The Cotter Trout Dock News and
Weekly Fishing Report

March 18, 2015

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Some photos taken this week at Cotter Trout Dock.
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Fishing Report From Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Bull Shoals

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 654.59 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(Updated 3-18-2015) Ken Minsky of Ken Minksy's Loch Leven Guide Service said the warming trend has had a positive influence on Bull Shoals. The surface water temperature in the mid-lake area (Point 24) has come up several degrees in the main lake from 40 to 47 degrees. The lake elevation is at 657.27 and is about three feet higher than a week ago. White bass are starting to make their way up the larger creek arms in search of warmer water and can be found in depths of 2 to 5 feet. East Sugar Loaf Creek near Lead Hill has a few white bass starting to show, however it is running a little muddy since the last rain. With more rain in the forecast, I would assume it will stay that way for the next few days. Shoal Creek is running very clear and has white bass moving in during the afternoons when the water warms. Make sure to have the White River Border Lakes License (WRL $10.00) with you, as the lake crosses over to the MO side when you get into the upper reaches of this major creek arm. Red and white jigs and Road Runners are working well on these early fish.
(Updated 3-18-2015) Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no report.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 3-18-2015) Paul Bobby at GI on the Fly Guide Service(907-350-6610) said the White River below Bull Shoals Dam is hot! Fishing the rise in generation is the most productive conditions for catching large brown and rainbow trout.  From the dam through the state park to Caine Island has been very good.  With muddy waters down south, why not hit the upper river?  This week, bigger fish than normal in the 25-inch range are being caught on white presentations and San Juan Worms.  Fly-fishing success on silver mink flesh flies or even suspending a white zonker under an indicator during rising generation will put plenty of fish in the net.  For the bait fishermen, set up and anchor down and wait for the rise in generation, but be careful.  Fishing tight lines with cut bait will catch brown trout.  Today we landed 21 browns on cut bait.  Fish in the 15- to 20-pound range are being hooked, however getting them to the net is another story.
(Updated 3-18-2015) Brad Smith at Arkansas Headhunters (479-283-8490) said recent rain, snow melt and ground thaw have the creeks and rivers feeding the White stained, so plan to fish above Crooked Creek until it clears. Caddis have begun to show on the White and should allow plenty of shots at rising fish in the coming weeks. This is the best hatch on our rivers and shouldn’t be missed. Fish are regularly taking caddis pupae fished under an indicator and a few fish can be fooled up top with an Elk Hair Caddis when fish are seen rising. Midges, egg patterns and San Juan Worms have been fooling fish as well. The Sow Bug Roundup featuring some of the regions best fly tiers is this weekend in Mt Home in case you need another excuse to come fish.
(Updated 3-4-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said during the past week, we have had snow (about half an inch here in Cotter), brutally cold temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The hot spot was the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8 and 10), Y2Ks (sizes 12 and 14), 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 (szie 10), and sowbugs (szie 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 as well. Redds are present in the tailrace, so wade carefully and try not to disturb them.
(Updated 3-18-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and generators were running in the mornings last week. Trout are biting well on Blue Fox spinners, Rooster Tails and white jigs. Fly-fishermen are catching them on green woolly buggers, zebra midges and brown scuds.

Lake Norfork

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 549.71 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).(Updated 3-18-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the cold weather finally broke, but the rains have brought the lake level up about 2 to 21/2 feet and muddied the water. I fished the Blue Lady dock area, Crystal Cove, the Fouts Boat Dock area, and point 6B with no luck and no fish. I moved down towards Big Creek and Brushy Creek and found fish in multiple spots. The best day I caught several stripers with the biggest being 20 lbs. Multiple cold fronts, rain and heavy fog should slow the morning bite just a little longer. The good news is the water is warming fast and the fish are starting to feed. I expect the lake activity for all species of fish will only improve this coming week. The night bite has started for real. The bite is starting right at dark, nothing has been caught before dark
(Updated 3-18-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the water level is rising from the rain and snow and the surface temperature is on the rise as well. The surface temperature was 47 degrees Monday. The water is turning very clear with stained water in the backs of creeks and coves. Each year around mid-March, striped bass, hybrid bass and walleye move up to the shorelines after dark to feed. Two nights ago the big fish were up tight on the banks. Last evening was a good bite but the fish were on the smaller size, keeper size, but not big enough for me to keep. The method for these Norfork Lake monsters is to cast a 5- to 6-inch suspending jerkbait. There are two different views on where to position your boat. The first is to get your boat close to the shoreline and cast parallel along the shoreline to keep your bait in the strike zone longer. The second is to keep your boat as far away from the shore as possible and still be able to cast to the shore. I typically keep my boat away from the shore and cast into it. My belief is that I won't spook the fish with my boat and I have also found that the fish will follow the bait and hit it in deeper water and not always on the banks. Reel as slowly as possible. If you think you are reeling slow, reel slower. Color choice of your bait is a personal preference, but I typically go with dark backs and light bottoms on overcast and new moon nights and lighter tops and darker bottoms on full moon nights. Where to find these Norfork Lake monsters is the next question. I have recently been fishing part way back in major creeks. I start on secondary points and work both sides of the point along the shoreline. Typically you will find the fish on long shallow points close to flats, but over the last two days I have also found the fish on deep bluff line points. Once the water warms up a little more they will move out to the main lake points and typically be feeding on the long shallow points. I have also found stripers in the backs of small creeks in very shallow water. I will usually mark fish and bait in the area that is active.
(Updated 3-11-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said water temperature is still in the low- to mid-40s. Warmer weather in the next week or two should push the water temperature up to at least 50, and the fishing will only get better. There are a few fish moving up to shallow water. The main lake is clear and back in the creeks the water is stained. There are still stripers in the mid-lake area,  but they will start heading upriver and into major creeks as soon as the water warms. I talked to a angler the other day and he's been catching some nice bass in deep brush on tube jigs. There are a few stripers hitting stickbaits at night and it's  just getting started.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(Updated 3-18-2015) Brad Smith at Arkansas Headhunters (479-283-8490) said recent rain, snow melt and ground thaw have the creeks and rivers stained. Midges, egg patterns and San Juan Worms have been fooling fish lately. The Sow Bug Roundup featuring some of the regions best fly tiers is this weekend in Mt Home in case you need another excuse to come fish.
(Updated 3-4-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the tailwater has fished poorly recently. With the colder weather there was little fishing pressure on the Norfork. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (size 18 to 22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (size 14 to 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.


Buffalo River

(Updated 3-18-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the rivers are high and muddy.


Crooked Creek

(Updated 3-18-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the rivers are high and muddy.

 

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