Norfork River

The Norfork River in Arkansas is a popular destination for fly fishing.  With it only stretching a short 5 miles before it joins the White River, the river is considered by many to be the princess of tailwaters. The Norfork River is a tailwater section that is fed from the Norfork Dam. This creates ideal conditions for trout, as well as clear and consistent water flows. The river also has a diverse range of habitats, from fast-moving riffles to deep pools, providing a variety of fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels.

The Norfork River is home to river born Bonneville Cutthroat, as well as thousand Spot Cutties making it the place to go fly fishing if you are looking for Cutthroat Trout. The river is also loaded with huge Brown Trout, Brook Trout and some of the best Rainbow Trout in the state. This short fishery is perfect for a drift boat especially during times of low generation when it is otherwise inaccessible to long boats. The middle of the river is all catch and release as are we.

The river is also known for its scenic beauty, and is often described as a peaceful and serene place to fish. It’s often been hailed as the best cutthroat trout fishery in Arkansas! The Norfork River a great place for fly fishing and also a great place to take a family trip! 

Best times to
fish the Norfork river

Norfork River Arkansas

Like most of our rivers in Arkansas, the Norfork is a year round fishery. If you’re here for a White River fly fishing trip, consider pairing the Norfork with it for a second day.  This provides great access for anglers from other regions that aren’t so fortunate.  Since it’s a tailwater section, the water stays a nice 50-60 degrees year round. In order to get the most out of your fishing trip, here are a few guidelines that we have depending on each season. 

Spring: Blue-winged Olives are the most prevalent mayfly species and can be found hatching in January and February, as well as in September and October. This period can provide an opportunity for dry fly fishing. Our Caddis hatch is the largest of our spring hatches on the Norfork River. Sulphurs are another significant mayfly species that hatch in large quantities during June and July. While the nymphs are the most effective, some trout can also be caught on dry flies that mimic mayflies and midges. The recommended hook size ranges from #20 to #24.

Norfork River Arkansas

Summer: As the water warms, the trout start moving to cooler areas. Imitations of crawdads, stoneflies and sculpin can be effective at this time. During the summer months, from June to late August, trout can be caught using terrestrial patterns. Like we mentioned above, we during this time we love dry dropper rigs with a terrestrial up top and a nymph dropped off. 

Fall: This is by far the best time of year to go fly fishing on the Norfork River. With spawning season ramping up, those big browns are aggressively chasing baitfish, which makes streamer fishing a blast! This is a huge chance to catch those trophy trout!

Winter: Winter fishing is always tricky, but it can be a great time to pick up some big fish. The midge is your best bet here, as it’s present year round. But, dead drifting streamers through slow riffles and seams can pick up a big lazy fish that’s hungry. As always, when fishing streamers, make sure you’re using a heavier weight rod for these fish. 

Start planning your next Norfork River fly fishing trip with us today! No matter the length of time you have to fish with us, we’ll be sure to give you the experience of a lifetime! Use the button below to get started now!

Essential information for our
Norfork river trips

What to expect on our
Norfork river trips

Norfork River Arkansas

Our Norfork River fly fishing trips are set up with the angler in mind! One of our biggest goals is to turn every client into a friend when they leave. After all, fishing is better with friends! 

From the moment you contact us to book a trip until the moment you leave, your fly fishing excursion on the Norfork River is tailored to your abilities and desires. No matter if you’re a beginner or experienced angler, the Norfork River will be an unforgettable fly fishing experience for you. 

Whether you want to go for big browns on streamers, or chase the infamous Bonneville Cutthroat, our guides are sure to help you with whatever your desire is! We also love working with new anglers and teaching them all of our fly fishing tips and tricks as well! Our trips are geared for everyone to be able to catch fish and enjoy this great pastime. 

Norfork river
Hatch patterns

The Norfork River is an amazing fishery here in Arkansas. Combined with the White, the Norfork River makes for a great double header option when fly fishing here. The river is home to a diverse population of fish, including rainbow, cutthroat, brook and brown trout. Much like the other rivers in our area, the insect hatches are different throughout the year.

Our Norfork River fly fishing hatch chart provides valuable information about the timing of these insect hatches, and which flies are best suited to imitate these insects. By using our hatch chart to select your flies, you can greatly increase your chances of success on the river. A well-chosen fly can make all the difference between a day of casting with no bites and a day of reeling in fish after fish.

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