Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

November 9, 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 10, 2022.

White River
(updated 11-10-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said the White River below Bull Shoals Dam has been running at minimum flow most of each day over the last week. We fish very low water in the morning hours and see varying amounts of generation in the afternoon (between 2,300 cfs to 10,000 cfs), returning to low flow by early morning the next day. We expect releases from the dam to remain very low because Bull Shoals Lake is 4 feet below power pool–that means you can expect great wadable waters for the foreseeable future.
Experienced guides and other fishing boat operators are still able to access favorite fishing holes, and the low water allows for even better viewing of the river bottom and your targeted trout. Be courteous and generous to your fellow anglers on the river. Waders: allow boaters to move down the channel safely (that's the only way to get past you and out of your way); boaters: stay clear of lines already in the water and be patient while waders clear a path for you.
The rainbow fishing has been exceptional. Florescent orange or bright yellow baits, especially under overcast skies brought success. Shrimp and crawdad tails added to the size of the rainbow, plus the larger bows have started hitting on bigger baits including sculpins and minnows.
Yellow and orange bellied stick baits (iridescent blue backs) are working well right now. Standard zebra midges (silver/red are best) and the tried-and-true red or natural San Juan worms attracted some attention. Because the browns are spawning you'll have to get their attention using shiny baits and lots of jiggle: you might need to rile them into a bite. To date, the mornings have been very mild, but cold weather is definitely on the way – get the hand warmers ready. Keep angling and we'll see you on the river.

(updated 11-10-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said the storms that passed through last Friday muddied the river and washed a lot of debris from the banks. As a result, the river rose to almost 7 feet and fishing was poor Saturday through Tuesday. By Wednesday the river had dropped down to about 3 feet and was still dingy but cleared enough to be fishable. Using silver inline spinnerbaits with Power Eggs and corn have worked best in the dingy river conditions. As the water continues to clear up, Power Eggs with shrimp will work well, and with the lower water try throwing spoons or Rapala Countdowns. This week there was one trout stocking of 1,200 trout at the Calico Rock boat ramp and an additional 1,200 at the Chesmond Ferry boat ramp.

(updated 11-10-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had about an inch and a half of rainfall in Cotter, cool temperatures and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.3 foot to rest at 4 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake rose 1.4 feet to rest at 7 feet below power pool and 21 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 4.4 feet below power pool or 14 feet below the top of flood pool. The White has had significant wadable water daily. Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.6 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The North Fork tailwater has had less 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 size 14 with a ruby midge size 18 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 said, “Over 20 years ago, I wrote an article on the flies that I use the most. Though I carry literally hundreds of fly patterns, most of my fishing is done with six patterns. I have written this article every five years or so and I always see changes.
My original article listed the following: Partridge and Orange Soft Hackle, Woolly Bugger, elk hair caddis, gold ribbed hare’s ear, Red Fox Squirrel Nymph and sowbug. The first three are still on the list, but the last three have changed.
“The Partridge and Orange Soft Hackle and the Woolly Bugger (my favorite color is olive) are the easiest flies to fish that I know of. These two patterns are the ones that I frequently have beginners start with, as they produce fish on a regular basis. Both are tight line techniques and strikes are easy to detect. The Partridge and Orange is fished near the top and imitates emerging or drowned insects. The Woolly Bugger is fished on the bottom and is a streamer that imitates bait fish or small crawfish.
“The elk hair caddis is a dry fly that imitates adult hatching caddis. It is easy to see and floats like a cork. It is a dead-on imitation of a caddis. I carry it in a variety of sizes and frequently use to imitate other hatching insects. My eye sight is not so good, and this fly is easy to see. When fishing dry flies, presentation is often more important than a dead-on imitation of the hatching insect.
“The gold ribbed hare’s ear has been replaced by the pheasant tail nymph. This is a solid imitation of the nymphal form of the may fly. To make it more effective, I add a little flashabou when tying it to make it a flash back, making it easier for the trout to see. I tie it on a jig hook and add a copper bead to allow it to sink quickly and not hang the bottom.
“The red fox squirrel nymph has been replaced by the San Juan worm. It imitates aquatic worms or worms that have been washed into the river. It is very effective after a rain or during high levels of generation. I tie it in worm brown, red, hot pink or my favorite, cerise.
“The sowbug is still effective on Dry Run Creek, but on the White or the North Fork River I prefer the ruby midge. These rivers are tailwaters, and tailwaters are known as midge streams. The ruby midge is a real producer. For the last seven years, I have caught more trout on this fly than any other.
“I am sure that many of you have your own favorites. Drop me a line and let me know what they are.” Email John at:                                                                                       

(updated 11-10-2022) White River Trout Club (870-453-2424) says fishing is not great now because the water there at White Hole is so low. No reports.

Bull Shoals Lake
As of Thursday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported the lake’s elevation at 656.16 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 631 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 910.13 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of 20 cfs.

(updated 11-10-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday the lake level is 3 feet below normal pool at 655 feet msl. The water temperature is 64 degrees, give or take a degree or two depending on location and sun and the “fall funk,” he says. He’s seeing typical fall patterns. The cooler nights have the shad starting to ball up and moving out deeper, 25-45 feet in the middle of the hollows and creeks. The main lake is clear. There are always a few shallow fish. Try covering water in the wind with a buzzbait, Whopper Plopper, Flopper, Chatterbait, square bill or spinnerbait, or try flipping the brush in the skinny stained water early. There are a few fish there, but spread out. Try a rock crawler on the windy channel swings, points and ledges covering water. Fish the windy side if you have ANY wind. Target bushes and rock transitions close to deeper water.
The jig bite is starting to improve, 10-25 feet. As the sun gets up, target the steeper banks; also points with brush at 25-35 feet. “For me, the deep bite is still the best, 35-45 feet. I’m using a drop-shot, Damiki with a Tater Shad, Jewel Scope, Shad Jigging Rap Spoon or a Roboworm. I’m focusing on points, ledges, bluff ends, and channel swings. Looking forward to cooler temperatures. 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 553.04 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 2,361 cfs during a 4-hour generation, dropping to 340 cfs at 1 p.m. Wednesday saw 15 hours of generation, with 1 hour off in between, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., averaging 2,469 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 11-10-2022) 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 11-10-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake rose 0.4 foot to rest at 0.6 foot below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 26.8 feet below the top of flood pool. The North Fork tailwater has had less wadable water.
“There has been less 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 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 11-10-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are 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.