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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/26/2019 in Articles

  1. 3 points
    One big rain and we're back to big generation here on Lake Taneycomo. Beaver Lake jumped 4 feet to 1125 feet while Table Rock rose to 919.9 feet. Both lakes were almost down to their seasonal power pool. Right now, they are releasing a little bit of water from Beaver and releasing water at Table Rock to the tune of 15,000 cubic feet per second. That's a little more than if they were running 4 full units but they are only running 3 turbines along with 5 flood gates opened 1-foot each. At Beaver, my app says there's one gate open one foot at 970 c.f.s.. We are going to see this flow from Table Rock all this week and probably into the weekend with more continuing at 3 units when they get Table Rock down a little. If they do the same thing as previously, we're going to see 3-unit-water for several weeks. Fishing was tough over the weekend because the upper lake was still feeling the affects of Friday night's rain. The lake Saturday was pretty dirty, and when the cloudiness cleared up, anglers had to still deal with leaves and sticks flowing in from feeder creeks. By Monday, the lake was free of stuff and very fishable. There's only really one thing you must do to catch a trout now and that is to be on the bottom. That's where the fish are holding up. That and in eddies along the bank. And they are biting and can be caught. Guide Steve Dickey put 2 of his clients on big trout already. Randy from St. Louis landed this 28” 10.5lb. drifting a Bomber on the bottom in the trophy area. Steve from St. Louis Caught this beautiful 26 inch brown on a #14 gray scud using 6x tippet. Yeah! Both browns! All of a sudden they're showing up which is cool. So whether you're fishing a gray scud, cerise San Juan worm, a stick bait, a Bomber, night crawler, minnow or PowerBait, get it on the bottom and drift away.
  2. 2 points
    In 1919, Norman Rockwell painted two covers for successive issues of a magazine called The Country Gentleman. The images are now in the public domain. The Fishing Trip The Catch Even Norman Rockwell knew worms catch the fish. Why many people avoid using worms and insist on artificial baits would make an excellent topic for a psycho-social doctoral thesis. I won’t be writing that. Instead, this article is intended as a primer for fishing worm harnesses in Tablerock and the other White River impoundments. What I will share comes from fellow walleye fishermen who have showed me a number of tricks. In particular, I want to thank Chuck Etheredge of Holiday Island, Arkansas. Chuck holds the Holiday Island Marina walleye record at 14.5 pounds, and he is the one who taught me about his harnesses for brush fishing crawlers. The Bait Nightcrawlers are one of nature’s perfect animals. They aerate the soil, they help break down leaves and other dead matter to soil, and they are so valuable to growing plants that people buy them to put in their gardens. Brown trout guides below Bull Shoals dam say they use red worms because they are “more natural looking in the water.” The real reason is stocker rainbows that can’t and won’t leave the nightcrawlers alone. In the last several years nightcrawlers have become a major farmed and/or harvested crop. Grocery stores, convenience stores, and even Walmarts sell them. Typically, the containers are Styrofoam or cardboard and are filled with potting soil or mulch. I buy at several locations and find the overall quality quite good. However, I always check the contents before I leave the store. Temperature or stock rotation disasters do happen. Next important tip: As soon as you get home, place the worm boxes in the refrigerator and keep them there until the fishing trip. Crawlers will last several weeks if left alone in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. If you are not the cook, label the boxes “worms” to avoid screams and other domestic difficulties. On the day I intend to use the crawlers, I pack the boxes in an ice chest with ice. The ice will not freeze them in their containers and will keep them cool and lively. Once I am in the boat and ready to fish, I put some ice and lake water in a flat bottom plastic bowl and add four or five crawlers. The ice water plumps them up and washes the dirt off so your boat floor stays cleaner. In addition, you will be in and out of your cooler less often. When the ice melts, merely add another piece or two. An alternative I recently learned was to bathe a day’s worth of crawlers at once, then place them in the now empty Styrofoam containers with ice. In the event you wish to buy crawlers in bulk, they are available from several mail order sources, including Cabelas. Several chapters of the classic book, Lunkers Love Nightcrawlers, cover the long term care and feeding of nightcrawlers. The Worm Harness A worm harness is nothing more than one or more hooks combined with one or more devices to attract fish. The early Crème worm was a rubber worm on a primitive worm harness. I caught my first lunker bass on this rig. Literally hundreds of commercial harness makers exist and a Ebay search for worm harness or crawler harness will prove it. Cabelas and Bass Pro each carry more than one brand and several varieties for each brand. The sheer number intimidates anglers seeking to try a new method. How can you know which ones work best? For those wanting instant gratification, the “norm” consists of two small hooks, size 2, 4, or 6, snelled on 10 to 20 pound test line. Above the hooks, you will find 3 to 8 beads, and in front of that a size 3 Colorado or Indiana blade. The entire harness will run on a single three to four foot strand of line with a swivel or loop at the end opposite the hooks. Harness Blades Variations abound including those with single hooks; Smile, Dakota, or Willow blades; and even what appears to be a wedding band in the build. To help understand the reason for blade choices I’ve built a chart: Colors A variety of harness colors will work. I suppose you could catch a walleye on anything if you fished long enough with a crawler attached. However, the purpose of the harness is to attract the walleye to find the worm. Certain colors and styles tend to work more consistently. As a side note, the common forage of walleyes in our chain of lakes explains the color choices. Walleye in the White River chain primarily feed on shad and bluegill. As yellow perch, common walleye forage in the North, become more prolific in Bull Shoals, the color choices for that lake may change somewhat. Bodies with chartreuse, red, green, orange, pink, and white are the most commonly used. I own a box of plastic beads I bought from Cabelas for tying traditional harnesses. It contains no less than 24 different shades that are variations on all of the above except white. Traditional harnesses frequently use more than one of these colors. Common blade colors include silver, copper, and air brushed or painted blades using the color palate listed above. While I have had some success with half silver/half gold blades, harnesses with solid gold blades have never proven successful for me. Again, the yellow perch in Bull Shoals may change that. Copper Colorado Blade/Pink Float Beads Silver/Yellow/Red Colorado Blade/Chartreuse Float Beads Silver Willow Blade/Firetiger Float Beads Painted Colorado Blade/White Float Beads (Wonderbread) How and Where In a previous article, Trolling for Table Rock Walleye, I wrote extensively about where and how to locate walleye. I urge you to read or re-read that article for location information. Depth and speed are the other variables that combine with location to determine whether you have success. Fishermen successfully use harnesses for fish holding as shallow as 6 or 8 feet. The harnesses are equally successful on the Great Lakes at 45 feet behind downriggers. For the White River lakes I do not advise downriggers. Instead, those who target walleyes use three way rigs or bottom bouncers. A three way rig utilizes a three way swivel. The main line attaches to one ring, 12 to 24 inches of line with a bell sinker at the end attaches to the second ring. The third ring holds the harness line. Those who use this rig do so because they can quickly change the amount of weight or adjust the height off bottom. I suggest any who use this rig make sure that the strongest of the three lines is the main line to the reel. The second strongest should be the line to the harness. The weight line should be weaker than either of the others. The alternative to a three way rig is a bottom bouncer. The main line attaches at the junction of the “L.” The harness line attaches to the swivel at the end of the unweighted arm. As the boat moves forward the weighted arm tip brushes the bottom while the harness follows behind the weight and somewhat above it. Bottom bouncers come in a variety of weights, ranging from ½ ounce to 4 ounces. What size to use? Traditionalists will tell you to use 1 ounce for every 10 feet of depth you will be fishing. That advice is accurate and useful under normal circumstances, especially when combined with the traditional advice on speed and how much line should be out. If you search the internet for articles on using harnesses and bottom bouncers, almost all will tell you the ideal configuration will have the main line running from the boat to the bouncer at a 45 degrees or less. Those articles also suggest the bouncer should only “bounce” from time to time. These articles are absolutely correct, and professional walleye fishermen use these “rules of thumb” every tournament. The last element of traditional harness fishing is the speed. Most days a speed of .8 mph to 1.4 mph will be the most effective. Be aware the type of blade can change the effective speed. A Willow spins far more easily than a Colorado. A Smile blade can spin with even less speed. You should go at least fast enough to spin the blade. However, the ultimate decision maker on speed will be the fish. Sluggish fish may want a slow presentation. If so the weight will be less and the blade choice would be a Smile or Willow. On other days, hot water fish may need a fast speed to trigger bites. In that case a heavier weight and more line may be needed to reach the depth desired. Chuck’s Secret Method Careful readers may have noticed the pictures of my harnesses above are different from what they see in stores or some of the sketches I have drawn and inserted. The differences are only a part of the “secret” method Chuck Etheredge taught me two years ago. His method is an adaptation of the traditional ways; one that is designed for the highland reservoirs with submerged timber, brush, stumps, car size rocks, and house foundations. Chuck wanted a harness that was less likely to sink when the bottom bouncer stalled because it hit a rock or limb. To that end he substituted floats for the glass or plastic beads. If you put one of his rigs in the water and lay the bouncer on the bottom, the blade slides down to the weight, but the floats, hook, and worm stay up. He also experimented to see if he could avoid exposed hooks. He took from the bass fishermen the idea of Texas rigging the worm. Yes, it is a soft, real nightcrawler, but the embedded hook had to help a little. In addition, one hook point instead of two equaled half as many hang points. He found a worm hook in size 1 or 1/0 was every bit as good as the traditional two small hooks in sticking fish. Last, to keep the float beads and blade from pushing the worm down into a wad, he made another innovation. He uses a bobber stop to hold the beads in place. In addition to changing the harness, Chuck defies conventional wisdom as to bottom bouncer weight. He intentionally uses about half the weight considered standard. At 20 feet he will use one ounce. At thirty feet he will have on a 1.5 or 2 ounce bouncer. To reach the bottom, this means he must have out considerably more line. The change in angle between the boat and the bait is exactly the reason for his unorthodoxy. He believes the “flatter” angle aids in pulling the rig up and over limbs and logs. The combination of differences works for Chuck. On more than occasion I have watched him fish snag filled flats and timbered channel edges with his worm harnesses. Yes he will sometimes hang up, but far less often than anyone would expect. And while he is at it, he catches fish. The first time he showed me his ways, he tried to explain his uncanny success at staying free from hangs. In my words, he does it like this. When he feels the line begin to rub over a limb, he does not jerk. He waits until the line between the limb and harness shortens. As this happens, braid line will sing or vibrate. Quite often the rod tip will feel heavier. Just when he feels the bouncer arm contact the limb, he lifts the rod in a high arc to pop the rig and harness over the limb. He then lets the bouncer fall back to the bottom. Many bites happen on that drop. Please note that Chuck’s method requires the angler to hold the rod and feel for the key moment. This is different from those who put the harness rod in a holder. Results Every article about a fishing method should include a few pictures to vouch for the method and the author. A Table Rock Limit from 2010 when Chuck showed me his secrets Three from June of 2011 My personal best, 13.75 pounds, July 8, 2011, on one of Chuck’s style harnesses.
  3. 2 points
    Turbines and flood gates continued to move water from Table Rock Lake into and through Lake Taneycomo this past week. Rains Thursday and Friday kept the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from making any headway, though. Beaver Lake's level rose slightly to 1,126.5 feet while Table Rock's level remains at 919.1 feet. Operators are running 15,000 cubic feet of water per second through Table Rock Dam, equal to four full turbines. We had a very busy weekend with lots of boats on the lake. Despite the heavy flow, most anglers did exceptionally well. Almost everyone was drifting something on the bottom -- from shrimp (yes, the ones from the ocean) to minnows and worms, and from Power Bait to flies and jigs. Anglers reported catching "nothing but brown trout" drifting minnows on the bottom from Cooper Creek through the Branson Landing stretch. No one bought in or told us of any browns caught longer than 20 inches, though. Scuds (freshwater shrimp) flies continue to be one of the hottest baits to catch trout, both above and below Fall Creek. You'll need at least a quarter-ounce weight to pull down to the bottom and drift basically down the middle or a tad on the inside bend of the lake. A #12 gray is the best size and color. Of course, there are quite a few shades of gray, at least in our shop. And we're using four-pound clear or green line -- no need for two-pound simply because of the speed your fly is flying by the trout. They have no time to snub their noses based on the weight of the line. Those trout only have a fraction of a second to react -- whether to eat or pass. Other hot flies are the medium cerise San Juan Worm and the Mega Worm, reported by Flys and Guide's Lisa Bellue. The best stretch to drift is from Lookout Island down to Short Creek with the Narrows taking the hot spot designation. Last week, Duane (and others) saw threadfin shad in the water below the dam. These small bait fish come over from the spill gates from Table Rock, along with other warm water species of fish, into Lake Taneycomo, and our trout love to eat them. Unfortunately, we haven't seen evidence that many of these bait fish have come over the dam in the last couple of months, but we hope we're seeing the beginning of a "shad run," as it's called. Some of the guides have been drifting white jigs and shad flies below the dam and have been picking up some nice rainbows and a few browns. If and when we get a true shad run, catching will get really, really good with shad lures and flies. I would also suggest to try dragging small stick baits like F5, floating Rapalas in shad colors using a carolina rig with a quarter-ounce weights. We carry a cheap knock-off in our shop -- cheap because we tend to lose a lot of baits to snags on the bottom. For bank fly fishing below the dam, fishing a gray or tan #14 or #16 scud under an indicator at the hatchery outlets has been about the only good access, but fishing those locations has been very good. Also anglers are catching fish on San Juan Worms. Images courtesy of Ozark Trout Runners, Duane Doty.
  4. 2 points
    Generation has stayed the same all week so there's no change in my report for Lake Taneycomo as far as water release. Beaver has dropped a couple of feet but weekend rains have kept it from dropping even more. Table Rock's level has risen a bit but they will all start going down as run off water slows down. We should see this flow at least through this week. One of the hot lures is the small jerk baits Duane and Blake have been demonstrating on One Cast. There's a variety of baits you can use just as long as they are floating and anywhere from 4 to 5.5 inches long. Duane, and now Blake, custom paint their baits to look like shad, rainbows or sculpin but there again, there are baits out there that you can buy that look pretty close to what they're making. Here's a video Duane did explaining how he fishes them. We have some knock-off baits in our shop for sale and I've ordered several hundred due to come in next week. As Duane says, you lose a lot of these baits due to snagging on the bottom so don't go out and spend a lot of money on them. But they have been working very well! I got out the other day and drifted some PowerEggs with the grandkids down close to Monkey Island. Ended up catching a half dozen rainbows in the short time we were out. You have to use pretty small weights, even with the 3 units running, if you're fishing down lake because the current is pretty slow. I was using a #4 split shot but a 1/8th ounce bell weight would be fine. I've also heard there's a lot of rainbows to be caught doing the same thing from Scotty's Trout Dock down through the Branson Landing area. You just have to be careful of the wind in that area.
  5. 1 point

    Slab Sunday

    Finally back on the water Sunday after church. Got started about 12:45 and fished to about 4:00. Water temp was 43 and stained... Looked perfect Didn’t really know what to expect after this lake has turned upside down in a weeks time... Up, down and up again... Geez They bit pretty fast at the get go. Got 8 in no time and then they came in spurts. The wind got to whipping which might of been why. Got tossed around a bit... Best bite was rigging about 13 feet down about 18-20 fow. Caught a few at 10 feet down but more consistent at 13 feet. I quit about 4ish with a limit and headed for the house... Amazed by health of the fish this year... Pics below... God bless and good fishing Lance
  6. 1 point
    Dam-Long Creek area with Mike Hit the water out of Old 86 yesterday morning at 7:30 in the Geico Ranger with a really stiff South wind and some pretty good swells. Water was clear and 48 degree. Plan for this morning was to crank and throw the stick bait on windy banks and then take a breather and do a little vertical stuff if we could find them. Always good to see and fish with Mike. The guy is always in a great mood and really reminds me of Beck which was also one of his best friends. He loves to fish and simply loves what he does. He is pretty good at it.😎 Started on a transition bank with a lot of wind and some big surf pounding it. I was on the sticker and Mike started with the RK. I hardly had my butt in the seat when he said, " There she is." Really nice 2.5 lb. LM. Wind was really blowing down the bank, kind of had the boat sideways with me on the back and Mike on the front. He was fishing a bit deeper with the bow in 18 to 20 feet and me in about 1/2 that and still almost full cast from the bank. About 3 cast later and he was winding it pretty good and also pulling it he caught a nice Jaw. Again probably 2.5 or so. Here is a tip, don't be afraid to throw that Spro Rock Crawler deeper than you think. Mike was throwing it on 10 lb. Carbon and he was ticking the bottom at 12' . We fished a 300 yard stretch of the transition until it flattened out and he caught 4 all keeps with the good one pictured above. I wasn't really warmed up good yet so that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Wind was blowing a gale and he had a phone call to take so we pulled into a creek to check for some deep ones. They were there but fussy as all get out. While he was on the phone I caught a good keeper K swimming the Keitech Deep-Deep at 50 feet plus. As soon as he was done he put 2 more keepers in the boat also on a swim bait deep. I think I'm down 6 to 1 but who's counting. Saw some Loon's working in another creek and went in. Here is where I was totally blown away. Mike is a Garmin guy and we watched the Garmin Panoptix Livescope all day. He kept saying Bill, Bill get up here and look at this. At a spot in the creek he said," Bill get up here and look at this, there is a school of shad 50' in front of the boat at 30' with a school of bass under them at 35', I'm going to catch one right under that school from here." And, Durn he did it, Threw past the bait ball counted it down and swam it through the bassyou could see the fish fighting back toward the boat after he hooked it. Simply amazing. 99% of us would have never caught the great Brown Fish that Mike pulled from the middle of the creek suspended under shad away from everything. With a pretty nice wind on a transition bank going into one of the major creeks in the dam area, we started fishing the McStick pretty serious for about a hour and I even threw a Megabass a bit but no bites at all on the stick bait. If the Table Rock Hammer cannot catch one on a stick bait its probably time to put it down. I asked if he wanted to catch some deep jig fish and he was all on board so we motored up Long Creek to the ridge I had been doing well on. We both fished a Pig Sticker 5/8 and 3/4 GP Orange. Now durn it, I'm pretty good at this and these are my fish. As you can tell this is probably not going to be good for me. Stinkweed put 3 keeps in the boat before I got one. PS Mine was bigger. He then put 1 more keep and 1 short in so at this point I'm pretty much toast but it is sure fun watching him catch them. Dudes we caught some jig fish out over 40'. He is "EXTREMELY PATIENT" He calls it Hard Headed but if he thinks he can catch them he does not move. Same thing with the Rock Crawler he will throw it and throw it. It works if you can make yourself do it. The day he caught the 5 pounder he said he threw it and caught 5 in the first hour, nothing for the next 2 hours still throwing it and then 4 more in about 45 minutes with one over 5 and 1 around 4. We stopped at another transition on the way in and he caught another really nice LM on the RK. again he was fishing it probably a bit deeper than most of us, I'm saying that crank bait fish came out of probably 15' plus. Mike fishes a Motorguide Tour Pro and it lifts and deploys with 2 fingers. It is totally silent both turning and running. The new MG with spot lock is not out yet but Motorguide has told him it will be something special and should be out soon. Mike has been very loyal to Motorguide thru all the spot lock deal and also with the new Garmin so I'm excited to see what he thinks of the new motor. Final score Mike Mcclelland 12 keepers and one short. Bill Babler 3 keepers. Last time I beat him 8 to 3, so he got his revenge and really gave me the best water to fish all day. We'll get out another couple of times in the next two weeks before he has to go back on the road. It was a fantastic and educational day with a really good buddy. If you all have any questions about equipment or technique you would like Mike to answer just post them here and I'll see what he has to say. Good Luck
  7. 1 point
    All the lakes in the White River Chain of Lakes are almost to their seasonal power pool levels, but we have some rain forecast for the whole basin this weekend that might prolong generation below each dam. Right now, we're looking at three to four inches Thursday through Saturday morning with some snow mixed in. But I'm wondering how accurate this forecast is and hoping, of course, that it's wrong. What's nice about fishing below a dam is that you experience a variety of different conditions. We've seen three units or 9,500 cubic feet per second of water flowing for the past month, and while fishing has been pretty good, we're wanting a change, preferably less is better. We did get a small change this morning -- operators have dropped the flow from Table Rock Dam from 9,500 to 6,800 c.f.s. for a few hours, signaling that a change is about to happen. But we'll see what the rains bring this weekend. Most of our normal fishing techniques are working, but nothing is working to the degree I would call "hot." We catching trout on jigs, jerk baits, the pink worm, night crawlers, Powerbait, scuds, egg flies and San Juan worms. We're drifting and dragging the bottom, casting and working a jig or jerk bait and fishing a pink worm or scud under a float. The Landing area is producing a lot of small rainbows ,probably freshly stocked. But I've also seen some pictures of big rainbows caught down there, so you never know. Monkey Island is fishing decent. Drifting the area from our resort through Cooper Creek has been just okay, but we have seen some bigger rainbows come off the bluff bank. The best area to catch nice rainbows below the trophy area has been from Fall Creek to Short Creek using night crawlers and drifting small jerk baits on the bottom. Our guides, the few trips they are taking, have done well fishing the pink worm under a float, but they fish it deep -- up to 11 feet deep according to Guide Bill Babler. But that technique is producing good rainbows. In the trophy area, Guide Steve Dickey is drifting #12 - #14 gray or tan scuds on the bottom and catching good numbers with some rainbows pushing 18 inches. Guide Duane Doty is throwing his custom-painted jerk baits at the crack of dawn for a couple of hours and doing fairly well, although he hasn't caught any big trout longer than 20 inches lately. Dock hand Blake has been throwing a jig most days, faring the best on black/gray, white/gray and sculpin/ginger (brown head.) He's throwing a 3/32nd- or an 1/8th-jig using four-pound line if he's fishing the trophy area. But we've been switching to two-pound line and smaller 1/16th- and 1/32nd-ounce jigs working the slower water from above the resort down through the Branson Landing. I've been doing well on black/yellow, black/fl. flame and white/black. One other thing I'll mention. When Table Rock Lake turns over in late fall, it kicks up silt on the big lake then we get the silt. The turn over usually happens the first or second week of December but this year it happened almost 30 days early. It takes about a month for the silt to settle out at which time our water becomes very clear again. So, our lake water is already clear when it usually is silty so we're going to 2-pound line now over 4-pound in a lot of instances. Food for thought.
  8. 1 point

    21 1/2 Inches Long

    I have been out several times since my last post, by myself and with the grandkids. Well it finally happen to me, i buried a treble hook in my finger and one in my leg. The first happened when I was trying to remove a lure that got hung up in one of the bungee cords on my kayak. As I was trying to removing it from the kayak, I buried in my finger, passed the barb. I'm standing waist deep in the river with one hand stuck to my kayak. So I walked the kayak over to the bank and got to work. I decided to yank it out. I knew I had to be committed to the yank. After two yanks it came out. Wasn't pretty but it came out and bleed pretty good. I carry a zip lock bag of first aid stuff, but I now carry a can of 'spray on bandage.' Next trip out was with the grandkids and it happened again, this time in the leg. I tried the yank but that didn't work so I pushed it through and cut off the barb. It did take a little effort to push it on through, but it worked. I have been carrying carry a pair of small needle nose pliers just for this. Bleed a lot less this way. The grandkids got to watch so now when I tell them to be careful .......I was fishing another time and thought I had a fish, set the hook, and nothing. When I reeled it in it had a big old scale stuck on the hook. It was bigger on the river then in the picture. It dried out when I got home. Don't know what it was. And finally, I caught my biggest fish this year. Caught her on a 5 foot, Light action, Ugly Stik. I assume it's a redhorse? She put up a real good fight. Lot of fun.I also caught smallmouths. Released them all.....Great days on the river
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