East Arkansas Fishermen Anxious To See River Level Drop

(Mississippi Co., AR) Rain is forcing the mighty Mississippi to rise.

The river started flowing over its banks Thursday and was expected to hit 33 1/2 feet by week’s end.

While that’s still about half a foot below flood stage, and far below the 2011 flood record,  the river is so high even boaters and fishermen are sticking to the banks.

When it comes to “river watching”,Billy Gatewood, Sammy Wells and Bill Leveritt have the best seat in the house.

“We’re, all three are fishing buddies. And we fish together quite a bit,” Gatewood said.

Friday,  the three found a safe place on the bank of the swollen Mississippi River south of  Osceola, Arkansas.

The river, expected to crest at 34-feet at Osceola, is moving with force, but Sammy Wells says the water level isn’t stopping the men from their mission.

“Catfish. That’s my main goal today, is trying to catch catfish,” Wells said.

But as the song goes, “Some Day’s Are Diamonds and Some Days Are Stones.”

Bill Leveritt was singing that tune Friday.

“Well, I had a pretty good-sized catfish on there a while ago, and it got in them rocks out there and got off. And that’s the only bite I’ve had. So, I don’t know, it don’t look like I’m going to catch anything today,” said Leveritt.

They all agree the river is relatively “tame”  now, compared to 2011, but there’s no shortage of “flood” stories,

“2011 my cousin, he lost two or three hundred head of hogs in the water down on Island 35. It covered everything down there,” Leveritt says.

While Bill Leveritt tries to get un-snagged from another rock, he’s anxious to see the river drop to a more agreeable level.

“I’d rather have it about 20-foot. To me that’s when fishing’s probably the best.”



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