It is only two miles from the dam at Norfork Lake to the White River, but this short stretch packs quite a punch! Its waters are the place of fishermen’s dreams, sporting all four species of trout—rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat. During generation, wading is tough, but access by boat and drifting fishing is excellent. There are several public accesses on the river at low water. Ackerman’s accesses the lower part of the catch-and-release area in the lower part of the river and has premiere fly water for both the novice and the experienced angler.
This was the first dam constructed on the historic White River, being completed in 1913. It is the dam that created Lake Taneycomo, and the headwaters of Bull Shoals Lake. Any specie that swims in Bull Shoals Lake can be caught there under the right seasonal and water conditions.
Beaver Tailwater has something for about any angler. For the first several miles, trout abound in its cold water, flowing from the bottom of Beaver Lake. The Arkansas Fish & Game Commission has devoted sections of this water to flies and lures only, placing a slot limit on trout so that the tailwater has a chance to grow larger trout. Both browns and rainbows, stocked in the lake by the state, can be caught. There are several accesses for both boat and walk-in wading below the dam. Besides trout, warm-water species are found in both the cooler waters of the tailwater and further down where the water warms. The state record striper came from these waters.
This large tailwater is one section of the Osage River and is the headwaters of Lake of the Ozarks. It is a major fish factory, when water releases attract baitfish, containing Hybrid Stripers and White Bass, Walleye, Catfish and about everything else that swims the lake.
This very large tailwater river is the final stretch of Osage River before its eventual confluence with the Missouri River. Its waters hold a smorgasbord of fish, most notably Stripers, Hybrid Stripers, White Bass and Catfish.
By an act of Congress on March 1, 1972, The Buffalo National River was established, forever protecting this magnificent river from development. The upper Buffalo is best known for its shear cliffs that extend more than 300 feet above the fast moving river in northwest Arkansas. But lower in the river there are gentle pools of slow moving water between shallow riffles and shoals, excellent for camping and fishing. Hiking trails also dot the outlying riverbanks, up and down the vast cliffs and deep hollers. Smallmouth bass and goggleye are the game fish of choice for most anglers on the Buffalo, and there are plenty of outfitters to help with a day trip or an overnight, multi-day trip on the 135-mile river.
Located below Bull Shoals Lake One word - WOW!! Four species of trout - rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat. Miles of holes and riffles below Bull Shoals Dam when the water is down... good stiff current for boating during generation. Spin or fly fishing--this is an incredible fishery.
Spring River is unique among Arkansas trout streams; its cold water comes naturally from a spring rather than artificially from deep within a man-made lake. Every hour, Mammoth Spring releases 9 million gallons of 58-62°F water, and the river stays cold enough to support a good population of trout for 10 miles downstream. Trout were first stocked here around the turn of the century.
The North Fork of the White River is Missouri’s premiere, freestone trout river. It’s divided into three sections: Above Rainbow Spring, which dumps 82 million gallons of cold, clear water into the North Fork, are primarily warm-water fish, including smallmouth bass and goggleye. The middle section between Rainbow Spring and James Bridge is considered to be some of the best trout fishing in the state. Brown trout are stocked annually, but rainbow trout haven’t been stocked in years, making them primarily wild. Warm species of fish abound in the lower section including stripers. They actually traveled above the falls at Dawt Mill in 2011 when Norfork Lake rose to record levels.
A tributary of the Current River, the Jack’s Fork River is one of many small rivers in Missouri known for tranquility and smallmouth bass fishing. Located in the Ozark National Scenic Waterways, it runs along massive limestone bluffs with deep pools and clear running riffles, making it a favorite float for anglers and sightseers alike. There are 23 miles of floatable river that provide a perfect two-day float and camping trip.
There are two rivers in Missouri that are the most sought after as far as scenic beauty and tranquility, as well as fishability—the Current and the Elevenpoint Rivers. The Elevenpoint starts like most rivers in central Missouri, from the Ozarks hills, but it gets boosted by one of Missouri’s largest springs — Greer Spring, which dumps more than 200 million gallons of clear, cold water into the Elevenpoint. Rainbows and browns abound below the spring, making its waters perfect for floaters who love to spin or fly fish for trout. The Elevenpoint is also part of the Ozark National Scenic Waterways, protected from development. It flows 138 miles south and joins the Spring River near Black Rock, Arkansas.
The Current River starts where Montauk Spring enters Pigeon Creek near Salem, Missouri, located in the middle of the state. Its cold water maintains life for rainbow and brown trout, stocked by the hatchery at Montauk. Anglers access the river at Montauk State Park by bank, plus there is more bank access below the park as well as a catch-and-release section. Coldwater springs dot the upper river; Welch Spring doubles the size of the Current while Pulltite, Roundhouse and Cave Spring add even more cold, clear water to it. Cold water becomes warmer as it travels down 184 miles to the Black River. Smallmouth, spotted and largemouth become abundant as well as other warm-water game fish. The Current enters the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, a federal mandate protecting the river from development.
The Meramec River system may be the most important recreational river area in Missouri due both to the high quality of these five major streams and their proximity to the largest metropolitan area in the state. The Meramec harbors nearly every game fish species found in the Ozarks. The smallmouth bass is the most sought after species, along with rainbow and brown trout in the area below Meramec Spring, but largemouth are also very common, non-native spotted bass are abundant in the lower half of the river, and goggle-eye (the northern rock bass, to be exact) are targeted by many of the local anglers.
Written by Al Agnew- Three forks form the headwaters of Black River. The West Fork, largest of the three, and the Middle Fork, second largest, both begin along the dividing ridge that separates the Black River watershed from the Meramec-Huzzah-Big River drainage, and both drain a large expanse of rugged, maze-like hollows, heavily wooded and formed in dolomitic limestone with abundant chert gravel. As a result, the two forks flow through vast gravel deposits and are almost always extremely clear, perhaps the clearest streams in the Ozarks. The West Fork is large enough to be floatable from about the town of Centerville, though it has been floated farther upstream in high water levels. The Middle Fork is less floatable but is often floated from the Highway 21-72 bridge.
Huzzah and Courtois are sister streams, indeed almost twin sisters. They both begin in rugged country along Hwy. 32, which divides their waters from the headwaters of Black River, they flow parallel to one another toward the Meramec, and they finally merge just a mile or so before emptying into the larger river. Along the way, they are similar in size and character, with exceptionally clear water, wide gravelly beds, and narrow valleys rimmed by high wooded hills. They are as pretty as you'll find in the Missouri Ozarks.
The largest tributary of the Meramec River, Big River begins with water running off the north side of a ridge topped by State Highway 32. It almost immediately begins to have permanent flow, however small, and is dammed on the upper end by the U.S. Forest Service's Council Bluff Lake, a beautiful, clear, timber-lined reservoir nestled among high wooded hills. In this upper portion the watershed is within the igneous rock of the St. Francois Mountains, the oldest outcrops in the Ozarks and the geologic center of the Ozark uplift.
Written by Al Agnew- Because of geology, the St. Francis is far from a typical Ozark stream. It is the master stream of the St. Francois Mountain area (note the different spelling), which is the geologic center of the Ozark uplift. The volcanic rock knobs, peaks, and canyons of the St. Francois Mountains are the oldest exposed rock in the central United States. Often generically called granite, though relatively little of the rock is true granite, it is generally harder and more resistant to weathering and erosion than the dolomitic limestones and sandstone that surround it and once covered much if not all of it. So not only do the “mountains” now survive where the overlying sediments have been removed, the river valleys, where they encounter this resistant rock, have formed V-shaped, boulder-strewn canyons called shut-ins.
The Big Piney River is an excellent fishing stream where anglers will find an abundance of rock bass and small mouth bass, though other species can also be found. Excellent sandbars offer great riverside campsites.
The Little Piney River is a tributary of the Gasconade is fed by many small springs, is a good fly-fishing stream and is frequently floatable with some wading. The lower 7.5 miles provide the best floating. The upper 10 miles is has a lower gradient and less water.
Written by Al Agnew- Although it has a typical assemblage of Ozark game fish, the Bourbeuse is far from a typical Ozark stream. From the head of navigation to where it runs into the Meramec, the Bourbeuse is the slowest large stream in the Ozarks. Its highest headwaters drain a nearly flat plain near the town of Vichy that is a little altered remnant of the original surface of the Salem Plateau, and its watershed is mainly within Pennsylvanian sandstone, a patchwork of woodlots and agricultural land with little of the rugged country found along most of the streams of the Ozarks. Because of that large amount of cleared land, the Bourbeuse tends to be murkier than most Ozark streams.
Niangua River is a spring fed stream that is floatable from early spring to late fall. The beautiful Niangua River features 30 miles of clear, cold, beautiful, spring-fed water that stays 58-60 degrees year round. It is stocked regularly with brown and rainbow trout.
The Gasconade River watershed is located within the Ozark Plateau of the Interior Ozark Highlands. Gasconade River game fish species that are commonly fished by the pole-and-line method include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish and crappie species.
Includes the Sac and Little Sac Rivers. The Sac River headwaters originate near Springfield, Missouri. Major tributaries include Little Sac River, Turnback Creek, Sons Creek, Horse Creek, Cedar Creek, Coon Creek, Turkey Creek, Brush Creek, and Bear Creek. For fishing, the river offers Black Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Crappie, White Bass, Bluegill, Tiger Muskie, Catfish, and Walleye.
One of the major tributaries of Table Rock Lake is the James River, which flows in from the north towards Springfield, Missouri. Its fishing history dates back to the days when there were not any dams on the White River. The White, and rivers like the James River, were then floated by outfitters who fished for smallmouth and largemouth bass, camping and cooking on the riverbanks for their clients. The James is still floated by many anglers in search of the smallmouth bass, which can grow well over 20 inches in length. There are several liveries on the river that supply canoes and shuttles to various accesses up and down the river.
This James River tributary can be floated in high or medium high water. A floating-wading technique is better for lower water and fishing. There are dams to portage, but the pools they form are short. The Finley is widely known as a smallmouth mecca, goggle eye, perch and catfish are also available. Best fishing is found downriver from the dam at Ozark.
When a fly fisher thinks of Crane Creek, he automatically thinks of the McCloud rainbows that were stocked in the small, spring fed creek near Crane, Missouri, in southwest Missouri more than 100 years ago. Despite years of floods and droughts, this beautiful red band species of rainbow has fought to survive, and that savvy and fight shows up when trying to fool one in Crane Creek. There is plenty of public access to Crane thanks to land that was donated to the Missouri Department of Conservation and land in the city limits of Crane where the river runs through a city park. These trout are to be respected and admired, caught and gently released.
Capps Creek could be described as a typical small stream fishery in Missouri, with the exception of trout added by the Missouri Department of Conservation’s periodic stocking program. A portion of it is classified by MDC as a White Ribbon Trout Management Area.
The Shoal Creek drainage in Southwest Missouri around Neosho is often overlooked, but provides some fine fishing opportunities. Shoal Creek is a floatable stream with good angling for smallmouth and spotted bass.
The Elk River flows out of the Ozarks hills in southwest Missouri and is well sought after by summer floaters, also lovingly called the “aluminum hatch.” But don’t be fooled by its high volume of canoe traffic. The Elk River is a great fishery, fed by two rivers, good creeks to float and fish in their own right — the Big and Little Sugar. The Elk runs into Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma, where a good spawning and feeding run of white bass and hybrid bass make spring and early summer special for fishing trips.
The Illinois River offers excellent fishing for striper, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, buffalo, catfish, and other species. The natural look of the river creates an excellent fishing environment for the occasional as well as the serious fisherman.
These tow major rivers from south into Grand Lake south of Miami, Oklahoma. The place they run together is called Twin Bridges. The Neosho is known for spoonbills in the spring as well as white bass and hybrids. The Spring river is less muddy and known for it's white bass runs, crappie and bass.
This world famous trout fishery is where the current world record Brown Trout was caught, a 40#4oz. monster. A tailwater below Greers Ferry Lake AR, rich in trout forage to quickly grow its resident Brown, Brook, Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout.