The Cotter Trout Dock News and
Weekly Fishing Report

April 22, 2015

Unsubscribe | Subscribe
Return to Fishing Reports Index

Some photos of our guided trout fishing customers
taken this week at
Cotter Trout Dock.

Click images to enlarge.

Fishing Report From Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Bull Shoals

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 667.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(Updated 4-22-2015) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said most of the shoreline has brush in the water. The water temperatures are still in the 50s to low 60s. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits in and along the brush in the warmer water back in the creeks. Jerk baits are working well out in 10 to 15 feet of water outside the brush. Jigs fished in 5 to 15 feet of water crawled along bluffs and rocks are working as well. White bass are back in the creeks, and some good limits have come in lately. Use small white jigs, spoons and crankbaits for the best results on the white bass. Walleye are being caught on stickbaits at night and are being caught incidentally by many bass anglers during the day. There haven't been any big stringers of walleye caught lately, but the warmer weather should change that. Crappie anglers are being a bit tight-lipped, but the few that are willing to share information are catching their fish in 20 feet of water around brush on small minnows, spoons and 1/32 oz. to 1/64 oz. jigs if you can find the days when the wind will let you fish that light.
(Updated 4-15-2015) Ken Minsky of Ken Minksy's Loch Leven Guide Service said the main lake temperature in the mid-lake area is 57 degrees, and has not come up much, if at all over the last two weeks. Overall fishing is good. During the warming trend, fish charged up into shallow water and were pretty aggressive, but they have since moved back out to the first drop to deeper water. White bass are all but done spawning, and the suckers have moved into the creeks to spawn.  Walleyes are also done spawning and are moving out toward the main lake again. Expect to find them in 15 to 20 feet of water along the creek banks.  Trolling crankbaits is still possible at those depths as the water is only covering the brush to about the 12 to 14 foot level. I’m not seeing many largemouths yet, but I suspect they will be getting a bit more active in the next couple of weeks.  Smallmouths and spotted bass are providing the most consistent action, but you’ll have to work for them too.  I’m finding them along the banks and soft secondary points in the creek arms.  Look for the warmest water and concentrate on the banks with south- facing slopes.  Small jigs have been working best the last few days, and I would stick to a low and slow presentation until the rain stops and the water warms up again. Bluegills have started to make a showing, small ones have moved along the banks and under docks.  The larger ones remain in at least 18 feet of water. A few crappies are coming to the net, but it’s been incidental catches for me.  I’ve not seen or heard that they have made a major move to the shallows yet. Bow fishing for carp and gar is hit and miss, at least during the day.  I saw lots of smaller size gar and a few carp on the flats up Shoal Creek the other day.  The flooded flats on East Sugar Loaf Creek were also full of carp after dark.
(Updated 4-8-2015) Steve Curtis at S&S; Guide Service (870-740-1140) said the lake is still on the rise, but the water temperature is holing in the mid- to upper 50s. The crappie have pulled back and once the lake levels off they should move back shallow. They are still catching a few nice ones on 1/64 oz. jigs in the middle of Howard Creek. Bass fishing is still red hot and getting hotter. Most are coming on stick baits and Wiggle Warts around the Oakland area. They are starting to move up into staging areas at the end of bluffs and around secondary points. We landed a few nice smallies within sight of the dam on 1/2 oz. football jigs.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 4-22-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is at a very reasonable level with two to three generators running. Trout fishing has been very good on spinners and drifted Power Bait, Power Worms and bait shrimp. The size of the fish has been very good, with many 16-inch and larger rainbows being caught lately. Brown trout are biting well on artificials early and late in the day.
(Updated 4-22-2015) Paul Bobby at GI on the Fly Guide Service (907-350-6610) said the White River from the dam to Three Chutes has been hot and cold. With high lake elevation, the morning high water is littered with Didymo. This stuff tears off rocky or gravel sections of the river bottom during high levels of generation and floats in the current, getting all over your line, leader and eveything else. Once water clears from the moss, fishing is good. Spin fishermen are casting spinners and small Rapalas. Dragging redworms, nightcrawlers or PowerBait tipped with shrimp will do the trick as well. Try the faster currents for the best bite. If you’re wadding and before entering the river, stand and watch the water. Most times, fishermen will walk right over feeding fish to get to a favorite spot just to find themselves in boat traffic or slipping off a rock and getting soaked. In the afternoon, a red ruby midge with a caddis pupa seems to work well. Red midges with copper bead and wire or black and even root beer midges dressed with copper can be hot. Dry fly presentations representing a caddis are working great in the afternoon and into the evening.
(Updated 3-25-2015) Brad Smith at Arkansas Headhunters (479-283-8490) said with spring break and the Sow Bug Roundup happening on the same week, the river will be busy so plan to be patient. The crowds really thin out in the afternoons into the evening hours, so plan on a later start and enjoy your morning relaxing. We’ve seen quite a bit of low water in the afternoons with a moderate push most weekday mornings. Despite the crowds the river is fishing great. Caddis will continue to become a staple for the fish as the hatch moves upriver. Adding a midge as a dropper will help bring your numbers up.
(Updated 4-15-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the White has seen heavy generation with no wadable water. The water level for the top of power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to recent rains, all of the lakes on this system are well above seasonal power pool and the Corps of Engineers is aggressively releasing water to draw the lake levels down to power pool. I do not foresee wadable water in the near future. On heavy generation, the best way to catch fish is to switch to longer leaders and heavier weight. The hot spot was the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. Hot flies were olive woolly buggers (size 8-10), Y2Ks (size 12-14), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead size 16-18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (szie 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (try a prince nymph with a ruby midge or root beer midge suspended below it).

Lake Norfork

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 558.49 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(Updated 4-22-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said the water temperature is in the mid 60s and the main part of the lake is clear. Some stripers and hybrids are coming up chasing shad early in the mornings. Throw a Zara Spook or try a wake-type bait. They are hitting live bait also. Find the baitfish and they will be close by. When they are not coming up, try throwing a swimbait or soft jerkbait like a Fluke or Bass Assassin. Some whites are coming up as well as the largemouth and spotted bass. The bass are also hitting jigs, swimbaits, and floating worms close to the brush on the banks. The night bite is very good on stickbaits cast to the bank and reeled back very slowly right at sunset.
(Updated 4-22-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the striper bite continues all over Norfork Lake. Some stripers have moved up Bennett’s arm, Big Creek and Brushy Creek, but a large number of stripers are being caught off the main lake points. There is a strong topwater bite in the Cranfield area and the Big Creek arm. The water temperature has gone up to the high 60s and the creeks are in the low 70s. The crappie bite has started, but the latest storms scattered them for a few days. Bass are starting to make their beds so it will not be long before they begin to spawn.
(Updated 4-22-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Spring fishing is going strong and should continue to get better over the next month or so. Stripers, hybrids and black bass were all schooling on the surface last week. The fish did seem to relate to points, but there was some action out in the middle of lake. Zara Spooks were working great, but Flukes, Rat-L-Traps and Kastmaster spoons were also catching fish. Largemouth and spotted bass fishing has been very good. Spooks are working great early in the morning and in the late afternoon. During the day, throw plastics up to the bank and bring them back to the boat slowly on the bottom. Smallmouth are in 15 to 20 feet of water on the bottom. A good percentage of the largemouth have spawned, but you can still find a few on their beds. Lots of bass are being caught. Walleye fishing is starting to pick up. I had a guest catch several on a small crankbait and suspending jerkbaits slow rolled after dark on long shallow points and flats. Slowly trolling suspending jerk baits is also working in the late afternoons, again on long shallow points and close to the buck brush. Crappie fishing has been up and down. You can still find crappie up on the banks and on shallow sunken brush. Small jigs and crappie minnows using a slip float are working. White bass are back in the creeks spawning, but are starting to move back out. Top water action for whites will start very soon. The lake was starting to get very clear, but with latest rain the creeks and coves have stained up a little. The lake surface water temperature ranges from the low 60s to the high 60s depending on what part of the lake you are on.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(Updated 4-22-2015) Brad Smith at Arkansas Headhunters (479-283-8490) had no report.(Updated 4-15-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said one of the generators is down for routine maintenance. In an effort to draw the lake down, the Corps of Engineers is releasing additional water through the flood gates. The total release is approximately 6,000 cubic feet per second which is near maximum release through the generators. The Norfork has fished poorly recently. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (size 18-22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (size 14-16) 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 18 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 4-15-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are stained and high. With the weather warming, the smallmouths should be active soon. 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 4-15-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are stained and high. With the weather warming, the smallmouths should be active soon. 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.