The White River water flow is controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers at the Bull Shoals Dam. The Dam is approximately 32 miles upstream from the White Buffalo Resort, which means it takes 8-10 hours for a change in the water flow to reach the resort. This usually gives us a long fishing day, with water levels staying constant most of the day and coming up late in the afternoon or early evening. To be clear, we do not control the dam. There is no way for us to know for sure what the river conditions will be like days, weeks, or months from now. However, there are several online reports that help us determine what to expect. Each of these reports are complex to decipher and require some time to fully understand.
This one shows what they are planning to do over the next few days: SWPA.gov
This one shows what they have released over the past 24 hours: USACE
The Buffalo River is as natural as a river can be. There are no dams slowing the flow of water from this beautiful river, so its water level can swing wildly in short period of time. Please be careful if you are planning to stay overnight on the Buffalo as it can be dangerous if you are not properly prepared. The National Park Service has an online report that shows the current water levels on the Buffalo River.
You can view that report here: waterdata.usgs.gov
Keep in mind that heavy rainfalls will generally dirty the water up for a couple days depending on how much rain we received. The White River will typically clear up faster than the Buffalo River.
As for general fishing tips, the first is: don’t overdue it. You don’t need to deck yourself out in a thousand dollars worth of gear to catch a stringer full of trout. Nor do you need to take up fly fishing to enjoy your time on the river. There are far more people who use regular spinning rods than there are people using fly fishing rods. If you get heavily into trout fishing , there is a good chance you will at some point take up fly fishing. However, don’t burden yourself with trying to learn more or spend more than you need to just to get on the river.
Most people trout fish with similar setups on the White River. Some of the most common bait includes: kernals of corn, worms, shrimp, Powerbait Eggs, and crawdads. Some of the most common lures include: Little Cleo, Thomas Buoyant/Colorado, Vibramax Blue Fox, Rapala Countdown, and White River Zig-Jigs. Typically people will use a 4lb or 6lb line. For fly fishing, we sell a lot of olive and black woolie buggers in size 8-10-12 and various sow bugs, scuds, and midges. We are happy to show you more tips and tricks when you’re in the store.