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Established 1954
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Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

March 2, 2016

Scroll down for the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report after the photos

Below are some photos of our guided trout fishing customers taken this week at Cotter Trout Dock.
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Click images to enlarge.

Bull Shoals

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(updated 2-24-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said surface water temperatures are 46 degrees and the water level is almost back to normal. Warm weather had fish moving out of their winter haunts before the cold snap. Bladed Alabama rigs baited with Keitech 3.8 Fat Swimbaits fishe along secondary points and bluffs in 35 feet of water have been good for bass. Keep the boat in 35 feet of water and look for steep breaks, ledges or channel swings close to the bank halfway back in major creek arms. A few smallmouth have been caught on Megabass jerk baits. And on spoons in 35 to 45 feet of water If the wind is blowing, a Rock Crawler or Wiggle Wart fished on 45-degree banks  has worked. Keep the boat close in 12 feet of water and cast parallel to the bank. Strikes are going to happen when it rolls over the rocks. The most productive areas are transition areas where bluffs meat chunk rock or chunk rock meets clay or gravel. Always keep an eye out for bait on the graph and seagull activity, especially when you get into the creeks. Fishing is only going to get better as temperatures warm. The random walleye bite should also start picking up.K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) is closed until March 4, 2016.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 3-2-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is a little stained and the generation has dropped to three- to five units per day. Trout are biting well on pink worms, Power Bait and shrimp. The brown trout are biting very well on white jigs, Rapala Floating Minnows and Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogues.
(updated 2-24-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the White has seen heavy generation with no wadable water. The combined outflow and generation equal 27,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) or the equivalent of nine full generators. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8-10), Y2Ks (sizes 12-14), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead, sizes 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). Streamer fishing has heated up with the high water. With the heavy flows, the fish have been pushed to the bank. The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy, 24- to 30-foot sink tip line. You will need an 8- or 9- weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

Lake Norfork

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(updated 3-2-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said with the warm winter water, we should see a smaller shad die off which will lead a healthy shad population this year. The fish will appear in different parts of the lake. For example the walleye will begin their spawning cycle and will be found spawning on pea gravel sloping banks. Some of the better spots are at the Arkansas-Missouri state line, Liner Creek, Bridges Creek to the U.S. Highway 160 bridge, Hand Cove area, Dam Cove, and Thumb Point. Stripers will move to the warmest and dirtiest water up in the creeks. Find a creek with warm dirty water and you should find stripers, from Pigeon Creek to Big Creek stripers will be found. The night bite for stripers will be good during a strong south wind on any northern shores. Some good spots are Diamond Bay, Dam Cove, Thumb Point, Cranfield Island, points leading up towards Red Bank, Barron Creek, and around Reynolds Island in Big Creek. Crappie will begin their movement from the deep brush piles toward creeks. The big issue with crappie is weather fronts pushing them from shallow to deep. You can still catch them but the bite will be a little slower until the warm lake water returns. Crappie will be caught in all the major creeks. Just look on your depth finder for brush piles. They are scattered over the lake in every creek arm. Find the brush and you will find the crappie. Bass will begin their move up the creeks and coves also. Smallmouth are the first to spawn. They will spawn on deep boulders off sloping points. I catch lots of smallies off Barron Point in 20 to 30 feet of water when I’m striper fishing in the spring. Largemouth will move all the way up the creeks and back into the coves to make their beds. Again cold fronts will dictate their cycle. Warm weather and normal water levels will keep them on the beds. A heavy storm will move the bass off the beds and back into deeper water.
(updated 3-2-2016) Larry Olson of Hand Cove Resort said the night bite for stripers has been very good. Last night Larry boated 15 fish by 2 a.m., two hybrids and the rest being stripers. All fish were under 15 pounds, but they were aggressive and striking a Smithwick Rogue. All were caught east of the dam in the main Big Creek area. Surface water temperature is in the 50s. Last night was a good night. By 2 AM I boated 15 fish, 2 hybrids and 13 stripers the largest being about 15 pounds. They were all pretty aggressive, all but one took my Rogue in the mouth. All were caught east of the dam in the main Big Creek areas. The water temperature was in the 50s.
(updated 2-17-2016) Guide Steve Olomon had no new report.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 2-24-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said in an effort to lower the lake levels before the spring rains, the Corps of Engineers has opened flood gates. Releases on the Norfork equal 10,000 cfs, the equivalent of three full generators. The water has been off-colored, but is beginning to improve. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18-22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 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 (size 18 elk hair caddis). 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