Fishing Lake Ouachita for Largemouth Bass

There are many things that can bring you to Arkansas and if you’re a bass angler, Lake Ouachita should be one of them. The state itself has more than 2,400 lakes and millions of acres of forest making it an ideal outdoor destination for hikers, nature lovers, and of course fishermen. 

Ouachita National Forest brings a lot of people to the state each year to enjoy its over 40 hiking trails and tons of great man-made opportunities for camping and fishing. There’s a reason why the lake is on the bucket list of many Americans and it’s the reason why it was on mine as well. 

Ouachita River creates a lot of small lakes and ponds along the way including Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine. The main lake has a lot of open deep areas to target but the best bass fishing is along the shallow tributaries and even some of the creeks that the lake spills into. 

You’ll find a lot of vegetation in these areas, some heavy cover, and plenty of places for big lunkers to hang out. There’s a lot of tall grass and standing timber as well which attracts a lot of baitfish ultimately attracting a lot of bass as well. 

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit held a tournament here in 2018 with Clent David taking home the win. 

One of the best pieces of advice I can see from the tournament came from James Niggemeyer. He said:

“I’d catch one off a point and think that was going to be it,” says Niggemeyer, who caught 29 pounds, 9 ounces over three days fishing shallow. “Then I’d catch one off a straight bank. Then one in a pocket. One off rock. One off clay. One off timber.

“It was just so random. I had to fish with an open mind the entire time and burn the bank.”

He had a lot of luck in a lot of different places which is what we hear about a lot when it comes to Lake Ouachita. There are no shortage of fishing opportunities because you’ll find ideal bass fishing locations across the entire lake. He paired a softbait Strike King KVD with a buzzbait during the tournament and tossed it in the shallows more often than not. 

There are a number of species in the lake as well ranging from striped bass to catfish. Don’t be surprised to find walleye or crappie along some of the ledges. The best bass fishing on the lake is in the tributaries, small ponds, and creeks that feed off the main lake. 

A Great Family Destination 

One of the best things about Lake Ouachita is that it’s a great destination for the whole family even if everyone isn’t interested in fishing. You can spend plenty of time out on the water but at the end of the day, the kids and some of the family might get tired of fishing. 

The lake offers a number of playgrounds, swimming areas, recreational sites, and camping sites. They even offer things like scuba diving, boat trips, and kayak rentals. In nearby Crystal Springs you’ll also find opportunities for great dining experiences and a more active nightlife. 

The overall experience of taking a trip to Lake Ouachita is part of what drives people here. You’re not just left with a bass fishing lake but you can plan an entire trip around the lake and really create a complete vacation for the whole family. 

Lastly, Ouachita is only 13 miles from the Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. They call it “Spa City” for all the naturally occurring hot springs. This is another extremely popular tourist destination that provides only another option for you to get away from fishing if the family gets tired of it.