The White River offers approximately 130 miles of tailwater trout habitat: 8 downstream from Beaver Dam; 22 below Table Rock Cam; several beyond Powersite Dam; and 100 down river from Bull Shoals. Marginal to good trout habitat exists in numerous spring-fed tributaries and portions of Table Rock and Bull Shoals lakes, but that's another story.
Two tributaries, the North Fork and Little Red rivers, add 35 more miles of prime tailwater trout fishing to the system. The Norfolk Tailwater meets the White at the town of Norfolk, Arkansas, 44 miles downstream from Bull Shoals Dam. Norfolk and White River trout are known to move between rivers. Little Red and White River trout do not mix. Both rivers have long since lost their chill when they meet.
Norfolk was the Ozarks' first high dam and tailwater trout fishery. In 1948, 600 four-to six-inch rainbows were stocked in the tailwater. Two years later they exceeded six pounds. Presently, cutthroat and brook, some of which are big, and brown trout, some of which are huge (the river record is 35 pounds 9 ounces), also live in the Norfolk tailwater. Upstream from Norfolk Lake is Missouri, the spring-fed North Fork River holds wild rainbows and stocked browns.
The Little Red River has rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout but is famous for big browns - one in particular. That fish, taken in May of 1992 by Howard (Rip) Collins weighted 40 pounds 4 ounces, and is the all tackle world record brown trout.
State and federal governments have never stocked the Little Red with browns. The Arkansas Fly Fishers of Little Rock placed Vibert boxes of fertilized eggs in Cow Shoals in 1975. In 1979 they and the Mid-South Fly Fishers of Memphis, stocked 5000 fingerlings. The planted browns spawned successfully and the rest is angling history.
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