The “New” Dry Run Creek

Recent habitat work has changed and enhanced this one-of-a-kind trout fishery


Dry Run Creek is a quarter-mile stretch of water below Norfork Dam. It receives outflow from Norfork National Fishery, so the water is oxygen-rich and full of nutrients. Not everyone is allowed to fish Dry Run; regulations dictate that only children under sixteen along with handicapped individuals are allowed to utilize this fishery, and all trout must be released immediately. Also, only flies, lures and other artificial products are allowed. Fish are not stocked in Dry Run Creek, so its entire trout population enters the creek from the Norfork Tailwater. This is a remarkable fact because of a significant waterfall that must be breached before the fish reach the best holding water – thousands of trout make it over the falls every year and Dry Run Creek is literally stacked with fish from top to bottom.

Although the fishery at Dry Run has always been an amazing resource that has served as a perfect place for kids to learn how to fly fish in a challenging but rewarding environment since the late 1980’s, access has always been tricky and the wading was considered challenging for smaller kids. Also, the creek’s habitat was lacking in terms of structure, and there used to be only a few prime pools while the rest of the stream was shallow and fast. In an effort to improve the safety and fishability of Dry Run Creek, some of fly fishing’s most creative minds collaborated on an extensive habitat improvement project. The work has recently been completed, and even though it is a totally different layout, the overall number of good spots has increased exponentially. It is also much easier to walk up and down the river than it used to be. Dry Run is much more open now and the overall depth of the creek has improved making for more holding water. This is a result of strategically placed structure.

I spent a couple of days taking some kids on Dry Run Creek a few weeks ago and we had a blast. In years past, it was difficult to keep young anglers in good water all day, but that is no longer a problem. Boulders line the entire south side of the stream, and it’s simple to walk to areas that were once virtually inaccessible. The numbers of fish is higher than it used to be, and another interesting change of note is that there is now a strong population of beautiful cutthroats in the creek. Most of these cutts are in the 12 to 16-inch range, but they have cherry-red gill plates and are eager to take a dry fly. There are also still loads of huge rainbows and browns, and the best part of the enhancement of Dry Run Creek is that more kids [and disabled folks] are going to have an easier and safer time and the amount of fun experienced by all will increase significantly. and Flys & Guides is proud to offer half-day and full-day guided trips on Dry Run Creek in northern Arkansas. This is a perfect way to introduce youngsters to the sport of fly fishing, and success is guaranteed. There is no other spot like this creek, and the memories created last a lifetime for both the anglers and their parents. It is also possible to combine a half-day on Dry Run for the kids with a half-day spent drifting the Norfork Tailwater. Please give us a call if you are interested in learning more about this incredible fishery.


~ by troutdoctor101 on August 24, 2010.

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