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Mountain Home Ranked 2nd by Field & Stream Magazine

Mountain Home, Ark.
The Big-Fish, Easy-Living Town

Nestled in the scenic Ozarks, Mountain Home is consistently rated one of the best places to retire to in the country. It's affordable, beautiful, safe, and laid-back. Taxes are low, and the fishing is off the charts. Norfork Lake and Bull Shoals Lake teem with largemouths, as well as stripers and walleyes. The kicker, however, is that you can also catch big trout with flies in the White or Norfork (North Fork) Rivers. It's fair to say that these tailwaters - part of a 170-mile network of coldwater streams - are some of the world's best trout fisheries. The Norfork served up the former world-record brown trout (38 pounds 9 ounces) in 1988; the White has stretches that hold hundreds of 5-plus-pound brown trout per mile. Obviously, with fish like that, Mountain Home's reputation is well understood by serious anglers. But the area isn't overcrowded, overpriced, or overdeveloped.

Local Secret: Float the Buffalo River to experience what this region was like before the dams that created the tailwaters were built – that is, wild rivers with some of the country’s premier smallmouth bass fishing.

The Scene: In its history, the region has had a steadfast connection with the outdoors tradition. Since 1978, Mountain Home has been the headquarters for the world’s largest wholesale distributor of fly-tying materials, Wapsi Fly Inc. If you’re an angler who enjoys to hunt as well, you can pursue waterfowl, turkeys, wild hogs, and whitetails here.

Move Here Because: You have recurring dreams about catching a 20-pound brown trout on a fly and you like to be outside on a year-round basis.

Drawbacks: To really be able to appreciate the rivers and lakes, you definitely need a boat (or guide) to get around. Summers can be hot and sticky.

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