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Phil Lilley

Lake Drawndown Scheduled

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Empire Electric will start drawing down Lake Taneycomo on Saturday morning, Aug 16 and have the lake down till Sunday night or Monday morning to replace the splash board on Powersite Dam.

What's happened in the past and will happen this time is that Saturday, for most of the day, the water will be or may be off at Table Rock Dam. At some point, Table Rock will start running 1-plus units to "water" the upper end of the lake.

Dropping the lake 4 feet at the lower end exposes about 80% of the gravel bars from Fall Creek upstream to the dam if no water is run from Table Rock. So, Table Rock and Powersite coordinate their releases to in effect cover the gravel bars during this event.

The flow above Fall Creek will be fast and shallow. The flow below the dam will not look any different than 1-plus units running. The flow below Fall Creek will be slower and the lake will appear very low so gravel bars and trees that have been left mid channel will come into play for boaters.

We hope to cut out alot of these trees when the water is low. Hope to replace our no wake buoys too.

After the weekend, you'll see the Corp "cycling" the water as normal, with times of no generation especially at night.

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i can only imagine what it will look like when they run a managed water release. Im thinking opening day at roaring river... shoulder to shoulder. No parking etc etc..

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Phil,

You say that above Fall Creek will be 'fast and shallow'. Do you think one would be able to wade/fly fish around lookout down to Andy's? I'm thinking of trying to take advantage of the low water and get a weekend of fishing in. This is of course assuming that the Corp does their job this go around and actually releases water on the top end. :D Thanks in advance for any info.

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May be. hard to say.

If the Corp delays even an hour and exposes the upper lake gravel bars to the summer sun and heat, it will kill every scud in the gravel. They've done it before... I hope they don't do it again.

So it won't break my heart to see water running early Saturday morning.

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These are boards that are constructed of wood, four feet high, and strung across the top of Powersite Dam on the spillway side. They are design to either give-way during extreme high water so are taken out by hand or by charge during high water, like we had in April. This allows more water to flow thru and keeping water levels lower in the upper lake (Taney).

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I can recall when these boards were initially installed. Maybe 1979, but don't quote me on that. The boards accually changed t-como's lake level from the old 699 to the present 701. They also changed flow and the depth on the upper end. Before the boards were added, the rebar hole was only a back-eddy off of the old "S" bend riffle below the current location of #3 outlet. All three outlets entered the lake in different locations back then. Not far from where they are now, but at least 40 to 50 feet difference. The water was alot deeper before the boards were added, even though the lake level was at 699. Increased generation and flood gates has allowed for the upper end to fill up with gravel and have a leveling effect. In the 70's you could only wade across in about three places. Most of the channel was 8 to 10 feet in depth, an ideal staging area for big fish. Lilley made a comment earlier about the exposed gravel bars and the killing of the scuds if they leave the water down during this construction. During the initial construction of these boards, the water was down for at least two days, the lowest I have ever seen. I think this led to the demise of the fresh water shrimp in the 80"s. I have witnessed a lot of changes on the upper end in the past 30 years. Most have not been if favor of the angler or the fish. T-como is still a great fishing experience, but it used to be even better.

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My memory of fishing at outlet #2 in the year 1975. My dad let me off at the dam and I joined dozens of anglers fishing the area from the hatchery downstream. If you drew a line from the present point of gravel below outlet #2 downstream to rebar, that where waders were lined up, all bait fishing and most using roe. It must have been springtime. The rainbows were spawning and full of roe. I used salmon eggs.

There was an old guy- Doc Falkner- who talked to me alittle. He was catching lots of big rainbows and taking the roe for bait. He bragged on having pounds and pounds of "red gold" in his freezer.

When someone in the line of anglers would hook a trout, they'd yell something and head downstream fighting their fish. Everyone would reel in and let him pass. Almost every time, they fight it to the rebar hole and break the fish off, come back up cussing and get back in line. Didn't see hardly anyone land one.

I remember being able to wade across (no waders) about 100 feet above outlet #2 but it was up to my chest. Downstream is was way too deep.

Just talked to Tom Snider, manager at Powersite. He has a pic of the dam in 1911 in which the boards are there. He said he thinks they played around with the heights of the boards from 2 feet to 5 feet but settled on 4 feet about the time Table Rock Lake was built in 1958. He has been at Powersite since 1978 and the boards have not changed. He did say that they may have run the water at Powersite differently prior to his coming and that may have affected the power pool but he isn't aware of it.

Anyway- back to fishing. On my last day, in my last hour, I hooked and landed my first big rainbow. It was a nice female, full of roe. I had wanted some roe so bad- I offered to buy some from Falkner in which he declined my offer saying it was too valuable to him to part with (remember, pounds and pounds). When I landed my fish, he was on me like a hawk, wanting the roe. Since I was leaving and had to way to use it on that trip and seeing I wasn't coming back any time soon, I gave him the roe and took my gutted fish home.

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Phil,

An interesting story. I remember Doc and some of the other old timers. Most of them kept every fish over 5 pounds that they caught. But, like you said, they would give you room to fight your big fish, and you would not lose your fishing spot when the fight was over.

I didn't realize that the boards were always there. It must have been a replacement phase that I recall around 1979. The newspapers back then showed the lake level at 699 during normal operation. You did not have a # to call like you do now for an offical lake level. The first telephone # that I recall was out of Oklahoma and you talked to a real person. He or she would give you a predicted schedule for the next three days, subject to weather change.

I'm glad that you remember the deeper water on the upper end. You can see the changes that has occurred over the past 30 years.

Doc, Dave Bethurm, and myself, started night fishing with flyrod back in the fall of 1974. Doc would sit in a lawn chair at #2 with a rod baited up with the roe you were talking about. Dave and I would fish #10 scuds. We caught big fish because there were so many out there, not because we were skilled in the art of night fishing. Several people bait fished at the bighole using laterns at night. They caught some huge rainbows.

I like hearing stories from the 70's. Got any more?

Thanks!

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Rick Osenga, a good friend now retired from CenturyTel, tells the story of working on the old Sammy Lane Boat Dock back in the late 60;s. He said the shrimp were so thick that they'd jump up and down on the dock, knocking the bugs from the foam and start a feeding frenzy- big rainbows eating the shrimp as they fell. That was of course down town Branson.

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