Arkansas Game & Fish Commission adds concrete access for canoes at George's Creek

YELLVILLE – Floating a canoe or kayak down Crooked Creek holds a special place in many Arkansans’ hearts. The section between Snow and Kelly’s Slab not only holds huge smallmouth, but also is one of the most picturesque stretches of stream in the state. Thanks to a new Arkansas Game and Fish Commission access on Old U.S. Highway 62 west of Yellville, more people will be able to enjoy this hidden gem in Arkansas’s great outdoors.

According to Mike Cantrell, AGFC regional maintenance contract coordinator, the float from Snow to the slab can be an all-day affair.

“If you want to fish that stretch, you are looking at a good 8 to 10 hours from put-in to take-out,” Cantrell said. “Our new access on George’s Creek splits that float almost in half, making it much easier to get out for an afternoon or morning float when you don’t have a full day to fish.”

The George’s Creek Access is being built in an area already popular with many local anglers and paddlers. According to Cantrell, people parked along the Old U.S. Highway 62 just upstream and dragged their canoes and kayaks a few hundred yards downstream to meet up with Crooked Creek.

“At the new access, people can pull right down to the water on the concrete ramp and unload their canoes instead of dragging,” Cantrell said. “We even built an experimental canoe loading ramp and handicapped access.”

The special feature is composed of 40 feet of sidewalk running from the ramp alongside the creek. Users will be able to unload canoes at the ramp, put in all their gear and walk the canoe down the sidewalk before driving their car back up to the parking area. The added feature also should make getting into the water much easier and help keep things moving when a few groups are trying to get in the water at the same time.

Neal Ramer, construction crew supervisor at the AGFC Calico Rock Regional Office, says the project has been talked about since he came on board with the AGFC nine years ago, but was finally made a reality with the purchase of the land last year.

“We started work back in March,” Ramer said. “In addition to the ramp, there’s roughly 6,000 square feet of parking and a 1,000-foot section of road connecting the access to Old Highway 62.”

The project, funded by marine fuel tax dollars and Sport Fish Restoration funds, is expected to be complete by October, but it’s already seen a good bit of attention from local anglers. Cantrell and Ramer have both seen a few dozen cars parked in the gravel of the unfinished lot on weekends since the ramp was installed.

“Everyone’s been really great about it,” said Cantrell. “They’ll come down and ask if they can park before launching, and we show them the safe places to leave their vehicles so they can enjoy a float and we can continue working.

“We may have to close access for a very short time to complete some concrete work and lay asphalt on the parking lot, but we want folks to enjoy this new access as much as possible.”