10/24/16 Prospect Report: Elk River

Associated Area

The Elk River begins at Pineville and flows 22 miles southwest through McDonald County and into Oklahoma. The beautiful scenery and good fishing make it a popular destination for floaters and anglers alike. Elk River was designated a Black Bass Management Area in 2004. Smallmouth bass less than 15 inches must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught; and the daily limit is 1 smallmouth bass 15 inches or larger. Smallmouth bass are the most abundant sport fish in the river and will provide anglers with the best fishing opportunities in 2017. The fall 2016 electrofishing survey indicated that the black bass population is similar, if not better, than in past years with numerous smallmouth bass over 15 inches and largemouth bass up to 20 inches present. Goggle-eye are numerous in the upstream reaches, especially in fast water associated with boulders or woody cover. The goggle-eye population appears to be improving, too, with several 8 inch and larger fish observed during the most recent survey. Angling for black bass and goggle-eye should be excellent in 2017. Anglers will find that plastic worms or grubs, crayfish crankbaits, or buzz baits will provide some of the best results for catching smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and rock bass. Anglers that enjoy fishing for catfish should concentrate their efforts in the downstream portions of the river below Noel. Channel catfish were abundant in this area during fall surveys. Live and prepared baits are ideal for catching catfish. The clear water and large redhorse suckers and northern hog suckers provide good fall and winter gigging when water level is sufficient for boat traffic. City of Pineville, Mt. Shira and Cowskin accesses are the three public areas that provide access to Elk River. City of Pineville access is just upstream of Business Highway 71 where it crosses the Elk River in the city of Pineville. It is the newest access which opened in 2010. Mt. Shira Access provides access to the river off Highway 59 a few miles upstream from Noel. Cowskin Access allows access to the lower portion of the river adjacent to the Highway 43 bridge crossing. Several canoe liveries that provide service to Elk River users are located in the Pineville and Noel vicinity.