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Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

April 27, 2016

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Below is the ArkansasGame and Fish Fishing Report April 27, 2016.
Bull Shoals

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.03 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(updated 4-13-2016) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said the surface water temperature is 54 to 57 degrees and the water is stained to clear. The bite is beginning to pick up around the K Dock area. Some good numbers of crappie are coming in. Anglers are using live minnows and Bobby Garland Swimming Minnows fished in 8 to 10 feet of water near timber and brush piles. The fish are not up on the banks, but that may change with some good days and nights of warm weather. White bass seem to be in the Beaver Creek arm of the lake. There aren’t many whites surface feeding on shad around the flats near K Dock. Walleye are slow on night crawlers and small crankbaits. Many short fish are being caught. The action is better up in the Power Site Dam area. Largemouth bass are biting well on Wiggle Warts, Alabama rigs and spinnerbaits. They also are being caught pretty regularly on finesse jigs and shaky head worms. They still haven’t moved out of prespawn patterns completely.
(updated 4-13-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said said the water is in the low to mid-50s. Visibility is good around most of the lake out of the wind. Walleye have picked up in the last few days. The fish that have been caught did not have eggs in them, so they are likely finished spawning and are beginning to feed up and move off the banks for summer. Mnay crappie have been caught in the last week on 1/8- to 1/64-oz. jigs fishing along the banks in 8 to 15 feet of water. They are in the pre-spawn to spawning stage right now. Some bass are staged up in main lake pockets, but the larger creek arms and spawning flats on the sides of those creeks have been the best bet. Smallmouth are spawning, and a grub, hair jig or Carolina rig will work very well for them over rocky and gravelly points. Wherever you have some clay on the bank causing a small mudline is a good place to throw a Wiggle Wart or Storm Rock Crawler crankbait. 

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 4-20-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is full of moss and the generators are rolling at nine to 10 strong. Trout fishing has been excellent on PowerBait, pink worms and stickbaits. 
(updated 4-27-2016) Cotter Trout Dock said White River Zig Jigs continue to pull in some nice fish. The best size is 1/8-oz. and the best colors are white, black or tri-olive. Several almost-keeper size browns were caught on a no. 5 gold/black Rapala Countdown. The moss issue seems to subsided a little. The last three days we experienced fairly low water with small rises for short times once or twice a day.  Sculpins have been the best bet for bigger fish. In the vicinity of Crooked Creek, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, cutthroat trout and a perch or two were caught by fly-fishermen using mostly red/silver midges, some Clouser minnows and sowbugs) 
(updated 4-27-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the river saw moderate generation last week with some wadable water. The bite has been a bit slow. During higher levels of generation the river is “dirty” with large amounts of aquatic vegetation suspended in it. 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 our big caddis hatch, which usually provides our 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. This is a big insect (size 14). Before the hatch, fish prince nymphs. When you see topwater activity but no insects, I fish with my green butt or a partridge and orange. When trout start taking adults from the top, switch over to an elk hair caddis.

Lake Norfork

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(updated 4-27-2016) Guide Steve Olomon said the water temperature is in the upper 60s to the low 70s. Stripers, hybrids and white bass are coming up, chasing baitfish. Throw a Zara Spook, soft jerk bait, wake bait or a swim bait. The night bite has been good, but just because you find them on a bank doesn't mean they will be there again the next night. Some nights require fishing multiple banks. Reel your stick bait slowly or you won’t get many hits. There are still a few walleye up shallow at night also. Bass were spawning this week and some were hitting jigs in 2 to 15 feet of water. They were also hitting soft jerk baits and swim baits.
(updated 4-27-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the bite is on. Bass, stripers and hybrids are hitting all over the lake. Topwater lures, plugs and live bait are producing daily limits. I heard from some of the bass pros and they caught 40 to 50 keeper bass every day before the recent Bassmaster tournament. I have been fishing the south end of lake concentrating on main lake points. The shad are spawning right on the bank, so the predator fish are up there feeding all night and day. Find a windblown point and you find stripers feeding very shallow, in the morning. If you’re not on the lake this week and next you’re missing the high point of the spring bite. Crappie continue to be caught in the Big Creek area past Woods Point, about halfway into Brushy Creek. The best performing artificial striper bait seems to be Smithwick's Perfect 10 Rogue. Jewel has come out with a new feather bait looks good for trolling. Hand Cove Resort also has good size shiners in stock right now too. The stripers along with the other large predator species have moved into their spring feed patterns with the air and water temperatures about normal.


North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 4-27-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said there has been some wadable water on the Norfork Tailwater. The Norfork is stained and has fished poorly due to algae in the water. 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.