- If fishing from a boat, fish in the
channel in the deepest part of the stream.
Another good place to fish is just below
- While bank fishing, look for a fishing
spot where the water is deep in the
channel with overhangs.
- Although trout sometimes take the bait
off the stream bottom, it is preferable to
float the bait just off the bottom about
the length of the leader. This can be
accomplished by placing a miniature
marshmallow on the end of the hook after
the bait or by inflating a night crawler
with a hypodermic needle. Commercial dough
baits also float. While holding the pole
in your hand, wait for the telltale
“tap-tap-tap” of the rod tip that signals
a trout has taken the bait.
- Common trout baits include corn, night
crawlers, redworms, wax worms, crayfish
tails, sculpins, minnows, salmon eggs and
commercially produced molded dough-type
- When bait fishing, fish near cover, such
as tree roots, rocks or overhangs.
|Fishing With Artificial
- Ultralight spinning outfits spooled with
2- to 6-pound-test line can be used to
throw small jigs, spoons, spinners and
- Heavier bait-casting outfits rigged with
12-pound-test or heavier line can be used
to throw larger crankbaits and stick baits
when targeting big brown trout.
- Cast a marabou jig with a bobber fixed
above it upstream and allow the current to
drift the jig past likely areas. The
bobber will indicate a strike and keep the
jig off the bottom.
- When fishing with artificial lures, fish
near cover, such as tree roots, rocks or
|Slide a slip sinker on the
line, attach a barrel swivel, tie on 2 to 3
feet of 2-pound-test leader and finish off
with a bait hook. The marshmallow provides
flotation for the hook. Illustration by the
- A 3- to 6-weight rod spooled with a
weight- forward, floating line works well
to catch trout on Arkansas tailwaters.
Nine-foot tapered leaders in 3X to 6X are
usually adequate, depending on water
current and clarity. Tipping the leader
with a few feet of appropriately sized
tippet will save wear and tear on your
- When conditions get tough (low, clear
water and heavy fishing pressure),
fluorocarbon tippets are helpful.
- Common flies used are sowbugs, scuds,
nymphs and soft hackles in sizes 12 to 20,
drifted under a strike indicator. In
shoals, let the soft hackles swing with
the current at the end of the drift.
- Streamer flies such as woolly buggers,
fifty- sixers, clousers and sculpins are
effective when cast across current,
allowed to sink and then stripped back
with an erratic retrieve.
- Though not as common here as in the
West, dry fly anglers will find
opportunities to fish various mayfly
imitations, terrestrials, attractors and
midges at certain times of the year.
- When hydroelectric power is generated, a
surge of water released from the dam makes
it unsafe to anchor a boat or to wade.
When this happens, most anglers turn to
drift fishing. Although the bait rigging
for drift fishing is similar, the baits
commonly used are night crawlers, redworms
or a glow worm/salmon egg combination.
- A rig commonly used in the Bull Shoals
tailwater is created by tying a knot in
the line to create a “Y” in the line. One
leg of the Y is a 10- to 18-inch dropper
with a bell sinker. The other leg is a 24-
to 36-inch leader that holds the hook (see
- A standard technique for drift fishing
is to turn crosswise in the river and
float downstream while drifting bait over
the top of moss beds.
- To target brown trout while drift
fishing, drift on higher water while
throwing crankbaits or jerkbaits against
the bank and using a jerking retrieve.
- When drift fishing with fly-fishing
gear, use a strike indicator and a sinker
or use special sinking lines.
|This rig, often used for
drift fishing on the White River, can be
baited with many kinds of trout bait
including night crawlers, redworms or a glow
worm/salmon egg combination. Use 4- or
6-pound line, clear or light green, to be
less visible to fish. Illustration by the
Ron and Debbie Gamble
P.O. Box 96
Cotter, Arkansas 72626