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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/28/2020 in Articles

  1. 2 points
    What a week makes in time. This week on Lake Taneycomo, the water is off, no generation. And even my good friends and fishing guides are asking, "why???". It's pretty simple really. Everything downstream is flooded and there's no place to move the water to without adding to the flood waters. There are 2 reasons why the dam operators would start moving serious water through the White River System: Rainfall runoff would take all 3 lakes to their flood pool levels or The flood waters on the White River at Newport, Arkansas drop to safe levels. Here's some links to sites that are worth watching: https://www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil/pages/data/tabular/htm/bulsdam.htm https://www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil/pages/data/tabular/htm/newport.htm https://www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil/pages/reports/remote/white.htm This one shows, among other things, the percentage of storage for each lake. We normally go by lake level (feet) but when managing the lakes, the Corps goes by percentages. Beaver - 86% Table Rock - 56% Bull Shoals - 88% As you can see, Table Rock Lake has the most room for runoff. Of course, Taneycomo is just a pass-through lake. At the Newport (Ar) gage, you can see it is at 24 and flood stage is 26 feet. Regulating stage is 12 and the 5-year average is 19 feet. As this drops, Bull Shoals will be allowed to release water from its dam and thus starting the chain reaction at the other days... moving water through the system. But this won't happen until the White drops out through the Mississippi River. We're hoping for a dry spell all through the White River Basin. For now, we're seeing either no generation or just a little generation during the afternoon this week. This is a nice change of pace for those who like to fish slower water, or those of us who live to fly fish, we can get out and wade. And yes, fly fishing has been excellent. I've been boating up to the Narrows and Lookout Island, getting out of the boat and wading those areas and fishing a scud, namely a Perfect Scud we carry in the shop made by Jeremy Hunt. I'm fishing a #14 gray using 4x tippet and a small hard foam indicator about 2 to 4 feet deep. The fly is weights and I really don't need a split shot, especially if the water isn't running. There are lots of great quality rainbows at the Narrows right now, as you can see in this video I shot the other day. Watching this on your phone won't give you the full value of this video. The best way to get the most out of it is to go home and watch it on a big screen TV and turn off all the lights. You'll see rainbows beating the gravel for scuds and sow bugs, you'll see them pick them off as they drift down... you'll even see one fish chomp on some rocks and when he spits them out, a small scud comes out of its mouth too. Yes I did run my scud in front of the camera... that was the point of the video. And I did catch a couple in the first 3 minutes. But I got so much more out of just filming the actions of the rainbows as they went about their business rooting out bugs from the moss and gravel. I did catch a lot of rainbows, no browns, on the #14 Perfect Scud both Monday and Tuesday. But I think any other scud pattern will work. In this video, I shot scuds that were trapped in a pool of water. Note the orange in the body. I think it wouldn't hurt to tie a little orange in the body of your fly. I also caught rainbows on a #14 root beer Zebra Midge under an indicator fished any where from 3 to 5 feet deep, 6x tippet. But I had fun stripping a yellow #14 soft hackle on Monday. it was pretty windy and the chop on the water was perfect for stripping anything. I bet a wooly would have worked too. The slow water has put the kabosh on the big brown trout party. Blake has been going out and throwing a jerk bait but it isn't as hot as it has been. Duane's client have been throwing it early with a little success but most of the brown they're seeing are chasing and not hitting and the ones that are hitting and hooked are lost. The best bite is the first and last 60 minutes of daylight. The brown jig with an orange head is reportedly one of the best colors this week, along with the black jig. The trophy area is doing pretty good and so is the Short Creek area. If the water is off, throw a 1/16th-ounce using either 2- or 4-pound or throw a 1/32nd-ounce jig with 2-pound line. Night crawlers has been good for some and poo for others. I personally have a love-hate relationship with them. They bite them but I can't get a good hook set of them. But there's been nice trout caught this week so far on them. Tubby Johnson from Oklahoma caught this nice 22-inch brown on a worm one evening this week fishing with his grandson, Hunter. Power Eggs are working when the water is running. An orange/white combination did well for those drifting from Cooper Creek down to Monkey Island. The Berkley Pink PowerWorm on a small jig head fished under a float 5 to 6 feet deep down around the bridges and the Branson Landing has been "gold" for most of the fishing guides. Duane's clients the other day landed 22 "doubles". That's when both clients have fish on at the same time. Use 2-pound line for best results but 4-pound is probably ok.
  2. 2 points
    In this Lake Taneycomo fishing report, I will talk a little about how the fishing has been and about lake conditions in the next few days, but everything will change by the end of this week because of the rains forecast . . . it's supposed to start raining later today and continue for the next week. We had some slow-to-no generation the last few days, which has been a nice change from the heavy flows. Beaver Lake remains just below its flood pool at 1,129.4 feet (flood pool starts at 1,130 feet) and Table Rock is a bit high at 917.2 feet. Its power pool is 915 feet. So any rain that falls above Table Rock will have to be released through Taneycomo. If Table Rock rises to or above 920 feet, officials will have to open some spill gates. Table Rock's spill gates have been opened more in 2020 than any other time in the history of the dam, partly because one turbine at the facility had been off awaiting repair, so releasing water over the gates made up for the shortfall. Now that that turbine is fixed and working, we're back to normal operation. Water coming over the gates will bring warmer water into Lake Taneycomo, averaging 60 degrees. This will make our trout happy -- since they like 60-degree versus 47-degree water. That flow will also bring in more warm-water species of fish including threadfin shad which, again, our trout love! The only downside is that fishing from docks and the bank will be very tough, if not impossible, especially in the upper end of the lake. Here's what we've seen here in the last week or two -- big trout! For more than a month, Blake and Duane have been experimenting and garnering great success using bait fish type lures to catch mainly big browns. Of course, Duane developed a jerk bait series of lures, custom painted and geared to catch big browns. But they also have zeroed in on areas that are holding these browns and have landed multiple trophies for themselves and for clients. Others have joined in on the fun. Rob from Kansas stayed here at the Landing for about 10 days and landed more than a dozen browns longer than 20 inches on a KVD suspending jerk bait. Other anglers, including out of town guests and even locals, have also landed browns on jerk baits. Then some fishermen have found brown trout targeting jigs; white has been good but so has sculpin/peach colors. And then there are the big rainbows. I personally have landed a 23-inch rainbow trout and a 22-inch rainbow on successive days, one on a jig and one on a zebra midge. Other rainbows were caught on jigs and flies (scuds mainly) in the upper end of the lake. On Saturday afternoon, there was no generation here for the first time since last fall. I understand locals and near by residents flocked to the area below the dam to enjoy wade fishing, and they were very successful catching numerous trophy rainbows on flies. The low water was unfortunately short-lived. Some observations of fish activity lately: Lots of surface action. Trout have been aggressively taking bugs off the surface early in the morning but more in the late evening. I've witnessed pretty big may fly hatches as well as midge hatches and big, mature trout are taking them. We've seen a good deal of big swirls in different areas of the lake by big trout chasing small trout, or something else. Earlier last week, we saw browns chasing shad on the surface on the Cooper Creek flats, but that has subsided. These swirls, although not new, are more frequent and witnessed over many parts of the upper lake. I've seen them in several places above Fall Creek but more just below the creek to down in front of our dock (Lilleys' Landing), and on the Cooper Creek flats on down through Monkey Island. The number of big takes is amazing. We are seeing more and more big mature rainbows caught, mainly in the trophy area. These rainbows, measuring from 17 to 20 inches, are healthy specimens with broad shoulders, wide girths and full of rainbow color. They are feeding aggressively, and when hooked, are giving the angler all he wants in a fight. And then there are the rainbows longer than 20 inches . . . they are in a class all their own. These fish have been in the lake since they were 11 inches old. They've survived the onslaught of hooks and bait, herons and eagles and otters. They have earned the right to be called wild trout, although technically they are not. But they move, feed and act like they are, so the angler has to consider that the Taneycomo trout he stalks are smarter than typical trout park fish. Less pressure. In this extraordinary time, there have been days when the unimaginable has happened -- in the months of March and April, only a handful of anglers, if that, fished the whole lake. Boats were not seen on the lake until way past 10 a.m. in the morning. The lake was never "shut down" but you might have thought so. All the while, trout were still being stocked as if nothing was different. Even now, here in mid-May, boat traffic is minimal during the week. All this to say that the fishing future of Lake Taneycomo looks extremely bright, thanks to a broken turbine, lots of rain and a world wide pandemic. How to catch fish? You've read a little about what we've tried. I did not mention that I went out this morning (Monday, May 11) and cast a big, white articulated fly on an eight-weight fly rod with a 400-grain sink tip down at the Cooper Creek flats. No takes today, but I think the right big fly should get some love in the coming days. It will be worth a try for sure. We're getting in a variety of jerk baits in our fly shop. Rouge makes several suspending jerk baits as well as Smithwick that aren't too hard on the pocket book. Bass Pro has their KVD series. You want a suspending bait that dives down from 5 to 10 feet. For colors white has been good but I'd try others also. Hard to know what they will take. I think it's more action that style. Keep watching One Cast. Blake and Duane will keep throwing their baits, so observe how they work them. I think that's the most important thing about fishing jerk baits -- how you serve them. We are selling Duane's signature series jerk baits, custom painted, on our website now. They are proven to catch trout. And that's not to say smaller, medium sized jerk baits won't work. Try what you have in your tackle box before buying a pile of baits. I've been forcing myself to throw a white 1/8th-ounce jigs where the guys have worked their jerk baits, and, so far, I've caught one 20-inch brown. If they're looking for shad, the white jig will work. Rob did catch one of his browns on a white/gray jig. And I caught the big rainbow yesterday on one so white is still a color you should be throwing. It's just not catching as many as it did back when shad were coming over the spill gates from Table Rock Lake. Jig colors that have been catching good numbers of trout have been black/yellow, sculpin, sculpin/peach, tri-olive dark, ginger and sculpin/orange. If you're using a jig and float, a sculpin/ginger/orange head 1/50th ounce (PJ's Jig) is working. I'd almost go to two-pound tippet when fishing a jig and float and fish it from four-six-feet deep most of the time. A Turner Micro Jig in brown, ginger or olive is working, too. Now I'd love to report bait fishing is pretty good, but I'm not sure I can. I took out some friends on Saturday when the water was off and tried a night crawler -- even pumped it up with air to float off the bottom -- and did not get a bite in two hours in three different locations! It was unbelievable! That doesn't mean they're not hitting them at all . . . but it means something. Powerbait hasn't been working too well either. What's been working extremely well is the Berkley Pink Power Worm under a float. Even if operators are running up to three units, fishing down at the Branson Landing area has been very good lately. Fish it with four-pound line and about five- to seven-feet deep under the float. You can also hook it on a #8 hook and fish it drifting on the bottom using a split shot or a drift rig. So now the scoop for when the water starts running again -- and when I say running I mean three-plus units. Those small jerk baits are still working pretty well from the dam down through Short Creek. At our shop, we really had a run on them, but we still have some in stock and more coming. You ca drift them on the bottom using a drift rig setup, but even better should be a carolina rig setup. You don't have to use as much weight as you think since the lure itself will take you to the bottom with its action. Speaking of action, the bigger crank baits will work if four units or more are running (15,000 cubic feet of water per second). The Bomber Fatfree Fingerling in shad colors has worked well for us. Just throw it out upstream and hold your rod tip just under the water's surface while cranking slowly until you feel the lure digging on the bottom. It should stay there. If we get spill gates, shad flies and white jigs will be hot. Fly fish using a white streamer or a small white jig or shad fly under a float six- to eight-feet deep. Spoons will work, too. Also try the bigger jerk baits (mentioned previously) in shad colors. Our trout have been eating a lot of scuds. When the lake water dropped out, some were stranded in pools of water off the lake. Here's a video I shot with my iPhone of those scuds swimming around in the pool. Drift a scud on the bottom anywhere from the dam down to Short Creek using a drift rig or carolina rig. A cerise San Juan Worm is working pretty well, too. You could use a tandem of the two flies, tying them about two feet apart. Four-pound line is fine this time of year.
  3. 1 point

    Topwater has begun

    These are from a couple of days ago. They are starting to do their top water thing. I won't divulge exact spots, but just cruise until you see 8 boats with 5-6 people each in overalls. They have been following my boat since they crowded me at the weir. You might as well just butt in as they have no problem doing it to me or anyone else. As soon as anyone catches a hybrid, they will move to within 20 ft of you and cast lures within 3 ft of your boat. I don't think they are trying to be rude, I think it is just not considered rude in their culture? Better find them quick. The last 2 spots they did this to me at were fished out within a week, only leaving tons of whites in those areas. Pretty sure they show up 8 boats strong almost every evening because everytime I get to go back and fish, they either all show up or already on my waypoints when I get there, lol. I don't let it bother me too much anymore. Just challenges me to find them in another area of the lake and try to hide as long as I can, lol. Anyways, they are definitely biting great right now. Smallest fish in the pic is 7.2 lbs. Biggest was 13.4 lbs. That is a 152qt cooler. Good luck!
  4. 1 point
    Shane Bush, Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries Biologist for Table Rock and Taneycomo, sent me this PDF file of a presentation given last week by Gabe Knight. Gabe works for the Little Rock Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It has some good straight forward information on how and why releases are made, encompassing all of the White River Water Basin. Water Management Overview Knight_2019.pdf
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