If you office in Conway (I do also) you are 45 minutes away from the Little Red, great Brown and Rainbows with some Brookies. I don't fish the smallies but have friends who can give you some ideas on creeks and rivers.
Ozark Angler has two stores, one in Little Rock and the other near the little red in Heber Springs. Greers Ferry lake in Heber has some very nice smallies but you have to learn how to fish the lake.
I lived in Missouri and made a couple of trips to the White River while I lived down there. Look for the barbless catch and release areas, I think one is called rim shoals, though I could be wrong, it has been a number of years. There were very large populations of trout at Rim Shoals when I was there.
Also I don't know where you are moving from, but there are water moccosins in the White, and copperheads everywhere down there. Also some years are very bad on ticks. Just a heads up, I found out the hard way. I was leaning up against a rock in the middle of the White and there he was 3 feet from me curled up on the other side of the rock!
Rim Shoals on the White River is correct. It is just downstream from Cotter, AR. The area below the Bull Shoals dam is just awesome. Check out my report.
Originally Posted by alcorn
Thanks for the warning guys.. I'm a little more hesitant about fishin now but I think I'll still probably go for it. Thanks for the heads up. I'll keep an eye out for any mocassins and copperheads.
If you move from Indianapolis to a fly fishing gold mine like Arkansas and decide not to fish, you should be beaten mercilessly. There are bass to be caught. After two days of Browns and Rainbows, the last fish we hooked was a largemouth. My understanding is that Walleye and Smallmouth are available, but step out of your comfort zone here. The trout fishery down there is absolutely awesome. Dry fly fishing is available, as is nymphing, but the best way to hunt for the big fish is by throwing big streamers. Bring your 7wt and even the 9wt. You'll need the backbone to throw the sinking line.
The White, the Norfork, and the Little Red are great rivers, and I believe the two previous world record browns came from these waters prior to the monster up here on the Manistee in Michigan. Fishing the major rivers is very dependant on the dam release schedules and power generation, so there is a learning curve.
I live in Michigan, and I've fished the Manistee, Little Manistee, Muskegon, PM, etc. After my trip this winter, I am totally hooked on Missouri/Arkansas.
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Snakes aren't holding these folks back. Zoom all the way and check out the left and right margins.
There's a rather large fly shop in Little Rock but I couldn't tell you what its called. The White River is rather easy to fish between mid February and mid March if you catch a Shadkill. Anything silver or white and the big browns and rainbows will bite. I haven't fished Norfork in a while so I don't know what to tell you there. Spring River actually has some pretty good trout in it above Hardy once you get to the area where Southfork runs into it, there's good smallmouth fishing there. But all of these rivers are rather a long drive from Conway for trout. White is not too far, but its a lot farther downstream from the trout waters and a lot bigger. The Little Red River's not too far from Conway, about an hour away, and has pretty good trout in it.
The white river is definitely the place to go. There are many other places too. I am a college student at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville... NWA. We will take trips to the White all the time to catch some trophy trout. ALOT of big Cutthroats and browns. We mainly throw streamers for the big ones, and it never fails.
Also, I dont know what your buddy was thinking. There are amazing smallmouth streams all over the state. All i do is look on google maps, look for water on the map, and go there with bass flies.... that also never fails.
Any water in Arkansas holds fish, just have a variety of flies and you'll do just fine.
You will be living reasonably close to all kinds of fishing in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Everybody has covered the trout pretty well, but just about every stream north and west of Conway has plenty of smallmouth, or if they don't have smallies they have largemouth and spotted bass. A few places you'll probably fall in love with:
Buffalo River--most gorgeous river you'll ever find if you love wild country, clear water, big clean gravel bars, and high, rugged bluffs. Good smallmouth fishing, gets crowded with canoe renters, but good wading in upper sections when it's too low up there for people to rent canoes.
Crooked Creek--not many canoe renting party idiots, good smallmouth fishing, though it gets considerable fishing pressure.
Second what crabgrats said. Your buddy at the flyshop has never been here (a least not w/ his eyes open ). You will be a 20 min to 2 h drive from virtually any kind of (freshwater) fishing you can imagine - all of it public. If you like to fish you are coming to the right place.