Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 22, 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 23, 2022.

White River

(updated 6-23-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the bite is on and the anglers on the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks are catching trout on the first cast of the day, on the last cast in the afternoon and on a whole lot of casts in between. Anglers of all ages and persuasions are catching trout downriver from Bull Shoals Dam in the Cotter neighborhood. The water is cold and clear, refreshing, and provides a cool updraft when you're moving downstream in a john boat.
Bull Shoals Dam is continuing releases from the lake, which are required to bring the lake down to desired power pool level. Four or more generators, 14,000 to 17,000 cfs all day, has been the norm. The generation is a little heavier in the afternoon than the morning. The lake has dropped 3 feet over the last couple of weeks and, at this writing, is at 685.55 feet msl and continuing to drop.
Plan your baits based on water conditions: Begin with the tried-and-true shrimp and egg pattern (orange and/or yellow and/or pink) for a swift catch of rainbows, move to worms or to drifting a pink or orange 2-inch worm as the water rises later in the morning. Spinnerbaits are also a good option in the morning before the higher releases.
Later in the day, as the water rises, pull out the big baits: Look for the 4- to 5-inch Smithwicks, orange bellies, blue or black backs or a chrome and blue Husky Jerk. The brown trout X-Rap Rapala and the Elite Blue RPS-9 (Rapala’s size 9) are good baits to use as well. Brook trout Rapalas might be the secret this week.
A family fishing adventure offers time together in an outdoor arena, sharing quiet moments and watching nature "happen" in real time, in a digital-free environment (or as much as you desire it to be.) Go catching and enjoy Arkansas’s natural resources.

(updated 6-23-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week they had no rain, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 1.4 feet to rest at 24 feet above power pool of 661.8 feet msl. This is 9.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 2.4 feet to rest at 0.8 foot above power pool and 13.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.4 foot to rest at 6.9 feet above power pool or 1.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 14.9 feet above power pool of 556.6 feet msl and 9.5 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has not had much wadable water during the day.
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 high water all summer.
“On the White, the hot spot has been the White Hole,” John said. “We have had much heavier flows and sulphur mayfly hatches. 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 San Juan worm with an orange egg.

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

(updated 6-23-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the river remained high and fast this week, averaging between 8.5 and 10.5 feet in depth. Both Bull Shoals and Norfork dams are generating a lot of water both to lower the lake levels and to meet the summer electricity demand. The water remains clear and cold. Using inline spinners (both gold and silver work well) with Power Eggs (bright colors work best) and shrimp worked best. In the deeper water add an extra weight to keep the bait on the bottom. Using deep-diving crankbaits has been effective for bigger trout. We are also seeing some nice largemouth and smallmouth bass being caught in the creeks and sloughs. A benefit of high muddy water we had the last couple of months was increased food for the trout. Over the last week we have seen several 18-inch-plus brown trout and fat 15- to 20-inch rainbow trout. There was one trout stocking in the last week.

The weather is hot, stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and a hat.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 685.28 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 662.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam is 18,049 cfs, and releases have been constant this week. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 917.08 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 916.58 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 3,460 cfs.

(updated 6-16-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday morning that the high lake is still proving problematic for some folks trying to find a parking spot. The limited parking with water up in some of the lot can be an issue, so plan your visit ahead.
Despite the high water, Del says, the lake is “really clear in the main part.” The back of the bigger creeks have stain, he said. The water temperature is ranging about 79 degrees.
An early topwater bite has been key. Target windy, main lake secondary points, especially when the Army Corps of Engineers is generating water from the dam. Use a topwater lure, an LC Gunfish or a Zara Spook. Or get in the back of feeder creeks that have shad. The creek fish have pulled back with the water dropping some. The topwater bite will end when the sun starts getting high. Slow-dragging a Jewel Special Ops football jig in green pumping orange or variations of that is a good way to fish. Keep your boat around 30 feet. A lot of fish are on the old shoreline. The flipping bite is tougher now as the submerged vegetation is starting to lose its leaves. Around standing timber and laydowns, use a Beaver or big worm, or small jigs. The drop-shot bite has been heating up. As always, 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 560.99 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.48 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam at noon Thursday was 5,707 cfs.

(updated 6-23-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 570.30 feet msl and has dropped almost 3 feet from its recent high on June 6. The surface water temperature is 87 degrees and the lake looks clear from the surface but is cloudy down past about 12 feet and then clear again at about 25 feet. Some fish are going deeper with the hot weather and increasing surface temperature, and some nice stripers and walleye are being caught on shad anywhere from 50-60 feet of water and at various depths on the jigging spoon and dragging umbrellas through the shad. The early morning bite is the best. Other walleye are on main lake points from 16-25 feet near the bottom. Some crappie are still back in the creeks on wood but many are under docks in the shade. There is a topwater bite some days early but are mostly small bass. Other bass are still in the buckbrush in the evening and are hitting creature baits and plastic worms. Catfishing is fair on throw lines and jugs in 20 feet of water with live bait. The lake overall is in good condition and the level drop is welcome.

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

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 6-23-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 14.9 feet above power pool of 556.6 feet msl and 9.5 feet below the top of flood pool. There has been no wadable water on the Norfork and it fished poorly. 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 moderately. School is out and the creek is busy. Weekends can get 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.

John also said, “I have been guiding on Dry Run Creek for over 30 years. During this time I have learned a thing or two. I consider it to be the most challenging place to guide. The fish are truly huge. They receive a ton of pressure and have all been hooked several times before. They are a bit skittish. The typical angler on Dry Run Creek is around 10 years of age and has never fly-fished. They are expected to land large, wily trout that would challenge an experienced adult angler. Ninety percent of the fish are caught by 10 percent of the anglers.

“My client Russ brought his grandson, Austin. This is the second grandchild that he has had me guide (there is one more). He brings them one at a time so that they get plenty of individual attention. Austin was 12 and had fished, but had never fly-fished.
“We started at my favorite spot and could only land a 7-inch rainbow. The previous week my young client had hooked a 12-pounder. We decided to move on. Our second spot produced nothing. We moved again and were rewarded with three nice rainbows. We lost a good one and I explained that on a big one you can’t horse them in. You have to let them run and wear them down before you can net them.
“It was 11 a.m. and I was getting concerned. The fish were just not biting. We were an hour before quitting time and we had not landed a big fish. My goal for every trip is to catch a trophy, a fish that is 24 inches long or longer. We moved again to a spot that I do not usually fish. It was time for the Hail Mary!
“The spot was loaded with trout and I began changing flies to find something that would produce. We caught a small rainbow. I looked in my fly box and saw a pink San Juan worm. Real men fish pink worms.
“It was 15 minutes from quitting time. On the second cast, Austin hooked a good one. It took a reel screaming run upstream and suddenly we had a lot of line out. Austin did exactly what I told him as I coached his struggle with the big trout. It was an epic fight. The trout made several long runs. The big rainbow slowly surrendered line as we brought him near.
“I released a sigh of relief as I netted him. We had accomplished my goal with five minutes left in my day. We were all stoked and took several photos of the 26-inch trout before gently releasing it.
“We had not caught a lot of trout but one really good one can make for a successful trip.”

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 6-23-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low and 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.