The new small boat rack is nearly complete and will be available for use beginning on Monday, May 1. The upper rack and the lower right quadrant will be used for kayaks, canoes, and other narrow boats, while the lower left quadrant will be used for paddle boats and jon boats. Boat owners are required to provide their own means of attachment for security. Yearly fees are $67.00 and can be paid through membership services. Racks are also available near the Avalon Park, Ann Park, London Landing, and Pontoon Park. Future upgrades will be based on the success of this project.
Wed, April 26, 2017 | Lakes and Parks
Scientific Name: Dorosoma cepedianum
Common Name(s): Gizzard Shad, Shad
The gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum, is commonly mistaken for the similar threadfin shad, Dorosoma petenense. They can be easily distinguished by the overhanging upper jaw in the gizzard shad, and by the absence of yellow coloration in the gizzard shad’s fins. Adult gizzard shad in Arkansas usually range from 12-16 inches and weigh less than one pound. Maximum size is around 20 inches and 3.5 lbs., with the current state record at 2 lbs. 14 oz. from the White River. The gizzard shad has a thin, compressed, oblong body with a silvery-green coloration on the back, fading to plain silver on the belly. The fin on the back of the fish has a long, thin filament sticking out past the rest of the fin. The tail fin is deeply forked. It has a large dark spot on the shoulder and the fins are grayish in color.
The gizzard shad is native to most of the Mississippi River drainage and the eastern United States. They occur in many different habitats including lakes, rivers, streams, and clear or turbid waters. Gizzard shad can be found in strong currents, but they favor calm deeper water.
The Gizzard Shad is one of Arkansas’ most adaptable species, occurring in a diversity of habitats; however, they do not cope well with sudden temperature changes or low oxygen levels. Young shad are excellent food for predatory fish, but adults are often too big to be utilized as food.
In Arkansas, spawning occurs in April through May. Most spawning occurs at night near the surface, usually in shallower water. Females and males swim together in a school and release eggs and sperm. They have adhesive eggs that sink to the bottom and become attached to whatever substrate they touch. Adults do not take care of the eggs or young. Eggs tend to hatch faster in warmer water.
The gizzard shad is a forager, consuming plankton and particulate matter they filter from the water by their gills. They can also graze over the bottom consuming aquatic insects and detritus.
Gizzard shad have negative impacts on ecosystems where they compete for food with different species. They also have been known to increase phytoplankton levels, consequently increasing turbidity and impacting visual predators. Since gizzard shad are quick to overpopulate and can grow rapidly, some management techniques have been used to help control populations like the stocking of larger predatory species such as striped bass. Late winter shad kills are common due to low temperatures and starvation.
Here in Bella Vista, gizzard shad have not been stocked in any of the lakes. Their presence is the result of well intentioned, but uninformed anglers. Deleterious effects far outweigh any of the benefits they bring. “Because of its direct use of phytoplankton and high reproductive capacity, the gizzard shad has been a prime candidate for introduction to waters which lack a major forage base for gamefishes. However, due to their rapid growth, gizzard shad are available to most predators for only a short time, thus they are less esteemed as forage than are threadfin shad” (Jenkins and Burkhead1993). We have an abundance of large individuals that actively filter off plankton making it unusable to young gamefish that require it. In addition competition for resources has left these large adults in poor condition and as a result nonreproductive. Result: many large adults and few consumable young. Threadfin shad only survive about 50% of our winters, so long term establishment is impossible. Better species are the bluegill which spawn up to 5 times per year and the brook silversides which are numerous in Bella Vista Lakes. Our stepped up fertilization regime will help stimulate the shad to spawn, but it would be better if they weren’t present. They are found in all lakes and their populations are maintained naturally. As bait, they are mainly used dead, because they often die quickly after being handled. They like deep, open water so they can easily be caught with gill nets. Many fisherman use them as bait for trotlines.
Jenkins, R. E., and N. M. Burkhead. 1993. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.
Wed, April 19, 2017 | Recreation
|T & Th||9 to 9:45 a.m.||Aqua Aerobics with Sara Macik||starting May 30|
|M-W-F||10 to 10:45 a.m.||AM Water Fitness Class with Rose Scott||starting June 5|
|T & Th||5:30 to 6:15 p.m.||PM Water Fitness Class with Donna Mayberry||starting May 30|
Tue, April 18, 2017 | Recreation
Lessons will be offered to children age 9 months to 3 years by Donna Mayberry, a water safety-certified swim instructor, who will facilitate the learning process in a fun, relaxed environment and will help new swimmers become comfortable and safe in and around water. Songs and games introduce beginner swim skills, such as kicking, splashing and blowing bubbles, which creates a fun, positive experience for young children in the pool. These lessons emphasize positive reinforcement and progress at a comfortable pace for the child. An adult is required to be in the water with each child, at all times and swim diapers are required for all children who are not toilet trained.
Toddler and Me lessons are $60 for Members of Bella Vista POA and $65 for Non-Members. Class space is limited to 10 adult/child teams. Session lessons have been scheduled Monday through Thursday mornings at 10:15 a.m. the week of July 3 at Metfield Outdoor Pool, 1 Hilltop Drive. An evening session will be offered on two consecutive Tuesday and Thursday evenings, July 11, 13, 18 and 20 beginning at 6:25 p.m. at Kingsdale Pool, 1 Riordan Drive.
To register for any of these swim lessons, please visit Riordan Hall, 3 Riordan Drive in Bella Vista on or after Saturday, April 22. Waiver of liability must be signed and all class fees must be paid at the time of registration. Lesson times cannot be held due to the high demand of service. Registration must be cancelled more than seven days prior to the start of the class in order to receive a refund. A 25% processing fee will be charged in the case of any refund. Those wishing to enroll in a class that has already been filled will be wait listed.
Tue, April 18, 2017 | Recreation
Mon, April 17, 2017 | Recreation
Check out the NEW Tent Camping at Blowing Springs Park
Reservations now available at Blowing Springs Campground
RV park & tent camping
Blowing Springs Park is one of the outdoor jewels of Bella Vista and its popularity continues to grow. We’re excited to announce we are now accepting reservations for both our RV spots and our new primitive tent camping spots which have just launched in the park.
Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 479-855-8075 for reservations during the hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Reservations require a 1 night’s stay deposit. Cancellations must be received by 3 p.m. – 2 days (48 hours) prior to the date of the arrival to receive a refund. No refunds will be given for reservations on peak holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and the weeks of Craft Fair in May and October.
Mon, April 17, 2017 | Recreation
Thu, April 6, 2017 | Lakes and Parks
Bella Vista Fly Tyers Presents:
Fly Fishing 101
Basic Fly Fishing Course
Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lake Avalon Pavilion
Cost: $10 Club Members, $20 non-members (includes 2017 Fly Tyers club membership) The class is “rain-or-shine”
Register at Riordan Hall, Thursdays at 10 a.m., or call 479-899-7728, or email to email@example.com Registration ends Thursday, May 4. Class size is limited to the first 30 students to register.
The class will cover all the basic info you need to get started in this sport including: equipment, tying knots, fly selection, where to fish, and basic fly line casting technique. Rods and reels will be provided, or you can bring your own. Eye protection (sunglasses, eye glasses, etc.) MUST be worn to participate in the casting lessons.
There will be two door prizes: a Cabela’s RLS rod and reel combo set ($150 value) and a $15 gift certificate from Hook Line and Sinker. A drawing will be held after the class to select the winners. Students must be present to win. This is in addition to discount coupons from Cabela’s, Ozark Kayaks, and Lewis and Clark for each student.
Thu, March 30, 2017 | Member Services
Mon, March 27, 2017 | Lakes and Parks
Article by Leah Ring
Scientific Name: Micropterus salmoides
Common Name(s): Largemouth Bass, Bucketmouth, Big Mouth, Green Bass, Florida Bass
The largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, is easily among the most economically and culturally important sport fish in the world. It has two close cousins in Arkansas, the smallmouth bass and the spotted bass. It is much more easily distinguished from the smallmouth bass because it is more often caught in lakes whereas the smallmouth prefers rivers. The smallmouth is more bronze in coloration. When the mouth is closed, the mouth of the largemouth extends far beyond the back edge of the eye, the spotted bass to the middle of the eye, and the smallmouth to the front edge of the eye. The largemouth generally lacks a tooth patch on the tongue that is present on the spotted bass. Distinguishing characteristics between the largemouth and spotted bass are general and somewhat subjective due to common natural hybridization where both occur. The back and upper sides of the largemouth are olive to green, while the lower sides and belly are white or yellow with scattered dark brown spots. The midline of the fish has a broad and jagged black band. It differs from other black basses by being the largest in size, lacks several regular rows of black spots on lower sides, has a much larger mouth, and has a deep notch between the two fins on its back. Largemouth bass in Arkansas typically range from 12-20 inches in length and weigh 1-5 lbs. The current state record is 16 lbs 8 oz from Mallard Lake.
Micropterus salmoides is native to North America where it inhabits freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. Although it is native to the central part of North America, the Largemouth Bass has been stocked extensively across the United States and globally for sport fishing. In Arkansas, the Largemouth Bass is found statewide in all drainages.
The largemouth bass is a warm water sport fish, preferring water temperatures around 68°-78°F. They are mostly found in calm waters. They inhabit natural and man-made lakes and ponds, but also calm backwaters and pools of streams and rivers. The fish can tolerate brackish water for short periods of time and have been known to move from one drainage to another along the coast. Largemouth bass are often found near logs or brush in varying depths of water. Largemouth bass can survive in a variety of habitats, making them a very adaptable fish; however, they are intolerant of high levels of turbidity and siltation.
In Arkansas, largemouth spawn from April to June when water temperatures are above 65°F. Males construct circular nests in substrate, preferring gravel and areas with no current. Males aggressively guard the nest until the young swim away, and may stay with the schooling young for several days. Young are often found along shorelines or other structure.
The largemouth bass is a voracious predator that consumes mostly fish, crayfish, insects, and crustaceans. Its prey includes almost any animal that can fit in its mouth. Its voracious and aggressive predatory tendencies are part of the reason it is so popular among sport fishermen. The largemouth bass has been introduced into many regions outside of its native range because of its popularity as a sport fish. Although they are very popular, they can have negative impacts on native ecosystems in places where they are introduced. They eat native fish, or out-compete them for food resources, and can have a devastating effect on native populations.
Here in Bella Vista, largemouth bass are found in all the lakes and are the most popular fishery. They can be caught using a variety of techniques including artificial lures and natural or live bait including minnows, crayfish, frogs, and earthworms. They prefer to be near submerged vegetation or flooded timber and brush where they can ambush their prey. In streams, they prefer slow moving current, although smallmouth or spotted bass may be more common.
There is a lot of interest in the southern strain or Florida largemouth to supplement and improve the genetics of our largemouth population here. We are just too far north to see any benefit from supplementing with southern strain largemouth, and in fact northern strain largemouth outperform southern strain fish at our latitude. Even in Texas, southern strain fish are only used in the southern 2/3 of the state. All of the Bella Vista lakes are capable of producing largemouth up to 8 pounds with Lake Brittany producing several over 12 pounds over the years. We encourage our anglers to release fish between 13 and 16 inches as they are the most prolific spawners. We also encourage aggressive harvest of fish between 10 and 13 inches as they have the tendency to become stunted at that size due to competition for limited resources. Largemouth bass are not being stocked in any of the lakes because they are able to reproduce naturally and are able to sustain stable populations.