Trout Fishing in the Ozarks

First, there are many species of trout that can be found in the Ozarks. The most common trout species found in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas are rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout. Occasionally, a specialty stocking of some other species like golden trout will even be done. So, what are some of the water bodies you should consider?
Maybe at the lower end of the chain would be the Missouri Trout Parks. The Missouri Department of Conservation operates these parks by stocking tremendous numbers of rainbows as well as some browns throughout the Spring through late Fall season. There are opportunities for bait fishermen, spin fishermen, as well as fly fishermen. The conditions can be crowded, but it is a great place to learn some basic techniques.
The next category of Ozark Trout Fishing is the tailwater fisheries. These fall below Beaver Lake (White River), Bull Shoals Lake (White River), Greers Ferry (Little Red River), and Lake Taneycomo (White River). All of the tailwaters are stocked intensively. Most of the stocked trout are rainbows, but brown, brook, and cutthroat trout are stocked in most tailwaters as well. Generally, rainbows are managed for put and take fishing, while the other species are managed for their trophy potential. Trout densities are extremely high, averaging about 5000 per mile on most of these rivers. Also, brown trout often grow very large, with plenty of fish in the 5 to 10 pound range. Many run even larger.
One of our favorite Ozark trout fisheries are the freestone streams like the Eleven Point, Current River, and the North Fork of the White. For some reason, none of the spring-fed rivers around here have achieved true international fame. That's a shame for those who live outside of the Ozarks, because they are really missing out. It works out very well, however for the local anglers. These fish aren't nearly as pressured as the tailwater fish, and are often much easier to catch. Also, these unimpounded streams are much simpler to fish than the tailraces. You don't have to worry about the rapid, unpredictable dam releases that are so common below hydroelectric dams.
Finally, the pinnacle for many Ozark trout fishermen is the smaller streams of the Ozarks. The small trout streams that dot southern Missouri are the hidden jewels of our region. There are ten such streams in the Ozarks that have public access, all of which are in Missouri. There are many others that flow through private land. If you do a little research, you should be able to find a couple of these streams.
Hopefully, this will giver the Midwestern fisherman the hope that he or she need not travel thousands of miles East or West to find great trout fishing. Maybe pointing the car just a few miles away will give you all the action you desire!

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