Arkansas Tailwaters
Copyright 2018 James Marsh
September, 2018 Issue
by James Marsh
Fishing Journal
September, 2018 Issue
Great Destination Streams
    There are few freestone streams or spring creeks that stay cold enough to sustain a population of trout
during the hot weather of summer in the state of Arkansas, but the state's tailwaters will rival any of the
major trout streams in the nation in terms of fly fishing quality. In our opinion, autumn is the best time to
fish them and one of the main reasons is the size of the brown trout. All of the tailwaters in the state
contain some very large brown trout, as large as they get anywhere. There are a total of 168 miles of
cold-water trout fishing water. Here's a little information about the main ones. We have websites on them
as well, and will provide links to them for additional information. The following is just a summary of what I
feel like they offer. Keep in mind, as with most all tailwaters, rainfall amounts, needs for electricity and
agricultural needs, control the discharges from the dams and thereby control the flows and water levels. It
is essential to check the discharge schedules and stream levels when you are fishing these rivers.  

White River (Bull Shoals)
 This is the largest of the state's tailwaters, offering more than thirty miles of very good fly fishing
opportunity for trout, and smallmouth bass downstream of there. It is said that you can find trout as far as
a hundred miles downstream of the dam. The river holds, brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout. The
brown trout grow wild. The rainbows, brook and cutthroat trout are stocked but hold over very well thanks
to the very cold water.  

 This is a big river. The dam has eight generators. When any of them is running full stream, it can raise
the stream level a foot. The levels vary greatly with the time of year, electrical needs and of course,
amount of rainfall.

 Be sure to check out of Perfect Fly White River (Bull Shoals) website page.

 The Norfork River, or North Fork of the White River, is a short, little tailwater is that's becomes a
tributary of the White River above. What it lacks in stream size, it more than makes up in the size of the
trout it can hold, especially during the fall months of the year. The river is only 4.8 miles long. The dam
has two generators, each of which can create as much as a three-foot rise in the water level. It can be
waded on lower levels but a boat is required for higher levels.

  There are four species of trout that inhibit the river - brown, rainbow, brook and cutthroat. It is know for
its large brown trout and boast the fact that the world record brown trout weighing 39 pounds. The brown
trout are stream-born, wild trout but the rainbow, brook and cutthroat are stocked. All of the stocked
species hold over well and grow large, thanks to the cold water. There's plenty of access. There are
three different public access points within the short length of the river.

 The river has a great variety of aquatic insects and crustaceans as well as sculpin and baitfish. It's
source of water, the North Fork of the White River, is a spring-fed river with a high pH. That is one reason
the fish grown large and in a short time.

  Be sure to check out our Norfork River Perfect Fly webpage.

Little Red River
 The Little Red River is near Heber Springs, Arkansas. The river is below the Greers Ferry Dam that
forms a large lake with excellent bass fishing. The first time I visited the area was during the time I fished
a  national professional BASS tournament there in the late 1970's. I drove down below the dam to see the
Little Red for the first time during that trip.

 The water comes out of the bottom of the lake through the dam so cold, you can catch trout for almost
forty miles below the dam. It has a few wild rainbows, but they are mostly stocked fish. The stocked trout
hold over well due to the cold water and can grow large. Because of the cold water and excellent food
supply, it is a year-round trout fishery. It is known for its brown trout. The river is full of crustaceans such
as crayfish, scuds, and sow bugs. The huge brown trout also dine on the newly stocked rainbow trout.

 Be sure to check our our Perfect Fly Website page on the Little Red River.

Beaver Dam (Beaver Lake Tailwater)
 This excellent trout stream lies below Beaver Lake Dam on the White River. It is only seventeen miles
from the Missouri and Arkansas state line. It is known for its rainbow trout fishing as well as the browns. It
is also stocked with cutthroat and brook trout. It is relatively short, only seven and one-half miles long
before flowing into Table Rock Lake. There are more than seven public accesses built and maintained by
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and the Corps of Engineers on the 7.5 mile long trout fishery.  A
three mile, five mile and an eight mile float trip is available for drift boats. .

 Three are boat accesses. It is currently stocked with brook and brown trout. It has a good population of
holdover trout. The Beaver tailwater also has a one-mile, catch-and-release section, where artificial lures
and barbless hooks are required.  

 Be sure to check out our Perfect Fly Website page on Beaver Dam