The Cotter Trout Dock 
Weekly Fishing Report

December 2, 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 664.05 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(Updated 12-2-2015) Bull Shoals Boat Dock had no report.  (Updated 12-2-2015) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) had no report.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 12-2-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water clarity is fair and the level is good with two to four generators running. Trout fishing is very good on PowerBait, shrimp and frozen shad fished on drift rigs. 
(Updated 12-2-2015) 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.

Lake Norfork

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 559.26 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(Updated 11-24-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake went through a lot of changes last week. We had more than 4 inches of rain that raised the lake about 5 feet above normal pool. The cold weather and water rise has changed the whole striper pattern. The stripers are now feeding in the Blue Lady area in the 50-foot range along the channel heading toward Crystal Cove. They are also in Float and Panther creeks. Again, stay in the 40- to 50-foot range with your baits set 35 feet deep. Also set out a free line with just a split shot 50 feet behind your boat. There are very large bait balls all the way up to Fout Boat Dock. For all you live bait users, the shiner bite has started. Shad are still working well, but shiners were catching stripers the whole weekend.
(Updated 12-2-2015) Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the water is rising slowly with the latest rain. Generation is sporadic, but should crank up soon to bring the lake back to normal pool. The creeks and coves are stained with the main lake partly stained to clear, depending on location. The surface water temperature this morning was 58 to 59 degrees. The fall bite is on. If you are looking to catch a lot of fish, with live or artificial bait, you need to come to Norfork Lake. Big schools of striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass are roaming the large flat areas in 30 to 50 feet of water. For the last five days the bite has been consistently good with a lot of fish being caught. I have been mainly vertical jigging with a spoon, bouncing the spoon off the bottom or when I see suspended fish reeling up to them and jigging in the school. There has been some top water action for stripers with a few fish surfacing while feeding on shad. Good electronics are definitely helpful this time of year. You will need to graph an area until you find the fish then start fishing. Also look for seagulls. If you notice these birds diving into the water, there will be feeding fish nearby. Trolling a 5- to 6-inch swim bait will also catch some fish. Set your baits at different depths between 20 and 50 feet. Live shiners, thread fin shad and gizzard shad are also working very well. The shiners will be the easiest as you can buy them at a local bait and tackle shop. You may be asking yourself where are these flats that Lou keeps mentioning, so here you go. In the mid lake area, then going up river: southeast of Robinson Island, northwest side of the 101 bridge, in front of Mallard Point, east side of Cranfield Island, Seward Point, in front of Briar Creek, East of Howard Cove going towards Talbert Point. There are definitely other areas down toward the dam, going farther up river, or back in the bayou area, but the listed flats are the ones I will be fishing until the fish go into their winter pattern. The other locations where stripers will be found are part way back into the major creeks. I have been having too much fun on the flats and have not had a chance to check them out, but typically they are there, especially with rising water. Crappie have moved under the dock at Humminbird Hideaway and have also moved onto the brush piles in 30 to 40 feet of water. These fish will be at different depths depending on the time of day. Live crappie minnows are working the best, but small jigs with a paddle tail or a twister tail are also doing well. Bass are also moving into the brush as well as up to the banks. Jerk bait time is for the most part here, so start throwing those stick baits. Spinners are also producing fish, but best method is still working your plastics along the bottom slowly.

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). 

Cotter Trout Dock, 321 Big Spring Pkwy POB 96, Cotter, AR  72626