Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 21, 2019

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter ?rel=0 Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report August 21, 2019.

White River

(updated 8-21-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) say the high temperatures have been steady and so has the fishing. Great rainbows have been consistently reeled in all week long, many of them measuring over 17 inches. The best way to hook these excellent fish has been a mix of live worms (usually redworms or nightcrawlers) and spoons with a flash of red in them. The usual mix of yellow or red PowerBait and frozen shrimp is the best if you're looking for a large quantity of slightly smaller rainbow trout. The bigger brown trout have been looking for live minnows and lures with orange bellies. For fly-fishing this week, peach- or orange-colored egg patterns have proven very successful. The water level has been steady this week with Bull Shoals Dam consistently generating around four units for most of the day. “Be ready for the heat and come ready to catch some great trout on the White River.”

(updated 8-21-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) had no report this week.

(updated 8-21-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Monday that they had just a trace of rain, hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds over the previous week. The lake level at Bull Shoals dropped 2.6 feet to rest at 18 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet. This is 16 feet below the top of the flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.1 of a foot below seasonal power pool and 14.1 feet below the top of the flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.9 foot to rest at 4.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.9 feet below the top of the flood pool. The White had heavy generation with no wadable water last week. Norfork lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 10.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 14.1 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork saw heavy generation in the afternoon and very limited wadable water in the early morning. Most of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the foreseeable future.
Hopper season is in full swing. Use a short (7½ foot) leader to turn over the big fly. Cast near the bank and hang on. The takes can be vicious. John says he prefers large western foam hoppers so that he does not need to dress them. Add a dropper nymph to increase your catch.
The White has fished very well. The hot spot has been Wildcat 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 cerise San Juan worm with an egg pattern suspended below it. Use long leaders and plenty of lead to get your flies down).
John also said, “Last week I got a last-minute trip to guide a family from Kansas City. There were more anglers than I could handle with just my boat so I called my friend and fellow guide Danny Barker to help me out. The family from Kansas City had rented a cabin on the White River expecting to wade fish there. Reality crept in when they arrived and saw four full generators flowing by.
“I met them at McDonalds (anybody can find it) and we drove over to Rim Shoals. The Army Corps of Engineers was running about four full generators or 12,500 cfs. The phone at the dam said that they were running six generators. It had rained the day before but the river was still clear.
“The big deal was the fog. It was heavier than I had ever seen. I could not see but half of my boat when I backed it into the river to launch. I loaded my clients into the boat and ventured from the ramp. I went very slowly because I could only see a few feet in front of me.
“Luckily for me I have fished this area a lot over the years and I know it like the back of my hand. I carefully navigated around the obstacles that I was aware of and looked and listened for other boats. My outboard motor is a four cycle Honda prop and runs very quietly allowing me to hear well even when it is running. In addition, with the heavy volume of water they were running, most of the rocks and other obstacles were well below the surface.
“The forecast for the day called for temperatures in the low 90s. However, due to the dense fog, it was much cooler on the river than usual. I put on my rain jacket that I always carry in my boat. It is bright neon green that comforted me because I thought it would be easier to see. Generally a fog like this burns off around ten o’clock but at noon when we stopped for lunch it was still as dense as it had been when we started. I wore the rain jacket until around two o’clock when it warmed up.
“The skies were overcast. It was so dark, my sunglasses were virtually unnecessary. In addition, when I ran upstream, they clouded up from the moisture in the fog and I was constantly cleaning them.
“Since I could only see a few feet in front of me I tried to keep up with Danny because I knew he was fishing nearby. I had heard him running upstream before me and as I made my run I scoured the water in front of me to try and see him. I took it very slow and as I went upstream he suddenly appeared about ten feet in front of me. He has the brightest colored boat on the river (yellow and purple) and I could not see him until I was virtually on top of him. The fog remained this dense all day. At quitting time it was still there.
“Luckily I didn’t hit Danny or anyone else and the trout cooperated.”

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 678.23 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl).

(updated 8-21-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake clarity is stained with a visibility of 5-10 feet. The water level as of Tuesday early afternoon was still 19 feet over normal pool level. Bream reports are good, with redworms or crickets working well. Crappie are good; they are biting spoons and are mostly on the creeks now. Black bass reports are fair. Del is finding them in about 20-30 feet of water. In the morning there is a topwater bite. Nothing to report on catfish or white bass. Check out Del’s YouTube channel (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for his regularly updated video fishing report with various baits and patterns he’s using for the bass.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 565.36 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).

(updated 8-21-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideway Resort said fishing on Norfork Lake continues the summertime pattern with no dramatic change over the last week. The water temperature is on the rise with the unseasonably warm air temperatures. The thermocline may have dropped a foot or two, bur is still in the 25-foot range, plus or minus a foot or two. Striped bass fishing is still the best at the dam area. You can find many of the stripers 70-90 feet deep on the bottom or very close to it. “I have noticed that they seem to have moved a little deeper since last week. I fished for striped bass last Sunday and Monday and caught a few and missed a few, but most were 80-90 feet down on the bottom. Live bait is working, but you will need to change out your baits often as they are not surviving long in this deep and cold water. Vertical-jigging with a spoon is picking up a few fish and trolling with downriggers or a lot of inline weight is also picking up some fish. I am hearing that the fishermen trolling swimbaits or umbrella rigs are catching a few stripers suspended 40 feet down, but the fish I am finding are mainly very deep.

“Today (Tuesday) I headed toward the Cranfield area and upriver a short way and fished in 20-35 feet of water. I was vertical-jigging a spoon, casting deeper-diving crankbaits and slow trolling deep-diving crankbaits. I caught crappie, bluegill and bass. Crappie have moved into brush that is in 25-30 feet of water. I started out vertical jigging a quarter-ounce spoon with lightweight line. I was marking fish at the tops of the brush, about 15 feet down. I received no bites. I switch to my 1-ounce spoon and on my first drop it was hammered by a 10.5-inch crappie. I fished this brush with the 1-ounce spoon for about 30 minutes and landed five more in the 10-inch range. Why they liked the bigger bait over my normal go-to size, I have no idea, but they were aggressive. I switched methods of fishing and started casting a deep-diving crankbait over the tops of some brush where I was marking fish and landed a nice 12 crappie and a few bass. You can also troll with deep-diving crankbaits in 18-30 feet of water and catch many different species of fish. You will need to have your bait reach around 15-20 feet deep. I have in the past added some big split shots about 6 feet or so from the bait to help it get deeper.”
Norfork Lake surface water temperature is on the rise and was 87 degrees Tuesady morning. The lake is somewhat stained, but clearer in the main lake. The water depth continues to drop 2-3 inches per day due to the Army Corps of Engineers keeping the power generators on for part of the day. The current depth of Norfork Lake is 565.5 feet msl. “Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”

(updated 8-7-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the Norfork Lake stripers bite was better this past week I limited out one day and had several days that if we hooked all of the bites, we would have our limit. What we are finding is there is no early bite. We have been leaving the dock at 5:30 AM and really get no bites until after 6:30 AM so this week we are leaving at 6:30 AM. Some days the bite starts around 6:30 and ends by 7:30. What I found was the active fish move out and if you wait and keep changing your bait you will get bit later in the morning. For example I have fishing one location and catch a couple of fish by 7:30, then I move to a place by the dam and try for another striper. I then move back to the original location and catch some later fish. Saturday I moved around everywhere and could not get a bit so I went back to my original spot and found some fish but they did not bite until 8:50 and then we had 3 move bites by 10 AM. We caught 2 16 & 18 lbs and lost 2 in that size range. I feel that the real bite is somewhere between 8 and 10 AM. I also feel there is an afternoon bite which I plan on trying on my next off day. I continue to fish from Koso Point to the Dam. Dam Cove and along the buoys the guides have been catching fish in the 80’ range. Most of the stripers I have catching are at 80’ right off the bottom. In-line spinners, spoons, trolling and live bait all are producing catches.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 8-21-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that during the previous week Norfork Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 10.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet and 14.1 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork saw heavy generation in the afternoon and very limited wadable water in the early morning. Most of the lakes in the White River System are well over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the foreseeable 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 (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 slow. With school starting back, it will be less 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 mop flies.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 8-21-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. The smallmouths are more active with the warm conditions. My 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.