High water temperatures on the Little Red River below Greers Ferry Dam are causing concern for Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists. The high temperatures have the potential to cause serious harm to the popular trout fishery.
Tuesday, the AGFC asked the Southwestern Power Administration for additional water releases to help reduce the river’s temperature. Senator Mark Pryor’s office also stepped in to ask for additional releases from SWPA.
On the river, the high air temperatures and low water releases have resulted in water temperatures above 70 degrees below Lobo Landing and up to 80 degrees at Ramsey Access, according to AGFC Trout Management Biologist Paul Port.
“A stocking restriction is in effect at Lobo Landing and downstream of Lobo Landing until water temperatures improve,” Port said. “For the time being, trout normally stocked in those locations will be stocked upstream where water temperatures are more favorable.”
Late yesterday, Senator Pryor’s office received confirmation that the SWPA will assist with the situation by taking the following steps:
- SWPA is required by the Corps to release a minimum flow based upon water temperature.
- The SWPA will increase the minimum flow by 40 percent to attempt to cool the river below 70 degrees.
- SWPA will increase the daily flow for a week.
- SWPA and staff will evaluate the results at the end of the week to see if the extra release of water had a positive impact on reducing water temperature down river.
- The Corps of Engineers will provide staff with daily status reports regarding the release of water from Greers Ferry Dam.
Reports of dead trout downstream from the Mossy Special Regulation Area were investigated last week by AGFC fisheries biologists. The team counted 50 dead trout in the area, but did not see a major fish kill.
The AGFC will continue to monitor water quality in the affected areas and monitor water temperatures above Lobo Landing, Port said.