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Where To Go Trout Fishing In Arkansas (Top 7 Fishing Locations)

where to go trout fishing in arkansas

Trout Fishing In Arkansas

Arkansas has several bodies of water that are great for catching trout. Regardless of what area of the state you live in, you probably live less than an hour away from a trout fishing spot.

If you’re not familiar with trout fishing, or if you’re an avid fly fisherman who just moved to Arkansas, you might not know about the best fishing spots. So, I’ve listed seven of them here. At the bottom of this article, you’ll find some helpful information about the regulations that you’ll have to abide by.

The Best Time Of Year To Fish For Trout In Arkansas

In Arkansas, the best time to start targeting trout is in autumn. November sixth tends to be the day that most trout fishermen start heading out to their favorite lakes. You’ll start to catch less of them towards the middle of December. So, you have to make the most of your fishing opportunities.

What Kind of Trout Are In Arkansas

Here are some of the most popular trout species in Arkansas.

  • Rainbow trout
  • Brook trout
  • Brown trout
  • Cutthroat trout

7 Great Places To Go Trout Fishing In Arkansas

White River

White River is your best bet if you’re just getting started with trout fishing. There are more than 100-miles of water for you to work with, and the trout population is fairly dense. You’re likely to meet a lot of other fishermen due to the popularity of the river, but there’s plenty of space for you to enjoy yourself.

There are also several different ways that you can access the water at White River. Some sections are great for wading and fly fishing, and other sections are great for fishing from a boat.

The river uses the state-wide trout limits. So, you don’t have to worry about any special rules.

White River is a somewhat special location due to the eight water generators that are in it. The generators pump fresh water into the river and oxygenate it frequently. You’ll never know what the water levels are until you get to the lake. They change everyday.

Norfork River

Norfork River is a much smaller area than White River. It only takes up about five-miles of the waterway. However, it’s known for its massive trout. The world record was broken at Norfork River, and there are plenty of massive trout for you to catch to this day.

This is the spot that you want to go to if you want to go after really big trout, and you don’t mind fishing in a smaller area. Just don’t expect to catch fish at the same rate as you would at White River.

Little Red River

Little Red River is a relatively large river. It’s about 35-miles long, and it has all four of the state’s trout species in it. However, it’s not a great spot for boaters. A lot its sections are best for waders and shore fishermen.

Little Red River held the world’s trout record for seven years, but the record was eventually broken, and the average trout in the river doesn’t come anywhere near the 40-pound hog that set the record. So, don’t expect to catch too many big guys like you can at Norfork River. The fish are fairly dense at Little Red River, though. So, a wader or shore fisherman can easily catch the lake’s trout limit consistently.

Spring River

If you’re an avid fly fisherman, you’ll love Spring River. It’s located near the northern tip of Arkansas, and while it’s only ten-miles long, it has several spots that attract fly fishermen from around the state.

Dam Three tends to be the best spot for fly fishing, but the other spots produce plenty of trout if they’re not occupied by other fishermen before you get there. I don’t recommend using spinning equipment. The trout at Spring River aren’t known for targeting spinning lures. They really like flies.

Dry Run Creek

Dry Run Creek isn’t like the other bodies of water that I’ve listed so far. It’s not a spot that is designed for advanced fishermen to target record-breaking fish. It’s specifically designed for parents to bring their children, and it has access points for disabled people, too. It’s meant to be a relaxing area that caters to the people who can’t take advantage of difficult spots such as White River and Little Red River.

The creek is maintained pretty well, and it’s stocked with tons of trout. However, there’s one rule that some fishermen might not like. You cannot keep anything you catch. The spot is designed to help budding fishermen and disabled people. It’s not a place that you can go to in an attempt to catch your next meal.

You also can’t use real baits. You have to use flies or lures at Dry Run Creek. Overall, this is the best spot to take your kids for an afternoon of fishing, but more advanced anglers will want to go elsewhere.

Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake is a great spot to go fly fishing because the dam destroyed the lake’s population of warm-water species. So, Arkansas officials introduced trout to the colder waters, and they flourished.

The lake is fairly large when you compare it to other lakes in the area. It’s about seven and a half miles long, and some sections are shallow enough for fly fishermen to wade.

The atmosphere at Beaver Lake is pretty relaxing, and the trout are plentiful, but don’t plan on switching targets if the trout aren’t biting. There isn’t much else in the lake since the water temperature dropped considerably.

Bull Shoals Lake

Bull Shoals Lake is a great spot if you want to consistently catch massive trout. You won’t find a lot of smaller trout, and predatory species such as bass and walleye might jump on your line, but when you do catch a trout, you can bet it’ll be a big one.

This is a spot that very advanced fly fishermen will love, but if you’re a bit less experienced, you might want to try another spot first.

Arkansas Trout Fishing Regulations: FAQ

Here are a few of the most common asked questions folks ask regarding the different regulations that you’ll have to abide by while fishing in Arkansas.  Keep in mind that these answers reflect the current regulations in Arkansas as of the date of this article. If you notice a change in regulations, please contact me and let me know.

What Is The Limit On Trout In Arkansas?

The state-wide limit on trout is five trout per day. You can only have two brown trout and two brook trout in your basket, though. Also, some lakes have different limits. You have to check each lake you go to before you fish. Don’t just assume that the state limit applies to every lake you visit.

How Many Rods Can You Use In Arkansas?

If you’re in a lake that is designated as a trout fishing zone, you can only have one fishing rod. You also have to control your rod at all times. That means you can’t just stick it in a rod holder and take a nap.

Do You Need A Fishing License In Arkansas?

Yes. You need a fishing license to fish in Arkansas. If you’re just visiting, you can buy a three-day license, or you can buy an annual license if you plan on fishing a lot. You’ll also need a trout fishing permit. If you’re a senior citizen, you qualify for a license and permit that lasts the rest of your lifetime.

Where To Find More Arkansas Trout Fishing Regulations And Information

If you need more information about the trout fishing laws in Arkansas, you can visit the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Website.

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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