The Spring Flood Comes to Arkansas


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I journeyed to West Memphis yesterday afternoon for my 12-year-old's basketball game. The spring flooding is pretty impressive this year, with standing water all the way to the levee, just east of the West Memphis city limits. It's a good thing this doesn't happen in July, or you'd need waders to get to Jerry Lawler's fireworks stand.

I have a friend who owns land along the river just south of West Memphis. Every year, when the floods come, his place gets surrounded by water and he has to park on high ground and take a boat to his house. It's inevitable, and he's learned to take it in stride (big, wet strides). He's also taken to letting a few of his friends know when the water from the river's about to pour over his land and into his lakes. I went over earlier this week to check it out.

It's a crazy thing to watch: All the fish that have been trapped in his lakes since the previous year's flood, stack up where the water first begins to pour in, waiting their chance to escape. Huge gar, carp, and buffalo are easily visible in the shallows. It's become something of a ritual for my friend to gig a few and take them to a soup kitchen in West Memphis, where they are cooked and eagerly consumed by the customers. I didn't gig any, but a pickup bed filled with thumping fish is quite the sight. Though I gotta admit, when I see fish like the big fellow pictured here, my reaction isn't "Mmmm, yummy!"

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