The weather forecast for the upcoming weekend looks amazing. Hot and sunny on Friday, a few more clouds and not as hot Saturday, and partially overcast Sunday with a chance of some light rain and perfect temperatures in the seventies. This weekend promises to be a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and the spectacular fly fishing around Cotter.
Fishing has been outstanding in the high and steady volume coming from Bull Shoals Dam, somewhere around 12,000cfs and increasing up to 17,000cfs. With the water staying high around the clock, fish are getting comfortable and established in predictable places like back eddies, undercut banks, flooded grass beds, and slow deep edges where rest and shade and food are all in good supply. Terrestrial dry flies are starting to produce with some consistency now. Try Evan’s Baby Foam, Regal Beetle, and Micro Chubby Chernobyls. If you like, add a dropper in the form of a Dark Back Emerger #16, Crackback Emerger #16, or Radiation Baetis #16. If fishing the upper water column isn’t working for you, try going deep and heavy with Girdle Bugs or Rubberleg Jigs, and if you like, add droppers like Super Sinker, Tailwater Jig, Alt Rocker, or Jiggy Nymph.
Sulfur mayflies are hatching strong mid afternoon most days, and fish will rise on the emergers and the cripples in slower edges and seams periodically throughout the day. The Sparkle Dun is good for imitating freshly emerged bugs floating on the surface. For wiser, pickier trout, imitate crippled and half drowned mayflies with Film Critics, Silverman Stacker, and Half n Half Sulfurs #16-18. Dress the head of these flies with a tiny dab of Dry Magic fly floatant to help your drift.
Crooked Creek and Buffalo River are pretty perfect right now for a canoe or kayak float. Cast #8 Boogle Bugs and Double Barrel Poppers to shady corners, where wily smallmouth and eager panfish await the plop of your fly on the water. If topwater action isn’t happening, bounce Whitlock’s Near Nuff Crayfish through rocky shoals and moving water.