Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 7, 2017

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report June 7, 2017.

White River

(updated 6-7-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says: "Night crawlers. That's what the browns are hitting today." Words from one of the guides on Tuesday. Drifting a live worm (Belgium reds or nightcrawlers) on the White River in the Cotter area has been attracting both browns, rainbows and the occasional cutthroat. Add enough weight to your river rig to reach mid-depth and move with the current. The Army Corps of Engineers has dropped the water level to approximate five generators, about 2-3 feet lower than we've seen for a few weeks. Still more than enough water to keep the trout growing strong, and less warm water coming in from the top of the lake since the flood gates have been closed. That's great news for all of us on the river. Almost time to return to dangling some shrimp on the hook and seeing an increase in the rainbow bite. Give the fish a day or two to acclimate to the dropped river level and you'll see more action than in the last week or two. Experiment with the spinners; a 1/4-ounce gold Vibrax might be about right for this water. See you at the river!

Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said


(updated 5-31-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is "tremendously high," and there have been 10 generators running. Fishing is difficult at best, and anglers are advised to be extra careful.


(updated 6-7-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, they have had a rain event (about a half-inch in Cotter), warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.3 feet to rest 29.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet. This is 3.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Army Corps of Engineers has opened 17 flood gates to release 14,600 cfs to augment generation and lower the lake. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.7 feet to rest at 9.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 4.8 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 7.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable water with high generation.

Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of flood pool. We should expect a lot of generation with little if any wadable water in the near future. On the White, the water below Crooked Creek and the Buffalo has cleared up. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (sizes 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 (John’s current favorite is a size 14 hare and copper nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down


Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 689.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 feet msl).


(updated 6-7-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last Saturday that the lake was at 691 feet msl and the water temperature was 76 degrees, up to 84 degrees depending on where you’re fishing. The water is getting warm pretty quick and the fish are in post-spawn mode. Lots of these fish have moved out of the spawning pockets and are staging up on the points. Down by the dam the water is really clear. Even in the creeks the water has gotten pretty clear. The channel bite had gotten a little challenging unless you’ve got wind or a little dirty water. Some of those creeks where there’s no flow, the fishing is real slow back in there. You want to avoid those if you can. The water level is coming down and as the temperature keeps coming up the fish are going to be moving out a little bit deeper. A lot of the offshore stuff is beginning to pick up a little bit. Most guys Del sees, he says, are fishing with their boats on top of the fish. What you want to do is get in the old shoreline anywhere from 25-30 feet off the shore and cast in. On any given day you could throw a Carolina rig, you could throw a Ned rig. Tubes are working. Del said he likes to draw a jig through the old brush; not necessarily dragging it but hopping it along, keeping it tight the whole time. There a ton of crawdads in the lake and the fish are eating on them. A green pumpkin with orange is the best color to match. Del uses a ½-ounce jig with a Jackall craw bait, you can use whatever one you want, he says. Highlight it if you have a marker. As for the topwater bite, seems like the creeks that do have a little bit of flow, if you don’t go into the very back, you can catch a few throwing a Whopper Plopper, a buzzbait, but conditions have to be right for it. If it’s bright and sunny, and the water is flat, Del says he wouldn’t go to the back and start power fishing. Also throwing the Walk the Dog-style baits will catch some fish but it’s still dependent on conditions. If you’re fishing from here on out, have a topwater ready to fire out there. If you can get up close to the shoreline along those steeper banks, the fish are on those channel swing banks. If it gets really, really windy and you’ve got some clouds, the spinnerbait bite is still working. The biggest thing is to fish the conditions. If you get on a pattern now you can figure them out. If it lays real flat for you, it seems like those hot days when it lays flat, you’re going to have to back out into the main lake, catch them on the drop-shot with a shad pattern, and a worm is working, too. Anywhere in the 30-40 feet depth seems to be holding the fish when the sun is up, it’s calm and nice and hot. Del is still catching a few in the back on the squarebill. He uses a Lucky Craft and swims it through submerged bushes, banging it across something, clashing it into a bush or coming across a log under the water. He says if you’re fishing an area closer to the main lake and catching smallmouth, sneak up closer on the points, look for the old road beds or walking paths that people have used to get down to the lake. There’s a lot of largemouth up in the areas up in the same areas that the smallmouths are, just a little bit shallower. Don’t be afraid to go up there on any given day. If you’re catching smallmouths on a point in 30 feet of water, after you’ve fished that, go back in and fish it shallow for the black bass. Drag a jig around, throw a tube around.



(updated 6-7-2017) K Dock Marina said the general public must access the marina from the lake only during this high water situation. No boat rentals at this time. They have no fishing reports.


Norfork Lake


As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 575.62 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April, 552.00 msl, April-September, 554.00 msl).

(updated 5-31-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says the rain continues but not every day as it was. The Norfork Lake level is being maintained at 3 feet under the top of the flood pool. Tom said the hope is, once they get into their hotter period, the lake can be lowered. Striper fishing is outstanding right now in the mid-lake and down to the dam and east to Big Creek. Almost every point is holding fish. The shad continue to stay in the brush on the points and the stripers are staying right with them. In the last week they have seen a lot of topwater action around Point 1 and out in the main lake. The only problem is its not consistent and you never know when the stripers will come up. If you can get out before sunrise you should be able to catch stripers throwing swimbaits into the brush on any point in the southern part of the lake. You should also try a topwater lure off the points even if you see no surface action. The stripers are there, just not chasing surface baits. If you want to try live bait and cannot get shad, use shiners. They are working. Try long-lining them behind your boat, pitching them into the brush, and downlines set 28 feet.
Tom added, “Frank from Lakeview schedule a trip for his family who had never striper fished on Norfork Lake. It was rather cold and overcast with a slight miss in the air. I started in Diamond Bay and had no bites the first hour so moved to another spot and started to have some success. We caught a couple and loss a couple, then the fish got active and we could not keep up with the action. I had eight lines out and at different times we had three and four bites and fish on the line. We ended up catching 11 and keeping nine. It was very hectic, but for their first time striper fishing, it was quite an experience they will not soon forget.”

(updated 5-31-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks, but this year’s high-water event has made it a challenge. Last week Lou concentrated hi fishing from the Diamond Bay area down to Hudson Point. He found all the bass species in all his normal late spring/early summer haunts. Main lake points such as Tick Point, Point 2, Thumb Point, Point 1 and Hudson Point are examples of areas holding fish. All species of fish are inside of or very near the sunken brush and trees. The fish will remain near the sunken brush as long as the shad stay inside the brush. This will more than likely change once the lake warms enough to create a thermocline. The early morning bite has been the best. Lou said he hasn’t been out fishing in the afternoon for quite some time.
Lou added, “I am getting back out on the lake after the holiday weekend and this week I am concentrating my fishing areas to the mid-lake area. Yesterday morning I fished the major creeks in the mid lake area and caught stripers and largemouth bass, but all were on the short side. Today I stayed out on the main lake and fished points that have a lot of sunken trees out in the lake. At around 6:30 a.m. I found a point where the shad was flipping all over the place. I was fishing with live shad (large shiners will also work) and started flipping the shad between the trees. For the next two hours it was pretty much nonstop action. All the bass species were feeding in 2-20 feet of water. I ended up landing six stripers, three hybrids, numerous whites, a couple nice largemouth bass and a 5-pound channel cat. The biggest challenge I have in fishing inside of the brush is that the brush tends to keep a lot of my fish after I get them hooked up. I went through 20-plus hooks this morning, but it sure was fun. The stripers up in my area are starting to feed again and fatten up. I caught no skinny fish this morning all fat and healthy looking.”
Lou said there is still good topwater action down off the points in the dam area. He saw very few fish coming up this week in the mid-lake area. Live bait appears to be the best method for catching all species of fish now, but some artificial baits are working. Swimbaits of all sizes are working, spinnerbaits and shallow diving crankbaits for largemouth, and spooks for topwater action. Vertical jigging with a spoon is starting to work out in 40 feet of water once the shad moves away from the brush. The fish have been below the shad. Lou said he had a guest last week that likes to troll umbrellas rigs as well as swimbaits. He had success in all parts of the lake keeping his baits around 20-25 feet deep.
The Norfork Lake level was at 577.08 at midweek and was dropping about 2-3 inches per day with both generators running full time. The main lake, creeks and coves north of the Robinson area are stained to a light brown color, but the brown is falling out steadily. The lake is stained down to the dam and is clear east of the dam. Thursday morning the lake surface water temperature was in the low to mid 70s. Last week there was very little floating debris, but as of yesterday there was lots of floating timber west of the Highway 101 bridge to Robinson area. Lou said he’s had no problem out on the lake, but as always you need to be extremely vigilante when on the water and slow down when you notice floating debris. Remember to be safe and always wear your life vest.

Norfork Tailwater


(updated 6-7-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake fell 1 foot to rest at 19.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet and 3.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has closed the flood gates and returned the dam to normal generation. On the Norfork, we had no wadable water. On the Norfork there was flooding but the river is back in its banks and the flood gates have been closed. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#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 #10). The fishing is better in the morning. My favorite rig has been a hare and copper nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek has been affected by the flooding but has returned to its banks. 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.

Berry fished Dry Run Creek over the Memorial Day weekend. He said, “I had a guide trip last on the Saturday of the three-day weekend. I had a brother and sister accompanied by mom, dad, grandma, granddad, two cousins and two in-laws. The general idea was for me to guide brother and sister and for granddad to work with the two cousins (both teen age girls). I have a saying, the more people you have, the slower you move. I tried to get everyone moving early because I was concerned that Dry Run Creek would be crowded on a holiday weekend. It was like herding cats.
“I was greatly relieved when we arrived at the hatchery and noted just a couple of cars, in the parking lot. I already had a couple of rods rigged up and we headed toward the creek. The going early was a bit slow. It had rained the night before and the creek was a bit off-color. After a while, we began picking up trout. The hot fly was a brown San Juan worm. I always like to fish San Juan worms after a rain storm. Other anglers began arriving and we began working our way upstream to find new water. They had taped off the trail near the hatchery from the second set of stairs all the way to the end of the facility. Therefore to access the stream further upstream you needed to walk along the creek.

“We began having more success. The 8-year-old sister landed a nice 25-inch rainbow. It came in amazingly quickly for a fish that size. Brother was struggling. He hooked up several trophies but lost them. He had a tendency to grip the line tightly. When you have a big one on, you have to let them run. If you clamp down on the line or grip the reel handle the fish can slip the hook or break off. I worked with him on it and he eventually caught a good rainbow. Sister’s was still a bit longer.

“At the same time the cousins were struggling. Granddad had never fished Dry Run Creek. It looks easy but it can be challenging. I gave him a few pointers but they still had limited success. I began coaching them on where to cast and achieve a good drift. I made sure that they were properly rigged and were in the right spot. They also began to pick up fish. They both caught a 20-inch-or-better trout.

“Near noon I looked around and noticed that the creek was getting crowded. We had the stream to ourselves, for most of the morning and were able, to fish, wherever we wanted to. I don’t normally like to work with so many clients at a time because it limits the individual attention that can give to each one of them. Kids fly fishing for the first time need a lot, of individual attention, in order to learn the proper way to do it. Somehow it all worked out and everyone had a great time.”


Buffalo National River


(updated 6-7-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River is navigable but high. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.



Crooked Creek



(updated 6-7-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek is navigable but high. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. Berry’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.