Inns, Lodges, Resorts
By Polly Dean
Photos by Jimmy jacobs
This iconic resort on the White River in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Arkansas has been a favorite of families and fishermen for generations. It began 64 years ago with the purchase by Al Gaston of 20 acres of White River frontage with six small cottages and six boats. Jim Gaston, Al’s son, turned it into the memorable lodge that is now managed by the third generation’s Clint Gaston.
The resort presently encompasses more than 400 acres, with 79 cottages ranging in size from efficiencies with two double beds to 10-bedroom houses. Standard accommodations with beds and no kitchen are available as well.
The property boasts an award-winning restaurant that has hosted birthdays, reunions and many special events over the decades. One can’t help but feel the warmth that welcomes you when setting foot in the restaurant, which boasts a massive collection of nostalgic items. These personal collections have greeted anglers, families and diners for decades. The wall-to-wall glass windows provide views of the White River, revealing why it attracts so many visitors to its waters and shores. It is truly a special place.
A gift shop, private club, game room, tennis courts, swimming pool, fly-fishing school and conference lodge are now part of the resort. A private, grass air strip on the property has grown from 1,800 feet to 3,200 feet.
What began with those first six boats, now numbers more than 70. A state-of-the-art, covered dock holds all of them. The fly-fishing school is led by master fly fisherman Frank Saksa. It is a one-day course for two people, combining in-classroom instruction with hands-on experience. This is a great way to prepare, or brush up on your skills, for challenging the trout in the river.
Guided fishing trips are offered for half or full days. Use your own equipment, or rods and reels are available to rent. Gaston’s Resort is known for their epic shore lunches. Inquire about those for groups or parties of various sizes. Such a meal on the river bank will turn a day on the water into a special event.
Book a stay at Gaston’s White River Resort and see what generations have come to know and love for so many years. And you, just as earlier visitors have, are likely to return time and time again, whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion or to just sample the fine fishing. For more information visit the resort’s website.
Then learn for yourself why the White River is known for its great fishing and especially the huge brown trout that call this river home.