Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 14, 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 14, 2017.

White River

(updated 6-14-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says thatafter a mild, wet spring, they’re feeling the heat now. Low 90s forecast for the next week and beyond; but the trout continue to enjoy fresh, cold, clear water from the deep bottom of Bull Shoals Lake. The Army Corps of Engineers has dropped the water release to an average of 8,800 cfs (about three generators if you use that calculation), increasing it to approximately 13,500 cfs over the last few nights. The brown bite has remained feisty; sculpins are a favorite. Local guides are using crawdad tails when they can find them. You might try your Rebel Cajun Teeny Wee Crawfish and see if it produces any action. Look for 5-inch to 5 ½-inch stick baits with greenish blue backs and light chartreuse bellies – they've played well this week. Another favorite bait this week: redworms. Always imitate or offer the current food source in the river, and when the trout have had their fill of the staples, cast something new and flashy to pique their interest. Above all, enjoy yourself and the great beauty of The Natural State.

(updated 6-14-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear, and all this past weekend there were five generators running. River level is normal. Trout fishing was excellent the past week. The resort drew a nice crowd for browns that ranged in size from 16 to 24 inches. Rainbow catches were also very good. Four cutthroat trout were caught, along with an 8-pound walleye and several bass.


(updated 6-14-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-435-2169) said late last week that in the past week they had a rain event (less than an inch in Cotter), warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.6 feet to rest at 27.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet. This is 5.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has closed the floodgates and the volume of water in the White is greatly reduced. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.6 feet to rest at 8.6 feet above seasonal power pool and 5.4 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.3 feet to rest at 7.5 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.1 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable water with high generation. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of flood pool. The Corps of Engineers has closed the floodgates on all of the lakes in the White River system. The area 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 (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 (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 689.85 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 659.00 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 that 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 bass 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 6-14-2017) 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 576.51 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April – 552.00 msl, April-September – 554.00 msl).

(updated 6-14-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says Norfork Lake is turning back into the great lake she has always been. The water is clear and the temperature is 80 degrees and will be going up due to the warm weather they will be having. The stripers are also moving into their summer pattern. You can still catch shallow fish before the sun comes up, but then they are moving out onto flats feeding on crawdads. Tom says he has been running a planer board with a 6-inch gizzard shad shallow over the brush and fishing in 25 to 30 feet of water. Hybrids are providing the best early bite. They are great fighters but right now they are on the smaller size so Tom and crew are letting them go because they can survive warm water. As the morning progresses, move out to the 40- to 50-foot range; the stripers are on or very close to the bottom. Place your baits a foot or two above the stripers. Right now they are running six downlines and are having three and four hookups daily. The bottom part of lake is the most productive from Woods Point toward the dam; they are producing lots of stripers.
Tom’s son, Sean, joined him for a double trip on Sunday. Sean had the Kalchik family, who were taking their father out for his 80th birthday. They told Sean when they were leaving the dock they wanted to catch at least 80 pounds of stripers. They limited out with 12 and had close to 100 pounds of stripers. It was a great birthday present the boys gave him.
Tom’s client, the Blair family, are locals. John is a local photographer who just happened to shoot Sean’s wedding. None of them – John, Trish, or Ean – had fished for stripers but was eager to catch one. After a couple of misses they got the hang of it and they caught their first striper and limited out with nine fat ones. So both parties had a great Sunday fishing on Norfork Lake.
For you out-of-area folks, you might want to get your calendars out and start making plans now. The stripers are in their summer pattern and the bite is on. A good tool to use to make your plans with is on the web at 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 6-14-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks. All species are biting, but the typical pattern for this time of year is different. The higher-than-normal water level is keeping the baitfish inside the sunken trees and brush, and the fish are loving it. Plenty of places to hide and feed. The predators are, as you would guess, up inside of the brush with the baitfish. Striper fishing has been excellent from the southern portion of the mid-lake area down to the dam and east of the dam partway back into Big Creek. Main lake points, as well as secondary points back into the creeks and coves, have been the best areas to find the striped bass. Early in the morning you can find stripers and hybrids up tight to the sunken trees and brush feeding on shad. If you can find an area with the shad flipping back in the brush, all species of fish will be in the area feeding. As the sun rises over the tree line, the stripers tend to move out into deeper, cooler water. They will still be off the points, but will move out to find water temperatures in the low 60s, which at this time is about 40-45 feet deep. Surface water temperature is close to 80 degrees. Live bait is working the best for him, Lou said. He’s been using live threadfin shad, gizzard shad or larger shiners. Artificial baits that have worked have been swimbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Lou says he attempts to get the bait down to the tops of the sunken buckbrush and try to retrieve along the tops of the brush anywhere from 10 feet to 25 feet of water. Once the stripers go deeper, vertical jigging with a spoon will start working. So far though, Lou says, he can't seem to beg a bite on a spoon, but they will work before long.
Lou adds that both largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing have been good. Early and late in the day they are up tight on the sunken brush. Lou says he has had luck over the last week casting a Zara Spook into the brush and slowing walking the dog back to the boat. Lou says he’s called up many fish by this method. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are also working very well. Try to get a deep-diving crankbait so it will get down to the tops of the brush in 10 to 25 feet of water. The fish are inside of the brush feeding on shad.
Walleye fishing has increasingly gotten better and better. Troll crankbaits on the old shoreline just off of the sunken brush in 20-25 feet of water. Lou had a group of guys down last week and they were using this method of fishing. They landed well over 20 walleye, many keepers. Firetiger was their most productive crankbait color pattern. The walleye are also moving onto the flats in the 15-30 feet water range. Using a Lindy rig with nightcrawlers has been working. You can also drop-shot a large shiner, keeping it just above the bottom in the same water depth of 15-25 feet.
Crappie and bluegills are up in the sunken brush. There has been some nice fish caught on crankbaits as well as spinnerbaits. Live bait will be the best, but the fish are very hard to reach. They have moved very deep into the brush, but working the edges of the sunken brush and especially under sunken Willow trees are holding some nice fish.
Catfishing has been excellent. Limblines, jugs and trotlines are all producing some really nice fish. Norfork Lake's current water level is falling slowly and is at 574.95 as of earlier this week. The current surface water temperature is in the high 70s. Parts of the lake are clear (far north upriver and far south east of the dam). The remainder of the lake is slightly stained with a greenish blue color. Parts of the mid-lake area around the two bridges are still showing a slightly brown tint of stain. Overall the lake is in great condition and is getting back to normal. Lou said he is noticing very little floating debris, but caution is still advised as always.


Norfork Tailwater


(updated 6-14-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 18.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet and 4.7 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had limited wadable water. On the Norfork, the water is stained but is fishing well. 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 (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). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig on the Norfork 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 and is fishing well. 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).


Buffalo National River


(updated 6-14-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. John’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 6-14-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek is navigable. With the warmer weather the smallmouths should be more active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek. There are no dams, and there are large drainages making Crooked Creek prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.