Recognized as one of the most renowned trout rivers in the country, this 722 mile river flows northward from Arkansas into Missouri. It starts in the Arkansas Boston Mountains that tower above the Ozark- St. Francis National Forest near Fayetteville. A tributary of the Mississippi, it is the source of several tributaries including the North Fork River, Little Red River, Black River, James River and the Bayou des Arc, and drains over 27,765 square miles of river basin.
Thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, there are several dams and reservoirs affecting its character and flow. The river is most famous for the 30 mile tailwater below the man-made, Bull Shoals Lake, although fishing throughout the upper river and Lake Taneycomo are also excellent. What makes the portion below Bull Shoals special is the cold water discharge from the dam, providing ideal trout habitat.
Wild browns are abundant and are supplemented by the State with rainbows, cutthroats, and brook. Fish are usually in the 12 to 16 inch range, although much larger fish are easily found. Some well traveled anglers argue that typical browns here out measure the largest browns found elsewhere. Many Arkansas state trout records have been broken here. Imagine reeling in a 19 pound rainbow or a 30+ pound brown. It’s possible on this section of the White.
Access to the river is excellent. Anglers can fish these waters from the banks or by wading or floating. Since water levels vary according to electric power demands, the river can suddenly become high and swift so a bit of caution is advised. One great feature is that it can be fished during the winter months when other streams may be closed.
Before wading, check the number of turbines running at the power station since it affects conditions on the water.
Desha County, Arkansas
|Spring||Pale evening duns, spotted sedges, light cahill, terrestrials, midges, crawfish, scuds, sculpins, minnows and sowbugs, march brown and sulphur, cinnamon sedges|
|Summer||White drake, terrestrials, midges, crawfish, scuds, sculpins, minnows and sowbugs|
|Fall||Blue winged olives, terrestrials, midges, crawfish, scuds, sculpins, minnows and sowbugs|
|Winter||Blue winged olives, midges|
Flows are steady at about one unit most of the day and sometimes higher at night. As long as you’re on stable water that is not rising or falling, the green algae stays mostly confined ... moreto the bottom, and allows for fairly clean drifts. Indicator fishing with various caddis pupae and midges is very productive, and dry fly opportunities are there if the wind doesn’t whip up too strong. A huge variety of flies will work when trout are feeding as heavily as they are now, but for starters, look to Prince Nymphs, Tailwater Soft Hackles in Caddis Green, Sunday Specials, Ruby midges, Super midges, E/C Caddis, Lawson Caddis, Hi-Tie Caddis, and small Olive Wooly Buggers.
Thursday, 28 Apr, 2016
White River Trout Fishing
Since completion of the big Bull Shoals Dam in 1951, the Arkansas White River has developed into one of the most famous trout fisheries in the United States. ... moreLimit catches of rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout are common-place throughout most of the year. The size trout can grow to in these cold, clear waters is truly amazing, as the many records the White River has produced attest.
The water in the White River below Bull Shoals Dam is so frigid that even during the warmest summer months one can remain comfortably seated in a chair and feel a nice cool breeze coming off the water. As far as we know, there is no other fishery in the U.S. where you can take a continuous 4-day float trip and fish for rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout each day. As a convenience to our patrons, we stock all types of lures on which these fish are caught. Our experienced guides are always ready to recommend the baits, lures, or flies most likely to be effective at the time of your visit.
- Expert guide
- Lunch, which could range from sandwiches, cold meats, southern fried chicken, fajitas or bbq for full-day trips
- Beverages and snacks
- Rods are available at no extra charge.
The White River is a truly world class fishery like few others anywhere in the world and our home waters below Bull Shoals Dam is the finest of this river's 3 tailwaters. Its reputation ... moreas a brown trout fishery is well deserved, producing some monster "once in a life time" fish, but also holds good numbers of 19"- 24" fish. Chasing these trophies can be an immensely rewarding challenge. The White River is also heavily stocked with 12"-14" rainbow trout to provide consistent sport all year round on all water levels for all skill levels. Some rainbows, and cutthroat, can be still found well over 20", truly remarkable captures. Few tend to talk about the beauty of the White River as it glides past hill and holler: the soaring limestone bluffs, the dogwoods and redbuds of spring, the subtle mists and lush green banks of summer, the reds and gold of fall, and the stark gothic tones of winter.
FISHING THE WHITE
The White River is best known as a nymphing water, with consistent year round midge hatches and a plentiful supply of scuds and sowbugs plus bigger fare. Less well known are the increasingly strong hatches of Caddis (March-May), Sulphurs (June-July) and Terrestrials which can offer superb dry fly fishing depending on the water flows. These first two hatches can also add some nice variety to the nymphing. Want to know more? read the detailed hatch info on our Articles page. Our team is also seriously streamer addicted, as the best way to chase a genuine White River Trophy with a fly rod and we pride ourselves on our knowledge and gear selection. On low flows the White is easily waded, on higher flows there is still a surprising amount of fishing available for those on foot. But the White also offers tremendous watercraft based fishery on all water levels.
Being a fly fishing guide isn't just a way to earn a living. The best guides we know or have met have one thing in common, a burning passion, even obsession with the way of the fly rod. The ones who might guide you all day, then slip off to the river to fish of an evening; who schedule family holidays around fly fishing destinations and who climb out of bed in the middle of the night to tie that latest idea. There are plenty of guides on the White River system to "show you where the fish are" but fewer who can find the fish, know the rigging and tactics for changing conditions; have the right rods, lines and fly boxes for any eventuality; can teach you how to double haul, or single spey with a trout rod. Who share your passion. Our guide team, which also makes up most of our shop ownership and staff, are these guys. They go through waders and boots like others wear out jeans and tennis shoes, have fished 4 continents and North America from Alaska to The Keys. Regular folk would probably think them "not right". Our tailwaters can be some of the most complex to deal with anywhere, given the enormously varied water conditions you could face on any day. There aren't many places you can start the day wading at 50 cfs, and by midafternoon, be drifting on 20,000 cfs, and our guys will still have you catching fish and having fun.
These are the guys you want to make your fly fishing holiday one to remember for all the right reasons and keep you coming back season after season. The team offers wade, drift boat and river boat trips. They are state-licensed, properly insured and totally professional. They also happen to be a lot of fun.Bring your favorite rods or use our guide rods, at no extra charge, just give us a heads up when you book if you need gear. We can also arrange you to trial that next rod on your shopping list during your guide trip.You need to have appropriate clothing for the conditions, sunglasses, hat and sunscreen. Waders are optional on higher flows, essential on low water.
Our full day trips include lunch, which could range from sandwiches, cold meats, southern fried chicken, fajitas or bbq. Generally as standard we don't do cooked "shore lunches" which eat into your fishing time. But if your party would like a fish fry, bbq or other cooked lunches we are more than happy to arrange these services for an additional fee. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements or serious dislikes, we can give the guide a heads up, particularly for soda choices alongside our standard bottled water.