One cool river gets its flow from a spring that forms deep underground. Another is chilled by water drawn from the cold-water depths of Beaver Lake.
Roaring River and the White River below Beaver Dam are refreshing places to spend summer days when nature cranks up the heat. Cold water brings kayakers, bird-watchers and anglers to the White River. Trout fishing, hiking, swimming and camping are the draw at Roaring River State Park northeast of Seligman, Mo.
The two are close enough together it’s possible to dip a toe in both waterways on the same day.
White River below Beaver Dam, also called the Beaver tailwater, starts where chilly water is drawn from about 150 feet deep on the lake side of the dam. Fast flow through the dam turns two hydroelectric generators that makes electricity to power homes far and wide. Water surges from the bottom of the dam at about 55 degrees.
The current carries kayaks and canoes downstream as if cradled by a gentle hand. Anglers revel in standing hip deep in the cool stream. The cold water is perfect habitat for trout. A few brave souls find that cold water refreshing for a quick swim.
Peggy Bulla with the Sugar Creek chapter of the Ozark Society enjoys slipping her kayak in the the White River when the weather gets hot. She normally brings along a friend or five.
“I like it because it’s easy access. The shuttles are short and you can float short or long distances. Standing right near the base of Beaver Dam is an impressive sight, too,” she said.
She loves the refreshing cool and clear water. Paddlers often feel cool puffs of breeze coming off the surface on hot days. It’s easy to see trout cruising just above the rock and gravel stream bed.
Trout is the main draw for anglers like Bruce Darr, an ardent fly fisher and member of Trout Unlimited. Fly fishing conditions are best when the river is low early before power generation begins at midmorning during most summer days.
Darr does well catching trout with a ruby midge or root beer midge. Both were created by Darr’s friend, David Knowles of Fayetteville, a fly tyer and angler.
Chest waders are the fashion statement for anglers who walk in the cold water. It only takes one frigid outing to learn to wear long pants under uninsulated waders, the water is that cold. Insulated waders are fine, but hot to wear out of the water.
Across the state line, Roaring River flows cold and clear in southwest Missouri north of the White River as the crow flies. It’s the centerpiece of Roaring River State Park, the largest and most visited of Missouri’s state parks.
The river is born from Roaring River Spring at the bottom of a cliff on the north end of the park. Some 20 million gallons of water per day gush from the spring to keep the river flowing cold year-round.
Anglers cast for trout from shore along the mile-long stretch of Roaring River inside the park. Wading isn’t allowed along most of it, but there’s a small area near the campground that’s open for swimming and wading. There’s also a swimming pool near the park office. Cabins and campsites are available.
The Missouri Department of Conservation operates the Roaring River Hatchery where thousands of rainbow trout are raised for stocking in Roaring River. The hatchery is a fascinating place to see. Trout of all sizes, including some lunkers that’ll fuel fishing fever, fin in the concrete raceways and a lagoon near Roaring River Spring.
Visitors can tour the hatchery on their own or take a guided tour at 2 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Postcard views of Roaring River and the park are enjoyed from miles of hiking trails in the park. The paths offer ample shade, though most hikers prefer to start early on summer days.
After a hike, retreating to one of the park’s air-conditioned cabins, or a dip in the river or swimming pool, might be in order.
To find out more about the White River below Beaver Dam, call the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission regional office at the dam, 479-253-2506 or visit agfc.com.
For information about Roaring River State Park, call the park office, 417-847-2539 or visit mostateparks.com
Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette