Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

November 2, 2022

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report November 3, 2022.

White River

(updated 11-3-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “What a great week in the Arkansas Ozarks! The fall colors are not brilliant this autumn – you'll see a pop of bright reds or orange once in a while – but come on over anyway, the fishing has been outstanding. Be prepared for cool mornings because we're getting some fall temperatures (at last and then often only in the morning hours) but we still have some nice warm afternoons to enjoy. Releases from Bull Shoals Dam have been variable with minimum flows during the late evening and early morning, followed by a quick rise to almost three units (9,000 cfs) later in the morning. The lake at this writing is sitting at 654.74 feet msl and still dropping. This is over 5 feet below power pool for
this time of year.
The rainbows are loving the shrimp/orange PowerBait mashups. You might draw the attention of some browns (we have seen a fair number this week) with a sculpin, but never underestimate a frustrated brown if you tease him enough with a gold Cleo, an orange or mossy green jig or a peach/orange/yellow egg pattern fly. They are moving into their annual spawning grounds, too, so keep watch as they travel toward Rim Shoals and/or the dam. It will take a lot of time and varying baits to catch their attention at this time so remain patient, stay on the river and keep it fun. The holiday season is coming up and weekend getaways are being scheduled. Keep angling and we'll see you on the river.

(updated 11-3-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had about an inch of rain in Cotter, cool temperatures and heavy winds (to include wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 foot to rest at 4.3 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 43 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.9 foot to rest at 8.4 feet below power pool and 22.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 4.3 feet below power pool or 13.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had wadable water. “On the White, the hot spot has been Buffalo 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.”



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.

John also said, “There is always something new in fly fishing. That is what makes it so interesting. I remember 40 years ago when my brother, Dan, gave me my first Woolly Bugger. I asked, ‘How you fished it.’ He said, ‘It doesn’t matter.’ My life changed. Then 25 years ago on a trip to Montana I fished a two-fly rig. It rocked my world. Now I am looking at a new fly fishing technique: Euro nymphing.
“This has been coming on for the past few years. I have seen videos and read books on it, but never tried it. Then last week I was a participant in a Reel Recovery Retreat (which promotes the healing of cancer patients using fly-fishing). I was already a fly-fisher but am always eager to learn something new.
“One of the river buddies was Steve, a guide friend of mine, who happens to be the local expert in Euro nymphing. I asked him to work with me and introduce me to the technique. We used his gear and flies that were all first-class. He had an 11-foot rod with a special Euro fly line and a 25-foot leader. We kept things pretty simple and fished two flies. The flies were an egg and a mop fly, both tied on jig hooks. We also fished a normal nymph tied on a jig hook later. There was no additional weight and no strike indicator. There was a brightly colored section of the leader called a sighter. We fished one day on the North Fork River and one day on the White River.
“Steve had me flip the flies upstream. We fished the leader and not the fly line. The rod was pointed up to keep the flies on the bottom. We spent most of our time teaching me where to cast and how to get a good drift. I had plenty of bad habits from fly-fishing to overcome. I had trouble with the casting and sorely missed the strike indicator. I never sensed the take by watching the sighter. It was interesting to fish a tight line, and I eventually got to the point where I could feel the take. I learned a lot and was able to hook several and actually landed three.
“When I got home, I went out and bought a new 10-foot 3-weight fly rod, a 13-foot leader, a spool of sighter material, a Euro nymphing fly line and tippet rings (used to rig Euro nymph leaders). I already had a suitable reel, and Steve gave me a box of Euro flies all tied on jig hooks. I think I have everything I require.
“All I need now is a bit of time on a stream to put what I have learned to work. I look forward to it.”


(updated 10-27-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said Wednesday 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.


Bull Shoals Lake

As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 656.17 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam at noon Thursday was 686 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 910.17 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 20 cfs.


(updated 11-3-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday that the lake level is 654 feet, or about 4 feet below pool. Water temp is 64 degrees give or take.
Junk fishing with typical fall patterns. The cooler nights have the shad starting to ball up and moving out deeper 25-45 feet in the middle of hollows creeks. The main lake is clear. There are always a few shallow fish, try a Chatterbait square bill spinnerbait or flipping brush in the skinny stained water early. Use a buzzbait or Whopper Plopper covering water. There’s a few fish there, but it is hit or miss. Try a Rock Crawler on the windy channel swings points and ledges covering water and fish the windy side if you have any wind. Target bushes and rock transitions close to deeper water.
The deep jig bite is starting to get better as the sun gets up. Target steeper banks. For Del, he says, the deep bite is still the best at 35-45 feet. Drop-shot Damiki with a Tater Shad or Jewel Scope Shad and a jigging Rap Spoon or a Roboworm has been reliable with the low pressure post-front 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 553.22 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 206 cfs. Wednesday saw 4+ hours of generation (5-9 p.m.) averaging 2,480 cfs.


(updated 11-3-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 552.82 feet msl as of Wednesday morning and has dropped three-quarters of an inch in the last 24 hours with about 8 hours of running three-quarters of a generator. They seem to like three-quarters of a generator and just vary the times they run it. There is not much effort to drop the area lake levels. The surface water temperature is around 66 degrees and has held steady with the warm weather in the main lake and warming quickly in the backs of the creeks. The runoff from last week's rain has moved downriver and is now in the Blackburn's Creek area, diminishing the water clarity, “but has either dropped out or not gotten to the area around Robinson Point where I have been fishing which is much clearer.
“The fish that I caught Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning were on brush, on and just to the inside of main lake points about 20 feet down. Several smallmouths are showing up on the inside of points just partway back in the creeks and some are in the 3- to 4-pound range. Walleye and crappie are together and black bass are together in different places.
“It has been very foggy in the early mornings making navigation difficult and dangerous, and does not burn off until about 10 a.m. It is not worth going out to get fish and endangering other people who also should not be out there. You may be able to navigate with GPS, but cannot see other boats that may be parked or running too fast.
“It has been nice not having wind, but it should pick back up with a low pressure moving in on Friday, bringing a good chance of rain. When that happens, fish windblown shoreline for bass until it rains you out.
“There are schooled temperate bass chasing shad from Mallard Point to Cranfield Island in the mornings in about 30 feet of water, and trollers are catching some white bass and 3- to 4-pound hybrids dragging umbrellas and crankbaits with weights clipped on the line in front of them to get them down and through shad.”
Overall fishing is just fair but improving and the lake is in excellent condition and at a good level. For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.


(updated 11-3-2022) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had no new report. 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 11-3-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at a 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. All of the lakes in the White River system are now well below power pool. With the current lake levels, expect lower flows and more wadable water.
There has been more wadable water on the Norfork in the morning and it has fished 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 eighteen 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 11-3-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are low but fishing well. 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.