The Cotter Trout Dock News and
Weekly Fishing Report

May 20, 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 668.40 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 5-13-2015) Ken Minsky of Ken Minksy's Loch Leven Guide Service said Bull Shoals is fishing well. The surface water temperature near Point 24 is in the low 70s, and the lake is rising due to the recent rains. Shoreline brush is covered to the depth of about 14 feet.  Surface baits fished through the brush will produce both largemouth and spotted bass. Make sure to also cast to the deeper water as bass are also holding in the middle of the fingers and will rise to surface baits. Smallmouths seem to be holding out in the deeper water on main lake points and secondary points, with most action coming from 18 to 22 feet deep on jigs. Walleye are biting well on trolled crankbaits that dive to the 10- to 18-foot level, fished just outside the submerged buckbrush. Soft secondary points are also producing fish on crankbaits and jigs fished over 40 feet of water and casting to the shoreline. Crappie remain scarce with only incidental catches coming in, however bluegills are starting to show up on soft secondary points from depths of 12 to 22 feet. Trotlines are doing well catfish on both the main lake and creek arms.  Small bluegills work well but stinkbait also is producing.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 5-20-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said in spite of all the rain, fishing has been excellent, as the flow has been kept at 2 to 3 generators. Small spinners and crankbaits have been hammering the rainbow trout as well as the browns. Small jigs and stickbaits also have been working well.
(Updated 5-20-2015) Paul Bobby at GI on the Fly Guide Service (907-350-6610) had no report this week.
(Updated 5-20-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said on the White, we had heavy generation with no wadable water. On heavy generation, the best way to catch fish is to switch to longer leaders and heavier weight. On the White, the hot spot was the catch-and-release section at Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (size 8-10), Y2Ks (size 14-12), 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 (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sow bugs (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). There have been several reliable sightings of caddis hatching. This is our major hatch of the year. They are size fourteen and easy to see. Before the hatch, you should concentrate on fishing prince nymphs. When the trout key on the top but no insects are present, switch over to my green butt. When you observe trout taking adult insects from the top of the water column, you should switch over to elk hair caddis dry flies.

Lake Norfork

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 560.15 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 5-20-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Norfork has fished better 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 (sizes 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. My favorite combination has been a grasshopper with a root beer or ruby midge dropper.There is a major construction project at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery and the walkway between the two sets of stairs to the creek is closed. You can still access the creek by walking the trail beside it. 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 5-20-2015) 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 5-20-2015) 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.