Texas anglers wanting to try their luck at catching rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat trout need only to make a short trip into Arkansas and fish on the famous White River to realize their dream.
David Capps, a full time guide with 38 years experience invites Texas anglers to stay at Fishermans Lodge located 12 miles downstream on the White River below Bull Shoals Reservoir dam. The two story lodge offers a fresh, comfortable, modern place to stay with home-cooked meals at a surprisingly affordable price for up to 21 people.
Besides the accommodations, Fishermans Lodge can provide fishing license, meals, tackle and White River Guides. Capps and many of the other guides fish from boats built for the White River. The 20 foot, 7 inches, 48 inches wide, equipped crafts are equipped with comfortable chairs, and can fish three people per boat.”
And, Fishermans Lodge in Cotter, Arkansas also features a 75 seat conference center that is perfect for meetings, corporate retreats, large-group trout fishing trips, weddings, parties and family reunions
Ninety miles of fishing excitement: “From Bull Shoals down you can catch trout on 90 miles of river,” says Capps. “It’s world renowned for numbers of rainbows and super huge browns.” The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission annually stocks over a million trout into 90 miles of the White River.
“You have your stocked fish, and then you have your hold over’s from last year’s stocking and they continue to grow. You also have natural spawn fish, both the browns and the rainbows primarily in the late fall and early winter. There is always a good population of fish in the river.”
Many of the stocked fish are caught fairly soon after their release, but others manage to hide out year after year, getting bigger all the time. Some get exceptionally large, like the 19-pound, 1-ounce rainbow or the 33-pound, 8-ounce brown trout caught in 1977.
Missouri angler Tony Salamon landed a 30-pound, 8-ounce brown trout in 1986 that set a new world line-class record for 6-pound-test line. Very few browns grow that large, of course. But 5-10 pounders are common, and anglers have a good chance of landing an 11-20 pound trophy.
As an added bonus, White River anglers can also find cutthroat and brook trout. Cutthroats were first stocked in 1983, but the river has already produced 9-pound-plus fish. Brook trout are a rare catch, but they have reached up to four pounds in the North Fork of the White.
“Realistically you have a good opportunity to catch 20 inch plus browns on the White river. It’s just a tremendous fishery. It’s a year-round fishery. There are a couple of closed stretches, catch and release areas, heavy spawning areas, which are closed for three months during the wintertime, but the rest of the river is open for fishing.”
The White’s upper reaches can produce trophy trout every month of the year. December and January offer great fishing opportunities for pre-spawn brown trout. Rainbow trout are also very busy looking for eggs that wash out of the brown trout spawning beds with catches of 50 plus fish plus per day as normal.
If you want to have a chance to catch a trophy, one of Capps favorite times is February-March after the big fish have spawned. April and May offer great fishing along with moderate daily temperatures.
Even in the summer months of June through August, the water temperature in the river maintains an average of 60 degrees providing good fishing. Come September and October the fishing continues good and Mother Nature puts on a great show with the trees changing colors.
“We do both bait fishing and fly fishing,” says Capps. “In April it’s a really good chance of catching a big fish on a fly rod because of the Cadis Fly hatch. As it warms up more with discharges from the Bull Shoal you will get a lot of worms that are washed into the river, the trout will go on a worm bite. You can fish plastic worms, natural worms, or yarn worms on a flyrod…it keeps changing. Whole crawdads become a top producer of the larger trophy fish during the months of June through September.
“We catch lots of fish all year long, every month of the year,” says Capps. “On a normal day on the White River, say if you have two anglers per boat, Capps says they are going to catch 25-35 trout each. “They will have a realistically good chance to catch a brown trout between 20-24 inches. You can do that every month of the year.”
For more information visit their website, thefishermanslodge.com or call toll free 800-268-3474.
—by tom behrens
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The San Antonio Boat & Travel Trailer Show will return to the Alamodome February 9th-12th, 2017. This family-friendly event is expected to attract 10,000 outdoor enthusiasts to explore boats and travel trailers of all kinds.
New for 2017, a children’s activity area featuring kid-fishing by the Texas Junior Anglers will provide a boat-load of fun for the little ones. Kids will also love the bouncy slides and inflatable bubble runners. For boating enthusiasts, there will be unbeatable deals on wakeboard boats, cruisers, pontoons and fishing boats, among other watercraft. For those who prefer to keep their travel on the ground, vehicles such as fifth wheels and toy haulers will be on display for an up close look. This is the perfect opportunity for consumers to get an up-close look at a vast array of inventory all under one roof! Boating accessories and related services will be also be showcased including boat lifts, deck builders, fishing rods and reels, push poles and campgrounds.
Participating dealers include Boat Town, Lake LBJ Marineland, Kent Power Sports, Master Marine, Premier Yamaha Boating Centers, NewWater Boatworks, Sail & Ski Center, South Austin Marine, Austin Boats & Motors, Woods Cycle Country, Outdoor Living RV and more!
“This event is timed perfectly for the start of the vacation-planning season, as families begin making their recreational and travel schedule for the coming year” says Jennifer McKinney, Marketing Manager for the event.
Whether your passion is in the water or on land, experience all the Texas outdoor lifestyle has to offer by attending the San Antonio Boat & Travel Trailer Show.
Hours of Operation are:
• Thursday, Feb. 9: 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
• Friday, Feb. 10: 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
• Sat, Feb. 11: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
• Sunday, Feb. 12: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tickets are available for purchase on-site: Adults $10, Children 7-12 and Seniors 60+ $6, Children under 7: Free
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Xpress Boats, The Original All-Welded Aluminum Boat Manufacturer has been chosen by Skylar Hamilton, 2016 Bassmaster Arkansas River Open Winner and Elite Series qualifier as his boat of choice for the 2017 Bassmasters Classic.
Rory Herndon, President of Xpress Boats said that he is most excited about having Skylar on board running their top of the line Xclusive Series X21 high performance aluminum bass boat in this year’s Classic and Elite Series.
The choice to run an Xpress was an easy decision for Skylar, as Xpress Boats has more than 50 years of experience innovating and perfecting the manufacturing process including its Hyper-Lift Pad Hull. The Hyper-Lift hull design is capable of performing flawlessly in all conditions—shallow, rough—while providing the angler with a smooth, safe, dry ride. Xpress is the only aluminum manufacturer capable of running the large 4 stroke engines such as the Yamaha 250SHO with performance in most cases superior to comparable glass boats. Coupled with best in class components, performance and fishability, this is a win / win not only for Skylar but other competitive fisherman wanting the best of all worlds at a fraction of the cost.
Skylar stated that this is the beginning of an “Epic” paradigm shift for the elite series and competitive angling. I am ecstatic to be part of the Xpress Boats family and the future of high performance aluminum bass boats at this level.
Xpress Boats is family owned and operated by the Herndon family since 1966. Nearly 50 years ago in an old schoolhouse in Friendship, AR Kermit Bryant’s dream was to develop the original “all-welded” aluminum boat. Today Xpress operates out of a state of the art manufacturing facility in Hot Springs, AR producing top of the line hunting and fishing boats for just about any application.
Visit www.xpressboats.com for more information.