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Phil Lilley

Lilley's Lake Taneycomo fishing report, December 1

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It's been a wild start to winter here in the Ozarks!  The Lake Taneycomo area was rocked Friday night by tornado-like winds and thunderstorms but brought rain that we actually needed.  If there were any leaves and acorns in the trees before last night, there are none now!  This is supposed to be followed by colder temperatures with snow in the forecast later next week.  I know parts of north Missouri have already seen eight-inch-plus snowstorms twice in November.  What will this winter bring -- when it officially gets here?

But actually, the fish don't care!  Cold temperatures and wind help Table Rock Lake turn over, so Taneycomo gets higher oxygenated water. A cold winter cools Table Rock's water so that Taneycomo gets good cold water all summer long.  So whether it rains or snows, trout could care less.  Wind -- heavy winds, like today -- stir up the water and push bugs out of the gravel in shallow water, triggering feeding frenzies in the upper end of our lake.

Now what we as anglers have to do is figure out how to fight the elements and present our lures to the fish in way that fools them.  That is not always easy.

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These windy days are good for throwing heavier lures, lures that fly through wind and are reeled back pretty fast so that the wind doesn't affect the action.  Spoons, spinners, hard baits like crank and stick baits are examples.  Plus the trout tend to be more active and more aggressive when it's very windy.

Generation helps.  The patterns have been unpredictable lately.  If the dam does  run water, it's usually a half  to one unit, but only for a few hours.  But with colder days and nights ahead, that might be bumped up.  Plus the restriction has been lifted for running water because Table Rock Lake has turned over, but it seems that one turbine at the plant is down for maintenance.  We'll see what happens with generation in the days to come.

Minnows and night crawlers are the hot live baits right now.  Live minnows are always good in winter months.  We've had a good crop of pond weed along our bank with schools of small forage fish moving in and out of this cover.  But before long, the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers will open the turbines with heavy current,  washing all of it out.  You see, most of it is dead already, and it will easily be taken out and down lake.  This removes all the cover for these small fish, pushing them out where trout and other fish will feed on them.  

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Marabou jigs, spoons and small stock baits will be the ticket for much of the winter months, too.  Trolling, casting -- whatever you want to do -- should be a way to catch a bunch of good trout.

For the rest of my report, I can point to my last fishing report on November 20th.  Scuds are still the best fly to catch fish almost anywhere on the lake but especially from Short Creek up.  Tan, gray and brown are the best colors.

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