Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 4, 2021

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report August 5, 2021.

White River
(updated 8-5-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Mornings on the White River at Cotter are blissful. Even when the forecast calls for a heat advisory, we're putting on light jackets for early morning departures. During August heat waves, the river often provides a cool mist that refreshes and renews. Add to that the possibility of catching a boatload of rainbows and you've got yourself a great day in the Arkansas Ozarks.”
Bull Shoals Lake continues to drop as the Army Corps of Engineers keeps a steady release of water through the dam, but it is still high at 679 feet msl elevation. Average releases of 12,000 cfs, occasionally bumped up to 18,000, are being generating to reduce the lake level. When the water level remains fairly steady, whether high, low or in between, the trout are more likely to be active than if there is a constant change. “So don't let the high water stop you from casting a line.
“The browns keep surprising us with a steady bite even this late in the summer. Fresh crawdads and sculpins have received the most attention. This week has been another egg pattern/shrimp success story. A little salt on your shrimp firms it up some and keeps it on the hook longer; some garlic (powder or fresh minced) adds scent that seems to appeal to our local trout.
“So many visitors tell me they find a welcome peace on the river that keeps them coming back for more, and they're never disappointed. Hope to see you soon.”

(updated 8-5-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had a few minor rain events that combined for a trace of rainfall in Cotter; hot, then cooler temperatures, and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.1 feet to land at 18.2 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 15.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.4 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.1 feet to rest at 3.7 feet above seasonal power pool and 4.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.7 feet to rest at 10.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 14.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater some wadable water at night. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all still high due to spring and early summer rains. We can expect high levels of generation into the near future.
The hopper bite is in full swing. Bang the bank with a grasshopper. 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 has slowed. The top spot has been Wildcat 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 says his current favorite combination is a San Juan Worm with an egg dropper).

(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.

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 678.79 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl), a drop of 3 feet from last week and a steady fall from the lake’s high this summer near 690 feet. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 916.59 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).

(updated 8-5-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said that for bass fishing, get up early and fish the creeks using topwater baits, poppers or Zara Spooks. Look for surfacing action. Use buzzbaits or Whopper Plopper if it’s cloudy. Once the topwater bite slows down, use a Beaver-style bait and big worm on ledges and channel swing banks. With the water dropping, fish on the points in 15-25 feet depth. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, bluffs and ledges in 20-35 feet depth. And, as usual, fish the conditions. Surface temperature on Wednesday was 87 degrees. The lake continues to drop steadily and is now 20 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 565.62 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 8-5-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.7 feet to rest at 10.1 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 14.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater some wadable water at night. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. The lakes are all still high due to spring and early summer rains. We can expect high levels of generation into the near future.
The hopper bite is in full swing. Bang the bank with a grasshopper. 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 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 school out. 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), and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10), mop flies and egg patterns.
John also had a good story to relate: “A few weeks ago my wife, Lori, and I were guiding on Dry Run Creek. One of our young clients made an errant cast and got the fly line hopelessly tangled in a tree. It was way up there and I am just too old to climb a tree. I decided to force it out and in the process damaged the fly line. I broke the loop in the end where you attach the leader. I had to repair it quickly so that we could continue fishing.
“Luckily Lori had a braided loop connector with her. This is a section of nylon braid with a loop in one end. It can be threaded on the end of the fly line and secured with a small piece of plastic tubing. I have used these for years and they have always performed flawlessly. I took a few minutes to attach it to the fly line and then rerigged the line with a new leader, fly, split shot and strike indicator. I always put a drop of super glue on the braid to prevent its loss. In this case, I had none. We returned to the river and continued fishing. We landed several trout on the rig. I thought nothing more about it.
“Last weekend I noted a prediction for a period of low water on the White River. Lori and I decided to take advantage of the excellent conditions. As is our habit, I arrived early to launch the boat while Lori was walking and feeding the dogs.
“It was cool with a dense fog on the river. The water was on the bottom. I grabbed a couple of our client rods from the back of my Suburban and quickly rigged them with pheasant tail nymphs and a ruby midge dropper. I motored upstream and began fishing. I hooked a nice fat trout on the first cast. It made a leap and I saw my line become limp. I lost the braided loop, leader, strike indicator, split shot and two flies. The braided loop had slipped off. I had obviously not attached it properly.
“I was eager to fish, so I made a quick field repair. I simply tied a quick perfection loop on the end of the line and rerigged the line. I have never been a fan of this and vowed to properly prepare the line at the end of the day.
“Halfway through this repair, Lori called. She was on the ramp and asked me to pick her up. I went over and she got in the boat. I took a couple of minutes to finish my repair. We motored upstream and began fishing. I caught five quick trout before Lori caught one. It was a great streak but did not last. Lori caught up and we finished the day even. My crude repair held.
“When we got home, I made a proper repair with a braided loop securely super-glued to the line. These fly lines cost about $80. It is way cheaper to repair them.”

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 8-5-2021) 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.