Doug “Riverman” Allen

Welcome to the Kings River Arkansas website! My name is Doug “Riverman” Allen. I grew up with a family of fisherman and biologists that have a huge passion for anything related to bodies of water, especially rivers. I was raised on the Kings River near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. My summers were spent swimming, canoeing and fishing most stretches of this 90 mile magnificent river that meanders through the Ozark Mountains. I hope you will enjoy this website and use it for information to better enjoy one of Arkansas’s Extraordinary Water Resources. On this page I will post videos, pictures and tips on anything related to the Kings River, the wildlife, habitat and locations. Thank you for checking it out and remember, We all live downstream……

Step By Step Tying A Kings River Crawdad


How to rig a crawdad.

I am partial to a shiny gold #2 hook which draws attention. Hook at the back of the tail. No weight needed. Let drift naturally and look for unusual line movement. Jerk violently and hang on for the ride. Smallmouth will rarely hit the crawdad if its not alive. Don’t forget to catch and release!! We all live downstream….

How to make a crawdad fly in 30 seconds.

Identifying a Northern Water Snake.

Trained Riverman. Do not try this at home.

Kayak and Gear.

Fish gather where the oxygen is plenty.

Oxygen is required by all aerobic organisms for respiration. Obviously It is way less available in water than in air. It plays an important part in rivers and streams and is vital to the organisms that use it. Especially smallmouth bass!  Oxygen enters water through turbulence and vegetation. Even rain slapping the water adds oxygen! I love to fish when it starts to rain! Temperature also affects oxygen. Warmer water temperatures lead to less oxygen making fish lethargic. To make a long story short without boring you to tears, when I approach a stretch of river I look at several things that could impact the fish habitat and my fishing (catching).

  • is there sufficient current that provides oxygen?
  • is there sufficient live vegetation that provides oxygen?
  • what does the bottom of the river look like?

Fish tend to gather where the oxygen is plenty. I often pass up spots on the river where there is good amounts of leafy decaying vegetation on the bottom along with slow moving water which leads to lack of oxygen. (I call them dead spots) Occasionally you can catch fish in these spots buts it’s usually due to an increase in water turbidity and oxygen due to rain. It’s no exact science but maybe you can look at oxygen, current, vegetation and the bottom of the river a little differently which will increase the amount of fish you catch. Tight lines!!

Catch and release the right way…

  • Pinch the barb on your hook flat so it’s easily removed.
  • Bring the fish to the boat or shore as quickly as possible to avoid extreme exhaustion.
  • Keep the fish in the water and resuscitate it. Handle the fish gently with wet hands. If you must net it, use a release net made of soft knotless fabric and keep the fish under water in the net.
  • Have tools and a plan. A simple pair of needle nose pliers will do. Make sure your eyes are covered in case the hook flies free. Locate the hook, then decide how to gently approach it.
  • Fish responsibly. Alter your method to minimize hooking mortality. That may mean setting the hook a little sooner.
  • If we are responsible in our approach today, it will mean more fish in the future for everyone.


Crayfish are animals called crustaceans. I call them “crawdads”. They are arthropods (meaning many segments) and these segments are joined together. Crawdads do not have backbones. They have exoskeletons made of a tough calcium rich material called chitin. They have ten legs with the two front legs called “chelipeds” that have claws on the end to help defend itself or push food into its mouth. They can pinch the fire out of you! The abdomen is the crawdads rear body section and it is sometimes called the tail. The tail helps it swim backwards during the flight response. These cold blooded animals hibernate during cold temperatures. Almost every continent in the world has crawdads with the exception of Africa and Antarctica. Luckily there is a abundance of crawdads in Arkansas and especially the Kings River. Turn over any good size rock and chances are you will find a crawdad. A crawdad grows and molts its exoskeleton multiple times to become bigger. Smallmouth bass cannot resist a molted soft shell crawdad! It’s always a treat to catch a soft shell crawdad with the anticipation of catching a nice smallmouth! The number one protein source for the smallmouth bass are crawdads. Smallmouth candy! I like to use crawdads that are about 2-3 inches long. Simply use a #2 shiny hook through the inside of the tail and let drift naturally. There are 6 different species of crawdads in the Kings River. I’ll post pictures of the 3 most common species that I have caught and used recently. I feel like each species gets a different reaction out of smallmouth due to color, liveliness and size and I will explain further.