FishOn Guide Service a guaranteed fun time for trophy seekers and beginners

Jon Conklin, owner of FishOn Guide Service, offers fishing guide services on Beaver Lake for sportsmen looking to land trophy size stripers and walleyes or reel in some crappie. He has two boats in operation and accommodates everyone from the beginner to the advanced fisherman. Jon also writes the Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report on Beaver Lake for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. It would be hard to find someone more knowledgeable about fishing on Beaver Lake than Jon.

“Beaver Lake is a hard lake to fish and that’s why people who are serious about fishing hire guides,” Jon said. “It’s difficult because the water is very clear. On the north side of the lake sometimes you can have 25-foot visibility down from the surface. The average person is not used to fishing a clear water reservoir like that. Also, the fact that it is a flood-controlled lake that rises and falls pretty dramatically throughout the year makes it even more difficult to fish.” 

Striper, Walleye and Crappie

One of the reasons people come from near and far to Beaver Lake, besides its beauty and tranquil setting, is striper. Not necessarily known for the number of stripers, Beaver Lake does have the quality and size. The lake has some of the biggest trophy stripers for a freshwater lake in the United States. And people come from all over the country to fish for them.

“We get a lot of people coming into the region to get themselves a trophy-size fish worthy of mounting on their wall, that big, once-in-a-lifetime catch,” Jon said. “You can go to a lot of lakes to find striper, but Beaver Lake has some of the biggest around and perfect for people looking for a 20-plus pound striper. Sometimes we catch them up into the 40-plus pound range.”

On a normal day, Jon’s customers will catch anywhere from two to six fish usually averaging around 15 pounds. But striper aren’t the only fish in the lake. And here, again, Jon’s expertise shines. “When it comes to walleye, the advanced fisherman is looking to land a fish over 30 inches long for that trophy on the wall,” Jon said. “My clients have caught more than 32 walleye measuring over 30 inches in length since 2009 when they started stocking the lake with walleye.”

Normally, walleye are a northern fish found in that part of the country. “We get a lot of people from Wisconsin and Minnesota or the Dakotas where they may have really good walleye populations,” Jon said. “But it is more difficult to catch the trophy size walleyes in those areas. And we have the opportunity to do that here on Beaver Lake.”

Last but not least, Beaver Lake is well-known for crappie. But the fish also have the reputation of being an elusive adversary. “A lot of crappie fishermen come to me because the fish is hard to catch in Beaver Lake,” Jon Said. “Many local people in particular want to up their game so I help them to do that. We go out and catch some fish and they learn how to better fish for crappie.”

Whatever fish you have your eyes on and whatever level of fisherman you are, Jon takes pride in making sure you have a good time and an educational experience. “I like people, people like me,” Jon said. “I love teaching fishing, be it beginners or seasoned sportsmen who just want to improve their skills. That makes me different from some other guides who just take you out. When a client goes out with me, they are going to learn something they can take with them. I take the out and explain everything to them, I say ‘this is what we’re doing and this is why we are fishing here.’ They can use that information when they leave.”

Jon takes particular interest in introducing fishing to kids and helping them experience the great outdoors. “I like to guide parents with kids who have not had the opportunity to go out on a lake and fish,” he said. “Parents who don’t know how to teach their children go out on the lake with me and have a lot of fun. I teach them how to tie knots, how to fish with live bait, just provide the basics so they can go out and do it themselves. Hopefully we recruit new fishermen into the fold every year.”

Jon also has a ‘secret weapon’ he uses to pique the interest of the younger video generation. “One of the things I have on my boat that really appeals to kids is the Garmin Panoptix LiveScope™ System,” Jon said. “It’s basically an electronic fish finder that is like an ultrasound and allows you to actually see the fish swimming. I like to call it ‘video game fishing’. I get a lot of young kids who want to see that. And once I get ‘em out on the boat then I can begin to ween them off the screen and start to get into other methods of fishing.”

Jon grew up in California doing tournament fishing. In 1994, he followed his brother out to Northwest Arkansas with his family in tow because he wanted a better quality of life. He quickly landed a district managing job for Ozark Mountain Smokehouse. In 1997 he started his own landscaping business and soon had a couple of crews working for him. “I would set the crew up on the job and then sneak out and go fishing,” Jon joked. “Soon people started asking me to take them out as a guide. Eventually, my guide business grew to the point that about six years ago I sold the landscaping business and started guiding full time.”

FishOn Guide Services is a turn-key operation. You don’t have to have a rod or anything except a valid Arkansas fishing license. “I always tell people to show up dressed for the weather, bring along some snacks and drinks and I will provide everything else,” Jon said. “At the end of the day you can keep your limit of fish or release them. I can clean the fish, filet and package them on the boat and put them on ice.”

But of course, the most important thing is you will get when you hire FishOn Guide Services is the opportunity to spend an informative and fun day on Beaver Lake with Jon, the consummate fishing guide. “I really pride myself on teaching,” Jon said. “I’m very passionate about this and I feel very blessed to be able to do this for a living.”  

For more information about Fishon Guide Service visit FishOn Guides Goshen AR on Facebook or contact Jon directly at 479-233-3474.

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