Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 2, 2017

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report August 2, 2017.

White River
(updated 8-2-2017) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the only thing that could make a summer day on the White River any better than it already is would be spectacularly mild, sunny, gorgeous days. We've got it here in the Arkansas Ozarks at Cotter.  Make a date to get to the White River, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at Big Spring Park between the morning and afternoon catching sessions. Fluctuating water levels require a variety of baits. The staples will include yellow and pink Power Bait, 1/4 ounce red/gold spoons, a few jigs including white, black and olive green (White River Zig Jigs perform well) and a Rapala Countdown (gold/black is a favorite).  A cup of nightcrawlers or redworms is a must. We're beginning to see some grasshoppers, so try yellow or green hopper baits and skip them on the river to attract some curious browns.

(updated 8-2-2017) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water has a lot of moss in it, but fishing has been decent. Three generators are running at night, and eight are cranking up during the day. Rainbow trout are biting consistently well, but it’s nothing to “rave” about right now.


(updated 8-2-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that they had had a trace of rain in Cotter, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 1.1 feet to rest at 24.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 9.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.4 feet to rest at 1.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 12.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 feet to rest at 6.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.8 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, they had no wadable water with moderate generation. On the White, the hot spot has been the 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 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 (John’s current favorite is a size 14 bead-head pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge suspended below it). Use lots of lead and long leaders to get your flies down.

John, noting the recent heat spell, also says, “I checked the temperature when I was on the river the other day and it was 99 degrees. The fish are still there. Our major trout streams are tailwaters and the water temperature is constantly cool year-round. The trick to fishing now is to beat the heat.


Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 686.18 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).


(updated 8-2-2017) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no new report this week, but summer patterns should dominate. Look for bluffs, points and saddles and try working a drop-shot rig with a fineese worm or shad-style bait. Always have a topwater shad-imitation tied on and ready in case you see some surface action. Topwater lures like Whopper Ploppers and Spooks are also good bets in the mornings.  You can also drag a jig or stroke it over the tops of submerged bushes to draw some strikes from bass.


K Dock Marina said the lake is slowly starting to drop, but the surface temperature is really going up! They’re seeing most people fishing early and late evening to avoid the heat. Not a lot of trolling right now. All species are slow due to high water and temperature. Water level going into last weekend was 687 feet msl and falling (27 feet above normal). Water temperature was ranging 88 to 92 degrees. Water is clear.


Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 570.41 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).

(updated 8-2-2017) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the water level is falling around 2 to  3 inches per day and currently sits at 568.86. The lake is clear to its normal green summer time tint. The surface water temperature has reached 90 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees. Fishing has not changed much over the last couple of weeks, which means the striped bass bite continues to be strong in deep water and all other species are biting in zero to 20 feet of water. When Lou has had the chance to get out, the bite has been strong. Striped bass are being caught from south of Point 2 to the dam and east of the dam to Jordan Island. The larger stripers are being caught in 50 to 70 feet of water. They're lying on the bottom early in the morning and during the day. Live bait is working very well, but several artificial baits also are working. Vertical jigging with a spoon, as well as jigging with a small 3-inch grub (green or off-white) on the bottom. Move your bait very slowly along the bottom. Trollers are picking up some nice stripers, but again you will need to get your bait down below 45 feet. Many nice-sized largemouth bass have been seen in about 3 feet of water early in the morning around the dock. The gravel parking lot is still partially under water and the bait fish and small blue gills are loving it with the warm water. Bass are having a field day feeding at will. Look for those flooded roadways early in the morning and cast out your favorite soft-plastic crayfish imitation or swim bait and you should pick up some nice fish. I am also noting some bass hitting the surface early in the morning as well as at sunset. Walleye fishing has also starting picking up. The best water depth is around 18 feet on large rounded points. Use a crawler harness with a bottom bouncer or drop shot a live minnow to pick up some nice fish. Bluegill also are in the 18-foot water depth range; crickets have been one of the best baits at this time. White bass have been sporadically erupting in the mornings. I have gotten reports from all different areas of the lake with topwater action. There have been some nice-sized hybrids and mid-sized whites coming up and feeding on small shad.

(updated 8-2-2017) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says this summer’s striper fishing has been the best in years. Most guides are producing limits on each trip. The stripers are moving deeper as the water warms up. The highest temperature seen so far is 90.5 degrees in the early morning and around 95 degrees later in the day. The warm water puts a lot of pressure on the stripers as oxygen levels keep dropping, which forces the stripers go to deep. The good news is that they are still feeding heavily in the morning, from 6 to 9 a.m. Reynolds urges anglers to only catch your limit and quit fishing. He’s seen a few floating stripers that were caught and released, but can’t survive after the fight during these hot days and low-oxygen conditions. The basic fishing rig has not changed. A 3- or 4-oz. weight with a short leader puts the bait on the bottom, then bring it up about a foot and keep it there as you move around. Stripers are still concentrated around the dam area; the best places are Dam Cove, Koso, Thumb, Point 1 and the Hudson Area. Trolling and spooning is also producing some fish but not the numbers the live bait is. This action should continue into August.



Norfork Tailwater

(updated 8-2-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.9 feet to rest at 14.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 10 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, they had no wadable water. 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 limited wadable water in the near future. Meanwhile, the water is stained. It fishes well one day and poorly the next. 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 has been a cerise San Juan worm with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek is fishing well one day and poorly the next. With school out, it can get a bit crowded. 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/Crooked Creek

(updated 8-2-2017) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. With the warmer weather the smallmouths are 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.