Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 8, 2016

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report June 8, 2016.
Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 663.41 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 6-1-2016) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) said the 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 6-8-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said very shallow water early this week, and the water was clear. There was some rainbow action, however. It rated good. Brown trout rated fair. Two generators are running of late.

(updated 6-8-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said the shore anglers have been finding some luck with garlic-scented yellow and pink power eggs. Fishing with guides and from boats, the anglers have been using a lot of artificial, mostly the ginger and ginger/olive White River Zig Jigs but also the old favorite Thomas Buoyant spoons, both red/gold and blue/silver. Trout have been snapping at the gold 3/16-ounce Blue Fox. It's warming up out there, lots of sunshine, so don't forget the sun screen. Don't mix your sunscreen and bait/tackle. Trout don't like sunscreen.

(updated 6-8-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) ) said rain last week dropped three quarters of an inch on Cotter, accompanied by warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.6 of a foot to rest at 0.1 feet below seasonal power pool of 662 feet. This is 33.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose a foot to rest at 0.1 of a foot above seasonal power pool and 13.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.7 of a foot to rest at 0.2 feet below seasonal power pool and 8.8 feet below the top of flood pool. They saw little generation last week with wade-able water most days. All of the lakes on the White River system are currently at or below seasonable power pool and anglers should encounter lower levels of generation on the tailwaters with limited wade-able water. The bite has been erratic with had a lot of low wade-able water that has fished well. 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 (current favorite is a pink San Juan worm with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. The sulphur hatch provides some of our best dry fly fishing of the year. This is a big mayfly, about a 14. Before the hatch he fishes pheasant tails. When he sees 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 556.27 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 6-8-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the stripers on Norfork Lake are confusing him: The topwater bite should be over yet he’s seen stripers feeding heavily in and around the Hand Cove area at first light. The water temperature is now in the high 70s and will be in the 80s by week's end. The thermocline is at 30 feet, which usually keeps the stripers deeper since the oxygen is poor above that. The other confusing thing that the stripers are doing is ignoring the small and mid-size shad and hitting the biggest shad he can put on the line. They will hit the smaller baits set on down lines but are more likely to hit a bait on a split-shot free line 20 yards behind the boat. Reynolds has caught five stripers over 17 pounds this week with the biggest at 25 pounds. They were able to release all of them except the 25-pound striper. He’s also hooked eight more that they lost. All these fish were hooked using 10-inch-plus shad. All of the stripers he’s catching are in the river channels, still catching them with weighted floats and down lines set at 30 feet. The stripers continue to feed on shad and crawdads. A client called late on Tuesday wanting to know if they could go fishing last Wednesday. Tom had bait so they set the time for 4:45 a.m. There was fog on the water that slowed the trip a little as they motored their way to the Big Creek area. His clients only wanted to catch a big fish and were not really interested in keeping any. They did catch one early that had to be kept since it would not have made it if released. A second fish hooked turned out to be 25 pounds; Larry, the client, wanted to release it but the fight took too much out of the fish. So Larry decided to have it mounted. He wanted a 40-pound-plus fish, but this fish was a perfect size in body and weight. They caught one more that was 20 pounds that could be released, so it turned out to be a big fish day. Right now, Reynolds said, if a person wants a wall mount they should be booking a trip with a guide using live shad.
(updated 6-8-2016) Guide Steve Olomon said  the lake level was 555.4 with the water temperature in the mid-70s. There are a few things floating in the lake with the rain from this past week, so keep an eye out. Bass are coming up early; mainly look for them on points. They are also hitting jigs, worms and a drop shot with a small worm. Look for stripers and hybrids suspended in 30-40 feet in deep water or they can be hugging the bottom 30-40 feet. Whites can be in the schools too. Get your bait down to where you mark the fish. I just drop a jigging spoon and when they are in a feeding mood they will hit the spoon on the way down. They usually hit it when it’s dropping back down.
(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.


North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 6-1-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the lake rose 0.2 feet to rest at 2.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet and 26 feet below the top of flood pool. There was no wade-able water, but the tailwater has cleared somewhat and has fished better lately. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 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 eighteen 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. John Berry's favorite fly has been the green butt. Dry Run Creek will be very busy, with summer vacation in full swing. It is 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).
The Arkansas White River Chapter of Trout Unlimited No. 698 it is holding its “Generations Camp” June 18-19 at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. In the past, you probably remember this as the Youth Camp, but for the past couple of years the Youth Camp has morphed into the Generations Camp. Before, the kids were dropped off and participated in the camp by themselves. Now they are accompanied by a Generations Mentor who must be over 21 years old. The Stream Explorers must be between 10-15 years old. A mentor can be a parent, brother, sister, grandparent, uncle, aunt or guardian. The mentor attends all sessions of the camp and all classes and learns along with the stream explorer. This is an incredible opportunity for the mentor and explorer to bond. The mentors and explorers will be participating in a variety of subjects that include fly-tying, fly-casting, trout fishing, trout habitat and aquatic entomology. The highlight of the camp is fishing on Dry Run Creek, which is arguably the most incredible half-mile of trout fishing in the United States and quite possibly the world. Dry Run Creek is adjacent to the Norfork National Fish Hatchery and is a catch-and-release stream that has been set aside for children under 16 and mobility-impaired adults. A mobility-impaired permit issued by the AGFC is required for adult anglers. The classes are taught by local Trout Unlimited volunteers, AGFC biologists, U.S. Fish & Wildlife biologists and other community volunteers. The goal is to develop in the mentors and explorers a sense of appreciation and respect for trout and our cold-water fisheries. The camp runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch and a shirt are provided to all participants. To participate, contact Michael or Dawn Schraeder at (870) 421-1432, write them at 1906 Rodeo Drive, Mountain Home, AR 72653, or email michaelschraeder@gmail.com. Space is limited so register now.

Buffalo National River

(updated 6-8-2016) 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 6-8-2016) 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.