The Cotter Trout Dock News and
Weekly Fishing Report

April 29, 2015

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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 667.86 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).

(Updated 4-29-2015) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said most of the shoreline has brush in the water. The water temperatures are in the low 60s. Bass have moved to the beds. Spotted bass are bedding as deep as 5 to 10 feet of water. 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 fishing has been very good on deep-diving crankbaits trolled  on leadcore line about 30 to 50 feet deep in 40 to 100 feet of water. There is very limited success on walleye in shallow water right now. 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 4-29-2015) Ken Minsky of Ken Minksy's Loch Leven Guide Service said recent rain and cooler weather has caused the surface temperature in the mid-lake area (Point 24) to drop to around 60 degrees. Many of the largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass have completed spawning. Males will still be found guarding the beds and should continue to for the next couple weeks. Smallmouth are biting well near soft secondary points on jigs presented at depths from 18 to 35 feet.  Largemouth are moving into the shallows after dark and feeding in and around the buck brush on small bluegills and crawfish.  Now would be a good time to use buzzbaits and flukes to coax hits from fish holding near the brush. Walleye are hitting well on crankbaits trolled at 20 to 25 feet. Many hits are coming from suspended baits diving to the 12- to 14-foot level. Banks in the creek arms and secondary points are providing the most action. Bluegill are moving into shallower water, however, the larger 8- to 9-inch fish are staying deeper and being caught 18 to 30 feet deep. Many are suspending in the creek arms over the old creek bed in depths up to 40 feet. Small black and brown jigs are producing the most fish. Catfish have also moved into the creek arms and trotline fishermen are doing well using small bluegills for bait.

(Updated 4-29-2015) Steve Curtis at S&S; Guide Service (870-740-1140) had no report.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 4-29-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clean and clear. Trout are biting very well, with many rainbows caught on Power Bait and shrimp. The wind was very strong, making fishing a little difficult, but the fish were willing to bite.

(Updated 4-29-2015) 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 558.64 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).

(Updated 4-29-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said the lake level is up about a half foot from last week and the water temperature has dropped a few degrees into the low-to mid-60s. The main lake is clear and the creeks are starting to clear. Some stripers and hybrids are coming up early chasing baitfish. We have been throwing jointed Redfins to them. The will also hit a Zara Spook and a swimbait. They come up better if the water is slick with little or no wind. If they aren't coming up, I throw a 4-inch swimbait and reel it slowly. They are hitting live bait as well. The night bite seems to get a little later these past few nights. Throw a stickbait to the bank and retrieve it very slowly. You can also pick up some walleye. Some bass are coming up as well along with a few whites hitting Spooks and swim baits. There are a few coming up just before dark back in the creeks.

(Updated 4-29-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Unstable weather patterns continue to wreak havoc on the fish. Each time we get the warm southern winds and a warming trend, the weather changes and drives the fish and bait from the shallows. The water is clear on the main lake and creeks are off color, the creeks continue to be the warmest water on the lake. Some stripers and hybrids are starting to bite on top at first light, however if there is any type of wind the fish seem to shut down. Also if its an east wind they will shut down totally. The main lake water temperature has dropped to the low-60s and the creeks are in the high 60s. The bait continues to move in and out of the shallows. We need a strong warming trend to bring the bait in to spawn. The crappie are being caught on deeper brush piles and in open water trolling jigs and minnows. Most of the crappie are not in the shallows. I have been watching the crappie guides fish the shallow brush and not many fish are being caught. Stay in deep water. One trick I use to use was to troll a minnow tipped white 1/8-oz. Road Runner over the brush piles in East Pigeon, Pigeon, and Brushy and Big Creek with great success. This works best when the crappie are staging to spawn

(Updated 4-29-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said fishing continues to be very strong. The striped bass bite has been very good in the morning and the bite is still happening after dark. The bite starts as early 5:45 a.m., and the best lures have been trolled 5-inch swim baits with a 1/4 ounce jigheads. Most of my fish have been found on shallow flats in about 20 feet of water, but the fish are coming up for it. Topwater action started about a week ago and I got really excited, but several cool fronts rolled though that all but shut down the topwater action. I do expect it to take off again once we start getting some consistently warmer days. With this being said, always be ready with a topwater bait because the top water eruptions could happen at any time. Look for stripers off of points part way back into creeks and if there is a flat area close by, check it out for feeding fish. Once the sun comes up the fish seem to move out into deeper water. I am finding scattered fish along deep bluff lines later in the morning. The largemouth and spotted bass bite continues to be strong. You will find these species up tight on the banks early in the morning and then they will move off of the banks to 15 to 30 feet of water during sunny days. Topwater baits are working, as are small crank baits and plastics. I threw a tube jig and a jig and pig a few days ago and landed some nice fish. I have been marking plenty of bass suspended close to the deep bluff lines. Rattle traps are a great bait to get these suspended fish. Smallmouth bass are starting to show up in 15 to 20 feet of water. Grubs and jigs are a great way to fish for this species. The big white bass are starting to show up in the mid creek areas. Similar locations as the striped bass. They are also hitting similar baits. Once you find the whites you might want to try to cast out a blade type bait such as a Kastmaster and let it sink down to their depth then retrieve slowly. If you find these fish on the bottom you can vertical jig this bait, it is very effective.

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.