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Found 12 results

  1. Phil Lilley

    March 30 Report

    Recent rains have brought our lakes up in elevation again. On Wednesday, 3/28, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened 5 gates and released water at a rate of 5,000 cubic feet per second, along with running water through 3 of its 4 turbines totallying 15,000 c.f.s.. The Corps is required to release 15,000 c.f.s of water if Table Rock rises above the spring time power pool level of 915 feet and they will continue releasing that amount until the lake is back down to that level. On Thursday, mid day, the 4th turbine came back online and the flood gates were closed. We are also watching Beaver Lake's level. They typically hold Beaver's release until it gets above 112???????? at which point they will release water to keep it from going any higher. In the past, Beaver's lake level is held even at this high level until Table Rock and Bull Shoal's levels are equal to it's capacity. It's all a little hard to understand but everything the Corps does in managing our lakes is mandated by congress. Bottom line, we are going to see heavy generation on Lake Taneycomo for quite some time. The question is what future rain may be heading this way and how would that affect additional releases over our flood gates. Four units of water is a lot of water and pretty intimidating to a lot of anglers. There's no a whole lot you can do bank or dock fishing - the water is just too fast to present your bait or lure to the fish. Boat fishing, on the other hand, can be very good. The best way to catch trout when there's this much water is running is to drift with the current and drag something on or real close to the bottom. That goes for anywhere on the lake -- at the dam or the Branson Landing area. Trout will be heading to the creeks during high water. Typically Turkey and Roark Creeks are prime targets for rainbows seeking less current and warmer water temperatures. A few weeks ago, anglers found fishing in both creeks excellent including catching some bass, crappie and blue gills. Fishing below the dam and drifting through the whole trophy area should be very good after flood gates were opened for about 24 hours. Our trout were treated to a run of threadfin shad from Table Rock Lake which should make using white jigs, spoons and hard baits, as well as shad flies hot lures for the next few weeks. We also saw a few warmwater fish end up in the tailwater from Table Rock Lake -- smallmouth, spotted bass and I'm sure a walleye or two.
  2. Phil Lilley

    March 30 Report

    Recent rains have brought our lakes up in elevation again. On Wednesday, 3/28, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened 5 gates and released water at a rate of 5,000 cubic feet per second, along with running water through 3 of its 4 turbines totallying 15,000 c.f.s.. The Corps is required to release 15,000 c.f.s of water if Table Rock rises above the spring time power pool level of 915 feet and they will continue releasing that amount until the lake is back down to that level. On Thursday, mid day, the 4th turbine came back online and 4 flood gates were closed and one left open. We are also watching Beaver Lake's level. They typically hold Beaver's release until it gets above 1128 at which point they will release water to keep it from going any higher. In the past, Beaver's lake level is held even at this high level until Table Rock and Bull Shoal's levels are equal to it's capacity, or I guess they think it's safe to start dropping Beaver. I've never been real clear how they handle Beaver Lake. It's all a little hard to understand but everything the Corps does in managing our lakes is mandated by congress. Bottom line, we are going to see heavy generation on Lake Taneycomo for quite some time. The question is what future rain may be heading this way and how would that affect additional releases over our flood gates. Lake water temperature is about 45 degrees at the dam. Four units of water is a lot of water and pretty intimidating to a lot of anglers. There's no a whole lot you can do bank or dock fishing - the water is just too fast to present your bait or lure to the fish. Boat fishing, on the other hand, can be very good. The best way to catch trout when there's this much water is running is to drift with the current and drag something on or real close to the bottom. That goes for anywhere on the lake -- at the dam or the Branson Landing area. Trout will be heading to the creeks during high water. Typically Turkey and Roark Creeks are prime targets for rainbows seeking less current and warmer water temperatures. A few weeks ago, anglers found fishing in both creeks excellent including catching some bass, crappie and blue gills. As of right now, they have not found the creeks. There's a few in them to catch but not the big numbers like there were a couple weeks ago. Generally, it takes these rainbows a few days to settle in to a flow pattern. The Missouri Department of Conservation stocked a couple of days ago down in the Branson Landing area but so far our guides haven't located them. They are looking... Freshly stocked rainbows will stay together for a few days and are easy to catch. We have had some anglers boat down and catch them around the Fish House, the floating restauant at the Landing. Some of the trout people have caught and cleaned from below the dam are full of scuds so drifting #12 or #14 gray scuds is the go-to fly right now. One complaint is that the trout below the dam aren't being aggressive right now. This should change, I just don't know when. I took a couple of guys up there yesterday afternoon and we found the rainbows biting but taking our jigs short. We were getting bites but missing them. Our guides reported that their clients were hooking fish but some of them were coming off before getting them to the boat, another sign of not being aggressive. I had several rainbows follow my jig to the boat, just not acting like they wanted to engage. This "attitude" is not uncommon at all... it's all part of fishing, and it will change. We're going to keep at it and figure out what these trout want and report back. View full article
  3. Phil Lilley

    Lower Trophy Area - Lake Taneycomo

    This area of upper lake Taneycomo can be classified as a river portion of the lake. Water flow and movement or the lack there of, are always an important factor in fishing this river/lake stretch. Let’s number the entire 1 plus miles of this area, into zones. Due to the curvature of the lake in this area, we will start on the Southwest shore line directly in front of the large white house, in this location known to belong to Andy William’s. Zone 1 Andy’s house to the tennis courts, on the same southwest side. Directly in front of the William’s house a long ridge or shoal runs parallel to the shore line some 40 ft. from the bank. This reef section in front of the second white house is very wade able during no flow and up to 2 generators. The shoal or ridge runs about 200 yards and is an area that holds fish at all times. During heavy generation, this is an inside bank with a somewhat slower milder flow that allows the fish to maintain position outside of the direct current. The ridge creates a seam that provides easy access for feeding trout to gather necessary subsistence with little movement. If the flow is right, you can anchor in front of the second white house in this slower water and cast out and down for these trout, stripping streamers, wooly buggers, sculpins and if they are midging, soft hackles and cracklebacks. Along this gravel flat extending half of the width of the lake from west to east, is a feeding ground and a holding area for large numbers of rainbows. Midge’s scuds, and sow bugs are present in this area and it is easily wade able or boat fished using like patterns. On slow or zero flow small crustation patterns from size 16 to 22 work well as do emergers and midge patterns in similar sizes. Natural color selections in earth tones tend to get more attention than flashy presentations. On power generation, bright hue’s in purple, pink, peach, and larger size browns, grey, olive and tan in 10’s and 12’s will get attention. Zone 2 is that area just below the tennis courts that has a small un/named creek, or what some call Dry Wash. The small creek has formed a delta that forges almost three quarters of the lakes width, and encompasses an area running to the north and south, of about 200 yards. This area should be navigated very carefully while operating a boat during low, or minimum flow due to this shallow rock delta that has been formed by the creek. Similar fly patterns work very well in this location and you can also add a san juan worm to the mix if a flow is present, especially after a rain. This is also a good area for dry fly presentation or a tandem rig. Small stimulators, humpys, ants, beatles or caddis are great dry’s, and a small scud or midge can be added to complete the double fly rig. The bluff bank should be targeted there, casting real close to the chunk rocks on the bank and under overhanging trees. Zone 3 continues on the same side and is a gravel flat that is extremely shallow flowing thru the remaining houses on the Western shore of the lake. This area can be hard to fish and probably holds the smallest density of fish in the area. The channel isn't as deep as other areas in this strech -- may be this is why there's not as many trout in this area. Light midging does occur at times in this area but the trout seem to run small at times and are extremely sensitive to movement and water disturbance. Emergers, midges and small scud presentations can take these wary fish, and you are always more apt to be successful here if there is current and wind present. Zone 4 is a large flat that has formed just below the glass front house on the west shore. This area shallow reef area extends to within 30-40 feet of the eastern shore and encompasses a north south area of approximately 400 yards. This flat has excellent possibilities for wade fishing as well as boat fishing. On zero or moderate flow earth colors, as described above, are very good, as well as a multitude of dry fly presentation. On generation this flat is known to be an excellent producer or egg patterns and bright pink and chrome micro jigs. Some call this the "Scud Bed" because of it's ability to hold loads on freshwater shrimp. Rainbows always seem to be midging here too. Don't be scared to cast and work the very shallow water flat, not just the channel. There are some surprisingly big rainbows that cruise this shallow flat. Zone 5 starts at the Fall Creek condo’s and extends to Fall Creek on the same shoreline. The bottom structure changes here from gravel to more of a table rock or chunk rock, along with big log jams and rock ledges. Brown and rainbows both occupy this deeper area as this is the beginning of a channel swing bank. On water flow or generation, this area is extremely hard to fish, as the fish maintain a bottom attitude and making effective presentations to deeper fish in this location is extremely hard. Shore line structure can be fished with suspending stick baits and straight line jig presentations. Colors: sculpin, brown, black, olive, white and combinations of sculpin and ginger, orange and peach. Size jigs: 1/4rd to 1/16th oz. On zero generation, jig and float fishing this stretch is deadly. Natural presentations using, sculpin, olive, and tan micro jigs will account for wonderful catches. Make sure your jig is near the bottom usually about 5 feet under the indicator. Fluorocarbon tippet, 2-pound, will increase your catch. Click image for a larger image.
  4. Phil Lilley

    Wooly Buggers

    by Don Mulnik ~~ It was last summer when I discovered the Woolly Bugger while fishing in Lake Taneycomo. It was one of those days when nothing seemed to work well in the trophy area below the dam. So, a friend of mine said "try this" as the sun started to heat up the rocks below the dam. I tied on the odd looking creature in a brown color on a #8 hook and let it fly. The rest is history, I have been hooked on the woolly bugger since. Since that summer encounter with the woolly it has produced consistently right thorough Fall and into the Winter and onto my trips thus far in the Spring. What is it about this thing that consistently produces results? Well, it seems to be everything and nothing at the same time to the waiting trout. It is both a simple attractor and imitator of aquatic life all at the same time. It can imitate the Sculpin, the Crayfish, and larger insects and minnows in the food chain. Joel Vance has a feature article in the April 99' issue of the Missouri Conservationist about the Woolly Bugger. In it he tells us that this fly gets no respect but has been around since the days of Izaak Walton. He further states that "Woolly buggers are woolly worms with chrome fenders", meaning they are usually tied with a little flash in the tail or body. And, I agree with his conclusions that this fly is "Dynamite" in Missouri waters. Having had almost a years experience with this fly let me tell you how I fish it in Taneycomo. Just like the Soft Hackle I cast this fly across current or at a quarter downstream. I use a five weight rod with a tapered leader of 7 feet and at least a 4 foot section of 5x tippet. After casting cross current I let the fly sink while watching the line, many times strikes occur while the fly sinks. After the line takes a natural bow I begin slowly stripping the line and watch for the strike. Sometimes they will hit on the strip in the swing other times they will hit when the line is almost straight downstream from you. At times you have to vary the retrieve, so experiment. To trout it must seem a big meal compared to our usual offerings below the dam and I especially like it when things get a little windy and there's a healthy chop on the water. The woolly has done well for me since last summer catching trout of all sizes, from the dinks that come from our Federal hatchery to the nicer fish put in by the DOC and on to the brutes that have been around awhile. My favorite woolly color is a dark olive, on a size 10 hook, with a 2x long shank. I tie mine with several strands of flash in the tail and a little along the body. I also weight them with 15-20 turns of medium lead on the hook. I have also had success with black, brown, and light olive. And, while I have made them in various sizes from 12 to 6. It seems that the size 10 produce the best for me. So, next time when you have the need to try something different get out the woolly buggers with "Chrome fenders" and hang on. They are easy to tie, available at local fly shops, and releasing fish is a breeze thanks to the long shank.
  5. No one knows when it will happen -- the telltale conditions are sometimes sketchy -- but when it happens, it’s the best time to be fishing below dams that are affected. To what phenomenon am I referring? Shad kills occur in reservoirs such as Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork, Greer’s Ferry, and even Grand, Truman and Lake of the Ozarks. Thread fin shad are specifically named Dorosoma Petenense. The Dorosoma is Greek for "lance body,” referring to the lance-like shape of young shad. The word petenense refers to Lake Peten in the Yucatan, the species type locality. Threadfin shad are usually easily distinguished from gizzard shad by the way the upper jaw does not project beyond the lower jaw. The anal fin usually has 20-25 rays, as opposed to 29-35 rays found in gizzard shad. The upper surface is silver-blue and grades to nearly white on the sides and belly. All fins have a yellow tint except the dorsal. In this species, unlike gizzard shad, the chin and floor of the mouth are speckled with black pigment. Adults are considerably smaller than gizzard shad adults, rarely exceeding six inches in length. It seems two things need to happen for shad to wash into our tailwaters -- cold temperatures and the shad “getting too close to the fire.” Thread fin shad die naturally in the winter if water temperatures drop below the mid-40s. If temps drop into the upper 30s, more shad die making it more likely shad will appear. The “fire” I allude to is the pipe that leads to the turbines and the tailwater below. Dams in the Ozarks’ region all vary in height and penstock location. Table Rock Dam’s penstocks are at 130 feet deep, so shad have to be near that level to be sucked through When shad enter that tailwater, they are either dead or dying. Many are chewed up, but some are still kicking, fluttering around like sick minnows. Either way they are easy pickings for trout and other fish to devour. Shad will come in waves, or they will trickle through the dam a few at a time. Once the eaters get wind of the run and start targeting shad, they gorge themselves, extending their bellies as far as possible… and then some more. It’s a great sight for anglers who like seeing fat fish and the prospect of even bigger fish in the future. Shad runs get our trout well-needed growth boosts. The trick is fishing at the right time, as in most fishing situations, but it’s not necessarily dependant on the time of day or weather patterns. The perfect time is NOT during a heavy flow of shad because your lure gets lost in the sea of white, and it’s NOT after a heavy flow because the fish are FULL. Since there’s really no way to predict these conditions, the best solution is just to GO fishing. Helpful hint: If you find yourself in one of those situations, use something other than a white jig or crank bait; try another color and size like a dark-colored jig or a San Juan Worm. You might have better luck with something like that. When spin fishing from a boat, of course, a white jig is one of the best baits during a shad run. Size depends on how much water is running. I like to “drift” a jig close to the bottom during a run, hovering it in the water column like a drifting, stunned or dead shad. If a lot of water is running, a ¼ oz or 1/8-ounce jig will work. If a minimal amount of water is flowing, use something smaller like 3/32 or 1/16-ounce. I throw to the side, not upstream or downstream, and let the jig fall, giving it slack, until I feel it’s at the right depth. Keeping the rod tip high, I will slightly lift the rod tip even higher, reeling a bit to “keep track” of the jig’s location. Sometimes in a tailwater, water is flowing in turbulent patterns, moving up and down in the column that will take the jig in a direction that leaves you hanging. You can’t feel the bite unless you have a direct line from rod tip to the lure. Lifting the rod every five to eight seconds keeps you in control of the jig instead of the current leading it. Jigs can be dressed up with flash-a-bou and tinsel to give them that translucent look of a shad. Combining marabou colors such as gray/white or white with a slither of black will trigger a bite when plain white will not. Spoons and crank baits will work during shad runs, too, but I have not had real good luck with them. One technique used on the White River is to slow the boat down with a trolling motor, throw a KastMaster or Crocodile white spoon out the back of the boat at a 45-degree angle and let the spoon swing slowly behind the boat, keeping if off the bottom as it swings. A floating rapala can be drifted using a simple drift rig. The bait shouldn’t get hung up, but just make sure it’s a floating bait. Many fly fishermen don’t like the idea of fishing out of a boat. They’re in love with their waders and like their feet to be planted on solid ground – at least mushy mud, sand or gravel, anyway. But I love fishing out of a boat, especially if it enhances the chance of catching more fish. Believe me, during a shad run, you want to be in a boat. What you use and how you use it varies with water conditions, just as when spin fishing. The harder the water is running, the more difficult to it is to present a fly or jig effectively. That’s simply because of the turbulants, not the depth or speed of the water. One of the best ways is to use a jig and float. Throwing this rig isn’t fun, though. The float must be big enough to float a 1/32 or 1/16-ounce jig, depending on generation. The jig needs to be down and stay down. If your jig is wandering around beneath your float and a fish picks it up, the strike may go unnoticed because the float won’t do anything. Vary the depth and see where the trout want the jig, deep or shallow. If they’re taking shad off the surface, then set the jig shallow. Using a sinking line will work, but you have to pay attention to current and turbulants. You’ll have to continually strip the line to keep track of the fly, not fast but slow. I like to slow the boat down and fish out the back of the boat. That permits me keep better control of my drift. I can control the fly’s depth and will be able to feel a strike better. With this technique it’s best to use shad patterns such as white woolly buggers, bunny shad, clousers, white zonkers or even jigs. How far down you fish from the dam makes a difference at times. Finding that “happy medium” is where fish haven’t seen the gobs and gobs of shad recently. On the White River, that may be 10 miles downstream. On Taneycomo it could be a mile or two. The White River definitely sees more shad, maybe because their dam isn’t as high as Table Rock’s… not sure. Norfork’s is even lower and, thus, has more shad runs. I’ve experienced fishing these shad runs below Bull Shoals and Norfork. They can be pretty spectacular! The bottom line is that you have to get out and fish these shad kill events -- and you have to at least try to fish them from a boat. If you don’t, you’re missing something pretty special! Taneycomo Note: I’ve been asked how far down lake the shad can drift. I’ve seen them as far downstream as Rockaway Beach. How much shad can come through at one time? I’ve seen millions at a time. One winter the shad were coming through so thick that they were washing up in eddies along the banks. I remember when the water dropped, the shoreline looked like it had snowed in some areas below the dam where there were so many piles of shad on the bank, in trees and on rocks. As far as timing, I have seen shad as early as mid-December and as late a mid-June. The June event was a freak occurrence I believe. Most of the time the runs end in April. White River Note by John Wilson: From what I can tell shad kills occur under conditions that will bring shad close to the intakes or hold them in a section of water that allows them to be pulled through the dams. There are two major seasons when shad will come through the dam at Bull Shoals and Norfork Dam. The lesser known one is during the summer time. These occasions are often referred to as a shad kill. However it is more likely the extreme decompression of going from 300 feet deep to 0 feet within a matter of seconds that does the job. People also often assume that the shad are chopped up by the turbines. Actually the shad come through the generators whole and intact. If it were not for an extreme case of the bends you could not tell that anything was wrong with them. During the summer the upper levels of the lake stratify. The first 50 feet or so of the lake will warm and the current flows across the upper sections of the lake. A thermocline forms and the shad will travel along the bottom of the thermocline where the water is cooler. Summer means we have high electrical demand thus more generation. The extra generation will actually create a current in the lower sections of the lake. Shad which have searched out the cooler waters of the depths of the lake will be pulled through the intakes. I generally see summer shad kills in August and September when generation is high and the weather is hot. The most famous shad event happens during January through March. As we have cooler temperatures the surface of the lake begins to cool. Water actually reaches it's highest density at about 40 degrees. Cooler than that and it starts to expand again. This cooler water sinks to the bottom of the lake and brings up the low oxygen water off the bottom. There will be mixing currents of cool descending water and low oxygen water forming pockets within the lake. Shad will attempt to stay in the pockets of good water and these will vary in depth and size depending on weather and conditions. Often you will see striper fishermen on the lake finding these pockets on their depth finders. They paint those pockets of shad and stripers in the lake with electronics. If there is a fair amount of generation it is a matter of time before those shad find their way through the generators. It is impossible to predict how much shad will come through the dam at any one time. Usually if you have extreme temperatures either hot or cold combined with a large demand for generation it is a good bet that shad aren't far behind. If you are on the river some of the clues to look for are gulls diving at the dam, fish hitting your white indicator, and of course shad lining the banks or floating in eddies. The shad kills can be exciting fishing. I've seen 30 inch browns taking shad off the surface like sipping a #22 dry fly. When they get turned on to shad they often throw caution to the wind. Normally selective fish will begin striking everything from white indicators to simple white flies. The guides here on the White River have gotten really plugged in to the shad kills over the last decade. it can often be the best opportunity of landing the fish of a lifetime. John Wilson was a guide on the White and Norfork Tailwaters. http://www.flyfishingarkansas.com/ Fox Statler- The best indicator of a good shad kill at any time of the year are the Sea Gulls. The Sea Gulls show up weeks before the kill is seen coming through the generators. If you have a few Sea Gulls, you will have a few shad killed. If you have alot of Sea Gulls, you will have alot of shad killed. Sea Gulls also come for the small summer kills also. The best type of shad kill fishing is what I call the "dribbling shad kills". These are always better than the "gushing shad kills". Why? Because during a "gushing shad kill" the fish are full in the first three hours of a generation cycle and then don't eat for three or four days. In a "dribbling shad kill" the fish never get completely full so they eat shad at every opportunity. Shad die when ever the water they are in reaches below 41 degrees. That is why shad kills are seldom seen in the lakes in southern Arkansas and Mississippi and rarely if ever in Louisania and Alabama. This is also the reason the Threadfin shad are not found above Missouri and Kentucky. In these states the winter are too cold and the shad completely die out and there are none left to reproduce the next year. If threadfin did not experience this phenomenon they would replace the Gizszard Shad as the most dominant species of fish in North America. When shad die they do not settle to the bottom of the lake quickly. Instead they are almost neutral buoyant and remain suspended for several days, weeks and even months. Because of this we have shad coming through the dams for weeks and months. So as the water moves through the lakes to the dam so do the shad. Some live shad are sucked through during generation but the vast majority are already dead. I have personally dip-netted catfish that have come through the dams. They are easy to recognize these fish because their stomachs are blown out of their mouth like a six inch pink balloon. I have also seen six foot gar come through and thousands of Lake Trout. I don't know about the rest of the dams, but at Bull Shoals and Norfork the blades of the generators are spaced far enough apart that a six foot man could come through the generators without being cut up. When I was a teacher, I took student field trips to the dam every year and that question is always asked by a student. The using of Sink Tip and Full Sink lines were found to be unpractical during the shad kill in the White River but okay in the dam pool of the Norfork. The problem is the large rocks on the bottom. If the line is cast out to the side of the boat - when it gets to the bottom it will wrap around a rock. If the driver of the boat is not alerted to this, you might loose your whole fly line. I have seen it happen more than once. A large floating fly line (8 to 10 weight) with a heavy leader (10 pound test plus) is best for bottom bouncing. A moderate floating fly line (4 to 7 weight) with moderate leader (6 to 10 pound test) is best for the top water and indicator with a small jig (1/80th oz.) or small Blow-fly and shot. If you really want to test your skills try a 2 weight with 6x tippet and an unweighted Blow-fly. With this rig every fish is a monster. The most important part of shad kill fishing is not the fly or the rig but matching the speed of the boat to the drift of the method of choice. So every fisherman in the boat fishes the same method. You can't mix bottom bouncing with surface fishing. Slow the boat until it is traveling downstream the same speed as the floating line. Don't out run it or slow the boat so much that the line-indicator-fly or line-fly is downstream of the boat. If you don't have a trolling motor, oars work great - I used them for years. I found golf balls through the White River, even just above the confluence with the North Fork. When Shad come through some are carried to the confluence on the first eight generator cycle. Lets face it, most trout don't eat the shad at first because they don't recognize them as a food source at first. They have been eating eggs, sculpins, sowbugs, and scuds. They are frightened by the shad. It like this you have been eating baby food all your life and someone puts a sixteen ounce sirloin on your plate. You cry because it scares the hell out of you. If you are a spin fisherman and you are fishing big chrome-dome jigs that aren't producing, tie a dropper Blow-fly about three foot behind your jig if you are allowed more than one hook. I taught this to some great spin fishing guides and they still say it is their best producer. Best patterns for fly fisherman. When it was legal below Bull Shoals Dam to use more than one hook, a hook about two inches below a solid white styrofoam indicator about one inch long caught the most exciting fish. Small 1/80th oz. jigs below a styrofoam indicator work well. Black thread Blow-flies with a shot below a styrofoam indicator are also very good producer. New Concept Minnows either floating or slow-descending are my favorite. The strikes are awesome. You can find more about Fox Statler at http://www.fishinwhattheysee.com/ Norfork Tailwater Note- John Berry The Shad kill on the Norfork can at times be even more spectacular than on the White. While there seems to be more interest in the area just below the dam, I have had my biggest success in the Catch and release area about two miles down stream. There is a large concentration of big fish and they are always ready for a good feed. I am most successful with a white woolly bugger tied on a 1/32 ounce jig head. I add pearl flash and a red beard. I fish it under an indicator and hang on. I use 3x tippet and at least a six weight rod. John Berry is a guide on the White and Norfork Tailwaters. http://berrybrothersguides.com
  6. 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.
  7. Welcome to the most active and informative fishing site on the internet for Lake Taneycomo. Please take advantage of this wealth of information on our fishery, join in on the conversation and ask questions. Our rules are simple: Be nice, read before you post questions, share fishing reports if you'd like and enjoy our beautiful lake! And oh yes, be safe on the water.
  8. This area of upper lake Taneycomo can be classified as a river portion of the lake. Water flow and movement or the lack there of, are always an important factor in fishing this river/lake stretch. Let’s number the entire 1 plus miles of this area, into zones. Due to the curvature of the lake in this area, we will start on the Southwest shore line directly in front of the large white house, in this location known to belong to Andy William’s. Zone 1 Andy’s house to the tennis courts, on the same southwest side. Directly in front of the William’s house a long ridge or shoal runs parallel to the shore line some 40 ft. from the bank. This reef section in front of the second white house is very wade able during no flow and up to 2 generators. The shoal or ridge runs about 200 yards and is an area that holds fish at all times. During heavy generation, this is an inside bank with a somewhat slower milder flow that allows the fish to maintain position outside of the direct current. The ridge creates a seam that provides easy access for feeding trout to gather necessary subsistence with little movement. If the flow is right, you can anchor in front of the second white house in this slower water and cast out and down for these trout, stripping streamers, wooly buggers, sculpins and if they are midging, soft hackles and cracklebacks. Along this gravel flat extending half of the width of the lake from west to east, is a feeding ground and a holding area for large numbers of rainbows. Midge’s scuds, and sow bugs are present in this area and it is easily wade able or boat fished using like patterns. On slow or zero flow small crustation patterns from size 16 to 22 work well as do emergers and midge patterns in similar sizes. Natural color selections in earth tones tend to get more attention than flashy presentations. On power generation, bright hue’s in purple, pink, peach, and larger size browns, grey, olive and tan in 10’s and 12’s will get attention. Zone 2 is that area just below the tennis courts that has a small un/named creek, or what some call Dry Wash. The small creek has formed a delta that forges almost three quarters of the lakes width, and encompasses an area running to the north and south, of about 200 yards. This area should be navigated very carefully while operating a boat during low, or minimum flow due to this shallow rock delta that has been formed by the creek. Similar fly patterns work very well in this location and you can also add a san juan worm to the mix if a flow is present, especially after a rain. This is also a good area for dry fly presentation or a tandem rig. Small stimulators, humpys, ants, beatles or caddis are great dry’s, and a small scud or midge can be added to complete the double fly rig. The bluff bank should be targeted there, casting real close to the chunk rocks on the bank and under overhanging trees. Zone 3 continues on the same side and is a gravel flat that is extremely shallow flowing thru the remaining houses on the Western shore of the lake. This area can be hard to fish and probably holds the smallest density of fish in the area. The channel isn't as deep as other areas in this strech -- may be this is why there's not as many trout in this area. Light midging does occur at times in this area but the trout seem to run small at times and are extremely sensitive to movement and water disturbance. Emergers, midges and small scud presentations can take these wary fish, and you are always more apt to be successful here if there is current and wind present. Zone 4 is a large flat that has formed just below the glass front house on the west shore. This area shallow reef area extends to within 30-40 feet of the eastern shore and encompasses a north south area of approximately 400 yards. This flat has excellent possibilities for wade fishing as well as boat fishing. On zero or moderate flow earth colors, as described above, are very good, as well as a multitude of dry fly presentation. On generation this flat is known to be an excellent producer or egg patterns and bright pink and chrome micro jigs. Some call this the "Scud Bed" because of it's ability to hold loads on freshwater shrimp. Rainbows always seem to be midging here too. Don't be scared to cast and work the very shallow water flat, not just the channel. There are some surprisingly big rainbows that cruise this shallow flat. Zone 5 starts at the Fall Creek condo’s and extends to Fall Creek on the same shoreline. The bottom structure changes here from gravel to more of a table rock or chunk rock, along with big log jams and rock ledges. Brown and rainbows both occupy this deeper area as this is the beginning of a channel swing bank. On water flow or generation, this area is extremely hard to fish, as the fish maintain a bottom attitude and making effective presentations to deeper fish in this location is extremely hard. Shore line structure can be fished with suspending stick baits and straight line jig presentations. Colors: sculpin, brown, black, olive, white and combinations of sculpin and ginger, orange and peach. Size jigs: 1/4rd to 1/16th oz. On zero generation, jig and float fishing this stretch is deadly. Natural presentations using, sculpin, olive, and tan micro jigs will account for wonderful catches. Make sure your jig is near the bottom usually about 5 feet under the indicator. Fluorocarbon tippet, 2-pound, will increase your catch. Click image for a larger image. View full article
  9. No one knows when it will happen -- the telltale conditions are sometimes sketchy -- but when it happens, it’s the best time to be fishing below dams that are affected. To what phenomenon am I referring? Shad kills occur in reservoirs such as Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork, Greer’s Ferry, and even Grand, Truman and Lake of the Ozarks. Thread fin shad are specifically named Dorosoma Petenense. The Dorosoma is Greek for "lance body,” referring to the lance-like shape of young shad. The word petenense refers to Lake Peten in the Yucatan, the species type locality. Threadfin shad are usually easily distinguished from gizzard shad by the way the upper jaw does not project beyond the lower jaw. The anal fin usually has 20-25 rays, as opposed to 29-35 rays found in gizzard shad. The upper surface is silver-blue and grades to nearly white on the sides and belly. All fins have a yellow tint except the dorsal. In this species, unlike gizzard shad, the chin and floor of the mouth are speckled with black pigment. Adults are considerably smaller than gizzard shad adults, rarely exceeding six inches in length. It seems two things need to happen for shad to wash into our tailwaters -- cold temperatures and the shad “getting too close to the fire.” Thread fin shad die naturally in the winter if water temperatures drop below the mid-40s. If temps drop into the upper 30s, more shad die making it more likely shad will appear. The “fire” I allude to is the pipe that leads to the turbines and the tailwater below. Dams in the Ozarks’ region all vary in height and penstock location. Table Rock Dam’s penstocks are at 130 feet deep, so shad have to be near that level to be sucked through When shad enter that tailwater, they are either dead or dying. Many are chewed up, but some are still kicking, fluttering around like sick minnows. Either way they are easy pickings for trout and other fish to devour. Shad will come in waves, or they will trickle through the dam a few at a time. Once the eaters get wind of the run and start targeting shad, they gorge themselves, extending their bellies as far as possible… and then some more. It’s a great sight for anglers who like seeing fat fish and the prospect of even bigger fish in the future. Shad runs get our trout well-needed growth boosts. The trick is fishing at the right time, as in most fishing situations, but it’s not necessarily dependant on the time of day or weather patterns. The perfect time is NOT during a heavy flow of shad because your lure gets lost in the sea of white, and it’s NOT after a heavy flow because the fish are FULL. Since there’s really no way to predict these conditions, the best solution is just to GO fishing. Helpful hint: If you find yourself in one of those situations, use something other than a white jig or crank bait; try another color and size like a dark-colored jig or a San Juan Worm. You might have better luck with something like that. When spin fishing from a boat, of course, a white jig is one of the best baits during a shad run. Size depends on how much water is running. I like to “drift” a jig close to the bottom during a run, hovering it in the water column like a drifting, stunned or dead shad. If a lot of water is running, a ¼ oz or 1/8-ounce jig will work. If a minimal amount of water is flowing, use something smaller like 3/32 or 1/16-ounce. I throw to the side, not upstream or downstream, and let the jig fall, giving it slack, until I feel it’s at the right depth. Keeping the rod tip high, I will slightly lift the rod tip even higher, reeling a bit to “keep track” of the jig’s location. Sometimes in a tailwater, water is flowing in turbulent patterns, moving up and down in the column that will take the jig in a direction that leaves you hanging. You can’t feel the bite unless you have a direct line from rod tip to the lure. Lifting the rod every five to eight seconds keeps you in control of the jig instead of the current leading it. Jigs can be dressed up with flash-a-bou and tinsel to give them that translucent look of a shad. Combining marabou colors such as gray/white or white with a slither of black will trigger a bite when plain white will not. Spoons and crank baits will work during shad runs, too, but I have not had real good luck with them. One technique used on the White River is to slow the boat down with a trolling motor, throw a KastMaster or Crocodile white spoon out the back of the boat at a 45-degree angle and let the spoon swing slowly behind the boat, keeping if off the bottom as it swings. A floating rapala can be drifted using a simple drift rig. The bait shouldn’t get hung up, but just make sure it’s a floating bait. Many fly fishermen don’t like the idea of fishing out of a boat. They’re in love with their waders and like their feet to be planted on solid ground – at least mushy mud, sand or gravel, anyway. But I love fishing out of a boat, especially if it enhances the chance of catching more fish. Believe me, during a shad run, you want to be in a boat. What you use and how you use it varies with water conditions, just as when spin fishing. The harder the water is running, the more difficult to it is to present a fly or jig effectively. That’s simply because of the turbulants, not the depth or speed of the water. One of the best ways is to use a jig and float. Throwing this rig isn’t fun, though. The float must be big enough to float a 1/32 or 1/16-ounce jig, depending on generation. The jig needs to be down and stay down. If your jig is wandering around beneath your float and a fish picks it up, the strike may go unnoticed because the float won’t do anything. Vary the depth and see where the trout want the jig, deep or shallow. If they’re taking shad off the surface, then set the jig shallow. Using a sinking line will work, but you have to pay attention to current and turbulants. You’ll have to continually strip the line to keep track of the fly, not fast but slow. I like to slow the boat down and fish out the back of the boat. That permits me keep better control of my drift. I can control the fly’s depth and will be able to feel a strike better. With this technique it’s best to use shad patterns such as white woolly buggers, bunny shad, clousers, white zonkers or even jigs. How far down you fish from the dam makes a difference at times. Finding that “happy medium” is where fish haven’t seen the gobs and gobs of shad recently. On the White River, that may be 10 miles downstream. On Taneycomo it could be a mile or two. The White River definitely sees more shad, maybe because their dam isn’t as high as Table Rock’s… not sure. Norfork’s is even lower and, thus, has more shad runs. I’ve experienced fishing these shad runs below Bull Shoals and Norfork. They can be pretty spectacular! The bottom line is that you have to get out and fish these shad kill events -- and you have to at least try to fish them from a boat. If you don’t, you’re missing something pretty special! Taneycomo Note: I’ve been asked how far down lake the shad can drift. I’ve seen them as far downstream as Rockaway Beach. How much shad can come through at one time? I’ve seen millions at a time. One winter the shad were coming through so thick that they were washing up in eddies along the banks. I remember when the water dropped, the shoreline looked like it had snowed in some areas below the dam where there were so many piles of shad on the bank, in trees and on rocks. As far as timing, I have seen shad as early as mid-December and as late a mid-June. The June event was a freak occurrence I believe. Most of the time the runs end in April. White River Note by John Wilson: From what I can tell shad kills occur under conditions that will bring shad close to the intakes or hold them in a section of water that allows them to be pulled through the dams. There are two major seasons when shad will come through the dam at Bull Shoals and Norfork Dam. The lesser known one is during the summer time. These occasions are often referred to as a shad kill. However it is more likely the extreme decompression of going from 300 feet deep to 0 feet within a matter of seconds that does the job. People also often assume that the shad are chopped up by the turbines. Actually the shad come through the generators whole and intact. If it were not for an extreme case of the bends you could not tell that anything was wrong with them. During the summer the upper levels of the lake stratify. The first 50 feet or so of the lake will warm and the current flows across the upper sections of the lake. A thermocline forms and the shad will travel along the bottom of the thermocline where the water is cooler. Summer means we have high electrical demand thus more generation. The extra generation will actually create a current in the lower sections of the lake. Shad which have searched out the cooler waters of the depths of the lake will be pulled through the intakes. I generally see summer shad kills in August and September when generation is high and the weather is hot. The most famous shad event happens during January through March. As we have cooler temperatures the surface of the lake begins to cool. Water actually reaches it's highest density at about 40 degrees. Cooler than that and it starts to expand again. This cooler water sinks to the bottom of the lake and brings up the low oxygen water off the bottom. There will be mixing currents of cool descending water and low oxygen water forming pockets within the lake. Shad will attempt to stay in the pockets of good water and these will vary in depth and size depending on weather and conditions. Often you will see striper fishermen on the lake finding these pockets on their depth finders. They paint those pockets of shad and stripers in the lake with electronics. If there is a fair amount of generation it is a matter of time before those shad find their way through the generators. It is impossible to predict how much shad will come through the dam at any one time. Usually if you have extreme temperatures either hot or cold combined with a large demand for generation it is a good bet that shad aren't far behind. If you are on the river some of the clues to look for are gulls diving at the dam, fish hitting your white indicator, and of course shad lining the banks or floating in eddies. The shad kills can be exciting fishing. I've seen 30 inch browns taking shad off the surface like sipping a #22 dry fly. When they get turned on to shad they often throw caution to the wind. Normally selective fish will begin striking everything from white indicators to simple white flies. The guides here on the White River have gotten really plugged in to the shad kills over the last decade. it can often be the best opportunity of landing the fish of a lifetime. John Wilson was a guide on the White and Norfork Tailwaters. http://www.flyfishingarkansas.com/ Fox Statler- The best indicator of a good shad kill at any time of the year are the Sea Gulls. The Sea Gulls show up weeks before the kill is seen coming through the generators. If you have a few Sea Gulls, you will have a few shad killed. If you have alot of Sea Gulls, you will have alot of shad killed. Sea Gulls also come for the small summer kills also. The best type of shad kill fishing is what I call the "dribbling shad kills". These are always better than the "gushing shad kills". Why? Because during a "gushing shad kill" the fish are full in the first three hours of a generation cycle and then don't eat for three or four days. In a "dribbling shad kill" the fish never get completely full so they eat shad at every opportunity. Shad die when ever the water they are in reaches below 41 degrees. That is why shad kills are seldom seen in the lakes in southern Arkansas and Mississippi and rarely if ever in Louisania and Alabama. This is also the reason the Threadfin shad are not found above Missouri and Kentucky. In these states the winter are too cold and the shad completely die out and there are none left to reproduce the next year. If threadfin did not experience this phenomenon they would replace the Gizszard Shad as the most dominant species of fish in North America. When shad die they do not settle to the bottom of the lake quickly. Instead they are almost neutral buoyant and remain suspended for several days, weeks and even months. Because of this we have shad coming through the dams for weeks and months. So as the water moves through the lakes to the dam so do the shad. Some live shad are sucked through during generation but the vast majority are already dead. I have personally dip-netted catfish that have come through the dams. They are easy to recognize these fish because their stomachs are blown out of their mouth like a six inch pink balloon. I have also seen six foot gar come through and thousands of Lake Trout. I don't know about the rest of the dams, but at Bull Shoals and Norfork the blades of the generators are spaced far enough apart that a six foot man could come through the generators without being cut up. When I was a teacher, I took student field trips to the dam every year and that question is always asked by a student. The using of Sink Tip and Full Sink lines were found to be unpractical during the shad kill in the White River but okay in the dam pool of the Norfork. The problem is the large rocks on the bottom. If the line is cast out to the side of the boat - when it gets to the bottom it will wrap around a rock. If the driver of the boat is not alerted to this, you might loose your whole fly line. I have seen it happen more than once. A large floating fly line (8 to 10 weight) with a heavy leader (10 pound test plus) is best for bottom bouncing. A moderate floating fly line (4 to 7 weight) with moderate leader (6 to 10 pound test) is best for the top water and indicator with a small jig (1/80th oz.) or small Blow-fly and shot. If you really want to test your skills try a 2 weight with 6x tippet and an unweighted Blow-fly. With this rig every fish is a monster. The most important part of shad kill fishing is not the fly or the rig but matching the speed of the boat to the drift of the method of choice. So every fisherman in the boat fishes the same method. You can't mix bottom bouncing with surface fishing. Slow the boat until it is traveling downstream the same speed as the floating line. Don't out run it or slow the boat so much that the line-indicator-fly or line-fly is downstream of the boat. If you don't have a trolling motor, oars work great - I used them for years. I found golf balls through the White River, even just above the confluence with the North Fork. When Shad come through some are carried to the confluence on the first eight generator cycle. Lets face it, most trout don't eat the shad at first because they don't recognize them as a food source at first. They have been eating eggs, sculpins, sowbugs, and scuds. They are frightened by the shad. It like this you have been eating baby food all your life and someone puts a sixteen ounce sirloin on your plate. You cry because it scares the hell out of you. If you are a spin fisherman and you are fishing big chrome-dome jigs that aren't producing, tie a dropper Blow-fly about three foot behind your jig if you are allowed more than one hook. I taught this to some great spin fishing guides and they still say it is their best producer. Best patterns for fly fisherman. When it was legal below Bull Shoals Dam to use more than one hook, a hook about two inches below a solid white styrofoam indicator about one inch long caught the most exciting fish. Small 1/80th oz. jigs below a styrofoam indicator work well. Black thread Blow-flies with a shot below a styrofoam indicator are also very good producer. New Concept Minnows either floating or slow-descending are my favorite. The strikes are awesome. You can find more about Fox Statler at http://www.fishinwhattheysee.com/ Norfork Tailwater Note- John Berry The Shad kill on the Norfork can at times be even more spectacular than on the White. While there seems to be more interest in the area just below the dam, I have had my biggest success in the Catch and release area about two miles down stream. There is a large concentration of big fish and they are always ready for a good feed. I am most successful with a white woolly bugger tied on a 1/32 ounce jig head. I add pearl flash and a red beard. I fish it under an indicator and hang on. I use 3x tippet and at least a six weight rod. John Berry is a guide on the White and Norfork Tailwaters. http://berrybrothersguides.com View full article
  10. 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. View full article
  11. Many issues to talk about, as well as fishing, in the fall. Dissolved oxygen, water temperature, restricted flows...... confusing details to understand when fishing tailwaters. Wish we didn't have to consider them when JUST fishing, but they do affect the way trout move, hold, feed-- and don't feed-- and that affects our fishing strategy. Many issues to talk about, as well as fishing, in the fall. Dissolved oxygen, water temperature, restricted flows...... confusing details to understand when fishing tailwaters. Wish we didn't have to consider them when JUST fishing, but they do affect the way trout move, hold, feed-- and don't feed-- and that affects our fishing strategy. I know this is old hat to some of you, but I'd like to go over the basics. Lakes change at different seasons of the year. As spring and summer pass, surface water warms and separations or layers form. Because water density changes when it differs in temperature, these layers become very defined as summer wears on. If you look at the Lake Profile - http://www.swl.usace.army.mil/wcds/rdo2.html you will see a profile, kinda of a photograph, of the water at the dam at Table Rock. See where the temp drops, as well as the DO level, as it gets deeper. And the big drop near the top - this is called the thermocline and where, generally, a large number of fish will hold. As the water warms on the surface, the thermocline drops lower in the lake. We get our water at 130 feet deep and is marked by an asterisk to the side. As you see, the water temperature is colder at that level than the surface but the DO is very low and gets lower as you drop down. As colder weathers rolls in-- November and December-- surface temperatures drop, literally. Cold water is heavier than hot water and thus drops and "turns" the lake over at some point in the game. It's like a tilting table: when the load on top gets heavier than the load on the bottom, it tilts and turns over, leaving the heavier on the bottom. This happens generally from around Thanksgiving into December. Until then, we're stuck with low DO levels entering into LT. Dissolved Oxygen Water contains oxygen, H2O - O stands for Oxygen. Oxygen is measure by parts per million. On a scales of 0 to 12, 12 is about the highest you'll find in lake water- usually in the top layers where sunlight, wind and rain adds oxygen. In any lake or pond during the seasons, the layers form layers. Each layer has different density and oxygen levels, depending on the season and temperature of the water at the different levels. The layers start forming in late spring when the top levels start to warm. As summer rolls on, temps in the upper layers really rise and becomes lighter then the layers below. Because of the lack of sunlight, oxygen levels drop as you get lower in the lake or pond and later in the fall, DO amounts at the bottom are nile. As it gets closer to winter and the air temps drop and winds pick up, the surface temperatures drop also. Cold water is heavier than warm water thus this cooler water sinks to the bottom. This starts the the turning effect. When alot of water on top become cooler than the bottom- heat rises- the two levels mix and thus- good DO throughout the depths. The the cycle starts all over again. As far as the different levels- 0 - 12...... where 0 is real bad (no oxygen- things die) and 12 is usually the surface reading on a lake during alot of wind- may be even 13. The State of Missouri has said that anything under 6 parts is considered pollution. If a business or private individual discharges water with a lower reading than 6- they could get in trouble. But since a dam and the water it releases is not considered "point source" discharge, these rules do not apply and cannot be enforced. The Corp's low point is 4 parts- they try and not go below 4 when they release water from Table Rock. Fisheries for MDC has said that 6 parts is a good bottom indicator-- where fish and other water creatures can live, feed and reproduce. They also say anything below 3 parts can and will cause death in most trout, but this depends on water temperature also. Stress is the key. If a rainbow is already in stress because the water temp is above- say- 60 degrees and then he's hit with low DO- say 3 or even 4 parts, he could die. And the bigger the trout is, the more stress all these factors affect it. What does low DO do to our trout? It slows them down a bit. How do you know when DO levels are too low and threaten the life and health of trout? A high number is 12 parts per million (ppm). A low number is 0 ppm. Generally, fisheries biologist say 3 ppm is the bottom on the scale, and with high water temperatures, could cause death if prolonged. Six ppm is what the State of Missouri Clean Water Act says is the standard for "safe" water. But the Corps, as a federal agency, doesn't have to adhere to state regulations and has set its mark at 4 ppm. Are we happy about this? No. We've appealed for change but to no avail-- yet. The Corps does put restrictions on flow at Table Rock. These flow restrictions differ as the fall months progress and the water quality drops. This just means that even in peak times, levels will not exceed the ability to add enough DO to the effluent to keep levels above 4 ppm. There are three ways dissolved oxygen is added to the near-nil levels in September and October. The hatchery outlets are rich in DO. That's why you will see large numbers of trout with their noses in the effluent. The Corps has modified the turbines and added vents at the top of the chambers to allow air to mix with the water, creating a sloshing effect as it enters the lake. This is hard on the turbine blades, causing the surface of the blades to weaken. Corps officials like to reminds us about this -- that they are sacrificing for the good of the trout. When all of the above fails to add adequate DO to the tailwater, the Corps injects liquid oxygen directly into the turbines. Monitors keep track of DO levels as they enter the lake. One thing you have to realize-- when the federal government build dams, bureaucrats have to promise that the dams won't hurt the fishery in either the lake above or the tailwater below. When they build dams that are high and the water coming out is too cold for warm water species, they have to provide coldwater species for that fishery, such as the Neosho Federal Trout Hatchery producing 200,000 rainbows per year. Water quality standards also have to be maintained at a level the fish can survive and thrive. The definition of thrive is in question here. The Corps' definition is to "just get by." Sportsmen and fishing-related businessmen think thriving means the fish "move and grow respectively, with adequate food supply to reproduce." But the food supply is low, and there is no reproduction. That must change, and I believe it will in time. View full article
  12. Phil Lilley

    Wooly Buggers

    by Don Mulnik ~~ It was last summer when I discovered the Woolly Bugger while fishing in Lake Taneycomo. It was one of those days when nothing seemed to work well in the trophy area below the dam. So, a friend of mine said "try this" as the sun started to heat up the rocks below the dam. I tied on the odd looking creature in a brown color on a #8 hook and let it fly. The rest is history, I have been hooked on the woolly bugger since. Since that summer encounter with the woolly it has produced consistently right thorough Fall and into the Winter and onto my trips thus far in the Spring. What is it about this thing that consistently produces results? Well, it seems to be everything and nothing at the same time to the waiting trout. It is both a simple attractor and imitator of aquatic life all at the same time. It can imitate the Sculpin, the Crayfish, and larger insects and minnows in the food chain. Joel Vance has a feature article in the April 99' issue of the Missouri Conservationist about the Woolly Bugger. In it he tells us that this fly gets no respect but has been around since the days of Izaak Walton. He further states that "Woolly buggers are woolly worms with chrome fenders", meaning they are usually tied with a little flash in the tail or body. And, I agree with his conclusions that this fly is "Dynamite" in Missouri waters. Having had almost a years experience with this fly let me tell you how I fish it in Taneycomo. Just like the Soft Hackle I cast this fly across current or at a quarter downstream. I use a five weight rod with a tapered leader of 7 feet and at least a 4 foot section of 5x tippet. After casting cross current I let the fly sink while watching the line, many times strikes occur while the fly sinks. After the line takes a natural bow I begin slowly stripping the line and watch for the strike. Sometimes they will hit on the strip in the swing other times they will hit when the line is almost straight downstream from you. At times you have to vary the retrieve, so experiment. To trout it must seem a big meal compared to our usual offerings below the dam and I especially like it when things get a little windy and there's a healthy chop on the water. The woolly has done well for me since last summer catching trout of all sizes, from the dinks that come from our Federal hatchery to the nicer fish put in by the DOC and on to the brutes that have been around awhile. My favorite woolly color is a dark olive, on a size 10 hook, with a 2x long shank. I tie mine with several strands of flash in the tail and a little along the body. I also weight them with 15-20 turns of medium lead on the hook. I have also had success with black, brown, and light olive. And, while I have made them in various sizes from 12 to 6. It seems that the size 10 produce the best for me. So, next time when you have the need to try something different get out the woolly buggers with "Chrome fenders" and hang on. They are easy to tie, available at local fly shops, and releasing fish is a breeze thanks to the long shank. View full article
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