The Cotter Trout Dock News and
Weekly Fishing Report

June 17, 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 676.54 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(Updated 6-3-2015) Ken Minsky of Ken Minksy's Loch Leven Guide Service said Bull Shoals is again on the rise. The surface water temperature is around 75 degrees near Point 24, and the water clarity pretty dingy in the back of the creek arms. There also is plenty of debris and logs floating around, so be careful boating in low-light conditions. Shoreline brush is covered to the depth of about 20 feet, making it difficult to fish with sub-surface baits anywhere near the shoreline.  However, surface baits like Spooks as well as un-weighted and underweighted flukes are producing bass. Low-stretch, abrasion-resistant lines are the order of the day to enable you turn the fish quick and keep them from diving into the submerged tangles. Main lake points and deeper flats are much easier to fish and are producing smallmouths and white bass during the low-light periods of dawn and dusk. Try bottom-bouncing jigs and Carolina-rigged soft plastics on the points that are clear of brush. For the flats, use a spread of trolled crankbaits that cover the whole water column, from depths of 6 feet down to about 15 feet.  Fish roaming the flats could be just about anywhere so zig-zag the spread over depths of 20 to 50 feet. Larger creek arms are producing nice catches of walleyes. Trolling crankbaits that dive to 12 to 16 feet are doing well just outside of the submerged brush. Bream are showing up in the usual spawning areas on main lake cuts and soft secondary points in depths of about 20 feet. Fishing the edge of the brush without getting hung up is pretty tricky business, so plan on losing a few baits and hooks. Catfishing is good on trotlines with nice catches coming from the creek arms. Just about any bait will work, bluegills are always my first choice. However, stink baits and even hot dogs are working well on channel cats.
(Updated 6-10-2015) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said the surface temperature is in the mid-70s. There is a major thermocline around 25 feet deep. The fishing has been excellent. Largemouth bass are holding very shallow and can be caught from 0 to 12 feet deep around brush on spinnerbaits, Flukes, Spooks, soft-plastic worms and flipping jigs. Smallmouth and spotted bass are holding on the lake side of the brush and are running in 12 to 20 feet of water. Fish parallel to the bank in the deeper water with swimming plastics that look like minnows, tubes, Carolina-rigged soft-plastics, deep-diving crankbaits and Alabama rigs loaded with small swim baits. White bass  have slowed, but you can still catch them surface feeding on shad from time to time. The night bite should start any time now under lights. Trollers are catching the most white bass on small white jigs, spinners, spoons and minnow-style crankbaits. Walleye are biting very well, with many walleye being caught, but keepers hard to come by. The best patterns have been trolling with dee-diving crankbaits in 20 to 25 feet of water, bottom bouncing nightcrawlers in 20 to 25 feet of water and swimming grubs at sunrise and sunset in 12 to 15 feet of water. Crappie are fair, and most can be caught around brush piles in 20 to 35 feet of water right now. Try small spoons, minnows and 1/32-oz. jigs. The catfishing is excellent on jugs baited with liver, shrimp, stink bait and live baitfish set 20 to 25 feet deep. 

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 6-17-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is high, with five to six generators running and there's a lot of fog coming off the cold discharge. Trout fishing is excellent, but with the higher flow, there hasn't been much wading available the last day or so. Power Bait, worms, corn, marshmallows, and practically anything else you put on a hook will work right now. 
(Updated 6-17-2015) Paul Bobby at GI on the Fly Guide Service (907-350-6610) said the White River below Bull Shoals to Cotter has been fishing excellently. Afternoon generation is making it tough. Lines, weights and bait or flies are covered with debris. Morning half-day fishing trips are the ticket. Take care and be safe on the river. Morning fly-fishing with ruby midges and hare's ear droppers or assorted flashbacks under indicators are the perfect presentation for feeding trout. Several browns have been caught and a ton of rainbows. Caddis are in massive amounts from the Narrows to Cotter, which gives a dry fly fisherman a paradise beyond all others. Hopper patterns and even a size 12 Madam X with a size 16 flashback dropper hammers them. Bait fishermen casting green Power Baits or green worms and shrimp are catching large numbers of trout. Spinners and stick baits catch fish as well. 
(Updated 6-9-2015) 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 562.19 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(Updated 6-17-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said the water temperature is in the low- to mid 80s. The stripers and hybrids are still coming up early and just before dark, chasing baitfish early this week. With the water temperature rising, the stripers and hybrids are moving into their summer haunts. Start looking for them at 30 to 40 feet. As the water continues to warm they will migrate deeper. The bass are coming up hitting topwater baits early. After the sun gets up, start throwing a jig or a Texas-rigged worm. Look for whites in coves 25 to 35 feet deep and look for the crappie in the deep brush piles.
(Updated 6-17-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said last week we had wonderful summer weather that resulted in a great striper bite on Norfork Lake. Stripers are being caught in the 101 Area, Robinson Point and Thumb Point. The stripers are biting on threadfin and gizzard shad, Alabama rigs and trolled swim baits. The stripers are moving deeper. I have consistency caught them between 35 and 45 feet deep. I’m also starting to see schooling fish feeding on crawdads. The stripers are getting aggressive. When we get a fish on the line we are seeing other lines getting hit at the same time. It’s a lot of fun and can get very hectic when you have two or three on the line. The hot weather has jumped the water temperature to the mid-80s, which will keep the stripers under the thermocline. I'm fishing the Robinson Point area in the late afternoons and the lower end of the lake in the Big Creek area in the mornings. If you never have caught a striper now is the time to plan a trip to Norfork Lake. The striper bite will only get better over the next four months.
(Updated 6-17-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said striped bass fishing continues to be very strong. The fish are moving to different feeding grounds and are starting to go a little deeper. You can still find the stripers all over the lake. Stripers that I have cleaned are full of crawdads, which tells me you can find them laying on the bottom or close to it. There is still some topwater action for striped and hybrid bass, but this is slowly coming to an end until the fall. I have been finding stripers partway back into creeks as well as on the main lake flats and points. Trollers are doing well in deeper water getting their baits down 25-35 feet deep. I have been working 40-60 feet of water and find the stripers suspended as well as on the bottom. The bigger largemouth and smallmouth bass are in 10 to 25 feet of water. Work the bottom with a jig and pig, crawdads, grub or just about any type of plastic bait. There is still some good topwater action for bass early and late in the day. Get your topwater bait into or very close to the sunken buckbrush then work it back to the boat. There are a lot of bass in the sunken brush on the shoreline, but most are on the short side. The surface water temperature has risen to around 82 degrees. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are somewhat stained, but clearing. The Corps of Engineers is releasing water through the generators about 6 hours per day and the lake level is fairly stable. The lake is in great shape for fishing and all summertime water sports.


North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(Updated 6-9-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said 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 (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 6-9-2015) 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 6-9-2015) 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.



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