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Arkansas Fishing Report

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White River Sponsored by
Date 19-Jul-18
Water Condition
Water Temperature  


Conditions : White River - Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says fishing from Cotter on the tailwater of Bull Shoals Dam produced a good quantity of fighting browns and healthy rainbows this week. All of the browns were less than legal limit but fought hard and gave the anglers a thrill. The new norm for water releases: half a generator (2,200 cfs) throughout the morning, then the rise begins in the Cotter area at about 3 p.m., falling out again around 4 a.m. Again, sculpins were the bait for browns – even an artificial sculpin tied with a jig pulled in a nice brown for a couple of pictures then back to the river. “The brown bite increased in the afternoons several days this week, which is a little uncommon; the pop-up showers and changing pressure systems can be credited for the change in the action, I think. This week, a mixture of baits was called for: One day we had luck with the brown trout Thomas Buoyant spoon, the next day the red/gold spoon won the bite. So keep a variety of smaller artificial baits on hand. Always be ready with some shrimp and scented egg pattern baits for a limit of nice rainbows.”

Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is clear and the river level the past week was low. There are two generators running at the dam. Trout reports were good. The rainbow trout bite is OK, about the same as it was last week. Rainbows are biting PowerBait and Power Worms.

John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week, they have had no rain, brutally hot temperatures (to include heat advisories) and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.9 feet to rest at 1.4 feet below seasonal power pool of 661 feet msl. This is 35.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock fell 0.3 feet to rest at 0.8 feet below seasonal power pool and 14.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 0.8 feet below seasonal power pool and 9.4 feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had less generation with some wadable water. Norfork Lake fell 0.5 feet to rest at 0.7 feet below seasonal power pool of 555.8 feet msl and 24.9 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of power pool. With warmer weather and increased power demand for air conditioning, we can expect more generation in the afternoons but there is a possibility of wadable water in the cooler mornings. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. There are sulphurs coming off. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 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). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a size 14 bead-head pheasant tail with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down.

Reported by: Arkansas F&G


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About: - Fishing Arkansas's White River Keeps Small Arkansas Town

These fish aren't native to Arkansas, but were introduced several decades ago when new dams on some of the state's major rivers wiped out the native bass, bream, catfish and crappie below the dams. Cold water released from the dam made the downstream rivers too chilly for the native fish, so trout were brought in. (more)

  • Brown & Rainbow Trout
  • Cutthroat
  • Brookies
  • Small & Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Catfish

Misc Info: -


White River Flows

Bull Shoals Elevation



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