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Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

October 17, 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 17, 2017.

White River

(updated 10-17-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says cold weather is here, but the fishing is still hot. It seems we've skipped fall and moved straight to winter, so right now is the time to catch some big brown trout before they go into their spawning period. Sculpin are the favorite bait for the browns right now as they look to put on some extra winter weight. The rainbow catch has been great, with many excellent-size rainbows being pulled in and the occasional cutthroat being spotted. Lures with silver flash like the 3/16-ounce Blue Fox have been popular and the favorite PowerBait color is slowly switching from yellow to orange as we move further into the spawn. Dress in layers and enjoy the misty, cold mornings on the river reeling in great trout.

(updated 10-17-2018) 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. The rain and cold limited a lot of the fishing, but when anglers got out, it was similar results to previous weeks. 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 10-17-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week they had a few rain events that accounted for more than 1½ inches of rain, cooler temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 feet to rest at 3.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 39.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 feet to rest at 4.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 18.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 feet to rest at 3.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 12.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 2.6 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 28.8. feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork 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 (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 (my 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, “David Knowles is a retired engineering professor who lives in Fayetteville and is a commercial fly-tyer. Over the years, he has developed several fly patterns that have become game-changers. These are flies that have become go-to local patterns. When guides ask each other what is working, these flies are always mentioned. He developed the Y2K, the root beer midge and the ruby midge. The ruby midge has been my No. 1 producer for several years. When I managed Blue Ribbon Fly Shop, we could not keep the bins full enough of this fly or the Y2K and the root beer midge.
“The Y2K is a colorful conical beadhead fly that I usually substitute for an egg pattern. How can any fly that looks like PowerBait be bad. I had a 12-year-old client land a 16-pound brown on Dry Run Creek using one. I am a believer. I use the root beer midge when the ruby midge is not working. No single fly works 100 percent of the time.
“Over the years, David and I have become friends. Recently he told me that he wanted me to field-test some new patterns. I was of course honored. I have one of the top commercial fly-tyers in the United States sending me flies to test. Life is good!
“Because David is an engineer, I knew I had to perform my field test in a logical matter. The first fly I chose to test is a prismatic midge. This is a variation on the ruby midge. I tested it by taking my wife, Lori, fishing.
“I rigged our rods exactly the same except for the dropper fly. I used the same rod, reel, line, leader, tippet, split shot and lead fly (a Copper John No. 14). On Lori’s rod I put a ruby midge on as the dropper. On my rod I put on a prismatic midge as the dropper. We fished together on the same water from my White River jon boat.
“I was into a fish almost immediately. I caught several. Lori was catching fish but not as many as I was. I was probably out-fishing her two to one. She asked why I was doing so well. I told her that I was doing some field testing and showed her the fly. She was impressed with the fly and asked if she could have one to try out. I quickly agreed and tied one on for her. The results were as expected. She began catching more fish. This fly looks like a game-changer to me.
“I have several other patterns to test. Lori and I are both doing a lot of guiding right now so it may be a while before we get the opportunity to give them a proper test. We both look forward to the opportunity.”

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 655.21 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).

(updated 10-17-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said they’ve had some big weather come in. This cold front will hopefully get those fish moving a little more. It’s been kind of stagnant. The Army Corps of Engineers are running a little water at the dam (dropping the lake about 4 feet) and the days are getting shorter. These fish are starting the move up. As the temperature cools off these fish are starting to get a little more comfortable coming up shallow, so day in and day out don't forget to check the shallow part. The fish for me have been following into the creeks arms, the bigger creek arms, following the channels going in those bass seem to be keyed in on the shad. If you’re around the shad you’re going to be around the fish. But the key is just keep moving, chucking and winding. It’s power fishing time of year; so, if you put in the work, it'll pay off. Just don't be afraid to move. In the morning starting off, there's a topwater bite. Either throwing a Lucky Craft or Sammy, a buzzbait if there's some wind. If there's a little more wind you can throw the Whopper Plopper. That morning bite, if it's windy and cloudy all day you can stay and throw topwater all day. If it lays flat on you, you're going to have to mix it up, obviously. Going into the creeks and following the channel swing banks, sides of points with wind on them, the big key is to stay in the wind. If you're in the wind you're going to get bit. The square bill is catching some fish. Obviously those fish are a little bit shallower. The jig bite is producing. Green pumpkin or green pumpkin orange, some shad or crawdads. If it does lay flat and if you get some sun, you can still catch them drop-shotting deep up around the docks, hot on the points. The fish seem to be still in that 26-28 feet range. Those are mostly Kentucky bass with some smallmouth bass mixed in. We have been catching quite a few smallmouth even up shallow. If it’s super windy, throw a spinnerbait. The spinnerbaits are starting the work, but you need to have a lot of wind for that the work.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 551.20 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).

(updated 10-17-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake's striper bite is heating up. He says they are catching stripers up past the state line and in the south end in the Big Creek area. Again, live bait is the best bait for both morning and afternoon fishing. This past week, Tom says, he fished the Big Creek area and caught limits using small and medium-size gizzard shad. There was also a lot of topwater action when the wind was not blowing. “The stripers are schooling up and we were getting multiple bites as we pass over a school,” he said. “I have not started fishing until I can find the fish. Once I find them, the bite will last up to 9 a.m., then it dies off.” Up north the bite is strong from the state line to the above the Udall boat ramp. Be very careful in this area because of shallow spots in the lake. The water temperature has dropped to the low 60s, and the stripers are exploding on the baits. The stripers are very active and can be released to fight another day. The lake temperature continues to drop and will be in the 60s all over the lake by the end of this week.
The crappie bite is very strong on the deep brush piles. Limits are being caught using a small spoon or minnows. The bass bite is also very strong all over the lake. As the water continues to cool the shad are schooling up and have moved 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 Highway 160 bridge. Find the bait and you will find the stripers. They will be hungry and begin their fall feeding pattern. Tom and his son Sean Reynolds guide out of Tracy Ferry Marina. Tracy Ferry Marina is the only marina on Norfork Lake that has 24/7 access to fuel. You can get gas anytime using your credit card. Reach them at www.stroutfitters.com, Facebook.com/stroutfitters or 870-421-1541.

(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.

 

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 10-17-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous Norfork Lake fell 0.2 feet to rest at 2.6 foot below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 28.8. feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork 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 (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 browns have moved up into the creek. 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 10-17-2018) 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.