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  1. 7 points
    Took a family trip down to Mississippi to get on some big crappie. Something I’ve been wanting to do for years. Why have I waited so long? It was incredible! We arrived Friday late afternoon for check in and got settled in our cabin. Went down to the outdoor pavilion called “The Slab Shack” for dinner. 1 inch thick strip steaks, sea salt crusted baked potatoes, coleslaw, grilled asparagus, garlic bread, key lime pie, and home maid pineapple ice cream. Woke up early next morning for sausage biscuit sandwiches and headed for the water. Spider rigged till about noon for some monster slabs picking up 28 keepers over 13 inches. Had sandwiches on the boat and pizza waiting for us back at the slab shack. Put all the fish on ice for pictures the next day. Dinner the second night was hand cut pork chops, salad, baked beans, coleslaw, corn and onions, blackberry cobbler and homemade blackberry ice cream. Up early again for breakfast down at the Slab Shack of fried ham steaks and biscuits, then on the water by the crack of daylight. Caught my largest crappie ever of 16 3/4 inches and 31 more in the 14-16 inch range. Back to the Slab Shack by new to grill burgers and chips for lunch. Big photo shoot of both boats of family and fish for two days of fishing. We ended up boating 122 keepers. After pictures, the guides went to cleaning fish. They got that dialed in. Final dinner was smoke ribs, coleslaw, baked beans, bread, pasta salad, cobbler and ice cream. I will be going again!
  2. 3 points
    Phil Lilley

    October 14 fishing report

    We've had big changes here on Lake Taneycomo the last few days. We've gone from a constant flow of about 2,000 cubic feet per second since Sept. 1st to 11,000 c.f.s. with a couple of flood gates open, all from one "little" rain we had Thursday night. It was one of those "toad soaker" rains, a slow moving system that sat on us for about six hours and dumped up to eight inches of rain in some areas to the east of Branson. Our rain gauge tops at five inches, and it was plum full Friday morning when I checked it. Most of the big rain fell east of the Table Rock watershed, but it did rain a solid two to four inches over all of Southwest Missouri, which brought Table Rock's level up to 917.45 feet. Now this is where it gets a little complicated, but I'll try to explain. When Table Rock rises past certain levels, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is required to release water at predetermined amounts. At 917 feet, they need to release about 11,000 c.f.s. of water until lake levels drop back below that level. That equates to about four full units of water, but due to seasonal restrictions of release, not all of that can be released through the turbines. If officials did, they would have to inject massive amounts of liquid oxygen to the release so that the oxygen levels would meet safe federal Clean Water Act levels (four parts per million). So the Corps opened three spill gates one foot each at about 5,500 c.f.s., combining it with four turbines at half capacity to equal the release needed to curb rising lake levels. So we have water being released at roughly 40 feet and 130-feet deep from Table Rock Lake. I took readings Monday and found the following temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels: Spill side, dam - 8.8 ppm. 67.5 degrees Turbine, dam side 4.0 ppm. 57.5 degrees Lookout, middle 5.7 ppm. 59.7 degrees Fall Creek, middle. 6.7 ppm. 62.4 degrees Lilleys' Landing, middle 6.8 ppm. 61.5 degrees So we're getting a good mix of dissolved oxygen with the gates opened, and the water temperature on the spill gates side isn't as high as we thought it might be. That was the concern. Our trout don't do well in warm water, especially brown trout. With this mix of cool and warm water, our trout should thrive pretty well. Thankfully, Table Rock's water temperatures have been dropping steadily with the cooler weather moving in. The other day when air temps dropped and the winds picked up, Table Rock's level really dropped out fast. Note: It usually takes me two or three sittings to write my reports, sometimes over a couple of days. When I talk about things like lake levels, those change between the time I start the report and finish it. So it is in this case. By the time this is published, Table Rock's level will reach 917 feet, and our flow will drop dramatically, changing a lot of what's in this report. My fishing report now is going to be very hard to write . . . simply because lake conditions will change shortly and so will how we go about catching fish. I guess I'll just write about how I THINK it's going to be and hope for the best. I'm going to assume that when operators shut the spill gates down, the Corps will keep the turbine release about the same, so there will be plenty of flowing water coming from Table Rock. They may go back to the 35-50 megawatts of generation they were running prior to the heavy rains that prompted this big release, but I don't expect that since Table Rock will still be a couple of feet over normal and rain is in the forecast. Regardless, we're going to see running water for quite some time. When they run gates and send warmer water through the system, our scud population explodes. So drifting with scuds (flies that mimic freshwater shrimp or scuds) should be one of the best things to drift on the bottom. They actually have been good, both when drifted on the bottom without a float and with a float, but these conditions should make them even more desirable. Some of the guides have been using larger scuds -- up to an #8 -- but with the water slowing down, I'd go back to #12's to as small as #16's. White jigs have been working below the dam as well as drifting crank baits on the bottom, as long as there enough current to do that. If the water release drops too low, the cranks won't work. We use the Bomber Fat Free Shad Fingerling in shad flavors. You need to throw it out toward the dam and crank it down until you feel it ticking on the bottom, then let it ride. With white jigs, let them drift, too, working them as little as possible. Threadfin shad have been coming over the spill gates (although we haven't seen any) and drifting down lake, eaten up pretty quickly by trout and other fish. You should probably use 1/8th-ounce jigs until dam operators drop the flow, then go to smaller jigs. Other jig colors have been working, too, such as black, brown, sculpin, sculpin peach. Don't forget that when drifting flies on the bottom in the trophy area and even farther down past Fall Creek, try red San Juan worms and egg flies. Use one of these with a scud in a tandem rig. With this much flow, four-pound line is perfectly fine. I've seen more and more top water action. If you're a dry fly lover, start throwing those hoppers, stimulators, ants, beetles and elk hair caddis flies along the banks and see what happens. I've also witnessed a lot of people catching rainbows drifting below Fall Creek with night crawlers and power eggs. Use a quarter-ounce weight t with this much flow but drop to an 1/8th-ounce when the water is kicked back. A lot of boaters have been anchoring in current lately, some right in the middle of the lake. First, I can't imagine catching anything and, second, this can be very dangerous. Those whom I've seen are anchoring off the front and are in deep V boats, so they can handle the current, but if you anchor in the wrong way in the wrong kind of boat, the current can and will pull the boat under in a second. I would never suggest anyone try this, regardless of whether they are operating in a safe manner. You'd be much better off anchoring over on the side in an eddie or slower current where you'd find more fish primed to take your bait. Also, anglers are asking for trouble when anchoring in the middle of the lake since most boaters are drifting. It's dangerous to assume that all boaters can handle their boats in current and won't drift into another boat in their path. All images above are from Duane Doty's Facebook Page, Ozark Trout Runners. They are pictures he's taken out on guide trips the past two weeks. And all of the fish -- walleye, bass and trout -- were caught on his signature series, custom painted jerk baits. This is Blake Wilson, one of our dock workers. He's been throwing Duane's jerk bait almost every evening, and he finally scored a trophy brown. It was 27 inches long and weighed more than nine pounds. He released it after reviving it in our holding tank. We always have a big holding tank with lake water running through it for big fish that are brought in to the dock. Because of the seasonal low D.O. conditions, we added an oxygen tank and a diffuser stone to add more O2 to the water in the tank. Now that we (Lilley's Landing) have become known for this service, we do get a lot of big trout brought in for weighing and pictures. But please consider this: If you catch a big fish miles from our dock, you may put the fish in peril if you bring it in instead of just releasing it immediately. Consider the size of your live well, whether it is big enough for your fish? If you're running a long distance, you won't be adding fresh water to the live well on your run, with the lake water already low in O2. I would ask you to consider pulling over to the bank (where it is safe to anchor) and take your time, letting the fish rest in the live well or even in the net in the lake. Wait 10 or 15 minutes and let the fish recover before getting pictures. I caught a very nice rainbow once and pulled over to the side, got out of the boat with the fish in the net so I could just lift it out of the water for a few seconds for pictures, then after I made sure it was strong enough, released it. Yes, I got my feet wet but it was well worth it.
  3. 2 points
    Friday, my 2 friends and I put in at about 8 am. Weather was great start to finish. Fishing was slow overall. Friday was especially difficult. We only managed 7 between us Friday. Some on jig n craw and the others on rebel brown crawdad. We floated past the Finley but camped before Hootentown. Dinner Friday was beef stroganoff with rotini pasta. Saturday fishing picked up. Same presentations but more lands on the craw cranks. Every color we had worked. We camped just past sighting hwy V. Dinner was fire pit roasted gyro meat and an udon noodle with peppers, herbs green onions and heirloom tomatoes from my school garden. Sunday the fishing stayed strong with the craw cranks. The last mile before Tomahawk my bites died off all together. We had a great time and the team at Tomahawk took very good care of us. Going to do the full trip from lake Springfield to Galena in the spring again.
  4. 2 points

    Little Piney creek 10-18

    It was my first time fishing the little piney and let me tell you it did not disappoint. Started out right above where Lane spring flows into the main creek at about 7am. Saw several fish spread out rising to what appeared to be very small blue wing olives. I tied on a size 22 BWO and tried for those fish for about an hour and gave up fishless and proceeded downstream (these also may have been creek chubs rising on the hatch so may have been wasting my time). Fished another stretch with confirmed trout with BWO still on, but still had no luck. It was now 11am without a fish, so I continued on downstream. Switched flies to a soft hackle with a green copper John dropper and it was on! Landed my first Piney rainbow, and it was probably one of the most beautiful fish I’ve ever caught. Fished for about another mile downstream and picked up maybe another 20 fish until calling it quits around 3pm. They did not seem to want my dry fly presentation, but anything small and on the bottom (emphasis with on the bottom, bumping across the bottom) and they were on. The fish in this creek are beautiful and the stream is pristine. Reminded me a lot of the neighboring Current in terms of water clarity, size, aquatic vegetation, microfauna, river bank composition, substrate, etc. which makes me wonder why the Current River can’t support a reproducing rainbow population? Could it be due to Montauk at the head waters maybe? Anyways, incredible day spent and I will be back.
  5. 2 points
    Summer has stuck around late this fall (yes it has officially been autumn for a week now despite the 90-plus degree weather.) But we know the splendor of fall colors is just weeks away! It looks like we're in for a cool change this week. We've received a little heavy generation already this week, I assume because of the hot weather. It sure was nice, though, moving a lot of loose pond weed and other floating scum out of our area of the lake. That's one nice thing about being on a tail water -- we get new water every time operators run water at the dam. They're still running that minimum flow 24/7 as they have been since September 1st. No word of any changes on the horizon. Dissolved oxygen levels have been holding up pretty well, and water temperatures are about 57 degrees. When they do switch modes and start leaving the water off, I think we'll see no generation for most of the time and little generation until cold weather dominates our days and nights. The San Juan worm continues to be the hot item this week, mentioned on social media many times as the go-to fly. The best colors are pink and red in the micro version, which is basically a small diameter chenille tied on a #14 or #16 hook. The material is called micro chenille . . . go figure. Most fly fishers are using the micro San Juan in a double fly rig under an indicator. They're using a heavier fly up from the San Juan about 18- to 24-inches from, say, a weighted scud or a beaded midge. But you could use a beaded version of a San Juan by itself since the bead would take the fly down where it needs to be. You want to fish the worm, and scuds for that matter, on the bottom when drifting along in the current, so set the indicator at a depth where the flies rake across the bottom. If your flies are coming back with Taneycomo slime, move the indicator so that you're not fishing as deep. But you'll drift across shallow and deep areas, holes and flats, and will need to pick a good average depth to cover as much water as possible. Our dockhand Blake Wilson has been fly fishing quite a bit, scoring really well using a double scud rig. He's fishing a peppy scud (medium gray), two sizes under a float and drifting from the cable below the dam down to Trophy Run. He ties the smaller scud, usually a #16 or #18, as the bottom fly and a larger #14 on top, separating them by about 18 inches. He's using 6x fluorocarbon tippet. As far as where to fish either of these rigs, any fairly shallow gravel flats are best, and you'll find those areas from the dam down to Trout Hollow Resort. From Fall Creek to Trout Hollow, stay towards the inside of the bend. Drifting real worms is still the best way to catch trout below the trophy area. These two things will help you catch more fish. First, your weight. Your weight needs to match the flow of generation. When you throw the rig out, how long does it take to hit the bottom? If it goes right to the bottom, and you feel it catch and pull, you're using too much weight. Depending on the depth of water, of course, it should take a few seconds to reach the bottom, and you should feel a slight touch every once in a while. When this happens, you know your bait is skimming across the bottom like a natural worm would. Plus when a fish picks it up, you'll feel it immediately. With the present generation, all you really need is a small split shot to get your bait to the bottom. And less is better. Even if your bait isn't on the bottom all the time, it will get eaten. With too much weight you will only catch, snag and grow frustrated. The second thing is how you present your worm. Don't use the whole worm. No need to thread it, although that’s not a bad option -- it just takes too much time and is unnecessary. Pinch the worm in two. Take the piece and run your hook through the middle, letting it hang off each side. No need to hide the hook. I use a #8 short shank bronze hook by the way. And four-pound line is fine when drifting.
  6. 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
  7. 1 point
    Phil Lilley

    DO and Temp Levels

    OK - got some readings this morning. All from the bank, tossing the probe out as far as I could (8-10 ft cord), on the north side of the lake. Dissolved Oxygen Level (parts per million) - Water Temperature (F) At the cable - 5.4 57.9 From the small outlet - 9.7 57.2 Below the small outlet - 5.3 57.7 Outlet #1 - 9.8 57.3 Below outlet #1 (about 75 feet down) - 6.2 57.5 Outlet #2 - 8.6 57.3 Below outlet #2 (about 100 feet down) - 6.9 57.7 At the stairs - 6.4 58.2 In the fish ladder - 8.4 57.8 Lilleys' Landing Dock - 5.3 57.9 Note: From what I've read, and I may be corrected by a professional in the field of coldwater fisheries, trout flourish in water with DO levels above 8 ppm, do ok in water with DO levels at 6 ppm, struggle a bit with DO levels between 4 and 5 ppm and don't do well at all in water with levels below 4. Temperature does play a role. Trout normally don't do well in water where temps are above 60 degrees. They are very receptive to stress and parasites that can cause death. Compare this fall season with previous years - our water temps are on the high side but not critical and our DO levels aren't too bad. Of course, any O2 in the water released at Table Rock Dam is put there by the Corps through injectors and running turbines with air vents open. Also from the hatchery outlets. All this is in the life of most tailwaters... it's something we go through every year at this time.
  8. 1 point
    Left out of State Park in the early afternoon and fished till around 7. We didn't catch a huge number of fish, but the majority were keepers. Caught them on Rock Crawlers, spinner baits, and whacky-rigged senkos. The majority (of mine anyway) were on the whacky rigged. Best five would have been a little over 10 - so nothing huge but tons of fun. Sat morning we took my son out for a morning fish, again out of the State Park. We hung around the bridge the entire time. By far the best part was my 7 year old catching his first 'big' bass, which came on a whopper plopper. Pretty sure it was his second cast of the morning (though we'll say it was the first). You can't buy this smile: We also taught him how to hold it appropriately for the camera. We threw everything at them and the winner, again, was the whacky-rigged senko. I think we got a few on buzzbait as well, but the senko won out. Here's a 3+ from later in the day after the wind began to pick up As for the senko - I like to use the BPS 7" green pumpkin, put the rubberband slightly off center (more toward the short end), throw half a nail weight in the short end and dip the tail (long end) in chartreuse dye. I think the larger senko a bit off kilter has some really good action on the fall.
  9. 1 point
    There are basic things to consider when tackling trout fishing for the first time on Lake Taneycomo. If you're already a trout fishers, there's not much you have to change in your tackle but this article might give you an excuse to make a trip to the local tackle store. But depending on what kind of water you'r'e used to fishing for trout, Taneycomo is probably quite a bit different. It's big water, wide and deep for the most part so it takes a different mindset than your typical small stream fishing. Three main ingredients are needed for a successful trout fishing trip - 1. Two to four- pound green line 2. Small weights, hooks and/or lures 3. Ultra-light rod and reel If you don't have an ultra-light or light line and don't want to go out and buy a new rig, it would be just as effective to tie a light leader onto the end of your line with a swivel. Hook size is important. Trout, especially rainbows, have small, soft mouths. Numbers 6, 8 and 10 are average sizes for any type of bait used. Short, bronze hooks are commended. Weights should only be heavy enough for successful casting. You won't be able to feel the trout bite if there's too much weight. Your equipment should be comfortable, something you are familiar with and know how to use. Your reel should have a good drag. You never know when a big trout will strike and take off. The reel should give line and let the fish run instead of your line breaking. Your rod should be fairly limber, yet stiff enough to set the hook on a trout. Where to look.... The Upper Lake, which most locals define as the first six miles below the dam, is the most productive fishing area. When the water is off, the first mile is the most shallow and offers ideal conditions for fly fishing. The land in this area is owned by the Missouri Conservation Department- for public use. There are a few riffles and several large pools. Skipping woollies and drifting nymphs work well in these areas. Also see our lake map for better understanding where these areas are. Lookout Hole: is marked by an island, just below a scenic overlook on Missouri Highway 165. This is the first deep hole below the dam and is known for holding big trout. When the water is running, drift with the same or throw crank baits such as rapalas or rogues. Work the bait fast, jerking them down and stopping, wait a couple of seconds and then jerk again. Brown trout are very aggressive and will hit when the bait stops. Rainbows will hit a big rapala too but this technique eworks best on browns. From Lookout to Fall Creek, work the deep bank with rapalas for brown sand the shallow bank with spinners and spoons for rainbows. One-sixteenth ounce jigs, worked slow off the bottom, will catch nice trout. Use earth colors such as brown and dark green as well as white and ginger. The jig and float technique will work when water is not moving or moving slow. Work the drop-off at the edge of the channel where trout hold. Fall Creek Area: is just what it states- a creek. It enters Lake Taneycomo three and-a-half miles downstream from the dam. The lower end of the Trophy Area is marked by fall creek. There is a sign at the mouth informing anglers of the restrictions. Fall Creek Resort and Marina is located at the mouth of the creek. There is a gravel bar protruding directly from the mouth of the creek. It crosses three-quarters of the lake in distance and is only about 18-inches below the surface of the water when the water is not running. It has claimed hundreds of props and lower units in its time. But trout like to hang around it. Above and below the bar is water ranging from five to nine feet deep. Fishing with lures is excellent in this area. Throwing white 1/4-ounce rooster tails against the east bank will produce nice-sized browns and rainbows. Jig and float works great here. Work rapalas against both banks hard and fast for big browns. Short Creek Area: is the next hot spot downsteam, located about a mile below fall creek. It enters the lake from the opposite side of the lake than fall creek, and is marked by a boarded wall built on the downstream side of the mouth. Like fall creek, it also has a very shallow gravel bar stretching most of the way across the lake. This is a popular area to fish- you will see lots of boats above and below and even on top of the bar. When the water is off, getting by this area can be tricky. Go to the far right side (going upstream). Even though the channel might be blocked by fisherman, stay right to miss the shallow water. Excuse yourself and wind your way up, avoiding the bar. The same techniques used around fall creek also work here. The bar is much wider, shallower from the top of the bar downstream, for about 100 feet. When the flow of water is fairly hard, trout will hold on top of this bar. Drift worms, eggs and power bait through them and on down to our place. Stay in the middle of the lake, avoiding trees and other snags on the bottom toward the edges of the bank. Lilleys' Landing's Stretch: is a long, deep area with few holes or gravel bars. But it is a very popular area for many anglers. Again, stay off the bluff bank when drifting bait on bottom. The trees that have fallen claim lots of hooks and weights. This is where a good number of big, big browns stay for most of the year. You will also find black bass along the banks in the heat of the summer, but few are caught. Throwing big rapalas is one way to hook a big brown as well as minnows and shiners. Cooper Creek Area: is just below Cooper Creek Resort. Across the lake are 2 gravel points. On and below these points are places trout hold. Drift across them with bait or throw lures around them. This whole area is good for drifting. There are spots where the water is about 5-7 feet deep, when the water if off, and is ideal for jig and float. Brown trout hold along the bank around fallen trees and stumps. The lake below cooper creek is all about the same, good for drifting or still fishing. Money Island and the Bridges: The lake is wider at this point. When the dam is generating, the flow of water from this area downstream is much slower and easier for drifting. The depth of the water is constant- about 20 feet. Gravel Gerty, a shovel bearing barge, has taken gravel off the bottom of Lake Taneycomo for years, creating large holes. These holes will hold trout, especially on the edges. The holes aren't marked. They can only be found with a good depth finder. Drifting salmon eggs and worms are good for catching rainbows. Throwing cleos and rooster tails when the water is running is good, too. When the water is off, anchor and use the same baits. Trolling cowbells and spinners will catch trout.
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