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Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

May 4, 2016

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report May 4, 2016.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 658.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said the surface water temperature is 63 to 65 degrees degrees and the water is stained to clear. Crappie, walleye and black bass are all biting extremely well around K Dock lately. Bass are biting best on shaky head finesse worms, spinnerbaits and Zoom Baby Brush Hogs fished around buckbrush in coves and around points with small gravel on the bank. Cast right up to the bank and fish back out. Crappie are biting very well on live minnows in the coves. Some really nice crappie are being caught and if you find the right tree, you can load the boat quickly. Late afternoon has been the best time to fish lately. Walleye are biting well on small crankbaits, such as Berkley Flicker Shad in sizes 6 and 7. Troll shallow in 10 to 15 feet of water near points and rock bluffs.
(updated 5-4-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said fishing continues to be very good. Many bass are still on the beds around the marina. There is lots of catching going on. The walleye seem to have moved out a little into 10 to 15 feet of water. They usually do this when they are done spawning. Anglers are still catching a few around dark, but they seem to be in that transition period. Some white bass and crappie are being caught, but the bass fishing is so good most people are concentrating on them.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 5-4-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the moss was very high, making it nearly impossible to fish.
(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 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424)said the fly fishing has been a somewhat slow, and more dam generation has left the river “dirty” with large amounts of suspended aquatic vegetation. Berry said the most effective technique has been a double-fly nymph rig, especially the hot fluorescent pink or cerise San Juan worm (size 10) with a hare and copper suspended below it. Other hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8 or 10), Y2Ks (sizes 12 or 14), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16 or 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18) and sowbugs (size 16). Water has been too high for wading. Late last week, before huge storms roared through Arkansas, Bull Shoals Lake was 1.3 feet below between the seasonal power pool of 659 feet. Berry expects moderate levels of generation ahead with limited wading. Berry had heard reports of a spectacular caddis hatch at Wildcat Shoals, which should mean the time for the best dry fly fishing of the year. When you see topwater activity but no insects, use a green butt or a partridge and orange. When trout are taking adult insects, switch 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 tips (350 grains or heavier), requiring an 8- or 9-weight rod. The extra work will be worth it.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.97 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 556.75 msl).
(updated 5-4-2016) Guide Steve Olomon said the lake level is 553.6 and the surface water temperature is in the mid- to upper 60s. Stripers, hybrids and whites are coming up at first light and staying up for an hour to an hour and a half. The best bet is to use a Zara Spook or other large topwater lure. After the top water bite stops, throw a swim bait and you may get a few more. You can throw the swim bait to the topwater fish and get bit as well. They are coming up just before sunset, too. The night bite is still going on and the key to fishing at night for stripers is to reel your stick bait extremely slowly. If you see some fish arches on your depth finder, drop a jigging spoon. Bass are still up shallow and will hit a Spook, swim bait, jig and soft jerk bait.
(updated 5-4-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the bite has slowed on Norfork. The shad have completed their spawn and have moved off the banks. There is still a topwater bite, but over the last few days it seems the stripers are surfacing more infrequently on the points. Tom fished the lower end of the lake off the points within site of the dam and had many surface strikes, but very few hookups. The fish were not taking the bait, just slapping at it until they killed it. With the 3½ inches of rain from the last few days, some of the stripers will run back up the creek. The stripers have not spawned yet, so some of males are ripe while others are still firm. It should happen anytime. Some good size walleye are being caught at night. A black/gold Rapala worked in a twitch-twitch-crank cadence seemed to work well in the Big Creek area. The fish have moved into their spring feeding patterns.


North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that fly fishermen enjoyed water at wading depth all last week. The river has cleared some and fishing is better, especially in the morning and late afternoon, helped by good hatches of midges and caddis. Productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20 and 22) such as ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14 and 16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive, while double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Berry suggests using 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 No. 10). Also try a small midge with a size 14 parachute Adams or size 18 elk hair caddis. Dry Run Creek is still busy but the water has cleared some and is fishing well. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). By late last week, Norfork Lake had risen 0.1 feet to rest at 0.8 feet below the seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet.

Buffalo National River

(updated 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the river is navigable, and warm weather has made the smallmouths active.

Crooked Creek

(updated 5-4-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the creek is navigable and smallmouths are more active as the weather has warmed. Watch for sudden flooding during rain events such as the mass of rainfall that hit the state last weekend.