White River Fly Fishing

White River Fly Fishing

The White River is known as one of the most popular destinations in the world for serious fly fishing enthusiasts. The river flows through the northeastern portion of Arkansas and is home to huge brown and rainbow trout, as well as a variety of other species.

It’s a river system that feeds into Bull Shoals Lake and winds its way through the beautiful Ozark mountains of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.

The tailwaters below Bull Shoals Dam are teeming with abundant numbers of all kinds of trout. This stretch of water is arguably some of the best areas for fly fishing in the entire United States due to its ease of access, generous populations of trout, and the massive size that some species can grow to.

The white River offers some of the best fly fishing in Arkansas and is one of the best rivers in America.

There’s a good reason why so many skilled trout anglers have the White River at or very near the top of their bucket list of the best destinations in the world for fly fishing.

If you’re planning a trip to the White River, or simply considering making the journey one day, here are some helpful tips and information that will prove useful for any fly angler with their sights set on this pristine Arkansas waterway.

White River Fly Fishing

The White River snakes through Arkansas, also known as The Natural State, for more than 700 miles and travels deep into the neighboring state of Missouri as well.

There are countless locations along the banks of the White River that are great spots for fly fishing, but most anglers who have any amount of experience on this river will agree that the best approach is to fish from a boat or canoe.

The banks of the White River are generally very steep and overgrown with thick brush, making it very difficult for anyone to do some fly fishing—regardless of the river’s water level.

This waterway is home to a plentiful number of different trout species, including brown, rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout. There are tons of professional fishing guides that are reputable and highly recommended, but anglers are also encouraged to go it alone in their search for the best spots along the White River when it comes to fly fishing.

As you might expect, locals have a thorough understanding of the absolute best spots to fly fish along this river, but you would be hard pressed to get them to divulge such information.

The water of the White River is quite clear and maintains a relatively cold temperature throughout the year that’s ideal for trout to live and thrive in. The fly hatch generally occurs around late March or April and will usually last well into the month of May.

Anglers who regularly fish the White River mostly agree that trout can be easily caught at almost any time of the year in every little pocket and tributary along its entire length.

When to Fish for White River Trout

One of the most well-known tips about fishing the White River is there is virtually no time of the year that’s less productive than others when it comes to trout fishing or other game fish species that swim in its waters.

The best months of the year to catch trout are usually once the weather cools off in early autumn around October or early November. The White River is perhaps best known for the massive brown trout that can be caught, but anglers also flock to the river for giant rainbow trout, as well as smallmouth and other species as well.

Also Read: Little Red River Fly Fishing

The winter months are widely considered to be the best times of the year for catching larger-sized brown trout. During the late fall and early winter months, brown trout are known to begin their annual spawning rituals throughout the White River. During this time, anglers focus on bead fishing for the most part, but fly fishing is also highly productive.

Fly Hatches on the White River

For skilled fly anglers who regularly fish the White River at different times of the year, it’s perhaps most important to pay attention to the annual fly hatches that occur in order to maximize one’s chances of successfully catching the massive brown and rainbow trout that roam the waters of the White River.

What makes the White River such a prolific trout fishing destination is the abundant amount of insects that call the area home. The river is filled with countless types of flies and other bugs which serve as easy prey for hungry trout throughout each year.

Species of insects that are popular targets for trout, such as scud and sowbugs, are active throughout the entire year along the White River, as well as different types of mayflies and other bugs.

Knowing just when and how these different flies and other critters are expected to hatch is one of the main keys to preparing for a successful fly fishing season on the White River.

There are many different online resources that note just when to expect each different type of fly or insect to hatch, but most anglers have a general grasp on the best times to expect certain species to become prevalent along the river banks.

What Flies to Use for White River Trout

There are a large number of different types of flies that can be used to catch trout on the White River. Many anglers find it difficult to understand just which fly to use at certain times of the year or in specific areas of the White River’s 700 miles of coastline, but there are a few main species of flies and styles of lures that most anglers stick to in order to ensure success.

Dry flies such as midges, caddis, cranefly, olives and others are often the go-to choice for fly fishing enthusiasts who flock to the river during the last few weeks of summer and into the early autumn season.

Most of the area’s professional fly fishing guides all agree that you can’t go wrong by using flies that closely resemble the many different naturally-occurring insects along the White River’s banks and areas nearby the dam and other tributaries.

One of the main points that anglers make about the White River and the particular type of flies that can be used successfully pertain to the overall size of each one. There are giant-sized brown trout, as well as rainbows and brook trout prowling the waters of the white river each year.

These fish are able to reach such gigantic size because they take advantage of the copious amounts of shad that are usually killed off by the dam’s turbines that shoot warmer water into the cool, clear river at certain times—killing off many thousands of shad in a short amount of time.

The trout in the White River then take advantage of these shad and devour them as they are easy meals that provide more than enough sustenance.

One main tip that you can use to help catch these massive trout is to not be afraid to use larger-sized flies to catch them.