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  1. #1

    Default Taneycomo, Bull Shoals/White River, or Lower Mountain Fork?

    It's looking like next May I'll be in on the Oklahloma-Texas border for a wedding. I'm looking at an opportunity for some fishing on my way back to NE Kansas.

    I'm guessing I could budget a week at one or more of those places. Which would you do? I'd be wading, perhaps float tubing. I'd tent camp.

    Other suggestions for fishing in Missouri, Arkansas, or Oklahoma would be welcome, too. I'm thinking trout since I don't get much chance for them, but any species is good.

    Part of the reason I'm asking so soon is that it's budget time for my community, and I may need to lobby some of my relatives about this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    SW Arkansas

    Default Re: Taneycomo, Bull Shoals/White River, or Lower Mountain Fork?

    Hey! Stay away from LMF! It's mine!... JK! Actually I would normally heartily recommend it. It's one of my "home" waters. Beaver's Bend State Park, where most of the fishing and all of the camping is, is a really nice park (except for kind of primitive bathroom facilities) and the fishing is great, except somewhat overrun on weekends. There's a problem right now, though. Unlike most tailwaters which are subject to sudden, although warned, changes of flow level, and therefore unwadeable part of the time, the part of the river where we fish (which is really nice!) is fed by a separate spillway upstream from the generators. IOW, they can keep constant flow there and normally keep it at a nice wadeable, fishable level. This spring, however, they had to make repairs on the generators and were forced to raise the river levels below "The Spillway" to something of a torrent, continually. Many learned to fish it that way and reported good spring-flood-like fishing. HOWEVER, now,... they say they're about to drop the level back to normal,... but haven't yet. IOW, there's no telling you what you might find there if and when you go. This is kind of a pity, because if you're staying near the Texas, OK border anywhere near Paris, TX, you're right by it. Here's the forum to ask more questions about it on:
    Home | Beavers Bend Fly Shop Message Board

    I would heartily recommend the Beaver Lake tailwater by Eureka Springs, AR. It's really nice tailwater fishing, subject to generation. We stayed at Spider Creek Resort. Totally recommend it for cabins. I have no real clue about tent camping. I think there's some by the dam and very good fishing right there. If you're going back to Kansas, I think it's not far off your route.

    Bull Shoals Campground is right at the classic White River trophy trout fishing area. I've also been lucky enough to get to fish it. It seemed like a really nice state park camping area and the wade fishing's great, again subject to the generating schedule. It's about 70 miles or so directly east of Eureka Springs/ Beaver Dam, so perhaps a little more out of your way.

    The Norfork tailwater, about an hour SE of Bull Shoals, is awesome, awesome just below the dam and again about 3 miles down. I'd consider camping at BS for a couple of days and taking a day trip to the Norfork when generation isn't scheduled. It keeps a completely separate schedule from BS.

    Go here for generation schedules for all these spots:
    Southwestern Power Administration

    Good fishing!

    ---------- Post added at 09:31 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:49 PM ----------

    Oh shoot! You said "next May". I first read something like "in May", that is, the next week or two. In that case, I do recommend the Lower Mountain Fork at Beaver's Bend State Park, although I'd call it just slightly second string to those other spots I mentioned, which are various forks and tailwaters of the mighty White River. I donno. It's pretty darned nice. The main area we fish, again, normally you don't have to worry about generation, at all, but it's much better to fish it on a weekday if you can to avoid the crowds. I imagine the White's pretty much that way, too. The LMF at BB has a high gradient section called "Spillway Creek" with pocket water and fast riffles, and a lower gradient section, the "Red Zone", that's more like a meadow river. It's pretty darned neat and kept well-stocked, but the fish are fairly pressured and can get wary. Try to stay at Hickory Campground if you go. It's right next to the good fishing.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Taneycomo, Bull Shoals/White River, or Lower Mountain Fork?

    Thanks for all of the info, jonbo. Very helpful.

    I would heartily recommend the Beaver Lake tailwater by Eureka Springs, AR....If you're going back to Kansas, I think it's not far off your route.
    I had forgotten about this lake. I went there years ago as a kid on a scout trip. Looking at travel routes, it's actually quite convenient for the trip I'll be taking. Beaver Lake is definitely a contender especially if gasoline is costly then.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Cave Springs, Arkansas

    Default Re: Taneycomo, Bull Shoals/White River, or Lower Mountain Fork?

    Camp at Quarry Park below Norfork Dam, I think for GPS purposes it would be in Salesville Arkansas. Be sure and visit my buddy Dominic at Two Rivers Fly Shop in the town of Norfork. Fish right there in the camp ground area or head down Hwy 5 south towards Dominic's and fish the Ackerman Access, everyone will refer to it as the handicap access. Upstream from there begins the C&R section.
    If you decide on the White, you can camp at Bull Shoals State Park, or, I'm pretty sure Rim Shoals Resort has tent sites. Probably a bunch of the resorts have tent sites??? Stop in at Dally's in Cotter to get the low down. Steve and the gang there are super solid. It's right on US 62 at the top of the hill in Cotter. Blue Ribbon in Mountain Home has also reopened under new ownership. The White is fishing way different with minimum flow. Lot's of places you could easily wade to you can't get to any more, but it has opened up some new areas to wade to. Norfork also has minimum flow but it only raised the water level 6-9 inches or so.
    Beaver is Beaver. Fishing at any of the public accesses you take a chance at getting skunked. Lots of camping above the dam on Beaver Lake or below the dam on the White River. It is nothing like the White in the Mountain Home area. Beautiful crystal clear water that can have zero drift in many areas. I've got spots that I can catch fish all day long but I use my kayak to reach these spots. One of those being at Spider Creek. Many years ago for like a buck or two they would let you access the river there but I don't know if that's the case now. Jim at Beaver Dam store could tell you. Beaver is about 45 minutes from my house so I have fished it a ton. Most fly guys fish at the "bath house" or "turnaround" back down towards Parker's bottoms. This is the Special Regulations area. Fishing can be good at some of the new walk in areas between Parker and the Bertrand boat ramp. I put my kayak in at Bertrand and go up towards Parker and float down to Spider Creek, then paddle back up to Bertrand. For sure have some honey holes!
    Good luck where ever you end up. If you need more Arkansas info just let me know.  3853

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Taneycomo, Bull Shoals/White River, or Lower Mountain Fork?

    Great comments also, markg52.

    I'm cutting and pasting all of this as it will be useful.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    SW Arkansas

    Default Re: Taneycomo, Bull Shoals/White River, or Lower Mountain Fork?

    When I fished the handicap access at Norfork it was awesome, just a beautiful stretch of river. I dream of getting to go there again. At Beaver Dam we stayed at Spider Creek, so I mainly fished what's called "The Island" and did well. I don't think I could have accessed that spot without staying at SC. If they'll let you pay to fish it I would. When I rode my bike upstream a mile (on the road, of course) to "Parker Bottoms" it was a bit tougher. I think I caught 1brown in about 3 hours. I don't know if any conclusions can be drawn from that.

    Again, I heartily recommend the Lower Mountain Fork if you can go on a weekday, although all those spots we've mentioned are probably packed during the spring/summer on weekends. I've always gone during the cold months and during the week. PM me if you decide to go to LMF and I'll give you all the info I can.

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  10. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Southernmost Illinois

    Default Re: Taneycomo, Bull Shoals/White River, or Lower Mountain Fork?

    In the Mountain Home area you could float the White one day and the Norfork the next. I would suggest weekdays and with a good drift boat guide not a power boat guide from one of the resorts. The driftboat folks can (from my experience) do a much better job of working the river.

    Bruce A. Hering
    Program Coordinator/Lead Instructor
    Game Preserve/Shooting Complex Mgt.
    Southeastern Illinois College (semi retired)
    Shotgun Team Coach
    NSCA Level III Instructor

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