Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

August 17, 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 18, 2022.

White River

(updated 8-18-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said school is back in session this week locally and beginning next week in nearby communities. Be extra careful, watching for kids of all sizes going to and from, and when following school buses – they carry the most important things in life.
Bull Shoals Lake is nearing seasonal power pool at 663.75 feet msl, moving toward 661 feet. “That usually means less releases from the dam, causing lower river levels – at least in the early morning hours. We continue to see a fair amount of fluctuation in releases from Bull Shoals Dam in the afternoon and evening hours as the Southwestern Power Administration continues to lower the lake. The fishing has been very good to exceptional!
“The daytime temperatures have been a little cooler than those we suffered during the last weeks of July. While the threat of rain kept some folks away from the river for a couple of days, those that braved the (mostly) misty skies saw a steady stream of catches.”
Small spinners with a Colorado blade were popular this week. Keep your spoons and Blue Foxes handy and don't be afraid to try different baits and different colors; use a wide selection. Lemon-lime egg patterns worked well upstream from Cotter all the way to the state park. Peach and olive jigs played during the morning hours on the lower water caused a lot of action. As always, drifting red wiggler worms during high water is the ticket, with worm imitators (red, natural or bubblegum pink) just as successful. Cast toward the bank as you drift downstream and the rainbows and an occasional brown will snap them up. Mimic the menu provided by Mother Nature and you'll most always catch a bunch.
“There is a lot of early morning mist and fog, so be careful on the river, take it slow and easy until the mist burns off. Come out and spend some time in The Natural State – you'll be glad you did.”

(updated 8-18-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday that during the past week they have had less than a quarter of an inch of rain, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 2.3 feet to rest at 3.6 feet above power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 30.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 3.8 feet below power pool and 17.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 0.3 foot below power pool or 8.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 2 feet above power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 22.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water.
Most of the lakes in the White River system are now below or near power pool. With the current lake levels, expect high water for a few weeks. The prediction for the lakes to reach power pool has been updated to next Wednesday, Aug. 24.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. “We have had lower flows in the morning,” John said. 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 pheasant tail nymph.
Remember that the White and Norfork 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.

(updated 8-18-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said fishing conditions at Calico Rock have been great this last week. “We continue to see water levels crest at approximately 9 feet in the mornings and drop throughout the day to as low as 5 feet by the evening.” Silver in-line spinners with sunrise Power Eggs and a piece of shrimp continues to work the best. As the water got lower, brass-colored inline spinners were also effective. Additionally, during the lower water periods quarter-ounce Colorado spoons (copper and gold), gold-colored Buoyant spoons or gold-colored Rapala Countdowns worked well. Drift-fishing with sculpins resulted in a few 17-inch-plus rainbows and browns. “This week we had one stocking of over 2,300 rainbow trout from the Norfork Hatchery.”

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 663.47 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at noon Thursday was 19,655 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 913.01 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 2,138 cfs.

(updated 8-18-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that the lake level is at 663 feet, only about 5 feet high, and almost back to normal. The constant generating from Bull Shoals Dam has stopped. Water temperature is about 85 degrees.
Typical summer patterns are working. The cooler nights have the shad starting to move. There are always shallow fish, especially with recent rains. Target channel swings, points and ledges close to deep water. Whooper Plopper, buzzbait and a topwater Lucky Craft Gunfish are working early in the day. When topwater slows, use a half-ounce flutter spoon in a shad pattern and a small swimbait. Then move to a Mooneye Tater Shad or drop-shot a Jewel Spoon. Most of the shad are suspended at 25-35 feet. Almost all species are present. A lot of fish have moved up into the brushpiles and are coming into play with lowering water levels. The creek fish have pulled back with the water coming down. Topwater will slow down when the sun starts getting high. Move out with a Jewel Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin-orange variations and keep the boat out around 40 feet. Fishing is good around channel swings, standing timber, ledges and laydowns. Use a Beaver/Big Worm Ole Monster in green-pumpkin, red or red shad, or plum as well. Fish the conditions.
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 557.21 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 noon Thursday was 5,790. Similar generation on Wednesday ran from noon to 11 p.m.

(updated 8-18-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said Wednesday the lake level is 557.40 feet msl and has dropped 1.5 inches in the last 24 hours with generation from about noon to midnight. “We received 1 inch of rain Tuesday night. The lake is now pretty clear down to the thermocline at 27 feet, cloudy to 30 and then clear again in the cold water. The creeks are still stained. The surface water temperature has dropped to 84 degrees with the cooler weather. There is very little dissolved oxygen at 40 feet and below and there is not much sense fishing below 35 feet unless you are going after the stripers and walleye that are in the oxygen bubble at 90-120 feet.”
Several fish are now in the brush at 27-32 feet, including bass and bluegill, but the new news is that the crappie just joined them Tuesday. “I was finding none on brush until yesterday afternoon. The big schools are not there yet but some nice ones are showing up along with some smallmouth bass. Small spoons and Bobby Garland Baby Shad are working well. Trollers are still catching 5- to 7-pound stripers on shad at 30-35 feet. Fishing is getting better earlier than usual.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 8-18-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.4 feet to rest at 2 feet above power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 22.2 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water.
Most of the lakes in the White River system are now below or near power pool. With the current lake levels, expect high water for a few weeks. The prediction for the lakes to reach power pool has been updated to next Wednesday, Aug. 24.
There has been more wadable water on the Norfork in the morning. 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 eighteen 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 back in session and the creek is not as busy. Weekends can get a 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. Be sure and carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 8-18-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low. 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.