Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 9, 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 10, 2021.

White River
(updated 6-10-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Summertime and fishing go together like peanut butter and jelly, and kids and fishing are a pairing made in heaven. The trout bite has been easy this week for kids, parents, grandparents and every fisher under the sun. Get to the river early while it's still cool and while the water level is relatively low to enjoy the best of the day.
“Lots of success with spinners and spoons on the low water; the sparkle from gold or silver Cleos is attracting really nice-sized rainbows. The nickel/gold Colorado and a Mepps ⅙-ounce spinner with a gold blade will be hard to resist, too.
“White River water levels have been especially low during morning and early afternoon hours, with late afternoon releases bringing a rush of cold, clear water for a whole different fishing adventure: weighted line and worms (nightcrawlers, red wigglers, bubblegum pink or San Juan) will help. Drift-fishing from a jon boat takes the frustration out of high-water fishing.
“Brown trout catches continue to delight the anglers around Cotter, mostly with live bait taken from the river (minnows, crawdads, sculpins), but we heard that more than one brown was hooked with shrimp and PowerBait. Enjoy the best of summer with the best The Natural State has to offer: trout-catching on the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks.

(updated 6-10-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday afternoon that during the past week they had an inch in Cotter, unseasonably cool temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 1.8 feet to land at 26.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 6.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 2.4 feet to rest at 5.6 feet above seasonal power pool and 8.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake remained steady at 7.1 foot above seasonal power pool and 1.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had significant wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 1.7 feet to rest at 15.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 7.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water this past week. 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! So, expect high levels of generation in the near future.
On the lower flows, the fishing on the White River has been good! The top spot has been the Narrows. 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, “On Sunday earlier this week I received an advance copy of “Fly Fishing The White and Norfork Rivers: The Guides Speak.” It was edited by Keith Campbell. This is a book about fly-fishing our local rivers. Its premise is to present in-depth interviews of fly-fishing icons Dave Whitlock and Dale Fulton. There are also interviews with seven local guides: Steve Dally, Chad Johnson, Ron McQuay, Jim Traylor, Hank Wilson, Davy Wotton and me. I received an advance copy because I was interviewed for the book.
“In addition to the interviews, there are chapters on the White River and Norfork tailwater (including history and safety), maps of the White and Norfork and suggestions for different styles of fishing.
“I was most interested in the interviews with the icons on the White and Norfork, Dave Whitlock and Dale Fulton. I was an early fan of Whitlock. I have all of his books, several pieces of his art and have listened to his lectures for years. I have learned a lot from him. He is also one of the greatest fly-tyers around. I regularly fish his patterns and have caught an incredible number of fish on them. I found his interview fascinating and found out things about him that I never knew before.
“The interview about Dale Fulton was especially meaningful to me. He passed away a few years ago. We were friends and I miss him. I worked for him as a guide years ago at his Blue Ribbon Fly Shop and I learned a lot about guiding from him. After I established myself as an independent guide, I would stop by and talk to him whenever I was near the shop or would stop by his lodge to chat. His interview told me a lot about him that I never knew.
“I know and have worked with almost all of the guides included in the book. They are all solid guides who know how to catch trout. Each guide explained his guiding. The interviews were all similar in some of the questions asked. ‘How did you get started in guiding?’ This is where every guide had a different story. They were all interesting. The best question was common mistakes I see my clients make. I really thought that this would be useful to any reader. They were also asked about their favorite flies and how we could grow bigger rainbow trout.
“There is also a section on flies that has photos and recipes for the guide’s favorite flies.
“This cost to publish this book was provided by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers and the club president, Dave Boyer. Proceeds from the book are earmarked for selected youth programs in Baxter and Marion counties. The book will be available in local fly shops and through the North Arkansas Fly Fishers.
“I heartily recommend the book for anyone who fishes here or plans to.”
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.

(updated 6-10-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon that the river level is normal with two or three generators running in the afternoons; the Army Corps of Engineers shuts the water off in the morning. Trout fishing overall is good. The best baits to use are pink PowerBait, Little Silver Cleo’s, Rooster Tails in light greens and browns, worms and shrimp.

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 689.24 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 6-10-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported Thursday morning that fish are in all stages of the spawn. “There has been a major wave up in mid-lake area target points and swings close to spawning pockets and south-facing pockets,” Del said. “The gravel flats and dirty water have some warmer temps but are first to cool. The shad are schooling back up, so look for shad balls in the creeks. In the shad, try flukes shallow or a swimbait like a 2.8 Damiki rig. A little topwater and popper or small wal-the-dog smaller profile are working well.”
Powerfish windy, cloudy days and use bright spinnerbait and chatterbait in dirty, shallow water. If it’s clear and flat, use blue birds and green pumpkin shaky head and the ol’ ned rig tube. The backs of creeks have a little color change. Del says they always catch them on a jig in the channel swings. Also try a green pumpkin Beaver flipping in shallow water and bushes in the right area. Brush is becoming a player. Fish the conditions.
Surface temperature now ranging 76-82 degrees. The lake is 30 feet high and rising.
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 572.46 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.61 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 6-10-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 1.7 feet to rest at 15.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 7.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water this past week. 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! So, expect high levels of generation in the near future.
The Norfork is fishing moderately. 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. 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 6-10-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are a bit 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.