Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

July 10, 2019

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report July 10, 2019.

White River

(updated 7-10-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says Bull Shoals Dam has begun the release they’ve been expecting, which is required to bring the lake down to desired power pool level. “Over the last week we've seen fluctuations in the water: beginning the day with low water and ending with a fairly significant rise. Plan your baits based on water conditions: Begin with the tried-and-true shrimp and egg pattern (orange and/or yellow and/or pink), move to worms or to drifting a pink or orange two-inch worm as the water rises. Try a mid-sized Rebel Minnow when the releases equal two or three units of water (4,500 to 9,000 cfs). The brown trout X-Rap Rapala and the Elite Blue RPS-9 (Rapala’s ripstop size 9) are good baits to use at low- to mid-level releases, too.
“When we begin to see steady releases of 12,000 cfs and more, we'll be pulling out the big baits: Look for the 4- to 5-inch Smithwicks, orange bellies, blue or black backs. Pay attention to the eye color on your baits and let me know which works best for you: yellow, red or black? Go catching and enjoy Arkansas’s natural resources.”

(updated 7-10-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water temperature and clarity are variable. The water is very hot now, they say. The water starts low and gets high every day. Fishing was good when the water was low; when the water got high at 2-3 p.m., fishing was over. But overall, the trout bite was good, they report. Anglers caught several rainbows and a few brown trout.

(updated 7-10-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the previous week they had four rain events that combined for an inch of rainfall, hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.2 foot to rest at 26.7 feet above seasonal power pool of 661.27 feet msl. This is 7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock remained steady at 4 feet above seasonal power pool and 10 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 7.4 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had light generation and reliable wadable water early in the week, and heavy generation and no wadable water later in the week. Norfork Lake fell 2.1 feet to rest at 18.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.02 feet msl and 7.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had heavy 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 well over the top of power pool. The dams are seeing heavy generation, and expect it to continue for the foreseeable future.
The White has fished very well. The hot spot has been the Narrows. There have been some good hatches of sulphur mayflies that have created some great 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 (John’s current favorite combination is a size 14 pheasant tail nymph 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. 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 reported the lake’s elevation at 687.78 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).

(updated 7-10-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake level continues stay well above normal pool; as of Tuesday afternoon it was 29 feet high. The water is murky. The surface water temperature was 86 degrees. The bream bite is good. Fish the bluffs or the rocky points with redworms and crickets. No reports on crappie. Black bass will be good in the early morning by fishing topwater baits. Catfishing is good with limblines and trotlines. Walleye are good if you’re trolling; target 20 feet depth. Check out Del’s YouTube channel for his regularly updated video fishing report with various baits and patterns he’s using for the bass, including a new report he put up late last week.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 572.22 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).

(updated 7-10-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “This is a strange year for striper fishing on Norfork Lake. In fact, in all my years of guiding I cannot recall (another time like) how the stripers are acting this year. Last year I talked about the thermocline needing to move down this year. It did and the stripers went deep. Right now almost all the fish myself and my son catch are at 60-80 feet. Most of the fish being caught are between 60-70 feet and the bite usually starts around 6 a.m. and lasts about 1½ hours. There is a period where the stripers move to the channel edge and feed heavy in 72 feet on the bottom but the bite does not last long and then they move back out into the deep water following the channel.”
Tom says that last weekend he had a great three days of catching stripers. By Monday he fished the same spot and did not have a bite. “In fact, both Monday and Tuesday I only had two bites and no fish. Wednesday I moved to Dam Cove and we caught six and by week’s end my son was limiting out each day while I also was catching good quality stripers. I was not limiting, but my clients were having a good time seeing all the action.” He says the only artificial technique working is spooning. “The trollers by me did not catch a single fish this week,” he added. Stripers are being caught in Shoal Creek around 6:30 a.m. along the bluff wall. The only problem is it's not every day. There is no consistent bite anywhere right now. Hopefully the hot weather and lowing of lake will get the stripers into their normal summer pattern. “I continue to fish the main lake from Thumb Point to Hand Cove and the Dam Area. This pattern will hold true well into September.”

(updated 7-3-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideway Resort said, “Happy Fourth of July to all. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday period. Norfork Lake is mainly in its summertime pattern. This means fish are starting to go deep. Most fish species are hanging out in the 20-30 feet range. Norfork Lake has formed a thermocline at about 20-25 feet and the fish are hanging very close to it.”
The best bite on the lake at this time, is for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. At sunrise, you can find some topwater action up close to the shoreline and out on long shallower points. Yesterday my daughter and I had fun throwing Zara Spooks and Whopper Ploppers. The fish are very aggressive. When you see a small swirl in the water cast your bait at the swirl and give it a twitch, the fish will hammer it. As the sun gets over the tree line the fish start to go deeper. Once they go deep start looking just outside of the sunken buck brush on the wind blown points, which will be in about 20-25 feet of water. Start throwing a grub or just about any dark plastic, and work it along the bottom. You don’t need to work it fast, but you will need to pay attention as the bite at this time has been very light.
The striped bass have gone deep earlier this year than normal. You will find stripers anywhere from 30-70 feet, either suspended or on the bottom. I have been having difficulty in finding large numbers of stripers in any one area. They are scattered throughout the lake. Live bait has been working the best, but you have to work at it. When you find the fish, you can also vertical jig and spoon and you will pick up a few nice fish. Trolling large swimbaits is also picking up some nice fish keeping the bait at about 50 feet deep back in some of the major creeks. The best locations to start looking for this species are from the Robinson area down to the dam and also back to the Big Creek area. They will be up in the 30 feet range early in the morning, then head deeper as the sun comes up.
Norfork Lake has rising to 573.78, but currently is starting to drop with both of the generators running constantly. Both generators running for the entire day will drop the lake about 3 inches per day. The main lake is fairly clear, with the creeks and coves slightly stained. The current surface water temperature is in the mid-80s.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 7-10-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the previous week Norfork Lake fell 2.1 feet to rest at 18.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.02 feet msl and 7.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had heavy 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 well over the top of power pool. The dams on the System are seeing heavy generation, and expect it to continue for the foreseeable future.
The Norfork has been slow. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole over the last couple of years from flooding. 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 ruby midge (size 18) suspended 18 inches below a red fox squirrel and copper (size 14). The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing well. With school out, it will be crowded. There is some work being done at the hatchery that has affected access to the upper areas on the creek and some of the hatchery discharge pipes are not running, resulting in lower flows on the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and white mop flies.
Remember that the Norfork River and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. 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.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 7-10-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable and greatly cleared. The smallmouths are more active with the warm conditions. 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.