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Phil Lilley

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Phil Lilley last won the day on November 12

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About Phil Lilley

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    Fisher
  • Birthday 09/19/1958

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    Male
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    Upper Lake Taneycomo
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    Pursuit of God, His majesty, His greatness--with all of my heart, soul and might.

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  1. Found several broken links. Updated everything that I saw. Let me know if I missed anything.
  2. Another week and -- another high water event on Lake Taneycomo. Yes, operators are running spill gates at the dam again. We had three days of intermittent rain, which in total equaled about three inches of rain for much of our watershed. That brought Beaver Lake up above its flood pool of 1,130 feet and triggered flood gates at Beaver Dam. About the same time, Table Rock Dam opened five gates at a foot each while running three turbines. That equals a release of 14,000 cubic feet per second of water. Presently, Beaver Lake has dropped to 1,129.17 feet, dropping about three inches per day. Table Rock Lake crested yesterday at 918.14 feet and is dropping ever so slightly. There is one turbine not working at the Table Rock facility, either because of scheduled maintenance or a problem, I don’t know which. That’s the reason operators are running water over the dam. The flow would equal four full turbines. Taneycomo’s water temperature continues to drop, now at 53.6 degrees. The water’s also looking more and more clear from Table Rock’s turnover. The key to catching trout right now on Taneycomo is to get your fly, lure or bait to the bottom and keep it there while drifting. You could try anchoring in an eddy or along the bank where the current is much less, but most people are going to drift with the current. Stay towards the middle of the lake, not on the side, where there’s a lot of downed trees and snags. Drifting scuds (freshwater shrimp) is still the best thing to fish with, even below Fall Creek. It wouldn’t hurt to use a little bigger scud with so much water running, like a #10 or even a #8. Gray is still the best color, but you could try brown, olive or tan. On a sunny day, try one with ultraviolet material (flash) mixed in to the dubbing. With the heavy generation, we’re running crank baits on the bottom again for bigger trout. If you can find them (they’re out of production we understand), the Bomber, Fat Free Fingerling in Tennessee Shad, Shadtreuse or white shad color is what our guys use. Also Flicker Shad in shad colors will work pretty well, too. Guide Bill Babler will drift with a small floating stick bait using a drift rig. He tends to use the cheaper baits because anglers will lose them fairly often. He drifts them mainly below the dam, but they’ll work anywhere. For drifting anything on the bottom, we’ve gone to either 3/16- or ¼-ounce bell weights. You really need to feel the weight ticking on the bottom or you won’t get bit. Night crawlers has been the best live bait below Fall Creek. The better fishing has been from Scotty’s Trout Dock down through the Branson Landing. We’re also starting to see some crappie schooling up around the structure in front of the Landing and close to the Fish House. We tend to see some big crappie during the winter months. They can be caught on a minnow or jig under a float or casting a swimming minnow or jig. Below the dam, we’re drifting scuds and shad flies and doing pretty well. No sight of any shad through the gates, and the trout aren’t going really crazy on white jigs. Seems like there’s no way to guess when threadfin shad will come through the open gates, but we are always hopeful and will try the white jig every time we’re up there. Other jigs are working, though. The 1/8th ounce sculpin/peach with an orange head has been pretty hot, and I’ve done okay using a black/yellow combination. The best stretch to drift a scud on the bottom is from Lookout to Short Creek. Right in the middle is Fall Creek. If you start there, you can keep any size rainbows you catch. If you fish above Fall Creek, you have to throw
  3. Another week and -- another high water event on Lake Taneycomo. Yes, operators are running spill gates at the dam again. We had three days of intermittent rain, which in total equaled about three inches of rain for much of our watershed. That brought Beaver Lake up above its flood pool of 1,130 feet and triggered flood gates at Beaver Dam. About the same time, Table Rock Dam opened five gates at a foot each while running three turbines. That equals a release of 14,000 cubic feet per second of water. Presently, Beaver Lake has dropped to 1,129.17 feet, dropping about three inches per day. Table Rock Lake crested yesterday at 918.14 feet and is dropping ever so slightly. There is one turbine not working at the Table Rock facility, either because of scheduled maintenance or a problem, I don’t know which. That’s the reason operators are running water over the dam. The flow would equal four full turbines. Taneycomo’s water temperature continues to drop, now at 53.6 degrees. The water’s also looking more and more clear from Table Rock’s turnover. The key to catching trout right now on Taneycomo is to get your fly, lure or bait to the bottom and keep it there while drifting. You could try anchoring in an eddy or along the bank where the current is much less, but most people are going to drift with the current. Stay towards the middle of the lake, not on the side, where there’s a lot of downed trees and snags. Drifting scuds (freshwater shrimp) is still the best thing to fish with, even below Fall Creek. It wouldn’t hurt to use a little bigger scud with so much water running, like a #10 or even a #8. Gray is still the best color, but you could try brown, olive or tan. On a sunny day, try one with ultraviolet material (flash) mixed in to the dubbing. With the heavy generation, we’re running crank baits on the bottom again for bigger trout. If you can find them (they’re out of production we understand), the Bomber, Fat Free Fingerling in Tennessee Shad, Shadtreuse or white shad color is what our guys use. Also Flicker Shad in shad colors will work pretty well, too. Guide Bill Babler will drift with a small floating stick bait using a drift rig. He tends to use the cheaper baits because anglers will lose them fairly often. He drifts them mainly below the dam, but they’ll work anywhere. For drifting anything on the bottom, we’ve gone to either 3/16- or ¼-ounce bell weights. You really need to feel the weight ticking on the bottom or you won’t get bit. Night crawlers has been the best live bait below Fall Creek. The better fishing has been from Scotty’s Trout Dock down through the Branson Landing. We’re also starting to see some crappie schooling up around the structure in front of the Landing and close to the Fish House. We tend to see some big crappie during the winter months. They can be caught on a minnow or jig under a float or casting a swimming minnow or jig. Below the dam, we’re drifting scuds and shad flies and doing pretty well. No sight of any shad through the gates, and the trout aren’t going really crazy on white jigs. Seems like there’s no way to guess when threadfin shad will come through the open gates, but we are always hopeful and will try the white jig every time we’re up there. Other jigs are working, though. The 1/8th ounce sculpin/peach with an orange head has been pretty hot, and I’ve done okay using a black/yellow combination. The best stretch to drift a scud on the bottom is from Lookout to Short Creek. Right in the middle is Fall Creek. If you start there, you can keep any size rainbows you catch. If you fish above Fall Creek, you have to throw View full article
  4. Generation here on Lake Taneycomo has been very consistent the last four or five days now, and with the lakes above us well above season pool levels, we're going to continue to see this flow for quite some time. Typically, our lakes have been drawn down to at least power pool, ready for the winter season and spring rains to follow. But unseasonably wet weather has kept the lakes in what I would call the caution zone (not the danger zone.) Beaver Lake is still above 1,128 feet, less than two feet from its flood pool, and Table Rock is hovering at 917 feet, variably two feet over winter power pool. The area got a two-inch rain late last week, and more rain is expected this week. Table Rock Dam has been running three units round the clock. Now I don't know for sure, but I think one unit at the Table Rock facility is under seasonal maintenance, so all operators can run is three units. Any additional water has to come over the spill gates, as it did about 10 days ago. So we're going to see this flow until both Table Rock and Beaver drop to seasonal power pool levels, and that might not happen until after the first of the year. Table Rock Lake did turn over, and the water that's flowing from the dam is high in oxygen but just a bit turbid. Visibility isn't all the bad though --- better than most seasonal turnover events. And best of all, it's not affecting trout fishing, as far as we can tell. The trout we're catching are full of fight and in great shape. Our lake water temperature is about 55 degrees, down more than six degrees since the lake started to turn over. The cooler temps are helping trout activity, too. As for "catching," there's really not much that is not working right now. Bank and dock fishing isn't the greatest, but surprisingly it isn't not too bad either. People off our dock are catching some pretty nice rainbows on Power Eggs mainly, using heavy weights to drop the bait to the bottom. The one thing that's different than, say, a few months ago in the summer, is that's there's no algae flowing down in the current. Taneycomo is pretty clear of "stuff." Drifting night crawlers and Power Bait on the bottom below Fall Creek is catching fish. Picking the right amount of weight is important. Use enough to drop the bait to the bottom. You should feel your weight ticking the bottom consistently. If you don't, you probably won't get bit. I drifted a #12 gray scud on the bottom from Fall Creek down to the River Pointe Estates boat ramp on Sunday and caught four rainbows on one drift. I stayed in the middle of the lake and made sure I was in contact with the bottom. Drifting scuds in the trophy area has been "lights out," according to fishing guides Duane Doty and Steve Dickey. Again, stay in the middle of the lake and make sure the fly is on the bottom. Also drifting shad flies on the bottom from the dam down to Trophy Run has picked up good numbers of rainbows. We've been also throwing a variety of colors of jigs and doing pretty well. I'm not sure what color has been best, though, because they're all doing about the same. Sculpin, black, black/yellow, sculpin/peach/orange head --- all have been working very well. We still haven't seen any really big trout caught with the flood gates open and the water improving in quality. That has surprised me. But the overall quality of rainbows has been impressive. If you want to fly fish, tie on a #12 gray scud with a split shot under an indicator and fish anywhere from eight to 10 feet deep. Anglers have caught trout from the cable down past Fall Creek with this rig. I haven't heard anything about the guide-favorite Berkley's Pink Worm lately but I'd think it would work from Cooper Creek and down lake through Monkey Island, the bridges and past the Landing. The water from Cooper Creek down is much more conducive to this technique because the current is slower and less turbulent. And remember, rainbows are normally stocked from the Branson Landing up and just past Monkey Island so there's usually fresh stocked trout in this area. The fishing forecast for December looks very good, although with the lakes as high as they, we may see more heavy flows including spill gates. But spill gate releases means more shad flowing in to our lake for our waiting, hungry trout, as well as more warmwater species of fish for us to play with!
  5. Generation here on Lake Taneycomo has been very consistent the last four or five days now, and with the lakes above us well above season pool levels, we're going to continue to see this flow for quite some time. Typically, our lakes have been drawn down to at least power pool, ready for the winter season and spring rains to follow. But unseasonably wet weather has kept the lakes in what I would call the caution zone (not the danger zone.) Beaver Lake is still above 1,128 feet, less than two feet from its flood pool, and Table Rock is hovering at 917 feet, variably two feet over winter power pool. The area got a two-inch rain late last week, and more rain is expected this week. Table Rock Dam has been running three units round the clock. Now I don't know for sure, but I think one unit at the Table Rock facility is under seasonal maintenance, so all operators can run is three units. Any additional water has to come over the spill gates, as it did about 10 days ago. So we're going to see this flow until both Table Rock and Beaver drop to seasonal power pool levels, and that might not happen until after the first of the year. Table Rock Lake did turn over, and the water that's flowing from the dam is high in oxygen but just a bit turbid. Visibility isn't all the bad though --- better than most seasonal turnover events. And best of all, it's not affecting trout fishing, as far as we can tell. The trout we're catching are full of fight and in great shape. Our lake water temperature is about 55 degrees, down more than six degrees since the lake started to turn over. The cooler temps are helping trout activity, too. As for "catching," there's really not much that is not working right now. Bank and dock fishing isn't the greatest, but surprisingly it isn't not too bad either. People off our dock are catching some pretty nice rainbows on Power Eggs mainly, using heavy weights to drop the bait to the bottom. The one thing that's different than, say, a few months ago in the summer, is that's there's no algae flowing down in the current. Taneycomo is pretty clear of "stuff." Drifting night crawlers and Power Bait on the bottom below Fall Creek is catching fish. Picking the right amount of weight is important. Use enough to drop the bait to the bottom. You should feel your weight ticking the bottom consistently. If you don't, you probably won't get bit. I drifted a #12 gray scud on the bottom from Fall Creek down to the River Pointe Estates boat ramp on Sunday and caught four rainbows on one drift. I stayed in the middle of the lake and made sure I was in contact with the bottom. Drifting scuds in the trophy area has been "lights out," according to fishing guides Duane Doty and Steve Dickey. Again, stay in the middle of the lake and make sure the fly is on the bottom. Also drifting shad flies on the bottom from the dam down to Trophy Run has picked up good numbers of rainbows. We've been also throwing a variety of colors of jigs and doing pretty well. I'm not sure what color has been best, though, because they're all doing about the same. Sculpin, black, black/yellow, sculpin/peach/orange head --- all have been working very well. We still haven't seen any really big trout caught with the flood gates open and the water improving in quality. That has surprised me. But the overall quality of rainbows has been impressive. If you want to fly fish, tie on a #12 gray scud with a split shot under an indicator and fish anywhere from eight to 10 feet deep. Anglers have caught trout from the cable down past Fall Creek with this rig. I haven't heard anything about the guide-favorite Berkley's Pink Worm lately but I'd think it would work from Cooper Creek and down lake through Monkey Island, the bridges and past the Landing. The water from Cooper Creek down is much more conducive to this technique because the current is slower and less turbulent. And remember, rainbows are normally stocked from the Branson Landing up and just past Monkey Island so there's usually fresh stocked trout in this area. The fishing forecast for December looks very good, although with the lakes as high as they, we may see more heavy flows including spill gates. But spill gate releases means more shad flowing in to our lake for our waiting, hungry trout, as well as more warmwater species of fish for us to play with! View full article
  6. That's so interesting to see. I've been here since May, 1983 and to look at the highs and lows through to mid 2000 it looks like we didn't have any big rain events OR they (the Corps) kept the lakes alot lower than they do now. I'd love to have the time to really research this.
  7. Did you know that before one of the floods... may be 2007... both TR and Beaver were very low. TR was about 907 feet. I do wish they'd go ahead and drop these lake levels. TR is sitting at 917.2 feet and it's trickling through the dam right now. It is a little frustrating.
  8. Just in... the spill gates were just closed today at Table Rock Dam after a week or more. Table Rock's level is just north of 917 feet, dropping more than three feet from its high after the last rain event. Beaver Lake is holding at 1,128.5 feet, just a foot and a half below its flood pool. There is rain in the forecast now, but it's due next week, expecting right now about two inches of rain. Table Rock Dam is now running only 1,400 cubic feet of water per second. The tailwater level is 704 feet, only about 2.5 feet high. Table Rock Lake has turned. The water coming from Table Rock is about 56 degrees, high in oxygen level but turbid. Its clarity isn't the best, but that's normal with Table Rock's turnover. This will last about a month and won't effect fishing that much. We've enjoyed a good run of threadfin shad over the spill gates as well as lots of warmwater species of fish -- crappie, white bass, walleye, blue gill, black, spotted and smallmouth bass, needlenose gar and spoonbill (I'm sure there are more species but that's what we've been seeing.) We're in for a week or more of mild weather with daytime temperatures in the 50's and 60's and not much wind. With the slower water -- and less water -- trout fishing should be very good. With the water running hard yesterday, Guide Don House reported catching very nice rainbows drifting Powerbait from Scotty's buoys down to the Fish House at the Branson Landing. We've sent anglers down there, and they've done well, too. Now that the water is slower, more people will be fishing other areas down lake and reporting back. Honestly, there just haven't been that many anglers fishing so getting a good fishing report, especially down lake, has been tough. I've been fishing down here a little, throwing white jigs along the bluff bank and doing fair, but the trout I'm catching are bigger than average. This reduction of flow has caught us by surprise. We knew the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers would close the gates and reduce flows when Table Rock dropped to desired level, but we didn't think that would mean a drop from 15,000 to 1,400 c.f.s. in just a few hours. Ryan and I went out this afternoon to try our luck. I felt like it was going to be really good, or really bad. It was better than good. Trout were rising aggressively all over the lake as we boated up past Fall Creek and the Narrows, jumping out of the water after hatching midges. Good sign. Quite a few boaters were out fishing and we saw lots of bent rods --- and even better sign! Boated past Guides Steve Dickey and John Sappington and got two thumbs up --- all right!! I tied on a while 1/32nd-ounce jig on a spinning outfit with two-pound line. Ryan had the same rig but he was using a black/yellow 1/32nd-ounce jig. He caught fish on his first two casts and I didn't get a bite after a few throws. I switched to black and yellow, started One Cast and caught one on the first cast. Steve Dickey's clients were drifting scuds and were hooked up most of the time we were up there. He told me just yesterday the trout were off the scud, not biting them at all. Today is a new day. They're liking scuds now. Now we were using two-pound line because we wanted to throw small jigs, but because the water clarity is not-so-good, you can get away with four-pound line for using bait -- just about anything. Fishing off our dock today was pretty successful. Everyone that I saw caught their limit plus some, throwing a few back. The bait of choice was orange and pink or yellow and pink PowerEggs. View full article
  9. Just in... the spill gates were just closed today at Table Rock Dam after a week or more. Table Rock's level is just north of 917 feet, dropping more than three feet from its high after the last rain event. Beaver Lake is holding at 1,128.5 feet, just a foot and a half below its flood pool. There is rain in the forecast now, but it's due next week, expecting right now about two inches of rain. Table Rock Dam is now running only 1,400 cubic feet of water per second. The tailwater level is 704 feet, only about 2.5 feet high. Table Rock Lake has turned. The water coming from Table Rock is about 56 degrees, high in oxygen level but turbid. Its clarity isn't the best, but that's normal with Table Rock's turnover. This will last about a month and won't effect fishing that much. We've enjoyed a good run of threadfin shad over the spill gates as well as lots of warmwater species of fish -- crappie, white bass, walleye, blue gill, black, spotted and smallmouth bass, needlenose gar and spoonbill (I'm sure there are more species but that's what we've been seeing.) We're in for a week or more of mild weather with daytime temperatures in the 50's and 60's and not much wind. With the slower water -- and less water -- trout fishing should be very good. With the water running hard yesterday, Guide Don House reported catching very nice rainbows drifting Powerbait from Scotty's buoys down to the Fish House at the Branson Landing. We've sent anglers down there, and they've done well, too. Now that the water is slower, more people will be fishing other areas down lake and reporting back. Honestly, there just haven't been that many anglers fishing so getting a good fishing report, especially down lake, has been tough. I've been fishing down here a little, throwing white jigs along the bluff bank and doing fair, but the trout I'm catching are bigger than average. This reduction of flow has caught us by surprise. We knew the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers would close the gates and reduce flows when Table Rock dropped to desired level, but we didn't think that would mean a drop from 15,000 to 1,400 c.f.s. in just a few hours. Ryan and I went out this afternoon to try our luck. I felt like it was going to be really good, or really bad. It was better than good. Trout were rising aggressively all over the lake as we boated up past Fall Creek and the Narrows, jumping out of the water after hatching midges. Good sign. Quite a few boaters were out fishing and we saw lots of bent rods --- and even better sign! Boated past Guides Steve Dickey and John Sappington and got two thumbs up --- all right!! I tied on a while 1/32nd-ounce jig on a spinning outfit with two-pound line. Ryan had the same rig but he was using a black/yellow 1/32nd-ounce jig. He caught fish on his first two casts and I didn't get a bite after a few throws. I switched to black and yellow, started One Cast and caught one on the first cast. Steve Dickey's clients were drifting scuds and were hooked up most of the time we were up there. He told me just yesterday the trout were off the scud, not biting them at all. Today is a new day. They're liking scuds now. Now we were using two-pound line because we wanted to throw small jigs, but because the water clarity is not-so-good, you can get away with four-pound line for using bait -- just about anything. Fishing off our dock today was pretty successful. Everyone that I saw caught their limit plus some, throwing a few back. The bait of choice was orange and pink or yellow and pink PowerEggs.
  10. I wouldn't think so... no way to really know unless you did a study and use real data. It's how people perceive things... high water, low water. It's relative. Some like it high and some like it low. "Flooding" is a negative for sure and people will tend to stay away from areas that are "flooded". We get frustrated with news outlets that say Branson is "flooded" when we're really not. People will and have stayed away from Branson when it's reported we're "flooding" - when the strip and shows are not affected at all. As far as TR... I can only speculate. But high water only enhances a fishery, as far as the fish are concerned... most of the time.
  11. Oh yeah... when the water is high here, my business suffers-- in the short run. High water, though, does help our trout fishery (most of the time). We get shad and other things from TR that make us anglers happy. And it does help move gravel around which I believe helps the bug population (scuds, sow bugs, midges). But yes, when out-of-towners hear "flood gates" they think flood and cancel reservations or don't come. Also, flooded areas in KS, OK and AR - those people didn't take vacations so tourism is down. Shane Bush did tell me that the crappie on BS should be awesome this year. BS's been high 3 years in a row so the spawn should have been excellent. We'll see.
  12. That's because the rains missed the watershed... not by much.
  13. Hey I resemble that remark Shane told me today that they (Corps) will drop TR first, then Beaver and last BS. I can speculate why but I don't know for sure. I'm sure a hydrologist can do it for me... but it has nothing to do with JM and BP. It has to do with the volume of water is each lake and how each can release it. Many other factors too, esp when it's "live" and there's water downstream to consider (flooding). They're always going to hold Beaver at high levels as long as TR is high - above Pool. Pool for TR changes to 915 feet December 1 so we're going to see heavy release at TR well into December.
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