Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

July 14, 2021

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report July 15, 2021.

White River
(updated 7-15-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “The White River flowing past Cotter, Trout Capital USA, has seen Bull Shoals Lake slowly dropping from its heights near flood pool earlier this year. Expect medium to high water levels for the remainder of July and probably through August -- you might find this is the perfect time to experiment with new jerkbaits. Rapalas are still a little hard to come by these days, so try a 4.5-inch Headhunter translucent lure (as close to white as I can find) or a Wee Craw crawfish crawler.
“The X-Factor shrimp pink is a new favorite, and the live red wigglers are working well, especially on the rise. The rainbows have been reluctant to hit on a lot of our baits, but we've had success with all things white: white skirts on jigs, white Rooster Tails with gold or silver blades and white egg patterns.
“The brown bite has been outta sight this week with sculpins and pink worms (believe it!).
“Everybody wants to be on the river where the water temperature is a near-steady 57 degrees and, even in the midst of a 90-degree day, you might float through a mist that drops the temperature 15 degrees. Leave the burdens at home for a time and come over to the river for some therapeutic downtime where a little breeze will pick up a hint of cool air off the river and make these dog days of summer much more tolerable.”

(updated 7-15-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon that the brown trout have been a little sporadic this week. The clarity is improving but the river level overall is high. They report that four generators are running at the dam at night, and eight are running during the day. Overall trout bite is good. The best baits are pink worms, PowerBait, bigger stick baits, Rooster Tails in light greens or browns, worms and shrimp.

(updated 7-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they have had several minor rain events that combined for a quarter-inch in Cotter, warm temperatures and, at times, moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.4 feet to land at 24.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 9.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 1.8 feet to rest at 0.8 foot above seasonal power pool and 13.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 5.3 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 14.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 10 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water at night.
Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains. Expect high levels of generation in the near future.
With the higher flows, the fishing on the White has slowed. The top spot has been White Hole. 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 discusses the return of the Sowbug Roundup in 2022. “The Sowbug Roundup is back. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sowbug was canceled at the last minute for 2020 and was later canceled for 2021. Now that there is a high level of inoculation with the various vaccines, we feel that it is safe to again schedule the return of this successful event. The Sowbug Roundup is scheduled for March 24-26, 2022. Admission is $10 for all three days.
“This is the best fly-fishing event in the area and arguably one of the best such events in the United States. It is primarily a fly-tying show. Next year we will have over 100 tyers from all over the country, literally from coast to coast.
“The Sowbug Roundup is put on by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, our local Fly Fishers International affiliate club. It has always amazed me that a local fly-fishing club in such a small town could put on a fly-tying show that has achieved such national prominence. It is a tribute, to the hard-working volunteers of the North Arkansas Fly Fishers. I am proud to be a member of the Sowbug committee (I am chairman of the fly-tying contest). We meet year-round to ensure the success of the show.
The Sowbug Roundup is the North Arkansas Fly Fishers’ sole annual fundraising event. The income from the raffles and silent auctions allow NAFF to finance its environmental and philanthropic activities. NAFF allocates $10,000 every year for scholarships to students majoring in the fishery or environmentally related field.
“The big draw is the fly-tyers. Some of the tyers are true artists, and every fly they produce is worthy of being framed. Then there are those tyers like myself that just tie down-and-dirty guide flies. They don’t look so pretty, but they catch fish. If you take the time to sit and watch some of them, you will learn a lot. I always learn how to handle materials better of see a new pattern that I want to tie.
“In addition to the tyers, there are several vendors representing a number of fly-fishing-related companies. Dave Whitlock, Duane Hada, local fly shops and my company, Berry Brothers Guide Service, will be there. Unfortunately, one of my favorite vendors from years past, the Golden Rule Fly Shop, is currently not scheduled to attend.
“There are seminars presented by a host of fly-fishing professionals and free fly-casting classes presented by my wife, Lori Sloas. She is the top fly-casting instructor in the area. In addition, there are auctions and raffles to help raise funds for conservation and education.
“The Shindig (the casual banquet held on Friday night) is the gathering event for all of the fly-tyers. This is also where the winners of the fly-tying contest are presented. It is a full schedule and an awesome event. I hope to see you there.”

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 685.22 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 917.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).

(updated 7-15-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock reported Wednesday that limited parking and boat ramp access remains an issue there. Plan ahead, especially on weekends. Despite the flooding water, lake clarity is still good. There are still some fish up shallow. Get up early and look shallow on the flats in the creeks for schoolers. Fish with topwater baits, poppers, Lucky Craft Gunfish and the like. Once the sun pops up, fish a Beaver or a big worm in the laydowns. On windy and cloudy days, use a Whopper Plopper, a buzzbait or a Horny Toad. If it’s clear and flat, use blue birds and target smallmouth bass or spotted bass on long points and bluff ledges. Get vertical and drop-shot in 24-32 feet off the bluffs and on long points, or use the old Neg rig and target points, humps and islands in 15-20 feet depth. Keep the boat off the old shoreline, and FISH THE CONDITIONS.
Surface temperature is 80 degrees. The lake is 26 feet above normal conservation pool. Clarity is good. Check out Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals.

Norfork Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 569.45 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 7-15-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 7-15-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 14.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 10 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had wadable water at night.
Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all much higher due to recent rains. 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 in the past few seasons. 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 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

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-15-2021) 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.