Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass

R. Stokes

Buffalo National River is not just an ordinary river. It serves as a habitat to seventy-four species of fish (see list below). Among these, twelve species are game fish, and ten are endemic (exclusive) to the Ozark Plateau. Anglers who enjoy catching smallmouth bass can find them in the Buffalo River as well. Additionally, for those seeking a winter fishing experience, brown and rainbow trout can be found at the cold tailwaters of the White River near its confluence of the Buffalo River. Fishing activities at Buffalo National River must adhere to state fishing regulations, and individuals aged sixteen years or older are required to possess a valid Arkansas fishing license.

Fishing is permitted at Buffalo National River within the regulations established by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. For fishing information visit the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website.

The Arkansas Fishing Guidebook is available online and at the Tyler Bend Visitor Center and Buffalo Point Ranger Station. Please refer to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Regulations for Flowing Waters (page 73 in the Arkansas Fishing Guidebook) for detailed rules pertaining to Buffalo National River.

Man holding a smallmouth bass
Fisherman having a good day on the Buffalo River.

L. Stoops

According to the Superintendent's Compendium (36 CFR §7.35 Buffalo National River SPECIAL REGULATIONS) only fishing by hook and line, with rod or line being closely attended, is allowed throughout Buffalo National River.

  • Gigging, bowfishing, and snagging are permitted.
  • The possession or use of live or dead minnows or other bait fish is not permitted, unless the bait is harvested from the Buffalo River or its tributaries.
  • Bait purchased from a licensed dealer is permitted.

Fly Fishing
When most people think of fly fishing, they think of a small, cold stream full of trout. On your stay at Buffalo National River, don't forget your fly rod because if you have never felt the pull of a smallmouth bass on the end of your fly line, you are missing out!

Warm water fly fishing is an exciting challenge for any angler. There are many species of fish in the Buffalo that just love to hit a fly. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon, break out your popper bugs or any other top water fly and hang on for the explosion! Hand sized pan fish, goggle eye and smallmouth bass all crash the surface for a tasty bug treat. Try your luck with a bead head woolly worm or crawfish fly near the big rocks along the banks and you could lure out a nice size smallmouth.

Whether you are a dry or wet fly fisherman, pack your rod and enjoy the fishing opportunities available here on the Buffalo National River.

Habitat Key:
The following symbols have been used to indicate the type of river habitat where fish are typically found:
S Slow Moving Water/Pools
R Riffles/Moderate to Swift Current
V Variety
G Game Fish
E Endemic

Partial List of Fish Species Within the Buffalo National River Boundary

Family Common Name Family Scientific Name Species Common Name Species Scientific Name Habitat
Gar Lepisosteidae Longnose Gar Lepisosteus osseus S
Minnows Cyprinidae Plains Stoneroller Campostoma plumbeum S
Largescale Stoneroller Campostoma oligolepis R
Southern Redbelly Dace Phoxinus erythrogaster S
Whitetail Shiner Cyprinella galactura R
Ozark Chub Erimystax harryi R,E
Gravel Chub Erimystax x-punctatus R
Bigeye Chub Hybopsis amblops R
Striped Shiner Luxilus chrysocephalus R
Duskystripe Shiner Luxilus pilsbryi R,E
Hornyhead Chub Nocomis biguttatus R
Bigeye shiner Notropis boops S
Wedgespot Shiner Notropis greenei R
Ozark Minnow Notropis nubilus S
Ozark Shiner Notropis ozarcanus R,E
Carmine Shiner Notropis percobromus R
Telescope Shiner Notropis telescopus R
Creek Chub Semotilus atromaculatus S
Bluntnose Minnow Pimephales notatus S
Suckers Castostomidae Northern Hog Sucker Hypentelium nigricans R,G
Black Redhorse Moxostoma duquesnei R,G
Golden Redhorse Moxostoma erythrurum S,G
River Redhorse Moxostoma carinatum R,G
Highfin Carpsucker Carpiodes velifer R
Catfish Ictaluridae Yellow Bullhead Ameiurus natalis S,G
Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus V,G
Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris V,G
Checkered Madtom Noturus miurus S
Ozark Madtom Noturus albater R
Slender Madtom Noturus exilis R
Trout Salmonidae Brown Trout Salmo trutta G
Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss G
Silversides Atherinidae Brook Silverside Labidesthes sicculus S
Topminnows Fundulidae Northern Studfish Fundulus catenatus S
Blackspotted Topminnow Fundulus olivaceus S
Livebearers Poeciliidae Western Mosquitofish Gambusia affinis V
Scuplins Cottidae Banded Sculpin Uranidea carolinae R
Knobfin Sculpin Uranidea immaculata R,E
Sunfish Centrarchidae Ozark Bass Ambloplites constellatus S,G,E
Green Sunfish Lepomis cyanellus V,G
Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus S,G
Longear Sunfish Lepomis megalotis S,G
Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu R,G
Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides S,G
Perch Percidae Autumn Darter Etheostoma autumnale S,E
Greenside Darter Etheostoma blennioides R,E
Rainbow Darter Etheostoma caeruleum R
Arkansas Saddled Darter Etheostoma euzonum R,E
Ozark Darter Etheostoma sp. cf. spectabile R
Speckled Darter Etheostoma stigmaeum V
Banded Darter Etheostoma zonale R
Yoke Darter Nothonotus juliae R,E
Logperch Percina caprodes V
Gilt Darter Percina evides R

Last updated: November 14, 2023

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