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Saline River

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General Information

Description - The Saline River is the last major undammed stream in the entire Ouachita Mountain drainage, and its watershed contains some of the finest deer, turkey and squirrel hunting in Arkansas. The Saline remains relatively unspoiled by man and creates an illusion of wilderness along much of its length. Dense forests line the river banks. Visitors may be treated to the sight of deer, mink, otters, beaver, muskrats and a variety of bird species. The combination of excellent fishing, scenery and backcountry floating make all who know the Saline regard it with an almost fanatical devotion.

Gas, groceries, restaurants, and overnight accommodations are available in nearby communities.

Recreation - Besides floating, paddling, wildlife viewing, and hunting on the Saline, the river is one of the most underrated fishing rivers in Arkansas. Smallmouth bass abound in the upper reaches, largemouth bass occupy the lower reaches and the intermediate water between has a healthy population of spotted bass. Fishing during much of the year is a "wade a little, fish a little" proposition, and for this reason, canoes are much preferred over the traditional flat bottom johnboat. A motor is normally more trouble than it's worth on headwater float trips.

The Saline is a good year round float stream except in the upper portions of the river.

Climate - Arkansas has a temperate climate with the coldest temperatures near freezing during December, January and February. Daytime highs for these months usually reach 55 degrees F. Spring and fall temperatures are very mild with lows dipping to 44 degrees F and highs reaching 70 degrees F. July and August are the hottest months of the year with average temperatures reaching 90 degrees F. June and September average temperatures usually reach into the mid-eighties. Spring and winter months are the wettest of the year.

Location - The Saline River is found in southwest Arkansas. Born of the rivulets that flow out of the eastern foothills of the rugged Ouachita Mountains, its three major divisions, Middle, Alum and North Forks merge above Benton. Below this point the river flattens out to begin its long journey through Grant, Cleveland, Bradley and Ashley counties to its confluence with the Ouachita River in the heart of Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge.

Access to the Saline is generally at state highway crossings, county road crossings and numerous little-known fords and ferry sites. The Game and Fish Commission has developed several access points along the river, including a boat ramp off Arkansas Hwy. 229 on a forest road between Traskwood and Poyen, Lee's Ferry Access from Arkansas Hwy. 35, Mt. Elba off Arkansas Hwy. 35, and at Longview off Arkansas Hwy. 189 between Fountain Hill and Johnsville.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Jerry (Rison, Ark)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I am planning to float the entire Saline River beginning in March 2004, I need some informatation on the upper Saline from Middle Fork to Lees Ferry. Please email me any information you can about places to put in and get supplies. Thanks Jerry my email is rison01@hotmail.com

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: ALERT! Middle Fork water is being held captive within the lakes of Hot Springs Village and their wastewater is filling the Middle Fork banks

Filed By: charley & amber (benton, ar)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Amber and I recently floated the saline from Paul Wright ford to Peeler Bend. We had a great time catching and releasing several different species of bass and bream. The float we chose took @ 8 hours. There were a few shallow spots were we had to drag the canoe, but overall it was an easy float. I hope you can enjoy the saline as much as we did.

Filed By: W.L. Howard (Lonsdale, AR)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Have noticed in crossing the Vance Bridge on the Middle Fork for the past several months, that every time it rains we get mud flowing into the Middle Fork. It is comming from an un-named tributary that originates on the Hot Springs Village. They are building golf courses along the Middle Fork and the soil disturbance is ending up in the river.

Filed By: andrea and robbie (benton, ar)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: water of saline river was up; not much paddling required. few tricky spots with trees/limbs across waterway, nothing you could not get through. others on the river were fishing and caught a few.

More Information

Contact Information:
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, One Capitol Mall , Little Rock, AR, 72201, Phone: 501-682-7777, Fax: 501-682-2523

Additional Information:
Arkansas Rivers and Streams - Arkansas has numerous rivers and streams located throughout the state. We have information on 13 rivers, four creeks and one bayou.


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