Ryan Walker
Fished the James Thursday, parking at the confluence of the Finley and walking as far down as I could before it was over my head. Fished streamer patterns all morning, mostly a fly I have grown to love called the Mohawk Sculpin (pics below). Fish are in fine shape, and the river has good water as well. Hooked plenty of fish and saw several deer, plus one really confused Tom turkey that didn't get the memo that Turkey season was over!  
Like I said in an earlier post; the river has changed, as it always does, but is in great shape. I found fish in "new" spots, and some in the old reliable spots as well. Didn't see any beds, so I'd say the spawn is officially done or the floods washed the beds out. 
I'm going to kayak this stretch, to Hootentown, Tuesday and will post a report after. Now that Memorial Day has kicked summer off, my fishing days will be during the week, either in the evenings or when I'm not traveling. I like people, but in small doses, and not on the river unless they are with me...
Mohawk Sculpin, size 4

Here is some footage from a previous trip:
Bill Babler

If you're currently fishing either Table Rock or Bull Shoals the two words in the title are just about as important as putting gas and oil in your boat.
For that past two and perhaps 3 weeks we have seen some very good top water activity on both lakes.  Most of these are single strike fish or at the most perhaps 2 or 3 chasers.  Most times they are singles within a group.  By this I mean if you see a chase it is probably a single fish pushing the shad.  At one time there may be several pushers, but they may be separated by 10 to 50 feet.
They are running lightning fast and will usually grab their goodie in either a single push or maybe a triple push.  This means urgency, getting the bait weather it be a top water bait or a swim bait, or even perhaps a Dixie Jet, to the fish as quickly as possible is of the upmost importance.  Not only is urgency very important, accuracy goes hand in hand with trying to be proficient at capturing these top water Rocket  Ships.
They are up and down and down and up right now, depending on the day from 5:30 till 8 AM and if there is a breeze and some clouds they may stay up most of the morning.
Here are a couple of tips, when down fishing and waiting for surfacing fish, keep your chaser rod and bait within easy reach.  Keep it with about 12 inches of line extended past the tip of the rod to the bait and just let the line and bait hang over the edge of the boat with the rod laying as it would on the deck when you are traveling.  Don't lay it across the deck, it is a great way to hook it on your back cast and to also trip over it.   "Experience speaking here."
As soon as you see a chase reel in the bait you are fishing as quickly as possible.  ie Burn that Sucker in.  It you leave it in the water unattended some sneaky fish will take your junk.  Put yourself in a proper casting stance and launch your bait in the direction the chase or chasing is taking place.  Ie use Kentucky windage to throw ahead or to the nose of the fish.  If you throw behind him you missed.  If you make a poor cast, don't fish it in, burn in that throw and try and make a more accurate one.  When you throw to a swirl, throw a long high cast, don't try and bullet cast to the circle.  If you do, this is almost an immediate backlash.  Take a high arch and it will land past your location and reel or swim the bait thru or ahead of the circle.
When the fish takes either the top water, the swim bait or the  flutter spoon the number one rule is " DON'T JERK--DON'T JERK---DON'T JERK---DON'T JERK.  get the point?  If you jerk the fish won't.  Simply increase your tempo on the reel handle and lean back on the rod.  A snap or a foot setting jerk will not only lose the fish but can do yourself or your companion very serious hard with all those deadly hooks traveling back at you at light speed.  If you don't hook yourself or your buddy, most often the bait will slam into the side of the boat and shatter costing major bucks, as these top water baits are pricy.
If your lucky enough to get that stinker to the boat be very careful about bringing him or her aboard.  They can be a very mean passenger.  If you swing them look for either hooks in the seats or your leg.  Be careful with all those sharps.
Take a little time and practice casting for distance, as they are always at maximum throw.  Make sure your reel is set as well as it can be.  Every morning take a practice toss or two just to see that the spool is flowing smooth and not to slow or fast.  Don't need a backlash during the heat of the battle.
If your accurate and be quick but don't hurry, you will more than double your top water day just by being ready and acting with accuracy and speed.
Get out there and catch them, fishing is as good as it will be for a spell.
Phil Lilley
We've seen very little generation the past two weeks.  If the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers run it at all it's midday for a couple of hours, enough to move algae out of the upper end of the lake.  A slimy algae has been growing in both Table Rock and Taneycomo during daylight hours, which is normal for this time of year.  The fish don't mind it, but it's tough on us anglers.
With little generation, our water temperature inches up on warm, sunny days.  Surface temperature may reach into the 60's, but the lower water levels are staying a safe and cool 50-something.  This is actually beneficial for both trout and other aquatic life like midges and scuds.  Plus, it makes the trout more active -- they like water in the upper 50's.
We've had some rain the last few days but not enough to change generation patterns.  Table Rock has only come up about nine inches, still under 916 feet which seems to be manageable. I see no big change in this pattern, unless we get a substantial rain, and then all bets are off.
Fly fishing has been very good with the water off.  I should say, small jigs and flies are drawing bites whether on a spin or fly rod.  Zebra midges under a float and/or micro and small marabou jigs under a float are all working very well.
We had a gentleman come in the shop today showing a jig that he couldn't keep the trout off of -- an 1/16th-ounce black and yellow marabou jig with a gold head.  We quickly stocked some in our store.  He said he was using it under a float.
Duane Doty and I chased a crappie story on our lunch break today.  We heard crappie were stacked along the wall at the Branson Landing, right in front of Joe's Crab Shack!  We worked the lower half of the wall at the Landing using jigs and caught two rainbows -- but no crappie!!
Guide Steve Dickey says the first two hours of the day have been the best for catching a lot of trout up in the trophy area on a variety of small jigs under a float.  He's using a small ginger or light olive jig (marabou) or a half-micro in olive or brown.  The best depth has been 39.5 inches deep.  You'll have to ask him why 39.5 inches...
Wayne and Rob Dickerson of northeast Kansas come to  spend a week with us every May,  renting a G-3 bass boat from us and fishing exclusively jigs all week.  Well, Monday Rob scored a trophy brown, weighing 7.2 pounds, 23.25 inches long.

They were drifting and throwing white 1/8th-ounce jigs along the bluff bank across from Cooper Creek. Sound familiar?  Quite a few big browns have come off that bank.  The fish was released at the dock after a few pictures and measurements.
Spoons are still catching fish, especially down lake from Monkey Island, the mouths of Roark and Turkey Creeks and even up in those creeks a few hundred yards.  Cleos, Kastmasters and Sin-a-Lures in varied colors thrown and retrieved are catching mainly rainbows and even a big one occasionally.  Steve Stiehr of House Springs, MO, caught this 7.6-pound rainbow down lake yesterday on a green Spin-a-Lure.  It was released at our dock.

The best live bait by far has been air-inflated night crawlers.  Set the weight 18 inches from the hook and that's how high off the bottom the worm will float.  Trout will see and bite it a thousand times faster than non-inflated.  Minnows under a float are working, too, especially up closer to the Fall Creek line.  Set them about 36 inches deep.
Phil Lilley
Generation from Table Rock Dam has finally slowed to the point that we can actually predict with certainty that we'll be seeing quite a bit of down water in the coming days, that's until the next big rain.  Mild temperatures and normal lake levels mean less power demand and running water.  That's good for those who like no generation on Taneycomo for fly fishing as well as anchoring and tight line bait fishing.
This week was split between the water being down completely to running 40 megawatts, or just less than one unit, for most of the day.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason for either so check the SPA schedule.
I reported the last time they shut the water off on our lake about how the gravel bars had changed, mainly above Fall Creek.  I said that knowing exactly what the bottom looked like water hard because of the turbid water conditions.  Usually our lake water is very clear but heavy rain water inflows into Table Rock clouded it's water and we're still getting that "dirty" water.  Visibility is about 24 inches.  But we can see the humps and bars along the banks and on the channel edges above Fall Creek, through the Narrows and up past Lookout Island.

Boating up through the Narrows is tricky.  I've damaged 2 props so far this year, along with 2 more on other shallow spots.  But with these boating hazards comes neat fishing habitat!  Trout are holding near these bars, which in some cases drop off quickly into 2-4 feet of water.
With 40 mw of water running, the Narrows is still shallow and you can hit the high spots just off the channel if you're not careful.  Getting above Lookout Island is also tricky but not impossible.  The real tricky part is the fact that you have to get on plane and stay there over the shallow areas at Lookout, the chute above Trophy Run and on up to Big Hole.  I wouldn't venture past Big Hole unless you're very acquainted with that area.

With all the changes above Fall Creek, fly fishers should be excited.  Boating up and getting out wading these areas should be a challenge unlike fishing some of Missouri's trout streams.
With the water off, there's some current at Lookout and at the Narrows most of the time which makes the opportunity of drifting flies very attractive.  They're taking Zebra Midges (#14, 16 red, green), scuds (#12, 14, 16 gray, brown, orange, tan) and San Juan Worms (pink, red) using 6x tippet and a small indicator.  Also drift 1/125-ounce jigs (white, pink, brown/orange head) under a float 24-30 inches deep.
I got out with friends this week and fished between Lookout and the Narrows, throwing a 1/32-ounce brown/orange head or sculpin-ginger/orange head jig using 2-pound line.  I set the boat on the shallow side of the lake (trolling motor and big motor dragging the bottom) and threw to deeper water (by still very shallow, less than 2 feet) and worked the jig fairly slow.  We caught a lot of rainbows, most were small but got some big ones too.  They were aggressively taking the jigs.
With 40 megawatts of water running, I'd throw either a 3/32- or 1/16-ounce jigs in the same fashion.  Plus I would word the deeper  water too using a white jig.  Steve Dickey, one of our fishing guides, has been using white jigs under a float since the first of the year and still is catching trout consistently.  He's using a 1/16-ounce white jig under a float from 4-8 feet deep, depending on the depth of water he's fishing.
Our trout are hitting the surface of the water quite a bit but I haven't figured out exactly what they're taking or how to catch those fish.  It isn't a subtle take like they're taking a midge--it's an aggressive slash like they may be chasing a minnow or shad.  And we've seen some big fish come up in front of the dock for the last couple of months.

Below Fall Creek, there are changes but not like those in the Trophy Area.  Below Fall Creek on the inside bend, gravel has stacked up so that side is shallower than it was last year.  But if you remember, I pushed fishing that side because is was less fished and trout were holding and using that shallow side.  There are plenty of bugs in the gravel to hold good numbers of trout and imitating those bugs is the trick to catching them.  They also will eat night crawlers and other live baits as well.  Don't let the shallow water keep you from fishing that area.
Air injected night crawlers is going to be a hot bait while the water is off.  Put the weight at least 18 inches from the hook so that the worm floats off the bottom.  You can inject it with air or add a Gulp floating egg at the head of the hook (added before the worm) to make it float.  Same with a minnow.  There are floating jig heads but I haven't had much luck with them.  Four-pound line is fine.  Using a drift rig is fine but use the smallest bell weight--1/8th ounce.
Trolling is still catching some good trout.  Try a Flicker Shad and troll it from Monkey Island down through the Branson Landing.  You'll catch rainbows and browns with a good possibility of hooking a big, trophy brown trout.
Trip Report, 4/17
We boated to the dam this evening.  They were only running 24 megawatts of water which is about 1/2 unit, lake level 703.7 feet.  This is pretty nominal water to be running to Rebar Hole but we made it no problem.
We started throwing a 1/50-ounce marabout white jig using 2-pound line but the east wind was too tough to work the jig so I tied on floats.  We also switched to 1/125-ounce white jigs and get the float anywhere from 24 to 40 inches deep, depending on the depth of water we drifted over.
The rainbows liked our white jigs, and nice ones!  Jordan caught on pretty well as you can see in this video and dad (Greg) wasn't too far behind.  We fished till about 7:30 and headed back as soon as we noticed they had shut the water off.  It got real shallow fast!
Phil Lilley
Vic Eldrid and his friends were drifting just above Short Creek about noon today when something struck his minnow/Gulp white egg combo. It was big. The 3 guys in one of our jon boats had a time trying to get the big fish secure, tossing the one and only net from one end of the boat to the other. But they got it in somehow. Getting into the small livewell was a chore too... and I had a harder time getting it out! It's a 23.5 x 34.5 inch brown weighing 20.56 pounds. They said it would have weighed more if it hadn't coughed up a half digested rainbows just before they netted it.
It's in a live tank reviving. If it makes it, it will be released.


This was a great fish.  My friend and former co-worker from many years ago, Donald (Butta Bean) Whitelaw, and his friend, Todd Murphy, came down from the STL area today for an extended weekend of trout fishing on beautiful Lake Taneycomo.  Donny stopped by the fly shop for some advise and to say hello early this afternoon.  I invited them back for a little fishing when I was done with a project I was working on.  
About 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon, we headed up the lake to the cable at the dam. We did one long drift from the cable down to the narrows. We were all throwing jigs most of the time. Donny kept switching from a jig to a jerk bait and back to a jig again.  3/32 ounce jigs in sculpin and ginger along with grey and white jigs were catching fish. There were a couple of hot spots below the cable to the boat launch that were good. 3 small rainbows were caught across from outlet one.  4-5 more were caught from the lower half of the island across from outlet 2 down to past the tree below the old rebar hole.  
We picked up a couple of fish from the boat ramp down to Trophy Run and then a few more from there down to below Look Out. We hit a slow spot the 1st half of the bluff below Look Out to the Narrows.  The second half of that bluff to the narrows has been a good area for browns for me the last couple of weeks and I was telling Donny and Todd this.  
I kept the boat close to the bluff and we threw as close to the bank as we could get.  Todd caught the first brown and it was about 15 inches.  Donny caught the next and it was a nice male about 17 inches long.  I caught a small rainbow and was visiting with a friend in another boat that was drifting by when Donny said he thought he had a good one.  
It was taking line and running up stream pretty hard so I started chasing it with the trolling motor so Donny could gain some ground on it.  It finally came to the surface and it was a pig!  I had Todd reel in and get the net ready.  She came up and dove down a few more times before gliding head first into the net. This was Donny's largest brown he has ever caught and it was great being a part of and watching it happen.

Phil Lilley

Generation has been very constant and consistent the past couple of weeks. Operators at the dam have run 40 megawatts most of each day with the exception of a blast of water in the mornings of about two units. Forty megawatts is a little less than one full unit; the lake level is about 704.5 feet. It really is a nice flow of water, allowing you to boat to the cable at the dam if you know where you're going! And it's a perfect flow for drifting down here out of the trophy area.
There have been some changes to the upper lake due to the heavy flows back in early January. There's some new root wads dotting the lake in the stretch from Short to Fall Creek -- one right in the middle of the lake. There's also some new trees on the inside bend in the same stretch. No changes at the mouth of Fall Creek that I can tell yet. The water is still too turbid to see the bottom. The channel is still on the far side of the lake away from the marina.
Above Fall Creek is still a mystery, too. The gravel bar coming off the island on the left, just up from Fall Creek, has changed some. There's some deep holes there that weren't there before. The Narrows has taken on a whole new look with the lower bank washed out and more trees laying long-wise in the channel. There is at least one deep hole with a steep drop-off off the shallow flat, and the channel may be deeper in some places. The lake from there to Lookout seems to be the same, but we won't know until the water is shut completely down and we can see the bottom.
The next change up lake is the cut above Trophy Run, where the lake's channel shoots up the right side to the clay bank hole below the boat ramp. The channel is much more defined and is very close to the right or NE bank now. Plus it looks to be much deeper.

Rebar chute and hole is still a mystery, too. I tried to look at it yesterday, idling up through the area in my boat. I could not find any kind of channel or deep run, only very shallow, flat gravel. There may be a chute or deep channel running straight up lake just off the island. If this is the new channel, rebar will look totally different.
Fishing! Fishing is still very, very good. There seems to be an abundance of trout in the lake, and they are very healthy from all the food they got during the high water. We had some of the best bags of fish weighed in at last Saturday's private trout tournament that we've seen in many years and fishing continues to be good this week, too.
Our water color is still kind of chalky in color, but visibility is still about five-feet deep. I think that hurts the jig fisherman because of the limited sight of the fish in the water, but it doesn't hurt the use of scented baits or live baits, like Berkley products and night crawlers.

Drifting bait from Fall Creek down has been very good, but you have to watch how much weight you use. I'd only use a #7 split shot or may be a 1/8-ounce bell weight at the most because the water is so slow. Stay in the middle of the lake, too, because of the wood along the sides. The best color of PowerBait has been white and orange.
There's been a lot of people trolling and finding browns and rainbows down lake from the Branson Landing. They are trolling Shad Raps mainly, but other smaller trolling baits will do.
In the trophy area, throwing an 1/8-ounce jig and working the middle of the lake has been the best. I've been faring better in the middle compared to working the sides, I think because the fish aren't holding in slower water. The water is slow enough that they can hold anywhere and be good. White still is a good color, but it's cooled off a bit. Dark colors have come on strong -- black, olive, sculpin and brown with highlights of ginger and orange.

Dan Boone, Stillwater, OK. caught and released this 25-inch brown this morning while fishing in the trophy area on Lake Taneycomo. He caught it on a white, 1/8-ounce jig, in very tough, windy conditions.
I've tried drifting scuds and have not done well, but I wouldn't cross them off your list. Egg flies, as well as San Juan worms, should be good to drag on the bottom, too.
I've also done well fishing a 1/32-ounce jig under a float from 7 to 10 feet under an indicator. The best color has been an orange-headed sculpin/ginger jig. The trophy area isn't the only place this will work. Fish it below Fall Creek in the middle to the inside bend.
Bill Babler
There are a dozen names for it and some of them are not flattering.  Alabama Rig A-Rig, Umbrella Rig, Mob Rig, School Rig or just plain old Stupid Rig.  Thing about it is what ever you call it or how ever you feel about it, this fishing method is legal, deadly effective and here to stay.
In the Fall of 2012 this rig started showing it's "Ugly Face" to some and "Oh My Gosh Good" to others.  The first one I happen to see was being used by Pete Wenners and Chris Tetrick.  They had started using this Andy Poss fishing method after seeing it win multiple tournaments in the Eastern US.  Now the fishing method that Andy started in 2009 is wide spread throughout the entire country and at least 20 different bait manufactures make and market variation of the Umbrella rig.

As late Winter and early Spring of 2013 rolled around, A-rig fishing as it is known for short started catching huge strings of bass on all of our White River lakes Chain.  It was fueled by producing huge stringers of bass that had not been caught here since the fish kills of the early 90's.  It has become a staple here to this day.   What we thought at first to be a passing fad now is a very important tool in catching large stringers of bass in very cold and cool water months of the year, by simulating small schools of either threadfin or gizzard shad.
Most Alabama Rigs are constructed of a 5 arm, wire rig, similar to the spokes on an umbrella.  There are umbrella rigs constructed with as many as 20 arms that hold various baits and teasers.  You are only limited to your imagine when it comes to attractants.  Each state has its own regulations on the rig, concerning how many "Hot Baits" or hooked baits you can have on the rig.  In Missouri we are limited to only 3 hooked or Hot Baits. If we are fishing in our Sister water in Arkansas we are not limited to 3.
The next question is how in the world with only 3 hot hooks on a multiple baited lure can you select the proper one that the fish will hit.  Most Alabama Rigs are built with an extended middle arm.  This allows one single hot bait to trail the school or mob.  Fish also approach the school most often from the bottom, so wise A-Rig fishermen rig the two bottom arms and the middle extended arm to present the best opportunity for hook ups.  The remainder of the baits are teasers and should be presented in a way to make it look as if they are tightly schooled.  The bass will most often take the trailing bait or lower extended baits that are not tight to the teaser baits that are in the mob.  At times I even further extend the hot middle bait with a 3" eagle claw wire leader.  It works to perfection and I rarely get non-hook up bites.
Baits and teasers can be anything from willow leaf spinner blades to a variety of soft plastics.  Combinations are countless.  With over 50 manufactures making soft plastic grubs, curly tail minnows, and boot tail shad imitations.

Ok, you have now got your 5 arm rig and your soft plastic Yum-Yums, what hooks are you going to use if the baits are not hooked already and how ya gonna rig it?  When I first started I used Storm Wild Eye Shad.  This is a fantastic small swimbait.  It swims perfectly, comes in a variety of sizes and is nicely weighted with a super heavy hook.  It's best feature and maybe its biggest draw back is the heavy Gamakatsu hook.  With prices on the A-Rigs running from the 9 to 29 dollar range, you want to get as many of these bad boys back as possible when they reach out a grab some underwater something.  And they will.  Lots of fishermen have varied the hook strength to match the line strength that they are throwing the rig on.  Enough line strength to slightly bend the hook without causing it to break the line that is attached to the expensive A-Rig.

When you do hang up, try not and set the hook, just let it come snug and run your boat around behind the snag and try and pull it loose from the rear.  This is the best method.
For me,  I use pretty heavy line.  What say you, you are already dragging wire thru the water, might as well put lite  rope on it to get it back when that old underwater oak branch tries to snatch it from you.  Personally I now use a hook created by Table Rock Bait Co.  ie Chompers.  It is a jig head hook especially designed for the Alabama Rig.  Put a drop of gel super glue on the hook and slide the soft plastic of your choice and your nearly ready to start flinging.   That being said, how in the name of Virgil Ward do I attach the teaser baits to this apparatus.  It can be done several ways.  We all started using a very small hooked jig head, say 1/16th. to 1/8 and simply snipping the hook off at the bend.  That gave us the structure to attach the bait and maintain it in a very nice smimming mode.  Since we have had time to experiment, most good A-Riggers use a small screw attachment called a Hitchhiker.  They can be bought online or at most stores including WalMart.  You simply screw the Hitchhiker into the head of the teaser bait and then put the snap of the hiker into the swivel of the A-Rig arm
Now, I have my line, my umbrella, and my baits all set up.  How do I get this monster in the drink and get it back?  When this deal first started most of us tried to just use a heavy jig rod and a reel that would spool enough big line to get it out there a reasonable distance. This seemed to work somewhat OK until you engaged the reel as the spare tire of a bait was still sailing thru the air.  Most often you just got a clank and a clink and that was pretty much all your regular bait caster wanted of that deal.  There have been a score of improvements in this field also.  The best A-Riggers of 2 yrs. ago were using a Shimano Curado 300e as the reel.  Still hard to beat, but this is heavy.  The reel is also a full hand full for a big guy.  For me at 5'9" I"m not that big I was having trouble with my Curados with not only the weight at 10.8 oz. but the size fitting my hand.  They also carry a very hefty price of $249.95.  The drag is more than solid at 15 pound, so this is the classic reel to handle a 3 plus oz. bait like the rig. It only comes in a gear ratio of 6.4 to1 which is satisfactory, but there are better options now.
Lew's features a reel called the Super Duty that was designed with the A-Rig in mind.  It is Super tough with Brass gearing a heavy 14 pound star drag and is lite weight of 7.8 oz.  This reel is offered in gear ratios of 5.4 to 1 to 8.1 to 1.  It is a low profile soft sided palm size reel that fits the hand much better than the bulkier Curado.  Paired with the New for 2016 Falcon Cara Super Duty 7'6" casting rod you have a multipurpose outfit that fishes either an A-Rig or the new hit of the month sensation the Whopper Plooper.  Just bite off the rig and tie on the Plop and your ready to go. Lew's has the Super Duty regular price for $179.99, but I am seeing it offered on Optic's Planet for $142.00 to $148.99.  A full hundred bucks less than the curado and a very nice lighter weight option.  The Cara Super Duty weighs 2.1 oz. on a split grip frame so you have a outfit that you can throw perhaps a little longer at a total weight of 9.8 oz. making rod and reel lighter than the curado.
Not bad at all for this type of a very heavy preforming outfit.

We are completely set up and ready to let it fly now, but where do we do the flinging.  The A-Rig can be fished just about anywhere that the fish are.  It can be fished this time of the year to suspending fish on bluffends and cove mouths and channel swings just over tree tops.  As the water warms it can be fished to staging fish and fish that are rising in the water column.  I fish it in very similar locations that I would fish a suspending stick bait, as water temperatures rise.
Late Summer and early Fall this bait will again excel as a wonderful dock bait.  When shad are schooling and chasing in the backs of the pockets, it is simply deadly around dock corners.
The best method I have found is to fish the bait with a slow pulling method, letting the bait sink to the desired level on the cast and then retrieving it by pulling the bait thru the water and picking up the slack with the reel.  This method will allow the bait to stall or flutter as it is retrieved.  On the strike, and they can be violent, instead of jerking the rod, just continue to reel picking up the pace or draw the rod back as you would by sweeping it as the hook set on a carolina rig.

How ever you feel about it, the A-Rig is here to stay.  Get geared up properly and see how some of our local fishermen are winding in once unthought of tournament weights.  Now is the time for the Rig, so get your umbrella up and get after it.
Ned Kehde
Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri, began competing on the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Travis, Texas, on Feb. 12, 2007, and at that event, he won $12,000. Since that day, he has competed in 70 FLW tournaments, including four of the prestigious Forrest Wood Cup events, and won $427,000.

Read more: http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/the-life-and-times-of-stacey-king-1986-t0-2016/#ixzz3xWnc3zlt
Phil Lilley
We are a couple of weeks beyond the winter flood, and all of us are breathing a little easier.  The U.S. Corps of Army Engineers has been releasing 20,000 cubic feet per second since early January, moving all this flood water through our lake system.  The word is that operators will continue this flow until Table Rock Lake is down to 920 feet, which may happen as early as next week.
The Corps has managed our lakes in a way that kept a lot of us from being totally submerged by flood waters.  Did you know the water entering Table Rock Lake reached an estimated 300,000 c.f.s.? That was a record.  At the same time, only 72,000 c.f.s. of water was being released, which did flood many roads and houses for a few days, including our lower three units, 19-21.  But can you imagine three times that amount running over Branson?  Our dam system kept all that water back until it was safe to release it.
(Thanks to an amazing army of volunteers, we were able to move out all the furnishings.  New drywall is going up this week and carpet next week, so the affected units will be hosting guests again for the Masters Tournament. We so appreciate all the prayers and calls of concern from so many.)
Just a couple of days into our highest release (72,000 c.f.s.), our lake water turned off-color.  This was from the "flash flood" water entering Table Rock, bringing muddy water into the main lake and through the dam.  The same thing happened with the 2011 high water, but this time the water was much more dirty.  When we started fishing, it was tough, not because of the fast current but because of the muddy water.
This week our water cleared up considerably.  It's not the clear water we associate with Lake Taneycomo, but visibility is such that the fish can now see four to five feet ahead.  I'd call this water clarity "ideal for fishing."
One bonus from our flood waters from Table Rock Lake is the steady flow of threadfin shad -- which our trout absolutely love.  Most of the shad we're seeing are about an inch long, the perfect size for even smaller trout.
We live for shad runs on Lake Taneycomo and for good reason.  Our trout get a big growth boost -- you can see how fat they are!  Plus they really go nuts on anything that looks like a shad for weeks after the shad stop running.  It's some fun fishing.
Fishing with so much water running sounds pretty intimidating, but a lot of people have been fishing slower water from below Cooper Creek all the way down to past Branson Landing.  And the best part has been the number of  really nice, big trout caught down there, both browns and rainbows.
Drifting is the technique.  Use enough weight to tick the bottom.  This is very important.  Stay in the middle of the lake and away from the sides.  There are more trees washed into the lake and they line the sides.
Use a drift rig and at least a 1/4-ounce bell weight with four-pound line.  Drag a shad fly, egg fly or San Juan worm if you're fishing above Fall Creek in the trophy area.  Also, we've been seeing trout, mainly between Fall and Short Creek, full of freshwater shrimp -- so drift a scud.  I'd use a #12 gray scud.
If you're fishing from Cooper Creek down, drift with minnows, night crawlers or Gulp Powerbait, white or orange.  I'd also use a shad fly here.  Some guys this weekend have been using raw shrimp and catching fish.  I think they look like shad . . . maybe.
All boat ramps are clear.  The public fishing dock at Cooper Creek is still not accessible because of high water.
Phil Lilley
It's been an interesting 30 days here on our tailwater. News of the trouble on Lake Taneycomo  in November reached most local newspapers.  But about as soon as the news was really spreading, the situation righted itself and tragedy was adverted.  The water quality from Table Rock had deteriorated so badly that trout started dying both in the tailwater and in the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery.  But a welcome cold snap flipped Table Rock's water over at the dam, sending good, oxygenated water to the bottom.  Our water here on Taneycomo is excellent now and will stay that way through the summer.
Generation has been consistent the past couple of weeks.  The pattern has been two units running 24/7.  We've had a couple of good, soaking rains that bumped up lake levels above us, but that has only has prolonged the current water flows, not increased them.  As soon as Table Rock's level drops to or below 915 feet, we may see less generation  -- or maybe no generation for periods of time.
I'd almost call Taneycomo's trout fishing excellent right now.  I don't use that word to describe fishing (catching) very often because it implies that everyone can catch fish if they try.  But if you drift using a drift rig and a 3/8-ounce bell weight,  topping your hook either with half a night crawler or a Power Bait egg, and drift from Fall Creek to the Landing, you'll catch a trout,  probably  several trout.

The Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery has stocked more rainbows than staff had scheduled  for these winter months because of the poor water quality back in November, so there are more fish in the lake than normal for December, translating to a plethora of trout to be caught.  But as I said in my last fishing report, please do not take advantage of this abundance of trout.  If you're keeping fish, please obey the law and keep your daily limit of four trout and your possession limit of eight -- and that's all.  And be mindful how you handle trout when you release caught fish.  Cut the line if the hook is buried.  Hooks are cheap!
I've already given you the best way to catch trout right now.  Dock fishing is just okay at present,  but night crawlers are the best bait.  If you're interested in catching bigger trout, throw a crank bait.  Stick baits such as Rapalas, Rogues and all the other baits you'd throw for bass will work.  I'd throw medium to large baits, too, not the small ones.
Fly fishing has been tough mainly because of the turbidity of the water.  When Table Rock turns over, we get a lot of brown sediment in our water, but it will clear up in January.  If you're fly fishing and using flies under a float deep, I'd try larger flies such as a #10 scud, egg flies or San Juan Worms in big, bright colors.  I've drifted these flies using a drift rig in the trophy area lately but really haven't done that well.  It really is better fishing below Fall Creek right now.