Cotter, Arkansas – The lakes in the White River watershed are all at desired levels for the power pool – Bull Shoals, Norfork, Table Rock, and Beaver Lakes. The COE monitors increases due to runoff and continues sporadic releases through the dams. These builds usually require a few quick changes in fishing techniques and bait. Mornings often start with 2,500 cfs and gradually increase to 8,500 cfs or more for an hour or two in the late afternoon, then drop back to almost wading levels by late evening.
During winter brown spawn, the orange egg patterns work well, with or without the shrimp nugget. We always have success with black and gold spinners (1/6 oz to 1/4 oz depending on water levels.) For a few days this week we were treated to a full moon in clear skies which made The catching of brown trout is a bit slow – browns feed at night and use the extra night light for hunting, which forces day anglers to try harder. These bright yellow rainbow trout are always evasive, but once in a while we are treated to a good bite. If you spot one, be prepared to change bait several times during the “hunt”. They are seen following (but not biting) all kinds of bait for long periods of time. Finally, you might smell the tug with an electric/shrimp bait or a red wiggler worm or even a purple Trout Magnet grub on the end of your line. Work them slowly and you might be rewarded with an opportunity for a photoshoot.
Expect daytime temperatures to be as volatile as the water level with expected highs of 30° to 50°, but nights will be very cold. Traffic on the river is slower in January than at any other time of year, so you should brave the weather and have the river to yourself for a few hours. Come in, warm up and share your fishing stories with us; we look forward to seeing you.