Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 15, 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 15, 2016.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 663.38 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 6-15-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock said the lake rose a few feet earlier in the month. There is a lot of brush in the water up to 5 feet around the shoreline. The water temperature is higher then normal. It is in the low 70s to mid-80s around the lake depending on where you take it. That is a little higher then normal. The water is still fairly clear. There seems to be a thermocline forming around the 18-22-foot level, which is normal for this time of year. Bass fishing is still great. Most of the reports are good with topwater bite the most reported. Then weedless plastics in and around the brush in shallow water. This should change to deeper fishing fairly soon during the day with the water temperatures rising. Walleye fishing hasn't been the best. They have not seen many caught or at least getting reports of many. Not sure why either, because it is usually very good this time of year. It was good March, April and the first two weeks of May but has slowed down since the middle of May. The patterns that follow are still catching some. Not much else to report. For bass, use crankbaits, Swimming Minnow plastics, spinnerbaits, jigs, french fry worms, Carolina rigged plastics, stick baits and topwater. Yes thats 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. To catch white bass, troll with crankbaits, cast with swimbaits and small jigs or try night fishing with lights. They are seeing lots of crappie being caught. The main pattern being reported is swimming an 1/8-ounce to 1/64-ounce jig just off the bottom along the shoreline. They are spawning so they are not grouped up. You might have to fish a lot of shoreline to catch a bunch.
(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.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 6-15-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported low water with eight generators running. Rainbow and brown trout rated good.

(updated 6-15-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said Zig Jigs were one of the best trout baits this week; the copper/gold Colorado and the old reliable red/gold Thomas Buoyant spoons did well. A number 5 Rainbow Countdown brought some nice fish to the boat. Sculpins continue to lure some nice size browns. Try your luck with barbless hooks when fishing for browns – can be a very rewarding catch. It's heating up, so keep plenty of water with you; dip a hand towel in the river and wrap it around your neck – stay cool.

(updated 6-15-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) ) said said rain last week combined for three-quarters of an inch in Cotter, with warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 1.6 feet to rest at 1.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet. This is 31.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 0.2 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 0.2 feet below seasonal power pool and 8.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had moderate generation last week with wade-able water most days. The bite on the White remains erratic depending on the day, but they’ve seen low wade-able water that has fished well. The hot flies have been 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 (sizes 16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a pink San Juan worm with a ruby midge (size 18) suspended below it). When he sees topwater activity but no insects, he fishes with a partridge and orange. When Berry sees trout taking adult insects from the top, he switches over to a sulphur parachute.
There is more to fishing than just catching fish. For Berry a big part of the experience is to observe nature up close and personal. He said he loves to watch for changes in the weather and the seasons. Wild flowers and blooming trees are always special, and he especially enjoys observing wildlife. He has seen a herd of no less than 17 deer swim the river in front of his boat. He has watched a family of otters play before me and has observed woodchucks, mink, beaver and muskrat on numerous occasions. There is an abundance of birdlife on the river with wild turkey, kingfishers, pileated woodpeckers, cliff swallows and other birds on a continual basis. There are two species of birds that are of particular interest, to me, that I observe, on almost a daily basis, the great blue herons and the bald eagles. These are two magnificent birds of prey and as such both are protected species.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 557.05 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 6-15-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort saidstriped bass fishing continues to be very good. They have migrated to their beginning-of-summer pattern. The striped bass are deeper and are being caught 30-50 feet down in all different water depths. Lou has caught them on the bottom in 40 feet of water and also suspended in 100 feet of water. Early one morning this week he fished with his daughter and oldest granddaughter. They ended up landing eight striped and hybrid bass in two different types of areas. One area was partway back in a creek and the second was on a main lake point. The two biggest fish were 23-pound and 16-pound striped bass, with hybrids up to 9 pounds and other stripers up to 10 pounds. All but three fish were released, as three would not swim away. Live bait is working the best for, but he’s fishing with his grandkids and artificial bait makes fishing a little more difficult. All sizes of live bait are working from 3-inch threadfin shad on up to 9-inch gizzards. Vertical jigging with a spoon is also starting to work. Find the stripers on your electronics and drop a spoon to the fish and start jigging up and down. If you get into a large school of fish and they don't hit it while jigging, drop it through them, then reel up though the school and be ready for a fish to attack the bait. But in his experience they typically hit it on the fall. Trollers are also doing good dragging umbrella rigs or swim baits. The main thing is to make sure your bait is 25-45 feet deep or just above the fish you are marking on your graph.
Topwater for striped bass has stopped, but hybrid bass are still coming up early in the morning close to points partway back into creeks. He’s finding hybrids in the same locations as the stripers but they are feeding much higher in the water column, from the surface down to 20 feet deep. Topwater baits and swimbaits are working well for artificial baits. Live bait is also very good by pitching them free-line, meaning with no weight. Best places to fish for stripers and hybrids are from the mouths of Big Creek and Brushy Creek to the dam as well as from the Bidwell area to the dam. Yes, they are scattered throughout the entire lake.
Largemouth and spotted bass fishing has also been good. You will find topwater action early in the morning until sunrise in the same locations as the stripers, then again in the late afternoon right before sunset. In the morning, once the sun gets above the tree line they will go down, so start working the bottom from 10 feet out to 30 feet deep with your plastics or jigs. You can also work bush piles in the 20-30 feet depth and catch some quality fish.
Lou says he’s been having too much fun striper fishing to go out crappie fishing, but anglers have been told him you can find some nice fish on brush in 20-30 feet of water back in the creeks. If you are staying at an area with a large boat dock that has some brush under it you can catch some really nice crappie pretty much all day long, when they decide to feed. His dock is producing some good fish in the 13-16-inch range.
The lake level continues to rise slowly and currently sits at 556.98 feet msl. Minimal power generation is occurring during the day and evening. The lake surface water temperature is in low to mid-80s, but varies depending on the location in the lake. The main lake is clear on the surface and the creeks and coves are stained but appear to be trying to clear. He’s heard a thermocline is forming, but he’s not seen evidence of it. If it hasn’t formed, he said, it will shortly with the warm temperatures.(updated 6-15-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the lake is in its summer pattern for striper fishing. Stripers are being caught at the Hwy 62 bridge. Once they are there it will not be long before they show up at Robinson Point and Diamond Bay. On the south end of the lake the stripers are appearing on the deep side of the points; they are also in the deep channels and bays that butt a bluff. He’s have been catching most fish in 80 feet of water with lines set between 25-30 feet. I’m still using gizzard shad that range in length from 5-10 inches. The stripers are also feeding on crawdads. I have caught a few fish in the 40-foot range on the bottom; that is usually a late morning bite. Meanwhile persistence finally paid off for a pair of anglers, Gary and Steve. Tom had taken them out three times and they did not catch a limit of stripers. Each time they caught five stripers. Steve did catch a 25-pound striper last summer. Every time we went out we had 10-15 bites but could never catch No. 6. Finally on the fourth trip they had a great morning. We have been leaving the dock at 4:45 a.m. It’s a 20-minute run to the southeast part of the lake Tom had been fishing. They were fishing in 80 feet of water. In the first 1½ hour they caught three stripers and missed six or seven. It was getting to very light and so Tom moved thinking they were not going to get a limit. He spotted an acre of stripers on top and down under. They immediately caught a short striper and then caught two more keepers. It was not until 9 a.m. that they caught one more striper that finally brought the total to six for a limit. So when you striper fishing, it’s easy to give up when the bite slows and try for other species, but if you stay at it persistence will pay off.  Be sure to read Reynolds’ Summer Striper tactics; the article can be found on the website.
(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.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 6-15-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the water has cleared somewhat and has fished better lately. Norfork Lake rose 1.5 feet last week to rest at 0.3 feet below seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet and 25.5 feet below the top of flood pool. They saw wade-able water most days. 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. His 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. There is another phase of the project to repair the Norfork National Fish Hatchery now going on. Access to the creek is not impaired. 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). While you are at the creek you should visit the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It is fascinating. Be sure and remove your waders before entering to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases. Remember the Arkansas White River Chapter of Trout Unlimited No. 698’s “Generations Camp” June 18-19 at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. Youth ages 10-15 can fish but must be accompanied by a Generations Mentor – parent, brother, sister, grandparent, uncle, aunt or guardian -- who must be over 21 years of age. The mentor attends all sessions of the camp and all classes and learns along with the youth stream explorer. This is an incredible opportunity for the mentor and explorer to bond. Berry says he wishes they had something like this when his daughter was that age. The highlight of the camp is fishing on Dry Run Creek. Contact Michael or Dawn Schraeder at (870) 421-1432 or To participate, but space is limited.

Buffalo National River

(updated 6-15-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) saidthat with the weather warming, smallmouths are more active. My favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully 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 6-15-2016) 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.