The Cotter Trout Dock 
Weekly Fishing Report

October 7, 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 669.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).(Updated 9-30-2015) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said the lake is starting to drop around 4 inches per day. This will increase when work begins to repair Power Site Dam in early October. Surface temperatures are near 80 degrees. The water is still clear and high. Fishing has been getting better and should be excellent as the water continues to cool. Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and football jigs on steep points. Buzzbaits and Spooks are working well in the early morning and evenings as well. Bass have been busting massive schools of shad, so keep a topwater ready for surface action. Walleye are fair to good on trolled blue/chrome crankbaits near the river channel. Bottom-bouncing nightcrawlers also is working well. Crappie are fair to slow. They are scattered and deep still.
(Updated 9-15-2015) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said fishing hasn’t changed much yet from the summer patterns, but it is close. The lake is starting to drop faster. It is projected to go 4 inches a day and the back to normal date is Nov. 12. The water temperature is still in the upper 70s on the surface with the thermocline around the 25 foot level or so.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 10-30-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is crystal clear and high with eight generators turning around the clock. Rainbow trout fishing is excellent as long as you stick to high-water tactics from a boat. The fish are colored up beautifully right now.  
(Updated 9-30-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the White River saw high levels of 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 Wildcat 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).
Jim Brentlinger with Linger's Guide Service had no new report.
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 560.19 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(Updated 10-7-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters most of the stripers have moved away from the dam. Look at Diamond Bay, Big Creek, Robinson Point, and the waters above Cranfield. Stripers can still be found in water depths ranging from 35 to 50 feet deep. I fished Red Bank and Calamity Beach and up to Point 10 the last couple of days. I found lots of bait fish and stripers but few bites. The surface water temperature has cooled down to the low 60s, but the water temperature 2 feet below the surface is still in the 70s. As the water cools the stripers will go on a fall feeding binge and some topwater action will also occur. Stripers are now feeding heavily in the evening near Calamity Beach. I have reports they are surfacing an hour before dark and are being caught on topwater lures and spoons.
(Updated 10-7-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing is in transition to the fall fishing pattern. This basically means that fish can be and are at any depth in the lake. The fish will soon start to school up and feed heavily for the winter months. Over the last 3 days the largemouth and smallmouth bass have moved to the shoreline. With the lake still about 6 feet over normal pool, we still have buck brush underwater. The bass are up in this brush. I have fished several different methods for bass; top water, casting a chatterbait and casting a shallow diving crankbait. All 3 baits have produced some nice keeper size large and smallmouth bass as well as many short fish. I've been fishing the windblown main lake points as well as secondary creek and cove points. The fish are up tight to the bank. You will catch lots of bass, but most will be on the short side. Bluegill are along the shoreline near sunken brush piles in 20-30 feet of water. A couple of our guests fished yesterday afternoon and brought back a basket full of nice bluegills. Crickets are deadly. White bass can be found back in the major creeks following the shad. I haven't found any top water action lately, but the trollers are having fun. Stripers and hybrids are on the move and are starting to school. Sunday morning I was fishing a deep bluff line point and had huge schools of fish show up. I had live threadfin shad down 30 and 50 feet. I was also jigging a spoon. The live bait poles started to get hammered, but the bites were not super aggressive. I managed to land two hybrids in the 6 - 7 pound range and missed too many to admit. I had several good bites at 50 feet, but sad to say I missed all of them. I suspect the deeper fish were the stripers. These schools of fish are constantly moving so if you are in the right place at the right time you will see more fish than you know what to do with. I keep checking my normal fall haunts as these fish will eventually get more consistent on these feeding locations as the lake water temperature lowers. These fish will be at all depths from along deep water bluffs to deep flats. Top water action for striped bass and hybrid bass typically starts when the water temp gets into the 60s. The current Norfork Lake water temperature this morning was 73 - 74 degrees. It should continue to fall each day.
(Updated 9-30-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said the water level has been dropping steadily, but the lake is still about 8 feet higher than normal for this time of year. Surface water temperatures are in the upper 70s. Stripers are still 40 to 60 feet deep. Look in the bays and along the points within a few miles of the dam. With the days getting shorter and the weather cooling, stripers will start moving up shallow and spreading out in the lake. There are some bass chasing baitfish to the surface early in the mornings and just before dark. Look for some whites feeding on the surface, too. The night bite should get going in a few weeks.


North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(Updated 9-30-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Norfork has fished better now that the lake level has dropped enough to prevent the leakage around the flood gate that was being repaired. It has had the only wadable water and has been crowded at times. 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 beadheaded 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. Youths can still Dry Run Creek for some excellent fishing. 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 9-30-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said the Buffalo National River are navigable. Smallmouths are fairly active. Try inline spinners, Rebel crawdad crankbaits, 4-inch finesse worms and tubes for good spin-fishing action. For fly-fishing, it’s tough to beat a Clouser minnow or crayfish pattern. 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 9-30-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said Crooked Creek is navigable. Smallmouths are fairly active. Try inline spinners, Rebel crawdad crankbaits, 4-inch finesse worms and tubes for good spin-fishing action. For fly-fishing, it’s tough to beat a Clouser minnow or crayfish pattern. 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