Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 22, 2016

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report March 30, 2016.
Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 663.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 6-22-2016) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) reported the fishing has been a little tougher after this last week of extreme heat. The surface temp around our area is already at 88 degrees! Pretty hot for the middle of June. The water is clear to stained. Start fishing your deeper summer patterns for walleye and crappie. Bass are still good on a variety of jigs and lures. Also, keep in mind that the boat launch at the end of K Highway is almost completely under water. With the new seasonal pool now set at 662.00 feet msl, their boat launch and access road is a thing of the past. Frustrating to think that fishermen and recreational boaters living in and visiting the Branson area will struggle to find an access onto Bull Shoals Lake. Black bass are good on topwater early mornings and evenings. Also good on jigs, plastics in the brush and big worms. Walleye are fair on deep-diving crankbaits and bottom-bouncing nightcrawlers. Crappie is slow to fair on live minnows at 15-20 feet deep.
(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.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 6-22-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported the trout bite was excellent the past week. From 2 to 8 generators were running, and the water was clear. Try power bait or stink worms.

(updated 6-22-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said Bull Shoals Dam has been generating more power this past week, so by late afternoon or early evening, Cotter sees an extra 2.5 to 3 feet of water. Generation then gradually slows to less than one unit and by early morning the level is fairly low and nicely floatable. Very fish-able. They’ve had some nice catches this week, healthy rainbows and several more cutthroats brought to the boat, posed for pictures and released. Olive and ginger, black, and tri-olive jig Zig Jigs captured some browns and a cutthroat or two, as well as rainbows this past week. Spoons, spoons and more spoons. Silver Cleos, gold Cleos, red/gold Thomas Bouyants, blue-silver Cleos and Thomas Bouyants, and the Colorados continue to catch trout. Shrimp, tied on with power bait (yellow, white, sunrise, orange, pink) does the trick, as well as crawdad tails. (They've had some luck with the store-bought variety of crawfish when trapping live ones isn't productive.) Summer is in full swing; temperatures rising; be careful.

(updated 6-22-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) ) said one rain event dropped a half-inch on Cotter last week, followed by hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.1 of a foot to rest at 1.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.9 feet. This 31.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 0.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 to rest at 0.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 9.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had moderate generation last week with wade-able water most days. Berry reports they have 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 (Berry’s current favorite is a size 18 pink San Juan worm with a ruby midge suspended below it). When he sees top water activity but no insects, he’ll fish with a partridge and orange. When trout are taking adults from the top, he switches over to a sulphur parachute. Berry says that at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop they have been getting a lot of requests from customers to have a beginner’s fly-tying class. Berry and his assistant manager, Henry Seay, are avid fly-tyers, although he thinks Henry is more involved in fly-tying. Whenever Seay is working in the shop, he is at the fly-tying desk, unless waiting on a customer. They are also both supporters of Trout Unlimited White River Chapter No. 698. Therefore they decided to hold a beginner’s fly-tying class and donate the proceeds from the class to Trout Unlimited. Seay would teach the class. He has been fly fishing for over 65 years and has been tying flies for over 20. After retiring from the Sony Corp., he owned and operated the OK Angler fly shop in Oklahoma City for several years. He then moved to Phoenix, where he honed his midging skills at Lee’s Ferry and the San Juan River. Since moving here 11 years ago, Henry has been a fly fishing guide, a commercial fly-tyer and has worked in several local fly shops. He has more experience in running a fly shop than Berry has but now wants to spend more time on stream fishing. He has also served as the Youth Educational Director for the White River chapter of Trout Unlimited No. 698. Bob Krause, a local commercial fly-tyer, will assist. The class will be held on Thursdays throughout July at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop (1343 E. Ninth St., Mountain Home) from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The cost is a $35 donation to Trout Unlimited, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization (therefore it is tax deductable). The class is designed with the neophyte tyer with no experience whatsoever in mind. Bring a fly-tying vise, a bobbin, a spool of fly-tying thread and a pair of fly-tying scissors. Some loaner equipment is available and the shop will be open during the class in case you need to buy something. To register, call (870) 425-0447 during normal business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday) or stop by the shop.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 556.80 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 6-22-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the lake is HOT, the lake temperature is 87 degrees and climbing, this usually happens in late July and August but summer weather has started early. You can find stripers as shallow as 40 feet and as deep as 80 feet. Most of the fish I’m catching are holding between 30 and 40’ right now. I start off in 70 to 80 feet of water and move up into the 40 to 50’ after the sun comes. It’s a reverse of what normally happens, shallow then deep. I do not believe this pattern will last long, most of the fish will be caught in the 50 to 60’ as the month progresses. Stripers continue being caught at the Hwy 62 bridge and Robinson Point. 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. I’m still using gizzard shad that range in length from 5 to 10”. I had a call from Iowa about setting up a striper trip for Father’s Day. Mike wanted to take his dad John who is 80 years old out along with Mike’s two sons, Ross and Reese. We set up for last Sunday and we left the dock at 4:15 AM. The day before I had taken out a father, son, and grandson group and we caught 10 stripers in 1 ½ hours so I was pretty confident that we would really catch the fish. Boy was I wrong, we went to the fist 2 places where 10 or more stripers were caught the day before and we had no bites for over 2.1/2 hours. By now I was in full stress mode and all I could say that we should catch fish since I could see them on the graph. At the third spot we hit pay dirt. The float line went down and I set the hook and gave the rod to John. The fish was too strong so I worked with John and we finally boated the striper and it was 14 pounds. Everybody was smiling but that was only one fish and I needed more. The float when down again and this time Mike took the rod and we boated his striper and it was 12 lbs. We hooked another one but lost it to the trolling motor. The last one came when nobody was watching the poles. That fish went under the boat and caught most of lines and then took off for deep water. We got the lines untangled and Reese boated at 17-pound striper. It was a long morning but it turned out great when three generations all caught fish. Be sure to read our Summer Striper tactics, the article can be found on the website.
(updated 6-22-2016) Guide Steve Olomon said the lake level is 557.1 feet msl and the water temperature is in the mid-80s. Look for stripers down 35-60 feet deep. They can be close to the bottom in 35 feet depth or they can be suspended in 100 feet. Check the deep side of points and close to the creek channels in the creeks. They had a few small stripers in the 2-4-pound range and some hybrids about 4-6 pounds coming up hitting Zara Spooks in a creek while they were sitting in 55 feet. There were a few whites, large mouth and some smallies mixed in. Steve and his group hit another spot and got into a few spotted bass. They were not coming up chasing, they just came up and hit the spooks in Big Creek. The group caught a few stripers and a couple hybrids on jigging spoons suspended at 30 feet in about 55 feet of water. F or more information on the area and lake visit
(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.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 6-22-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the lake rose 2.6 feet to rest at 0.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.65 feet and 22.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had wade-able water most days. The Norfork has fished better lately. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 No. 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 will be very busy, with summer vacation, in full swing. It is cleared 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 (No. 14), Y2Ks (No. 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise No. 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.

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.