Estimated Flow Times for
Bull Shoals & Norfork Tailwaters
These are estimates of how long it takes for water to rise at the given location. Usual disclaimers apply. Variables that affect these times are: 1) number of units running at the dam, 2) length of prior shut down time, 3) flow from feeder creeks and streams. Estimates of flow times for locations below the confluence of the Norfork tailwater are more complicated to account for because of additional releases and variables from Norfork dam.
Water releases of half the total load capacity to full capacity from the powerhouses (4-8 units on Bull Shoals; 1-2 units on Norfork) mean an average current speed of 3 to 4 miles-per-hour. When fewer units are running or generation is intermittent, the estimated time may increase considerably as current speed decreases. Owners and operators at the various trout docks are also usually helpful in being able to tell you what to expect on a given day. A guide's experience is invaluable in helping to put you on the best water.
|Location||Distance below Bull Shoals Dam||Flow Time in Hours from Bull Shoals Dam||Distance below Norfork Dam||Flow Time in Hours from Norfork Dam|
|White Hole||7 miles||1.75 hours|
|Wild Cat Shoal||11 miles||2.75 hours|
|Cotter*||16.8 miles||4.2 hours|
|Rim Shoals||21 miles||5.25 hours|
|Ranchette||26.5 miles||6.5 hours|
|Buffalo City*||30 miles||7.5 hours|
|Cartney||34.5 miles||8.5 hours|
|Shipps Ferry*||36.3 miles||9 hours|
|Norfork Confluence*||42.3 miles||10.5 hours||4.8 miles||1.25 hours|
|Red's Landing||49 miles||12.25 hours||11.5 miles||2.9 hours|
|Chesmond Ferry*||56.6 miles||14 hours||19.1 miles||4.75 hours|
|Calico Rock*||59.6 miles||15 hours||22.1 miles||5.5 hours|
|Optimus||69.8 miles||17.5 hours||32.3 miles||8 hours|
|Mount Olive||72.5 miles||18 hours||35 miles||8.75 hours|
|Sylamore*||76.7 miles||19 hours||39.2 miles||9.8 hours|
|Guion*||89.4 miles||23.3 hours||51.9 miles||13 hours|
* Revised 1-19-09 and based on White River Navigation Chart River Miles
Some indications of rising water are: 1) noticeable increase in moss or debris in water, 2) quickly disappearing water mark on shore, 3) sudden rise or drop in water temperature, 4) rise in noise level in shoals. Be alert to changing conditions, always call the current status number to know what to expect (870-431-5311), and never put yourself in a place you can't get out of with rising water. Safe wading!