The Cotter Trout Dock News and
Weekly Fishing Report

January 14, 2015

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Greetings from all of us at Cotter Trout Dock on the banks of the White River in Cotter, Arkansas!

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Fishing Report From Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 1-14-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said we have had a significant rain (over two inches here in Cotter), brutally cold temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose five tenths of an inch to rest at four and four tenths feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. On the White, we had brief periods of heavy generation in the morning and afternoon with some wadable water. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park is seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. The hot spot was the section from State Park down to White Hole. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (size 8 and 10), Y2Ks (size 14 and 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead, size 16 and 18), pheasant tails  (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (try a flashback beadhead pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge or red fan tail midge suspended below it). Egg patterns have been very effective. The higher flows on some mornings and afternoons have been conducive to fishing large streamers. You need a fast sinking sink tip line and an eight weight or better rod. This is a heavy lift that requires casting skills and patience.
(Updated 1-7-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is high and stained. No anglers are on the water.
(Updated 1-7-2015) Newland's Resort below Bull Shoals had no report.  Visit the Projected water flow page and live web cam at Newland's web site.

Lake Norfork

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 550.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).(Updated 1-14-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the weather has been very cold and windy. Water temperature is in the mid-40s. The stripers, hybrids and white bass bite continue to school in the channel along the bluff line near Blue Lady down to the Lake House. Start looking for stripers at Bidwell Point following the old river channel all away around to the Blue Lady dock. Somewhere in that area the shad and stripers will be schooling. Stripers are being caught from 30 to 105 feet deep. I anticipate the bite will get better once a warming trend starts. Norfork Lake remains at 1 foot below normal fall/winter pool. The water visibility is stained in the creeks and pretty clear in the main channels.
(Updated 1-14-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said winter fishing on Norfork Lake continues to be good. The bite for striped bass has been strong. The fish are in or close to deep water channels and they are suspended anywhere from 30 to 60 feet deep. I did not see any huge schools of fish, but instead found small clusters of 2 to 10 fish swimming together. They are feeding on small 2 to 4 inch threadfin shad, so large baits are not needed at this time. Later in the day they seemed to move out of the channels to nearby deep flats. At around 2:30 p.m. I've started finding fish on the bottom in 60 feet of water. Yes, these fish are roaming so the main thing you need to look for is bait. Find bait and you will typically find the fish. It is a large area, but start looking from the 62 Bridge down toward the 101 Boat Dock and over toward Walker Hollow. I have been using live shiners as well as vertical jigging with a spoon. When jigging with a spoon, you do not need to move the bait very fast, small light twitches have been working for me. Largemouth bass fishing is also good. I have been finding these fish in two areas. 1) along deep water bluff lines in 45 to 52 feet of water. The fish are on the bottom and if you can find a point along the bluff line it will be the best spot. 2) suspended in deep water down 30 to 50 feet feeding on shad. I have been catching nice largemouth out in 70 to 80 feet of water in the same areas where I am fishing for stripers. White bass are roaming and chasing shad. Three days ago I found large schools of big whites and smaller hybrids in 45 to 50 feet of water on the bottom in a large flat area. I have also been catching some really big whites while striper fishing. They are usually buried within streams of bait 60 feet down. I haven't been crappie fishing lately, but I have been given good reports that they are on deep brush piles. You will find the fish 20 to 40 feet down over sunken brush. Look for the fish up higher on the brush at sunrise and sunset, down deeper during the middle of the day.
(Updated 1-7-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said surface water temperature is in the upper 40s to low 50s and the lake level is 548.9. Stripers are moving a little deeper following the shad. When you find the baitfish the stripers are close by and sometimes they are in the balls of baitfish. You can still find a few fish up shallow. Start looking halfway back in the creeks. The stripers and a few walleye are still hitting stick baits at night. Just remember to retrieve your lure slowly. Look for bass along the bluffs and out off points. Throw a suspending jerkbait and for the deeper fish throw a 3/4- to 1-oz. bucktail jig. They are also hitting Wiggle Warts thrown along the bank.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(Updated 1-14-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 1.8 feet to rest at 3 feet below seasonal power pool. On the tailwater, we had wadable water every day with limited generation most mornings. The tailwater has fished well recently. With the cold weather there was less pressure. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18-22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (size 14 and 16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis).The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday. There was little fishing pressure on Dry Run Creek. It has been a great time to fish there. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).

Buffalo River

(Updated 1-14-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off color. With the colder weather, the smallmouths are not active. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

Crooked Creek

(Updated 1-14-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off color. With the colder weather, the smallmouths are not active. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

Cotter Trout Dock, 321 Big Spring Pkwy pob 96, Cotter, AR  72626 To ensure you receive our monthly newsletter, make sure you add to your address book. If you prefer not to receive future email from Cotter Trout Dock, please unsubscribe here.