Top Ozark Tailwaters
The White River isn't the only fishery capable of coughing up huge trout. Just a few years ago, the Little Red River relinquished a 40-pound, 4-ounce brown trout to a spin fisherman, setting a new world record.
One of the best-kept trout fishing secrets in the South, the Little Red, which flows from Greers Gerry Dam near Heber Springs, offers 30 miles of trout water from the dam. Angler can fish for big rainbows pushing fifteen-pounds, and colorful browns of titanic proportions.
Hatchery cutthroat were introduced in the early 1990s, and preliminary results show that these planted trout are thriving. Brook trout are now part of the regular catch, too. The river has islands, swift shoals, and big boulders, making for a variety of trout habitats.
There are all kinds of holding water along the Little Red, and the best way to try them all is to float this clear, blue-ribbon fishery from a boat, usually a johnboat a long, narrow, shallow fiberglass or aluminum boat, the traditional craft on these waters.
Fish above the moss beds, under overhanging limbs, by submerged timber, to drop-offs, to the banks, to logjams, and to the heads and tails of pools. You'll probably hear that the Little Red has little or no dry-fly fishing, but don't believe it. Caddis flies hatch most of the warm months, stones come off in spring, and attractor patterns seem to work most of the summer.
The fall trout spawn has for years been the most popular time to be on the Little Red and White Rivers, but the guides and shops finally began to realize that fishing over spawning trout is detrimental to the continued health of the fishery. As such, the guides and shops, for the most part, have recently emphasized catch-and-release angling and discourage their clients from fishing for spawners.
So if you want to catch big trout in the White River system, and wish to avoid fishing the fall brown trout run, when thousands of anglers descend on the tailwater like so many ducks, consider hunting for these giants under the cover of darkness.
Night fishing is popular on these rivers and with good reason. The big trout tend to leave safe lies and feed under cover of dark. Anglers also need to fish with underwater flies such as egg patterns, big streamers and sculpin patterns. Stripping in big streamers with a responsive hand is a must to consistently catch nighttime trout on the White River system.
Guides and locals claim that if the moon is high and the starry night cloudless, you might as well stay at the lodge and turn in early. I recommend going out at night with a guide or only after you have fished the area during the day for a safer nighttime outing.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication