Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 17, 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 17, 2016.
Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 660.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 8-17-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that the water was cloudy and at a low level. Trout were just fair this week. The bite on brown trout was slow, but there were fair reports of catches of rainbows.
(updated 8-17-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said river levels have remained significantly lower the last few days and the fishing has been very good with fewer hiding places for the rainbows. Gamble said they had several folks working stick baits who came back with pictures of four browns, one weighed approximately 9 pounds. Larger stick baits were used in the deeper holes, suspending rogues with translucent and/or lime green tints were successful. While the rain kept some folks away from the river, those that braved the (mostly) misty skies had successful days with a steady stream of catches. Small spinners with a Colorado blade were popular this week; you'll also want to keep your spoons and Blue Foxes handy.
(updated 8-17-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said that during the past week, Cotter has had a couple of rain events (a combined total of 2.25 inches), brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.5 feet to rest at a half-foot below seasonal power pool of 661 feet. This is 34.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 2.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 16.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 feet to rest at 2.8 feet below seasonal power pool and 12.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation in the afternoon last week with wadable water most mornings, and the bite has been excellent. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. 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 or 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). 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) on bigger water. You will need an eight or nine weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.73 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).
(updated 8-17-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said striper fishing on Norfork Lake is hitting its summer peak. Norfork is different than other Southern lakes. The hotter it gets, the better the bite. This will continue into the middle of September, then the oxygen level is the lowest it will be and the bite slows down on the southern part of the lake. About that time Tom starts heading up toward Calamity Beach where the lake oxygen will begin to reach a higher level. Tom fishes up toward Udall until late November. The best bite on the lake is in the river. The striper bite continues to center around the dam area. You will find them from Shoal Creek to the front and back of Koso Point, Thumb Point, Dam Cove, Point One and then east toward Hand Cove. They continue to feed in the 30-35-foot range of water before light, then move out to deeper water. The evening bite has begun. That bite usually starts around 6 p.m. up to dark off the lake points. As the sun sets, the stripers will move onto the point flats and begin their evening feed. The rains this week should help the oxygen in the lower end of the lake, and with the work continuing on the dam we should not see much of a rise in the lake level. The best bait this past week has been gizzard shad. Reynolds has been fishing Norfork Lake since his first May vacation in 1982. His son Sean was just 18 months old when he was on Reynolds’ boat watching dad catch stripers. They fished together since then on their home waters in Indiana and Norfork Lake. In 1997, the Reynoldses moved down to Mountain Home and Tom began his guiding business. Sean helped out and when he was old enough began to guide part time through school. He became very busy on his own with his restaurant and only could help out occasionally. Since he sold the business he moved to Knoxville, Tenn., and began guiding there, but Mountain Home called him back, and now that he is getting married in September he is starting a new journey. Sean will be joining Tom full time as his partner in their fishing and hunting business. Sean is an excellent fishing, duck and deer guide. Tom says he’s very proud of him and very excited that he has decided to join him. So now when you call to book a trip Tom will not have to turn you down since they will have two boats to take you on your striper experience. The fall bite will be starting soon as the water starts to cool down so make your plans on the web with www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake. Be sure to read Reynolds’ Fall Striper tactics; the article can be found on the NorforkLakeChamber.com 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 8-17-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 0.2 feet rest at 2.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 26.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had reliable wadable water every morning, when it was a bit cooler. The Norfork fished better on the lower water last week and has not been as crowded with wadable water on the White. 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. My favorite fly has been the Green Nutt. Dry Run Creek 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). 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 8-17-2016) 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 8-17-2016) 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.