Trout are not native to Arkansas. Arkansas's trout fisheries are the result of cold-water discharge downstream from many U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams. Before these dams, the White River was full of smallmouth bass and other warm water fish. The cold water discharge wiped out the smallmouth fisheries.
The federal government mitigated the damage through the annual stocking of trout, which can handle much colder water temperatures. Brown trout can reproduce successfully in Arkansas, but rainbow trout populations require annual stockings. Arkansas trout streams produce many rainbows in excess of 10 pounds and many brown trout topping 30 pounds.
Rainbow trout are also stocked in many community ponds throughout Arkansas during the colder months of the year, giving Arkansans the opportunity to fish for trout almost in their back yard. These pond stockings, part of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Family and Community Fishing Program, begin in mid-November with the ponds stocked by Thanksgiving. They continue on a monthly basis, so another stocking at the community ponds of trout from the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery in Mammoth Springs will take place before Christmas. The stockings continue through February at the program ponds.
The Family and Community Fishing Program has placed special tags on many of the trout being stocked throughout this season. Catch one of these fish and return the tag to the AGFC, and you'll receive a special prize package of fishing equipment. In addition, you'll be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of this year's trout season.