Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

May 29, 2019

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report May 29, 2019.

White River

(updated 5-29-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says, “Amazing fishing! White River/Bull Shoals tailwaters remain low; most days during the last two weeks we've seen an average of less than 3,000 cfs (less than one generator from the dam). This past weekend trout bite was phenomenal using everything from shrimp and scented egg baits to Blue Foxes to Thomas Buoyant spoons (1/6-ounce and quarter-ounce, red/gold and blue/silver) to Rapala count downs No. 5 and No. 7 (most success was with the rainbow and brown trout Rapalas) and the Trout Magnet purple grub/worms. So many holiday fishers were able to take home a mess of rainbows for Memorial Day grilling and some celebrated family time.
“While this weekend brought perfect conditions, we know we can't expect that every day. But we can expect our guides to take care of you in all weather and water conditions, help you catch fish every day, teach new techniques to sharpen your fishing skills, and bless you with Arkansas Ozark hospitality. So many areas are being adversely affected with flooding; we're keeping all those folks in our hearts and prayers. Your do the same and we'll keep you posted on water conditions near Cotter.”

(updated 5-29-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Sunday that during the past week they had a three-quarters of an inch of rain, warm temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 6.2 feet to rest at 21.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 11.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above seasonal power pool and 13.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 4.5 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had light generation and some wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.5 feet to rest at 14.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 8.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and reliable 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 well over the top of power pool. There is currently light generation and some wadable water. This will end when flooding recedes downstream. Expect heavy generation in the near future. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been 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 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 pheasant tail nymph with a size 18 root beer 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.
John also said, “As many of you know, my wife, Lori Sloas, is the top fly-casting instructor in the area. Together we have been teaching a basic fly-fishing class at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home twice a year for eight years. We have taught fly-fishing at a variety of other venues for over 17 years. The one constant is that Lori has lead the fly-fishing portion of the class. She has also taught fly-casting at the Sowbug Roundup for the past few years by herself.
“I met Lori 19 years ago, when I was teaching a fly-fishing class with my brother, Dan. She was one of our students and I ended up working with her on stream. It was love at first sight. She was a natural and took to casting like a duck to water. Dan was leading the casting portion and worked with her and thought she had promise. We added her to our faculty and had her assist in teaching casting. We ran into the late fly-casting guru, Lefty Kreh, at a fly-fishing show and he took a lot of time to hone her casting skills. Lori and I moved here and began teaching fly-fishing on our own.
“We have had a lot of requests for Lori to teach a fly-casting clinic. The idea is to have it open to beginners and intermediate fly-casters. The beginners will be taught the basic cast to enable them to go fishing with confidence. For intermediate casters, she will evaluate their cast and provide tips on cleaning it up. In addition, she will provide instruction on shooting line, extending your cast and roll casting. All of this will be tailored to the individual student’s needs. She has a simple approach and is not judgmental. Lori works within her students’ abilities and physical limitations.
“Like our other classes, this is being held through the Community Education Department at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home. It will be held on Saturday June 15, at Cotter Big Spring Park on the banks of the beautiful White River behind the ball field from 9 a.m. until noon. Fly rods and reels will be furnished, or you can bring your own. You can register online at<wbr></wbr>community-education.html. You can also register in person at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center at ASUMH 1600 College St., Mountain Home, AR 72653, or by telephone at (870) 508-6105. There is a modest fee. I think that this clinic will benefit most fly casters or would be fly casters out there.”

(updated 5-29-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the clarity is green from the moss. There are 2-6 generators running – usually two in the morning and as many as six in the afternoon. The trout bite is good, but moss is still a problem for anglers. They report a lot of rainbow trout were caught. A 20-plus-inch trout was hooked last week.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 683.71 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).

(updated 5-22-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said late last week that the lake level was up 16 feet to 677 feet msl. “You’ve got a lot of water in the lake. that makes it fun, and we’re still catching fish.” Water clarity is about 25-30 feet. Down by the dam on a flat day, you can see quite a ways down, he said. So, that means you can fish the lake two different ways: clear and dirty. If you're going to fish in the clear water, he said, there's a good tube bite. You can drag a tube, and what ou want to do is fish the points, the old shoreline. Mark the bush and come back out 10-15 feet and cast. Throw a tube, and a football jigs working in there as well. Carolina rigs are also working. “What I do is I like to go find a little dirtier water. There’s still some late spotters up and there’s some bed fish still, so go ahead and hit them up with the Senko. There’s also a Beaver bite, flipping the bushes, pushing the cover. That’s going to work good in the dirty water.” He notes that there is a lot new water to explore, and if anglers get into the mulch pads, the frog is still working there. Again, it helps if there is a little dirtier water for that approach. “You can catch a few on a frog, and that’s a lot of fun,” he said. “Also if you get up early there's topwater bite that's starting, so in isolated cover you can throw a Whopper Plopper or a Zara Spook. If you're looking to cover some water, you can also throw the Lucky Craft, the Gun Fish, if the water is real clear. That will put a couple of fish in the boat for you.”
Also working, Del said, is when a front is coming through and there are clouds, anglers can do some power fishing with a spinnerbait. The Whopper Plopper is st arting to work there, too. “You kind of want a little bit of wind, a little bit of clouds, a little bit of dirty water. Same thing with the buzzbait.” So, the story is, if you’re on Bull Shoals, Del says, there’s “a bunch of different ways to catch them.” Also, the smallmouth bass and Kentucky bass seem to be out toward the main lake now, while back in the arms and creeks, if you get the “skinny, dirty water,” there seems to be a bit more largemouth action back there.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 571.53 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 555.75 feet msl).

(updated 5-29-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said the Memorial Day holiday weekend had absolutely gorgeous weather here on Lake Norfork. This holiday brings on the summertime lake lovers. This does not mean that the fishing season is over, it just means the fishing patterns will change. Bring the family and enjoy the quiet early morning fishing experience then during the heat of the day enjoy the lake a different way by swimming, tubing, skiing or whatever type of water sport you enjoy.
“I have mainly been fishing for striped bass the last couple of weeks and the bite has been good once I find the fish. The higher water level has altered the timing of the typical fishing patterns, but during the last week, I found that striped and hybrid bass are starting to do what they normally do this time of year. I am starting to find large schools feeding in the dark and they continue feeding until the sun rises above the tree line. Once the sun gets high in the sky, they head out into deeper water and start to go toward the bottom. This morning I was fishing with a couple of my guests and found a huge school of fish feeding on shad. The fish were suspended from the surface down to 40 feet and we were actually sitting in 100+ feet of water. Live bait was working great. As it started to get light, the bait and fish left this main lake area. I then headed partway back into a couple of different creeks and found some good topwater action for hybrids, and then found stripers lying on the bottom in 50 - 60 feet of water, with a few suspended 30 to 40 feet down. My problem this morning was that I was only geared to live bait fish and did not have any of my topwater rods with me, so pitching live bait worked in a pinch. Trolling with umbrella rigs or large swimbaits will work great as long as you get them down to at least 25 feet if not deeper for the suspended fish. Vertical jigging with a 1 ounce spoon will work for the fish on the bottom.
The largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass bite has also been good. Many of this species are hiding out close to or inside of the sunken buck brush early and late in the day. Worms, spinners and swimbaits are all producing some nice fish coming off the shoreline. Topwater baits are also working well early and late in the day. Once the sun gets high in the sky, fish the outside edge of the brush or at the old normal pool shoreline which would be roughly be at 18 - 20 feet. Creature baits, jig & pigs or other plastics worked slowly on the bottom with pick up some big bass. The bite has been very light so watch your line carefully and if you start to see it swim away set the hook.

Norfork Lake water level is slowly rising and currently sits at 571.40 feet msl. The surface water temperature this morning was in the mid- to upper 70s. Most of the main lake, creeks and coves are clear to just slightly stained.


(updated 5-29-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the shad have yet to do a full spawn in Norfork Lake, but the stripers have decided they could not wait so they have switched their diet to crawdads. They are feeding on crawdads on the flats early then moving to deep water to feed on shad. “We had a cold wet spring with very few days of warm weather and more rain than I care to see again. The lake is now 14.6 feet over the normal summer pool, and we will have that for foreseeable future as all the lakes and rivers are over the banks and they have no place to put the water. The best bite is the first two hours unless we have overcast skies. I have been using gizzard shad ranging from 3-8 inches. Now the water has warmed up. It's now time to keep your fish, the current water temperature is above 76 degrees and going up with the current weather pattern calling for warm weather. The stripers have gone deep ;we are catching stripers from 31-50 feet on downlines. The stripers are being caught in Crystal Cove, Bidwill Point, the east side of the U.S. Highway 62 bridge and the points on the backside of Henderson marina. We are catching stripers in the Big Creek and Brushy Creek on the channel swings in waters ranging from 40-100 feet.
The walleye bite has slowed down. They will be moving to their summer pattern. They will feeding in the 28-32 feet range. The best bite is usually from 8-11 a.m.. You will catch them using bottom bouncers set on the bottom running spinners and nightcrawlers. The high water will alter the crappie bite. Until the water warms they will stay in the deep brush piles, but once it warms up, look for stained water and find some buckbrush. The best method is to dip and cork and minnow into the brush. It's very effective in catching spawning crappie.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 5-29-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Sunday that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 1.5 feet to rest at 14.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 8.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and reliable 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 well over the top of power pool. There is currently light generation and some wadable water. This will end when flooding recedes downstream. Expect heavy generation in the near future. The Norfork has been slow. 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 (#18, #20, #22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#14, #16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small ruby midge (#18) suspended eighteen inches below a red fox squirrel and copper (#14). The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing well. With school out, it will be crowded soon. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #10) and white mop flies.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 5-22-2019) 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 more active with the warm conditions. John’s favorite fly here 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.