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.

Estimated Flow Time Chart
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 Shoal11 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 Landing49 miles12.25 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 hours35 miles8.75 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!