Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

November 2, 2016

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report November 2, 2016.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 653.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 11-2-2016) K Dock Marina reported that very warm water temperature has not helped the bite. Had 71 degrees surface temperature last Thursday afternoon at the dock, and temps have ranged 68-71. Water is clear to stained. Water level is almost back to the old power pool normal level of 654 feet msl. All species are slow. They were hoping for great weekend temps for fishermen, though – still in shorts and a T-Shirt for Halloween! Showing 83-85 degrees this week. Hit the lake early before the sun bakes the surface of the water. Fish slow and off the banks. Crappie and walleye should start hitting soon when the cold snap comes. Live minnows on crappie, spoons on walleye and small plastics on bass. Been getting some good reports on catfish. They are feeding on live bluegills, nightcrawlers and crawdads.
(updated 10-19-2016)  Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported water temperatures were about 71 degrees last Saturday and fish are moving. Had some crazy days recently, some cold rain come through, a couple of fronts as well. The thermocline dropped a little bit and the fish are starting to move back some into the creeks. Don’t think the majority of them are back in there, but you can catch them early in the morning. There’s a good topwater bite going throwing a Sammy, a Zara Spook or a Rebel Pop-R. You’ll see ‘em. Y ou might not want to chase ‘em down, but if you get in the vicinity and get it in there, it’s over like that. Drop-shot bite is going. Some of those fish we’re targeting in 26-28 feet of water. We think the thermocline’s dropping a little bit, we’re seeing shad balls in 30-40 feet of water. Really pay attention to your graph. It’s a tough time of the year;  you have to put the trolling motor down and keep fishing. If you’ve got wind, you can pick up a spinnerbait, they’re bringing in fish. Still catching fish on jigs, isolated cover is really w here you want to focus. Back into those creeks, if you run around a dock or a channel swing, you want to fish it. Throw a squarebill. A Whopper Plopper is working in the backwater; that’s going to get you your bigger fish. Starting to get a few on the wake-style or the bigger swimbaits in the backwater. Also, with the water coming down, whatever bushes or laydowns are left, those will hold some fish. So if you come across some cover, make sure you’re flipping in every bit that’s there and keep moving. It’s that time of the year, and everything’s changing. The crankbait bite is starting to go but it’s not quite there yet. Picking up a few on Wiggle Wart, the temperature went back up to 80 and was going to be in the 80s the next couple of days, so you have to fish the conditions. If it’s laying flat, pick up some spinnerbaits, a Shaky Head, a drop-shot, whatever to get a bite.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 10-26-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported perfect water conditions, with the level of the river low and 2 generators running. Rainbow trout fishing has been excellent. Use PowerBait. Brown trout appear to be spawning and the fishing was good, though mostly small catches.
(updated 10-26-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock described it as an awesome week on the White River out of Cotter. October has brought a lot of anglers to the Arkansas Ozarks and our natural resources have stayed strong. The rainbows have been healthy and brightly colored – and plentiful! A 6-year-old angler caught a 23-inch rainbow this week! He was pretty excited. The gold and black tiger-striped Rooster Tail has been responsible for some great catches this week as well as the always productive shrimp/PowerBait combos. Orange and lime green are great colors for autumn fishing. Although the spawn has begun for the browns, we've still brought a few to the boat for pictures before releasing. We say, "Get a guide and go." Go fishing. Go catching.
(updated 11-2-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) reported that Cotter had no rain, cool temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals remained steady at 4.5 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 40.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.2 feet to rest at 5.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 19.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 5.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.1 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. 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 Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from Nov. 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal Catch and Release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. On the White, the bite has been spotty. Some days have been excellent and some poor. 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 size 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 cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge (size 18) suspended below it). The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy twenty four to thirty 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 552.56 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 11-2-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said this was a busy week of fishing and deer hunting. The bite continues from Calamity Beach past Point 10 in Missouri. The warm weather has kept the lake from turning over, so the only good bite is in the river. Stripers are moving up and down the river chasing shad. It seems the only bait the stripers will hit on a regular basis is live shad. Tom says he watches trollers going up and down the river and in two weeks he has only seen one striper caught, whereas he has been limiting out or his clients have had enough bites to catch a limit. The best bite is the flat next to the river channel in 25 feet of water. There are huge schools of shad roaming the river. Just keep moving up and down the channel. We are catching stripers using down lines, weighted floats and planer boards; the lines are set at 16 feet. Tom says he had Rick and his daughter, Courtney, in for three days of deer hunting and striper fishing. Rick is in a wheelchair so it was a challenge getting him close to deer. But they both had opportunities to harvest a buck multiple times. Courtney missed the biggest buck of her life, a big 10-point. They also wanted to try striper fishing, so they all fished Saturday and Sunday. The bite was on both days. The first day, Tom says, they missed their limit because they were new to striper fishing, but on Sunday they were on the fish and had their limit by 9:15 a.m. Rick was a great sport and Tom says it was his pleasure seeing farther and daughter have such a great experience.
(updated 11-2-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the Norfork Lake fishing pattern is trying its hardest to get into the fall pattern, but Mother Nature has thrown them a curve. They have had unseasonably warm weather with highs in the mid-80s and lows in the low 60s, which is almost 15-20 degrees above average. It has been great for the vacationers enjoying the area still being able to wear shorts and T-shirts, but it is confusing the fish. Lou says he is conflicted because he does love this warm weather, but he is also ready for the fish to start feeding heavily for the cold weather. “I guess I will enjoy whatever nature brings my way,” he said. Lou has been fishing for striped bass and doing OK until the last couple of days. He is finding good fish in the mornings and late afternoons, but they are not real aggressive in biting. He has been fishing on some of the flats heading up river, but one day this week he decided to check out other areas where stripers are typically biting at this time. He found a lot of big fish suspended at 40-55 feet in 120 feet of water off of deep-water bluffs. He dropped live bait as well as jigged a spoon, but had no takers. He believes these fish are hovering in the deepest, coolest water they can get to, that still has good oxygen. From the last oxygen report that he’s seen, at depths below 55 feet the oxygen level is very low, indicating the lake has not totally turned over. The good news for fishing is that assuming the long-term weather forecast is correct, the weather will cool starting this Thursday or Friday and stay at normal temps. The lower ambient temperatures will lower the lake water temperature and allow the lake to finish its turnover and the fish will truly start their fall feed. It won't be long.
Gabric also said that even though the striper bite has slowed for him, the largemouth bite has been excellent. He found surface feeding fish around the bridge columns and said he had a blast. Any topwater bait would have worked, but he had a Kastmaster tied on so he starting casting. Every cast for 45 minutes he either caught a good-size fish or had a bump and missed it. Crankbaits are working for the suspended fish, and plastics worked along the bottom are also working well. Deep-water bluffs either in a cut or at a point are great areas to catch some nice fish. He has also picked up some nice bass near brush piles jigging a spoon in 35 feet of water. The crappie bite is also pretty good. He has caught some nice slabs on a 35-38-feet-deep main lake brush pile. The fish were suspended 20-25 feet down on the top of the brush pile. Sunrise and sunset are two great times to catch crappie, but you can also pick up some fish during the day. Catfish were biting well for a couple of his guests using jugs set in 30-40 feet of water. Their best bait so far has been nightcrawlers. The surface water temperature is in the 72-74 degree range, which is slightly higher than Lou’s last report. A rise in lake temperature is not normal for this time of year. The lake level is fairly stable and currently sits at 552.55. The creeks and coves as well as the flats on the main lake are stained. The deep water of the main lake appears to be clear on the surface.


North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 11-2-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake fell 0.3 feet to rest at 1.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 27.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation all day with some 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. There has been precious little wadable water on the Norfork. The lake has turned over and there is a sulphur smell on the upper river and with lower dissolved oxygen, in that area, the bite has been slow there. 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 ruby midge. Dry Run Creek has been less crowded with school back in session. A large number of brown trout have moved into the creek. 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 11-2-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) 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.

Crooked Creek

(updated 11-2-2016) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the water is navigable. The smallmouths are still active. His favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. 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.