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Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

July 20, 2016

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report July 20, 2016.
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 660.78 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 7-13-2016) K Dock Marina (417-334-2880) reported lake conditions have pretty much remained the same the past few weeks. Despite all the rain and pop up thunderstorms, the water looks great! Good color with little to no debris. Fishing has slowed down for many anglers due to the extreme heat and humidity. But, still seeing a lot of big bass and walleye being caught. The boat launch has more parking available, but the lower road is still under water at the current level. Courtesy dock remains under water as well. Water level on Tuesday was 661.00 feet msl. Water temperature was 85-88 degrees and water is stained. Black Bass are good off of points and steep bluffs with a jig, Texas rigged worm and large plastics. Also good on topwater plugs early. Deep-diving crankbaits are also working for some. Walleye are good to fair on medium to large crankbaits trolling in 20-30 feet. Running baits around 12-18 feet range. Also good on dragging nightcrawlers. Also hitting white or silver half-ounce spoons off the points. Crappie fishing is slow on live minnows, due to the heat. Catching some in the 20-foot range around trees. Fair when trolling. Suspended in deeper water.
(updated 7-6-2016) Bull Shoals Boat Dock reported that fishing patterns are finally changing into the basic summer patterns. The water temperature is in the 80s on the surface on the lake. There is a thermocline anywhere from the 22-30 feet level depending on who you talk with or what part of the lake you are at. There is a lot of brush in the water on the shoreline still and the largemouth bass and catfish seem to be up in it. The smallmouth bass are a little deeper on the gravel and chunk rock banks. The spotted bass are in deeper water along the bluffs, timber and points. The walleye are being reported in 15-30 feet of water by the fisherman. The good thing is that the divers are reporting seeing lots of bass, walleye and catfish. Seems like the lake is loaded with fish. Lake level is around the 662 mark and falling. Visibility is good with the divers reporting it to be 25-30 feet in most places. Here are the fishing patters that are being reported: Largemouth bass – topwater baits early and late, plastic worms in the brush, jigs in the brush, spinnerbaits after dark; smallmouth bass – jigs and plastics in 10-20 feet of water outside the brush line. Split shot a nightcrawler same depth, parallel a crankbait outside brush line early and late; spotted bass – drop shot plastic worm, jigging spoon, live nightcrawler, live crawfish in 25-35 feet of water off of steep drop-offs and points; walleye – troll deep diving crankbaits in 15-20 feet of water, bottom bounce with nightcrawler in 15-30 feet of water, lead core trolling in 25-35 feet of water with longer stick baits, jigging spoon in 25-35 feet of water; catfish – limb lining around the bank in the brush and trotlining in the coves; white bass – haven’t seen many but would think under lights at night would work; crappie – same thing, haven’t seen many, but would think night under lights would work.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 7-20-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported the water has been very clear in the mornings, but clouding up as the day goes on, once they crank up the generators. AS many as eight generators are running in the afternoons. Brown trout have been very slow, but a few have been caught on jigs and stick baits. An occasional brown has been caught on shrimp by anchored anglers as well. Rainbow trout are biting well on White River rigs baited with Berkley PowerBait or worms. The clearer water of the mornings has been tough, but fish have been active once the current begins.
(updated 7-13-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said they’ve had a couple of heavy rain storms this week. When that happens and the water gets dingy, it's time to go to worms. Everybody took worms to the river this past week, including the guides, and the trout were biting. Remember, too, if you’re not having any luck, try something different right away; change up the color you’re using, or even just reverse the order. If you're not having much success with your yellow Rooster Tail with black dots, try the black with yellow dots), if the gold Cleo isn't producing, tie on a silver/blue Thomas Buoyant. Most of all, relax and enjoy your time on the river.  
(updated 7-20-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said rain events have combined for about an inch and a half in the past week, to go along with hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.1 feet to rest at 0.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 33.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.7 feet to rest at 0.6 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 2 feet below seasonal power pool and 10.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had less generation this week with more wade-able water. On the White, the bite has been erratic. Some days it fished well others not so good. The hot flies continue to be 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 ruby midge size 18 suspended below it).

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.71 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 7-20-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said stripers have finally started their summer feeding pattern. He is seeing larger schools of stripers and hybrids each day. The beginning of the week he saw only five or six stripers at one time, now he’s seeing large schools of stripers feeding in water 70 to 130 feet deep. Look for them in 35 to 40 feet of water on a flat before light. You can usually catch two or three of them. As it begins to get daylight, follow the fish out to deeper water. Check out Dam Cove and behind Koso Point. The lake has now dropped low enough to allow work on the dam gate. We should see this level of 553 for the next several weeks. Do not take sharp turns on points, and if you’re not familiar with the creeks, do not go far up them. There are a lot of trees that are now above or just under the surface.
(updated 7-20-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork is finally in its summer fishing pattern. Fish are starting to school, feeding in relatively shallow water before sunrise and then going out to deep water after the sun comes up. As summer progresses, stripers will continue moving out to deeper water and you will find them early 50 to 80 feet down on the bottom. As the sun comes up, they will stay at this depth, but will be suspended in the old deep river channels. The striper and hybrid bite has been good most days. He is finding these fish in 35 to 45 feet of water feeding on the bottom before sunrise off of main long shallow points. As the day progresses they tend to keep moving to deeper water, but stay at about the same depth. Live bait is working very well, but jigging with a spoon is starting to produce some nice stripers. Trollers also are having success as long as they can get their baits down to the proper depth. Crappie fishing is also in the warm water stage. They are harder to find, but when you do, you can catch some nice fish. Look part way back in creeks close to brush in 35 feet of water. The crappie will be 20 to 35 feet down. Jigs and live bait are both working well. Catfish are also biting very well some days. You will find them in the same locations as the stripers, as they are also following the shad. When you hook one they typically will not run like a striper, but instead are very difficult to get off the bottom as they keep digging straight down. Largemouth and spotted bass can be found along bluff lines in 20 to 35 feet of water. Look for ledges and good chunk rock points. Work jigs or your favorite plastic bait along the bottom. The after dark bite in the evening is producing some very nice fish. Crappie fishing is also in its hot-water mode: hard to find, but once you locate them you will catch some nice fish in the 10-14-inch range. A couple of his guests have been crappie fishing and did well both Monday and Tuesday. Start looking for brush piles back in creeks and coves. The brush should be in 20-35 feet of water and the fish will be suspended on the tops of the brush, but some of the nicer ones will be deeper. There are still plenty of nice crappie in the shadows of the docks during the day. There are some nice walleye being caught. Look for walleye in 25-35 feet of water. They will be around main lake points that have brush nearby or at this same depth along the rocky bluff walls. Jigging spoons as well as a crawler harness are working.
(updated 7-20-2016) Guide Steve Olomon said the lake level is 552.8 and the water temperature is in the mid- to upper 80s. Stripers are suspended around 35 feet deep early in the morning. As the sun gets higher, they may move as deep as 60 feet down in 100-foot and deeper areas. Look along channel swings on bluff ends and in the deeper coves and on some of the deep flats. Black bass are hitting topwater lures early. Once the morning bite has died, switch to a jig, Texas-rigged worm or drop-shot rig with a small minnow-style lure or 4-inch finesse worm in 15 feet of water. The bass will move as deep as 30 feet during the hottest part of the day. Look for some white bass hanging in coves. Key in on the ditches that run through the coves close to any flats.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 7-20-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 3 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 27.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had little wade-able water. The Norfork 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 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. 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 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 7-20-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that 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 7-20-2016) 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.