Fishing for trophy brown trout on the White River in Cotter, Arkansas, is making me a better swimbait fisherman. There are new challenges of current, water fluctuation, baits, rigging, and access. This fish went 29.5 Inches and ate a 3 Dot Olive 10″ Triple Trout at the base of a shoal.


I haul a lot of water, with swimbaits, hunting trophy brown trout….but it’s all about learning. I’m still rigging my modified jon boat into a better river boat. I’m still learning the river, how to control the boat, and what angles the fish seem to prefer. The bait selection is easy: Huddleston and Triple Trout for the most part. Duh.


Above the Narrows, White River, Arkansas


The quiver of boats you need in the Ozarks. I love my Ranger Boat, but goddam I’m tired of burning fuel. Drift boats are awesome, and Honda 4 Strokes, are incredibly efficient.


River fishing, current, and the orientation of the fish makes casting angles and how you line and position yourself up so much different than I’d do in lakes, but it’s still very similar.


It’s safe to say Simms Fishing Products rock, and fit perfectly into the ‘cross over’ conversation. Love their products, their company and style.


Not lots of room to work with up on the deck, but shoot, room enough. Love how jon boats fish, and just love getting on the river and having access. Forgot to put the spare trailer tire in the truck, I don’t usually bring spare tires in the boat!


Fishing with 2 Fly Fisherman this day, out of a drift boat, you have to understand how different they fish. You have 3 people in a small boat. You have shuttles to run so you have a truck at the end of your drift, and maybe a trailer too. You need someone to row, and 2 guys to fish and you rotate. I can cast 4 X further than these guys, so I am rarely at a disadvantage, even from the back of the boat.


You don’t grip a brown trout by the jaw. Their mouth and teeth could probably eat a tin can. Trout fisherman are super careful about fish care and handling fish. These big White River brown trout are healthy and hearty, and this one was released unharmed.


The Trophy Brown Trout in the White River are eating the stocked rainbow trout. The browns are wild fish, and savvy fly fishermen are using streamers to get big browns. For a guy like me, swimbaits and bigbaits are a no brainer.


BigBaits, Simms Fishing Products, Drift Boats and a slowed down pace of fishing. This isn’t tournament fishing. This is trophy hunting, and brown trout are an excellent cross over opportunity. The White River in Arkansas is accessible to most of the MidWest and South very easily.
You could say I was stoked. Look how black that fish is. Really dark brown trout, up around the bend, Cotter, Arkansas White River.

Just wanted to share some more pics of the ‘big catch’.  I’m still undecided how big the fish is.  Bummed I was an idiot and didn’t measure the thing officially.   I don’t typically measure or weigh fish unless they are giant, which is weird I suppose, but you sorta just go cool, I got a good one, and enjoy it for a while and keep planning more trips and well timed assaults.


The White River in Arkansas is a trophy brown trout fishery. Quite possibly the best brown trout fishery in the United States.  Anytime you have a legit shot at a >24″ brown trout, you are trophy hunting, and in the White River, you have a legit shot at >30″ brown trout.   The above fish is approx. 27″ long, but doesn’t weigh that much.  Long and thin, but don’t get me wrong, one of the finest catches I’ve made in a while.  8″ Huddleston Deluxe Rainbow Trout swimbait with the Southern Trout Eaters trap rig setup with gills added.  The brown trout fishery that exists here is a wonderful story, and includes the names of people like Dave Whitlock and Forrest Wood as well as bunch of agencies, volunteers, State and Federal fisheries, and the Corp of Engineers…all working together and compromising.  The White River has many secrets, many bends, many shoals, many miles and many fish.  You need at least 2 probably 3 different boats to fish it properly, not including wade fishing.    Brown trout are just an amazingly fun fish to hunt and catch.  They are very gamey and eat moving baits, and definitely eat bigbaits.  They are known to attack rats and birds and other terrestrials as well as other trout.   Hmmm, that breaks my heart to hear!

Leviathan. The mouth of a brown trout from this angle can look like some crazy eel or serpent mouth. Very different mouth, tongue, teeth and bite than a largemouth, but still trout eatin’ lips!
My buddy, Chad Johnson, sight fishing carp on a fly rod. Notice the egg pattern looks a whole lot like a piece of corn. Arkansas is an excellent place to fish, year round.


Fly fisherman make it a point to educate themselves on how to tie bugs and streamers that ‘match the hatch’ but as the younger crew of fly fisherman come of age, they are showing it’s not all about barbless size 20 single hooks. Big fish eat big baits and you better be prepared if you want to land them. Streamer fishing, White River, Arkansas


Chad Johnson, brown trout, ‘hopper dropper’. Come get you some.


Dinosaurs are fun to catch, especially with fly rods, you don’t even need hooks.


I’m fishing for a 30+ pound brown trout that eats stocked rainbow trout. Keep it Soft Stupid (KISS)


Kids Fishing Derby, big fish winner. Kid was stoked, and Dad was too. The “Friends of the Hatchery”, Corp of Engineers, and a host of other puts on a kids fishing derby every year at the Norfork River/Dry Run Creek confluence adjacent to the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. Free event for the kids and just fun to help out and volunteer.


“Light Trout” is so 2005. Get with it, Pink Bass is the shizzle.


Canoes, wet wading, and swimbait fishing. Me gusta.