Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

October 26, 2022

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report October 27, 2022.

White River
(updated 10-27-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said Bull Shoals Lake remains well below power pool even after a record-breaking rain. White River water clarity was unaffected by the almost 4 inches received here, as almost all soaked into the ground. That means the trout still had lots of clear, cold water in which to romp and roll, and tease anglers.
“Mother Nature has treated us to mercurial weather this October, and with those changes in temperature come changes in water releases from Bull Shoals Dam: minimum flow during the early morning hours rising to three to four units (9,000 to 12,000 cfs) later in the day. This is due mostly to power demands during the cold weather we've seen on and off over the last week. Bull Shoals Lake is 4 feet below power pool and still dropping despite that record rainstorm.
“The brown bite has been iffy because the annual spawn is on, but we're still seeing some action with sculpin. Be careful not to disturb the spawning beds (the redds) if you motor through spawning areas around Rim Shoals or on either side of the catch-and-release area.
The rainbows have been feisty and paying most attention to orange baits. Xfactor steelhead orange eggs are a favorite for two weeks running paired with a bead of shrimp or alone. Lures with orange bellies were favored, too. However, the jig fishers found most success with brown or brown/orange-colored jigs, one-sixteenth- or one-eighth-ounce, depending on water depth.
“This October has been spectacular for warm, shirtsleeve days, and even though it's pretty chilly right now we expect a warm front to move in later this week. We've been promised more sunshine and temperate days to continue for a while. Come visit Cotter; catch your share of rainbows and enjoy the beauty of our Natural State.”

(updated 10-27-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said Wednesday that recent days have started with cool mornings and then warmed up to comfortable days. “We have seen varied generations from both Bull Shoals Dam and Norfork Dam. Late last week we saw the river levels up, but into the weekend the water got as low 2 feet. Starting Monday we saw higher water levels.
“Spoons continue to be the go-to lure in the low water. Additionally, black jigs, Rooster Tails, lures with a spinner and Rapala Countdowns have worked very well. Power Eggs with shrimp, corn or worms continue to work well when the water rises above 3 feet.”
Since the last report there have been two trout stockings with a total of about 1,500 trout stocked at the Calico Rock boat ramp and another 1,500 at the Chessmond Ferry boat ramp.

(updated 10-27-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had 3.5-inches of rainfall in Cotter, cooler temperatures (to include frost advisories) and heavy winds (to include wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.6 foot to rest at 3.8 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 39.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 7.5 feet below power pool and 21.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 9.4 feet to rest at 4 feet below power pool or 13.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 0.9 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.1 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater has had more wadable water. With the current lake levels, expect lower flows and more wadable water.
“On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. 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. My favorite has been a pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper.”
John also said, “Reel Recovery is a nonprofit organization that helps men in the cancer recovery process by introducing them to the healing powers of fly-fishing while providing a safe, supportive environment to explore their personal experiences of cancer with others who share their stories. As a cancer survivor I was fortunate to attend the Arkansas Reel Recovery Retreat at Cedar Wood Lodge earlier this week.
“Cedar Wood Lodge is a luxury lodge on the White River near the Ranchette Access. I had a private room in a quaint, beautifully furnished cabin near the main lodge. All of the meals were prepared on-site except for a sack lunch for a day of fishing on the North Fork River that was supplied by Heidi’s Ugly Cakes in Norfork. The food was excellent. The only problem is that I think I gained about 3 pounds.
“We had several group discussions where we shared the story of our cancer, the problems and the positive impacts. All of the guys were open and willing to share. The talks were casual and nonthreatening. All of the participants got something out of it. I know I did.
“They concentrated on the fishing aspect of the program. All of the participants were matched with a river buddy. These were local guides or serious fly-fishers that were there to teach the participants to fly-fish. Now I already know how to fly-fish, but I wanted to be on the same footing as the other participants and be challenged to learn something new.
“I decided to learn to Euro nymph. This is the hot new way to fly-fish that was developed in Europe a few years ago. It involves long rods, heavy flies, a very long leader and no strike indicator. You use a sighter instead. This is a brightly colored section of leader material to detect strikes.
“I chose a fellow guide, Steve, who specializes in this technique to be my river buddy. We worked on it for two trips to the river on as many days. I managed to catch a few trout. I did not master the technique, but I got off to a good start. It is something that I will work at and try to master. I can see that it could be a killer technique.
“Aside from learning something new about fly-fishing, what did I get out of the retreat? I learned that I am not alone. There are many other men who have had the same or similar effects from cancer. It can be survived and the introduction of a calming sport like fly-fishing can be an integral part of the healing process.
“I got a lot out of the retreat and I recommend it to others. My neighbor has been diagnosed with cancer and I am going to suggest that he attend a Reel Recovery Retreat. I think it will help him and I think it can help you.”

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 655.10 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at 2 p.m. Thursday was 6,919 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 909.52 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 20 cfs.

(updated 10-20-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that the lake level is down more than 3 feet (655 feet at last check). The water temperature has dropped to around 70 degrees. Junk fishing with typical fall patterns has begun. The cooler nights have the shad starting to ball up and moving out to deeper water. Turnover is still happening in the backs of creeks. There are always a few shallow fish, so try a Chatterbait square bill spinnerbait or flipping brush in the skinny stained water in the early morning. There’s a few fish there, but hit or miss. Try a rock crawler on the channel swings on points and ledges. Fish the windy side if you have any wind. Target bushes and rock transitions close to deeper water. The jig bite is starting to get better as the sun goes up. Target steeper banks.
"For me, the deep bite is still the best. Drop shot Damiki with a tater shad spoon or a Roboworm has been reliable with the pressure 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 552.89 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 205 cfs. Wednesday saw 14+ hours of constant generation (8 a.m.-10 p.m.) averaging 2,480 cfs, and one hour Thursday of generation reaching 2,382 cfs at 8 a.m.

(updated 10-27-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said Wednesday the lake level is 552.96 feet msl and has risen about 3 inches in the last two days after the 3.5 inches of rain on Monday and Tuesday total. It was very dry and most of it sank in with not a lot of runoff, but the creeks did run for a few hours on Tuesday, though not fast. The wind has been relentless and early morning has been about the only time to get out of it.
Bass fishing has been the best back in the creeks on windblown banks on crankbaits and single spinnerbaits. The creeks had warmed up with the earlier warm weather more than the main lake and the bass were there in the stained water and also shallow. Crappie were still on brush in 25 feet of water partway back in the creeks, but they are very spooky and the wind makes it hard to stay on them. Some Kentucky bass (spotted bass) are with them. The same is for the temperate bass on the main lake in open water. The white bass are in the 12-inch range and smaller hybrid stripers are together on shad at various water depths and most are suspended at 30-40 feet. They are shallower in the morning and go deeper in the afternoon. “I found several in over 80 feet of water 35 feet down (Tuesday) between Mallard Point and Cranfield Island on the north side.
“Many bluegill are on the top of brush and under docks, shallow and biting worms and crickets. The larger walleye have slowed but I am getting several just at the 18-inch size or just under. It was a good run on the walleye in the 20-24 inch range, but that is over for me for now.
“The full moon is on Nov. 8 and it will be the best time to catch stripers on the shoreline in the late evening and just after dark on the stick bait. The lake is in good condition but overall fishing is just fair.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.

(updated 10-27-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new report. Lou posts nearly daily on his Facebook page with photos and where and which fish are biting best. Check it out.

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 10-27-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 0.9 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.1 feet below the top of flood pool. There has been more wadable water on the Norfork in the morning and it has fished a much 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). “My favorite rig has been a pheasant tail nymph size 14 and a ruby midge size 18. The fishing is much better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.”
Dry Run Creek has fished poorly. 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. Carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 10-27-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River is fishing well. With cooler temperatures, the smallmouth bass 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.