The Ouachita River is known for its diverse fishing spots and ever-changing local conditions, which makes it an exciting and challenging destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. To make the most of your angling adventure, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the various fishing spots along the river and the local conditions that can impact your fishing success.
- Remmel Dam to Rockport: This section of the river, located just below Remmel Dam, offers excellent wade fishing opportunities. The water is shallow, with a mix of riffles, runs, and pools that provide ideal habitat for smallmouth bass. Access is available at Remmel Park and the Rockport Public Access area.
- Lake Ouachita Tailwaters: The tailwaters below Lake Ouachita Dam provide exceptional fishing opportunities, especially during periods of low water flow. This area features deep pools, long runs, and rocky banks, making it perfect for targeting smallmouth bass and other sportfish species. Access is available at the Lake Ouachita Tailwaters Public Access point.
- Caddo River Confluence: The confluence of the Ouachita River and Caddo River is a productive fishing spot, with an abundance of structure and cover that attracts smallmouth bass. This area is best accessed by boat, with a public boat ramp located at the Caddo River Access site.
- Water Levels: The Ouachita River is a free-flowing river, meaning that water levels can fluctuate significantly depending on rainfall and dam releases. It’s essential to monitor local water levels and adjust your fishing tactics accordingly. Wade fishing is best during periods of low water flow, while higher water levels may necessitate fishing from a boat. You can check current water levels and flow rates on the USGS Water Data website.
- Water Clarity: Water clarity can vary along the Ouachita River, with some sections offering clear water, while others may be stained or turbid. In clear water conditions, use more natural-colored flies and lighter tippets to avoid spooking fish. In stained or turbid water, opt for larger, more visible flies and stronger tippets.
- Seasonal Changes: The Ouachita River experiences seasonal changes that can impact the behavior of smallmouth bass and other fish species. In the spring and early summer, smallmouth bass will be more active and aggressive as they feed and prepare to spawn. During the hot summer months, fish may seek deeper, cooler water or shady areas near structure. In the fall, smallmouth bass will once again become more active as they fatten up before winter.
By gaining a deeper understanding of the various fishing spots along the Ouachita River and the local conditions that can impact your fishing success, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the challenges and rewards of fly fishing this beautiful Arkansas waterway.
Exploring the Ouachita River Area
While fly fishing the Ouachita River is the main attraction for many visitors, the surrounding area offers plenty of other activities and amenities to enjoy. Here are some of the top local eateries, breweries, and attractions to check out during your visit to the Ouachita River region.
Top Local Eateries:
- Steinhaus Keller: Located in downtown Hot Springs, this German restaurant offers a unique dining experience with delicious German cuisine and a vast selection of beers.
- Rolando’s Restaurante: This Latin American restaurant offers a diverse menu with delicious dishes, including unique tacos and tapas, in a cozy atmosphere.
- Cajun Boilers: A popular seafood joint in Hot Springs, Cajun Boilers serves up flavorful Cajun-style dishes with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients.
Top Local Breweries:
- Superior Bathhouse Brewery: Located in a historic bathhouse in downtown Hot Springs, this brewery offers craft beers brewed with the famous thermal spring water, along with a food menu featuring local ingredients.
- Core Public House – Hot Springs: With a relaxed atmosphere and a wide selection of craft beers on tap, this brewery is a great spot to unwind after a day of fishing.
- Hot Springs National Park: This national park, centered around the historic bathhouses and hot springs, offers visitors the chance to explore scenic hiking trails, take a dip in thermal pools, and learn about the area’s history.
- Garvan Woodland Gardens: These beautiful botanical gardens showcase the natural beauty of Arkansas, featuring a variety of native and exotic plants, walking trails, and stunning landscapes.
- Magic Springs Theme and Water Park: For those looking for a fun family outing, this theme and water park in Hot Springs offers thrilling rides, water slides, and entertainment for all ages.
By taking the time to explore the local eateries, breweries, and attractions around the Ouachita River, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of the region while enjoying some of the best fly fishing opportunities in Arkansas.