Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 29, 2018

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report August 29, 2018.

White River
(updated 8-29-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river clarity is clear, with minimum flowin the morning and high flow in the evening. Rainbow bite was excellent this week, and the brown trout bite was fair.

(updated 8-29-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that during the previous week, they had several rain events that combined for half an inch in Cotter, plus cooler temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.1 foot to rest at 3.6 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 37.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.7 feet to rest at 2.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 16.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.2 feet to rest at 1.6 feet below seasonal power pool and 10.2 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had less generation with wadable water every day. Norfork Lake rose 0.1 feet to rest at 3.3 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 27.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and wadable water every day. 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 power pool. With warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the afternoons but there is a possibility of wadable water in the cooler mornings.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. There are a few sulphurs still 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 combination is a size 14 Copper John with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.
John also says, “(Last week) I got an email from Christy Graham. She is the Trout Management Plan/Supervisor for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. She regularly publishes an email of current events on our local trout streams. This week’s email included a blurb about progress on the construction on the ramps at Wildcat and White Hole (scheduled for completion Sept. 15) and another blurb on stocking brook trout on the Norfork Tailwater.
“The next item was very disturbing. The AGFC was conducting its annual electrofishing sample of Dry Run Creek and noted several trophy trout with angler-made notches cut out of their tails. They had heard of anglers doing this so that they could identify trout that they had previously caught. This is the most disgusting thing I have encountered in quite some time, mutilating trout in a Catch and Release area set aside for children and the handicapped.
“My wife, Lori, and I spend quite a bit of time guiding on Dry Run Creek (I am scheduled to guide a handicapped gentleman there tomorrow). I have been guiding there for almost 30 years. It has a large population of trophy trout. I took my daughter there as soon as it opened up as a catch-and-release stream. It is where my grandson caught his first fish, a 21-inch brown.
“It is a national treasure. I know of no other trophy fishing area of its quality that is open to the public anywhere in the United States or the world for that matter. To think that some angler is knowingly mutilating these magnificent fish is beyond comprehension. Trout that have been harmed in this way are much more susceptible to disease.
“The AGFC sometimes removes the adipose fin to identify certain stocked fish. It is done to small fish that have been sedated, handled carefully and held for a safe period of time under clinical conditions before being released into the wild. I have participated in fin clipping and it is carefully done at the hatchery to prevent infection or harm to the trout.
“When this is done by some angler on a catch-and-release stream for no sanctioned scientific reason, it is illegal. Fish are to be quickly released into the stream. Taking the time to hack off a body part is not my idea of quickly releasing a trout. Whoever is doing this is no sportsman or sportswoman. You are destroying the best fishing spot in Arkansas. If I see you on the stream doing this, I will photograph you in the act and call the ACFC poaching hotline (800) 482-9262, as quickly as I can. I ask other anglers to do the same. I hope that they punish any perpetrator within the fullest extent of the law and suggest that they lose their angling privileges on Dry Run Creek for life!
“We have something very special here and there are those that would ruin it for everyone. Let’s be vigilant and put an immediate stop to this!”

(updated 8-22-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the rains of the last week have brought cooler temperatures, but the fishing is still hot. The guides have been pulling in 12- to 13-inch rainbows regularly. It’s making for great action and wonderful memories. Frozen shrimp and PowerBait have been the go-to, but many guides say you can't beat the real thing and have been taking live crawdads as their favorite bait for the morning. With the water still at minimum flow, smaller gold or silver and blue spoons have been doing well off the riverbank. Jig fishing in the deeper holes has also been very popular with olive or orange jigs pulling in the fish. “This break in the heat is a great time to get out on the river and catch some nice-sized trout!”

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 657.33 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).

(updated 8-15-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake water is starting to cool off, which is helping the fishing. They have 84-degree temperatures as of Wednesday. Del says, “I’d say the biggest bite for the lake has been the walleye. The walleye have been really good this past week.” Anglers are bottom-bouncing from 28-36 feet around main lake points and secondary points. “Everybody seems to be catching them.” As far as the largemouth bass fishing goes, pretty much the early morning topwater bite seems to be on the “moving” baits rather than on poppers or the walk-the-dog style baits. Del says buzzbaits and the Whopper Plopper are working. Some of the shad have migrated into the creeks. He notes that threadfin shad appear headed about halfway to three-quarters back. “I think it’s the rains we’ve gotten that have pulled them back there, and (the Army Corps of Engineers) haven’t been running a bunch of water (at Bull Shoals Dam). The Corps has it at minimum flow.” The Kentucky bass seem to be around the channel swing banks or suspending over trees. There are tons of trees in Bull Shoals Lake, he says. Del adds that “you can never go wrong with a half-ounce football head jig on Bull Shoals Lake. Big worms are also working. Anything with red in it will work.” Crappie are mostly random these days. There are a couple of regular crappie anglers that Del seems often, but he said he hasn’t seen them going out lately.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.24feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).

(updated 8-29-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the striper bite continues to be excellent on Norfork Lake but the stripers are concentrating within sight of the dam. Thumb Point, Koso Point and all the areas around and near the dam are where the majority of the stripers are. They are also in the channel and open water from Quarry Marina to the dam. The trollers are having success catching open water stripers but as the oxygen continues to decline the stripers are moving closer to the bottom. Early morning, before light you can catch hybrids in 50' of water in front of Koso Point. As the sun appears the fish are going deeper, we are fishing off the points by the dam. The stripers we are catching are healthy and feeding but they now being caught at the 60' level in depths ranging from 70 to 110'. This trend will continue until the water temperature gets into the low 70's. As the stripers continue to move down the trollers will have a harder time since the stripers are hugging the bottom they cannot get their lures close enough to them for a hit. Jigging a spoon is the better way to catch a striper if you're not using live bait. We are catching limits of stripers both morning and late afternoon. This a great time of year to get out there and catch some good eating fish. Your best spots will be the front and back of Koso Point, Thumb Point and the points by the dam. Don't forget to scan and look at the river channel, I catch limits of fish by just fishing the river channel from Koso to the dam. Remember we now in the summer period of striper fishing so you should stop releasing legal stripers that you catch. Catch your limit and quit for the day or change your target species. Save some fish for your next trip and watch them grow into trophies.

(updated 8-22-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is still in its summer fishing pattern. This typically lasts until around mid-September, when the striped bass will then scatter and head to the cooler water northward. The lake currently has a thermocline that has set up around 25-30 feet. There is warm water down to the thermocline, then the water temperature drops drastically below the line. Many of the fish species hang out right around the thermocline, so fishing in 20-35 feet of water will produce some nice fish. “Overall fishing has stayed fairly consistent since my last report,” Lou says. “The biggest change has been with the striped bass. They are going deeper; at least I am finding the larger fish on the bottom in around 60-70 feet of water. This is not to say you will not find striped bass shallower.
“One of our guests at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort was jigging a half-ounce chrome Kastmaster in 35 feet of water the other day and landed a nice 15-pound fish. I am marking fish from 35 feet down to the bottom. My fishing time typically is from around 5:30 a.m. until about 9:30 a.m. In the dark I have been using live shad set at 35 and 45 feet deep. I have found large schools of fish cruising around in the dark. As the sun comes up they do tend to go deeper. When they go deeper, I switch to a spoon and start to vertical-jig at the depth where I find the fish. When I find a large school I also cast out a large Rooster Tail-type spinning bait. Cast the bait out and let it sink to the bottom, then reel up though the fish and hang on.
“The striped bass are being very aggressive at this time and are hammering the baits and are giving a great fight. One major item to remember is that most of the striped bass you catch at this time will die if you release them, due to the temperature of the water. So when you catch a fish you should keep it and when you get your limit, switch your fishing tactics and fish for other species. Catch and release is not a good idea for striped bass at this time. Trolling is also picking up some good fish. You will need to get your baits down to below 35 feet to catch some decent fish. I have been fishing points from a little south of Point 2 down to the dam and a little east of the dam up toward Jordan area.”
Lou says walleye fishing has also been good, but they are at all depths. He says he has caught walleye in 50 feet of water as well as at 20-30 feet of water. A crawler harness with bottom-bouncing weights is working well, as well as deep-diving crankbaits, as long as you can get them very close to the bottom. Brush piles in 30-40 feet of water are also holding some nice fish. Bass fishing has been fair. Lou says he has picked up some nice spotted bass, as well as largemouth bass, in 25-35 feet of water by vertical-jigging a spoon. Brush piles are also holding some fish. Early and late in the day you can also get a few nice bass on topwater back in the creeks and coves. Norfork Lake is holding fairly stable on water depth. Currently the lake depth is 552.41 feet msl. The main lake is clear and some of the creeks and coves are stained. The current surface water temperature is in the mid-80s.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 8-29-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 0.1 feet to rest at 3.3 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 27.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and wadable water every day. 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 power pool. With warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the afternoons but there is a possibility of wadable water in the cooler mornings.
The Norfork, the water has fished very well. There have been some nice midge and sporadic sulphur hatches that have provided some limited top water action. Navigate this stream with caution. 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 is fishing much 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).

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 8-29-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are a bit higher. 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.