Arkansas Notes: Gaston’s on the White

Gaston’s White River Resort has been in business since 1958. The White River has been in business as a trout fishery since 1952. That’s when President Truman arrived by train, stayed four hours, and gave his dedication blessings to Bull Shoals and nearby Norfork dams, thus forever changing the local landscape.

Truman’s place in history is secure. The White River’s place as one of the most productive tailwater trout fisheries in the country is also secure. Gaston’s reputation as one of the best resorts and fishing outposts on the river is well established, as well.

I fished Tuesday with my mentor and long time friend Larry Rea, who spent more than three decades with The Commercial Appeal, the bulk of which as that newspaper’s outdoor editor. He retired a few years ago then got into the radio business. You’ll find more about that at

Gaston’s has everything you need; from bare bones to full service. Fishing guides, food, lodging, service, tackle, information . . . even the current “hot fly.” Check them out at

Larry and I fished Tuesday with veteran guide Ron Armagost (pictured), who has caught more fish than he can remember and guided more fishermen than need remembering. Ron has a life changing  story of his own, which he was gracious enough to share. More about that soon.

We caught about three dozen trout, which everyone except me considered a good but not great day of fishing (I thought it was terrific). The weather was perfect, the company was excellent and the folks at Gaston’s do their best to make guests feel at home.

I’m here at the invitation of Larry Rea and host Jim Gaston as part of an annual media gathering hosted by Gaston’s. There are about 20 writers and broadcasters here this week, all of whom are colleagues and many of which are friends, including Bryan Hendricks.

Following Tuesday night’s Gaston’s hosted cookout Bryan asked if I wanted to try some nighttime fly fishing. Fishing in the dark does something evil to my casting. Still, I managed to catch a fat nighttime rainbow. Luck again trumped talent.

The weatherman is promising cold and wind on Wednesday. I don’t think the trout will mind.