Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 3, 2022

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report August 4, 2022.

White River

(updated 8-4-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said The White River below Bull Shoals Dam has seen a lot of ups and downs this week. After several weeks of steady high water, we are now experiencing extremely low levels throughout the morning and into early afternoon when releases increase to 6,000 cfs, then 11,000, later up to 21,000 cfs. Low water is ideal for fishing from the shore and for wading enthusiasts. Those fishing from jon boats must locate and remain in the narrow channel. Be courteous to others. Often trout become skittish with rapid changes in water level, but the bite has remained very good. Fluctuating water levels require a variety of baits. The staples include yellow and pink PowerBait, ⅙-ounce red-and-gold spoons, a few jigs including white, black and olive green and maybe a Rapala (the brook trout has been favored). Nightcrawlers or redworms are a must. Berkely Hit Sticks have been making a hit on the river as well. Grasshoppers are coming in a little early. Try yellow or green hopper baits and skip them on the river to attract some curious browns. Stay aware of water levels and get safely to shore when you notice the rise coming. It's easy to get so focused on catching trout that you don't notice the water until it's at your knees!

(updated 8-4-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday last week they had several rain events (combined for 2.25 inches in Cotter), brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.3 feet to rest at 7 feet above power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 27 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 2.7 feet below power pool and 16.6 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 2 feet above power pool or 6.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Norfork Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 5 feet above power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 19.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The White and the Norfork tailwater finally had a few hours of wadable water last week.

With the current lake levels, we can expect high water for a few weeks. The prediction for the lakes to reach power pool has been updated to Aug. 16.

On the White, the hot spot has been 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 cerise San Juan worm with a girdle bug. Remember, the White River, Norfork Dam 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.

(updated 8-4-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said “It was good to get the rain last week. It is nice to see grass turning green again.  The rain didn’t affect the fishing, which remained steady this week.  On Monday, a 21.5-inch and 7-plus pound rainbow was caught near the bridge in Calico Rock. Silver in-line spinners with sunrise or orange power eggs topped with shrimp worked the best this week to catch a limit of rainbow trout.  There has been more variation in the water levels this week. Since Monday, we are seeing the water levels crest between 9 and 10 feet in the morning and drop as low as 5 to 6 feet by the evening.  As the water drops during the day, the fishing picks up.  Be careful during the lower water levels. There are places where you could run your boat over gravel bars, etc. The water will be more shallow and can damage motors and props. Fishing the shallow gravel bars and shoals has been the most productive. Later in the day, throwing ¼-ounce spoons worked well.  The AGFC used their pontoon raft to stock more than 4,800 rainbow trout from Calico Rock to Sylamore Creek 18 miles downriver.


Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 667.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at 9 a.m. Thursday was 6,297 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 914.02 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 1,588 cfs.

(updated 8-4-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said on Tuesday the water temperature is 88 degrees give or take. Typical summer patterns are working. There are always shallow fish, but the heat and falling water has lots of bait over the old river. Target channel swings and ledges close to deep water. Use a topwater Lucky Craft gunfish in the early morning. When topwater slows, a ½-oz. flutter spoon in a shad pattern or a small swimbait would be best. Then, move to a mooneye Tater Shad, drop shot or Jewel spoon to target schooling fish. A lot of fish have moved deep with the warm temperatures. Brush piles are also coming into play with lower water levels. If you are a power fisherman, get in the backs of feeder creeks that have shad. The creek fish have pulled back with the water coming down. Topwater will slow when the sun starts getting high. Move out and switch to a Jewel special ops football jig in green pumpkin orange or a green pumpkin Ned rig. Fishing around channel swings. standing timber ledges and lay downs with beavers and Zoom Ol’ Monster worms in green pumpkin/red, red shad and plum are all working.

Del regularly posts new YouTube videos. Visit his 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 560.01 feet msl (normal conservation pool: Sept.-April, 553.75 feet msl; April-Sept. 556.25 feet msl; top flood elevation 580.0 feet msl). Total outflow from Norfork Dam at 9 a.m. Thursday was 3,155 cfs, but got up to 6,289 cfs on Wednesday.

(updated 8-4-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said “The lake level is 560.28 feet msl and has dropped 2.5 inches in the last 24 hours with alternating between one and both generators. The surface water temperature is 85 degrees and the water is clear down to about 20 feet and then gets cloudy after that. The thermocline starts at about 23 feet. The early morning bite for walleye, smaller stripers and hybrids is still the best with after dark largemouth bass fishing next. Bluegill are in main lake cuts in 20 feet of water and catfish are with them. Trotlines with live bluegill and jugs are catching some good ones, but not a lot of quantity. Channel catfishing has been down for me this year, but flatheads have been very good. Kentucky Bass are moving in shallow water in the evening and are feeding on crayfish. Some crappie are moving back onto main lake brush piles, but not a lot. Look for brush that is about 35 feet deep at the bottom and 25 feet deep at the top. Live bait trollers are catching some smaller stripers on shad in the mornings. It is typical early August fishing, but the water is more clear than in previous years. 

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

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 8-4-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 5 feet above power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 19.2 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also had some wadable water in the past week.

With some limited wadable water on the Norfork the last few days, 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 well. School is out and the creek is busy. Weekends can get quite crowded. The hot flies have been sowbugs, various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise) and white mop flies. Small orange or peach eggs have been very effective.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek

(updated 8-4-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are up. With hot temperatures, the smallmouths are less 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.