In many ways, the White River mirrors life itself. Its starts small and pure, a mountain stream that bubbles with energy. Yet, as it winds farther down its incredible 720-mile course, it grows wider and slower, like everyone who passes through middle age.
The upper reaches of the White support a solid black bass fishery, but the stretch I’ve come to love starts below the mighty Bull Shoals Dams in north-central Arkansas and runs through the town of Cotter. Like other premier tailwater fisheries, the water is clear, cold and stable year-round, providing world-class habitat for trout. In the case of the White, both rainbows and brown thrive here.
When I fished there, catching numbers of rainbows from 10 to 15 inches was a easy as floating a ball of Berkley Powerbait through a pool. But we also targeted big browns throwing jerkbaits and white marabou jigs, and landed several.
The White holds massive fish. Rainbows to 19-pounds, 1-ounce have been caught here, and in 1972, a 31-pound, 8-ounce brown caught here rocked the trout world. Incredibly, bigger browns have been caught since.
The fishing here is superb year-round, which means head there whenever the time works for you. If pressed, however, my favorite time are the months of November-January when the water tends to run a bit high and colored, making it a bit easier to fool big, smart fish.
There are many operations that cater to trout anglers who fish the White. During my short stay there this week, I was the guest of Moose and Tina Watson, owners of the luxurious White River Inn (www.TheWhiteRiverInn.com). This bed and breakfast is perched 300-feet above the river offering stunning panoramic views of the Ozark Mountains that, in a lifetime of travel, stand out.
The White River Inn is a luxury, all-inclusive resort. Pricing includes everything from the moment you arrive, including lodging, all meals and drinks, tackle and guide service; there’s even a well-stocked fly-tying bench. To learn more, give Moose and Tina a call @ 870-430-2233 or visit their website.