Norfork River (Norfork Dam)

Craig Peterson with a brown trout caught below Norfork Dam.

Craig Peterson with a brown trout caught below Norfork Dam.

Description of Water

The Norfork River is home to world record brown trout, biggest of which was a 38lb 9oz behemoth caught by Huey Manley on 08/07/88 which held the world record until it was broken, prior to that 30lb fish on the river were not out of the question with several 20lb fish being caught annually.  These monster trout along with large rainbows and the ability to catch brook trout and cutthroat from the same river make the Norfork River a destination for many fly fisherman.

The river is narrower than its tailwater counterpart of the White River below Bull Shoals Dam, making the importance to pay attention to generation schedules and water levels of the utmost importance.  There are a couple of spots in the short 4.2 mile long river which have swamped many inexperienced boat operators during periods of generation.  The river is typical tailwater that is best fished by boat during generation.  During periods of zero generation you can essentially wade the entire stretch of the river, just ensure that you have proper ways to escape the river bottom as the water does rise quickly.

Because of the small size of the Norfork River and its short length, the Norfork can become a crowded trout stream at times, especially during times of low generation.  But don’t let the crowds deter you, the river is truly a gem and you may catch a trout of a lifetime.

Popular Access Points

  1. Quarry Park Access with Boat Ramp (Google Earth Download) (Garmin Waypoint Download)
  2. River Ridge Walk-In Access (Google Earth Download) (Garmin Waypoint Download)
  3. Norfork Access with Boat Ramp (Google Earth Download) (Garmin Waypoint Download)

Maps of Stream

  1. Arkansas Game & Fish Commission Map of the Norfork River (Norfork Dam)

Recommended Fly Patterns

  1. Sowbug (Size: 16)(Color: Gray)
  2. Crackleback (Size: 16)(Color: Sulphur or PMD)
  3. Wooly Bugger (Size: 10)(Color: Black, Olive, or Gray)
  4. Tungsten B.H. Zebra Midge (Size: 18)(Color: Olive, Clear, Black, Brown)
  5. Tungsten BH CopperHead Midge (Size: 18)(Color: Rust)

Stream Specific Links

  1. US Army Corp of Engineers Water Generation at Norfork River (Norfork Dam)
  2. Weather.com Weather Forecast for Area (Norfork, AR)

Photos of Stream

10-23-03pic04(resized) 10-23-03pic06(resized) 10-23-03pic25(resized) 10-23-03pic29(resized) 10-23-03pic43(resized)
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