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Mountain Home, AR

Photo via Flickr

Consistently rated as one of the top fishing destinations in the country, Mountain Home is still somehow flying under the radar.

Arkansas's White River might seem an unlikely spot for trophy trout. But consider this: more than one North American record brown trout has been pulled from these waters, and landing a 10-pound-plus brown isn't uncommon.

The town of Mountain Home lies in the heart of Arkansas's trout action, on an 80-mile stretch of the river below Bull Shoals Dam. The dam releases cold water from the reservoir's depths, turning an otherwise warm-water fishery into a haven for lunker brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout.

This stretch of the White River offers year-round fishing, tuned to the filling and emptying of the reservoir. April through June are popular months for floating, with water levels up and good fishing with nymphs, streamers and spin tackle. The standard White River floating rig is a 16- to 20-foot "johnboat" outfitted with a small motor to handle currents at high water. As temps rise and water levels drop through the summer, dry-fly fishing with hoppers and terrestrials turns on (with bait and jigs still a good option), and the river becomes more wadeable on through December. March can bring caddis hatches and good dry-fly fishing.

Warm-water fishing options abound in the surrounding area. Bull Shoals Lake holds bass (largemouth, smallmouth, spotted), walleye and other warm water species. The upper White River, best floated from October through May, holds an assortment of bass, catfish, and sunfish. The whole area is known for a subtle beauty: bluffs along the river's edge and mist hovering on the water at sunrise.

Visitors should be aware that river levels below Bull Shoals can fluctuate rapidly because of dam operations. Some of the best fishing can occur during high water, but these are times when the river is difficult to wade and is best floated with a guide who has a proper craft and knows the water. Fish on!

Basic Info
  • 46° 25° Dec-Feb
  • 70° 47° Mar-May
  • 90° 85° Jun-Aug
  • 71° 48° Sep-Nov
Norfolk River, White River, Lake Norfolk, North Fork River
Fishing license info here: here

The Catch

Top fish species to target in Mountain Home, AR

Brook Trout

Especially prevelant, sometimes over populated, in high elevation lakes and streams, these fish have one spots and multi-colored fins.

Brown Trout

Large dark spotting pattern makes this fish stand out against the other trouts. They can be tough to catch and strong. Look for fall runs.


Known as one of the best tasting freshwater fish, Crappies are a popular catch and tend to range in the 1/2 to 1 pound range.

Largemouth Bass

Olive green with browish strips and blotches, Largemouths have an elongated jaw and will often go airborn when caught.

Rainbow Trout

Adult fish are distinguished by a broad reddish stripe along the lateral line, from gills to the tail, which is most vivid in breeding males.

Smallmouth Bass

Generally brown with red eyes and vertical strips, Smallmouths have a jaw that extends to the eye.

Spotted Bass

Similar to largemouth bass but with scales on the second dorsal fin and shorter jaw.

More Mountain Home Outfitters

Fishing with Bill Lawrence Fishing Guide Service in Bull Shoals

Bill Lawrence Fishing Guide Service

Bull Shoals, AR

Hello and Welcome to William Lawrence Fishing Guide Service. The Fishing Guide for Bull Shoals Lake, Table Rock Lake, Taneycomo in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. My wife Jeannie and I both grew up in this area. We now live in the Cedar Creek area of Bull Shoals which is close to Buck Creek, Diamond City and Tucker Hollow. I have been a fishing guide for 17 years and I am Coast Guard Licensed. I love to fish and want to share my years of experience and informative fishing tips with you on a guided trip. Whether it is your first time fishing or you are a seasoned fisherman wanting to know the current hot spots I will be glad to show you where they are biting. Fishing is fun and I like fishing for all fish including Bass, Trout, Walleye and Crappie. I really like walleye for putting in the fry pan!!. The most fun I had on a guide trip was taking 3 guys ( one from Missouri, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey) on Bull Shoals Lake in the Buck Creek Area we caught around 130 lbs of fish , Smallmouth, Walleye and Crappie – What a Great Day and a Great Memory. Another day I took Richard and his wife out. I began telling them a story about a customer that had lost his fishing rod when a fish jerked it out of his hand. Just a few minutes later we heard a splash. Richard had a fish jerk the rod right out of his hand and jumped into the lake to retrieve it. HE GOT IT!! Fishing in the Ozarks is good all year round and I fish in all seasons. I would love to be your guide, I’ll have as much fun as you will ! I hope to see you soon.

Fishing with The White River Inn in Cotter

The White River Inn

Cotter, AR

The White River Inn Fishing Lodge and Luxury B&B is a luxurious full service lodge style B&B. We cater to outdoor lovers and travelers who enjoy the amenities and service level one can only find in the finest of lodges. With only five suites and no immediate neighbors on our 31 acres, privacy is assured. The White River Inn is a world class lodge for fly fishing enthusiasts, sporting fanatics, couples on a romantic holiday, vacations and travelers looking for a idyllic, quiet getaway. Your hosts, Moose and Tina Watson welcome you to custom designed lodge built of coastal Western Red Cedar logs on a magnificent bluff 300 feet above the White River near Cotter, Arkansas. Region/ Terrain Where you Fish: The White River System in Arkansas is famous for the world record brown trout that inhabit its waters. The huge double-digit browns are seen and caught regularly enough to make the White River one of the country's most prolific trout fisheries and a fly-fishing destination hot spot. However it is not only the size, but also the variety of trout species that lure anglers from around the world to our fertile waters. The White River is one of the few spots in the world where you “can stand in one spot” and catch the coveted grand slam! A brook, a rainbow, a brown, and a cutthroat can all be caught right here on the White River! 100 Miles of Fishing Our fishery starts below Bull Shoals Dam and continues 100 miles or so downstream. The North Fork River injects freshly cooled and oxygenated water into the White about 35 or 40 miles downstream enabling trout to survive well below these great dams. The North Fork is a short but fertile four mile river that is a wonderful fishery as well. Our waters stay at a constant 52 degrees almost year-round due to river flows out of the power generating dams. Our guides here at the White River Inn are familiar with the whole trout fishery but usually fish the first 65 miles or so, including the North Fork River. All of the guides here are experts in every aspect of fishing and customer service. Their sole purpose is to assure your safety and to make certain that your White River experience is everything you expect from a first class lodge anywhere in the world. Our guides are not competing fishermen but are here to assist you as much or as little as you need to have a great time on the river. From first time beginners to seasoned lifetime anglers, your enjoyment is our goal. We spare no effort to provide a safe, comfortable, and rewarding day on the river.

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