About The Little Red River

Heber Springs
Cleburne County, Arkansas


Hi Folks,

I kinda suspect you might like to know a little about our river and the area surrounding this great trout river. Well here goes . . .


The Little Red River is located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains about 60 miles northeast of Little Rock and 135 miles west of Memphis, Tennessee. Our trout river was formed in the early 1960’s when the Corp of Engineers built Greers Ferry Dam on the Little Red River at Heber Springs. Construction of the dam began in March 1959 and was completed in December 1962. The powerhouse and switchyard were completed in July of 1964. The dam is 1704 feet long, rising 243 feet above the bed of the Little Red River. The projects overall cost was $ 46.5 million. The dam was dedicated in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. It was his last major public appearance before his fateful trip to Dallas on November 22, 1963, where he was assassinated.


The dam impounds Greers Ferry Lake which consists of two lakes connected by a water-filled gorge called the Narrows. The area of the two lakes and the Narrows total 40,500 acres with a shoreline of 340 miles. Once the lake was formed, tourism boomed. In 1965, it was estimated that 75,000 people visited the lake on the 4th of July weekend and on the same weekend in 1982 this number had risen to 250,000.


By discharging water thru turbines in the dam, hydroelectric power is supplied to the region. This water comes from a depth of about 140 feet below the surface of the reservoir at a constant temperature of about 50 degrees thus forming a cold water fishery below the dam in which trout flourish. The Little Red trout water is 31 miles in length and home to an abundance of rainbow and brown trout, with a sprinkling of brook and cutthroats, making this one of the premier trout rivers in the country. The largest brown taken from our river was a 40 pound 3 ounce former world record. The estimated population of trout in the river is said to be approximately 8,000 per mile. The regular stocking of rainbows and the natural spawning of the brown trout keep our river’s trout population at this level. Since this is a tailwater, the water levels can vary greatly. Wade fishing is available on the shoals during low generation and drift fishing is available on both high and low water. A guide or knowledge of the river is recommended while drifting on high water.


Other activities in the area are hiking, hunting, golf and water sports on the lake. Attractions in the area include the William Carl Garner/Corps of Engineers Visitor Center, hiking trails overlooking the river, trout hatchery; plus boating, fishing, and resort villages around the lake. A winter fishing trip can also include hunting for duck, deer or turkey when in season. Fishermen staying at the Red Apple Inn on Greers Ferry Lake can also golf on a 18 hole championship course (drive-up rates are also available). Also close by are Blanchard Springs Caverns and the town of Mountain View (Folk music on the square on the weekends).


Resorts on the river and lake, motels in town and JFK Park (on the river) for campers give visitors a wide range of choices for their stay.

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