Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 1, 2022

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report June 2, 2022.

White River

(updated 6-2-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake elevation is 689 feet msl, 6 feet from the top of flood pool. “Our friends and fellow Arkansans, especially those along the Arkansas River and the Mississippi near Memphis, and many folks to the west and north of us, are experiencing flooding, so the Corps of Engineers is employing the dam to hold back lake water. We anticipate controlled, managed releases from Bull Shoals Lake sometime in the next weeks. When that happens, we will see much higher water levels, but we will continue to fish – and catch – great trout.
“The No. 1 question on everybody's mind is, ‘Will we be able to fish on the White River when they release lots of water?’ ‘Yes! Yes, you will!’ And we will catch beautiful, healthy rainbows and browns.”

At this time, releases from the dam remain low, averaging 1½ units (4,800 cfs) with large spurts in the late afternoon for a few hours. That means the White River below Bull Shoals is relatively shallow, and may be wadable in some spots during morning hours.

“The browns kept us busy this past week. Find some really nice sculpins and you'll attract some really nice browns. The rainbows are showing curiosity toward shiny silver spoons (especially Cleos and the hammered blue-silver Thomas Buoyant). They're also biting at just about any worm, especially when a bubblegum pink or fluorescent orange worm is used in conjunction with shrimp. But don't discount the live ones – red wigglers and Canadian nightcrawlers – for catching great rainbows. Whatever form your fishing takes, bring it to the river and enjoy Arkansas, The Natural State.”

 

(updated 6-2-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said that late last week the river remained high and muddy from the rains in the Buffalo River Valley. By Saturday the water cleared and was between 6-7 feet deep. Fishing was great during the holiday weekend with many 15-inch-plus rainbow trout caught and several brown trout that topped 18 inches. A couple of boats reported hooking some 5-pound-plus rainbows or brown trout that either broke the line or threw the hook.  One angler caught and released an 8-pound brown trout. The trout were hungry and weren’t too picky. Drift-fishing with Power Eggs with shrimp or worms or corn performed well. Rapala Countdowns caught some of the bigger trout. Tuesday and Wednesday, throwing gold-colored spoons on the gravel bars worked well as well as drift-fishing with sculpins. On Tuesday the Norfork Hatchery with the Arkansas Game and Fish used a pontoon raft to stock over 2,200 rainbow trout between the Calico Rock boat ramp and the Optimus boat ramp.

 

(updated 6-2-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had half an inch of rain in Cotter, warm temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 1.4 feet to rest at 26.8 feet above power pool of 662 feet msl. This is 6.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 1.8 feet to rest at 5.6 feet above power pool and 8.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.1 foot to rest at 6.8 feet above power pool or 1.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.8 foot to rest at 16 feet above power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 7.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had had a bit more wadable water.

The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are now well above power pool. With the current lake levels, we can expect some wadable water on the Norfork to prevent downstream flooding.

On the White, the hot spot has been the Rim Shoals. 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 prince nymph with a size 18 ruby midge.

John also said, “Here recently my wife, Lori, and I have been pretty lucky in that we have been able to fish together almost every week. We have had some decent weather between thunderstorms and have also had some nice lower flows. We have even been able to wade fish a bit. Last week we had another stellar opportunity. I should note that on the last two previous fishing trips with Lori, she has out fished me mercilessly.
“It was a bright sunny day. The river was on the bottom and gin clear. There were few waders but plenty of boats. We left the house as soon as Lori had fed and walked our dogs. I loaded our gear into my Suburban. We drove to the access and put on our waders. We had been chasing the caddis hatch for weeks and they had eluded us.
“I pulled out my Sage rod. It was still rigged with a partridge and orange soft hackle. I left it on, figuring that it would be an effective fly for the caddis. Lori took a client rod. These are rods that we keep in my Suburban for client use. They are quite serviceable but are not as fancy as our personal rods. This one was not rigged. Lori was going to rig it when she got on stream and observed the conditions.
“We walked far from the access. We noted a few caddis. It was not a hatch. They were ovipositors, adults that had previously hatched that had returned to the river to lay eggs. I opted to fish the partridge and orange soft hackle I had on, while Lori decided to fish dry flies. In this case she went for an elk hair caddis.
“I began fishing and caught several. The partridge and orange was producing trout after trout. Meantime, Lori was struggling. She had managed to hook one but set the hook too soon and pulled the fly from the trout’s mouth. This is a common problem. You have to let the trout close its mouth before you set the hook. The problem with topwater fishing is that you see the strike and the adrenalin is pumping.
“Lori wanted to fish the dry flies and nothing else. She kept at it with no further success. I had caught enough, so I cranked in my line and sat on the bank watching her fish. I really enjoyed watching her. She is a really good fly caster and she was in her element. She tried several different caddis dry fly patterns but was unwilling to try any other technique. She went fishless.
“Sometimes it is the technique that counts and you have to be willing to try something else. Sometimes you just want to do it your way.”

 

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 688.95 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 662.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). The outflow from Bull Shoals Dam at 1 p.m. was 10,536 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 922.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.58 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl).

 

(updated 6-2-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday morning that limited parking at the boat dock can be an issue, so plan ahead. The lake continues to rise, now at 688 feet msl (or 29 feet high and 7 feet from the top of the lake). Despite the high water, the lake is really clear in the main portion. Bigger creeks have stain. The water temperature is around 70 degrees. Watch for debris on calm days.

Bass fishing has been up and down with the weather fronts. The shad have spread out. Use a 2.8 Keitech on a quarter-ounce ball head, or swim a grub in shad colors. Target windy main lake secondary points and saddle humps. Don’t pass up shad way out on the points, and use topwater, an LC Gunfish or a Zara Spook. For sunny days, dragging a Jewel Special Ops Football Jig in green-pumpkin orange, a Ned rig with green pumpkin variations, and keep the boat out around 30 feet.
A lot of fish are on the old shoreline on secondary points and channel swings. Bloody tails are starting to show up in the summer areas. The flipping bite is tougher as the water came up, so deep bushes, standing timber and laydowns are where to focus. Use a Beaver/Senko/a small jig. If you find warm, dirty water, use a bright spinnerbait, a Chatterbait, Whopper Plopper or square bill. Fish the conditions.

Visit 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 572.90 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.40 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl).

 

(updated 6-2-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 572.83 feet msl and has risen three-quarters of an inch in the last 24 hours with three hours of running both generators and 2-hours of less than one. It is scheduled to crest at 572.90 on 5-June at 66% full. The White River at Newport is 15.87 and dropping quickly. Surface water temperature is 76-degrees and the water is clearing nicely again after the holiday churn. The thermocline is between 19 and 20 feet as is the old shoreline before the water rise and many fish are at this level. The top-water bite has slowed with the warming water and will diminish as the thermocline goes deeper. Crappie and bass are both near cover and in open water on shad. Live bait fishermen are catching a few temperate bass. Bluegill fishing remains good on crickets and small spoons. Catfishing is fair on live bluegill on throw lines and limb lines. Bluegill about 4-inches long is the best bait. Overall spooning main lake points and just around them is good but working the bank for black bass in the creeks with grubs and creature baits is also working.

For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.
 

(updated 6-2-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no updated report this week. But check out Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page, where Lou gives periodic updates on Norfork Lake.

 

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 6-2-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.8 foot to rest at 16 feet above power pool of 556.75 feet msl and 7.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater had had a bit more wadable water.

The water level for the top of power pool has been reset higher for all of the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River system are now well above power pool. With the current lake levels, we can expect some wadable water on the Norfork to prevent downstream flooding.

There has been some wadable water on the Norfork during the day and it fished moderately. 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 out and the creek is busy. Weekends can get a quite 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.

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. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.

 

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 6-2-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are navigable. With warmer temperatures, the smallmouths are 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.