The Cotter Trout Dock 
Weekly Fishing Report

October 14, 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 665.94 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).(Updated 10-14-2015) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said the lake is about 7 feet away from being back to normal. We are looking forward to getting our launch ramp back for the fall.  Shad have become very concentrated on the flats. Many anglers are catching good numbers of white bass near K Dock. Once the lake stops dropping 6 inches per day, the fall bite should be great for all species. The surface water temperature is 70 to 72 degrees, and the water clarity is clear. Black bass are biting well on a variety of baits. Topwater lures are working well in the morning. Spinnerbaits are producing on windy days. Jigs and crankbaits (particularly squarebills) are producing well around points and high rock bluffs, however zebra mussels have moved in at many areas and will tear up your line, so check it often. Many anglers have resorted to fishing with braid to save their line from being cut. Walleye are fair on bottom-bouncing night crawlers.  Trolling crankbaits will improve once the lake stabilizes. Crappie are fair on live minnows. White bass are biting well on lipless crankbaits, Rooster Tails and small spinnerbaits.  Follow the surfacing shad and you’ll find the fish.
(Updated 10-14-2015) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said said surface water temperatures are in the 70s. The Army Corps of Engineers has been steadily running water. If you are fishing by the dam, be sure to fish the long points with gravel and chunk rock for smallmouth. Dragging a tube or shaky head, with a Zoom trick worm or UV worm in brown, watermelon or green pumpkin 20 to 27 feet deep. Fishing has been better up the lake and in the bigger creek arms. Fall is here and the shad are starting to migrate. Keitech swim baits fished super slow are working, as are Rite Bite ½-oz. PB and J jigs with a Net bait Paca Craw or Zoom Fat Albert or Creepy Crawler in green pumpkin will work as well. Look for points back in that flatten out in deeper water 20 to 26 feet deep. Anglers also are catching a few largemouths and spotted bass in the very backs of creeks on War Eagle spinnerbaits on windy days. For the walleye guys, bottom bouncers are starting to work on deep sides of main lake points. Use a 1 ½-oz. bouncer with a worm harness in 24-26 feet of water, and then run 30-32 feet.

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 558.17 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(Updated 10-14-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said stripers are starting to school up for the fall bite. Lots of stripers can be found in the Robinson area on the bottom in the 50-foot range. They still are reluctant to bite, but you can get one to hit every once in a while. This will change once the water and weather turns colder. I fished Red Bank and the state line two times and found lots of stripers but no bites. The next time I went up to Red Bank there were no stripers to be found which told me they had migrated farther up the lake. I fished the state line area and found active stripers both days I fished there. The fish were aggressive and hitting all sizes of bait. As the water temperature continues to drop the Calamity Beach and Robinson Point areas will get better thorough November.
(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 10-14-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said the water temperature is in the low- to mid-70s. The stripers are scattered all over the lake and can be from 30 to 50 feet deep. There are some whites back in the creeks following the baitfish. There are baitfish up in the flooded brush along the banks. Throw spinnerbaits and crankbaits along the outside of the brush. The windblown banks are better. I found a few bass coming up early that would hit a Spook, but the action is short-lived. Throw a jig and drag it along the bottom out to 30 to35 feet of water. We need some cooler weather to get the water temperature down into the 60s and the fish will start feeding better. It will also move the stripers up and the night bite will start again.


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