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Bull Shoals Dam was completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1951. It is quite a sight to see and is the fifth largest concrete dam in the United States. The portion located in Missouri, together with the Arkansas portion, totals some 45,500 surface acres. Almost 1,000 miles of rugged shoreline is open to visitors, as well as, 60,000 acres of public land. These vast lands provide a variety of opportunities as well as breathtaking views.
Over 20 parks have been developed through the cooperative efforts of local, state and federal agencies and are available around the lakeshore. These have both camping as well as picnicking facilities. There are grills, firewood, tables and drinking water at the picnic sites. Commercial docks on the lake have boats, motors and guides for hire. Water skiing and swimming are popular at Bull Shoals, as is cruising the hundreds of miles of lake arms and coves by motor or sailboat. The waters are ocean blue, therefore scuba divers come to Bull Shoals from many states to enjoy their sport. Divers are permitted to spear scaled rough fish during daylight hours.
BULL SHOALS LAKE FISHING
Bull Shoals Lake and the White River below its dam, are synonymous with fishing in Arkansas. Bassmaster Magazine selected the impoundment as one of the country’s Top 100 Bass Lakes (May 2012). Scrappy largemouth bass, spotted bass and white bass abound in the lake, along with crappie, channel cat, bream and walleye. Bass weighing up to 12 pounds are caught here, therefore, largemouth bass fishing is very popular on Bull Shoals Lake.
Fishing is good year round due to the run in early spring by the walleye, as well as, white bass run in the upper reaches of the lake. The growing popularity of night fishing for trout, as well as white bass and crappie in the summer has also contributed to this fact. Black bass fishing is at its best between September and May. Below the dam, however, the frigid waters of the White River have gained a national following of trout fishermen. Anglers worldwide flock here to try their hand at hooking rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout. A large federal fish hatchery nearby assures a continuous stocking of the river.
November is prime time to catch crappie around Christmas tree fish attractors on lakes Norfork and Bull Shoals. Positioned in clusters below the water’s surface, these trees create large brush piles serving as shelter for young bait fish such as minnows and shad. Being a prime food source, in turn, attracts black bass and crappie to these areas. Winter is prime time for catching crappie around man-made fish attractors and they are marked as well with blue and white reflective signs on the shoreline.
Upon locating a marked sign, steer your boat 20-30 feet away from it. Using a four-pound test line and a 1/16-ounce jig head, cast toward the fish attractor. Count down until you get a hit or hit brush. If you get a hit, use the same count the next cast. If you hit brush, use a shorter count.
As you can see Bull Shoals Lake has something for everyone. You can enjoy fishing for the next world record trout, camping & hiking, as well as, unlimited watersports at Bull Shoals Lake.
North Central Arkansas & South Central Missouri