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Top 10 Fishing Destinations in Arkansas

Fishing in Arkansas

The state of Arkansas is located in the southern region of the United States, covering an area of around 20532 sq. miles. It is the 29th largest state in terms of area and is home to about three million people. This state shares its borders with Texas on its southwest, Louisiana to its south, Oklahoma to its west, Missouri to the north and Tennessee and Mississippi to the east. Arkansas boasts over 53,179 sq. miles of water. With all that water, there’s bound to be great Arkansas fishing. In reality, many of Arkansas' watercourses are recognized nationwide by fishing enthusiasts. Being blessed with numerous rivers, lakes, and reservoirs and the climate being generally humid to subtropical (slightly towards the warmer side), Arkansas has ideal fishing conditions. Arkansas is also known as the ‘Natural State’ because of its picturesque landscapes, hills, forests, mountains, lakes, valleys and wildlife. 

With clear and pristine lakes, rivers and fishing holes across the state, Arkansas is every fisherman’s paradise. Get ready to experience fly fishing, angling on the serene lakes, or even attempt bow fishing and spearfishing. 

Arkansas Sportfishing has been kept alive traditionally among its people, and the state regulators have made sure that there are ample resources, reservoirs, and places that provide optimum experiences for the visitors. 

Arkansas is considered the birthplace for warm water marine culture in the entire United States. Since the 1940s, the first commercial fisheries were installed to raise goldfish, but with the passing time, these species multiplied to over 20 different types of fish. 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission claims that the estimated amount spent on fishing every year is $496 million, while $340 million is spent on food, lodging and transport, and $14 million is spent on Arkansas fishing licenses and membership dues. 

Did you know that over 97,000 visitors come to Arkansas solely  for fishing? The local businesses have made it easier for visitors to enjoy this sport.  The state houses over six boat manufacturing companies and over 150 bass and tackle manufacturers. Valid licensing and permits are required for people to enjoy and make the most of this wonderful pastime.

Angler’s Paradise

There are certain fishing spots located in Arkansas that are considered to be the Holy Grail for bass fishing. Anglers find every chance to visit there which includes White River, Beaver Lake, Dardanelle, and Bull Shoals.

Fish Species Found in Arkansas

The waters of Arkansas offer a wide variety of fish (both fresh and salt water) found in the abundant lakes, rivers, and streams. The fish are usually divided into two major categories:

Sport Fish

  • Black bass
  • North American catfish
  • Pikes
  • Trout
  • Sunfish
  • Temperate bass

Non-Sport Fish

  • Bowfin
  • Gars
  • Paddlefish
  • Sturgeons
  • Eels
  • Herrings
  • Smelts
  • Lampreys
  • Mooneyes

Arkansas boasts many world fishing records, such as largest brown trout, found on the Little Red River, which weighed 40lbs, a 22lb walleye reeled in at Greers Ferry Lake, and a 1lb 13 oz. bass which was found in Ozark. 

Types of Catch Available


raindbow trout

Rainbow Trout

brown trout

Brown Trout



Striped Bass



Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

Black Bass

Arkansas State Fishing Records

Top 10 Fishing Spots Across Arkansas

Enthusiasts around the world head towards the well-known waterways of Arkansas to reel in some big fish and enjoy the sport. Families and friends take part in this recreational activity and take in the exotic beauty around the state. Since Arkansas offers numerous fishing spots, we have compiled an Arkansas fishing guide to help you decide which spots you want to hit right away.

White River

White River

Located in the Northwest of Arkansas, the White River is a perfect home for trout with its shallow waters, and trout swimming under the cool swift water. There’s plenty of fish found in White River, including: Bluegill, Redear sunfish and Rock bass. Anglers use kayaks, electric boats, and charters to aid their fishing.  Fishermen must obtain an Arkansas fishing license to fish in this area.

Little Red River

Little Red River

Located in North Central Arkansas, the river is famous for its tailwater trout fishing and this trout fishing water stretches for 29 river miles from Greers Ferry Dam to Pangburn. Thousands of rainbow trout are stocked in the river every year, and it’s a beautiful destination for tourists and anglers alike. If you are in the mood to catch trophy fish, you’ll need to use proper gear and boats, as they’re hiding under the rippling water.

Lake Ouachita

Lake Ouachita

This Lake is located in the hot springs in West Central Arkansas and is one of the five lakes that the locals call the “Diamond Lakes”,  due to their crystal clear water. This is one of the most beautiful and largest fishing destinations located within the state’s borders. It’s  home to a variety of sport fish species which include: largemouth bass, bream, catfish, cool water walleye and rainbow trout. The lake has clear waters making it an ideal tourist spot for those who are looking to go scuba diving as well as some action-packed fishing.

DeGray Lake

DeGray Lake

Located in south-central Arkansas, this is another lake from the five-diamond lakes. This man-made water body is in a wilderness area, spread over an expanse of 13,800 acres. DeGray Lake is home to different kinds of bass, bluefish, and flathead catfish, making it an ideal choice for anglers to go fishing all year long. It has numerous coves, islands, and woody pockets.

Bull Shoals Lake

Bull Shoals Lake

Located in the North of Arkansas, Bill Shoals Lake is one of the best spots for bass fishing in the state. Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, Kentucky and white bass are just a few of the varieties found here, along with other species including trout, crappie, walleye, and panfish. It has clear, still, and deep waters which are ideal for fishing.

Greers Ferry Lake

Greers Ferry Lake

This clear water, deep lake is located in North central Arkansas. Anglers can find bass, walleye, and crappie. The waters are a challenge, so only expert anglers with experience should charter boats. Others should stay close to the waters in order to find the best catches. The state fishing regulators make it vital for anglers to carry the Arkansas fishing license at all times - for commercial, as well as sport fishing in the area.

Arkansas River

Atkansas River

The Arkansas River cuts through the center of the state running from west to east creating a 50-mile lake named Dardanelle in its path. This lake provides an excellent experience for anglers catching bass, catfish and a variety of crappie.

Buffalo River

Buffalo River

Located in Northwest Arkansas, the Buffalo Lake with crystal clear water (which is also oxygen-rich), is the perfect spot for smallmouth bass. The rich habitat is home to channeled catfish, green and longear sunfish and spotted bass. Anglers who love fly-fishing head over to this destination with kayaks, canoes, and boats, while the visitors also take their RVs and campers to the site. You will find many hiking trails around the river.

Caddo River

Caddo River

Just south of the Ouachita River, in Central Arkansas, you will find this great river, which is known for sport fishing of spotted and smallmouth bass. Anglers trying to catch fish in quantity, find this spot to be the most productive, especially near the Caddo gap, which ends near the Amity. Licenses and permits are required for sport fishing all over the state.

Norfolk Lake

Norfolk Lake

Located in the North of Arkansas, this excellent spot is filled with crappie, walleye, bluegill, stripers, catfish, and various types of bass. Visitors and families go by boats, kayaks, and canoes to enjoy the serenity of the water.








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