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Phil Lilley

2019 New Years fishing report

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We are well into our winter season here on Lake Taneycomo, and things are looking very positive.  We're not flooding for starters!!  It's cold but not too cold.  Lakes in our White River Chain of Lakes are all in good shape -- all are at or near normal levels.  Taneycomo's water has cooled down from 52 (the high this fall) to 46 presently.  What we haven't seen until the last couple of days is heavy generation flows which have moved a lot of old water out of the upper lake and replaced it with clearer, colder water from Table Rock.

When Table Rock turns over in December, the water coming in to our lake has a lot of silt in it.  It's dark and dingy, and our trout don't seem to like it.  Fishing is good but not as good as it is after the silt moves out and the water clears up.  That's what we're seeing now.

Fishing off our dock and in boats using bait has been spotty.  Some days we hear of people catching big numbers of rainbows, mainly on night crawlers and homemade dough bait, and then there are days when it's tough catching a limit of four.  Berkley's Powerbait hasn't been the food of choice for our trout lately , and I'm not sure why.  Now the pink Powerworm is still a good way to catch a lot of rainbows, on a small jig head under a float, but the Gulp Eggs and nuggets just haven't been producing, especially if the water is off with no generation.

Jig fishing has  been somewhat the same.  We've been throwing a variety of colors and sizes of jigs, which have produced some high yields on some trips and slower on others.  We've had some pretty calm days with very little wind when throwing smaller jigs on two-pound line has been pretty effective.  Black/yellow, black/chartreuse and black/olive combinations have made a comeback lately. We didn't do very well in the summer or fall using black, but the trout are hitting it pretty well now.  We've also started using white and white/grey to pick up bigger rainbows and a few browns.  And our mainstay colors that we use all the time are doing well, too -- sculpin, sculpin/ginger, sculpin/peach, brown/burnt orange and brown/black.

We are excited to see more generation with the anticipation of using our crank baits and jerk baits for bigger trout.  Duane Doty has been taking a lot of guide trips this winter throwing jerk baits in the trophy area. When the water was not running much, his clients have mainly only seen chasers and not takers.  The heavier the flow the better these baits do, plus, we're still seeing a lot of big browns up and down from Fall Creek.  Hopefully we'll see more of them tagged here in the coming months.

Fly fishing has been very good this winter so far, especially with periods of no generation lately.  Scuds and sow bugs are still the top flies to use -- from big ones to small ones, #12's to #18's in gray, brown, tan and olive, with gray the best color.  The Mega Worm or Mop Worm, as some call it, has caught some bigger trout lately in the trophy area.  Used mainly under a float, this is a white yarn fly tied on a small jig head and fished a lot like a Powerworm. 

There still seems to be a lot of trophy browns and rainbows below the dam around the outlets and places where there's moving water. 


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