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Bull Shoals Fishing

Fishing on Bull Shoals Lake is one of the favorite pastimes for visitors.

There are many varieties of fish in Bull Shoals Lake. In fact, Bull Shoals Lake holds several state records, including smallmouth bass (7lb. 5oz.), spotted bass (7lb. 15 oz.), and white bass (5lb. 4 oz.).  It is rated by the state Game and Fish Commission as the best general fishing lake in Arkansas.

In-Fisherman magazine's "Fishing's Finest Destinations" Angling Adventures rated Bull Shoals as a "Hot Spot" for trophy walleyes and white bass for the year 2000!

Although best known for its largemouth bass, there is excellent fishing for smallmouth, Kentucky, and white bass. There are bluegill often running up to a pound or more.  In the springtime, when crappie fishing is the best, a person may expect to catch crappie running up to two pounds or more. 

Also, Bull Shoals is fast becoming an outstanding lake for walleye fishing.  There is now an 18 inch minimum length for walleye and a five pound walleye is not uncommon to catch.

For those who like to catfish either by rod and reel or trotline, the number and size of catfish will delight everyone.  If Rainbow Trout fishing is your sport, early spring, when there is a release of trout, is the best time to come.  However, during the summer months, trout go to the deep, cool water along the the high bluffs and near the dam and can be caught at night using floating lights. 

A float trip for trout fishing on the world famous White River nearby can be an exciting adventure any time of the year. There you can catch Brown Trout as well as Rainbows. A trip with a guide and a shore lunch special is worth considering.

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To help make your trip successful, Keith will take time to discuss areas to fish and techniques to use.    If you want a full day guided trip for the lake or White River, Tall Timbers will gladly arrange this service.

For weekly updated Bull Shoals lake fishing reports & news click here to visit :

Fishing License Fees

Non Resident Annual $32.00
Non Resident 14-day Trip $22.00
Non Resident 7-day Trip $17.00
Non Resident 3-day Trip $11.00
Trout Permit $9.00
Resident Annual $10.50
Resident 3-day Trip $6.50
Resident Trout Permit $5.00

Fishing Techniques for Clear Water Fishing

A top priority for successful bass fishing is to have a good medium or medium-heavy action rod. Use 6-10 lb. test, low visibility line for daytime fishing.  A black light (ultra-violet) is extremely helpful for night fishing, a specialty on Bull Shoals Lake during the summer months.  Use no more than 10 lb. test, fluorescent clear/blue high visibility line for this type of fishing.

Spring fishing: Good for largemouth, smallmouth, Kentucky, and white bass. Also good for crappie, walleye, and trout. Most fishing is during daytime. Look for largemouth on secondary points and in the backs of small coves. Use live baits such as nightcrawlers or large shiner minnows. Use artificial baits such as lizards, plastic worms, and top water baits.  Spinner baits and crank baits can also be productive.

Summer Fishing: Good for all types of black bass and white bass, bluegill, catfish, and some walleye. Most serious bass fishing is done after dark. Look for bass on ends of channel swings, 15-25' deep. Use spinner baits, jig & pig, and plastic worms. Down riggers are good for fishing any time of day. For catfishing, use nightcrawlers and stink bait in early evening or at night. Use small live bluegill for jug and trotline fishing. For bluegills, worms and crickets work best. For white bass try trolling with Rattle-traps and small spoons.  Some walleye may be picked up trolling or drifting on the main lake over long points, sunken islands, and saddles.

Fall fishing: Good for all types of black bass, catfish, and crappie in late fall. Use similar methods for summer fishing through October.

Winter fishing: Good for all types of black bass. Use vertical spooning in deep water down to 65' in and under schools of shad. Smallmouth are best found on rock slides on the main lake bluffs. Use a jig & pig or grubs. If you want to fish for crappie, try live minnows. 



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