Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

October 5, 2016

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report October 5, 2016.
Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 657.16 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 9-21-2016) K Dock Marina reported the lake level has dropped enough to get the lower road above water for access. The courtesy ramp is also out of the water and is usable. Current level is 659 feet msl. K Dock has two more bass tournaments scheduled for this fall: a benefit for Chadwich (Mo.) High School on Saturday, Oct. 15 and the 3rd annual K Dock Fall Bass Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 23. Call the marina for more details (417-334-2880).

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 10-5-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported another week of perfect water conditions with normal level and just two or three generators running. Trout bite is excellent overall, according to the resort. Specifically, rainbows were hitting good to excellent. Brown trout rated fair. Use PowerBaits or wax worms.
(updated 9-28-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said they’re starting to see some nip in the air – autumn's finally popping out. Cool mornings, warm days, perfect weather for float fishing on the White for trout. The rainbow catch has been fabulous; they're snapping up the shrimp and worm combo. Good sizes among the catch, too; there were several rainbows measured at 16 inches or above. Catch-and-release certificates are being rewarded and soon the new pins will be available to show off on your favorite good-luck fishing cap. Ron is seeing grasshoppers out there now, so they know the hopper patterns and baits should lure some trout to the fishers; good for a try anyway. Ron says come out and spend some time with us on the river – you won't regret it.
(updated 10-5-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) reported a trace of rain last week in Cotter along with cooler temperatures and more wind. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell a foot to rest at 3.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet. This is 37.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 feet to rest at 6.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 20.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 1.2 feet to rest at 5.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 12.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation in the afternoon last week with lower generation in the morning and no wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With cooler fall weather and lower lake levels, we should see more wadable water. On the White, 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, 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 size 14 hare and copper nymph 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 8- or 9-weight rod. This is heavy work but the rewards can be great. Remember that the White River is infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
Berry reminds: “This Friday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, the Southern Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers will put on its annual Fly Fishing Fair. This is its big show and fundraiser for the year. For those of us who have been around for a while, this show was previously known as Conclave. I still find myself calling it that. This will be the 32nd straight year that I have attended this show. The majority of my attendances were as a fly tyer, program presenter, vendor or all three. The big change for this year is the venue. The fly fishing fair that has previously been held at the Baxter County Fair Grounds will now be held at the Vada Sheid Convention Center on the Arkansas State University Mountain Home campus. This is a big improvement. I have attended several events at the Sheid Center and consider it to be a first-rate facility. There is plenty of space to accommodate the legion of fly tyers, an increased number of vendors and plenty of attendees. There are also some first-rate rooms for seminars. This is where my wife, Lori, and I teach our fly fishing class. This year they are adding a new event, the Fly Fishing Film Tour. This is the first and most prestigious cinema experience designed by and for fly fishers. This marks the tour’s 10th season in North America and its first visit to Mountain Home. It is an unprecedented opportunity to see some of the best films dedicated to fly fishing in this country and around the world. The tour will be shown on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Sheid Center. There will be a live auction preceding the event at 6 p.m. There will be typical movie concessions.
“The big draw for me has always been the fly tyers and vendors. As an avid fly tyer myself, I appreciate the artists that we have working with fur and feathers. I have tied at this show for a number of years and I am always amazed with the overall quality of the tyers and their flies. There are several topnotch vendors signed up for this year’s fair. Most of the local fly shops will be there, namely Wishes and Fishes, Dally’s Ozark Angler, Two Rivers Fly Shop, and Blue Ribbon Fly Shop where I work. In addition the Golden Rule Fly Shop will return. I often find things there that I cannot find elsewhere. There is also Temple Fork Outfitters Fly Rods, Fayette Chill, Duane Hada and Berry Brothers Guide Service (my guide company), to name a few. Then there are the seminars. You can learn a lot by attending them and there are plenty, to choose from. I will be teaching on selecting and operating White River Jon Boats. Lori will be addressing “Why Do Some Anglers Catch More Fish Than Others.” There are lots of classes on fly tying, how to fish certain streams and how to improve your cast. If all of this sounds like something that you would be interested in, join me at the Fly Fishing Fair and let me tie you a fly. Don’t forget to sign up for my fly fishing class at ASU also starting next week, at https://asumh.edu/services/community-education.html.”

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 553.25 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 10-5-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the fall bite has finally started on the upper end of Norfork Lake. The colder nights and cool days lowered the river section temperature of Norfork to the low 70s. The river turned over last week. Tom says they started fishing the area above Calamity Beach on Thursday; they caught one that day but started seeing lots of bait. On Friday they again only caught one but saw more stripers and bait. On Saturday they had more bites and caught three; Sunday, Tom caught a limit and started seeing schools of stripers that were very active. The fish are shallow and he’s catching them using gizzard shad with baits set at 13-15 feet. One word of caution, if you plan on fishing the upper end of Norfork, make sure you have a good GPS system. Tom run trails on his Lowrance unit that shows where he has been. He follows the trail so the only thing he has to worry about is floating debris and boats. While he’s driving he is always staying alert for waves. If he feels one he slows way down since he knows a boat is around. He goes slowly until he can figure out where it is and he’s safe. The white bass and largemouth are feeding around Cranfield Island and up toward Red Bank. Tom has been getting calls daily to go fishing the past week and half. He canceled four trips because they could not find any stripers that they could catch. Tom says his story has been, “Wait a week and the fish will start biting.” Mike has been one of many clients that kept calling about fishing. The bite started so they scheduled a trip for Sunday. The fog was bad it took longer to get up the river. They set up and had one strike right away, then they had to wait until the sun burned the fog off. It seems the fish do not get active until the sun comes over the hills. They caught two, and about 10:15 they ran into a school and caught two. Mike had his limit and saw a lot of action. This bite will last until late November, and then the stripers will move down toward the bridges.
(updated 10-5-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been a little tough the last couple of weeks, but there are bright spots. The lake is finally starting to cool off and is currently in the upper 70s, but still warm for this time of year. The panfish have moved back to the brush and the largemouth bass are starting to move in tighter to the shoreline. Fishing for crappie and bluegill is one of the better bites on the lake. The panfish are on 30-feet-deep brush piles. The crappie will be at all depths, but most will be 15-25 feet down. Vertical jigging a small spoon and jigging a grub are working very well. Live bait is also a very good choice. The bluegills are also 20-25 down over and around the brush. Crickets are one of the better baits to use to catch big numbers of bluegill.
Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are also a good bite. Lou says the main lake deep points have been among the best areas for him over the last couple of days. You will find these species at all depths down to 30 feet. There has been a little topwater action at sunrise and again at sunset, but they are still coming up for a Zara Spook even if you don't see them surfacing. Most of the bigger fish are suspended 10-20 feet down, and a few of them are lying on the bottom. A variety of baits have been working over the last week: deep-diving crankbaits, jig and pigs, and vertical jigging a spoon. Walleye are biting fairly well. Lou said he has caught walleye in almost all types of areas. You will find them in 25-35 feet of water on the bottom. Lou’s favorite bait has been a 1-ounce spoon jigged off the bottom. Lou has been catching walleye along the deep bluff lines, especially close to a point, on big flats and also on points on the shallow side of the lake. They are all over the place, but all at the same depth.
White bass are starting to school up. Lou has found small- to medium-sized schools of white bass in coves at sunrise and sunset. He has found these fish in 18-25 feet of water. Vertical jigging a spoon has been working well. These schools are moving and chasing shad, so you have to do a lot of looking, but when you find them you catch several. The striped bass and hybrid bass bite is still off. These fish moved from the dam area in the later part of September and have been very difficult to find, and when you do find them, they are unwilling to bite. They have scattered out but should start to school up very soon. As the water temperature continues to fall, the striper bite will continually get better. The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and is at 553.31. The surface water temperature is 77-78 degrees and falling very slowly. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake is clear.
.


North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 10-5-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 feet to rest at 2.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 26.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The tailwater had reliable wadable water every morning last week, with moderate generation in the afternoon. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes on this system are below seasonable power pool. With cooler fall weather and lower lake levels we should see more wadable water. The Norfork has fished better on the lower water but has been crowded with no 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 Butt.
Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. It has fished a bit better and is 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). Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

Buffalo National River

(updated 10-5-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the Buffalo is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. John Berry's favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.

Crooked Creek

(updated 10-5-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. His favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering the Buffalo River. There are no dams, it has large drainages and is prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.