Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

November 10, 2021

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report November 11, 2021.

White River
(updated 11-11-2021) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Thank a United States armed services veteran today! We are able to enjoy our wonderful natural resources in a large part due to their sacrifices. Thank you!”
Fishing for trout continues to be a primary draw to the White River even though lots of the folks (including guides) are in the woods hunting instead of on the river fishing. Leaves more for those of us catching trout. And catching is the name of the game this week. The Bull Shoals Lake tailwater continues to offer all-day action for anglers and is one of the most productive trout streams you'll ever fish. Bull Shoals Lake is now 5 feet below power pool and dropping; generation from the dam is averaging around three-quarters of one unit all day with quick pulses of up to three units for a couple of hours on some days.
The rainbow catch was abundant – if you were dangling a worm. Nightcrawlers and red wigglers bested the bubblegum pink scented worm; however, the XFactor shrimp pink worm played a role in a good share of landed trout, too. It's about the right time of year to switch to orange, white and/or sunrise colors for your egg pattern flies or PowerBait. Anglers last week had less success with the shrimp/PowerBait combo than usual, but found that alternating shrimp and worms over the course of the day proved successful. With the lower flows you'll want to keep your bait in the main channel and as deep as possible without snagging. Remember to watch out for, and be courteous to, fellow anglers, be they in a boat, on the shore or wading nearer the action in the river.
You'll enjoy your fishing adventures much more if you come prepared for Arkansas weather extremes. This week we experienced a few mornings with temperatures near freezing and the afternoon sunshine raising the thermometer to the upper 50s, low 60s.
“Autumn colors are popping up all around us and we've been treated to some perfect autumn days. Whatever the weather, we know we're blessed to be here in The Natural State and always look forward to meeting fellow trout lovers. Stop in and say ‘Hi.’”

(updated 11-4-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had a bit over an inch and a half of rain, cooler temperatures and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.2 foot to rest at 4.1 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40.1 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 0.4 feet at 1.6 feet below power pool and 15.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 1.4 feet below power pool or 11 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had marginal wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.1 foot above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had less wadable water during the day.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed through Jan. 31, 2022, to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period.
On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. On the low water the bite was excellent! The hot flies were Y2Ks, prince nymphs, zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead), pheasant tails, Copper Johns, pink and cerise San Juan worms, gold ribbed hare’s ears and sowbugs. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, Copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise).
Some anglers have been fishing large streamers on the heavy flows we have been getting later in the day and having success. This requires heavy sink tip lines (250 grain), heavy rods (8-weight or better) and advanced casting skills. The hot flies have been large articulated streamers in various colors.
Remember that the White and North Fork rivers 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. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John also said, “On our last fishing trip (a few weeks ago just before she broke her arm), my wife, Lori, broke a fly rod while we were fishing. It was one of our client rods that I keep in my Suburban. Though we have expensive Sage, Winston and Orvis rods, we often grab our inexpensive client rods when we go fishing. They are readily available, usually already rigged and fish well. In fact, I cannot tell the difference between the way the client rods and our personal rods cast.
Our client rods are Temple Fork Outfitter professional series rods. Brand new they cost $129. Mine are about 15 years old. These are the rods I loan to clients who don’t have or didn’t bring their own rods. We also regularly use them on Dry Run Creek. Because of this they suffer a lot of abuse. They are really beat up. Their best feature is that they have a lifetime warranty.
“When I got home, I remembered that I had another client rod that was broken. It was time to send them back to TFO to be repaired. I gathered the rods up and put them in the box they came in (I had kept the box in the garage for this purpose). I enclosed my address and a check for $80. That is $40 for each rod. I sent the box to TFO.
“Two weeks later I received a box from TFO. In it there were two brand-new fly rods. I can only assume that the people at TFO were so impressed that I had used the rods so much or felt sorry for me because the rods I sent in for repair looked so beat up.
“I used the rods the next week. My clients were so impressed with the way that the rods cast and fished they decided to buy the same rods for themselves.
“At the same time that I sent the TFO rods in for repair, I returned an Orvis rod. This was an expensive ($800) rod that I use for fishing streamers. Orvis comes with a 25-year warranty. I had to get a return authorization from Orvis. I enclosed the broken rod, my address and a check for $60. I mailed everything the same day as the TFO rods. I have not received the rod back yet.
“While the best idea is not to break a rod, the reality of the situation is that rods are broken in doors, in ceiling fans, fighting huge fish and a thousand other places. Most rod manufacturers offer some sort of warranty. TFO has one of the best; it is quick, inexpensive and easy to do. The idea of receiving new rods was a definite plus. The Orvis warranty is limited, cost more and takes longer.
“I have long been a TFO fan and this just reinforces it.”

(updated 11-4-2021) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said nothing much has changed in a while. The river continues to run mostly low. Rainbow trout fishing overall has been good. Just 2-4 generators are running at the dam on average. PowerBait, pink worms, stick bait, Rooster Tails in light green or brown, worms and shrimp all will get a good response from the trout.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 653.89 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.0 feet msl). The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 915.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).

(updated 11-11-2021) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Tuesday afternoon that “give or take, bass fishing has been fair. The deep bite is hot. Bass are getting keyed in on the shad in stormy, windy conditions on ledges and channel swing banks with chunk rock. On windy days, a Rock Crawler, square bill or Wiggle Wart on the windy transitions. Offshore shad are starting to group up a lot better. Try a Jewel Scuba Spoon, drop-shot or Damiki Ice Jig. Fish the conditions.
Bull Shoals clarity is good, the surface temperature is 63 degrees. Water level is about 4 feet low.
See 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 553.75 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 11-11-2021) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake fishing really has not changed a lot since my last report two weeks ago. The lake temperature has dropped a little and the thermocline has dropped to basically the edges of the old river channel. The deep water will eventually become totally oxygenated and the water temp will be consistent from surface to the bottom.
“I have mainly been fishing on the various flats in the mid to northern parts of the lake. Heading west of my resort, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, the flats are near Mallard Point, Cranfield Island, Cranfield Campground, Seward Point, Briar Creek and then up around the Red Bank area. Heading east of our resort are the 101 Bridge Flat, Big Sandy which is a little past 101 Boat Dock and the Cow Pasture, which is the area right before the 6B marker. (A few of the names have been given by local fishermen.) Striped and hybrid bass, white bass, largemouth and spotted bass, catfish and walleye can all be found on these flats at some point during the day and sometimes multiple times during the day. The bait moves onto the flat and the predators move in to feed. The best fishing depth seems to vary based on the time of day. But it seems that 30-40 feet of water has been the most productive depths during daylight hours. As the lake water cools the bait and fish will continue to move a little deeper. In the dark, the fish seem to move up shallower following the bait. My bait of choice for flat fishing has been to vertical jig a ½- to a 1-ounce spoon. The fish are currently feeding on 1½ inch to 2-inch thread fin shad. This does not mean they won’t attack a bigger bait and at times they may prefer a little heartier meal. I have also been casting out a 5-inch swimbait, as well as, my ½ ounce Kastmaster. Other styles of blade baits, such as a cicada, are working very well. Trollers are also picking up some nice striped bass by trolling umbrella or Alabama rigs. Other areas where these species are showing up or will very soon, are back in the major creeks, such as; Big, Brushy, Float, Panther and Fall Creeks, as well as Bennett’s Bayou and up river around the state line.
“I can not personally talk about crappie fishing as I have been spending the majority of my time locating and catching the species talked about above. From what I have been told by the crappie guides is that the bite has been good. The bigger slabs are starting to move into the brush and small jigs and minnows are working very well. I will take some time off from my striped bass fishing and check out the crappie bite myself before long.”
Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was in the mid-60-degree range. The lake has become fairly stable with just slight variations either up or down and currently sits at 553.62 feet msl. The lake is slightly stained from the mid-lake area and heading north, but there has been a slight clearing starting to happen. The lake continues its slow progression to a total lake turnover. “I am starting to mark bait and a few fish 75-80 feet deep, which tells me the good cool oxygenated water is continuing to fall lower and lower until eventually it will reach all depths and the lake will be totally turned over. This year the turnover process has been virtually unnoticeable.
“Happy fishing, and enjoy Norfork Lake.”

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 11-4-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.1 foot “above power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had less wadable water during the day.
There has been less wadable water on the Norfork and it fished well some days and poorly on others. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Grasshoppers have produced fish, particularly when used in conjunction with a small nymph dropper (try a size 20 black zebra midge). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, Copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise). The fishing is much better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.
Dry Run Creek has fished well. School is back in session and now is a great time to fish it, particularly during the week. Weekends can get a bit crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise). Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 11-4-2021) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and gin clear. Both are receiving a lot of pressure. The smallmouths are still active. The most effective fly has been a tan and brown 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.