Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

September 14, 2022

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report September 15, 2022.

White River

(updated 9-15-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “If you're waiting for perfect weather to go fishing, now's the time to fish the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks. If you're waiting for a catch of fat rainbows, now's the time to fish the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks. Actually, there's never a bad time to fish the White River in Cotter; it's always beautiful and the catch is always more than ample.”

Bull Shoals Lake is below its power pool of 661 feet msl elevation, currently recorded at 659.53. The river flow is below one unit (1,000-2,000 cfs) followed by heavier generation late in the afternoon, returning to lower flows before dawn. Prime time for waders and bank fishers. Live red wigglers or red San Juan worms on a number 18 hook drifting a foot or two above the river bed will attract a good share of rainbows. A RoosterTail with a glittery, light yellow body and a mossy green/brown skirt is the spinning bait to look for--either 1/6 or 1/4 ounce. Consider gold blades for sunny days, silver for overcast skies.

The catch has been plentiful and healthy – quick bites on Berkley pink worms, sometimes tipped with shrimp (salting the shrimp might keep your bait in place longer.)  You'll want to keep several colors of PowerBait on hand – yellow, orange, pink and sunrise are good to have. Orange PowerBait worked best for us over the last few days.

(updated 9-15-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, says that this last week we have seen varied water levels. Last Friday through Monday the water would crest at approximately 5 feet and drop as low as 3 feet. Tuesday and Wednesday we saw the return of water levels cresting at 6 to 7 feet in the morning and dropping throughout the day to 4 feet. The water has some dinginess in the morning, but by noon the water clears. With the low water, throwing ¼ ounce spoons, rooster tails, Blue Fox or Rapala Countdowns were very effective. Throwing spoons this week we saw a beautiful 19 inch brown trout and a nice 19 inch rainbow caught this week.  Drift fishing with in-line spinners with Power Eggs and shrimp worked well. We have not had any trout stockings this week at the Calico Rock boat ramp.

(updated 9-15-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, the hot spot on the White River has been the Rim Shoals. The White River has had some marginal wadable water. We have had lower flows in the morning that have been fished very well. 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 pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper.

Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 659.36 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 661.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam Thursday morning was 2,812 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 911.61 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 1,247 cfs.

(updated 9-1-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that the lake is almost back to normal water level. The constant generating has stopped. Water temperature is 84 degrees, give or take a degree. The 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. Whopper Plopper, buzzbaits and topwater Lucky Craft Gunfish are working early in the day. When the topwater bite 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 30-35 feet. Almost all species are present. A lot of fish have moved up into the brush piles and are coming into play with lowering water levels. The creek fish have pulled back with the water coming down. The morning topwater bite 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 Beaver or a Big Worm Ole Monster in green-pumpkin red or red shad plum. 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 554.66 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 Thursday morning was 205 cfs.

(updated 9-15-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 554.69 as of Wednesday morning and is the same as it was at this time yesterday with very little generation. The White River at Newport is 4.78 feet and very low. The surface water temperature is 81 degrees and the visibility is a little less than it was at this time last week, but is still a good color for fishing and scuba diving. The fish that had been on brush piles in 27-30 feet of water are still there but more shallow now. They were near the bottom but are now at 20-25 feet. The crappie are above the brush, schooled and roaming looking for baitfish which are all over the brush. Crappie, black bass, walleye and big bluegill are all in the same brush but at various depths. Small spoons, jigs, grubs tipped with live minnows and slip floats on minnows are all working for the crappie and bluegill and 1/4 and 3/8th ounce spoons for the bass and walleye. A few stripers are being caught on larger spoons on shad in open water. Catfishing is fair on jugs and throw lines part way back in the creek on live bluegill and getting better with the waning moon and stable water levels. Work main lake points and just around them on steep river channel banks on the outside. There seems to be less fish as you go back into the creeks and the visibility diminishes quickly on the creek sides. The combination of weather and fishing is about as good as it gets and there is no rain in the forecast for the next week. We are getting dry again.

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

(updated 9-15-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “It was a very good morning of fishing on Norfork Lake. Joe, a current guest headed to the area, and I have been catching walleye and went looking for striped bass as well. Joe found the walleye in 27 to 32 feet of water. He caught them by trolling Flicker Minnows, as well as vertical jigging a purple monkey Tater Shad. The striped bass should start to scatter out of the dam area anytime now. I started out the morning by graphing areas that the stripers have shown up in the past. In the 3rd area, I marked some fish in 30 feet of water that looked like walleye and spots. I jigged for a short time with no takers. I moved around on this main lake point and finally on the inside of the point I found some big arcs. The fish were feeding in 38 to 50 feet of water and they were all over the place. I caught my fish using several different baits and colors. I was vertical jigging Tater Shads. The best color of Tater Shad this morning for me was the glimmer shad. I also was vertical jigging a 3/4 ounce white with a chartreuse Binks spoon. I ended up landing 4 stripers and hybrids and 3 others came unhooked during the battle. They caught fish off the bottom, as well as near the surface as the fish were chasing and hammering the bait before it got to the surface. The surface lake temperature this morning was near 80 degrees and the lake level is falling slowly. The current lake level sits at 554.66 ft msl. The main lake is mainly clear to slightly stained with the creeks and coves a little more stained.” Lou posts nearly daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.

Norfork Tailwater

(updated 9-15-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.7 foot to rest at one foot below power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 25.3 feet below the top of flood pool. There has been more wadable water on the Norfork in the morning and it has fished a bit better. 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 back in session and the creek is not as 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. Be sure and 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 9-15-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low. With cooler temperatures, the smallmouths are more 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.