The Cotter Trout Dock 
Weekly Fishing Report

September 9, 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 682.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(Updated 9-9-2015) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said the lake remains very high with a small amount of water being released through the generators at Bull Shoals Dam. The lake is still about 25 feet above normal, making it difficult to fish normal patterns for walleye and crappie. The bass have been hot and cold the past few weeks, but are starting to feed on shad and crawdads. The lake may be high, but it is extremely clear. The water level should be back to normal by mid-November. The surface water temperature is 85 degrees. Black bass are best on topwater lures early in the mornings and on jigs, green pumpkin soft-plastics and crankbaits fished off points once the sun is up. Walleye are fair on large shiners and crankbaits. Bottom bouncing has been very difficult because of the high water. Spoons are working well on suspended walleye off the sand flats. Crappie are slow to fair. Live minnows fished around trees and brush piles may start working better once the water temperature cools below 80 degrees. Bream are biting well on crickets and pieces of nightcrawler fished under a bobber along rocky bluffs and deep coves.
(Updated 7-29-2015) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said summer fishing patterns are in full swing. We have been seeing air temperatures in the 90s, during the day so the water temperature is in the mid 80s. There is a thermocline around 25 feet deep. The water is still very clear, even with an extra 30 feet of water. The fishing patterns are in the classic summer mode. Topwater or shallow-running baits in the morning and late afternoon. Most of the fish seem to be shallow at these times before as the sun is low in the sky. During the day, you have to fish 25- to 30-feet deep around the thermocline and past the brush or you can fish around the large trees that are around the shoreline that have shade. The walleye fishermen are still having good success, but you have to downrig or lead core troll over 40 to 70 feet of water with your baits running 25 to 35 feet deep. The night bass fisherman are still catching fish just before dark shallow, then after dark anywhere from 5 to 30 feet deep. There haven't been any good crappie catches lately, which is typical for high water. 
(Updated 7-29-2015) Ken Minsky of Ken Minksy's Loch Leven Guide Service had no report.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 9-2-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and eight generators are running around the clock. Trout fishing is good, but wading is all but impossible with the high water and flow. Pink Power Worms and Power Bait fished from a boat or the bank continues to catch plenty of rainbow trout.
(Updated 8-26-2015) Jim Brentlinger with Linger's Guide Service said six to eight generators are running most of the time, and the larger brown trout have moved to the bank. Fish deeper banks around cover with Rapalas or Smithwick Rattlin' Rogues for best results. Don't give up as it is a painstaking endeavor, but you will like the results. When the water starts receding and gets noticeably lower switch to the Varimax Blue Fox spinner in a size 2 or 3. 
(Updated 8-26-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said on the White, we had high generation with no wadable water. 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 at Rim Shoals. The 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 (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hot fluorescent pink or cerise San Juan worm with an orange egg suspended below it). Hoppers are producing as well. I favor shorter leaders (seven-and-a-half foot 4X) and a stiff six-weight rod for these weighty flies. My favorite flies are Dave’s hoppers (size 10) and the western pink lady (size 8). To increase hook ups I always use a dropper. I am currently using a ruby or root beer midge in size 18 on a three-foot or longer tippet (depending on the depth of the water I am fishing).
(Updated 7-29-2015) Paul Bobby at GI on the Fly Guide Service (907-350-6610) had no report.

Lake Norfork

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 567.63 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(Updated 8-26-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake continues to drop but it’s like watching paint dry, an inch or two a day. The oxygen content for the stripers is at 30 to 35 feet and 70 to 85 feet. The morning bite continues early. Stripers and hybrids are feeding heavy until the sun gets bright then they move into deeper water. The deep bite continues to be around the dam area. Where I have been fishing I can see the dam right in front of me. The stripers are holding from 70 to 85 feet right on the bottom in small groups of 3 or 4 fish. Most of the bites are very light. I have trained my clients to watch the rod tip. If they see it start to bend I have them reel very fast and that has been hooking the stripers. Many people have been missing the fish since you really have to pay attention to your rod.
(Updated 8-26-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been good for the last couple of weeks. The stripers and hybrids are doing what they should be doing this time of year. Big schools of stripers and hybrids can be found right before daybreak in 30 to 50 feet of water. They will be on the bottom or suspended 25 to 40 feet down. Main lake points and secondary points back in the creeks are good places to look, especially where the old river channel swings in close to the shoreline. My guests and I have found stripers in the Robinson area and down towards the dam. Threadfin and gizzard shad for live bait and spoons and swim baits for artificial baits are great choices. Most of the stripers being caught in the shallow water early in the morning are in the 5 to 10 pound range with the bigger hybrids just starting to show up. The bigger stripers are being caught out in deeper water 70 to 80 feet down on the bottom. When the sun gets high in the sky is the best time to find the deep stripers. Look at main lake points for these deep fish. Live bait and spoons are your best choices for deep fish. I expect to see these fish go a little deeper very soon. Walleye, smallmouth, largemouth, spots, catfish and white bass will be found in the same general areas as the stripers. 25 - 35 feet of water is the best place to start. The fish will also be suspended at this same depth following the baitfish into deeper water.
(Updated 7-29-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said the lake level is 571.9 and the water temp is in the upper 80s. The stripers are suspended 40 to 60 feet. Early in the morning, they are close to the bottom down at 40 feet. As the sun gets higher they start moving toward the deeper water. We caught a few small stripers on topwater back in Barren Creek. The bigger fish are in the deeper water within a few miles of the dam. Bass are coming up early and will hit topwater baits like a Spook or a Pop-R. After the topwater bite slows, throw a jig to the edge of the brush or a worm. When you mark fish suspended or close to the bottom, drop a jigging spoon.


North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(Updated 8-26-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said there is a substantial amount of water leaking around one of the flood gates that was being repaired. As a result, the water temperature on the Norfork has risen to near dangerous levels. There has been no observed fish kill, but the trout are stressed. Any fish caught should be carefully released. During periods of generation the temperatures are near normal.  The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 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). There have been daily hatches of sulphurs around noon. The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday. My favorite combination has been a grass hopper with a root beer or ruby midge dropper. There is a major construction project at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. You can still access Dry Run Creek. It has seen more pressure with school out. It still fished well. 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 8-26-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the warm weather, the smallmouths are active. 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 8-26-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the warm weather, the smallmouths are active. 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