Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 11, 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 12, 2021.

White River

(updated 7-29-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “We're finally getting those Arkansas summertime temps we've avoided so far -- from blissful to blazing hot. BUT, our early-morning hours are still blessed with a little bit of chill that counteracts the afternoon heat. The hot baits for the best catches during this week's heat streak have been scented artificial worms: bubblegum pink (Berkley or XFactor) and XFactor's shrimp pink or white.
“The continued steady releases from Bull Shoals Dam have led to daily drifting rather than setting an anchor and "parking," and anglers are regularly pulling in 12- to 13-inch rainbows throughout the day. Add a nibble of shrimp to the barb to test the waters for further action.
“Some of the guides say you can't beat the real thing: Soft-shell live crawdads are their favorite bait for the early morning hours. With the river still at consistent mid-level flows, smaller silver/blue spoons, Colorados or silver Cleos have been doing well off the riverbank. A cup of nightcrawlers or redworms is a must during the mid-afternoon rise.
“Come on over and indulge in a little of the great outdoors. There's no greater Great Outdoors than here in the Arkansas Ozarks.”

 

(updated 8-12-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said Wednesday afternoon that the river is high by 30 feet. They said there are eight generators running round-the-clock at the dam. Nevertheless, the trout bite is good. PowerBait, pink worms, stick bait, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp continue to get bites.

 

(updated 8-12-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had a minor rain event totaling a quarter of an inch in Cotter, cooler and then hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3 feet to land at 16.5feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 17.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.5 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 3.1 tenth of a foot above seasonal power pool and 5.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 8.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had 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 rains. We can expect high levels of generation for the next few weeks.

The hopper bite continues 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 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 says his current favorite combination is a San Juan Worm with a girdle bug dropper).

John also discusses the high water of late: “As a fly-fishing guide, I live by the water levels. It has a huge impact on my business and personal life. I frequently get requests from potential clients for me or my wife, Lori, to teach them to fly-fish or just take them fishing on a wade trip. I have to explain to them that we are currently experiencing high water that makes wading unsafe, if not impossible. I am always being asked when the water will be wadable. I usually have no answer.
“In my personal life, I really like to wade fish. The feel of the water against my waders and the solid take of a good trout are intoxicating to me. I have been denied this pleasure for far too long. Local fly shops, restaurants, motels and vacation rentals are losing business because a high percentage of fly-anglers prefer to wade. We have had precious little wadable water this year. When will it end?

“I have a friend who was the top hydrologist (the science concerned with the study of water and its movement) for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Little Rock. He told me that high water usually occurs in three-year periods. If that is true, we should be about done with high water for a while because we have had three straight years of high water.
“I study the flows daily. Sometimes I think I should have been a hydrologist. I do this because I am trying to determine when and where the best fishing conditions will occur. I am also trying to determine when this high water will end. I have noticed that the lake levels are dropping. More importantly, the rate of drop is increasing. Bull Shoals Lake is currently dropping 3 feet a week and Norfork Lake is dropping a foot and a half a week.
“As the lakes drop, we get this funnel effect. The surface of the lake decreases as the lakes fall. Therefore, as the same amount of water is emptied, the level of the lake drops quicker. This is beginning to occur now. Therefore, the lake level should drop faster in the coming weeks.
“When I look at the drop rate and the lake levels, my calculations support the conclusion that we should reach power level in five weeks. This is supported by the Corps of Engineers lake forecast that predicts that the Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes will reach power pool on Sept. 8.
“This means we could have wadable water this fall. I am stoked! Of course, all of this depends on no further large amounts of rainfall. We will have to wait and see. I have a good feeling about this.”

 

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 675.92 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 8-12-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said that for bass fishing, anglers should continue to beat the heat and get up early, and they should plan to use topwater baits like poppers and Zara Spooks in the creeks. Look for shad-surfacing action and follow that. Use a buzzbait or Whopper Plopper to cover water if it’s cloudy. Once the topwater bite slows down, use a Beaver-style bait and a big worm on ledges and channel swing banks. With water dropping at Bull Shoals now, fish on the points in 15-25 feet deep. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, the bluffs and ledges in 20-35 feet depth. As usual, Del adds, “Fish the conditions!” Check out Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake. The clarity now is good, the lake has dropped from that 30-foot-plus high to 17 feet above normal level now, and the surface temperature is about 87 degrees.

 

Norfork Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 563.63 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 555.75 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).
 

No reports.

 

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 8-12-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.5 feet to rest at 8.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 15.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had 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 rains. We can expect high levels of generation for the next few weeks.

The Norfork is fishing moderately. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during recent flooding of the past few 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 says his current favorite combination is a San Juan worm with an egg dropper.

Dry Run Creek is fishing poorly. 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), 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 tailwater and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. 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 8-12-2021) 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.