FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. – A popular place for Arkansans to fish is getting a facelift after the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission announced on Thursday its plans to renovate Lake Conway.

AGFC Deputy Director Ben Batten said this will improve fishing and recreational activities for Arkansans. 

“We’re going to rebuild the entire dam structure,” Batten said. “We’re going to redo all of the boating and bank fishing access areas, we’re going to have a lot of fish habitats, and just correct a lot of problems.”

The renovation is expected to last around 5 years, but he said it will be worth the wait. 

“We’re going to hit pause for 5 years, and we’re gonna make it as good or better than it was when it started,” Batten said. 

The Commission understands the concerns from people who live in the area, including where they were going to fish, but says it will give them time to fix up their own lake property too. 

“Lake owners are going to be able to work on their property,” Batten said. “If they have dock issues or things like that, it’s hard to repair those things when there is water, so it’s a good chance for them to tidy up and touch up things around their property.”

Gary Thompson, a Lake Conway local, understands the need to drain the lake, but isn’t exactly looking forward to it. 

“On the short term, draining the lake is kind of horrible for everybody around here because you’re gonna have a lot of effect to the stores, the bait shops all around the lake,” Thompson said. 

Although he says short term, this won’t be great, he understands the need for this renovation. 

“Long term I think maybe it’ll help Mayflower some and Conway, because the lake might clear up a little bit, it’ll be deeper where you can have your boats out there,” Thompson said. 

Arkansas Game and Fish will pull the plug on September 1 and said it may take a few months to drain, depending on the weather. 

“It’s a small sacrifice in a long scale and we’re excited to make the investment,” Batten said. 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will hold two public information meetings at the end of June. 

A meeting will be held at the Rogue Roundabout Restaurant at 6 p.m. June 26 and at Mayflower City Hall at 6 p.m.  June 29.