Beaver Tailwater


Posted by Phil Lilley on October 9th, 2011
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The Beaver Tailwater is just eight miles long, but it’s fishing possibilities are endless. Rainbows and browns are stocked by the state, and up until a short time ago, brook and cutthroat trout were also, but stocking has been discontinued.  No measurable natural reproduction occurs (trout) in the tailwater, so slot limits and other special regulations are in place to help the trout grow bigger.

The water here is gin-clear, so use very light line,two- to four-pound test line, whenever possible. This will greatly increase your chances of catching trout, whether you’re bait fishing or throwing artificial lures. The Beaver tailwater may not have the name recognition of Arkansas’s more prominent trout waters, but it certainly has plenty of rainbows and browns worth chasing.

The natural food base here is scuds (freshwater shrimp), sow bugs, sculpins, other small minnows, crawfish, midges, and various other flies, but not in big numbers.  Like Lake Taneycomo, Beaver Tailwater has huge midge hatches, and the trout key in on both emergers and dries.

The tailwater is subject to strong and variable currents. Please use common sense and take precautions such as:  Fish with a friend, wear a wading belt, wear an inflatable life jacket, and use a wading staff. Be aware of rising currents and get out immediately if you see rising water or hear the warning horn at the dam.

Tailwater Accesses:

  • Beaver Dam Site Access (Boat Ramp)
  • Campground “C” Access (Walk-in)
  • “Cane Break Hole” Access (Walk-in)
  • Parker Bend Access (Walk-in)
  • Bertrand Access (Boat Ramp, 3 miles below dam)
  • Houseman Access (Boat Ramp)
Q & A’s
Zack Hoyt
Can I get down Beaver even with no generation? Are there sections you can and can’t reasonably float?
We float Beaver at no generation all the time. What makes it tough is the Table Rock Lake elevation. Beaver tends to be like a small lake with a few riffles in it. Also at zero cub feet per second, there is still a little bit of flow. You will run into shallower spots downstream of the Bathouse access and around Parker Bottoms. Still no problem for drift boats, so even a pontoon is a breeze. Downstream of Parker Bottoms gets to be a bit stagnant, so there is a bit of rowing.If you’re on the water and flow starts to increase, should you just get to a bank and wait it out? I’m looking at the recent Corps’ data showing abrupt nine-foot increases in water level and 8000- or 9000-cubic-feet-per-second flows and thinking that could be a wild ride in the ” ‘toon?”
The nine-foot rise is very close to the dam, and the farther downstream you go, the more it widens which lessens the speed.  You could head to the shore — or just have a ride. Its not a horrible ride if you are used to rowing a pontoon. 

Is there a short float where I might be able to just walk back up to my truck from the take-out if I can’t hitch a ride?
The perk of a pontoon is not needing a ramp to launch. Putting in at the Dam Site Ramp is as far up as you can get. There are quite a few walk-in access points along the way and a few that are pretty wide open (easy to tote a pontoon uphill. Downstream from the Dam Site Ramp about .35 miles is the Bathouse walk-in. Parking isn’t far from the access. The next place to easily take a pontoon out is at Parker bottoms. It is about 1.5 miles from the Dam Ramp. There are piers jutting out into the water that make loading and unloading pretty easy. On down past Parker Bottoms, Bertrand Ramp is 2.84 miles down from the Ramp. Using Google maps, you can pretty easily tell where the accesses are located.

Can you give a brief rundown of the numbers that mean good fishing/floating condition, as in Table Rock pool level, tailwater elevation, recent generation (or not), etc.?  I just don’t entirely understand how to read the Corps’ graphs and such.
I prefer to use the Tabular form to read the water conditions. 
Tabular Form
It tells the current Tailwater level as well as current generation. This also shows more easily how long it takes the water to fall out. Remember, this gauge is near the dam, so the farther down, the longer the fallout. The level 916 feet is pretty shallow for Beaver. There are still deeper pools, but this makes for a lot more riffles. More riffles mean less lake-style fishing. Table Rock can get pretty high — the water can back up to the dam and still be fishable. You just have to adjust your fishing depth. At 918 feet, the water level makes for some tough wading in areas. By 920 feet, there is pretty much no wading and only float fishing.

Is there any way to predict when the releases will come? 
You can check out the official projected releases online, but these are STRICTLY  guidelines, so  keep an eye on water levels. 

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