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Established 1954
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Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

March 9, 2016

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Fishing Report from Arkansas Game and Fish after the photos.
Below are some photos of our guided trout fishing customers taken this week at Cotter Trout Dock.
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Bull Shoals

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(updated 3-9-2016) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said the water temperature already is pushing 50 degrees and the water condition looks great. Crappie that have been coming in are ready to release their eggs. Now that the lake has stopped dropping a foot per day, the crappie are starting to stage on brush piles in the coves.  Not along the banks yet, but that will change when we get 60 to 65 degree surface temperatures. Bass are getting up toward the banks with the warmer days pushing the surface temperature up every week. The bass really starting to hit a Wiggle Wart and spinner bait last week. Anglers are starting to see large amounts of shad around the dock.  This should be a good time for a jerk bait.  No reports on the white bass or walleye yet.
(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.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 3-9-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water has a green tint to it and has been back to normal level with three generators going, but that may change with the rain. Trout have been excellent on stick baits, Power Baits, minnows and jigs. 
(updated 3-9-2016) 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 553.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(updated 3-9-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said stripers are moving up the creeks because the warm winter weather has produced warmer than normal water temperatures for this time of year. I have registered 52 to 55 degree water the last few days. The shad have migrated all the way up the creeks as well. I have been catching large threadfin shad in 3 feet of water and gizzard shad on the banks. Crappie and white bass are already in the creeks. The white bass are spawning and the crappie are active feeding around brush in very shallow water. Walleye are being caught from Calamity Beach to Udall along with white bass. This March will be awesome fishing both day and night, so get your boat ready and hit the water. There are massive amounts of shad schooling from Fouts Boat Dock to 6B. Find the bait and you will find the stripers. Lots of big fish have been caught the last year. The biggest was a 48 pounder. A lot of 20-pound fish have been caught as well. Shiners are also working. I have switched to no weight and/or split shots with balloons and planner boards.  The spring bites have begun earlier than what you might expect. With the higher lake levels, the water has not cooled to its normal temperature, which means the lake is warming earlier. We should see a good topwater and night bite begin in the first and mid parts of March.
(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 3-9-2016) 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