The Cotter Trout Dock 
Weekly Fishing Report

December 16, 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 662.64 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).

(Updated 12-9-2015) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said water temperatures are still warmer than average. Anglers have caught fish in the back third of the larger creek arms if there were baitfish present. Always look for shad balls on your graph and the colder temperatures have the loons and gulls over the bait. A ½-oz. War Eagle spinnerbait in sexy mouse has worked around wood in the back of the coves as well. Rapala DT 10 crankbaits in shad colors, and Right Bite green pumpkin/orange jigs with Zoom green trailers are working on windy points from one to 15 feet deep. Some fish are already staging in their winter areas and anglers are already catching a lot of bass paralleling vertical bluff ends, using a Megabass Vision 110 in blue2 and a Rapala Shadow Rap in blue green. A Storm Wiggle Wart is also a good lure to use along small bluffs and transitions to chunk rock. K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) had no report.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(Updated 12-16-2015) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is fairly clear and high with seven to eight generators running. Not many fish are being caught lately, but they’re bound to be feeding and putting on the weight with the high water.

(Updated 12-9-2015) 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. On the White, we had much heavy generation this week with no wadable water. The hot spot has been 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 sow bugs (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 555.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).

(Updated 12-9-2015) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the water is 6½ feet above pool and the lake temperature is dropping with the cold weather. The shad will move out of the creeks and into the river channel when the water temperature hits the high 40s to lwo 50s. The early part of the winter fishing pattern is the flats. Stripers move to the shallow water no deeper than 60 feet, and school up, feeding on small shad. Right now Float Creek, Mallard Point, Howard Cove, and the entrance to Panther Bay Marina are the best places to find active stripers. Once the water gets cooler the shad will move to the main channel between the bridges heading towards Bidwell Point up to Howard Cove. The live bait users are catching stripers using shad and shiners and the artificial users are catching stripers and white bass on spoons. Find the shad and you will find the fish.

(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.

(Updated 12-9-2015) Guide Steve Olomon said the water is up about 5 ½ feet with the recent rains. The surface water temperature is in the upper 50s. Look for the stripers on flats. There are some surface-feeding at night, hitting stickbaits. Bass are hitting crankbaits and spinnerbaits thrown along the outside of the flooded brush. Deeper bass are hitting a drop-shotted or Texas-rigged worm and jigs. They will also hit a jigging spoon.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(Updated 12-9-2015) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said there has been no wadable water lately. The Norfork has fished much better of late. 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.

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