Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 10, 2016

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report August 10, 2016.
 White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 8-10-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that over last weekend, the fishing was not bad at all. No water was run at the dam and that, combined with it raining, made for good trout fishing. Everybody fishing for rainbow got their share, but other anglers also caught a bunch of browns. Rainbows are biting PowerBait, Power Worms or combination of the two. Browns are being caught three ways. Some anglers are using jigs but some are going to sculpins and crawdad tails. The water is running on a 12-hour cycle, shutting off during the evening and then being turned on again at about 10-11 a.m., meaning the resort sees low water in the morning, filling up to 15 feet in the afternoon with 7 units running at Bull Shoals.

(updated 8-10-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said they were challenged with some extremely dingy, dark water for a couple of days this week after a downpour Sunday and a little more rain on Monday. So they turned to worms and the reliable silver and silver/blue spoons. Bright baits worked also, as well as, surprisingly, shrimp. Tuesday this week was a fantastic day. Fresh water flowing from the dam brought relief from the still draining streams, and the trout rewarded the anglers. Traditional bait (PowerBait in yellow, lemon lime and pink, with a touch of shrimp), spoons and peach-colored egg patterns got hit after hit. They see the river continuing to clear and expect the trout will return to afternoon feeding habits as SWP relies on afternoon releases. Cotter is the spot to catch beautiful browns with sculpins or crawdads.

(updated 8-10-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that during the past week, they have had a rain event (a half inch in Cotter), brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.2 feet to rest at a foot below seasonal power pool of 661 feet. This is 35 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.7 to rest at 2 feet below seasonal power pool and 16 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.7 feet to rest at 2.4 feet below seasonal power pool and 12 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation in the afternoon last week with wade-able water in the morning. On the White, the bite has been excellent. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. We have had more wade-able water. 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 red San Juan worm with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it).

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.12 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 8-10-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said striper fishing continues to be hot. Besides Reynolds, he said several other guides have been having great success with multiple limits of stripers and several big fish. The bites have mainly been around the dam area; look for them in Shoal Creek, Koso Point, Thumb Point and Hudson. They continue to feed in 30-35 feet of water before light, then move out to deeper water. Before, the bite would end when the sun came up, but now the bite seems to getting better and longer. Reynolds said he has seen big schools of stripers feeding after 8 a.m. on multiple days. The rains this week should help the oxygen in the lower end of the lake, and with the work continuing on the dam they should not see much of a rise in the lake level. The best bait this past week has been gizzard shad. Reynolds said he has some trollers catching stripers but not like the live-bait fisherman. The past week has been his personal best for catching big stripers. His clients boated 18-, 20-, 21-, 22-, 23-, 29- and 35-pound stripers with multiple limits. What a week!
Don from Springfield, Mo., had wanted to fill one of his bucket list items: to catch a striper. Reynolds said he had had scheduled the trip with Don a month ago but the weather and striper bite was bad so they rescheduled for last Friday. As is usual, they left the dock at 4:30 a.m. and made the 15-minute ride to where Reynolds had found some stripers off a hump in the middle of the lake. The bite was slow for about an hour – a front had moved in and the stripers were looking at the bait. Don missed it. Bryan, Don's son, hooked up and they had one in the boat. They missed several others and Tom thought they would have an OK day but no limit. Then, magic happened. Don's pole went down and the fight was on, Tom position Don to fight the fish, and about a minute into the fight Bryan's pole went down. The way the pole went down and the drag was going, Tom knew it was BIG fish. The fish ran under the boat and between the engine and jack plate. Bryan was having a hard time trying to get the pole, so Tom left Don to fight his fish and took the pole from Bryan and backed the drag off so he could lower the rod around the engine and out. Tom tightened the drag up and Bryan and Don were fighting their fish of a lifetime. Don's came in and it was big 24 pounds, but its body told me it would have been a 30-pounder in the spring. Bryan's finally gave up and came to the boat. Tom tried netting it but his net was too small, so he had to do what the Wicked Tuna guys do: Pull it by hand. It was 35 pounds, and so far that's the biggest striper caught by Tom’s clients. Don's bucket list item was marked off with a big check mark. The fall bite will be starting soon as the water starts to cool down, so make your plans on the web with for everything Norfork Lake. Be sure to read Reynolds’ Fall Striper tactics, which can be found on the website.
(updated 8-10-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said surface water temperature earlier this week was 87-89 degrees. The lake level is holding fairly stable with a few hours of power generation, and was sitting at 553.11. The main lake is clear and most creeks and coves are stained. The fishing continues to be good for most species. The summer fishing pattern is in full swing and will more than likely last throughout August and into the beginning of September. The better bite for striped bass is located from the Point 2 area to the dam. You can locate stripers on long points, as well as, on big rounded points. Before sunrise they are feeding in 30-40 feet of water, and as the sun gets over the tree line they move out to deeper water 50-70 feet deep and even into the old river channel. Live bait is working the best for Gabric, he said, but he did jig up a few the other day with a spoon. He said he’s been finding small schools of fish and most days they are aggressive, but over the last week he had a few days that they had over 30 short bites with very few takers, and that’s why they call it fishing. There have also been many big stripers being caught over the last couple of weeks in the 20- to the mid 30-pound range. Gabric said he thought he was going to be spooled with the 25-pounder he caught a few days ago.
If you are looking for other species of fish, you're in luck. The white bass, largemouth and walleye are in 28-35 feet of water. The best time to fish for them is from sunrise until about 9 or 10 a.m. and then again about an hour or so before sunset until it gets too dark to see. Minnows and nightcrawlers are working. Lou says he enjoys vertical and/or horizontal jigging with a spoon. He’s been using a ¾-ounce spoon with white as the main color. You need to bounce the jig off of the bottom and set the hook once you get hammered. Look for these fish on the large shallow flats or the shallow side of the shoreline. You can find the whites and the largemouth on your depth finder, but the walleye have been hard to see. Catfish are in the same target depth as the white bass and they are biting really well. Vertical jigging and crawlers are working well.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 8-10-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 0.1 of a feet to rest at 2.9 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 27.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had reliable wade-able water every morning, when it was a bit cooler. The Norfork fished better on the lower water last week. 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 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. Dry Run Creek has been very busy, with summer vacation in full swing. It has not fished as well but is still yielding some trophy trout. 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 other day I got a call from my old friend, Doug Berry. I have known him for over 30 years and he was one of my first guide clients lo these many years ago. Despite the same last name, we have no direct knowledge that we are related, although we both believe we are somewhere in our past. Both of us have a connection to Belle Starr, the notorious outlaw, in our family oral history. My paternal grandfather was orphaned at birth and raised by Pony Star, Belle Starr’s brother-in-law. In addition, Doug reminds me of my father due to his mannerisms. Doug wanted to take his grandchildren fishing on Dry Run Creek. The idea was to drive from his home in Jackson, Miss., to Memphis to pick up his younger grandson, Jeb, and bring him here to fish on Monday and Tuesday. He would return to Memphis, drop off Jeb, and pick up Luke, his older grandson, to fish Thursday and Friday. This sounds like a lot of driving, but it makes perfect sense. This way each lad gets a lot of individual attention on stream and spends some quality time with granddad. I picked up Doug and Jeb at 7:30 a.m. at River Ridge Inn. I took them to the wader room and got a pair of waders, for both of them. We then drove to Dry Run Creek and began fishing. It took the 10-year-old a while to get the hang of it. He was starting to get a bit discouraged. Then right before lunch he landed a fine 22-inch brown trout. He was enthused from then on. After lunch, we went back to the creek and he caught two big browns (23 and 24 inches long) back to back. We fished till 4 p.m. and then I invited them to my house in Cotter where my wife, Lori, cooked a nice pot roast dinner. Doug brought a couple of bottles of fine red wine and a bottle of Scotch. It was an excellent evening. The next day the plan was to fish for a half day and try to hang another big fish. Around 8:30 he hooked up with a huge trout. It made several long runs, and I chased it up and down the stream. It was moving at will, despite the drag being set extremely heavy on the reel. Somehow Jeb hung on and I was able to net the monster. It was a thick heavy brown that went about 12 pounds. It was the biggest brown that one of my clients had landed in several years. Doug videoed the entire fight and took several photos of Jeb with his monster trout. We finished the day with a few more trout but nothing like this fish. I started the process again on Thursday morning with Luke, at 14 the older of the two boys. I must say that I was a bit apprehensive with the prospect of taking Luke out; I had so much success with his brother that I did not know if I could produce another trophy like we had caught earlier in the week. In this business, you are only as good as your last trip. The day began slowly. As luck would have it, he hooked a monster about 9:30 a.m. It came in fairly quickly but was big. It was a rainbow with a huge girth. I had never seen a fish with as large a girth for its length. It looked like a permit (a saltwater fish with a big girth); this rainbow was about 22-inches long but I estimated that it weighed around 10 pounds. I was greatly relieved to have Luke to catch a big trout so early in the day. I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the day. We fished a half-day Friday. Luke landed a solid 22-inch brown. Otherwise the going was a bit slower than the previous day. They quit about 11 and headed back. A few days later I received a box of my favorite cigars from Doug as a thank-you. It was greatly appreciated. It was nice to fish with him again. The boys were great to work with. I look forward to doing it again.

Buffalo National River

(updated 8-10-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that with the weather warming, smallmouths are more active. John Berry's 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 8-10-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the river is navigable. Try John Berry's 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.