Cotter Trout Dock Sign
Established 1954
Catch a Rainbow!

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

February 10, 2021


No pictures taken this week at Cotter Trout Dock. 

Below is the Fishing Report from Arkansas Game and Fish for February 11, 2021.

White River

(updated 2-11-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said that since Bull Shoals Lake reached power pool (the seasonal 659 feet msl), generation has been a little erratic. “We're seeing highs of 20,000 cfs down to minimum flow (less than 700 cfs)and back up to six generators all within 24-36 hours. You won't get bored trying to stay at the top of your game with challenges like this.
“Be especially cautious if you are casting from the bank or if, during the periods of low water, you are able to wade into the main channel. The water level can change very quickly, so don't be caught unawares.
“Another challenge: It's really cold out there! We're having an old-fashioned winter this year, so dress accordingly. But you will be rewarded if you find your way to the river: the trout catching has been very good. Streamers, jigs and stick baits will attract more fish if they are white: white bellies, white skirts, white tails. Regardless of water level, remember: Big fish like big bait. We'll keep a pot of coffee on for a quick warm up.Stop in and share a story or two.”

(updated 2-11-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported that there is high generation in the mornings, tapering off in the afternoon. Wade fishing is not available. The catch-and-release area below the dam is now open. White jigs are good on cloudier days. Drift-fishing is best with minnows or shrimp. Anglers are catching a few browns “here and there.” Shrimp, PowerBait and pink worms are working very well with rainbows. Fly-anglers are throwing streamers in a white pattern for best success. River clarity is clear and the river is high when eight generations are going at the dam. Overall trout bite is good.

(updated 2-11-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said earlier this week that during the past week, they had less than a quarter of an inch of rain, very cold temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.3 foot to rest at 0.1 foot above seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 35.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.3 foot to rest at 0.3 foot above seasonal power pool and 15.7 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 0.1 foot below seasonal power pool and 9.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White saw heavy generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.6 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had little if any wadable water.
All of the lakes in the White River system are now below or at power pool and the tailwaters should receive wadable water in the near future. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam was closed from Nov. 1, 2020, to Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. This section has reopened to fishing.
On the moderate flows, the White has fished well. The hot spot has been the catch and release section below Bull Shoals Dam. 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 an egg pattern with a size 18 ruby midge).
John adds, “I have recently been writing about water safety concerning wading. There is another important safety issue concerning fishing, and that is hooks. I recently learned that a fellow guide in the area had to have emergency eye surgery to repair a detached retina caused by an errant hook. He had been wearing sunglasses, but removed them to put on his cheater glasses to aid him in tying on a very small hook. He ended up missing two months of work. He gave up the cheaters and now wears bifocal sunglasses.
“The story here is to always wear eye protection. I wear bifocal sunglasses. They protect my eyes and cut the surface glare and allow me to clearly see fish and underwater obstacles. On very overcast days I might wear my regular clear glasses to see better in low light conditions. Every time I see my ophthalmologist at the VA, he is always very concerned about my eyes when he learns that I am a fishing guide. He always admonishes me to wear glasses at all times when guiding.
The eyes are not the only delicate spots to get hooked. I have personally been hooked in my nose twice. I was fishing with my friend Larry Deweise several years ago. He hooked himself in the face (his cheek) with a large Woolly Bugger that still had a big barb. I borrowed a pair of needle nose pliers from another angler. I cut off the hook point and barb and backed the hook out. Larry never said a word.
“Since then I have found a much better method to remove barbed hooks. Clip the fly from the leader. Wrap a piece of heavy tippet around the bend of the hook. Push down on the eye of the hook in order to disengage the barb. Then jerk the tippet wrapped around the bend of the hook. The fly will come out easily.I have used this method on my wife, Lori, and she felt no pain.
“If you are hooked in the eye, let a doctor remove it.
“I much prefer to use barbless hooks. If you do get hooked, they are much easier and less painful to remove. As a guide, I feel like I am the most likely person in the boat to get hooked. Therefore I always fish barbless even when I am in water where barbed hooks are allowed. I prefer to tie flies with factory barbless hooks. If I cannot find barbless hooks for a particular fly, I will use barbed ones and carefully pinch down the barb before I fish them.
“In the emergency room at Baxter County Regional Hospital they have a glass case that contains all of the flies and lures they have removed from patients. It is quite a large collection. Do not contribute to it.
“Always wear eye protection and fish barbless. I do!”

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 658.89 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.94 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).

(updated 2-11-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock had no report this week. Bull Shoals is clear with a surface temperature of 47 degrees. The lake is about near normal conservation level.

Norfork Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 553.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).

(updated 2-11-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.

(updated 2-11-2021) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report. Look for new reports in March.

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 2-11-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.6 foot to rest at 0.5 foot above seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 25.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had little if any wadable water.
All of the lakes in the White River system are now below or at power pool and the tailwaters should receive wadable water in the near future. The Norfork tailwater is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during 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 pheasant tail size 14 with a root beer midge dropper. “My wife, Lori, did well recently with an olive Woolly Bugger. The fishing is better in the morning,” John said.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. There is less pressure with the colder weather. 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), mop flies and egg patterns.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 2-11-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the cooler temperatures the bite has slowed. 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.