Group Leaders / Additional Information:
The group leader is Larry Rollins
Below Bull Shoals Dam, the White River is one of the most famous float fishing streams in the world. And with good reason. Probably more rainbow trout are caught here each year than in any other trout stream in America. The Game and Fish Commission stocks hundreds of thousands of rainbows in the White annually, and more than 90 percent of them are caught each year by anglers who come here from all corners of the globe.
Brown trout? Well, let the figures speak for themselves. In 1972, Gordon Lackey landed a monster brown weighing 31-pounds, 8-ounces. This stood as the North American record until fellow guide Leon Waggoner landed a 33-pound, 8-ounce giant in 1977, now just mere ounces under the world record brown trout. Missouri angler Tony Salamon landed a 30-pound, 8-ounce leviathan in 1986 that set a new world line-class record for 6-pound-test line. Very few browns grow that large, of course. But frankly, 5-10 pounders are common, and anglers have a good chance of landing an 11-20 pound trophy. And, yes, a few 20-pound-plus monsters are usually corralled each year.
Although White River rainbow trout don’t approach North American record size, the river still boasts the 19-pound, 1-ounce Arkansas state record. Ten-pound fish are considered large, but there are plenty of real thoroughbreds in the 2-6 pound class.
As an added bonus, White River anglers can also find cutthroat and brook trout in these fine waters. Cutthroats were first stocked in 1983, but the river has already produced 9-pound-plus fish. Brook trout are a rare catch, but they have reached up to four pounds in the North Fork (NorforkRiver) of the White.
Bull Shoals to Cotter is the stretch best known for trophy browns. Many are taken on live crayfish or sculpins, but a variety of other live baits and artificials can also be employed successfully, especially at night since brown trout are nocturnal feeders. Flyfishing is extremely popular on the White during low water periods, but most anglers opt for the standard White River rig–a 16 to 20-foot johnboat equipped with a 10-20 hp motor.
The North Fork (NorforkRiver) of the White from Norfork Dam to the White has produced two record rainbow trout and the state record brook trout. The Crooked Creek and BuffaloRiver junctions are also good lunker trout holes.
Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Cutthroat and Brook Trout