Catch a Rainbow!
Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report
January 18, 2017
Below are some photos of our guided trout fishing customers taken this week at Cotter Trout Dock. Click images to enlarge.
Below the pictures is the Fishing Report from Arkansas Game and Fish.
White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)
(updated 1-18-2017) Ron Gamble at Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said
this is the time of year when you can have a huge stretch of river all
to yourself – and access to all those trout all for yourself. It's a
great time to try out that Christmas gift you received (the new spinning
rod, the latest Rogue in lime green and chartreuse, the flashy streamer
…). The water level has varied each day for the last week, so you
could try topwater lures in the morning, sinking countdowns in the
afternoon and some silver/blue Cleos at noon. Catch some rainbows with
the always popular shrimp/egg pattern mashup. Forget cabin fever; get
outdoors and get moving!
(updated 1-18-2017) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said that during the past week, Cotter had seen a trace
of rain, brutally cold then warmer temperatures and very heavy winds (to
include several days of lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull
Shoals fell 0.8 feet to rest at 9.5 feet below seasonal power pool of
659 feet. This is 45.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table
Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 7.9 feet below seasonal power pool and
23.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 feet to rest
at 9.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 19.1 feet below the top of
flood pool. On the White, we had a mixed bag with levels of wadable
water mixed with periods of moderate generation. The catch and release
section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31 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. We have had more
wadable 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 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 size 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby
midge suspended below it).
Berry adds, “As many of you know, the Sowbug Roundup is the biggest,
most respected fly tying show in the Southeast and one of the most
important fly tying shows in the United States. It draws tyers from all
over the country and several other countries. It is sponsored by the
North Arkansas Fly Fishers (our local fly fishing club) and the proceeds
are used for local scholarships and other educational projects. It is
scheduled for March 23-25 at the Baxter County Fairgrounds. I am a
member of the Sowbug Roundup Committee and my job is to put on the
fly-tying contest. The idea is to recognize the best tyers among us.
Many times, there are great tyers out there that we just do not know
about. This is a great way, for those tyers, to be recognized. I
received the first submission to the Sowbug Roundup Fly Tying Contest
this week. If you have been thinking about entering, then you need to
get moving. Though the Sowbug Roundup is in late March, the deadline for
submitting entries to the Fly Tying Contest is Feb. 15. The deadline is
several weeks before the show because we need time to judge the flies
and pick the winners. We also need time to take the winning flies and
have a fly plate made to be auctioned off at the shindig on March, 24.
The shindig is a party to thank our fly tyers on the Friday night at the
Sowbug Roundup. It is a festive affair. You definitely need to get
started now because the entry must be postmarked no later than Feb. 15.
You should mail your entries to me, John Berry, at 408 Combs Ave.
Cotter, AR 72626. If you would prefer to hand deliver them, drop them
off at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop at 1343 E. Ninth St., Mountain Home. You
need to tie two identical flies (same size, color and shape) and submit
them along with tying instructions. You must tie the flies yourself.
They cannot be purchased. You cannot use any insect parts to tie the
fly. The flies must be in one of the following categories, dry fly,
nymph, wet fly, streamer, warm water, smallmouth bass, bass, saltwater,
and salmon/steelhead. We will award a winner in each category and a best
in show. You can enter as many categories as you like. You can win in
multiple categories. There is no fee for entry. The winners will receive
a plaque commemorating their victory. This is the ultimate accessory to
hang above your fly tying desk. My only regret is that as a member of
the fly tying contest committee I am ineligible to compete. You still
have a month to tie your flies and get them to me. You cannot win if you
do not enter!”
Bull Shoals Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s
elevation at 649.71 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 msl).
(updated 1-11-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no report.
(updated 1-18-2017) K Dock Marina is closed for the season until March 3.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s
elevation at 548.01 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April –
553.75 msl, April-September – 552.00 msl).(updated 1-18-2017) Tom
Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake surface temperature had
dropped to 48 degrees, and the stripers are on the feed. Multiple limits
of stripers were caught this past weekend. Between Tom and his son,
Sean, they caught 33 stripers from Thursday through Sunday. Not all were
kept but our clients had a lot of fun reeling them in. The main bait
was on creek chubs and shiners. We were fishing the Howard Cove area in
70-90 feet of water with our lines set between 35-40 feet. Stripers are
also being caught under the U.S. Highway 62 bridge and back side of
Henderson marina. Another tip, in addition to watching for sea gulls, is
to locate large schools of fish by noting the loons. They hunt in
packs, and when you see them in a big circle they are getting ready to
feed on a large school of shad. There will be stripers and other
predators around those schools. This bite should continue into February.
Just keep looking in the main channels until you can find a consistent
amount of shad. The stripers will show up. Tom Reynolds said he had a
request from a guest named Tom saying he wanted to take his dad and
grandfather striper fishing on Friday the 13th. Reynolds was booked, so
Sean took them. The weather was wet so Tom’s grandfather took a pass
and, as luck would have it, the rains never came for Tom and Bob. They
hooked up within their first 10 minutes and continued to catch stripers
until their trip ended. In all they caught 10 stripers and kept their
limit of 6. Sean was fishing the Howard Cove area in 70-90 feet of water
with the lines set at 35-40 feet with creek chubs. Striper fishing will
be great for the next several weeks, so come out and give it a try. For
the out-of-area folks, you might want to get your calendars out and
start making plans now. Winter is here but spring is right around the
corner. The stripers will begin their spring migration when the water
stays in the mid-50s and the south winds blow. A good tool to use to
make your plans with is on the web at www.FishNorfork.com for everything
Norfork Lake! For a real outdoor adventure, you might consider a
striper fishing trip combined with a pheasant hunt. It's a blast!
(updated 1-11-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said he
has finally been able to get out on Norfork Lake. A holiday vacation and
then cold weather kept Lou off the lake for a couple weeks, but he said
he’s glad to be back. Fishing on Norfork Lake has entered the winter
phase of the fishing cycle, meaning the shad are going into deep water
and the fish are following. In mid-December, Lou said, he was catching
fish on large flats in 40-60 feet of water. Over the last week he has
found large schools of striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass out
closer to the main river channel or main creek channels. He has been
catching stripers in 60-100 feet of water and the fish are suspended
30-60 feet deep. Lou’s favorite winter time bait is a spoon. He says he
finds the fish and drops a spoon down to their depth and starts jigging
the spoon up and down. With cold water the jigging method should be
slowed down. The fish are still active, but are starting to slow down
and don't necessarily want to chase it. You can also troll with
swimbaits or Alabama rigs. The hardest part about trolling is getting
your bait down to the correct depth. Down riggers, lead core line or
in-line weights are different ways to get your bait down while trolling.
Live bait is also working very well. During the cold months Lou will
use big shiners. The stripers seem to like them just fine. Over the last
week Lou has found stripers in the major creeks such as Float and
Panther. You will also find stripers from the Highway 62 bridge area
down to the Howard Cove area. The best part of winter fishing is, you do
not necessarily need to be fishing at the crack of dawn. Monday
afternoon Lou found large schools of feeding fish at 1 p.m. and it
lasted all afternoon.
Lou also said he’s been concentrating for the last week on striped bass,
so the next report will have information on bass and crappie fishing.
He adds that he did pick up a nice crappie 70 feet deep while striper
fishing. They can be anywhere in the cold water. Norfork Lake surface
water temperature Monday afternoon was 48.5 degrees. A slight rise in
water temperature is expected over the next several days due to the
warmer than normal days and nights. Norfork Lake level is falling
slowing and currently sits at 548.53. Periodic power generation is
occurring during a large portion of the day. The main lake is clear, but
the creeks and coves are stained.
(updated 1-11-2017) Guide Steve Olomon of Steve’s Guide Service had no report.
North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)
(updated 1-18-2017) John Berry at Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said Norfork Lake dropped 0.8 feet to rest at 5.4 feet
below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet and 31.6 feet below the top of
flood pool. On the Norfork, we had low levels of generation with much
less wadable water. There has been much less wadable water on the
Norfork. 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 eighteen
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. 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 1-18-2017) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said the
Buffalo is navigable. With cold weather, the smallmouths are much less
active. 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.
(updated 1-18-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service
(870-453-2424) said the creek is navigable. With cold weather, the
smallmouths are much less active. Berry’s 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.