The Current River is one of the most spring-fed streams in the world and one of the most beautiful in the Ozarks. A six-day canoe float on the Current River May 5-10, 2014 explored all 125 miles of the river that are in the Ozarks. The trip was from Montauk State Park to Doniphan, Mo., in southeast Missouri. After Doniphan, the Current River leaves the Ozarks and enters the flatlands. There was good water flow the entire way and five nights of superb gravel bar camping. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
Canyon Sowers is a local athlete in the Special Olympics.
Spring is prime time fishing in the White and War Eagle tributaries of Beaver Lake. Jon Conklin of Goshen and his son, Noah, 14 enjoy prowling the White River for walleye, white bass and crappie as the water warms and each of the species spawns. Their White River trip on Friday, March 28 2014 produced a mixed bag of fish that included white bass, walleye and crappie. They fished in the Arkansas 45 bridge area of the river. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
Woodland and water wonders of Big Sugar Creek State Park near Pineville, Mo., are best explored by hiking the 3.1-mile Ozark Chinquapin Trail. The loop trail follows small bedrock creeks, hollows and ridges. The hike is easy to moderate. Big Sugar Creek State Park is undeveloped except for the trail, information kiosk, parking area and restroom. Hill ’N Dale Hikers visited the park on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
The waterfall, box canyon and views at Hideout Hollow are among the most stunning in the Buffalo River area. Hideout Hollow is also one of the easiest scenic spots to reach. It’s only one mile from the Schermerhorn parking area and trailhead near Compton in Newton County, for a round-trip hike of two miles. The Ozark Society hosted a twin bill of hikes on March 1, 2014. Hikers trekked to Hideout Hollow, then visited McFerrin Point for the second hike. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
JD Fletcher spent 45 years guiding customers on the Kings River and Table Rock Lake. He shared his enthusiasm for floating and fishing with hundreds of anglers over the years. JD’s humor, upbeat personality and knowledge of the river brought customers back time after time. Fletcher owned Devil’s Dive Resort on Table Rock Lake for years, but his true love was the Kings River. His son, Jeff, said JD enjoyed the peace and solitude of the flowing water, plus the good fishing. JD Fletcher passed away on Jan. 22. He was 83. Photos courtesy of the Fletcher family.
Youngsters got the last go at ducks and geese on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 1-2, 2014, during the statewide Arkansas youth waterfowl hunt. The hunt is held each year after the final weekend of the regular duck season. Adults may call and set out decoys, but only youths younger than 16 are allowed to shoot. Staff Photos Flip Putthoff
Fly fishermen may catch all the trout they want during the winter at Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Mo., as long as they throw them all back. Catch-and-release fly fishing is offered Fridays through Mondays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until mid February. Only flies may be used. The park is quiet and uncrowded during the winter fly fishing season. Anglers may have long stretches of the trout stream to themselves. Fishing was good during a trip to the park on Jan. 3, 2014. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
Paddlers will soon be able to run the rapids at the Siloam Springs Whitewater Recreation Park being built on the Illinois River on the south edge of the city. Natural features in the river have been enhanced to create a 100-yard run of Class II rapids with drops, standing waves and eddies, just the stuff that whitewater kayakers and canoeists seek. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
When the water gets cold at most lakes, bass fishing heats up at SWEPCO Lake, one of the Ozarks' most unique reservoirs. The 500-acre lake, located near Gentry, stays warm all winter thanks to a discharge of hot water from the coal-fueled Flint Creek Power Plant. Bass fishing at Swepco during winter is like fishing elsewhere during spring, said Kenny Stroud of Siloam Springs, an avid Swepco angler. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
A hike along the Goat Trail high above the Buffalo National River leads to breathtaking views of the stream and river valley. It's an out-and-back hike of 6 miles, 3 miles in, mostly downhill, and 3 miles back, mostly uphill. The Goat Trail meanders along the middle of Big Bluff, one of the tallest bluffs along the Buffalo. A group of six hikers visited the Goat Trail on Nov. 9. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
Renderings of proposed renovations to the Walton Arts Center.
Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day on the Elk River for a float-fishing trip along the storied Ozark stream. Ron Duncan of Springdale and outdoors editor Flip Putthoff cast superstition to the wind and enjoyed a stellar day of fishing and canoeing on the beautiful Elk River, near Pineville, Mo. Summer blended into fall on the 5-mile drift that took place Friday, Sept. 13. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
Gigging is a tradition that's practiced by a small legion of fish giggers on the clear streams of the Ozarks. Each September, a gaggle of giggers gathers to gig enough fish for a family fish fry. Giggers may spear rough fish including suckers, carp and gar. Jerry Bonebrake, Larry Bonebrake and Gary Wellesley of Springdale gigged in the rain on Friday, Sept. 20 2013 on Indian Creek and Big Sugar Creek in southwest Missouri. It took some doing, but the men gathered the main ingredient for their annual fish fry. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
The came, they cooked, fried and fricasseed game fresh from the tree into creative cuisine at the World Champion Squirrel Cook-Off held Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, in downtown Bentonville. Thirty teams competed in the squirrel cook-off and whipped up recipes that included squirrel fajitas, Korean squirrel tacos and Dutch-oven squirrel with morel mushrooms. Cooks could prepare their squirrel dishes any way they wanted. Teams had 2 1/2 hours to cook their entries before a panel of 10 judges tasted their creations. Squirrel chefs Brandon Estes and Blayne Estes, brothers from Bentonville, won the cook-off with their dish, squirrel sausage. They won $500, which they donated to the Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter, beneficiary of the cook-off. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
The Great River Rumble drew more than 150 canoe and kayak paddlers to the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers for a week-long, 111-mile trip. The expedition began on the St. Croix at Grantsburg, Wis., and traveled six days down the St. Croix. Paddlers entered the Mississippi River on the final day and took out at Red Wing, Minn. to end the trip. Both rivers form the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. The St. Croix started out shallow and rocky at Grantsburg, but was up to a mile wide by the time it joined the Mississippi River. Paddlers enjoyed pleasant weather, grand scenery and hospitality in the towns along the route. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
Ozark streams don't come much more delightful than Indian Creek, a ribbon of clear, cool water that meanders through southwest Missouri near Anderson. Indian Creek features miles of beautiful water that's ideal for floating and fishing. Smallmouth bass are the prize fish on Indian Creek, but anglers can catch goggle-eye, largemouth bass and catfish. Russ Tonkinson of Rogers and outdoors editor Flip Putthoff enjoyed a pleasant float along Indian Creek on June 26. They caught and released about 50 smallmouth bass and a few goggle-eye on a picture-perfect day with an ideal water level. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
Trolling is one of the best ways to catch a mess of fish at Beaver Lake and Ben Lipscomb of Rogers has trolling down to a fine art. Lipscomb and NWA Media outdoors editor Flip Putthoff spent a pleasant evening on May 30 trolling crank baits in the Shaddox Hollow area of Beaver Lake and caught a mixed bag of fish. The catch included about 20 crappie, several white bass, some spotted bass and a 20-inch walleye. Lipscomb shows how it's done in this photo gallery. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff
Timing couldn't have been better for a canoe trip last week along the entire floatable length of the Kings River May 23-26. The trip from the Marble access to Table Rock Lake covered 65 miles in four days. Flip Putthoff, NWA Media outdoors editor, enjoyed a perfect water level, ideal weather and good fishing on the solo float. The Kings can be floated upstream of Marble, but the Marble to Table Rock stretch is most popular among paddlers. Staff photos by Flip Putthoff