Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 2, 2021

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report June 3, 2021.

White River
(updated 6-3-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Even if the calendar tells us to wait until June 21 and even if the temperatures are more like April than June, we declare summer is here! Time to catch some rays and a rainbow or two for your creel.
“While the rainbow-hued spinners and spoons continue to attract a good share of trout, the overcast, mostly cloudy days this past week called for shiny silver blades and spoons. The silver Cleo was especially successful, so keep it handy during this first half of June when most days will see some gray skies. When the sun peeks out, change tactics: Look for chartreuse or lemon-lime-colored baits, either in an egg pattern or as part of a Rooster Tail or spinner (the body, blade or skirt). It'll be easy to keep your bait near the stream bed because the White River water level near Cotter has remained fairly low during the past month. Bull Shoals Lake elevation is climbing but water releases through the dam have been minimal for the most part.
“Once the high water downstream is less a threat, we expect to see the Corps of Engineers begin to lower the lake, which increases the water level in the river. Don't let that disappoint you; high water is terrific for growing trout into trophy fish and for experiencing new fishing techniques. Come on over and experience the beauty and hospitality found in our Natural State of Arkansas.

(updated 6-3-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Tuesday that during the past week they had several rain events (combined for 2 inches in Cotter), unseasonably cool temperatures and, at times, heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 4.3 feet to land at 25.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 7.9 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 2.5 feet to rest at 3.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 10.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 7.1 foot above seasonal power pool and 1.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 2.2 feet to rest at 13.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 9.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Anglers have seen wadable water below Norfork Dam. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains, with more expected. Expect high levels of generation in the near future.
On the lower flows, the fishing on the White River has been moderate! The top spot has been Wildcat Shoals, which had afternoon caddis hatches. 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 pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper).
John also said, “Last week I had a guide trip with two anglers from Texas. Jeff had never fished with a fly rod. Robert had fly-fished out West but had only fished with dry flies. He wanted to learn how to fish nymphs.
“They had chosen a good day for it. The weather was mild with little or no wind. The high was to be around 75 degrees. There was to be a cool start at around 60 degrees. The water was lightly stained from all of the rain we have had. The flows were relatively low, less than one full generator.
“I began with a casting lesson. Jeff picked it up fairly quickly. Robert wanted a quick tune-up. That also went quickly. I showed them how we were to fish. I had a couple of rods that were already rigged with a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper all below an AB split shot and a strike indicator.
“I launched my river boat and we motored upstream. I cast my line about 25 from the boat and I showed them how to mend line for a drag-free drift. I cautioned them to watch the strike indicator and to quickly set the hook whenever the indicator went down.
“Robert was soon into a good fish. On the next drift, Jeff landed one. The skunk was out of the boat! Over the next few drifts Jeff caught several. Over the next hour or two he managed to land a limit of trout. Robert was stuck at one. I knew from experience that these things often happen in streaks. One angler would catch several and then the other angler gets hot. Usually, by the end of the day, it all evens out. Or there could be a problem with his presentation. I observed his fishing and instructed him to go back to basics and concentrate on achieving a perfect drag-free drift.
“About that time, the game turned and Robert got hot. He caught six in quick succession and had the lead. What had made the difference?
“Presentation is something that a lot of anglers neglect. The trout do not see the cast. They see the drift. If you mend carefully and get a perfect drag-free drift, the fly appears more lifelike and is more likely to be taken as a morsel of food.
“We fished until noon. Robert caught the first trout and the last and also caught the most trout. Jeff did extremely well catching well over a limit of trout on has first day of fly-fishing.
“Basic skills like casting and mending make a big difference. In this case they learned quickly and caught some nice trout. Both caught more trout than they had expected. Life is good!”
John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter and has fished our streams for over 35 years. John can be reached at (870) 435-2169 or http://www.berrybrothersguides.com.

(updated 6-3-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river level is normal with one or two generators running the past few days. The rainbow trout bite is good. Try pink PowerBait, Little Cleo’s, Rooster Tails in salmon color and worms.

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 688.27 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.86 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 918.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.42 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).

(updated 6-3-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported Wednesday that parking remains limited there and boat ramp access is still an issue; plan ahead, especially on weekends. Bull Shoals is 28.7 feet above normal pool and rising as of midday afternoon Wednesday. Temperature of the water is ranging 72-78 degrees. The clarity of the water, and the fishing, is still good in spite of the high water. They are moving up with water, capitalizing on the perch spawn and some on the old shoreline and the backs of creeks. Smallmouth bass are mostly in mid-lake area; anglers should target long points and sunken humps and islands. The shad are moving. Fishing in the shad, try a fluke or swimbait (size 2.8). The topwater bite has been good on a poppers or small walk-the-dog baits, like Zara Spooks or Lucky Craft and smaller profile. Powerfish windy, cloudy days with Whopper Plopper, a buzzbait, bright spinnerbaits, or Chatterbait. If it’s clear and the water is flat, use green pumpkin shaky heads or the ol’ Ned rig, or a deep-diving crank or Carolina tub. Green pumpkin or watermelon red colors are best now. Target points and humps, and keep the boat off the old shoreline, 25 feet off. The backs of creeks have a little color change. You can always catch them on a jig in channel swings. Also go with a green pumpkin Beaver flipping the shallow laydowns and bushes in the right area. Fish the conditions. Visit Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing the lake.

Norfork Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 571.30 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.61 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).

(updated 6-3-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 6-3-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 2.2 feet to rest at 13.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 9.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Anglers have seen wadable water below Norfork Dam. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains, with more expected. Expect high levels of generation in the near future.
The Norfork tailwater is fishing moderate. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during flooding the past couple of 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. John’s current favorite combination is a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing poorly. There is increased pressure with warmer weather. Fish early or late to avoid the crowds (the creek is open to fishing from sunrise to sundown). The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is open but the restrooms remain 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.
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.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 6-3-2021) 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. With the warm temperatures the bite is better. 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.