MARIANNA – Much needed repairs to the boat ramp at Bear Creek Lake in Lee County may put a damper on some fishing plans this spring. Contractors working with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be renovating the boat ramp on the east side of the dam, which will require the ramp to be closed for roughly six weeks, beginning next Monday. 

Justin Homan, AGFC fisheries supervisor out of the Brinkley Regional Office, says the repairs have come at a bad time for anglers this year, but are necessary to continue offering access to this treasure of east Arkansas. The previous ramp had many cracks and seams at the bottom end of the ramp that made launching a boat very difficult and hazardous to trailers, particularly during low water levels. 

Owned by the U.S. Forest Service, Bear Creek Lake has a 9.9 maximum horsepower limit. Owners of boats with motors larger than this must disable the motors to be able to fish on the lake. Despite this restriction, Bear Creek is seen by many area anglers as a hot spot for bream and bass.

“We had a local bass tournament that took a 23-pound five-fish limit to win,” Homan said. “I plan on breaking out my jon boat and 3 hp motor myself to make sure I don’t miss out on some great bluegill and redear fishing that’s coming up.”  

Homan says anglers willing to launch a smaller boat or kayak will still be able to access the lake, and Mississippi River State Park rents out kayaks and aluminum boats with trolling motors that people could use if they don’t own one.

“The timing of the closure is unfortunate, but with a little creative thinking, some resourceful anglers are likely to cash in on some fantastic fishing,” Homan said. “Hopefully the ramp will reopen in time to cash in on the bream spawn in early summer.”