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Phil Lilley

Lilley's Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report, June 1

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Note:  This report will be current for as long as the gates are open, which may be for most of the month of June.

We've gone from very little generation to a torrent.  But this was predicted and expected. When the lakes filled up, water would have to be released.  And it is -- to the tune of 17,800 cubic feet per second.  This might sound like a huge release,  but it isn't.  Four full units is about 15,000 c.f.s., so this is just a little more.  Dam operators are releasing 12,300 c.f.s. through the turbines and 5,500 c.f.s. over five spill gates right now.  More fun facts -- the water temperature of the lake water coming through the turbines is 49.5 degrees F, and the water coming over the gates is 62 degrees.

Table Rock Lake's level just dipped below its flood pool level.  It's at 930.90 feet, dropping a whopping 0.1 feet in the last 12 hours.  Beaver is still releasing about 7,300 c.f.s. of water and its level is a full foot below flood pool at 1,128.96 feet.  This flow from Table Rock Dam probably won't decrease for many weeks, since it needs to drop more than 16 feet, and Beaver needs to drop about 10 feet. 

At this time, there is no measurable rain in the seven-day forecast, which is a good thing.  I'm sure that will change, and any precipitation will only lengthen the period of time of water release at our dams.  As I reported in my last fishing reports and amid our conversations on One Cast, enjoy the low water we had the last couple of weeks because it was probably  the last for the duration of the summer.

Heavy flows are here to stay for this summer season.

Fishing from the bank or dock will be tough on the upper end of the lake.  There are a few spots around the hatchery outlets below the dam where you can catch fish, but those are in the trophy area, so you're limited to flies and lures -- no soft plastics or anything scented.  And, yes, night crawlers smell!  We've had a rash of poachers fishing below the dam with bait who have been keeping all kinds of fish, mostly illegal trout.  Now we'll likely see people fishing above the cable at the dam, which is also illegal -- and dangerous.  But our agents aren't too busy with deer or turkeys, so they have a lot of time to check these areas.  Plus many of us anglers are ready to capture photos on our phones to immediately  send to our local agents.  A picture of a license plate and the poachers themselves go a long way toward prosecution, even if they are "caught red handed" at the scene.

Here are their phone numbers.  Best to text them.  My experience with texting them is that I rarely get a response, and that's okay with me.  They may not be on duty or able to drive to the location at that time.  But they will respond if they are able to.

Quinten 417-294-5543

Chris 417-546-0833y

Operation Game Theft 800-392-1111

With any amount of generation, there are some things that you should not do for your own safety.  Don't use anchors in fast current.  Don't drift into trees or docks. Stay aware of where you're going and plan ahead when drifting in current.  Watch out for kayakers and other boats.  WATCH YOUR WAKE!!  We've seen some big boats on the lake lately.  I think they call them wake boats.  Unlike Table Rock, Taneycomo is small and narrow.  Plus we have a lot of smaller boats that can be swamped with one big wake.  Over the weekend we had one report of a smaller v-bottom boat pulling up to the cable below the dam and dropping an anchor.  When the anchor caught the bottom, it almost threw one person out of the boat.  They had to cut the anchor rope so that the boat wouldn't be swamped.  Think!!!  The risk is not even worth the fishing prospects.  There is slower water close to the bank where one can anchor, but be very smart about it.  Dragging chains is the same thing.  If they catch on the bottom while the boat is drifting at 6 m.p.h., the jolt will send everybody to the deck and/or the side of the boat.

Fishing . . . scuds are king once again!


These are scuds (freshwater shrimp) from the bellies of three rainbows caught yesterday by clients of Tony Weldele.  They drifted from Fall Creek down using scuds and did quite well.  We saw large schools of scuds along our banks and in the pond weed beds before heavy generation started this weekend.  And in high water events in the past, we've seen scuds dislodged from their environment and eaten by trout,  so drifting scud flies has proved successful.

Using four-pound line, we are drifting #12 scuds either on a drift rig or carolina rig.  Use a quarter-ounce weight when drifting from the dam down to Lilleys' Landing and a 3/16-ounce weight from Lilleys' Landing on down lake.  The water slows down enough to warrant less weight from Lilley's down.  If you use too much weight, you'll get snagged on the bottom a lot.  But one thing is for sure -- you have to have the fly on the bottom to garner the bit.  Scud colors make somewhat of a difference.  Of course, gray is their natural color but as you can see from the image, they are a brownish/olive color, too, so we also use those colors.

I used a scud Sunday dubbed with a material called rainbow scud dubbing and did pretty well, especially below Fall Creek.  I was having a hard time staying on the bottom.  What I should have done is add a small split shot to the line just above the bell weight.  This is an easy and quick way to adjust your weight.

Drifting night crawlers and minnows on the bottom from Lilley's down lake is catching some trophy browns lately, too.  We used a #6 or #8 hook, 3/16-ounce weight and four-pound line.  No need to inject air in the worm since it will stay off the bottom with this much current running.

Orange PowerEggs have been the hot PowerBait lately.  Drifting in the Monkey Island area down through Branson Landing has produced some nice limits of rainbows.  Also throwing Cleos and other small spoons, but let them drop down a bit before reeling.  Vary the speed of retrieve, too.  Freshly stocked rainbows are prone to chase, and the stocking boat has been out stocking rainbows quite a bit lately down in the Branson Landing area.

In the trophy area, I've already covered drifting scuds on the bottom.  Some of our guides are also using San Juan Worms, shad flies and egg flies, along with the scuds.  You can use a double rig, tying on two flies about 12 inches apart.  The drawback is if you snag and lose your rig, you lose two flies instead of one.   When drifting more than one drift, pick different paths each time you drift down, especially if you're not catching very many.  Also, I pay attention to my running path up lake.  I don't like to run over the same water I'll be drifting down.  And, of course, try to be courteous to those who are fishing when running.


Drifting small jerk baits I expect will become more and more effective as this flood gate event continues.  More and more shad will enter the lake, and these small lures are just the thing to catch some big trout.  Use a floating jerk bait about 2.5 to 3 inches long in shad colors.  Any brand will do.  Less expensive is better because you will lose some lures.  Rig them using a drift rig or carolina rig.  Start with an 1/8-ounce weight and add weight if needed.  Four-pound line is fine but even six-pound isn't too heavy.

Throw a suspending jerk bait for big trout.  Early and late in the day are the best times.  Anywhere from Rockaway Beach to Table Rock Dam is the best place, and not even against a bank where we usually fish.  We've been seeing big trout come from the middle of the lake.  The trophy area has been hot, as well as the Cooper Creek Flats.

As for baits, the  Suspending Rouges, MegaBass 110+, Duane's Custom Baits, Smithwick Stick Baits all will work.  Make sure they dive more than eight feet deep and are suspending.  Use a snap swivel for best action (make sure it's a strong swivel and not a cheap one since they do break).


With the spill gates open, there are warm water species of fish coming in to Taneycomo from Table Rock with a lot of smallmouth bass and white bass caught.  This is pretty much at random, but they are hitting white jigs along the bank in the slower water.


Images courtesy of Becky and Seth Garrison who enjoyed a week fishing Lake Taneycomo.  Scud image cutesy of Captain Tony Weldele, Rainbow Chasers Guide Service.

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