the Spring River.

There are those fishermen that target the lesser known species of the Spring River.  The trophy musky and the walleye.  They are there, lurking in the deeper holes.  There are native chain pickeral there too, you catch one of them every once in a while.

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A small number of tiger muskies (529 fingerlings to be exact) were released experimentally by the AGFC into Spring River Lake - an impounded section that lies upstream from Dam No. 3 near Mammoth Spring.  Eventually these fish, assisted by floods, found their way downstream to other sections of the river. Some were pushed into the river below by a 50-year flood. They grew well in the cool, forage rich water. The current Arkansas State Record tiger muskie (23 Ibs. 12 oz.) was caught in 1995 in the river and was only 6 years old. They and the walleye inhabit the deeper pools. A 22-pound tiger muskie was caught from the river in February 1997. Tiger muskies were stocked again in the Spring River again in 2001 and 2004. I'm not sure if they still stock them into the river as I no longer live in the area. You can check with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to see if they are still being stocked into the river.

I hope they continue the program as they sure are beautiful fish and I know I would have loved to have tangled with some of the ones I saw!

 

 

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That is about right,  They washed over the dam 3 and where I watched them eat trout was on the slow east fork below the dam.  At that time, it was a young fledgling about a 18" er.

Back in that day, you could go down and catch all 4 species of trout also.  But that day is long gone.  Every now and then, I will catch a brown.  But is has been a very long time since a cutt or brookie has taken my fly on the Spring River.

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3 minutes ago, Johnsfolly said:

Didn't Larry Dahlberg create the whopper plopper to catch musky?

Noooooo, he modified existing musky Plugs to more manageable bass sized lures because he caught multiple extra large bass on plopper like baits so he knew fish would respond to it and dropped the size to encourage more bass to actually eat it. 

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I learned how to paddle a canoe on that river. I would call it extreme in terms of a learning curve. It's been 20 years since I floated there. I'm planning a reunion tour this summer. Musky beware, I'm bringing the big guns. 

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