US Army Corps of Engineers
Memphis District

Hunting, Fishing & Outdoor Activities

With colorful and down-home descriptions of what lodges have to offer, it is easy to select one, for almost all end in the phrase, "Guided duck hunting trips in flooded rice fields with experienced guides, dogs are welcome."

This portion of the Natural State is generally considered 'The rice and duck capital of the World.' The Grand Prairie stretches from Dewitt, Arkansas at its southern extremity, northward to Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area near DeValls Bluff. It is a region that offers year-round recreational opportunities for a wide variety of outdoor interests.

The region depends on groundwater

Fish and waterfowl in addition to other species of wildlife would not be found year round in such prolific numbers through out the White River basin without abundant supplies of available food, and freshwater.

Grand Prairie farmers irrigate rice, soybeans and other grains, from groundwater pumped from the Alluvial Aquifer. While the harvest and sale of rice and other agricultural commodities annually garners a multi-million dollar economic bounty for the region, once harvested these same fields provide exceptional recreational opportunity for thousands of waterfowl hunters.

Economically, rice is the most important crop to the region, while its flooded cultural system creates a breeding ground for aquatic life. The abundance of natural food from agricultural sources plus adequate amounts of freshwater enhances the surrounding wildlife habitat within the Grand Prairie region.

Water creates recreational opportunities

Prime natural areas that include Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area near the southwest corner of the project area covers 33,700 acres and is one of the largest state-owned wildlife management areas in the nation. About 13,000 acres of this wildlife management area is flooded each fall to attract waterfowl.

About 26 miles north of Stuttgart is the Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area. This state-owned area includes a portion of Wattensaw Bayou, a portion of which drains into the White River. Including 14,400 acres of timber, more than 2,000 acres of cropland and about 400 acres ponds and lakes, Wattensaw WMA offers a multitude of hunting, fishing, canoeing and hiking activities for the outdoor enthusiast.

Should you be interested in other outdoor activities, festivals in and around the Grand Prairie region abound. In addition to sponsoring the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest, the Stuttgart, Arkansas Chamber of Commerce also sponsors the Wings Over The Prairie Festival each November.

If fishing is your delight, many of the oxbow lakes off the White River are teeming with bass, bream, crappie and catfish with the spring through fall being the best time of the year to catch a limit. But if bird watching is your main forte exploring the river is a must, but only if you have a set of binoculars to see some of the more than 100 species of birds that call the Grand Prairie region home.