The Cotter Trout Dock News and
Weekly Fishing Report

May 27, 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 670.23 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 the water is clear with very low flow of 2 to 3 generators right now. Fly-fishermen are catching quite a few rainbows, as are spin-fishermen. A boat is really recommended to get into the trout right now, and be sure to call ahead to make sure water conditions haven't changed. As soon as the Corps of Engineers can start dropping water in the lake, the tailwater will be very high and swift.

(Updated 5-27-2015) Paul Bobby at GI on the Fly Guide Service (907-350-6610) said there’s fish everywhere.  Large amounts of trout can be found from the dam below Bull Shoals Lake to Cotter and beyond. Fly-fishermen have had great success fishing zebra midges of all colors and sizes dressed in many bead and wire combinations. Stimulator or hopper patterns presented properly will get a look from large brown trout. On occasion, it’ll eat and the game is on. Evening soft hackles put lots of fish on line. Try an Anna Kay.  They come tied in many different color combinations.  Swing’em into rising fish and you’ll find a new and productive method to catching rising trout.  As evening approaches, large streamers or mouse patterns can be productive. I like to say that if you’re not in a boat, it can be the land of a hundred casts, but when a big fish eats it’s an absolute rush.  My advice for the bait fishermen is simple. Anything and everything will catch trout this time of year.

(Updated 5-22-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said on the White, we had moderate 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 560.62 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).

(Updated 5-27-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said the surface water temperature is in the low 70s. There are still a few stripers and hybrids coming up early and just before dark, chasing baitfish. Keep a top-water rod handy. Have a Zara Spook or a wake bait tied on. Keep an eye on your depth finder and watch for them suspended 25-40ft. Drop a jigging spoon or get your live bait down just above the fish. Check channel swings along the bluffs and on the points. Bass are coming up early and will hit these baits as well. You might want to throw a soft jerk bait as close as you can to the brush along the bank. The bass are hitting jigs, jerk baits and Texas-rigged worms. Don’t forget to try a swim bait. All of these fish will hit a swim bait reeled very slowly. There are a few white bass coming up also.

(Updated 5-27-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the past week we have had rain, cold, and fog but the fish seem to not care about the weather and started biting all over the lake. The stripers are in transition right now. I am catching stripers three ways, on top with a balloon, long line with a split shot, and down line with a 2-oz. sinker set about 30 feet down. Some of fish I cleaned had crawdads in their belly. This means the fish are starting to go deep. With that in mind, it's time to break out your spoons. I’m starting to see small schools of stripers that will take my shad. The loner fish are beginning to school up because of the higher water temperatures. As it warms we will continue to see more fish schooling in the 30 to 50 foot range. I fished the lower end of the lake in the Big Creek area about a mile either side of the entrance to Hand Cove most of the week. I finished the week fishing north of Howard Cove. I caught multiple limits of stripers on both ends of Norfork Lake. Stripers are being caught in most major creeks and some in mid-lake area.

(Updated 5-27-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said fishing has been outstanding the last couple of weeks. All species are biting well. With the weather changes and the slow rise of the lake the fish are constantly on the move. The fish are moving out to the main lake area. Of course this may change if we receive more rain and the lake starts to rise more quickly. You will find stripers on top as well as down 20 to 40 feet deep. Topwater baits and swim baits are working the best. Stripers are all over the lake, and trolling a swim bait with a 1-ounce jig head is working well. Look at main lake points with deep water nearby. The largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass bite is at its best. Live bait and artificial baits are both working well. Topwater action happens most mornings and evenings, but sometimes not for a long period of time. Once they go down, try throwing a 3- to 4-inch swim bait. You can also work the bottom with plastics from 10 to 25 feet down. The bigger smallmouth are in 15 to 25 feet of water on secondary points in the creeks and off of deep bluff lines. The white bass bite has been sporadic. One day many are caught and the next day they are gone or not feeding. Focus on main lake points. Panfishing is improving. Bluegills can be found up on the banks, but the bigger ones are still about 20 feet deep off bluff lines. Find a small cut in the bluff and get up close and fish straight down. Use crickets, worms or niblets. Crappies have moved out to the brush in 15 to 30 feet of water. They are biting best on live crappie minnows. Crappie at my dock have been going nuts over the last week with many 13- to 16-inch fish being caught. Catfishing is also good in the coves and creeks. Nightcrawlers and small bluegills are a great bait. Jugs, trotlines and rod and reel are all working.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(Updated 5-22-2015) 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 5-22-2015) 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 5-22-2015) 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.