How did the Trout Fishes find their way to Arkansas?

If by chance, you get to go back in time to the early half of the 1940s in the state of Arkansas, there is one thing you will definitely notice. The rivers of the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains have absolutely no Trout, like Nil. Now, this might seem odd, especially given the fact that Arkansas is popular for its White River Trout fishing activities along with fishing in other rivers like the Spring, the Little Red, and so on.

Not just that, they are counted among the popular destinations for Trout fishing at a global level. Today though, you won’t find a surplus population of the beautiful smallmouth bass or any other denizens that had been native to the area. Rather, they have been replaced by millions of brown, rainbow, brook, as well as cutthroat Trout that have been stocked in to tackle the abrupt population decline of the native fishes.

Why did the native fishes of the White Water get replaced with Trout?

The native fishes of the White Water River in Arkansas diminished with time, which was especially caused due to an abrupt increase in the water’s atmospheric oxygen & nitrogen. This happened after the spillway gates had been opened. Apart from this, the fishes failed to keep up their population in the extremely cold tailwaters that entered the river due to newly built state-federal dams.

Arkansas Game & Fish Commission’s Fisheries Biologists & Administrators knew right away that the perfect way to stock the rivers is with the Trout. The frigid water close to the dam was ideal for the breeding and survival of the Trout. While the native fishes being lost was inevitable, the agencies put in place management and stocking programs to allow anglers a chance to catch the Trout as per requirement. The story was the same for the White River Trout fishing as well.

A History to the Arkansas Trout

The story of the White River Trout fishing started in the year 1930s right when Congress provided permission to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create dams in the basin of the White River for floor power and control. The initial two dams:

  • Norfork Dam-North Fork River
  • Bull Shoals Dam-White River

were completed by the years 1944 & 1951, respectively. These two dams managed to change the river’s character. The immediate effect of the dams being constructed was noted after the cold Bull Shoals & Norfork dam water completely deteriorated the fisheries with warm water as far as he downstream dam by the Mountain View.

The impact of cold water on the warm was thoroughly devastating. However, the local authorities replaced this absence with the Trout population for White Water Trout fishing. In the year 1951, the AGFC planned on taking advantage of cold-water influxes in the North Fork and White Rivers. Helped by the federal officials, the local commission started stocking the rainbow Trout variety in the oxygen-rich, cool tailwaters. In the very same year, about 39,216 Trout fishes were placed into the streams. After this smaller population of the fishes was placed in the consecutive years that followed.

In the year 1956, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service acquired a total of $665,600 appropriation that helped release about 6 million catchable-size fishes of the Trout variety. Not just that, $455,000 worth of contribution was added to the creation of Norfork National Fish Hatchery for Trout culture in 1957.

The Rainbow Trout Revolution

The Rainbow Trout that belonged to the Norfork Hatchery seemed to thrive in the food-rich and cold environments of the Arkansas rivers and grew at a phenomenal rate. Soon, the North Fork and White Rivers were dubbed as the finest fishes in the country for the trophy Trout.

A journalist named Billi Apple wrote in the year 1956 that every year, about 3-5 million Trout are released into the North Fork and White Rivers for the sake of White Water Trout fishing. One can only imagine the scenic beauty of both the rivers that are filled with Trout.

Also, he mentioned that the chilled water that was poured from these structures led to an increase in the water holding capacity of the river. In turn, this made the river perfect for the survival of Trout. With the establishment of the trout tailwaters above the Little Missouri and White rivers, over the Little Red, the Trout fishery at Arkansas started developing into a successful business. This enforced the realization that the frigid water of Spring River is also capable of supporting the trout population.

Though the catch rates of rainbows at Arkansas might be at the top in the whole country, due to more angling pressure, 5-7 pounders have become extremely rare.

Brown Trout: The Centre of Attraction

Due to the submitting rainbow-Trout as a result of increasing pressure, the Brown one became the center of focus. They hadn’t been in the limelight during the 60s and 70s as they appeared very occasionally. This is why the AGFC placed them aside. However, in the year 1977, a brown monster weighing 2 pounds was caught. This forced the AGFC to welcome back the brown monster into the business.

The 1980s was spent allowing the brown Trout to increase their population by reproducing naturally. As a result, today, Arkansas proudly holds several 20-pound brown Trout along with 5-10-pound brown fish. Recently, a record of 1992 revealed that a big brown monster of 40 pounds and 4 ounces was seen inside the Little Red River. With an increasing population of brown trout fishes, the White Water Trout fishing has become even more fun.


All around the year, one can notice the White Riving brimming with Trout fishes. So, there’s no best time to visit this region. When it comes to fishing, everyone seems to have a liking. Several tourist agencies have been set up for White Water Trout fishingwho guides the tourists during fishing. With the change in season, the method of fishing also changes. However, everything else remains constant. As it witnesses a lot of tourists every year, the economy is also expanding at an impressive rate. The tourism industry considers it a boon as they’ve remarked a significant rise in the no. of tourists.

If you are an outsider who’s looking for a fun tourist guide, then the White River fishing guide will be your one-stop solution. When you come to visit us, make sure you ask for Jake, and he’ll make sure you have a good time here. Our team is patient and kind while explaining the methods of catching fish. You’d have a great time with us, and there’s no doubt about that. All the equipment for the fishing activity such as reels, tackle, flies, bait and rods, everything will be provided to you. If you’ve got further queries, feel free to contact us via mail,, or call us at (870)405-6384.

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