Cotter Trout Dock Sign

Cotter Trout Dock Weekly Fishing Report

July 5, 2023

More reports and other videos are on the Cotter Trout Dock Youtube Channel Page.
Below is the Arkansas Game and Fish Fishing Report July 6, 2023.

White River
(updated 7-6-2023) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said fishing on the cold, clear White River is the antidote to the heat surges in the concrete canyons. Early mornings are perfect with temperatures in the low 70s and, although they are seeing some warm afternoons, you need only dip your cap in the river or wrap a river-dampened hand towel around your shoulders to cool off, then return to hooking into a great catch of trout.
Bull Shoals Lake elevation measured 659.64 feet msl Wednesday with morning releases continuing at minimum flow (700 cfs) before rising to 12,000 cfs (four generators) in late afternoon.
Browns have been hiding in the deep holes and biting on sculpin and crawdad tails. The rainbows are hitting gold spinners and pink PowerBait worms topped with white (mouse-tails), and the ever-popular red/gold hammered Thomas Buoyant Spoon is adding to the count. There's been a late afternoon surge in the brown bite during this past week, which is a little uncommon but might be attributed to the changing pressure systems and the occasional pop-up showers. A cup of nightcrawlers or red wigglers is a must while fishing the rising water late in the day; play them close to the banks just a foot or so below the surface.
“Grasshopper season is approaching quickly; when I see them on my porch I know the trout are looking for them. Get ready.
“Time on the river offers refreshment and renewal as only being in the outdoors can. Come to The Natural State for a chance to spend some quiet time with an old friend, restore family ties, or just get to know yourself again.”

(updated 7-6-2023) Dave McCulley, owner of Jenkins Fishing Service in Calico Rock, said they continue to see water depths under 3 feet in the morning and rising to around 6 feet (plus or minus a small amount) by late morning. The last couple of days the water has had some dinginess in the morning and clearing later in the day as the water levels drop. It’s common for boats to leave Calico Rock and run upriver a few miles to Red’s Landing to find cleaner water and fish back to and through Calico Rock following the dropping water. In the mornings drift-fishing with a silver inline spinner with Uncommon Bait Bright Orange UV glow eggs and shrimp has worked well. Additionally, deeper diving Shad Rap size 5 lures in Purpledescent or orange crawdad colors worked. As the water drops in the afternoon using quarter-ounce Colorado Spoons with nickel/gold or copper/gold or Buoyant rainbow trout or brown trout-colored spoons work well while fishing the gravel bars. Additionally, Rapala CD7 Countdowns in either silver or rainbow trout color have resulted in some nice trout.
The heat has been brutal the last week and the little cooler weather over the next week will be nice.

(updated 7-6-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service at Cotter said that during the past week, they had three minor rain events (combining for less than a half-inch in Cotter), hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.5 foot to rest at 1.7 feet below power pool of 661.3 feet msl. This is 35.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.3 feet below power pool and 15.3 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.6 foot to rest at 1.1 feet below power pool and 9.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had wadable water every day with moderate flows in the afternoon during peak power demand. Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.3 foot over power pool of 556 feet msl and 23.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Tailwater has had wadable water. All of the lakes are below or near power pool. We can expect lower flows in the coming days. On the Norfork, all turbines are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the flood gates.
On the White, the hot spot has been Wildcat Shoals. “We have had lower flows that have fished 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 Ear and Sowbugs. Double-fly Nymph rigs have been very effective. My favorite has been a Copper John (size 14) with a ruby Midge Dropper (size 18).”
John also said, “Last week I wrote about handling the shuttle for my wife, Lori, her sister, Terri, and her niece, Brooke. They had a great time floating the Buffalo but did not catch many fish. Terri’s husband, Larry, wanted their daughter, Brooke, to have a good day of fishing, so I agreed to take them out in the boat.
“The next day we began the best way we could, by having breakfast at the White Sands Cafe, located four blocks from my home in Cotter. I left while they were still savoring another cup of coffee to hook up my boat and head to Rim Shoals to get everything ready for a day’s fishing.
“I launched my boat and rigged up a couple of fly rods with size 14 Copper John Nymphs and ruby Midge Droppers. The water was gin clear, with a moderate flow of about 3,000 cfs, or the rough equivalent of one generator. It was a bright, sunny day with temperatures in the mid-80s. There were moderate winds and we had the place to ourselves. I would consider it near-perfect conditions.
“Larry, Terri and Brooke arrived just as I finished rigging the last rod. Lori stayed at home to care for our Labrador retrievers. When I have three anglers in the boat, I only allow two to fish at the same time, with the other angler responsible for netting trout. I concentrated on handling the boat and dealt with problems. Larry was more interested in Brooke catching trout, so he decided not to fish and to concentrate on netting trout.
“Terri was into a nice trout almost immediately. She maintained her hot hand for the entire trip. Brooke hooked up but lost the fish. This happened several times. She had not fished for a while and she was not aggressive enough when setting the hook. Larry and I coached her and she hooked a fat 19-inch rainbow. Once she broke the ice, she got the feel of it and began catching trout after trout. She did well but never caught up with Terri. What Brooke lacked in numbers, she made up for in size. She caught the three largest trout. We fished a few hours and managed to bring over 20 nice trout to the net.
“I put the boat back on the trailer, stowed my gear and headed home. I sat down in my leather chair and relaxed for a minute. Lori came in and said that Terri, Larry and Brooke wanted us to join them at Whispering Woods for lunch. This is my favorite spot for lunch. I had a bowl of onion soup, a Caesar salad and a slice of carrot cake. It doesn’t get better than that.
“We sat on the patio and drank coffee while we looked at the lake. It was a perfect end to a great day.”

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 7-6-2023) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said Wednesday that the lake level is steady at normal pool of 659 feet msl. Water temperature is around 85 degrees. “It’s getting hot! Bass activity seems to be in the 10-25 feet range. I’m spending lots of time graphing offshore checking summer spots, swings points, bluffs, and also brush piles, drops and ledges. Shad are spread out everywhere and there’s a June bug hatch. Look in large creeks early in cloudy, warm, windy rainwater. Power fish a Chatterbait, Flopper early or fish a big worm or Beaver in any of the laydowns. There’s a big Texas-rigged redworm bite. If it gets slow, move out, and as you move out try points by cracking a tube or stroking a Jewel half-ounce Special Ops football jig in green pumpkin orange. Also try perch colors in the 20- to 30-foot range. It’s main lake or close to it time. In sunny, clear water use natural colors in small profile baits and look at ledges; keep the boat off the fish. Start early with a topwater and as it slows, a small 2.8 McMinnow is still working. Once the sun gets up drop-shot a Robo Worm on piles off ledges or suspenders; a Tater Shad will also work on the suspenders.
Early morning topwater has slowed up a bit; try bomb casts and look around for activity. They are schooled up. Try a Lucky Craft Gunfish, a white Pop-R, or Zara Spook Jr. topwater, as well as a Flutter Spoon or Jewel Scope Spin on schoolers. Do this early morning, or all day if it’s cloudy. If it get too hot jump in the water – it’s fine!
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 7-6-2023) Steven “Scuba Steve” Street at Blackburn’s Resort said the lake level was 556.31 feet msl and not changed in the last 24 hours, with sluice gates open equivalent to two-thirds of a generator since 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. Everything had been shut off for a couple of days. The surface water temperature was 88 degrees and the water was clearing after the boat churning for the holiday. It is actually clearing rapidly. The thermocline is at 21 feet with clear water down to 19 feet. Several fish are at this level but mostly small ones. The best bite is after dark for bass with a black light and salt craw, and Stripers deep with a jigging spoon. Big bluegill are still under docks on crickets. Crappie are slow and spooky. It is a typical summer pattern and it is not the best, but some nice fish are being caught every day. All fish being caught deep will die.
Visit blackburnsresort.com and click on Scuba Steve's blog for a daily report.

(updated 6-22-2023) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort reports from Wednesday, “Happy first day of summer! Give us a call at 870-492-5113, if you are needing a place to stay on Norfork Lake. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort still has a few cabins available throughout the summer.
“Today (Wednesday) was the first day since last Friday that I have been able to get out on the lake. I had a pretty awesome morning of fishing. I started fishing around 4 a.m. and landed a nice striped bass at the second spot that I checked out. The stripers were suspended 30-50 feet down in 100-plus-feet of water. This fish was released and swam away very quickly. I moved to a large flat and found a lot of fish in 25-30 feet of water at all depths.
“On my first drop of a white trash Tater Shad, a big fish hammered the bait on the fall, but it broke off immediately. Must have hooked on the gill plate and cut the line. After that, I started to land one after another big white bass. When it became light enough to see, the fish seemed to vanish. I moved back into a creek and found a lot of bait up high in the water column. I checked a lot of areas in the creek and nearby coves, but never could find anything exciting.
“I started to head toward the resort at around 8 a.m. and decided to check out a deep bluff line with some rocky points. Over the next hour, schools of stripers came under the boat and I got to land five more striped bass. All swam away very willingly. My best bait in this area was the Binks three-quarter-ounce spoon with a green back and white belly. The stripers wanted to chase the bait. I dropped the bait down to 50 feet and when the fish swam though at 30-40 feet, I would reel up as fast as I could. I would see three to five fish turn out of the school to chase the bait. Before the bait reached the surface one of the followers would hammer the bait. Each of these fish had lots of energy and would peel out close to 100 feet of line. I could see the fish surface in the distance.
“What great battles these fish gave today. I was sitting in 70-110-plus-feet of water.
“There was also quite a bit of surface activity. I landed and released several nice largemouths. Each time I saw bass feeding on the surface there seemed to be stripers under them. This isn't the first time I have noticed these two species feeding together. I don't know if the stripers are pushing the bait up or if they are just waiting for some leftovers from the feeding bass.
“The Skole group also had a successful morning fishing, landing several striped bass and largemouth bass. They caught their fish jigging a Tater Shad and also jigging a Ned rig. The surface water temp was about 82 degrees. The lake level is slowly falling and sits at 556.7 feet msl. The lake appears to be fairly clear.
“Have a great time on Norfork Lake doing whatever water activity that you love doing. Give us a call at 870-492-5113, if you are needing a place to stay.”
Lou 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 7-6-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 0.1 foot to rest at 0.3 foot over power pool of 556 feet msl and 23.7 feet below the top of flood pool. All of the lakes are below or near power pool. We can expect lower flows in the coming days. On the Norfork, all turbines are inoperable for the foreseeable future. Minimum release is being made through the siphon at continuous flows of 185 cfs and additional flows are made through the flood gates. There has been much less wadable water on the Norfork. 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). “My 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. School is out and can get a quite crowded, particularly on weekends. 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.
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.

Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(updated 7-6-2023) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River are fishing well. 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.