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 White River Arkansas
Fishing Arkansas's White River Keeps Small Arkansas Town Bustling
 
By Todd Vineyard

COTTER, Ark. - Looking over the cliff as you wind down the road above the White River offers the feeling of building excitement similar to a child's first view of Disneyland for any trout fisherman.

Anticipation of matching wits with the rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout in the clear, cool waters below makes it hard to keep focused on the winding road.

This north central Arkansas town has several fishing guide services and oneArkansas's White River restaurant and is surrounded on three sides by the river. After the small green sign announcing the town's population of 921 is a larger one that declares, "Cotter, Trout Capital USA."

Cotter used to be a big railroad town in another era and then like the rest of Arkansas's Ozarks it became trout country. These fish aren't native to Arkansas, but were introduced several decades ago when new dams on some of the state's major rivers wiped out the native bass, bream, catfish and crappie below the dams. Cold water released from the dam made the downstream rivers too chilly for the native fish, so trout were brought in.

And that has brought in fishermen like John Berry, who operates Berry Brothers Guide Service along with brother Dan. After ending one life as an accountant he began another as a fly-fishing guide.

"I'm four blocks from the river and fishing," said Berry as he finishes off a pancake at the White Sands restaurant and prepares for a day on the river. "That's hard to beat. I walked down with the dogs the other day and saw an eagle flying. ... There's a lot of potential here."

A couple of antique stores and a hair salon have sprung up in the downtown. Home and Garden TV came to town recently to film a segment.

"There are things for those rare people in town like me, who don't fish," said Jane Flowers, who moved from Memphis with her husband Chuck to help run White Hole Resort two years ago, with a laugh. "I'm an artist and the scenes here, with the bridges over the water, are fantastic. It's a great small town."

That small-town feeling and great fishing lured outdoor artist Duane Hada into opening the Rivertown Gallery, which features all types of realistic artwork of trout and other wildlife.

"It's nice because people can come in and watch me work," Hada said. "The pace is very nice here. And you can fish year-round."

Berry said the fishing has been good, even in the cold weather with midges and nymphs. Soon the shad kill will bring even more fishing excitement. Shad get through the dam turbines and then into the water, which send the trout into a feeding frenzy for anything white.

"Everybody knows it is coming," Berry said. "We're just waiting." 

 

Fishing Arkansas's Buffalo River

The Buffalo is nestled in the Arkansas Ozarks, and was designated as a National River by  Congress in 1972 as a free-flowing stream. The river originates high in the  Boston Mountains. Over its course, the Buffalo drops steadily to its  confluence with the White River. The gradient is steep and the water is faster along the upper river, leveling and slowing as the river runs its  course. Relatively long, quiet stretches characterize the lower two thirds  of the Buffalo.


A favorite among local anglers the Buffalo comprises one of  the nation's richest areas in total number of fish species. The biggest  attraction here is the smallmouth bass. Anglers also go after largemouth and  spotted bass, catfish, goggle-eye (rockbass), and a variety of other panfish.

 

 

Cotter, AR Weather
 

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