Fishing in Arkansas

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Arkansas has gained a serious reputation for producing some of the world's largest brown trout. Although much of the natural flowing water in Arkansas is too warm to support trout, the tailwaters of a few of the state's reservoirs provide optimal water conditions, fostering trout growth to sizes found in few other places in the world. Beyond Arkansas' monster trout, fly anglers have a plethora of other species to chase in beautiful locations all throughout The Natural State.

North Arkansas has the highest concentration of quality fly fishing water in the state. Both the Buffalo River and Crooked Creek are blue ribbon streams for world-class smallmouth bass, and Bull Shoals Lake offers some of the finest largemouth bass fishing around. The White River, with its three tailwater fisheries (Beaver, Bull Shoals, and the Norfork) attracts droves of fly anglers hungry for the chance to hook into well-fed browns and rainbows in the 19 to 24-inch range, with some real trophies over 30 inches. The previous world record brown trout was caught in the Little Red River, a tailwater below Greers Ferry Lake in central Arkansas. In southwest Arkansas, the Little Missouri River provides excellent fishing for smallmouth and rock bass, and in its tailwater section below Lake Greeson, rainbow trout are the primary target, though smallmouth, largemouth, and even some striped bass can be caught as well.

Since nearly all of Arkansas trout fisheries are in tailwaters with relatively stable temperatures year-round, quality fishing can be had in every season. Bass and other species can be fished for year-round as well; all you need to worry about is the weather and finding time to hit the water.


AR Department of Fish & Wildlife
1740 N. Market Blvd
Little Rock, AR 95834
P: (916) 928-5805

Popular Water In Arkansas

Arkansas Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

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Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

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Guides based in Arkansas

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The Mayfly Project
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