Big Water, stay safe

WITH the USACE dumping floodwaters out of the White River chain this month, we have been getting plenty of questions about which accesses are still useable.

The Corps is has spillway gates open on both Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams to drop water levels as fast as possible

Norfork is scheduled to be out of flood stage by December 20 which should allow waders to celebrate Christmas on the water. Bull Shoals is scheduled to be out of flood January 7.

As of 12-11 with the waterflows at 27,000 cfs, this is Steve’s look at the accesses. As always conditions change with varying water flows and every boat owner should assess skills and conditions before attempting to launch on these flows.


Bull Shoals Dam (Jim Griffin): Would be useable but log blocking ramp (image). Larger than it looks. until removed a no go.

Golf Course (Forrest and Nina Wood): Solid access, sheltered by breakwall, but a hard current seam to avoid when driving away from the ramp

Bull Shoals State Park: Flooded, look elsewhere.

White Hole’s rebuilt access under water

White Hole: Goes underwater at normal high flow generation so the new ramp is pretty much unusable for regular riverboats. There are easier launches elsewhere. However light drift boats can still launch in the car park.

Wildcat Access is in good shape

Wildcat Ramp: Still in pretty good shape and a pretty mild launch for the inexperienced. Another foot of water before the new launching area started to get wet.

Cotter Ramp: Always a little sketchy in high flows, and right now only for highly experienced boat drivers. Other ramps are easier.

Rim Shoals: A pretty easy launch here, but mindful of the flooded handicap access downstream of the ramp itself.

Ranchette locals

Ranchette Access: Nice tall ramp, can be slippery in icy conditions but fairly solid to launch from. Only headache is little room to leave your boat other than the ramp at this flow. Make sure your motor is warmed up and running healthy before leaving the trailer or the launch.

Buffalo City

Buffalo City: Both ramps still looking good. Not a lot of slope on the downstream ramp.


CONFLUENCE RAMP: Despite Norfork and the White both running high the road to the Confluence Ramp is still open and useable. Another good place to make sure your motor is running well before leaving your trailer. Won’t take much of a rise to flood the road.

QUARRY PARK RAMP: Closed for the duration.