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Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

April 6, 2016

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Below is the ArkansasGame and Fish Fishing Report April 6, 2016.
Bull Shoals

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 659.04 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 4-6-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said the water is about 53 degrees from the recent cold fronts. A lot of smallmouth are on the beds. There’s a lot of color in the water in the Theodosia arm. Fishing is best in the backs of creeks closest to the dam. Wiggle Warts and Rock Crawlers are the best bets for bass right now. White bass are still in the backs of some creeks.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 4-6-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is fairly clear to dingy. The river is running at normal level with 3 to 4 generators running. Trout fishing has been good on Power Worms, but there’s been a lot of moss lately, which makes fishing more difficult.

(updated 4-6-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said last week, the White River saw moderate generation with no wadable water. The bite has been a bit slow. 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 sowbugs (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 hare and copper suspended below it). It is time for the big caddis hatch, which usually provides the best dry fly fishing of the year. I have observed a few caddis on the White and have had a report of a decent hatch at Rim Shoals. These are decent-sized flies, about size 14. Before the hatch, fish prince nymphs. When you see top-water activity but no insects, switch to a green butt or a partridge and orange. When you see trout taking adults from the top, switch over to an elk hair caddis. 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 lines (350 grains or heavier). 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 553.89 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).

(updated 3-30-2016) Guide Steve Olomon ssaid the water temperature is in the low to mid-50s. There were a few bass coming up chasing shad early that would hit a Zara Spook Jr. or a jerk bait. It will get better when the water warms a little more. They were also hitting a 4-inch swim bait reeled very slowly. The stripers, hybrids and a few walleye are hitting stick baits at night. The bite starts right at dark. They have been caught all over the lake, just remember to reel your lure slowly.

(updated 4-6-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the weather has been unpredictable, but the rain helped the striper bite; it brought some color to the creeks and warmed the lake a couple of degrees. The stripers have been biting all over the lake from Red Bank, Cranfield, Bennett’s Bayou to Big Creek. Find a creek with water depth less than 40 feet and schools of baitfish and the stripers will be around. In some areas, the bite only lasts until the sun comes up. In other areas of the lake the bite can last until 10 a.m. Threadfin and small gizzard shad on light lines with just a split shot fished about 80 feet behind the boat works very well. Keep looking and moving until you find active fish. Visit to learn all you need to know about fishing Norfork Lake.! Be sure to check out the spring striper tactics article on the site.

(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 4-6-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Norfork Tailwater saw some wadable water last week, but it fished very poorly. 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.