Arkansas Ozarks Fishing-Bull Shoals-White River-Norfork Lake-Buffalo-North Fork
North Fork River
Also known as the Norfork River, this river, only 4 1/2 miles between the Norfork Dam and its confluence with the White, is the shortest trout river in Arkansas. However, this five miles is often the best trout fishing anywhere. During the summer, water in the adjacent section of the White often warms to above the preferred temperature for trout. They then seek refuge in the cold waters of the Norfork. Again in the winter, many turn right at the Norfork during their upstream spawning migration up the White. As a result, the Norfork has nearly as many state and line class records as the White, 20 times as long. Among the records are the former (now #2) 38 pound 9 ounce all tackle world record brown (beaten by another Arkansas fish), three line class world record browns (all over 30 pounds), the 2 pound test line fly fishing catch and release world record and the state record brook trout (3 pounds 12 ounces).
Facilities on this river include several resorts providing lodging, meals, guide service and boat rental. Two public areas (the U. S. Corps of Engineers Dam Site Park below the dam and the AG&FC's Norfork Access area at its confluence with the White in the town of Norfork) provide boat ramps. Wade fishing is popular at the dam and at River Ridge Walk-in Access Area, an AG&FC walk-in park containing a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier. Just upstream of River Ridge is a one-mile long catch-and-release only fishing area (only barb-less, single-hook artificials are allowed and all trout must be immediately released), Wade fishermen should be especially observant of rapid water rises when the C.O.E. begins generating. A siren will alert those close to the dam but those farther downstream should regularly observe a shoreline mark. Hypothermia is a real danger even in the middle of summer for those trapped by rising water
The Norfork National Fish Hatchery (501-499-5255) is located just below Norfork Dam. This is one of the largest federal trout hatcheries, producing about 500,000 pounds of trout annually. Tours (self-guided for small groups/guided for large) are available during business hours.
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.