Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

July 22, 2020

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report July 22, 2020.

White River

(updated 7-22-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said everybody wants to be on the river where the water temperature is a near-steady 57 degrees and, even in the midst of a 95-degree day, you might float through a mist that drops the temperature 15 degrees. The trout have been gobbling worms. The XFactor shrimp pink is a new favorite, and the live red wigglers working like a charm. Rainbow spoons have been
popular; either the 1/6-ounce or quarter-ounce are proving their worth. The hot color for the river is "rainbow"; rainbow spoons, rainbow blades on spinners, rainbow paste. Now is the perfect time to experiment with new jerkbaits. Since Rapalas are hard to come by these days, try a 4.5-inch Headhunter rainbow lure or a Wee Craw crawfish crawler. “Come on over and enjoy some freedom from the day-to-day hustle on the banks of the White. A little breezes will pick up a hint of cool air off the river and make these dog days of summer much more tolerable.”

(updated 7-22-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says white jigs, PowerBait, pink worms and shrimp are the baits of choice this week for the trout. Fly-anglers are doing well; the trout are 10-12 feet deep. Anglers are catching rainbows and browns in good numbers. The river clarity is really good, they report, though a little mossy toward the evening. The level is running high with eight generators on round-the-clock.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 688.26 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.20 feet msl). Table Rock Lake above Bull Shoals on Wednesday was at 925.72 feet msl (normal conservation pool is 917.00 feet msl).

(updated 7-22-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says the Corps of Engineers has limited access to ramps and parking, so Del suggests customers/boaters/anglers call first, especially on weekends. Summer fishing patterns are in effect. For largemouth bass, fish with topwaters in the mornings. Berkley Wake Bait, poppers, Whopper Plopper, buzzbaits or chatterbaits continue to work for power fishing shallow if it’s cloudy or stormy. During the day, smallies and spotted bass (Kentucky bass) are stacked out on main and secondary points, sunken islands, humps, channel swing bluffs and bluff ends. With shad present, fish position will change depending on sun, wind, current, clouds, etc. Still a lot of places for them to hide with high water, so keep it moving. Use a big worm in sunken trees, near ledges, or a half-ounce jig in green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin blue in 18-28 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are at gravel banks, boat ramps and old roads. Drag baits like the Ned rig, Hula Grubs, tubes, the Lil’ McMinnow, and fish a drop-shot suspenders off bluff points, main lake points and hump islands at 24-34 feet depth. Lake clarity is dingy to clear. Surface water temperature is up to 89 degrees. The lake is 27 feet high and falling. 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 573.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.95 feet msl).

(updated 7-15-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake is in a state of flux. The stripers have migrated from the mid-lake area and are now being caught in Diamond Bay and the points around the dam. The oxygen level is good at 100 feet near the dam, and in the other parts of the lower part of the lake the oxygen levels are OK. “Each morning I start out fishing by 5:30 a.m. but rarely catch a striper until 6 a.m. I cannot figure out where in the early mornings they are hanging out. The thermocline needs to set into its normal level around 34 feet, and the high temperatures this week should drive it down. Right now we are catching stripers in 20-80 feet deep all at one time. It's crazy on what we're doing. My setup has two free-lines and six downlines all set from 20-80 feet. Normally I set the lines all the same, but now you have to stagger your lines just to catch stripers. Today I caught a striper on a free-line, one at 60 feet, and one at 80 feet.
“The other major problem is there is no consistent secondary bite. Once the main bite is over, which usually ends around 7 a.m., we are having a difficult time getting stripers to bite. You can see lots of stripers on the bottom but they just look at the bait. Once we can figure this out we should catch a limit each time we go out and the stripers quit biting due to the oxygen depletion.”

(updated 7-22-2020) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 7-15-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell one and three tenths feet to rest at nineteen and two tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 555.9 feet and four and nine tenths feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had heavy flows and no wadable water.
Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are near the top of flood pool. Expect heavy generation and no wadable water for some to come.
The Norfork is fishing well. 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 an egg pattern 18 inches below a cerise San Juan worm. The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. With summer here there is a lot of 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.
Remember that the White River and Norfork tailwater 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, “A couple of weeks ago I had a half-day guide trip on Dry Run Creek with two 13-year-old boys. When I met them at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery, I was told that they were twins. Most of the twins that I have met looked very much alike. These boys didn’t even look like brothers. One of them was about a foot taller than the other. Both of them were eager to learn to fly-fish.
“My wife, Lori, accompanied me. Her guide trip that day had canceled and she decided to go with me so that we could give the boys more individual attention. That is the secret to success on Dry Run Creek.
“It was warm and sunny. The temperature did not affect us because it is always cool on the creek. It is located on a tight little valley with a lot of tree cover, and the cold discharge of water from the hatchery contributes to the cool. Frequently, when I climb the stairs out of the creek, my glasses cloud up from the quick change in temperature. There were a lot of young anglers on the stream mostly from the nearby campground at Quarry Park.
“The two lads didn’t look alike and didn’t fish alike. The one that I worked with was fairly laid back but listened to what I had to say and carefully did what I instructed him to do. That is a plan for success. He caught a good-sized rainbow on his third cast and carefully brought it in. A few casts later he landed a trophy 23-inch rainbow. He landed a few smaller fish before catching another slightly smaller trophy rainbow.
He then hooked a big trout. This one was fighting much more actively than any other trout we had encountered that day. It finally came to the net. It was a 24-inch cutthroat. They are harder to come by than rainbows or browns.
“Meantime Lori was working with his brother. It was a struggle. He tended to lower his rod every time he had a big trout on. That allows slack in the line and the trout can easily slip the hook. I gave Lori and her client the spot where we had done so well. My lad and I headed upstream to another spot. We managed to catch a nice brown and a few other trout. We were looking for a brook trout to get our grand slam but never saw one.
“While we were upstream, Lori was patiently working with her lad. He began getting better and was soon into some nice trout. He somehow managed to land the biggest trout of the day, a fat 25-inch rainbow.
“We finished the day fishing nearby and everyone was satisfied with their catch. Every child is different in the way they learn, even twins.”

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 7-22-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low. 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.