Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 10, 2020

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report June 10, 2020.

White River

(updated 6-10-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “The lakes in our watershed – Beaver, Table Rock and Bull Shoals – remain very high. While the weather forecasts tend to worry many of us, the Army Corps of Engineers is keeping an eye on the ground here in Arkansas and much further downstream on the Mississippi River to alleviate flood situations all around us. Even with the rains this past week, the releases in the White River below Bull Shoals have been relatively gentle. The flood gates were utilized a couple of weeks ago for several days, but have not been employed since and may not be used throughout the lowering of the lakes. With all that, we still expect to see consistent high water in the weeks ahead. What's that say about the fishing? It's good news. Trout fishing on high water is all about drifting big baits to lure those big and growing fish. River minnows and sculpins drifted near the grassy banks will bring the browns out of hiding. Every kind of jerk bait is a worthy agent in your search for the biggest trout to reach your personal best. The rainbows have been biting at just about any worm especially when a bubblegum pink or fluorescent orange worm is used in conjunction with shrimp; but don't discount the red wiggler and the old time nightcrawler for catching great rainbows. Seems the copper-colored spoons and spinners are the baits to cast this time of year if that's your style of fishing. Whatever form your fishing takes, bring it to the river and enjoy Arkansas, our Natural State.

(updated 6-10-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says fishing was good until about Monday. The Corps of Engineers threatened to open the spillways, so all the boats would pulled out preparing for flooding, but nothing happened Tuesday. Anglers are catching a lot of rainbows and a few browns. Clarity is clear and 6 generators are running as of Tuesday. Overall, the trout fishing is good.

(updated 6-10-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said late last week that over the past week they had several rain events that combined for less than an inch of rainfall, with warmer temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.1 feet to rest at 32 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 1 foot below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.3 feet to rest at 12.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 1.2 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.9 foot to rest at 7.6 feet above seasonal power pool and 1 foot below the top of flood pool. The White had heavy generation supplemented by numerous flood gates. There was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 22.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 1.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork saw heavy flows and no wadable water. The lakes in the White River System are near the top of flood pool. Expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam. It has been very crowded. 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 with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it).
John also covers the topic of fishing high water: “Can you catch trout fly-fishing on high water? By high water, I mean the level of water that is currently coming through Bull Shoals Dam. When my wife, Lori, and I were fishing below the dam (Friday) the Corps of Engineers were generating at the level of 14,750 cfs or about 4½ full generators. They were letting another 11,750 cfs or about 3½ full generators through the flood gates for a combined total of 26,550 cfs. The approximate total of the eight full generators at Bull Shoals Dam is 26,400 cfs. So, this was slightly above the designed maximum generation level for Bull Shoals Dam. That is a lot of water.
“Many of our local anglers look at this much water and don’t even try. The water levels look intimidating. In fact, it is important to note that the fish are still there and, believe it or not, they are still feeding. With this much water you need to keep your head in the game and be on the lookout for other boats, trees and other obstacles. On big water, things happen fast.
“Lori and I began our fishing at Rim Shoals and noted that the water there was stained. We did not do any good and decided to try elsewhere. When you encounter stained water you move upstream till you find clean water. The water coming through the generators is always clean. When Lori and I arrived at the dam we were pleased to see clean water.
“I took a few minutes to prepare the boat to launch. I had topped off my gas tank before I left the house. You don’t want to run out of gas on the river. I carefully rigged our rods. I used a 7½-inch 4X leader. I tied on a 2-foot tippet and attached a red San Juan worm. I tied another 2-foot tippet to the bend of the hook on the San Juan worm and tied a white mop fly to it. I pinched down all barbs and attached an AAA split shot above the leader tippet connection. I finally attached a large strike indicator at the top end of the leader. This gave me a little over a 12-foot leader-tippet combination.
“We began fishing and before long we were catching trout. It has been my observation that I do not catch as many fish here as other places but I generally catch bigger fish. This day was no different. The average trout was about 20 inches long and fought well. We didn’t count but caught enough to satisfy our needs. We decided to leave a bit after noon.
“Lori and I took on high water and did well. Don’t let high water keep you from fishing.”

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 694.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).

(updated 6-10-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said anglers and other lake users will find limited access to the ramps and parking at this time; call first, especially on weekends. Del says the summer angling patterns are in effect. Black bass are going after jerkbaits near shad balls; they like spinnerbaits and chatterbaits on the old banks and bushes with stain. A big worm will work in the willow trees, while a jig in green pumpkin orange of green pumpkin blue in 18-28 feet will work, too. He’s also been finding success with a Beaver Jewel Special Ops Jig flipping bushes in less than 10 feet where you can reach the shore. Topwater, small poppers and lots of other baits are working if you can get around the fish busting. Overall topwater action has been slower than normal, he adds. For smallmouth bass, the gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads are good places to drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs Tubes, the little McMinnow or Carolina rigs from 18-32 feet down. Drop-shot summer patterns are also starting to appear near bluffs, main lake points and hump islands from 24-36 feet down.
Water clarity is fairly dingy, he says, with surface water temperature at 78 degrees. The lake is 35 feet above normal conservation level. Visit Del’s YouTube page (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for video with more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.

Norfork Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 579.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.75 feet msl).

(updated 6-10-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “Norfork Lake is hot. Literally the lake temperature went from 72 plus last week to 85 degrees today. It might cool down a little with coming rains but don't expect much. From now through September it is advised to not throw back any legal stripers. Studies have shown that 75% of stripers caught in water temperatures above 75 degrees will die within seven days. Catch your limit, call it a day, and enjoy your striper dinner.
“The full moon this past weekend had the stripers feeding before light, then about an hour after light, and once the sun came up the shallow water bite quits. For the early bite we are using threadfin shad on a freeline with a small split shot. The stripers and hybrids are about 20 feet down and feeding on schooling shad. If you're lucky you can catch your limit very quickly but all things have to go your way.
“Once the early bite is over I switch gears and move to bluffs with a channel swing and set out two freelines 100 to 150 feet behind the boat then six downlines set at 60 feet. Most of my fish are caught on the downlines. I target water around 80 feet deep. The stripers are feeding heavy on crawdads and will attack the shad swimming just above them. This technique will become the standard way you fish for stripers for the next three months. Stripers are being caught at Cranfield, Panther Bay, Crystal Cove, Diamond Bay and the main lake points heading towards Big and Brushy Creeks.”

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 6-10-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 22.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 1.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork saw heavy flows and no wadable water. The lakes in the White River System are near the top of flood pool. Expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
The Norfork is fishing better. 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. The fishing is better in the morning. Dry Run Creek is fishing very well. With the coronavirus pandemic there is little pressure. 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 6-10-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off-color. John’s favorite fly on these waters 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.