After two years of drawdowns and construction work, the city of Monticello was able to close the gates at its namesake lake in Drew County last week, hoping to see the fish and recreational opportunities in the reservoir flourish again once the lake refills.

It may take 3-5 years for the 1,500-acre reservoir to reach full capacity, but according to Kris Nault, fisheries supervisor at the AGFC’s Monticello regional office, it should have as close to a clean slate as the AGFC can make it to begin the process in rebuilding one of Arkansas’s top trophy bass-fishing lakes.

“It’s entirely dependent on rainfall to fill up Monticello,” Nault said. “It has a small watershed and is fed by intermittent streams, so it may take a while. But if we get a lot of rain, it could happen much more quickly. We have 28 or so acres of water out there now and it needs to reach 1,500 acres of water, so we have a long way to go.”

Lake Monticello had to be drained by the lake’s owner, the city of Monticello, in 2019 because of the failing integrity of the lake’s levee. The city conducted a partial drawdown in 2017 to repair the levee, but the solution did not hold. This resulted in a complete draining of the lake and a larger repair project.