Fishing on this river is different from any other fishing trip you’ve taken. The running water, gentle hills, forested bluffs, diverse wildlife, and abundant fish combine to create unique experiences that are down-to-earth and yet spectacular at the same time. Trout fishing on this river is not complicated; whatever your experience level, you can almost always catch fish here. Even though river fishing is not the same as lake, ocean, or stream fishing, the methods and styles with which you are familiar can be adapted to the White River. You can stand on the bank, wade in the river (only on minimum flow), use one of our fishing boats, bring your own boat, or spend a day with a professional fishing guide. A variety of baits, lures, and flies have been proven to catch White River trout.

You will not soon forget a great fishing trip on the White River with the White Hole Resort! Call today to let us help you set up your perfect fishing adventure.

Helpful Fishing Information

Changing Water Levels

Since the White River flows out of Bull Shoals Lake, the depth of the river and the speed of its current depends on how much water is being released from Bull Shoals Dam seven miles above our resort. The Corps of Engineers determines how much water to release into the river based on flood control and electric power demand. The water level in the White River can drop or rise as much as ten feet in one hour at any time of day depending on how many electric power generators the Corps runs. Fishermen must know what the water level currently is and what it is likely to do. Water fluctuations can cause hazardous situations when unexpected, so be alert!

Knowing a few simple guidelines will help you stay safe on changing water conditions:

Minimum Flow (No Generators Running)

1-3 Generators

4-8 Generators

Catch and Release Areas

In catch-and-release sections of the river, obviously, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission requires all fish caught there to be released. Additionally, AGFC prohibits bait-fishing and only allows barbless artificial lures or barbless flies in these areas. There are two catch-and-release areas near us: One is six miles upriver from us and covers the first three-fourths of a mile below Bull Shoals Dam. The other, seventeen miles downriver from us, is at Rim Shoals. The Bull Shoals catch-and-release closes to fishing November 1st through January 31st due to Brown Trout spawning.

Recognition of Releasing Trophy Trout

Congratulations! You caught a trophy trout. Now what? If you release a Brown or Cutthroat Trout over twenty-four inches long or a Rainbow or Brook Trout over eighteen inches long, we’ll give you a special catch-and-release recognition pin! Pins are provided by the White & North Fork Rivers Outfitters Association.

Fishing Licenses

Arkansas requires all people ages sixteen and older to have a current Arkansas fishing license and trout permit with them while fishing on the White River. With valid identification (such as a driver’s license, state ID, social security card, or hunting license), you can purchase fishing licenses and trout permits here at the resort, at several area businesses, or directly from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Please note that due to new regulations we must ask for your Social Security number in order to issue your license.

Rods, Reels, and Lines

Over the years, we have learned what rods, reels, and lines work best on this river. For bait and spin fishing, a light or medium-light action spinning rod about 6 to 7 feet long is the best choice. Spinning reels outperform most any other type of reel for casting, drag control, and line control. In our opinion, the most functional and cost-effective type of fishing line is a 4 or 6 pound test weight monofilament line in ultra-green or clear. Many brands across a wide cost range work well.

We have also learned that the condition of your equipment is important. Your line should be new because fishing line becomes brittle as it ages, causing the line to break or tangle easily. Most spinning rods and reels will indicate what weight line and lures they are designed to handle; make sure all your equipment matches appropriately.

Don’t worry if you are not familiar with a spinning rod and reel—they are not difficult to learn how to use. Just about anyone, even children, can cast well with a spinning reel after a brief lesson, which we will be glad to give. You can rent or purchase spin fishing rods and reels from our bait shop if you need.


Many baits have proved successful on this river. Typical baits for the White River include live worms, plastic trout worms, PowerBait eggs, shad, sculpin (a small fish found in the river), minnows, shrimp, and corn. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission allows bait fishing everywhere on the White, with the exception of the two catch-and-release areas, where the AGFC only allows barbless lures and flies.

A popular sinker and leader system called a “river rig” is ideal for bait fishing. The river rig consists of a drop sinker that hangs down about six inches from the main line and about thirty inches above the hook. This allows the sinker to rest on the river bottom while the bait floats in the current. River rigs work with any of the baits listed above and on any level of water. You can purchase the rigs in our bait shop or tie them yourself.


Lures work by replicating the appearance and action of something a trout wants to devour! Casting lures into the water and immediately pulling them back creates a swimming-like motion that attracts trout. The huge variety of productive and fun lures available includes spoons, spinners, jigs, and jerkbaits/minnow imitations.

When choosing your lure, keep the water conditions in mind:

Minimum Flow (No Generators Running)

1-3 Generators

4-8 Generators

Weather conditions also affect which lure color works best. Gold and red colors are particularly effective on sunny days; silver and nickel colors have more success on cloudy days or foggy early mornings.

Fly Fishing

For fly fishing, a 4 to 6 weight rod about 7 feet long is most recommended.

For more information, please see the AGFC’s Trout Fishing Guidebook, available as a PDF here.

Download the Guidebook