Home of 1992-2009 World Record Brown Trout

Trout are one of the most popular game fish in the world.  They are a fresh water species of fish related to salmon.  When planning trout fishing expeditions, one often thinks of the cool natural springs of the Rocky Mountains out west; however, one might be surprised to learn that Arkansas is one of the best trout fishing destinations in the world.  In fact, Arkansas was the home of the world record brown trout from 1992 till 2009.  This article will explore the four top trout angling rivers in Arkansas.

The White River

The White River is a 720 mile river that starts in the northwestern Arkansas Ozark mountains, takes a brief detour into southern Missouri, and then heads back south to Arkansas through the north and central parts of the state.   It is interrupted by eight dams, two in Missouri and six in Arkansas.  The tailwaters of these dams provide the perfect trout habitat.  The White River is a world renowned trout fishing location.  The most popular area for fishing is below the Bull Shoals Dam.  These waters have been stocked since 1951, just after the dam was completed.  The clear, cool tailwaters of Bull Shoals provide 100 miles of ideal fishing.  Rainbow, cutthroat, and brook species are stocked from several hatcheries along the river.  Browns were stocked until the 1970's, when they were discovered to have established a self-sustaining wild population.  The White River was home to two record North American brown trout; the first in 1972 weighing 31.5 pounds and the second in 1977 weighing 33.5 pounds.  It also produced the state record rainbow at 19 pounds and 1 ounce.  The are many access points and facilities available for anglers along this stretch.  Fly-fishing and fishing from johnboats are the two most common ways of fishing this region.

The North Fork River

The North Fork of the White River, also know as the Norfork, is another premier trout fishing location.  This river runs for five miles below the dam of Lake Norfork before joining the White.  Like the White, it is stocked with rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout.  It also boasts a wild brown population.  Along this five mile stretch, hundreds of brown trout over ten pounds have been caught.  The Norfork has a list of champion trout as well.  It was the site of the former world record German brown trout, weighing in at 38 pounds and 9 ounces.  It also holds the current state record brook trout at 5 pounds.  Also similar to the Bull Shoals tailwaters, the are many access points and resorts for visitors, as well as land and boat fishing options.

The Little Red River

The Little Red River, in the central part of the state, is a 29 mile river that emerges from the tailwaters of the Greers Ferry Dam near Heber Springs.  Trout were introduced here after completion of the dam in 1966.  Like the other trout rivers in Arkansas, it is stocked with rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook species.  It also has a wild population of brown trout. Unique to the Little Red, is Arkansas' only known wild breeding population of brook trout.  These wild brookies are found in Collins Creek, a tributary of the river.  The Little Red River is the proud home place of the 1992-2009 40 pound 4 ounce world record brown trout.  It is also a favorite for fly-fishers and boat fishers alike, with several full service marinas and amenities for anglers.

The Spring River

The Spring River is near the Missouri border in north central Arkansas.  The Spring River is unique among the trout waters of Arkansas because it comes from a natural spring, as opposed to man-made lakes.  The Spring River arises from Mammoth Springs and supports 10 down stream miles of trout fishing.  Like the others, it is a stocked stream.  One to three pound rainbows are not uncommon.  Fly fishing is the preferred MOA for this river, and outfitters are available.

Trout fishing is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.  "The Natural State" boasts some the best trout fishing in the world.  Arkansas rivers are the perfect destination for beginner and expert anglers alike.