It's been an interesting 30 days here on our tailwater. News of the trouble on Lake Taneycomo in November reached most local newspapers. But about as soon as the news was really spreading, the situation righted itself and tragedy was adverted. The water quality from Table Rock had deteriorated so badly that trout started dying both in the tailwater and in the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery. But a welcome cold snap flipped Table Rock's water over at the dam, sending good, oxygenated water to the bottom. Our water here on Taneycomo is excellent now and will stay that way through the summer.
Generation has been consistent the past couple of weeks. The pattern has been two units running 24/7. We've had a couple of good, soaking rains that bumped up lake levels above us, but that has only has prolonged the current water flows, not increased them. As soon as Table Rock's level drops to or below 915 feet, we may see less generation -- or maybe no generation for periods of time.
I'd almost call Taneycomo's trout fishing excellent right now. I don't use that word to describe fishing (catching) very often because it implies that everyone can catch fish if they try. But if you drift using a drift rig and a 3/8-ounce bell weight, topping your hook either with half a night crawler or a Power Bait egg, and drift from Fall Creek to the Landing, you'll catch a trout, probably several trout.
The Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery has stocked more rainbows than staff had scheduled for these winter months because of the poor water quality back in November, so there are more fish in the lake than normal for December, translating to a plethora of trout to be caught. But as I said in my last fishing report, please do not take advantage of this abundance of trout. If you're keeping fish, please obey the law and keep your daily limit of four trout and your possession limit of eight -- and that's all. And be mindful how you handle trout when you release caught fish. Cut the line if the hook is buried. Hooks are cheap!
I've already given you the best way to catch trout right now. Dock fishing is just okay at present, but night crawlers are the best bait. If you're interested in catching bigger trout, throw a crank bait. Stick baits such as Rapalas, Rogues and all the other baits you'd throw for bass will work. I'd throw medium to large baits, too, not the small ones.
Fly fishing has been tough mainly because of the turbidity of the water. When Table Rock turns over, we get a lot of brown sediment in our water, but it will clear up in January. If you're fly fishing and using flies under a float deep, I'd try larger flies such as a #10 scud, egg flies or San Juan Worms in big, bright colors. I've drifted these flies using a drift rig in the trophy area lately but really haven't done that well. It really is better fishing below Fall Creek right now.