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Dry Run Creek - Just For Kids

Dry Run Creek is adjacent to the Norfork NFH and receives the rich hatchery outfall. This small stream has been designated a fish-for-fun fishery. The stream is absolutely teaming with rainbow and brown trout and also has some brook and cutthroats. Only kids under 16 and handicapped (100 % disable) may fish here. Only barb-less single-hook artificials may be used. All trout must be released immediately. A certain level of parental teaching is permitted but only in the direct presence of the child.

Kids Just Want To Have Fun

by Gregg Patterson

Introducing your children to fishing can be one of life's great pleasures. But it also presents a challenge, because fish don't always cooperate, and kids have short attention spans. Dry Run Creek offers a solution to parents wanting their kids to enjoy an exciting initial fishing experience.

This scenic, 1/2-mile creek flows past Norfork National Trout Hatchery to its junction with the North Fork River. Until 1988, it had been closed for 30 years to all fishing. The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission decided closure of the stream was unnecessary and opened it as a catch-and-release, single-hook, artificial-lure fishery for kids under 16.

Electrofishing results from Dryrun Creek

Dry Run is inappropriately named, for it teems with trout. Electrofishing surveys just prior to its opening revealed about 8,000 rainbow trout in the short stretch. More than 1,000 of them measured 16 inches or more. A few brown trout, cutthroat trout and brook trout also inhabit the stream. Many are escapees from the nearby hatchery. They find excellent habitat and forage in the cool, rocky creek.

In the seven years since the creek was opened to kids, the fish population has continued to thrive in numbers reaching as high as 11,000, and their size continues to be impressive. It's not unusual for kids to catch fish better than five pounds. Numerous letters from thankful parents and excited kids over the years are testimony to its success. One excited parent sent a video showing his son catching and releasing 7.5 and 5-pound rainbows during the first 20 minutes of fishing.

Dry Run Creek also provides an excellent opportunity for handicapped individuals to enjoy some quality fishing. A convenient series of wheelchair ramps were built on one stretch of the creek adjacent the hatchery parking lot. Angling stations are strategically placed along its length, providing areas designed for casting ease.

To reach Dry Run Creek, take Arkansas Highway 5 to Salesville (Baxter County), then follow Arkansas Highway 177 almost two miles east out of Salesville toward Norfork Dam. The hatchery parking lot is on the north side of the road.

Kids just want to have fun. So if you're looking for that kind of place to take yours fishing, try Dry Run Creek. You'll wish you were a kid again.