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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.

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