Head to North Arkansas for some fall fishing
Fish are biting along the White River, Beaver Lake
Arkansas Wildlife Editor
• White River — Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) said they’re starting to see some nip in the air — autumn's finally popping out. Cool mornings, warm days, perfect weather for float fishing on the White for trout. The rainbow catch has been fabulous; they're snapping up the shrimp and worm combo.
Good sizes among the catch, too; there were several rainbows measured at 16 inches or above. We are seeing a few grasshoppers out there now, so the hopper patterns and baits should lure some trout to the anglers. Come out and spend some time with us on the river — you won't regret it.
Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) says fishing is great this week for rainbows, while browns are slowing down a little.
River clarity is really good, they report. River level is normal, as the Army Corps of Engineers has been running eight generators round-the-clock.
Overall trout bite is excellent.
John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service said Monday that over the past week they had one rain event dropping about a half-inch in Cotter, cooler temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 3.3 feet to rest at 8 feet above seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 26 feet below the top of the flood pool.
Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.4 foot to rest at 1.9 feet below seasonal power pool and 15.9 feet above the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.3 foot to rest at 1.9 feet below seasonal power pool and 9.5 feet below the top of the flood pool. The White River below Bull Shoals Dam had heavy generation and no wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 3.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 20.3 feet below the top of the flood pool. The Norfork Dam tailwater had wadable water at night. Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes are dropping at an increased rate and consistent wadable water could be three weeks away.
The grasshopper bite is upon us, John says. Use a shorter leader and bang the bank. John s favorite fly is a western pink lady size 8.
Add a dropper (size 14 pheasant tail nymph) to increase your catch.
The White has fished well.
The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (sizes 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Doublefly nymph rigs have been very effective (John s current favorite combination is a cerise San Juan worm with a girdle bug suspended below it).
Remember that the White and Norfork 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 soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
• Norfork Lake — John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Monday that Norfork Lake fell 1.8 feet to rest at 3.9 feet above seasonal power pool of 555.75 feet msl and 20.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork Dam tailwater had wadable water at night. Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes are dropping at an increased rate and consistent wadable water could be three weeks away.
The Norfork is fishing well. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit from flooding over the past couple of years. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns
Continued on Page 9
Photos courtesy of AGFC FISHING REPORTS (cont.)
(sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive.
Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective.
Try an egg pattern 18 inches below a cerise San Juan worm. The fishing is better in the morning.
Dry Run Creek is fishing well. Expect less pressure during the week with school back in session. The Norfork National Fish Hatchery is open but the restrooms are still closed.
The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12), various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10) and mop flies.
— John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. John s favorite fly here is a 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.
— Jon Conklin with Fish On Guide Service (479-233-3474) said Beaver Lake is at normal levels and water temperature continues to drop with the cold nights.
“Lake has almost turned over and I would say that within a week or two it will be done and fishing will uptick.”
“Stripers have been hit and miss, with major movements happening daily.
Many guides are struggling to put fish in the boat. I believe stripers are moving towards the Prairie Creek area at this time. Bass are schooling early and late; topwater will pick them off. Drop-shot is working main lake points. Crappie are fair, look for brush in 12-25 feet of water. Jigs and minnows are working and the bite is in transition from open water cranks to structure.
“The bite will continue to get better for all species in the next few weeks. So for everybody getting beat up by Beaver Lake lately, including myself, just hang on, help is on the way. The colder water and turnover will spark a fall bite.
“Bream and catfish are good. I am booking fall crappie and walleye trips.
Check out my Facebook page at FishOn Guides Goshen Arkansas for updated reports as conditions change fast this time of the year.”
Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said black bass are fair in the mornings on topwater baits.
During the day, a shaky head worm or a jig will work best on black bass, but the bite remains fair then, too. There have been no real reports on white bass, which they say is out of the ordinary. Walleye are fair. “You can catch them if you know what you’re doing,” they say. The lake clarity is clear and the level is about normal. Bream, they report, are pretty much done for the season.
Crappie are biting fair in 10-15 feet depth on minnows and jigs. Target the brushpiles. Catfish are being caught in fair numbers with live bait and jug fishing.
— Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says fishing has continued to be good in the tailwater. There were a few days where the water temperature was in the 70s. On those days, some very nice fish were being caught, including a few juvenile walleye. Most trout are biting on spoons in quarter-ounce and various PowerBait, fished with light terminal tackle.
Throwing some hard crankbaits have also produced some fish as well.
This week’s hot spot is between Parker Bottomsand the dam. “If you want to find some nice brownies, that is where I would be.
White bass and Kentucky bass are being caught around Holiday Island. Try finding schools with your electronics or the bait fish.
Fish suspended baits in 10 feet of water, around structure and chunk rock. Look for them in the back of coves or at the mouth of them.”
“The water temps have backed down in the tailwater, but that has not stopped the bite. Good luck, be safe and catch some fish. With deer season a few days away, I may be doing a report every other week, as I will not be on the water as often. Good luck!”
— Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) says the lake remains murky and the water level is low.
Anglers are having to work for crappie, but they can be caught in fair numbers. Use minnows or jigs, and trolling seems to work best. Black bass are fair. Try a plastic worm or topwater baits. Catfish and bream were poor this week.
— Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) said the lake is very clear and has dropped about 1 foot below normal.
Bream are good on redworms and crickets.
Crappie are hit and miss. It looks like fair results can be had by trolling crankbaits in the channels.
Black bass are good. Use a spinnerbait in chartreuse, or try out large worms in red colors. Catfishing is really going great. Excellent catches will come your way if you use cut bait, chicken liver and other real baits.
Photo courtesy of AGFC