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Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report
June 1, 2016
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Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report June 1, 2016.
 Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 661.52 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 6-1-2016) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said he lake is on a steady rise with the recent rains but is still mostly free of debris. Will continue to rise until the elevation reaches 662.00 ft msl. This is now the new power pool set by the Corps. (Pool was raised to 659.00 from 654.00 to accommodate the new Minimum Flow Act set by Congress. That has now been changed for a summer seasonal pool, adding 3 more feet.) Neadless to say, the boat launch at the end of K Highway will have limited access. Lower road access was lost when we hit 660.00. But, the fishing is great! Bass and walleye are the hot species right now. Water temperature is 74 degrees and the water is stained. Black bass are good on topwater Spooks, buzzbaits and other plugs. Also good on Ned Rigs, 1/2-ounce jigs and small to medium plastics. Crappie are biting fair on live minnows; it's hot and cold from day to day. There aresStill reports of Crappie in 8 to 10 feet, but have had some hitting around trees in 15 to 20 feet. Swimming minnow color has been pear and glitter. Walleye fishing is good dragging nightcrawlers on the flats, about 15-20 feet. Also hitting on medium-size crankbaits.
(updated 5-18-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said tthe fishing continues to be very good. The same patterns are working for bass plus the addition of all topwater patterns. Most of the spawning is done for bass. The majority are done and moving into post spawn patterns. There might be a few spawners lift but shouldn't be many. The walleye are moving down some with the surface temperature warming up into the low 70s. The reports on the walleye show them in the 15-20-foot range. Still seeing some white bass and crappie caught on the same patterns. We are seeing lots and lots of hand-size bluegills being caught, probably the product of the high water years we have had lately. The lake is holding around the normal level give or take a few feet. The water temp is low 70's on the surface. Seems to be a thermocline forming around the 15-18 foot level. Visibility is good with it being exceptional past 50 foot. For bass, crankbaits, swimming minnow plastics, spinnerbaits, jigs, french fry worms, Carolina-rigged plastics, stickbaits and topwater. Yes, that's right! Just about anything you want to throw. For walleye, trolling deep diving baits is working in 15-20 feet of water, bottom bouncing with nightcrawlers, slow retrieval of a spoon, slow retrieval of a split shot and nightcrawler. White bass are hitting trolling crankbaits, casting swimbaits, casting small jigs, night fishing with lights. We are seeing lots of crappie being caught. The main pattern being reported is swimming an 1/8-ounce to 1/64 jig just off the bottom along the shoreline. They were spawning so they were not grouped up. You might have to fish a lot of shoreline to catch a bunch.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 6-1-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water clarity was fair with moss still present. The water level was normal, with two generators running. Trout fishing was good with the power worm working best. The heavy moss requires fishermen to clean hooks often.

(updated 6-1-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said it was a very busy holiday weekend on the White; lots of visitors and happy first-time fishers. They were glad to see Arkansas Game and Fish enforcement officers on the river helping keep everyone safer. Yellow was the color for trout eggs, Rooster Tails and other baits this past week. Varying shades of yellow worked, too: sunrise, orange, chartreuse. The water level was a little higher the last few days, but not over much -- still mostly wade-able. Jigs are a great change of pace and are still producing some nice catches.

(updated 6-1-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) ) said the lake level at Bull Shoals rose a foot to rest at 0.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 662 feet. This is 33.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.1 feet to rest at 0.7 of a foot above seasonal power pool and 14.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.5 foot to rest at 0.5 of a foot above seasonal power pool and 8.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had little generation last week with wade-able water every day. On the White, the bite has been erratic. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), 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). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a pink San Juan worm with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. Our sulphur hatch provides some of our best dry fly fishing of the year. This is a big mayfly, about a 14. Before the hatch I fish pheasant tails. When I see topwater activity but no insects, I fish with a partridge and orange. When I see trout taking adults from the top, I switch over to a sulphur parachute. The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24-30-foot sink tips (350 grains or heavier). You will need an 8- or 9-weight rod.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.88 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 6-1-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said fishing continues to be good and the fish are starting to transition to their early summer pattern. Basically, he says, the fish are starting to go deeper as the water warms. Stripers are being found 20-40 feet down in 50-100-plus feet of water. At this time they seem to be relating to the sides of the main channel on the main lake, especially in places where the channel swings in close to the shoreline. If things are typical this year, you will find them on the deep flats early in the mornings, then in the deep channels late morning and during the day. The stripers are feeding on shad and crawdads, so there should be a good bite before daylight. The hybrids and white bass are being found at all depths, including good topwater action for both. The problem is that they are traveling all over the place and may come up along the shoreline or out in the middle of the lake. When you are traveling, keep a close eye out for whitewater as it could happen anywhere at any time. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing have also been good. Early in the morning they are still coming up for topwater baits, and as the day wears on, jigs and swimbaits are the way to go. The after-dark bite has also been good. The best spots to find these fish are on shallow points with buckbrush. The deeper fish are out in 15-25 feet of water on the bottom. Rocky points are a great place to start fishing for bass. Walleyes are continuing to bite and can be found in the same locations as the largemouth bass. Again, early in the morning they are up shallow feeding, then as the sun comes up they move out to 15-25 feet of water on the bottom. Vertical jigs and crawler harnesses are picking up some nice fish. The current lake level is holding fairly steady with one generator running continuously. The surface water temperature is warming and is in the mid 70s. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are once again starting to clear. All in all, the lake is in great condition for fishing and for the summertime vacation lake lovers.
(updated 6-1-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said striper fishing continues to improve. The north and northeast winds have turned into south and southwest winds and warmed up the lake. Stripers are still being caught on topwater in the 101 Area and around Cranfield Island and points and bluffs. The south end of the lake is now in the summer mode of catching stripers with spoons, trolling and live bait fished at least 30 feet deep over water that ranges from 50-100 feet. Reynolds has not found them on any flats yet, all the fish he’s catching are in the river channels. He continues to catch them with weighted floats and down lines set at 30 feet. The stripers are feeding on shad and crawdads. They are moving shallow and feed on crawdads, then move out at daylight into the channel. The bite has been good up to 9 a.m. Every once in a while Reynolds gets the pleasure of introducing someone to fishing. Sunday was that opportunity this year. A client said he wanted to bring a young man who had never caught a fish. His name was Zack and he was like a sponge. Everything Reynolds said to do he listened and continued to ask his advice on what he should do when he hooked a fish. That day fishing was slower, the day before they had limited out but with all the new boat traffic on the lake the fish were slow to bite. They did hook a nice striper early, and Zack worked the rod like a pro and landed his first striper and fish. They caught a limit, but Reynolds said it’s not always about catching a limit; it’s more about the experiences you have when you’re on the lake.
(updated 5-18-2016) Guide Steve Olomon said said the lake level is up to 554 feet msl, which is about a half-foot from last week, and the water temperature is in the upper 60s. Look for stripers chasing baitfish to the surface early and just before dark. The hybrids, whites and bass are also coming up. They will hit a spook, soft jerkbait and a swimbait. Look for this activity on points and in coves where the wind is blowing in or has within the last day. After the topwater is over, try throwing a swimbait and you may pick up an extra striper or hybrid or two. Bass are hitting jerkbaits, jigs and worms. A lot of them are in 5-20 feet depth. Try a shallow-running crankbait, too. For more information on the area and lake go to Lake

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 6-1-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the lake remained steady last week at 2.9 feet below seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet and 26.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had no wade-able water. The Norfork has cleared somewhat and has fished better lately. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (Nos. 18, 20, 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 #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 fly has been the green butt. Dry Run Creek has cleared some and fished well. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).

Buffalo National River

(updated 5-25-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that with the weather warming, smallmouths are more active. John Berry says his favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Check the water level before entering the river. There are no dams and the river is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

Crooked Creek

(updated 5-25-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the river is navigable. Try his favorite lure for smallmouths, the Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering. There are no dams, there are large drainages and the creek prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.