- If fishing from a
boat, fish in the channel in the
deepest part of the stream.
Another good place to fish is just
- 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
- Common trout baits
include corn, night crawlers,
redworms, wax worms, crayfish
tails, sculpins, minnows, salmon
eggs and commercially produced
molded dough-type baits.
- When bait fishing,
fish near cover, such as tree
roots, rocks or overhangs.
With Artificial Lures
spinning outfits spooled with 2-
to 6-pound-test line can be used
to throw small jigs, spoons,
spinners and crankbaits.
bait-casting outfits rigged with
12-pound-test or heavier line can
be used to throw larger crankbaits
and stick baits when targeting big
- 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
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 AGFC.
- 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 leader.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- When drift fishing
with fly-fishing gear, use a
strike indicator and a sinker or
use special sinking lines.
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 AGFC.
Ron and Debbie Gamble
P.O. Box 96
Cotter, Arkansas 72626