Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 23, 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 24, 2021.

White River
(updated 6-24-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “After a rainy spring season, we're heading in to summer with a pretty high elevation at Bull Shoals Lake: just 7 feet below the top of flood pool, currently sitting at 688.25 feet msl. The Army Corps of Engineers is beginning to drop the lake, and the dam is now issuing about three to four generators round-the-clock. Don't think you can't catch trout when the water level is above knee-deep; that is far from the truth. The same baits you've been successful with in the past will work now, just add some weight and stay as near the bottom as you can. Cast, drift, retrieve.
“You'll be retrieving a lot of rainbows this week if you add some chartreuse or lemon-lime-colored baits to your cast. A Rooster Tail with a yellow/black skirt, ¼- ounce or better, will attract a trout or three.
“We're hearing some good things about those HeadHunter Jerkbaits again. The wiggle they produce on the retrieve without a lot of work on the angler's part is a joy to the fisherman and captivates any trout within sight. They're partial to the clown and the bright gold/orange-bellied 4½-inch lures at the moment.
“Bubblegum pink worms are amazing for the catch they produce – more browns were caught one day last week with a pink worm than with a minnow! They work best when drifting in a jon boat. At the river's edge, on the bank, you'll do better with a live nightcrawler or red wiggler.
“The last few days have been a gift: sunny, mild (low 80s), no wind. Perfect. Come on over, drop a line in the river, and bask in our little corner of heaven in The Natural State.”

(updated 6-24-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday afternoon that during the past week they had no rain, brutally hot temperatures and, at times, heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.2 foot to land at 27.6 feet above seasonal power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 6.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.8 foot to rest at 5.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 8.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 6.4 feet above seasonal power pool and 2.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 16.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.55 feet msl and 6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains but are dropping. Expect high levels of generation in the near future.
On the lower flows, the fishing on the White 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).

(updated 6-24-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon that river clarity is improving though the level has gone up significantly in a week to high. The Corps of Engineers has been running six to eight generators at times. The trout bite is good. Pink Power Bait, Little Cleo’s in silver, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp are working best.

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 688.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.90 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 921.55 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).

(updated 6-24-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported Bull Shoals is dropping a little, with the most recent reading at 29 feet above normal pool. Temperature of the water is ranging 78-80 degrees, depending on location. Limited parking and boat ramp access is an issue. Plan ahead, especially on the weekends. Despite the flooding water, clarity is good. The fishing is fair. Warmer temps have led to more boat traffic. Some fish are up shallow with the high water, capitalizing on the perch and shad spawn. Look shallow on flats in the creeks. For smallmouth, check on the old shoreline toward the main lake area. Target long points and sunken humps and islands. The shad are moving. In the shad, try fluke or a 2.8 swimbait. The topwater bite has been good early or late using poppers or small walk-the-dog, Spook, Lucky Craft or some other smaller profile. Use Berkeley Surge early.
Powerfish windy, cloudy days with a Whopper Plopper, buzzbait, spinnerbait or Chatterbait in dirty water, in the flats and shallow. If it’s clear, use flat blue birds. Get vertical and use a drop-shot at 24-32 feet around bluffs. Or use an ol’ Ned rig or deep crank in watermelon red color. Target points, humps, etc. Keep the boat off the old shoreline at 35 feet. The backs of creeks have a little color change. If the Corps of Engineers is running water, then fish points. You can always catch them on a jig in channel or channel swings.
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 572.80 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.65 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).

(updated 6-17-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake is transitioning from the spring bite to the summer bite. In essence, the fish are going deeper as the water warms. “Thursday morning the surface temp was 84, but I don’t think this temp extends too far down at this time. As the warm water goes deeper, a thermocline will form and continue to go deeper as the water temp continues to rise.
“Overall, the fishing for most species on Norfork Lake has been very good. There is still a very good topwater bite for largemouth bass, as well as for striped and hybrid bass. I would assume the topwater activity for striped bass will not last much longer unless we get some cooler weather. It does not look like that will happen.
“I have mainly been using two different baits for topwater activity: my Kastmaster (blade-type bait) and a Zara Spook Jr. Today I strictly used the Kastmaster, as there was a lot of small debris floating and that is not conducive to using a Zara Spook. When I see fish chasing shad on the surface, I try to cast my bait just past the activity. When the bait hits the water. I count down 2 seconds, then I start the retrieval with a jerk, then pause, then reel, then pause and start it all over again back to the boat. You have to see what the fish are looking for speed-wise. The topwater activity for the striped bass starts around 5:30 a.m. and may last until about 6:30 to 7 a.m. Once the fish stop chasing shad on the surface, they start going deep. I am marking fish anywhere from 30 feet to 80 feet deep. Forty feet down seems to be a good place to set up your bait. Live bait is definitely working the best, but vertical jigging a ¾- to 1-ounce spoon is starting to pick us some nice fish.
“If you like trolling, an umbrella rig is working really well. Keep the bait 35-45 feet down and you will catch some nice stripers. A-rigs, deep-diving crankbaits and large swimbaits are also working well, but you will more than likely need to add some inline weight to get deeper. Using a down rigger would be the easiest.
“The largemouth bite has been very good. There are lots of fish up in the sunken brush, but many of them are shorts. The topwater for this species also starts at sunrise and typically has lasted longer than the striped bass topwater activity. I have found that the fish chasing shad close to shore are predominantly shorts, but if you look out in the same area in deeper water and notice fish chasing shad, you’ll find the bigger fish. Today I caught some real nice bass in 120 feet of water, roughly 50 yards away from the bank. The bass also are going deeper as the sun gets high in the sky. Start working the bottom when they go down, in 15-25 feet of water
“Best areas for me have been main lake points in the mid-lake area. I have always had the best luck finding fish on the points that have a deep-water channel swinging in close to the point. The fish are also back in several of the major creeks that are located in several different areas of the lake.
“If you are looking for almost daily fishing activity on Norfork Lake, go to our Facebook page for Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. I post daily fishing reports of what I am doing, as well as our guests. Norfork Lake level is fairly stable at this time and is rising less than 1 inch per day. The level is 573.02 feet msl. The surface water temperature was 84 degrees (Thursday) morning and the clear is fairly clear. If you are looking for a great vacation, call Hummingbird Hideaway Resort at 870-492-5113. Norfork Lake is all about fishing, playing or just relaxing on the water. Happy fishing.”

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 6-24-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 16.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 556.55 feet msl and 6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains but are dropping. 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 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. John’s current favorite combination is a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek is fishing moderately. 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.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 6-24-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are navigable. With the 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