Fishing Club Hooked on that River Life

For crying trout loud,
Mary Riewe’s “stream sense”
snagged her a brown.

Scott Baker

There’s much written about the large river systems that wind through the heart and soul of this country. The mighty Mississippi, Missouri, Columbia, and other massive flows are top of mind. Recently, though, the RR Fishing Club was fortunate enough to fish one of the “little giants,” the pure and clear waters of Arkansas’ White River, which winds through the state surrounded by the breathtaking banks of the Ozark Mountains.

Starting at the Bull Shoals Dam and flowing around 100 miles south, the waters are home to wide varieties of fish. But it was the four species of trout (rainbows, cutthroats, brooks, and especially the monster predatory browns) that drew us in. The state stocks 750,000 rainbows a year, and many of them become forage fish for the browns. Reasonable restrictions protect the brown trout, but there’s a lot of catching and keeping of rainbows.

The White’s flows continually change from day to day (and even hour to hour) based on the amount of water released through Bull Shoals Dam, as dictated by the Army Corps of Engineers and power supply companies. Despite these flows varying from 2,200 CFS (cubic feet per second) to a swift 16,000 CFS, it didn’t ruin our fishing game.

We became quickly spoiled by the quantity and quality of fish that we laid eyes on throughout our four days of fishing. Pairing off in 20-foot jon boats, our guides slipped and slid along with the current, giving them complete control to cover every flowing nook and cranny. We did a fair amount of motoring to various spots in search of brief stretches of calm water, putting us right on top of the fish. Keeping close to the bank, we landed multiple rainbows, our limit of browns, and for a lucky few, the rare cutthroat.

There’s no exact “right way” to fish for trout. It requires a healthy combination of practice, patience, persistence, and luck, all of which certainly applied to our White River trout experience. Whether we were accomplished anglers or held a rod for the very first time, whether we caught that record book trout or not, any amount of time spent fishing on the White River in The Natural State was worth savoring.

So, do yourself a favor and put the White River on your bucket list. Going there truly was an angler’s paradise.

Interested in dropping a line? Plans are always in the works for fishing destinations around Texas and beyond. The RR Fishing Club meets the second Wednesday of each month at the Wildhorse Grill Boardroom at 4 p.m. For any inquiries, contact [email protected] or Scott Baker at 214-334-7664.