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Rivers in Arkansas

Fine fishing opportunities plus whitewater canoeing and kayaking

Whitewater canoeing on the Mulberry River

Whitewater canoeing on the Mulberry River

It's easy to catch "the big one" while enjoying Southern river fishing in Arkansas's more than 9,700 miles of streams, including the mighty Mississippi River, the state's namesake Arkansas River and the cliff-lined Buffalo National River. While both calm and whitewater canoeing and kayaking are popular activities in Arkansas’s floating river spots, floating is not the only attraction on its streams.

Some, like Sylamore Creek at the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area and the Caddo River around Norman, provide the state's best swimming holes. Arkansas campgrounds, cabins and resorts can often be found along Arkansas's waterways, which frequently have picnicking areas and parks with easy-access boat ramps.


Arkansas rivers have some of the nation's best trout-fishing waters. The world-record German brown trout for 19 years (1992-2009) was caught on the Little Red River, and the White, North Fork and Spring rivers also yield brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout. The entire stretch of the Arkansas River within the state is popular among anglers seeking largemouth bass. Several big-time tournaments are held annually on Lake Dardanelle and other reservoirs formed by the river. Meanwhile, scenic streams in the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains offer anglers excellent river fishing for smallmouth bass.

Boating and water sports provide excitement on many of the state's larger rivers, and most agree that any time spent on an Arkansas floating river is a lot of fun! For many, streamside hiking trails provide peace and quiet for listening to the talk of small mountain streams. Arkansas, it seems, has a stream for every occasion, whether you want to to blast through rapids on a whitewater canoeing or kayaking adventure, roll peacefully down a prime floating river or land a record-breaking trout.