Crooked Creek - Marion, Boone County

Described as "the blue-ribbon smallmouth bass fishing stream of the state," Crooked Creek is found in the north central part of Arkansas. It originates near Dogpatch in NewtonCounty, flows north and then east through Boone County, and continues east across Marion County where it empties into the White River. Along the way, it passes through the communities of Harrison, Pyatt, and Yellville, but most of its journey is through rural countryside.

As it meanders across northern Arkansas on the way to theWhite River, Crooked Creek passes through typical Ozark landscapes featuring rolling hills, cedar glades, bluffs, bottomland thickets, and lush pasturelands. The stream itself is characterized by deep pools, fast chutes, and clear water.

In addition to its reputation as one of the best smallmouth bass fishing areas, Crooked Creek also provides habitat for many other species including channel catfish and several varieties of sunfish. Living along the stream corridor are numerous mammals--beaver, mink, and deer, to name a few--and an abundant assortment of water-oriented birds including kingfishers, ospreys, and great blue herons.

Notes from Gabe Levin...

The Fish and the Habitat
Anglers respect smallmouth for their strength and cunning, but smallmouth are not as hardy as their cousin the largemouth bass, and therefore are more threatened by human impacts. Smallmouth in the Ozarks requires cool, clear flowing rivers and streams with adequate food, cover, and water quality. From aquatic insects, minnows, and crayfish, to snakes, herons, falcons, mink, and river otters, smallmouth fit into a complex food web that is not very tolerant of pollution or other disturbances. They grow slowly, taking an average of 6 years to reach 12 inches in length, and a successful spawn can easily be wiped out by a flood. These factors along with ever increasing angling pressure make Ozark stream smallmouth a vulnerable species.

Smallmouth habitat is appreciated for recreational value and taken for granted at the same time. Approximately 25% of the original smallmouth habitat in the Ozarks has been lost in the past half-century due to effects of agricultural runoff, stream-bank erosion, wastewater discharge, mining, and other disturbances. At this rate of habitat loss, smallmouth and other unique and endemic species like Ozark Bass will be nearly gone by the end of this century.

Threats to Crooked Creek - the cutbank pictured below is a result of loss of riparian buffer and results in erosion to the creek.

A recent direct threat to Crooked Creek is the raising of acceptable levels of pollutants allowed in wastewater discharge from Harrison and Yellville wastewater treatment facilities. In a watershed that is already listed by the ADEQ as “impaired” in the category of dissolved solids, shifting baselines for water quality is a move in the wrong direction if we value Crooked Creek as a healthy watershed of recreational importance. Watch Friends News for more information on this risk.

What can you do?
Join Friends of the Rivers and work directly conserving our valuable aquatic resources. Help Friends of the Rivers clean up Crooked annual cleanup float event that removes solid waste from the stream and raises awareness of threats to the stream. Join a Stream Team.