Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 25, 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 25, 2021.

White River

(updated 8-26-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake, at 670.75 msl, is less than 10 feet from the seasonal power pool goal of 661 feet msl, and “we're on the cool side of the final heat wave of the summer (hopefully), so if you're wanting to catch some fat, sassy rainbows, now's the time to fish the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks.
“We are still experiencing continual generation from Bull Shoals Dam and the catch has been plentiful and healthy – quick bites drifting Berkley pink worms, sometimes tipped with a white power egg. The shrimp/PowerBait combo is always a great fallback bait when others aren't getting attracting attention. It may help to add a little salt your shrimp supply to keep your bait on the hook between bites.
“The brown trout bite has been exceptional for August, with catches in the double-digits some days. Shiner river minnows have been the ticket this week with several good keeper browns reeled in. Keep several colors of PowerBait on hand – chartreuse, orange, pink and/or sunrise – and change up your bait if you don't get a hit soon enough. Gold spoons and white bodies are this week's top choice for spinnerbaits.

“Visit Cotter and find out why we're called Trout Capital USA. Hope to see you at the river!”

 

(updated 8-26-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said brown trout and rainbow trout were both doing OK this week. The river level remains high at 30 feet above normal most of the time; eight generators are running at the dam round-the-clock. Best bait for trout is PowerBait, while pink worms, stick bait, Yakima Vibric Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp are also working.

 

(updated 8-26-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had three minor rain events that combined for a quarter of an inch in Cotter, to go along with hot temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.8 feet to land at 10.5 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 23.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.1 foot to rest at 0.2 foot below seasonal power pool and 14.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 1.2 feet above seasonal power pool and 7.4 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 5 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 19.2 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. Expect high levels of generation for the next few weeks.
“The hopper bite is a bit slower, but there are still some good days,” John says. “Bang the bank with a grasshopper. My favorite fly for this technique is a western pink lady in a size 8. Add a midge dropper to increase your catch.”
With more moderate flows, the fishing has improved a bit. 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 said, “I don’t know about you but I will be glad when summer is over. I am fortunate enough to live in a 99-year-old field stone bungalow in Cotter that I have lovingly restored. My main strategy when remodeling it was to make it as energy-efficient as possible. I made sure it was well insulated, had energy-efficient windows, a high-efficiency air conditioner and no less than five Hunter ceiling fans. Because of this I can relax in relative coolness on even the hottest days.
“The problem comes in when I have to leave the house. Unfortunately my two biggest hobbies – working in my yard and fly fishing for trout – require me to go outdoors. I love to be outside but not when the temperature is hovering near 100 degrees.
“Working in my yard is quite manageable. I get an early start usually before 7 a.m. I work in the cool of the morning and stop when it gets warm, usually around 10 a.m. I then hit the shower and have a late breakfast. If it is not too hot, I will follow the shade around the house to work, where I am shielded from the sun.
“My nemesis with yard work is cutting the grass. Years ago I parked my riding lawn mower and began mowing with a rear-bagger push mower. It gives me a good work out and I can put the grass clippings in my compost. The problem comes when I have to wait until after noon because the grass must be dry to be effectively cut. By then it is brutally hot, especially on sunny days. This takes me two and a half hours. I wear my lightest shirt, straw hat and sun gloves. I take breaks and drink plenty of water.
“The fishing is basically the same. I start early and just fish a half day. I want to be on the water by 7:30 a.m. It is always pleasant then; I frequently have to wear a wind shirt because it is so cool. There is usually a dense fog that is chilling and frequently blocks the sun. It is great until the fog burns off, which is around 11 a.m. I generally fish till noon when it begins to really warm up. The challenge occurs if my client wants a full-day guide trip, when it is brutally hot and sunny. In a boat, there is no place to hide.
“Last week I had such a trip. It was four straight full days on sunny, 98-99 degree days. You know you are in trouble when The Weather Channel has heat advisories out for each day. The mornings went well. We caught several trout and even managed to catch a trophy brown. The trouble spot was the afternoon when the temperature climbed and the sun beat down on us. It was mean. The fishing slowed and it just got hotter and hotter. We were dressed properly and drank lots of water. It was tough. Quitting time finally came and I was glad to go home and enjoy an icy gin and tonic.
“The main thing that keeps me going now is that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fall is just a few weeks away!”

 

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 670.21 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 8-26-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock urges anglers to get up early for bass fishing and use topwater baits, poppers and Zara Spooks in the creeks. Look for shad-surfacing action. 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, fish on the points in 15-25 feet depth. If it gets tough, use a drop-shot off the points, the bluffs and ledges in 20-35 feet depth. Shad are starting to group up a little better. Fish the conditions. Clarity is good, the surface temperature is hanging around 86 degrees and the lake is a little over 9 feet high at last check, and dropping. Check out Del’s YouTube site (Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock) for more information and tips on fishing Bull Shoals Lake.
 

Norfork Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 559.88 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 8-26-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 5 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 19.2 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. Expect high levels of generation for the next few weeks.
“The hopper bite is a bit slower, but there are still some good days,” John says. “Bang the bank with a grasshopper. My 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 flooding over 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. 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 and North Fork Rivers 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 8-26-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek remain 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.