Sorry locals, the secret is out...
You just can't beat the Howard Creek arm of Bull Shoals Lake, Ark., for picturesque scenery during the upcoming days of early fall. This arm also allows for a quick jaunt inland to Bull Shoals City, making it one of the most enjoyable houseboating venues in the state.
It is this arm that extends to the east toward a 256-foot-high dam. The structure is a blockade of the White River--6,036 square drainage miles of it, to be exact. Its primary purpose is touted by its builders as "multi-purpose," but the real genesis of the lake is the need for flood control and power generation. This baby turns out a running capacity of 361,000 kilowatts--some serious water power by any standard.
Once you've checked out the dam, another possibility is to back-track a ways and check out the Spring Creek Arm, which is known to allow boaters of all persuasions to anchor for a day of in-season hunting. At the very least, the wildlife will be active in this portion of the Missouri-based offshoot. Generally the land around the lake houses a variety of game. Deer, squirrel, rabbit and other small game are abundant, and fowl such as duck, quail and turkey can also be found. Just be sure you have the right license for the right part of the lake.
No matter which portion of the lake you travel to, at least there are no doubts as to what's underwater. Fishing, for the waterway's plentiful rainbow trout, bass, crappie and walleye, as well as diving are very popular. The diving, especially for the able-bodied swimmer, could be more scenic than the view above the surface with scuba diving and snorkeling each safe possibilities. Heck, if you're going to be on a houseboat, you've prbably got plenty of time to take the dinghy out and find the best spots.
Now that I've surely convinced you to take a look down under, let me tell you about a few of the diving hot spots as described by the lake's Armadillo Dive & Sail Service:
* Wreck of the S.S. Minnow: Appropriately enough, this is off the south side of Gilligan's Island. Just swim south from the two willows to a depth of 20 feet, turn east to the line and follow it to the wreck.
* Bermuda Triangle: This suspicious-sounding spot is near the west side of Sister Creek. Swim west at 20 feet till you reach the line, and follow it straight to...well, you'll see.
* Key Hole: This is a "wall dive" that has a large hole you can swim through. If you're brave enough, there's another hole 30 feet farther down.
"If you find anything interesting, let us know," Armadillo proclaims. "You name it, and we'll add it to the map."
Be sure to use all the prudent safety precautions, use the buddy system and of course, don't get lost.
Keeping with the tradition of southern United States lakes, houseboaters can enjoy this and a slew of other activities at length, in relative comfort, during the summer and fall months. The air temperatures can go as high as the 90s in peak season with water temps reportedly in the high 70s. Crowds seem to peak along with the temps, but even then it's a far cry from an aquatic circus. That only helps enhance the view in all directions.
For More Information:
Armadillo Dive & Sail Service