Close to home trout

I remember well my first time to fish for wild trout in a Colorado stream. I was about 30 years old and a couple buddies and I had made arrangements with a rancher to do a 3 day drop camp hunt for mule deer on his ranch near Silverton.

When we arrived, the rancher had the camp all set up complete with a supply of aspen wood for the wood stove. It gets chilly in the mountains in October! When making plans for our drop camp, he asked if we liked to fish and the answer was a resounding YES! He mentioned a little stream that traversed his property that was full of brook trout.

None of us were fly fishermen but we all packed our light weight spinning gear with an assortment of small spinners and several jars of salmon eggs, light clamp on weights and small trout hooks. None of us put our tag on a buck mule deer on that hunt.

We might have been more successful had we hunted throughout the day rather than heading back to camp after a short morning hunt and fishing the stream until the afternoon hunt. On this short hunt, I became ‘hooked’ on catching and eating trout. Granted, the brookies were small trout but they put up a great fight on the ultra light gear we were using and they were a gourmet’s delight in tin foil, butter and a squeeze of lemon!

I later outfitted elk and bear hunts with my friend in the mountains north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The ranch we leased for hunting had an excellent trout stream within short distance of camp. Here we landed some big trout, both German browns and rainbows.

Between groups of hunters, we spent time fishing the private waters on the ranch and catching was very good. I still remember some of the awesome meals of wild rice and grilled trout!

A highlight of fishing for trout is enjoying the awesome scenery along trout streams. It seems trout and beautiful country go hand in hand. Just a couple weeks, I was fishing up in far northern Saskatchewan for giant lake trout and northern pike.

While fishing ‘up north’, I began thinking about trout waters close to home that didn’t require the long drive to the Rockies.

Oklahoma and Arkansas have some great trout streams. The White River in Arkansas below Bull Shoals is a world class trout fishery and in Oklahoma, we have Mountain Fork River below Broken Bow Lake. A stretch of this river runs through Beavers Bend Park and provided easy access for many Texas fishermen.

The Little Red River below Greers Ferry Reservoir in Arkansas near Heber Springs might not be as well known as the White River but provides excellent trout fishing on the 29 miles of superb trout habitat below the dam at Greers Ferry. This stretch of river is well known for producing jumbo brown trout and lots of action on hard fighting rainbows.

Lodging and guide services is available at many resorts along the river. The lower Illinois River below Ten Killer dam about 6 miles northeast of Gore, Oklahoma in Sequoyah County provides some great trout fishing as well.

Blue River, located about 8 miles north of Tishomingo is a great spot that is usually well stocked with rainbows.

To get started on your quest for trout waters, the fish and game departments for Arkansas ( and Oklahoma (www. are great sources. It’s also a good idea to Google trout guides in explore the possibility of booking a trip. I highly recommend hiring a guide on waters that are new to you, at least for that initial trip.

You’ll learn a great deal and then, should you wish to fish on your own later, you will have a good idea of where and how to be successful. A guided trout trip on the White River is a great introduction to trout fishing. The White is well stocked with trout and you have the very real opportunity to catch a big one.

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