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Fly Fishing? Consider Under-the-Radar Arkansas

There are fishermen, and then there are fly fishermen. Fly fishing enthusiasts are a breed apart, as chronicled in Norman Maclean’s 1976 novella, A River Runs Through It.


The setting for Maclean’s semi-autobiographical story is Montana, and indeed, the Rocky Mountain West immediately comes to mind when the subject of fly fishing is broached. But there are hidden gems of the sport outside the western U.S., and our home state of Arkansas boasts some of the best spots east of Montana.


The Little Red, Norfork, White and Spring rivers in north Arkansas attract fly fishermen and women from across the country. The Little Red, specifically, is known for its 35 miles of trout water and the beautiful rainbows that come from it.


Here’s more from Chad Kneeland in Arkansas Wild on what he calls the best fly fishing on the planet:


Arkansas is a magnificent trout destination. “Streamer” fishing, “nymphing,” “dry fly” and “soft hackle” fly fishing all can be very successful depending on time of year and water conditions.  


Read the full story here.


We don’t know if Maclean ever fished in Arkansas, but we’re confident that in the rivers of the Ozark foothills he would’ve felt a connection to his Montana upbringing. 


For Maclean, as with his father and brother and so many outdoorsmen who enjoy the sport, fly fishing provided something more than a basket of fish. From A River Runs Through It:


Aug 2, 2017 -

My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy.

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