The Rainbow Trout Fishery in the Bull Shoals-Norfork Tailwaters, Arkansas, 1971-81

The catchable rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) fishery in the tailwaters of Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams, begun in 1948, has apparently reached equilibrium with respect to angler use and harvest. Angler days during 2 creel studies (1971-1973 and 1980-81) ranged from 139,000 (1973) to 272,000 (1981). Anglers harvested 46.1 % to 98.4% of the 800,000 to 880,000 rainbow trout stocked annually. Stocking schedules were tailored to well-established patterns of spatial and seasonal angler use. The number of fish caught per hour decreased from 1971-73 to 1980-81, but the weight of fish caught per hour remained unchanged. The use of guides increased substantially from 1971-73 to 1980-81. The effects on fisherman harvest were substantially different during years of very high and very low water in the tailwaters. A discrete creel census of the Norfork tailwater was conducted during 1980-81 and results were compared to the fishery during that period in the Bull Shoals tailwater.

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