Cotter Trout Dock Sign
Established 1954
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Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

November 27, 2019


Below are some photos of our guided trout fishing customers taken this week at Cotter Trout Dock.  Had some guests out this week but not very many photographers. 
Click images to enlarge.
Below the pictures is the Fishing Report from Arkansas Game and Fish.




White River

(updated 11-27-2019) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says the White River System continues to run moderately high, from Beaver Lake tailwater to downstream from Cotter all the way past Calico Rock. Expect generation to remain steady for the foreseeable future. Traffic on the river typically slows down around the holidays, so now is the time to visit and experience uninterrupted fishing and a real getaway from the fast lane holiday shopping/planning/running.
”We found some beautiful, healthy, brightly colored rainbows interested in bright pink bells on the silver Vibrax Blue Fox spinners. The quarter-ounce spinner proved more successful than a lighter weight with the dam releases at 5,500 to 6,000 cfs (about two units). Rainbow-colored stick baits (Rapala CD5s and 7s) and blue/silver spoons (1/4 oz.) were hits, too. Rule of thumb: Gold spinners and spoons will work best when the sky is clear and sunny; change to silver-colored baits when fishing under overcast skies. “Lots of action catching rainbows with white PowerBait. If the Army Corps of Engineers and Southwestern Power drop the level of generation (like they've done this week), change to pink or orange to speed up the catch.
“Enjoy a satisfying Thanksgiving. Add trout fishing to your holiday To-Do List -- serves as a stress-buster at this time of year.”

(updated 11-27-2019) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) the Corps of Engineers has been running 3 generators and the river is falling out. The water is clear. Anglers have been catching all rainbows. Two anglers caught 60 rainbows. Overall, the bite is good. Shrimp and Power Worms work best, along with stick baits and long white worms.

(updated 11-27-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-4352169) said that during the past week, they had yet another major rain event (almost 2 inches in Cotter), cold temperatures (to include winter weather advisories) and moderate to heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 2.5 feet to rest at 11.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 24.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 2.7 feet to rest at seasonal power pool and 14 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 8.4 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had moderate generation with some limited wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.3 feet to rest at 5.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 21.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had moderate generation with limited and unreliable wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to heavy rains over the last few weeks, all of the lakes in the White River System are now over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the near future.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed until Jan. 31, 2020, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The state park is seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. This section will reopen to fishing Feb. 1.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the 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 high water San Juan worm with an egg pattern suspended below it). Use long leaders and plenty of lead to get your flies down.
Norfork Lake rose 1.3 feet to rest at 5.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 21.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had moderate generation with limited and unreliable wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to heavy rains over the last few weeks, all of the lakes in the White River System are now over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the near future.
The Norfork has been fishing better on the moderate flows. The dissolved oxygen level is slightly improved. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole due to flooding over the past two years. 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. The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing better. The browns have begun making their annual migration up stream. With school back in session it will be less crowded during the week. The weekends can be pretty busy. 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.
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 671.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).

(updated 11-27-2019) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no report. Check out Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for his latest video reports and tips on catching the fish.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 559.55 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).

(updated 11-13-2019) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been good to me the last week, but things will be changing with the polar blast we are currently getting. The cold frigid weather will push the bait out of the creeks. They will head to more comfortable water temperatures in the main lake and yes, the fish will follow. The bite has been good for all species and will continue to get better and better as the fish start to feed heavily for the upcoming winter months. Start looking at the large flats in 30-50 feet of water for bait and fish of all species in the coming days, as the water continues to cool rapidly.
A couple different types of areas have been holding striped and hybrid bass. The best areas for striped and hybrid bass at this time, have been back in the major creeks or up river. Bennett’s, Big Creek and upriver from Calamity to the Udall areas have been great places to find striped and hybrid bass. The bait has been very thick in all these areas and the fish have been feeding. Fishing with live bait, such as shiners, thread fin and gizzard shad has been producing the largest number of fish, but artificial baits have also been catching fish. You will find stripers in these creek type areas in 20-40 feet of water and they will be at all depths. The second type of area where I have been finding stripers and hybrids, as well as, white bass is on large flats. You will need to do some searching with your electronics until you find bait. The fish will be nearby. I have found large schools of fish and you can have a blast vertical jigging with a spoon, as long as you can stay on the feeding fish. Most of the fish I’ve found on the flats have been in 30-45 feet of water. The fish may be suspended, but the best bite is when you find them feeding on the bottom. The flats fishing should get much better as the bait starts to move out of the shallow water of the creeks.
The crappie bite continues to be good. On Sunday (Nov. 10) I decided to check out a brushpile that was near the flat where I had been fishing. It was a main lake point that has brush in very shallow water and out to about 30 feet of water. I started to jig with a quarter-ounce green with florescent green back spoon. I moved across the point and when I got to 10 feet of water the bite just exploded. The fish were 5-10 feet down, in the very shallow water out to about 20 feet of water. I landed 14 fish in less than 20 minutes. This really is not the norm, but when you find fish this active it is a blast. Typically, the crappie have been on 25-35 feet deep brush and have been suspended 10-20 feet down over the top of the brush. Live bait, small grubs tipped with a crappie minnow or a small spoon have all been working.
The bass bite has also been good. Bass seem to be everywhere, in shallow water, as well as deep water. During the late fall I look for feeding bass in 30-45 feet of water on large flats. Once you find the school of fish, drop a ¾ ounce spoon on them and you will catch one after another. I typically do not find feeding bass until midmorning, after the sun gets high in the sky. The best locations on the flats are under water ledges or underwater points on the flats. Drop-shot rigs will also work very well on these deep fish. The bass are in shallow water as well. Plastic worms, crawdads, lizards, etc. are working well for the shallow fish. Cast your bait up to the shoreline and work it back slowly. Bass are hanging in the sunken buck brush along the shallow shoreline or along the deep bluff lines on the drops and ledges. Crank baits, buzz baits and spinner baits are also working well depending on the wind. As the water continues to cool the jerk bait bite will start to work. This should happen soon.
Walleye and catfish are also feeding on the flats in the 30-45 feet of water. Jigging a spoon will catch you some nice fish of all species.
Norfork Lake surface water temperature is falling. The surface water temperature is in the upper fifties and should drop a few more degrees over the next several days with the cold air temperature that we are currently having. The lake level is on a slow rise and currently sits at 558.03 feet MSL. The water on most of the lake is stained, but will begin to clear again as the water level stabilizes. A few more very cold days are forecast for our area, but warmer fall type weather is on its way back the latter part of this week. “Happy fishing and see you on the lake.”

(updated 11-27-2019) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 11-27-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 1.3 feet to rest at 5.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 21.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had moderate generation with limited and unreliable wadable water. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to heavy rains over the last few weeks, all of the lakes in the White River System are now over the top of power pool. Expect heavy generation for the near future.
The Norfork has been fishing better on the moderate flows. The dissolved oxygen level is slightly improved. Navigate this stream with caution as there has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole due to flooding over the past two years. 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. The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing better. The browns have begun making their annual migration up stream. With school back in session it will be less crowded during the week. The weekends can be pretty busy. 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 11-27-2019) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are a bit high and off-color. The smallmouths are less 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.