Top Fly Fishing Spots in Arkansas

Arkansas, known as the Natural State, boasts an abundance of rivers and streams teeming with a variety of fish species. For fly fishing enthusiasts, Arkansas offers numerous opportunities to cast a line in pristine waters and experience world-class fishing. In this article, we will explore the top fly fishing spots in Arkansas, including key details and insider tips to help you make the most of your angling adventure.

The White River

World-Class Trout Fishing

The White River, which stretches over 700 miles through Arkansas and Missouri, is renowned for its exceptional trout fishing. With cold, clear waters and a well-managed fishery, the White River is a fly fishing paradise.

Key Details:

  • Location: North Central Arkansas
  • Access: Numerous public access points and boat ramps, as well as private resorts and guide services
  • Target Species: Rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round, with peak fishing in spring and fall

Top Flies and Techniques:

  • Dry Flies: Elk Hair Caddis, Blue-Winged Olive, and Adams in sizes 12-18
  • Nymphs: Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, and Zebra Midge in sizes 16-22
  • Streamers: Woolly Buggers, Sculpin patterns, and Slumpbusters in sizes 4-8
  • Technique: Dry fly fishing during hatches; nymphing in deeper runs and pools; streamer fishing near structure and drop-offs

White River Access Points and Information

The Little Red River

Trophy Brown Trout and Scenic Beauty

The Little Red River, a tailwater fishery below Greers Ferry Dam, is known for its stunning scenery and exceptional trout fishing. This river is famous for producing the former world-record brown trout, weighing in at 40 pounds and 4 ounces.

Key Details:

  • Location: North Central Arkansas, near Heber Springs
  • Access: Public access points, boat ramps, and wade fishing areas, as well as private resorts and guide services
  • Target Species: Brown trout, rainbow trout
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round, with peak fishing in spring and fall

Top Flies and Techniques:

  • Dry Flies: Elk Hair Caddis, Blue-Winged Olive, and Adams in sizes 12-18
  • Nymphs: Sowbugs, Scuds, and Zebra Midge in sizes 16-22
  • Streamers: Woolly Buggers, Sculpin patterns, and Slumpbusters in sizes 4-8
  • Technique: Dry fly fishing during hatches; nymphing in deeper runs and pools; streamer fishing near structure and drop-offs

Little Red River Access Points and Information

The Norfork River

Challenging and Rewarding Trout Fishing

The Norfork River, also known as the North Fork of the White River, is a smaller tailwater fishery that offers challenging and rewarding trout fishing. With fewer crowds and diverse water conditions, the Norfork River presents a unique angling experience.

Key Details:

  • Location: North Central Arkansas, near Mountain Home
  • Access: Public access points, boat ramps, and wade fishing areas, as well as private resorts and guide services
  • Target Species: Rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round, with peak fishing in spring and fall

Top Flies and Techniques:

  • Dry Flies: Elk Hair Caddis, Blue-Winged Olive, and Adams in sizes 12-18
  • Nymphs: Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, and Zebra Midge in sizes 16-22
  • Streamers: Woolly Buggers, Sculpin patterns, and Slumpbusters in sizes 4-8
  • Technique: Dry fly fishing during hatches; nymphing in deeper runs and pools; streamer fishing near structure and drop-offs

Norfork River Access Points and Information

The Ouachita River

Smallmouth Bass and Scenic Surroundings

The Ouachita River, located in western Arkansas, offers excellent smallmouth bass fishing amidst scenic surroundings. With a mix of swift runs, deep pools, and rocky structure, the Ouachita River provides diverse habitat for smallmouth bass and other sportfish species.

Read the comprehensive review of the Ouachita River.

Key Details:

  • Location: Western Arkansas, near Hot Springs
  • Access: Public access points, boat ramps, and wade fishing areas, as well as private resorts and guide services
  • Target Species: Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and sunfish
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring through fall, with peak fishing in late spring and early summer

Top Flies and Techniques:

  • Poppers: Foam poppers, Sneaky Pete, and Hopper patterns in sizes 6-10
  • Nymphs: Rubber-legged nymphs, Hare’s Ear, and Prince Nymphs in sizes 10-14
  • Streamers: Clouser Minnows, Woolly Buggers, and Crawfish patterns in sizes 4-8
  • Technique: Topwater fishing in the early morning and late evening; nymphing and streamer fishing near structure and along current seams

Ouachita River Access Points and Information

Conclusion

Arkansas is a fly fishing enthusiast’s dream, offering a wide array of rivers and streams that cater to anglers of all skill levels. From the world-class trout fishing of the White River and Little Red River to the smallmouth bass haven of the Ouachita River, the Natural State is truly a fishing paradise. By familiarizing yourself with the top fly fishing spots in Arkansas, their target species, and effective flies and techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your angling adventure in this beautiful state.

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