Buffalo Outdoor Center

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Fishing

Smallmouth are King on the Upper Buffalo River

The Buffalo National River is a clear waterway, which makes it a great choice as a place to fish for bass, perch and catfish.  Smallmouth bass rule the upper Buffalo River, but as you move downstream of Pruitt, you'll also pick up Kentuckies (spotted bass) and largemouth.  Catfish can be found anywhere on the Buffalo River.

Fishing from a canoe is, of course, a popular method; however, wade fishing can also be rewarding.  Wade fishing accesses near Ponca include up- or downstream of the Ponca low water bridge or at the Steel Creek campground.

Out-of-state visitors will need a temporary license, which can be purchased online at the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission website.  You can also learn current regulations on the AG&FC site.  For example, smallmouth bass must be at least 14 inches in length in order to keep, with a limit of two per day.

Popular artificial lures include Crickhoppers, small spinner baits or jig-n-pigs, soft plastic crawdads and shad-like lures.  Top-water lures can also be effective, such as the Zara Spook, Pop-R, and Chugbug.

Looking for Trout?

Contrary to popular belief, the Buffalo National River is not a trout fishery.  However, just a little north of Harrison you'll find DeVito's Restaurant & Trout Farm, which stocks its clear, cold stream with rainbow trout that you can fish!  This is great fun for kids and parents alike, plus, everything is included and you only pay for the fish you catch.  Also, you don't have to have a license.  The farm operates daily, but you must make a 24-hr advance reservation, which you can make by calling 870-741-8832.

For hardcore sportsmen and women, the nearby White River is home to world-class brown and rainbow trout, as is the Little Red River near Heber Springs.  We highly recommend Gaston's White River Resort or Lindsey's Resort for trout fishing adventures.

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