Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 13, 2018

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report June 13, 2018.

White River

(updated 6-13-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the water is high and the fish are growing. Bull Shoals Lake still sits above its normal pool, so the White River has been running fast this week. Drift-fishing has been producing excellent rainbows and a few browns. The brown bite has been a little slow this past week, probably due to higher water flows. Larger stocked fish and this year's new regulations on rainbows, as well as the high water, are working to grow our rainbows; 13-inch fish are not uncommon. Drifting minnows over the deeper holes has been an excellent tactic this week. Stock up on red wrigglers; shrimp and worms have been doing well to catch the fattened-up rainbows. Drifting the White before the summer heat sets in is a great way to spend the day.


(updated 6-13-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the air temperature is hot, but the water is cold and just right. Clarity is about 50-50, they say. And the river level is normal with two generators running. The trout bite has been good this week. Rainbows are favoring River Riggies. There has been a small group of browns in the 19-22-inch range and they were biting stick baits.

(updated 6-13-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the past week, they had a rain event bringing more than an inch in Cotter, along with warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.3 feet to rest at 8.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 24.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock remained steady at 0.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 13.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.9 feet to rest at 4.1 feet above seasonal power pool and 4.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had more generation and little wadable water. 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 above the top of power pool. With warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the near future particularly in the afternoons. The White has fished much better of late. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. There are caddis coming off. 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 red fox squirrel nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 668.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).

(updated 5-31-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last Thursday the lake level was at 672 feet msl, and it is still about 13 feet above pool. The fish are still on the bushes for the most part. Water temps are about 82 degrees up to 90 depending on where you're at or by the end of the day. The topwater bite has been prevalent bite and it's been a lot of fun. It's been one of the better topwater bites that they've had in a while, and he hopes that stays that way. If you got a little bit of wind, you can catch them on a Whopper Popper. The Zara Spook is catching a few fish. As for color, Del will go to Lucky Craft Sammy, or Gunfish if the water’s a little clearer. The first part of the day is the best for the topwater bite. Del has been fishing primarily on the flats, any of those fields that are now under water or holding fish closer to the channel or where they can get to deep water. In isolated cover you can catch some on a popper now. A couple of things are going on: there has been full moon so there's a shad spawn and they’ve got the perch that are spawning, so that's kind of what you want to look for. I you find a baitfish you're going to find a fish. Now if it gets hot and sunny, you'll still get a wave of fish moving up topwater throughout the day, so after the first couple hours don't put it away necessarily. But if you do get some wind, which they haven't had much of, you can throw a spinnerbait around, a square bill on secondary points. Most of the largemouth seem to be in the bushes. Del says he’s catching them all the way in the backs and 2 foot of water all the way out to the main lake points. If you want to fish a little deeper, he’s still pulling some smallmouth on the Keitech fishing the isolated cover on the islands or the humps or the main lake points going out. Also he’s starting to pick up a few fish using the drop-shot. Before you know it, a lot of these fish are going to start moving out, he said. Some of the baitfish already are starting to move out of the creeks after that spawn. If you're going to target around docks you can also catch some fish; docks are going to be good off the secondary points, that's kind of where the docks are that Del is fishing, or on the flats. You can also use a jig around the dock; buzzbait or jig, you'll pick up a few more fish. It's getting hot so get out for the morning bite. If it's a hundred degrees out you’re probably not going to fish all day.

(updated 5-25-2018) K Dock Marina said the fish are biting. They have 82-degree water with great lake conditions. All species are hitting right now. The lake level last Friday was 672.2 feet msl (13 feet above normal). Water is clear. Black bass are good on topwater plugs and buzzbaits. Also good on medium crankbaits and jigs. Small plastics in flooded brush in the backs of coves are working. The plastic worm bite is coming soon. Walleye are good to great on small to medium crankbaits. They are really shallow right now, less than 10 feet. They are also hitting spoons and nightcrawlers. Crappie are good to fair on live minnows and swimming minnows. The crappie are scattered post-spawn down the shoreline and in coves around brush.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 561.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).

(updated 6-13-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing is continuing to be outstanding. There is still a little topwater action right before sunrise and then again at sunset. Hybrids, whites, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are the fish coming up sporadically. Most species are located from about 18 feet of water out to 70 feet of water. The striped bass and hybrid bass bite is one of the best bites Lou says he’s seen in a while. This species has started to school, which makes it a lot of fun. When you find the school of fish, you have continuous action until you lose the school, then you are back to looking. Live bait is working very well, but artificial baits are working as well. Vertical-jig with a spoon, cast out a big swimbait and cast or troll an Alabama rig. Lou says what he has noticed over the last week is that the fish he marks from the surface down to approximately 30 feet are predominately hybrid and white bass. The large arcs marked 40-70 feet are typically striped bass. Striped bass need the cooler water, whereas the hybrids can tolerate the warmer water. He has been vertical-jigging with a spoon for the deeper fish, as these are the big boys. Tuesday morning Lou had his spoon down 65 feet in 70 feet of water and hooked into something big. It would not budge, but then he felt a headshake and it started to move slowly along the bottom. “This fish could not care less that it was hooked. I fought this fish for about 5 minutes, then the treble hook just pulled out. I will get this monster the next time.” The best locations now are partway back in creeks, whether it be a major or a secondary creek. The striped and hybrid bass are feeding on crawdads during the evening and are switching out to shad when the sun starts to come up. The best depths where Lou has found the fish is 50-100 feet of water.
Lou says the walleye bite is also very good. Most of the fish that his guests have caught are in 20-30 feet of water on the bottom. During the night if you are using a light to attract bait you will find this species suspended down about 20 feet. A crawler harness with a bottom-bouncing weight is working very well, but Lou has caught walleye jigging with a spoon on the bottom. Live shad or shiners are also picking up some nice fish especially after dark. The largemouth bass bite has been good, especially early and late in the day. Some topwater action up close to the shoreline, as well as out in deep water while they are chasing shad. Lou says he’s caught some nice fish on Zara Spooks, swimbaits and a blade-type bait. As the sun gets high in the sky, switch out to baits you work along the bottom in 15-25 feet of water. You will also still find some nice fish up in the sunken buckbrush, but most are deeper. The crappie bite is good if you can locate the fish. This is the time of year when they scatter into deeper, cooler water along bluff drop-offs or inside of deep brush piles. The best bite for crappie has still been in the shade of covered docks.
The Norfork Lake level is falling approximately 3-2 inches per day and sits at 561.5, which is only about 5 feet above normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature is holding fairly stable and is currently in the mid-80s. The main lake is clear with a slight stain back in some of the coves. The lake is in absolutely great shape. “If you have not made your plans yet for your summer fishing and/or lake recreation vacation give us call. We have cabins available, 870-492-5113.”

(updated 6-13-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the striper fishing on Norfork Lake continues to be very good for the first two hours each morning. Now that we are entering the dark moon phase, you can expect to find feeding stripers later in the morning on the flats in water depths 40-60 feet. Tom says they are still catching some stripers on long lines and planer boards, but each day their downline bite is increasing. This means the fish are staying under the thermocline and feeding on crawdads. “Later this month we will be fishing downlines and weighted floats as the stripers feed on the bottom.” Stripers are still being caught in the middle of the lake. Crystal Cove continues to have good action along with Float Creek, Panther Creek and Robinson Point. This will continue for most of June with Robinson Point being the hot spot for late June and early July. Tom says he has been watching some anglers trolling using big umbrella rigs catching stripers in deep water. The best bait is live shad, either threadfin or gizzard. Some stripers are being caught using small bluegills and shiners. The evening bite will pick up as we move into summer. Use the same techniques, but the best bite is usually the last 45 minutes of daylight. “Remember we are now in the summer period of striper fishing so you should stop releasing legal stripers caught on live bait. The slogan for the summer is ‘Catch Your Limit and Go Home.’ If you catch six fish and release four, two will die if not all of them. Catch your limit and quit for the day, save some fish,” he says.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 6-13-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 2.2 feet to rest at 5.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.7 feet msl and 17.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had more generation and no wadable water. 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 above the top of power pool. With warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the near future. The water on the Norfork has cleared substantially and has fished much better. There have been some nice caddis hatches that have fished well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during flooding over the past year. 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 red fox squirrel nymph with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek has cleared and is fishing better. 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). John added, “Yesterday I guided a young man, Jessie, on Dry Run Creek. He has Down syndrome and I had very little experience interacting with kids with that condition. I decided that the best course of action was to treat him like any other kid fishing on Dry Run Creek. I met Jessie and his parents at McDonald’s for breakfast and I noted that he was excited about a day on the water and was ready to go.
“His dad is a minister and his mom is a teacher. The family is on a two-and-a-half-month sabbatical to travel and fish across the United States that will culminate in Alaska where Jessie’s siblings will link up with the family. Along the way he will indulge in his love of dinosaurs by visiting museums and participating in a dig for dinosaur bones in Wyoming.
“We drove over to Dry Run Creek to get an early start. We were the first ones there and wasted no time in getting on the water. Jessie quickly donned his waders as did his parents and I. The rod was already rigged. We walked down to one of my favorite spots and we were fortunate enough to land a nice fat rainbow on his first cast. I was impressed with his landing skill as he brought the twenty three inch bow to the net. It took a few more minutes for the next rainbow was caught.
“As we fished I took a quick inventory of his angling skills. He was a decent caster but didn’t know how to properly mend. I coached him and before the day was out he was mending like a pro. The only area he really needed to work on was his hook set. He was a bit slow and I carefully watched each drift to make sure that he reacted to each take. We missed several strikes despite my efforts.
“After a couple of hours, we moved up stream to another favorite area. It was a nice shady spot where mom and dad could sit on large rocks nearby to watch Jessie fish. They gave him plenty of encouragement and took plenty of photos to record his success. While were there we landed a brown, another rainbow and a cutthroat. We only needed a brook trout to get the grand slam. That is where the angler catches all four species in one day. It is not that easy.
“Around noon it was time to go. Jessie had landed five nice trout. I was a bit disappointed and thought that we should have caught more. On the way out, I talked with several other anglers including two other guides and noted that we had caught more than any other angler that morning. It was a slow day for everyone. Jessie’s patience and persistence had paid off. He had a great day and absolutely loved Dry Run Creek. His parents were moved by his success and appreciative of the results.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 6-13-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. The smallmouths are 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.