Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 26, 2020

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report August 26, 2020.

White River

(updated 8-26-2020) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Lots of things in our world are different today, but there are some things that remain the same: Trout fishing on the White River in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks continues to produce a great catch of fish and as much action as you could ask for.
“Browns have been hiding in the deep holes and biting on sculpin and crawdad tails. We've seen the rainbows hitting gold spinners and pink PowerBait worms topped with white. Several golden rainbow trout were caught this week and they are always great to see thriving and growing. Fish for them just the same as for other rainbows and you may be rewarded with a fun surprise on the end of your line.”
Bull Shoals Lake elevation is 679 feet Wednesday with generation continuing round-the-clock; daytime releases are usually 12,000 cfs (four generators). “Spending time on the river offers an opportunity to refresh and renew in the great outdoors, to reestablish contact with nature, reinforce family bonds, or spend quiet time with a close friend. Try it!”

(updated 8-26-2020) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says the river is still running high, while the fishing is still good. This past week, not a lot of browns were caught. Mostly the anglers are drift-fishing for rainbows. Bull Shoals is still high and this will continue for about a month or so, the Corps continuing to pump out water. Clarity in the river is “really good,” they say.

(updated 8-26-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week  they had no rain, hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.3 feet to rest at 19.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 14.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.4 foot to rest at 0.7 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.7 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell a foot to rest at 1.9 feet above seasonal power pool and 6.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had moderate generation in the morning and heavy generation in the afternoon. There was no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 9.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 14.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had low flows overnight and heavy flows during the day. Most of the lakes in the White River System are still near the top of flood pool. We can expect heavy generation and no wadable water into the fall.
John says, “The grass hopper bite is upon us. Use a shorter leader and bang the bank. My favorite fly is a western pink lady size 8. Add a dropper (size 14 pheasant tail nymph) to increase your catch.
“The White has fished well. The lower flows we have had in the morning have been extremely productive. The hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals.” He says 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 a peach) suspended below it).

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 678.88 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.20 feet msl). Table Rock Lake above Bull Shoals on Wednesday was at 916.14 feet msl (normal conservation pool is 917.00 feet msl).

(updated 8-26-2020) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock says the bite is changing a little every day. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pumping water out of Bull Shoals Lake, and this has the fishing moving out on the points. There is also baitfish suspended deep off the points. Del says anglers should target fish at 10-15 feet deep dearly, then switch to 20-28 feet later in the day. If it’s hot, go deep, he says. If it’s cloudy and windy, go shallow. Throw topwater baits in the mornings. Berkley Wake Bait, poppers, a Whopper Plopper, buzzbait or chatterbaits are best for powerfishing shallow if it’s cloudy or stormy. Target shallow flats close to old creek channels with shad.
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 20-25 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 26-32 feet depth.
Lake clarity remains dingy to clear depending on location, while the surface water temperature is 85 degrees. Lake level is just over 20 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 564.88 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 552.00 feet msl; April-Sept., 555.95 feet msl).

(updated 8-19-2020) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “Each year that we have high water we experience a low oxygen level during late August. This is due to the lake level being lowered. As the lake is lowered, the oxygen is being depleted. Stripers need 5 parts per million to be active, and as the oxygen begins to decline and the water warms up, the stripers begin to stress and move deeper in the lake to find more oxygen. By the end of August the oxygen is less than 1 percent and the stripers will begin to become dormant. This will last into the first part of September, then they begin to move up the creeks.
“This year we have seen an early start to their inactivity. This past week on Wednesday I caught five stripers; Thursday we boated six; and on Friday zero – the average is two or less. The stripers will move deep and quit eating to reduce the need for oxygen. Live bait and spooning has been the less productive catching stripers. Some are being caught trolling, but it's not worth the money to fish the lower end of Norfork until later in September. The stripers will move to Robinson Point and up Big Creek as the oxygen returns.
“But it's not all bad news. The walleye bite is very strong right now. They are being caught using bottom bouncers and nightcrawlers in 22-28 feet of water off the flat points like Thumb Point and Skunked Islands. I did a test run going up the lake past the state line and found schools of legal but small stripers that were feeding heavy during the early morning. The waters up there are shallow and will begin to cool down much faster than the main lake. Once it hits 80 degrees a major striper push will occur and you will see lots of action.
“Until sometime in late October, if you want to fish with us expect that we will be fishing above the state line, which requires both Arkansas and Missouri fishing licenses. If you're a resident of either state you can purchase a (WRL) White River Border License that allows you to fish in either state. It’s $10 and good for a year.”

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 8-26-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 9.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 14.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had low flows overnight and heavy flows during the day. Most of the lakes in the White River System are still near the top of flood pool. We can expect heavy generation and no wadable water into the fall.
John says, “The grass hopper bite is upon us. Use a shorter leader and bang the bank. My favorite fly is a western pink lady size 8. Add a dropper (size 14 pheasant tail nymph) to increase your catch.
The Norfork is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the flooding over the past two years. 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 school starting, expect less pressure during the week. Fish early or late to avoid the weekend crowds. The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is open but the restrooms are still closed. 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.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 8-26-2020) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. 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.