Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

October 10, 2018

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report October 10, 2018.

White River

(updated 10-10-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the rainbow bite has been steady and plentiful here on the tailwaters of Bull Shoals Lake in the Cotter area. The Rebel Wee Craw and Teeny Craw (chartreuse/orange and ditch/brown with orange belly) were pulling in 12- and 13-inch rainbows for waders and bank fishers; casting from a jon boat required live crawdads for better action. As the weather cools, put the crawfish baits away and turn to orange and yellow egg pattern baits drifted across the bottom near the channel during the low water releases or closer to the bank if the river is running swifter and deeper. “Water releases have started earlier in the day over the last couple of weeks; beginning at 1 p.m. and running for four or five hours, hitting the Cotter area at 5-6 p.m. with up to 12,000 cfs (equivalent to four generators), then dropping back to less than one unit (about 2,500 cfs) by the next morning when we're leaving out to fish another day. Join us. The river will capture your heart.”

(updated 10-10-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river clarity remains clear and the river level there has been high. The level starts out low in the morning and rises in the afternoon. Rainbow trout fishing remains excellent. Browns are not being caught at all, they report. Anglers can see them in the water but they are not eating.

(updated 10-10-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week they have had no measurable rain, warmer temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 1.3 feet to rest at 2.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 38.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 4.5 feet below seasonal power pool and 18.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.5 feet to rest at 2.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 12.3 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had no wadable. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 feet to rest at 2.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 28.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had little 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. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. They are still hitting grasshoppers for some nice topwater action. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (size 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. Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 656.02 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).

(updated 9-26-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said last Thursday that the lake level was 657 feet msl. It’s been stable and they had not gotten much rain before last week. Del says they’re starting to “get the lake back, guys.” There were a couple of cool days, but then it got brutally hot again. The fish were starting to move up and then crept back down. Water temps were right around 80 degrees in the morning, by the end of the day it can be 86-87 on the surface. Keep in mind, it’s fall now. The fish are moving around or starting to move. Be prepared to cover a bunch of water. As far as the bite goes, some of the things have been for him, Del says, and have a caught a few fish on the Jewel Special Ops Tactical Jig in their Bass Whacker color. He’s been catching quite a few fish on that whether it's sunny, windy – it doesn’t matter with the good jig bite going on, he said. If it's windy, you can get right upside the bushes and, if it's flat and calm, move out to the deeper stuff. Those fish have been positioned on the rocks, on the channel swing banks, sides of points, anywhere there's wind, on the bigger football-sized rock, that bite is definitely helped if you've got a little bit of wind or cloud cover. Now, if you're covering water you can throw a buzzbait now. This time of year put the trolling motor down. Get you a high-speed reel so you're not fighting it, and keep it going. Del also says he’s fishing the buzzbait. If there's enough wind, you can throw it all day. If you got clouds and a little bit of wind you can still throw it. If conditions are super nasty, if you got a ton of wind like the lake saw recently, you can catch them on the Whopper Plopper. The Whopper Plopper’s working just outside the bushes, the channel swing banks, bigger rock, anywhere those fish can go up there and munch and get back to the deep water. Now, as the sun comes up and it's just nasty and nothing seems to be working, Del says, he’s still resorting to fishing the drop-shot in the main lake. The main lake drop-shot has been fair on channel swing banks going into the creeks, the brush piles, anywhere from 15-20 feet of water. Just lob it up on the bluffs and drag it down. The brush piles are going be hit or miss. Fish them for 5-10 minutes and, if the fish are not there, just go to the next one. Also in super windy and cloudy conditions, you can catch a few on a spinnerbait. The live bait around the bushes and the shore has been real small so you want to pick out something in a natural color – if you're in clear water, go with whites, blue shads, anything like that with a smaller blade. Del added that one of his favorite things to do at this time is to go back through the dock and skip a buzzbait or a jig up around the shade of the dock. That'll help you get a couple more fish in the boat. He said that if weather reports were even halfway right about the past weekend, a lot more fish should have moved shallow.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 551.29 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).

(updated 10-10-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said October sure is an exciting month to fish Norfork Lake. The bite for most species is good to very good. The lake has remained fairly stable over the last week, which helped the bite improve. Of course, don't forget about November and December as great fish periods for all species. Plan your Norfork Lake fishing vacation by calling Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. The crappie have moved back into the brush. Find brush in 25 - 35 feet of water and it will be holding fish. You may need to bounce from one brush pile to another, as the bite will slow after you catch several fish. The crappie are suspended to or buried inside the brush 20 - 25 feet down. Small jigs will work, as well as, small 1/8 to 1/4 ounce spoons. Live bait on a small grub or live bait on a hook with a slip float is always a great choice. The walleye bite continues to be good in the dam area. The walleye that I have found are in 80 - 90 feet of water on the bottom. A few of them are starting to move up and are being caught in 65 feet of water in the same general area. Live nightcrawlers are catching fish, as well as, 1 ounce spoons vertically jigged. You can also bait a jig head with a plastic worm or crawdad and bounce it along the bottom in the 80 foot range. The second location for walleye is in 30 - 40 feet of water along a gradually sloping shoreline. Trolling a crawler harness or bouncing a spoon along the bottom will also work. A third place to find walleye is inside of or close to brush piles. The bass bite has been very good over the last week. The larger fish have continued to move out of their deep water summer home into very shallow water to feed. Shallow shorelines that are holding bait will be holding feeding bass. If you find some sunken timber sticking up, there will be some bass hanging out. Your favorite plastics, such as worms, crawdads, or June bugs will work great. Work your bait along the bottom back to your boat and hang on. Good locations to fish for bass are back into the major creeks and larger coves where the bait has moved back to the area. They are biting great in 2 feet of water.

The majority of the striped bass and many of the hybrids have moved out of the dam area and have dispersed lake wide. I have found some smaller stripers back in major creeks along with the bigger hybrids, but no large schools at this time. With our upcoming cold front moving in, the lake will start to cool down fairly rapidly. The cooler water will get the stripers energized and they will start to school and feed heavily. This time of year there is typically a good striper bite up river in the cooler oxygenated water on the Missouri side of the lake. I have been finding some large hybrids back in major creeks feeding on shad. They have been mixed in with big schools of white bass.
The white bass bite has been really good back in the major creeks and on the large flats. Large schools of fish are feeding and vertically jigging a spoon will catch you plenty of fish. Keep your eyes open for top water action for whites and largemouth bass early in the morning. Have your top water bait or a Kastmaster handy to have loads of fun. Norfork Lake water level has fallen slightly (5.4 inches from last report) and currently sits at 551.15 feet. The lake surface water temperature has remained fairly stable over last week and was at 78.5 degrees this morning but will increase slightly during the day. The main lake clarity is getting deeper and the visibility appears to be around 7 - 10 feet down. The coves are also starting to clear. The current thermocline appears to still be roughly 40 feet down. Norfork Lake water level has fallen slightly (5.4 inches from last report) and currently sits at 551.15 feet. The lake surface water temperature has remained fairly stable over last week and was at 78.5 degrees this morning but will increase slightly during the day. The main lake clarity is getting deeper and the visibility appears to be around 7 - 10 feet down. The coves are also starting to clear. The current thermocline appears to still be roughly 40 feet down. Fishing is getting exciting and will continue to get better and better as the cooler weather cools off the lake water temperature. If you are looking for a daily update of what is happening fishing wise on Norfork Lake, follow Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s facebook page for daily activity updates.

 

(updated 10-10-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake's striper migration has begun. I have seen 2 striper guides fishing the Robinson Point area but I suspect they are not having much luck. The latest oxygen report shows that area has less than 1 percent of oxygen. They will be catching hybrids but stripers are moving to areas that contain lots of bait and oxygen. I started north of the state line on Wednesday and went up to 4 feet of water and caught a fat 14-pound stripers. I then moved down and fished an area that was loaded with white bass. I marked some fish but had no takers. I went back on Thursday and caught 7 stripers, white bass, walleyes, and catfish. My son had a trip on Friday and they caught their limit with 2 fish in the 12- to 14-pound range. I went up on Saturday and missed the bite but did catch 3 good ones. On Sunday we got a late start. I started fishing up the river about a ¼ mile of where I had caught the fish on Thursday and promptly caught an 8-pound striper. I have been using 2 to 3 inch gizzard shad using just a split. I set out 4 rods and have been doing very well. My son was pre-fishing up there and he was also using down lines with 6 inch gizzards. I put 4 downlines out too and on types of rigs with had triples. I limited out with 9 stripes in 4 hours and had many more chances to catch more. This stripers are very active and can be released to fight another day. As the warm water cools the action will get very hot. Down river you should start to find stripers in Big Creek and Bennett's Bayou but we need to get that water temperature down to the mid-seventies or lower for the bite to be strong.

The lake temperature had dropped 7 degrees but the warmer than normal weather has pushed the temperature back to 80 degrees. Until the temperature gets normal for this time of year do not expect to catch many stripes on the main lake. The best bite are the walleye that are 80' deep in the dam cove areas and hybrids. As the water cools the bait will begin to school and will move to shallower water in the mouths of the creeks. Check Big Creek if you're on the lower end of the lake and Robinson Point, Float and Panther Creeks in the mid-lake area. The Fouts area will begin holding fish along with areas from Red Bank to the 160 bridge. Find the bait and you will find the stripers. They will be hungry and begin their fall feeding pattern.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 10-10-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 0.4 feet to rest at 2.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 28.6 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had little 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. The Norfork has fished well. There have been some nice midge and sporadic caddis hatches that have provided some limited topwater action. Navigate this stream with caution. 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 (size 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 #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 size 14 sowbugs, size 12 Y2Ks and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 10-10-2018) 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.