White River

Mountain Home, Arkansas

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The most popular trout river in the Midwest. Time was, when anglers thought of Arkansas they thought of lazy khaki-green rivers gliding past limestone cliffs topped with stands of oak and hickory. Smallmouth was the fish that came to mind. The artificial boys tossed jig ‘n pigs or crankbaits. Hellgrammites and minnows were favored by the live bait set. The conveyance of choice was a johnboat, flat-bottomed and most likely of aluminum, but often built of wood. A five-pound bronzeback was king of the hill. No more, of course. Along with smallmouth, when fishing folk think of Arkansas they think of trout—big brown trout—particularly the 10- to 30-pound spawners that wrestle flank-to-fin in the redds below Bull Shoals Dam from November through January during the height of the run. For flood control and power generation, Corps of Engineers dams on the White and its principle tributaries were constructed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Resultant bottom draws produced cold tail waters ideal for trout. They were heavily stocked and fished on a put-and-take basis, but no one imagined these waters could become a world-class, self-sustaining fishery. Species: Brown, cutthroat, rainbow, brook. Angling methods: spin, and fly-fishing.

White River Professional Review and Guide

"The most popular trout river in the Midwest. Time was, when anglers thought of Arkansas they thought of lazy khaki-green rivers gliding past limestone cliffs topped with stands of oak and hickory. Smallmouth was the fish that came to mind. The artificial boys tossed jig ‘n pigs or crankbaits. Hellgrammites and minnows were favored by the live bait set. The conveyance of choice was a johnboat, flat-bottomed and most likely of aluminum, but often built of wood. A five-pound bronzeback was king of the hill. No more, of course. Along with smallmouth, when fishing folk think of Arkansas they think of trout—big brown trout—particularly the 10- to 30-pound spawners that wrestle flank-to-fin in the redds below Bull Shoals Dam from November through January during the height of the run.

For flood control and power generation, Corps of Engineers dams on the White and its principle tributaries were constructed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Resultant bottom draws produced cold tail waters ideal for trout. They were heavily stocked and fished on a put-and-take basis, but no one imagined these waters could become a world-class, self-sustaining fishery. Species: Brown, cutthroat, rainbow, brook. Angling methods: spin, and fly-fishing."

Activity Type: Fly-Fishing
Nearby City: Mountain Home
Access: Easy to Moderate
Season & Limits: Year-round
Local Maps: Arkansas DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer
Driving Directions: Directions to White River

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May 2018