Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

November 23, 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 23, 2016.
Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 651.87 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 11-16-2016)  Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported weather in the 70s, been hot for this time of year. The temperature is beginning to come down, it's been mid 60s in the morning. Back in the creeks, they cool off at night. Water is coming down and they pretty much have got the lake to themselves. Couple of different patterns are working. Early in morning a bit of a topwater bite is working, on points with wind, the gravel points with deep water nearby. Throw a Sammie or a Zara Spook. That bite will go on and off throughout the day, if you’re at the right place it will go on all day pushing the baitfish up. They are using the channels to go back to the creeks following the baitfish. Pay attention to your graph, pay attention to the birds. They've got a lot of seagulls and loons on the lake now. They’re not going to get too far away from the baitfish. If you start graphing fish if you come along the channel swing going back into the creeks, you can pick up a few spooning or dropshottng. That bite is anywhere from 20-45 feet. Lot of Kentuckies, some largemouth mixed in, some smallmouth. They're all in there feeding on those baits. The big fish bite has been on the jig. A perch-colored jig, jewel jig, Green Pumpkin, orange, those are primarily what’s been working. For a trailer, use a Aoom trailer or Camper Crawl. If the conditions are right and you get in the back of the creeks, you have to have a couple of things -- baitfish and a little bit of dirty water helps. Very back In the flats, the baits are going to change up a little bit. Wouldn't even pick up a spinner up until you see the water’s dirty. The War Eagle Sexy Mouth is working well. In the back there too, a squarebill’s working. This is shallow, 6 inches of water to 5 feet, anything in that range is what you're looking for. They are either right up there in the backs or right out or it. As you’re moving out, the first channel swing or first steep back, they’re going to be stacked up there if they’re not on the flat. If they aren't there, keep moving. If conditions are right, the Rock Crawler is starting to come into play. Keep it parallel along the shoreline. You want to have a little bit of wind and keep the boat in 8-10 feet of water and make that long parallel cast down the shoreline. If it gets a little tough out there, go back to the ol’ Shaky Head. If you’re into clear water, get a watermelon red Zoom Trick Worm. In dirty water go with a Green Pumpkin. You’ll pick up a lot of fish throwing the Shaky Head right now. With the water temperature cooling down, those fish are starting to move back up and fishing is good. You just gotta keep going. Still catching a few on the Whopper Plopper, that’s kind of been sporadic, but that’s another big fish bait. If you get back in there you’ll see those big gizzard shads swimming in there. Just get back there and cover ground, and that can pay off with a big fish.
(updated 11-23-2016) K Dock Marina had no report.

White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 11-23-2016) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock said the river has dropped, and if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Southwest Power decide to keep it low, word on the river is that we just might see a nice spawn for the rainbows, too. With the water at minimum flow or just above, you'll need to leave the bigger baits in your tackle box and pull out the trusty spoons: gold Cleos and hammered red-and-gold spoons. You might try your KastMasters or even dust off the old-timers’ favorite: the SuperDuper.  Hang a No. 4 Flat fish while anchoring over a deep hole and just watch for the action. Consistent water levels will allow the trout to settle down into some normal feeding habits, so early morning and early evening may be the best times for easy catches. Some folks tell Ron they're having the "other T-meat" for Thanksgiving. Whatever you cook, enjoy your holidays and keep fishing.
(updated 11-23-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported clear water conditions and the river and current normal for the second straight week. There are 2-3 generators running on the White. Rainbows are plentiful and the bite is good. Use PowerBait. No reports on brown trout.
(updated 11-23-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) reported during the past week, they have had no rain event, cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.3 feet to rest at 7.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is 43.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 6.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 20.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 6.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.9 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had moderate generation in the afternoon with lower generation in the morning and limited wadable water. The catch and release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 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 Wildcat 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 (Berry's current favorite is a cerise San Juan worm with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Berry also reminds fly tyers and trout fishing fans to take in the Sowbug, a three-day celebration of fly tying that is scheduled for March 23-25, 2017, at the Baxter County Fairgrounds. Fly tyers from throughout the United States will be there and the event usually draw a tyer or two from abroad.

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 11-16-2016) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the cooler nights have finally made the water cold enough to have a lake turnover. It takes about a week for the lake to settle down and the fish get active so by the middle of this week you should lots of top water activity all over the lake. Look on the flats and up the major creek arms for schooling fish. The stripers are still heavily at first light up and past the state line. If it’s foggy, expect lots of action until the fog lifts, then the bite dies. If there is no fog, then the bite is consistent all morning most days. The best bite continues to be 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 planner boards, the lines are set at 16 feet. My son Sean took out a couple Jeff and Christy that wanted to try striper fishing for the first time. They met at the dock and were fishing in 10 minutes and had strikes right away. It was a foggy morning and the bite was on, they caught four with the biggest being 17 pounds which they released. Once the sun came out it sure slowed down. Sean saw more and bigger schools of stripers but just would not hit. They had a few more bites but all the fun and action was in the fog. Jeff and Christy had a great first time experience and plan on another trip to Norfork. The winter bite will start soon so make your plans on the web with for everything Norfork Lake! Be sure to read our Fall Striper tactics, the article can be found on the website.
(updated 11-16-2016) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable and currently sits at 552.68. The water is cooling slowly and was 67 degrees Tuesday morning. The creeks, coves and part of the main lake are still stained and will stay this way until the lake finishes its turnover and cools off more. The striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing all are finally acting like they should for the fall fishing period. (About one month late due to abnormally warm water temperature) Over the last several days these species have moved out of the 30-40 foot water depth into 40-50 feet of water. The reason for this is that the bait has moved out to this depth range. I am finding large schools of fish on large flats from the 62 bridge area and heading up north. Look at the flat areas around the 101 bridge, Mallard Point, Cranfield area, Steward Point, and Briar Creek area. I haven't had time to check yet but the Robinson flat and the Fout area flats should also be holding some nice fish. The striped bass bite is still good upriver on the Arkansas/Missouri border. These fish up river will stick around there until the water cools off. The fish will then take off to find water more in their comfort zone.Lou has mainly been vertical jigging a spoon, but trolling swim baits and umbrella rigs should work as long as you get the bait down in the 30-40 foot range. Live bait should also work set at 35 and 40 feet deep, but stay in the 45-55 foot water depth area. Lou said he hasn't been out fishing after dark, but a few others have tried it and the stripers and the bait are not moving up to the shoreline at this time. Once the water cools off a little more and gets closer to 60 degrees he believes there will be a good night bite using suspending stick baits. He has not noticed any topwater action for stripers yet, but it will happen any time now. Largemouth bass are at all depths at this time. You can find fish up close to the shore, suspended along the bluffs and also out feeding in the same water depth as the stripers. Yesterday Lou jigged up two nice 3.5-pound largemouth bass in 50 feet of water on the bottom. If you are a bass fisherman you have a lot of choices. The topwater bite for largemouth has been sporadic buthe has found some nice fish surfacing in the morning around the bridge columns as well as on bluff line points. He is finding a few nice walleye in the same 45- to 50-foot water depth while fishing for stripers. You should also be able to find them near 40 feet deep brush as well as in shallower water on the flats early and late in the day. Crappie are on 30-40 feet deep brush piles. But the best advice he says he can give is that after you catch a few on a brush pile the bite seems to stop. This is time to move to another brush pile and catch a few and then move on. They seem to spook easily in the cooler clearer water. You can return to a brush after you give it some time to rest. For daily fishing information and tips on Norfork Lake follow Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's Facebook page.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 11-23-2016) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake remained steady at 1.1 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation late in the afternoon with wadable water every day. There has been wadable water every morning on the Norfork as well. The lake has turned over and there is a sulfur 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 an orange egg. At Dry Run Creek, 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. 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 11-23-2016) 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 11-23-2016) 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.