What Flies are the Best for White River Fly Fishing?

Most anglers would agree that selecting the right flies is no doubt an art. Flies for White River Fly Fishing are designed in a way that imitates both adult and immature stages of different types of insects, leeches, worms or baits fish. However, there are millions of insects and worms species in the United States itself. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your local fish would have a different diet as compared to the fish that are miles beyond the place you live.

So, you might have to juggle a bit in order to select what is right for fly fishing in terms of flies.

Most flies tend to fit into the following six categories that you can select from.

Types of Flies to Choose From for White River, Arkansas

1. Dry Flies:

The dry flies & other surface-based flies tend to represent the adult aquatic insect population that tends to emerge during the afternoon. They also tend to represent other types of food sources, such as the items that get swept into the river, such as mice or grasshoppers. Caddis and Caddis emergers are very effective on the White River below Bull Shoals Dam.

If you are fishing for Trout on the White River, you can opt for the dry flies. Caddis are especially effective, especially during afternoon half day trips. So, the next time you venture out for White River fly fishing, make sure you check out your options for dry flies in the local shop to grab yourself some good Caddis dry flies.

2. Nymphs:

Have you ever seen a stagnant space in a water body that is loaded with some small macro invertibrates, larvae-like insects? Well, Nymphs are just that. They are the imitations of the young larval insects that take over the surface of the water and make up for good fish food as they come to the surface. When you are fishing on or maybe near the lakes’ or rivers’ bottom, nymphs can be pretty effective for fishing options for Trout. The White River in Arkansas is absolutely loaded with nymphs! Small (sz 18 Pheasant Tail Nymphs) are deadly effective.

3. Streamers:

Another popular choice for White River fly fishing in terms of flies are Streamers. Shad patterns to be exact. They imitate the look, feel, and taste of Shad, baitfish, and crayfish. All these options serve as a primary source of food for White River Trout. Streamers are generally fishes throughout the columns of water in the White River. Late February, and March can produce an epic Skad kill. Shad get sucked through the turbines below the Bull Shoals dam.

With the help of a streamer, you can catch massive trophy Trout, given that they are loved by giant trophy White River Brown Trout, and fattie Rainbows.

4. Wet Flies:

Wet flies are designed to imitate the aquatic insects that are seen swimming on the surface of the water. You can see them swimming in different parts of the White River. They serve as effective fly fishing options when used to fish for panfish, trout, salmon, bass, or steelhead fishes.

5. Salmon Flies:

If you are fishing Atlantic or Pacific salmon variants, the Salmon flies are perfect for fishing them. They are can also be ideal for fishing steelheads when you indulge in White River fly fishing. However, these flies don’t actually imitate the baits existing in nature. Rather they are designed to trigger the fishes to at upon.

This helps with easy fishing and helps you land some amazing fish in the least possible time frame.

6. Saltwater Flies:

The saltwater flies are designed specifically for the fishes that live in the bigger water bodies such as oceans or seas. They represent different types of food sources that can help you hunt down a perfect fish and enjoy your fishing experience.

From crabs and baitfish to shrimps and other saltwater flies, with these patterns, you can catch fishes such as tarpon or bonefish.

7. Attractors:

The attractor flies tend to be a bit different when compared to a typical fishing fly. They don’t really resemble insects per se. Instead, the attractors tend to use particularly bright colors along with shiny materials & long rubber pieces that move around inside the water body.

The goal with these flies for White River fly fishing is to attract the fish or catch them off guard. They don’t necessarily get time to realize that it isn’t actually food.

8. Terrestrial Bugs:

Another great option for fly fishing is terrestrial flies. They might be less common currently. However, they are now growing in terms of popularity. Today, more and more anglers have started realizing the importance of fishing with terrestrial bugs, especially when looking for trouts.

The terrestrial bugs tend to resemble bugs that seem floating or swimming across water, such as grasshoppers. They are generally designed with the help of foam which helps them stay afloat.

How Can You Pick The Right Flies?

When selecting the right flies for your White River fly fishing trips, there are several things that you need to consider. Here are some questions you can answer:

  • What are the types of fish you plan to catch?
  • When are you planning on fishing?
  • What is the location you prefer for fishing?
  • What is the water condition at your selected location?

Remember that every angler is different on their own. So, if one fly works for an angler doesn’t mean the same would work for another. It is experience and experimenting that would help you understand what fits the bill the best way.


If you don’t see a certain fly working during your White River fly fishing trip, you can try out different options. There are several factors that can determine which fly would work for your trip and which wouldn’t. Practising fly fishing takes up a lot of patience, and that is how you learn to be a great angler. If you do have any doubts, you can prefer to get in touch with fishing guides and work your way to learn more about it.

Are you looking for a reliable White River fishing guide for your next fishing trip? Cody Willis, your White River Fishing Guide, will help you understand more about the art of fishing. In order to have a great day in the White River, you can get in touch with us at orvisguide@gmail.com or give us a quick call at 870-706-9504.

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