Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

March 23, 2016

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock YouTube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report for March 23, 2016.
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 3-23-2016) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said the water temperature is 50 to 55 degrees and the water is stained. Black bass are biting well in the 10 to 15 foot range. Try jigs, jerk baits and pearl-colored swim baits and flukes. Wiggle Warts and spinnerbaits are working well on breezy days. Crappie are slow but improving on live minnows and small soft plastics. They are not on the banks yet, so concentrate on brush and trees in 10 to 15 feet of water. Walleye are slow, but a few can be caught on crankbaits and night crawlers. White bass are slow right now.
(updated 3-23-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said fishing has been very good lately. The water temperature is warming up and the fish are getting active. White bass are beginning to run in the backs of creeks. Howard Creek, Jamey Creek and the Theodosia arm are doing well. Early morning walleye fishing has been good on jerk baits in the river arms as well. Black bass are in prespawn mode, so look for north-facing creek arms where any runoff is coming in. Work your way from the back of the creek to about midway in the creek. Megabass and McStick jerkbaits are working well. Wiggle Warts also are producing well along rocky areas. If you can find some isolated cover, be sure to hit it with a jig.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 3-23-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the current is pretty high, with six generators running. Trout are biting ell on jigs and stickbaits. Many rainbow trout are being caught on drift rigs baited with frozen shad, corn and Power Bait.   
(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 553.81 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(updated 3-23-2016) Guide Steve Olomon said fishing is starting to heat up. This past week we had air temperatures in the 70s and 80s and the topwater bite was just getting underway. Then we got a nasty cold front that dropped the water temperature from the low 60s to the low to mid-50s. The night bite for stripers, hybrids and walleye is underway. Throw a stick bait to the bank and reel it real slowly, just so it has that slow wobble back and forth. I like to throw a dark color if there is no moon or it’s cloudy. If the moon is up and it’s clear, throw a light color. Look up in the major creeks and within a few miles of the dam. The whites were starting to come up back in the creeks on points and along the flats. The bigger whites were staying a little deeper in 10-15 feet of water. Bass are hitting jerk baits, jigs, crankbaits and a Texas-rigged worm.
(updated 3-16-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said surface water temperature has been 55 to 58 degrees the last few days. Stripers have moved all the way up the creeks and are being caught on live bait and Rattling Rogues. I heard one report of stripers busting shad in Panther Creek in the evenings. Stripers are shallow in the mornings and evenings. If you're using live bait, set your lines 20 feet behind your floats and run your planner boards next to shore. Norfork is in prime condition to have an awesome March, both day and night. We are seeing a good top water and night bite for the rest of this month and into April. This is going to be an incredible spring for you early bird anglers. A good tool to use to make your plans with is on the web at for everything Norfork Lake! Be sure to check out the spring striper tactics article.
(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.

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