The Cotter Trout Dock 
Weekly Fishing Report

November 18, 2015

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Fishing Report From Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Bull Shoals

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 659.05 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).

(Updated 11-11-2015) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said the water is mostly clear, and finding some dirtier water can help find the bite. As water temperatures cool, the fish will move up to the shallow water briefly to follow the shad. Anglers can catch fish anywhere from 22 to 2 feet deep from secondary points upstream to the creek ends. Bass are biting well on Zara Spooks, wake baits and buzzbaits. If it’s cloudy, the bite could last all day. On bluebird days, try moving to points with gravel and chunk rock once the sun is out. A 7/16-oz Jewel shaky head with a Zoom finesse worm or beaver-style bait or a ½-oz. swinging head jigs in brown or green has been doing well in 15 to 25 feet of water around submerged brush. A Keitech swimbait or smoke grub also has been working well in these areas.  (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.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 11-11-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is low and crystal clear with two generators running. Trout fishing is excellent on pink plastic worms, shrimp and flies.

(Updated 11-11-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam will close Nov. 1, 2015-Jan. 31, 2016, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The state park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. The White had much lower water generation this week with marginal wadable water. Fishing has improved with the lower water. 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 a black midge suspended below it).

Lake Norfork

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 556.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).

(Updated 11-18-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said said the stripers are still not behaving like it’s fall. They are being caught in the mid-lake and upper lake areas, but not in the usual numbers we see. The water temperature is still in the 60s. If you are looking for stripers, try the Blue Lady area around 50 feet deep and in Float and Panther creeks. In the upper lake area, the stripers can be found off the old river channel in 22 to 28 feet of water. Stay off the channel, as I have not caught any fish in the channel. Look for the bait balls and you should find the stripers.

(Updated 11-18-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said fishing has been fair during the last two weeks. All species are biting once you find them. Large schools of stripers, hybrids and white bass are cruising the lake feeding on shad. Crappie and bluegills are hanging around brush piles. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are starting to move to the banks, but a lot of the larger bass are still suspended, chasing shad. Catfish are hitting worms and small bluegills very aggressively. Stripers, hybrids and white bass have schooled up and are starting to fatten up for the upcoming cool winter months. You can find large schools of fish roaming large flats in 40 to 50 feet of water. It takes time to locate the fish, but when you do, they're a lot of fun. I have also found large schools of stripers in the mouths of coves, late afternoons in 70 feet of water suspended 20 to 30 feet down. Find a cove that the wind is blowing directly into, then if you find suspended bait start looking for the stripers cruising and feeding. For some reason these large schools of stripers are hitting my spoon only when I reel up through them. Trolling is also working in the afternoon. One of my stripers this evening came from trolling a swim bait about 20 to 25 feet down. Not a lot of change in largemouth bass fishing from my last report. I am still catching these fish in 27 - 33 feet of water. Work a jig and pig or any plastic bait along the bottom. I have been casting out my spoon and bouncing it back to the boat along the bottom, this method is catching some nice fish. I am starting to mark some nice suspended bass along bluff lines down 15 to 20 feet deep. Crankbaits should start to work before long. Catfish are biting very good on green worms and small bluegill. Jugs and trotlines are working the best. Some crappie and bluegill can be found in and around sunken brush piles 25 to 30 feet deep. The fish will be suspended over the brush, but at midday look deeper in the brush. Small grubs or a small spoon jigging in and around the brush will catch you a few nice fish. Crickets are the best for the bluegills.

(Updated 11-18-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said Norfork Lake has finally been drawn down to winter pool of 556.3 and the water temperature is in the mid-60s. The bite should begin improving. The main lake is clear, and the creeks are starting to clear up. There are a lot of baitfish in the creeks that will start moving out into the main lake as the water temperature drops more. I have seen baitfish on the surface and down to 40 feet. Look for stripers around the balls of bait. Bass are hitting Wiggle Warts along the bank out to 10-12 feet deep. Some also are hitting jigs in 10-35 feet of water. If you mark a school, drop a jigging spoon or a drop-shot with a 4-inch worm to them. The night bite will get better as the water temperature drops.



North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(Updated 11-11-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Norfork has fished much better now that the lake level has dropped enough to prevent the leakage around the flood gate that was being repaired. It has had wadable water. The boat traffic has been reduced with better fishing conditions on the White River. 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 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 cerise worm with a Sunday special dropper. There construction project at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery is complete. Dry Run Creek has seen less pressure with school back in session. 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 11-11-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable and stained. With the mild 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 11-11-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable and stained. With the mild 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