MickinMO reacted to Phil Lilley in Lilley's Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report, November 25
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!
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MickinMO reacted to Phil Lilley in Lilley's Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report, November 18
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.
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MickinMO reacted to Phil Lilley in Table Rock is Turning
Duane just sent me a pic of threadfin shad he's seen up below the dam this morning. That means Table Rock is starting to mix.
The water temps were 59 from under and 61 from over and dam. Cold nights, wind I'm sure has dropped the surface temp down even more so it's going to happen real quick, seeing temps aren't going to reach the 60's starting Tuesday in the near future. Teens at night and 30's and 40's daytime.
The shad will trigger some fantastic feeding and catching now for quite a while. The scuds are already booming. TR turning almost 30 days early... man it's going to be an incredible winter season here.
MickinMO reacted to Phil Lilley in Rain, Lake Levels and Release
I'm expecting an email any minute... from the Corps telling us about the 4 inches of rain that fell in NW Arkansas and SW Missouri and the plan to release a bunch of water from Beaver and TR Dams.
Beaver is rising but not as fast as Table Rock which is at 918.4 feet.
They've already increased flow at Table Rock but it's hard to tell how much. Taney's level is at 709.6 but they're only running 4,800 cfs through the turbines.
I got an email yesterday saying that the Corps was starting to work on the head gates which means they can't run some turbines. So almost all the flow is coming over the spill gates.
Yesterday I took water temps. The water coming over the dam is 61. The water coming through the turbines is 59. DO is over 10 ppm which is excellent. The 2 degrees difference between the two means Table Rock is very close to turning over. Next week's cold snap should start the process.
When Table Rock hits 920 feet, the Corp will start releasing 20,000 cfs. That's the equivalent of 5 units. If you don't mind the flow, fishing should be excellent, fishing with shad flies, white jigs and scuds.
MickinMO reacted to hillbillyflyshack in My sons first trout
Took my son Chance trout fishing for the first time and we had a ball with him catching his first rainbow. Saturday the water was running pretty hard so we went up and strarted at the cable throwing small crankbaits and the fish loved them with a beautiful male that was 18 3/4 inches that made his day and mine. We caught at least 30 with many 2 to 2 1/2 lbers WOW what a day the Lord blessed us with but Sunday was another wonderful day in large part due to Duane Doty and his vast knowledge and I owe him a debt of gratitude as he helped my son and I have a great bonding weekend. Thank you so much Duane you are truly a professional and a gentleman. Respectfully, Pete
MickinMO reacted to fishinwrench in Boats Searching for their Marina After Dark
At Buckhead ridge on Okeechobee if you don't make it back before 6:30 the lock operator goes home, and you're stuck out there with the mosquitoes and Gators until the next morning. Saw that happen to a group of 3 once and those boys were in a bad way the next morning.
MickinMO reacted to Phil Lilley in Boats Searching for their Marina After Dark
It was his first time on Taneycomo. I take all the blame.
We have been very tardy about getting a new sign on our dock since the last ones blew off so there’s no signage on our dock. But... he wasn’t assigned to our dock. He was looking for my moms dock which is down past Lazy Valley and also unmarked. My office personnel should not have put him in her dock especially after he told them he wouldn’t be here till after dark. There’s no way anyone can identify that dock in the dark. So we basically put him in a bad position. Our fault.
MickinMO reacted to Bill Babler in October 14 fishing report
Must have been a small trout tournament out of Cooper Creek launch facility yesterday as when I got there the parking was very limited. Looked like about 20 teams. Picked up at Lilleys two very good fly fishermen and we started at Andy's with a slight flow. I had about 9' of 5X on with a beaded Y2K in size 14 on top and a beaded size 16 scud on the bottom. First two drifts thru Fall Creek were crazy and then the water hit in volume. Man it was just churning. Duane was up there and said the water is just flat out flying.
Bite really slowed for us when that volume hit. I deepend up to 12' of 5X and increased the fly size to 12's on both and put on one BB and we could catch usually 1 or 2 and miss that many on each drift. Just like Duane the best bite was on the golf course reef the lower reef and the hump in front of Fall Creek.
At one point there were 5 boats anchored in that narrow channel from Fall Creek clear across blocking the channel and that is just not good. When the water hit hard they were gone as I'm thinking their anchors would not hold.
Fishing remains to be stellar with lots of quality. I'm having a hard time getting my pictures to post as I'm getting error messages from my computer for some reason but when I get it working I'll stick up some beautiful bows.
Backing up to my Friday trip, my clients out of Lilleys were keeping trout so we fished below the restricted zone using crawlers. The fish i cleaned were totally chocked full of size 10 to size 18 scuds and I mean their stomachs were packed and their mouth and throats were full. Unreal how they would still bite a crawler. Message is there are lots of scuds from Fall Creek down. One day last week we were catch and releasing on pretty strong generation and the clients were dragging a size 14 Y2K and a size 14 scud on drift rigs using 3/16 oz. wt. We caught fish from the dam clear to Lilleys on this method, I only made 3 drifts in 4 hrs. to catch and release dozens of very nice fish.
MickinMO reacted to Phil Lilley in 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.
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MickinMO reacted to Phil Lilley in October 14 fishing report
Just got off the water... trout are biting like crazy. But the front blowing through might have a lot to do with it.
Saw a monster brown above the Narrows just cruising the flats - 20+ pounds for sure. He looked at my scuds... made me shake.
MickinMO reacted to Smallie Seeker in October 14 fishing report
I'm heading down next week. Just got done telling my fishing partner we would be fishing from the boat the whole time since the water will be constant. 😁
Phil your posts are invaluable info that have helped me catch fish every time I've been down! Thank you!
MickinMO reacted to JestersHK in TR through the weekend
Thanks guys, I was telling a buddy tonight that now that I'm home I really didn't fish all that much but it was still a good trip.
I think if the water would of cooperated I might of hit it harder. I flew solo last night so around 1am I called it. Not the smartest thing to be wading with those flows even just hanging up on the banks...
I was sad the jerk bait bite wasn't better, but happy to see that I could still jig them up...
Until next time! I'll be back down in a few weeks. Hope I can find a brown then.
MickinMO reacted to Phil Lilley in 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.
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MickinMO reacted to JestersHK in TR through the weekend
Night 2 begins...
Fished in between 1 and 2 last night. Had a couple hooked up in the jerk baits but the decent one popped off and the other was bait sized...
Switched back to jigging and it was game on again. I threw an 1/8 black and sculpin with a black head on 4lb and it was just rainbow after rainbow after rainbow.
They were all strong fighters and had a silver bullet give me some aerobatics too. Size wise they were all decent but not huge. I think I had 1 18in bow all weekend for big fish. Most were between 14 and 16, but solid fish with shoulders on them.
MickinMO reacted to JestersHK in TR through the weekend
So we started up past outlet 1 tonight. Rob caught first fish on the ol 606 signature series. I had a few bumps but didn't get hooked up. Switched over to a 1/8 oz sculpin with orange head and started picking up fish.
We moved down past outlet 1 and picked our way along the bank. Picked up a few more. I had 3 on 4 casts at one point. Pretty solid rainbows and had a good jig bite going on a slow retrieve.
I switched over to a trout patterned Doty SS and it got crushed by the big fish for the evening. Didn't measure but it was a net filler of a rainbow... Rob hooked a few more nice bows as well on the jig too.
We're heading to SDC tomorrow so called it early tonight. Well be back at it tomorrow night though. Not a bad evening of fishing. Some real pretty colored up fish too. No brownies yet though...