Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

July 28, 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 29, 2021.

White River

(updated 7-29-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Lots of things in our world are different today, but there are some things that remain the same: Trout fishing on the White River in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks continues to produce a great catch of fish and as much action as you could ask for.
“Browns have been hiding in the deep holes and biting on sculpin and crawdad tails. The rainbows are hitting gold spinners and pink PowerBait worms topped with white (mousetails), and the ever-popular red/gold hammered Thomas Buoyant Spoon is adding to the count. There's been a late afternoon surge in the brown bite during this past week, which is a little uncommon but might be attributed to the changing pressure systems and the occasional pop-up showers. A cup of nightcrawlers or redworms is a must during the higher water right now; play them close to the banks just a foot or so below the surface. Grasshopper season is approaching quickly. Tie on a yellow or green hopper and skip it along the top of the water to attract even the more passive trout that are laying low.”
Bull Shoals Lake elevation measured 682 feet msl Wednesday with generation continuing round-the-clock; daytime releases average 12,000 cfs (four generators) as we near the power pool goal of 661 msl. “Time on the river provides refreshment and renewal as only being in the great outdoors can. Take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen family bonds, spend quiet time with an old friend or just find yourself again.”

 

(updated 7-29-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon “it’s way too hot to fish, but the fishing is good.” They note that more rainbow trout were stocked on Wednesday. Brown trout are doing well, too, with the browns biting shrimp. Rainbow fishing is really good, they say. Clarity is improving. The river level is 30 feet high. Four generators are running at night at the dam, and eight during the day. Overall trout bite is good. Use PowerBait, pink worms, bigger stick bait, Rooster Tails in light greens and browns, worms and shrimp.

 

(updated 7-29-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they have had several minor rain events that combined for a trace in Cotter, hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.2 feet to land at 21.3 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 12.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.2 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 4.8 feet above seasonal power pool and 3.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had a short period of wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 11.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 12.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had some 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. We can expect high levels of generation in the near future.

The hopper bite is in full swing. Bang the bank with a hopper. John says his favorite fly for this technique is a western pink lady in a size 8. Add a midge dropper to increase your catch.
With the higher flows, the fishing on the White has slowed. The top spot has been Rim 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 a San Juan Worm with an egg dropper).
John also said, “As a guide and serious fly-fisher, I have been fishing from a boat for several decades. Over the years I have become quite comfortable with almost all aspects of handling a boat. The one thing that still concerns me a bit is backing a boat particularly when entering a ramp to launch or put a boat on a trailer.

“This is not an easy thing. The trailer is pretty big to accommodate a wide (60 inches), long (26 feet, 6 inches) heavy boat. My car is also quite large. I drive a Suburban. They don’t make cars much larger. I can’t really see much in my rearview mirror, so I rely on my side mirrors. Most guides have the same problem that I have large boats and large vehicles. Trucks and SUVs have a limited view of what is behind them. A lot of them open their tailgates or raise their hatch rear doors to give them a better view. I would try it but I carry so much gear in the back of my car (wading bag, spare rods, extraneous fishing gear and a cooler) that I fear that I would dump it all when backing down the ramp. My previous fishing car had clam shell doors that were even worse.

“When I got my newest car, it featured parking assist (a backup camera). I thought my troubles were over. I must say that I find it great for backing out of tight parking spaces or my own driveway. I am especially impressed with how easy it is to link up my trailer connector with the ball on my trailer hitch when connecting my boat trailer to my car. I can clearly see both pieces on the camera. That is where the convenience ends.
“Once the boat and trailer are connected to the car, the only thing I see on the TV screen on the dashboard is the boat and trailer. I cannot see beyond it. I also get an error message that the parking assist is blocked. When I begin backing, the parking assist is beeping to warn me that there is something behind my car, the boat and trailer. At best this is annoying. At worst it is a major distraction when I am trying to do something that requires my undivided attention.
“My car is still new to me and I am technologically challenged. After owning Suburban for nine months I am still learning the functions of all of the buttons and switches. When turning on the air conditioner the other day I accidently discovered the switch that turns off the parking assist. Now I can turn it off when backing my trailer down a ramp. It doesn’t help anyway. What I do is use my side mirrors to guide me back. It worked before and it still works now.
“Like many problems in life, it is something that I just have to live with.”

 

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 681.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.57 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).

(updated 7-29-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday morning that for bass fishing, get up early and use topwater baits, poppers and Zara Spooks in the creeks. Look for surfacing action. Use buzzbaits or Whopper Plopper if it’s cloudy. Once the topwater slows down, use a Beaver-style bait and big worm on points 15-25 feet deep. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, bluffs and ledges in 20-35 feet depth. Fish the conditions. Surface temperature is 86 degrees. The lake is on the fall at 22 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 567.21 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).
 

(updated 7-29-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no report.

 

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 7-29-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 11.8 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 12.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had some 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. We can expect high levels of generation in the near future.

The hopper bite is in full swing. Bang the bank with a hopper. John says his favorite fly for this technique is a western pink lady in a size 8. Add a midge dropper to increase your catch.
The Norfork tailwater 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 San Juan worm with an egg 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 cerise size 10), mop flies and egg patterns.

Remember that the White River, Norfork Dam tailwater 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 7-29-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. 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.