Cotter is a busy place this week with tiers, vendors, spring breakers, and locals alike checking out the fun at Sowbug Roundup. The fishing has been a roller coaster ride as well with heavy rain muddying the river briefly and generation varying from minimum flow to 18,000cfs sometimes in the same day. But nevertheless there have been windows of good fishing for those not discouraged by the highly variable conditions. For those unwilling to brave rain or high water, there is plenty to see and enjoy at Sowbug and tons of new inventory to check out at Dally’s shop.
For the most consistent action, stay in tune with the flow charts to find the lowest water available. Flows from minimum up to 3,000cfs or so are fishing well with Prince nymphs, various caddis pupae, Crusty Rons, Ruby midges, and Whitetail midges. Higher flows and stained runoff are fishing well with San Juan worms and brightly colored streamers. Caddis dry flies are worth having on hand in case you find yourself in a hatch.
Daphnia continue to be a factor – slowing the bite at times because the fish get full on the little critters, but persistence will produce fish anyway. Low flows are best fished with small dark midges like Root Beer or Camel midges, as well as dark bodied scud/sowbug imitations. Keep an eye out for the rogue caddis hatch on the Norfork too, and have some caddis dries handy. High water can be fished effectively with San Juan worms, caddis pupae, or small streamers.