Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

February 24, 2021

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report February 25, 2021.

White River
(updated 2-25-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Wow! Talk about extremes. A week ago today our high temp was about 24 degrees; yesterday we were in the mid-60s. The White River has seen some extremes, too. During the frigid, arctic days last week, Bull Shoals Dam was generating power round-the-clock and we saw releases of 21,000 cfs (aka about six units) raising the river level substantially. Now, minimum flow is the new norm; four days and counting of low, low water. Great wading water – especially now that the air temperature is more pleasant.
“Bring lighter tackle or you'll lose your lures to snags and river bed structure. Boaters: Be cautious, take your time motoring in the channel. You'll find some great schools of trout lurking in the deeper holes, so be ready to drop a line with enough weight to dangle a worm for a bit. The browns are gobbling sculpins; blues are attracting the most attention. Spring might be closer than we thought! See you on the river.”

(updated 2-25-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) reported Tuesday afternoon that the Corps of Engineers at Bull Shoals Dam had not run any water in about 5 days. Rainbow trout fishing is good, they say, but drift-fishing “is kind of difficult.” Also, they have not heard a lot about browns. Water clarity is clear.

(updated 2-25-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said earlier this week that during the past week, they had snow (another 3 inches at Cotter, on top of what had hit the previous Sunday-Monday), brutally cold temperatures (some below 0 degrees) and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.6 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 37.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.4 foot to rest at 1 foot below seasonal power pool and 17 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 1.2 feet below seasonal power pool and 10.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had some heavy generation with some wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below power pool. With the severe weather past us, expect lower levels of generation.
On the moderate flows, the White has fished well. The hot spot has been 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 an egg pattern with a pink San Juan worm).

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 658.10 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 913.90 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 915.00 feet msl).

(updated 2-25-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said there is a lot of moss present in the water. A lot of the shad are dying from the frigid temps and he’s spending hisidle time on the graph looking for loons and gulls. Most of the shad are suspended over the old creek channels or blown off to the side. Use a Rapala Ice Jig or Jewel Spoon, a Damiki Rig, or drop-shot a McMinnow. Shad are up high in the water column. Try a jerkbait or Megabass in early mornings on bluff ends and points with shad. Also fish the backs of creeks that still have skim ice and cold temps. Surface temperature Tuesday was 43 degrees. The lake is about a half-foot low.

Norfork Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 552.42 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl).

(updated 2-25-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report. Click on the resort website linked above for more information.

(updated 2-25-2021) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had no report. Look for new reports in March.

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 2-25-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water. All of the lakes in the White River system are now below power pool. With the severe weather past us, expect lower levels of generation.
The Norfork 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,” John said, “My wife, Lori, did well recently with an olive Woolly Bugger. The fishing is better in the morning.
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 2-25-2021) 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.