Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

June 7, 2023

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report June 8, 2023.

White River
(updated 6-8-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said, “We have been blessed with the most perfect spring weather over the last couple of weeks – we invite you to step into our world of natural beauty and peace on the river.  The trout are biting and the take has been more than respectable.”
White River water levels below Bull Shoals Dam have been a little arbitrary for the past week, ranging from less than one unit (3,000 cfs) to five or more generators/turbines (15,000 cfs). The lake level continues to drop and is currently 661.78 feet msl, just a little bit below seasonal power pool.
“The best bait last week was the trusty bubblegum pink worm. We drifted water that was fairly steady at about 6,500 cfs (about two units of generation). It beat out the gold Blue Fox spinner and the bigger jerk baits. Rooster Tails seemed a favorite with our anglers: blue and pink with white skirt, or yellow bodies with yellow and black skirts.
“With this lower water, it might be fun to try a lighter weight lure or even a floater (like the Rapala brook trout No. 7 Floater). Trout Magnet/D2 jigs are something new on the market. First up: The chartreuse/white or the peaches colors. You can experiment with shrimp or with various colors of floating eggs and you'll bag a bunch, but the action will be faster when you use them together.
“It's gotten pretty warm – drink plenty of water, get your electrolytes to stay hydrated, and continue to enjoy our Natural State.”

(updated 6-8-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said fishing conditions there have been great this last week. “We’ve seen water levels as high as 8.5 feet and as low as less than 6 feet. We are starting to see lower generation rates out of both Bull Shoals and Norfork dams. The lower water levels and water clarity are resulting in some very good fishing. Silver inline spinners with orange UV glow eggs and a piece of shrimp have worked the best.
“Additionally, during the lower water periods, quarter-ounce Colorado spoons (copper and gold), gold-colored Buoyant Spoons, or rainbow trout-colored Rapala Countdowns worked well. In the deeper holes, throwing a purple Descent Shad Rap has resulted in some 15-inch-plus rainbows and 18-inch-plus brown trout. Drift-fishing with Sculpins also resulted in a few 17-inch-plus rainbows and browns.
“Over the last week we have received two stockings of rainbow trout for a total of about 2,300 trout. In the last couple of stockings there have been some nice 13-inch-plus rainbows. Take advantage of Free Fishing Weekend starting Friday at noon and ending Sunday at midnight.”

(updated 6-8-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week they had no rain, warm temperatures and moderate winds.
On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. “We have had higher flows that have fished poorly. 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 a girdle bug dropper (size 8) or an orange egg dropper.”
Remember that the White and North Fork rvers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and 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, “Last week I guided on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday. On Tuesday the hot fly was a girdle bug, a popular go to high water pattern. Saturday I tried the girdle bug but did not get a bump. The hot fly turned out to be an orange egg dropper fished under a cerise worm. The next day I had another guide trip that was a last-minute add. John and Jennifer were a young couple from Fort Worth Texas. John was an avid angler but Jennifer was not. She requested that she join us but did not care to fish. I quickly agreed to her coming with us. She was as cute as a bug and a pleasant conversationist.
The Corps of Engineers was running over 13,000 cfs or the rough equivalent of four full generators. Though the water was high it was gin clear. It was a cool start at 51 degrees. It warmed quickly as it was a cloudless sunny day with light and variable winds.
“We fished with my tackle and began the day with a rod used the day before that was still rigged with an orange egg below a cerise San Juan Worm. I added a heavy AAA split shot eighteen inches above the worm and a three quarter inch strike indicator. I set the depth of the rig at eight and a half feet from the strike indicator to the egg,
“We began fishing and did pretty good. We fished for quite a while, when we got our fly got stuck on the bottom. The conventional wisdom to handle this is to have the angler let the line out until the guide can start the motor and head upstream. The angler reels in the fly line until the boat is slightly upstream of the hook up. Then the angler gently backs the fly out. This had worked three times previously that day but did not work then. In our attempt to free the flies we lost it all, two flies and the split shot.
“I set about rerigging the rod. I added tippet, a split shot and a cerise San Juan worm. I was about to tie on the orange egg when I thought about a girdle bug. I discussed the idea with John. I explained how the girdle bug was a good fly for the conditions and how successful I had been with it especially on larger trout. He agreed and I quickly rigged the fly and we began fishing.
“We hooked a stout trout on the second cast. As he fought the trout and reeled it in I thought about how smart I was to figure this out. As I netted the big trout, I noted that the trout had taken the cerise San Juan worm and not the girdle bug. I started laughing as did John and Jennifer.”

Bull Shoals Lake
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Bull Shoals Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 6-8-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that the lake level 661 feet msl, only 2 feet high. Water temperature is about 78 degrees. “Bass activity seems to be in the 10-25 feet range. I’m spending lots of time graphing offshore checking summer spots, swings points drops and ledges. Most fish still seem to be suspended looking up with the steady generation at the dam making dragging bottom baits slower than normal. Most the dirty water is in the larger creeks while the main is getting that summer color.
For several weeks now, Del has been recommending that anglers fish Bull Shoals like two separate lakes, depending on the conditions. Look in large creeks early in cloudy warm windy rain water powerfishing a square-bill crankbait, Chatterbait, spinnerbait or a Rat-L-Trap-style lure. Try on the last couple of swing banks or in or around the bluegill spawning flats, pockets, bushes – cover water. Fish runoff if available. There’s a big Texas-rigged redworm bite in some of the brush piles close to deep water.
For sunny, flat, stain conditions try points cracking a tube or stroking a Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin orange, or perch colors, in the 10-20 feet range. For sunny, clear water use natural colors in small profile baits. Look at ledges; keep your boat off the fish.
It’s that time of year: topwater, topwater, topwater. Get up early and bomb cast, and look around for activity as they are schooled up. Try wake shad, Spook, Lucky Craft  Gunfish, Pop-Rs, or Spook Jr. topwater as well as a flutter spoon early in the morming – or all day if it’s cloudy. Each day is different so fish the conditions.
Walleyes are being taken on Bottom bouncers in 15-20 feet feet. Crappie are suspending on trees and brush piles closer to the main lake
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
For the Army Corps of Engineers’ real-time outflow report from Norfork Dam, visit the Corps’ Little Rock office website.

(updated 6-8-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level was 557.30 feet msl at 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening. “We received just a nice shower earlier giving everything a drink, but we are very dry. The water level had dropped 1 inch in the last 24 hours but both generators are inoperable and they are letting out about an equivalent of 1½ generators through the sluice gates at the bottom of the dam about half the time. The surface water temperature is in the low 80s and the water is clear down to the thermocline of about 16 feet.”
There are a lot of fish at that level, including Kentucky bass, bluegill and walleye.  Spoon main lake points for walleye and let a plastic worm drop off the ledge at about 12 feet for black bass – mostly Kentuckies but they are nice sized. The stripers are going deeper and when you see a topwater bite early it is bass, while the stripers are under that at about 50-60 feet – drop a spoon on their heads.
The lake overall is in excellent condition and at a good level for fishing, boating and swimming. Visit and click on Scuba Steve's blog for a daily report.

(updated 6-8-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort posts almost daily on his Facebook page with photos and where the fish are biting and what’s biting. Check it out.

Norfork Tailwater
(updated 6-8-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that on the Norfork, they have had wadable water every day. All of the lakes are at or near power pool. Expect lower flows in the coming days. All the turbines at  Norfork Dam are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs.
There has been wadable water on the Norfork and it is fishing well. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns like zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-head 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 cerise San Juan Worm and a ruby midge. The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.
Dry Run Creek has fished a bit better. 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.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 6-8-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing better. With warmer 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.