Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

November 16, 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 17, 2022.

White River
(updated 11-17-2022) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “Winter has arrived. After a week of some frigid mornings and a light snow Saturday night, we may see a few days with daytime temperatures a little more conducive to spending time outdoors. It's best to check the nighttime low temperatures rather than the daytime highs when planning your fishing trip. Dress in layers for the lowest temperatures and remove layers as the day warms up.”
Bull Shoals Lake is 4.5 feet below power pool and still dropping; daily releases have been at minimum flow or very low flows (less than one unit) during the early morning hours rising to three or four units (9,000 to 12,000 cfs) later in the day.
“It's good to know that the air temp doesn't affect the trout bite. Rainbows have been attracted to, and hitting on, pumped up nightcrawlers for the shore anglers. If you're able to float the river and choose to fish a deep hole for a while, drop a hook with shrimp and garlic-scented PowerBait (try orange first) as near to the bottom as possible. Fresh river minnows are the ticket for good-sized ’bows.
“Drift anglers had luck with a No. 5 rainbow and brook trout Rapala Countdowns and with 1/6-ounce Rooster Tails, gold blades and orange bodies, chartreuse and black skirts. We even had some luck with the Rebel Wee Craw, although it seems pretty late in the season.
“It never hurts to tie on a favorite lure and test the waters. We've had to fight for the browns. River guides have tried all the tricks in their tackle boxes to get the attention of the spawning browns. Turns out the best bites were on small to medium-sized sculpins or on an olive size 8 Woolly Bugger.
“Be careful out there. Stay warm. And keep anglin'. See you at the river."

(updated 11-17-2022) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said fishing has been consistent over the last week with river levels varying between 3-7 feet. “Old Man Winter has made his presence felt with the cold temperatures and snow. Layer your clothes so you can add or remove layers as needed.”
Inline spinners with sunrise Power Eggs with shrimp continue to work well. During the periods of lower water, quarter-ounce spoons, Rooster Tails and Rapala Countdowns have success. When the water is higher, throwing Shad Raps (shad color) has worked well.
The changing river levels can make fishing challenging at times, but hang in there, the conditions will change again. Fishing is best if you recognize the river is starting to rise and if you can stay in front of the rising water.

(updated 11-17-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said that during the past week, they had rain, sleet and snow (about a quarter of an inch in Cotter), cold temperatures (to include winter storm warnings) and heavy winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 foot to rest at 4.5 feet below power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40.5 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake remained steady at 7 feet below power pool and 21 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.8 foot to rest at 5.2 feet below power pool or 14.8 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, there had been little wadable water and higher flows during periods of peak power demand. Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also has had little wadable water.
With the current lake levels in the White River system, anglers should expect lower flows and more wadable water. However, with the cold temperatures, expect heavy generation during peak power demand.
The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam is closed from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released.
In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. This section of the White River will reopen on Feb. 1.
On the White, the hot spot has been Rim Shoals. “We have had higher flows 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 cerise San Juan worm with an orange egg dropper,” John said.
John added, “One of my biggest problems as a guide is to remember everything. I have to make sure that I have everything that I will need before I leave the ramp when I am fishing from my boat or my car when I am wading. I have to have a lot of gear and keeping up with it is a full-time job.
“In the boat, everything is critical because you may be far from home when you realize that you have forgotten something. This can begin on the ramp. There has been more than one time where I backed my boat into the river and went to push it off the trailer only to discover that I did not remove the tie downs before backing into the water. I have to move back up the ramp far enough for me to walk to the back of the boat and remove the tie downs. This usually occurs when another guide is waiting to use the ramp.
“Then, of course, there is the ultimate rookie mistake: forgetting to put in the plug. Here again, you don’t notice this until you back your boat into the water. Yes, I did this once but that was a long time ago. The new regulation from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission requiring that you remove the plug from the boat when you leave the water makes it more likely to make this error. I used to keep my plug in all the time. Now I always check the plug before launching.
“Something that I have forgotten several times is the boat net. I don’t realize this until my client hooks a fish and I go to release it. If I am fishing by myself, this is not much of a problem. I can just hand-release it, but a client expects you to use a net, particularly if they want a photograph. A net is also much easier on the fish. They can come in quicker and are not handled as much.
“Then there are polarized sunglasses. I usually don’t realize this until I turn into the sun on my way to the river. This usually occurs when I am short on time and can’t go back home without being late, and that is unacceptable to me. Navigating the river whether in the boat or wading is much easier with polarized sunglasses. I have called my wife, Lori, to bring them to me at lunch.
“Forgetting to fill your fuel tank is a real problem. If you are on the river and run out of gas, you are in trouble. This has never happened to me. I use the same fuel in my lawn mower and my outboard motor: premium ethanol-free. I keep a big full gas can in my garage and top off my fuel tank before I leave the house every time I head to the river.
“All of these problems can be avoided by remembering to prevent them. This gets harder the older that I get.”
Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also has had little wadable water.
With the current lake levels in the White River system, anglers should expect lower flows and more wadable water. However, with the cold temperatures, expect heavy generation during peak power demand.
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 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. Be sure and carry a large net, as most fish are lost at the net.”

(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 654.45 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 695.00 feet msl). Total outflow from the dam Thursday afternoon was 3,193 cfs, with constant generation over the past two days ranging from 1,958 cfs to 12,058 cfs. The reported lake elevation at Table Rock Lake was 909.60 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 917.00 feet msl; top flood elevation is 931.0 feet msl), with outflow of as much as 13,249 at 11 a.m. Thursday, dropping down to 20 by 2 p.m. There was seven hours of generation Wednesday ranging from 2,194 to 13,276 cfs for easing down to 20 by midnight.

(updated 11-17-2022) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Thursday the lake level is 654 feet msl, or 4 feet below normal pool. The water temperature is 59 degrees. Unseasonably cold weather patterns have the shads starting to ball up. Little generational still has them spread out and moving out deeper, 40-50 feet, and in the middle of hollows and creeks. There is a notable difference in water clarity throughout the lake.
There are plenty of fish on the shoreline. If there’s wind and clouds, make sure you are covering water where the wind hits square on the shoreline. Hopefully on a point, chunk or ledge rock. Close to deeper water. Use a Spro Crawler, wiggle wart, a Flopper, square bill or spinnerbait. You’ll have to keep moving to find them, but when you do there’s usually a couple close by.
Target bushes and rock transitions close to deeper water. The jig bite is starting to get better in 10-20 feet as the sun gets up. Target deeper (25-30 feet) points with brush in 25-35 feet of water.
The offshore deep bite is slowly getting better. Shad are still spread out. Target bigger bait balls and shad becomes the structure. There are wolf packs of smallmouth grouped up if you can run into them. It’s not uncommon to double-up. A single swimbait or jerkbait around those high swimming shad will work. Drop-shot or moon-eye with a Tater Shad on the finicky fish. A Jewel Scope Shad or jigging Rap on schoolers and suspenders. Try a Jewel Scuba Spoon for those bottom dwellers.
Each day is different, so 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 552.35 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 3 p.m. Thursday was 1,276 cfs. Wednesday saw 6+ hours of generation (6-midnight) averaging 3,300 cfs.

(updated 11-17-2022) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level is 552.53 feet msl and has dropped about 10 inches in the last week with just a few hours of generation per day. The surface water temperature is 62 degrees and has dropped 5 degrees since last Thursday, which is a very fast temp drop. The main lake and the creeks have about the same clarity and you can see your lure down 4-5 feet in the sunshine and less on cloudy days.
“I have been catching some large crappie but not high numbers, which is not uncommon for cold weather. Open water fishermen have been catching schooled temperate bass about 40-45 feet down at various depths on the spoon, but most are white bass and are small. Some stripers in the 5- to 8-pound range are with them. They are looking hard for them with more looking than finding.
“The crappie start biting about 4 p.m. for a few minutes and then quit again at dark.
“Overall, fishing is just fair with the cold fronts that just keep coming. Some black bass are near the shore on main lake points just inside brushpiles. The cold north or northwest winds and temperatures struggling to get out of the 30s have not made for the best fishing conditions, but some nice fish are being caught in the January-like weather.”
For a daily fishing report and lake condition go to www.blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's Blog.

(updated 11-17-2022) 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 11-17-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 27.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork tailwater also has had little wadable water. With the current lake levels in the White River system, anglers should be seeing lower flows and more wadable water. However, with the cold temperatures, there has been heavy generation during peak power demand.
Therefore, it’s been less wadable water on the Norfork in the mornings. 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). John says his 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. With school in session, the creek is not as busy. Weekends can get a quite crowded, however. 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 11-17-2022) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing poorly. With colder 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.