True to its name, the River Valley is defined by water. Ozark streams provide whitewater excitement on Big Piney Creek and the Illinois Bayou as their waters rush toward Lake Dardanelle
Joining the Arkansas River from the south, the Petit Jean River offers a slower float with an emphasis on catfish and crappie angling. Countrysides surrounding the waterways, the Ozark National Forest and Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge, offer adventure for hunters, wildlife photographers and hikers. Black bear, wild turkey and whitetail deer along with small game and birds abound in the fertile river bottoms and wild highlands surrounding Russellville.
If fishing is your thing, the River Valley is the sweet spot you’ve been looking for. Lake Dardanelle is a world-class bass fishery famous for heavy stringers and fast action. Lake Dardanelle’s rise to prominence in bass fishing circles attracts numerous professional and collegiate tournaments throughout the year. The lake’s popularity among bass anglers led to construction of an 1,861 square-foot tournament weigh-in pavilion and adjacent tournament staging area — located in Lake Dardanelle State Park — that set the template for other tournament hosting lakes around the nation.
But bass aren’t the only fish to be found here. Big-game anglers can focus on the tailwaters of Dardanelle Lock and Dam where heavyweight blue and flathead catfish lurk in the depths awaiting your challenge.
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