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Phil Lilley

Lilley's Lake Taneycomo fishing report, July 1

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Generation has taken another turn this week, one that will make our fly fishing buddies happy.  There is no generation in the mornings right now, but then operators are cranking it in the afternoons.  But there is a catch . . .let me explain.

In my fishing reports the last couple of weeks, I've mentioned problems at Powersite Dam, Taneycomo's lower dam.  There's a baffle gate system that runs on top of the spillway part of the dam, let down in case of flooding.  One of the baffles is stuck in the down position, allowing the lake to drop an additional three feet when there's no generation.  And when one or two units are running, our lake level here on the upper lake is still pretty low and the current is fast.

When our lake is drawn down like this, a vast area of gravel above Fall Creek is exposed to air -- hot air and sunlight -- which cooks the bugs (scuds, sow bugs), not to mention the sculpin that get marooned in small holes that dry up.  This morning, no water was run to help this situation, but I'm told tomorrow dam operators will "pulse" water throughout the morning to keep this area watered.  We will see.

Boating this low water is tricky, especially above Trout Hollow.  Take it very slow and stay in the channel to Fall Creek.  Pick your way through the Fall Creek bar, then at the narrows, really take it slow.  Just consider that the water is two to three feet lower than normal and a lot of these areas are already pretty shallow.  But our water is clear, and you can see the bottom.

A young man reported that he had caught a lot of trout just below Fall Creek on Power Bait . . . I just did not ask him what color.  Another guest here at the resort, a seasoned jig fisherman, said it's been tough for him and his dad yesterday and today.  He said he's been getting short strikes.  I sympathize with him.  I've had the same problem.  I told him that that's fishing and that these trout will go through spells when they're just not aggressive.

Taking some friends on a boat ride this morning, I saw some of our guides catch fish down at Monkey Island on the pink worm under a float.  Then I saw something I reported back to those guides -- a bunch of trout midging on the surface just upstream of Main Street Dock, at the Landing.  These typically are a school of freshly stocked rainbows, easy to catch with something under a float (jig, pink worm), a spoon, spinner or a small jig.

Another report I got this morning was from a fly fisherman, wading and fishing below the dam.  He caught a lot of nice trout on an olive wooly bugger up around outlet #1.

One last thing -- I've been told that we may see heavy generation here on Lake Taneycomo starting next week.  At some point, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be cleared to start releasing some of the water from all three lakes in this system.  This may not be the big release but it could be the start.


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I have fished everyday this week prior to today.  Fishing for extremely quality fish has been just about as good as I have seen.  These fish are fat and full with most fish having midges and scuds spilling out their mouth when you catch them.

Both Rick Lisek and myself have been using olive green 1/2 micro jigs over the pink worm until the water starts  Due to depth we have been fishing them, even on the bluff banks at no more than 6" deep.  Best bite is prior to the sun hitting the water.  Last 3 days my first fish has been 5:36, 5:38 and 5:39 early in the am.  Bite continues strong until about 8:00.  Clients have been catching quite a few browns on the micro's on the bluff across from Lilleys and you really know when you have one as the drag starts spinning using 6X for a leader.

When they crank the water, and that has been in the 9-10 am frame, either switch to live bait from Trout Hollow down or go down below Cooper and throw a pink worm under a float.  It is fantastic, but you have to get it down. 9' leader is good but 11' is better.  I'm using a heaver head on my power worm that is a size 10 and about a 64th. oz.  You can also add weight, but I usually just go to the bigger jig head and go with 4X as with that much tippet it is a bit stronger and easier to handle.

Yesterday above trout hollow the water was 1.5 ft. deep between there and short creek and I cannot tell you the number of boats I heard and saw hit.  Yes your draft may not be as deep as 1.5ft. but at plow speed or start up it is way more than that.  Why folks think they need to slow down to plow speed is beyond me.  Either blow thru there or slow idle, to keep it off the bottom.

With the low water in the mornings be respectful of others as there is  just not the room out there that there is normally.  We had people yesterday not even looking and had to reel in countless times to avoid getting our  lines ran over.  If you see folks throwing a bank, just go behind them instead of running in front.  We had one guy yesterday come in front of us and hit the bluff bank.  He really hit hard.  I just shook my head the lake was clear 100 yrd. behind us, but he still pulls between us and the bank.

Also there have been Kayak's out in the dark with no lights, so you need to watch for that.  If its foggy they sit very low and are hard to see.

Get out early and enjoy this fantastic Summer fishing.

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