Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass

R. Stokes

Buffalo National River is more than just a river. At least fifty-nine different species of fish find a home at Buffalo National River. Of these, twelve species are considered game fish. The Buffalo River has long been a favorite spot for smallmouth bass anglers. Rainbow and brown trout, introduced game species, have been found in the cold tailwaters of the White River near its confluence with the Buffalo. Fishing is in accordance with state regulations; a license is required for those sixteen years or older.

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

Fish Checklist

Category Species Habitat
Lamprey American Brrok Lamprey (Lamprey appendix) R
Chesnut Lamprey (Ichthyomyzon castaneus) V
Gar Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus) S
Eel American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) V
Herring Gizzard (Dorosoma cepedianum) S
Minnows Southern Redbelly Dace (Phoxsinus erythrogaster) R
Bluntnose Minnow (Pimephales notatus) S
Ozark Minnow (Notropis nubilus) S
Bigeye Chub (Hybopsis amblops) R
Creek Chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) S
Hornyhead Chub (Nocomis biguttatus) R
Streamline Chub (Hybopsis dissimilis) R
Central Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum) S
Largescale Stoneroller (Campostoma oligolepis) R
Bigeye Shiner (Notropis boops) S
Duskystripe Shiner (Notropis pilsbryi) R
Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas) R
Ozark Shiner (Notropis ozarcanus) R
Rosyface Shiner (Notropis rubellus) R
Steelcolor Shiner (Notropis whipplei) R
Striped Shiner (Notropis chrysocephalus) R
Telescope Shiner (Notropis telescopus) R
Wedgespot Shiner (Notropis greenei) R
Whitetail Shiner (Notropis galacturus) R
Suckers Highfin Carpsucker (Carpiodes velifer) R
Northern Hog Sucker (Hypentelium nigricans) R, G
Black Redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei) R
Golden Redhorse (Moxostoma erythrurum) S
River Redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum) R
Catfish Black Bullhead (Ictalurus melas) S, G
Yellow Bullhead (Ictalurus natalis) S, G
Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) V, G
Checkered Madtom (Noturus flavater) S
Ozark Madtom (Noturus albater) R
Slender Madtom (Noturus exilis) R
Killifishes Northern Studfish (Fundulus catenatus) S
Blackspotted Topminnow (Fundulus olivaceus) S
Silversides Brook Silverside (Labidesthes sicculus) S
Sunfishes Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) S
Ozark Bass/Googleye (Ambloplites salmoides) S, G
Smallmouth Bass/Brownie (Micropterus dolomieui) R, G
Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus) S, G
Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) V, G
Longear Sunfish (Lepomis megalotis) S, G
Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) S, G
Perches Arkansas Saddled Darter (Etheostoma euzonum) R
Banded Darter (Etheostoma zonale) R
Blackside Darter (Percina maculata) V
Gilt Darter (Percina evides) R
Greenside Darter (Etheostoma blennioides) R
Logperch (Percina caprodes) V
Orangethroat Darter (Etheostoma spectabile) R
Rainbow Darter (Etheostoma caeruleum) R
Speckled Darter (Etheostoma stigmaeum) V
Stipple Darter (Etheostoma punctulatum) S
Yorke Darter (Etheostoma juliae) R
Sculpins Banded Sculpin (Cottus carolinae) R

Last updated: March 13, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

402 N. Walnut Street
Suite 136

Harrison, AR 72601


870 439-2502

Contact Us