Got to the Big M launch early in the morning, and it was very foggy. Got a little ways outside the mouth of the Big M cove and started fishing as I wasn't going to run down the lake in the fog.
Took Fido for a stroll, and picked up quite a few top water bites around docks and bluff lines. Lots of bites, but the bass were having trouble grabbing the lure. I think sometimes that zig-zag motion when walking the dog confuses them a bit and causes them to miss. Put 6 or 7 in the boat (one keeper) on the top water and probably had another dozen misses. Out of those dozen misses, I think 2 of them touched the lure.
Had 2 doubles, but in both cases one of the fish pulled off before I could get them netted.
Spent some time looking for the mid-channel top water bite, but not very much of that going on in spite of lots of shad swimming around in the channel.
Once the fog burned off, the top water bite died. Threw a jig for a while, picked up a couple on it, had a good one pick it up and swim towards the boat, could not catch up to it and thus did not get a good hook set before he dropped it.
Water is clearing up a bit, saw water temps around 76-77.
Just a quick report to show off a couple of nice trout. I took a family fishing Wednesday in the rain. Thought it would be excellent catching because fish usually like rainy, cloudy days. No so. It was tough. All the guides were calling each other trying to find the bite. We started with a pink worm under a float, then to a night crawler and finally boated to the dam and threw jigs.
My party had never used spin cast gear... mom and dad were lifelong river and creek floaters, fishing for smallmouth bass in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Now in their 80's and most of their fishing days behind them, they were trying trout fishing for the first time. I was wishing for better conditions and the fish to bite.
Forrest caught a few rainbows on both crawlers and a jig. Thelma did too. I let their son Randy and wife Kim have the back of the pontoon and concentrated on the couple in front.
At one point, we were drifting past outlet #2 when I casted for Thelma and showed her how to lift and jig the jig while reeling slowly. Of course a big rainbow just had to grab on -- I set the hook and handed her the rod. I knew immediately it was a good trout and adjusted the drag so the 2-pound line didn't snap.
She fought it perfectly. I made one swipe with the net and missed, hitting the lunker instead. I thought for sure I'd knocked it off but to my surprise, it was till hanging on just past the net's edge. I lunged one more time and got it.
Big male, spawning colors, big hooked jaw. We got a few pictures and back it went, didn't even measure it.
The family shared with me that on the trip back to Oklahoma, Forrest shared that he thought his fishing days were behind him, and that he was so glad to get out on the river again. I'm hoping he and Thelma come back and go out again, even if the fish aren't biting. It was a wonderful trip!
Yesterday afternoon, fishing guide Kris Nelson called the office and said they were coming in with a big brown. So Duane and I got out the scales and watched for them. Kris and his wife bought a small lodge on Stockton Lake last year and that's where he guides most of the time. But he makes trips to Taneycomo in the fall when fishing on Stockton slows down.
Kris and client, Jack Slaughter, were throwing stick baits against the banks below the dam when Jack hooked what turned out to be a 25.5 inch big male brown. The brown was in great condition when it arrived at the dock so we took good care of it. We netted it in a large rubber net and set it in the basket to weigh it - it showed 6.76 pounds. Kris put it in our big minnow tank which is constantly aerated with fresh water. We showed Jack how to hold the fish without hurting it, but also to show the whole fish. But the light wasn't good and the flash bleached out the fish.
We put the brown back in Kris's livewell and pulled the boat to the outside of the dock where the light was better. We kept the fish in the net the whole time to keep from handling it further. Jack pulled the fish out and up to take a couple of series of pictures, never keeping the fish out of the water for more than 20 seconds at a time. As a precaution, Kris held the big net under the fish so as to catch it if it pulled out of his hands. When it was released, it swam off like a shot.
A beautiful early fall morning. I began my day by fishing the edge of the buck brush with a tail spinner type top water. Caught 2 bass total working the brush, one was a keeper large mouth. Did that for an hour and moved out into the channel to try again for the bass that are living out there.
They were scattered, no schools, and every once in a while one or two would come up within casting range. Caught another 4 bass, all spots, fishing main channel. If you can get on them, they will jump on that top water, but if you're late, they'll ignore your bait. I can't make fan casting around the boat work, they've got to be up feeding. Only thing I haven't tried is to try finesse type top waters, may try that next time. Might even try a float and fly.
Seems every time out lately I have a Big One that Got Away story.
I tied up to the dock at Big M, backed the trailer in, as I got in the boat I saw a bass pin some shad against the bank right at the edge of the blacktop in the parking lot. Close enough to the boat that I stepped in the boat and picked up my top water rod and threw a pencil popper right at the spot where that fish came up. Made two casts there, no sniffs. Made another cast about 10 feet further down the bank, walked the bait about 10 feet of the bank, and pow, got a blow up - just felt a little tick, didn't hook up, but I got a look at the fish as it rolled on the bait and it was a good one. Made a few more casts but that bass wasn't coming back.
2017 Lake Taneycomo Sampling Study
Got back on the Rock Tuesday morning, went looking for top water fish. Water was flat calm for most of the morning, made it easy to spot where they were chasing shad on top. Unfortunately they weren't schooled up but were scattered over a broad area. Little shad are everywhere and the bass seem to want to chase them out in the channel, the fish I caught were out in 40-60 FOW. I would move around on the trolling motor waiting for one to pop within casting distance and then try and get that top water on them as quickly as possible as they will usually hit it if you get it on them before they move. Blind fan casting around the boat isn't as productive as targeting active fish.
Didn't catch any big fish (only 2 keepers) and only caught a dozen. There's some good fish out there, just wasn't my day to get any in the boat. It was fun, but I had one of those days where if a few things had gone my way, I could've had several more fish caught. Took me a little while to find the right areas also, and the bite pretty much shut down around 10 AM.
Best fish came on a c-rigged UV Speed Craw, caught a couple on the c-rig after the top bite died off.
Picked up a couple of Kastmasters after reading Mr. Bablers report. May try them next time out.
Surface temp had warmed up a bit to 80.
My objective this morning was to get out and wade the gravel bar there at the Narrows but I made a detour and started throwing streamers just above the bar to what I through were feeding rainbows in fairly shallow water.
I went through several patterns -- olive bugger, light gray sculpin, brown sculpin, olive Mohair Leech and a brown PMS - no bites. There was a good chop on the water but very little midging activity. I tied on a #16 olive soft hackle and caught a small rainbow on the first cast. After casting a couple dozen times and only one fish on, I decided to get out and fish the channel.
Started (and finished) with scuds, small at first. Remember the Trout Crack scud? Never did like the name but the pattern is a good one. I tied on a #16 light T.C. and caught one nice rainbow. Tied on another simple gray scud #18, nothing. There was a fairly good current moving through and I could see fish milling around but they didn't seem to be feeding. I decided to tie on something they couldn't ignore, a #12 mink scud tied on a 200R hook.
Someone hit the switch. . . fish-on! I was thinking about going from 6x tippet to 7x (which I really didn't want to do) but it wasn't the line, it just wasn't lunch time yet.
In quick fashion, I caught about 10 rainbows, most of which were bright red, colored up 15-17 inch trout. I shot a picture of the first 2, then just kicked the rest loose.
I worked down lake and spotted several very nice, red rainbows but I couldn't get them hooked. But did catch another dozen fish before turning around and headed back to the boat. It was a quarter after noon and time for my lunch.
Chop on the surface made a big difference. It got calm a few times... I could see almost every fish in front of me, and they could see me. Had to wait it out till the next breeze blew by, then it was fish-on! again.
Generation has been consistent for the last 10 days - they're running about 2,200 cfs at a lake level of 704 feet, generating 30-35 megawatts of power from midnight till 2 p.m.. Starting at 2 p.m., they're building it up to 3 units (not full), almost 9,000 cfs at a lake level of 708 feet. That's a lot of water! But it goes back down to 704 feet by 8 p.m..
There's a weather change happening tonight though that might alter this pattern. Cooler weather most of the time means less power demand, thus less generation. We will see. Some are hoping for no generation at least in the mornings, like it was back a couple of weeks ago. Others like the low flow in the mornings... I think it's boaters against waders. Who will win!?
Catching the last week has slowed down, especially off our dock. Most anglers are catching their limit but it takes a considerable amount of time to do it. Night crawlers has been the best, for both trout and suckers. White suckers put up a great fight and cleaned/prepared right are great eating!
With a lake level of 704 feet, boating to the dam is tricky, even for us locals! But if you can get up there to the cable below the dam, fishing has been pretty good.
First fly fishing. Hoppers thrown against the banks is catching bigger than normal rainbows and a few browns. Also other dries like beetles, ants and stimulators. You won't catch a lot of fishing but if you love dry fly fishing, a few bites is worth trying. Drop a #16 or #18 red zebra midge under the dry about 18 inches for an additional chance.
The white mega worm is also catching trout. Use it tied on a small jig head under a float and make sure you have enough line below the indicator to get it to the bottom. The water is clear enough to follow the white worm and if it disappears, set the hook -- it's probably in a fish's mouth.
Stripping an olive, brown or black beaded wooly bugger is pretty productive. I caught several nice rainbows stripping an olive wooly bugger against the bluff bank from Lookout through the Narrows. They like to chase!
Duane is still throwing the MegaBass 110+1 Ozark Shad stick bait up below the dam (from a boat) while they're running that big water in the late afternoons and catching some nice trout including browns and rainbows over 20 inches (all released). He's hooked some really big fish but those are getting away, so far.
Guide Tracy Frenzel showed me he's catching trout drifting beads. This is something we do up north in Alaska to catch big rainbows feeding on salmon eggs. Trout beads come in many colors and sizes. He was using a pinkish 12mm bead (yes that's a big bead) pegged with a toothpick about 2 inches above the hook. He said it actually catches less moss than using bait just on a hook. Yes we do carry beads in our fly shop. And yes you can use these in the trophy area. I'd think they'd work good up close to the dam where browns should be ready to spawn soon.
Marabou jigs are working real well. Depending on the flow and conditions, I'm throwing 2 and 4 pound line and 1/16th, 3/32nd and 1/8th ounce jigs in several colors. Best is still the sculpin/ginger 1/16th ounce with 2 pound line... but that's probably because I'm throwing it 80% of the time. When the water is running harder, I'm going to 4 pound line and 1/8th ounce jigs.
I talked to a guest today that said they're catching good rainbows up close to Short Creek on 1/8th ounce sculpin jigs. They're throwing them in this slower generation. He asked if that was ok... I responded with "If you're catching fish, it's perfect!"
Tracy also told me that he was catching good numbers of rainbows from Cooper Creek down in a section of about a quarter mile. His clients were fishing the pink Berkley Power worm.
These fish are staying together, may be following the midge hatches morning and evening. There's usually a crud line in the lake - floating leaves and stuff that clumps up from wind and boat traffic - and that's where these trout are coming up and midging (dimpling) the surface.
Several ways to target these fish. Throw something and run it through them like a spinner or a spoon. Cast a small jig, like a 1/16th, and wiggle is through the schooling trout. Or use a small jig or fly under a tiny float (fly or spin rod) and fish it pretty shallow - 18 to 24 inches deep.
The pink worm is still a guide's best friend - and it can be yours too. For whatever reason, this bait has been a fish's favorite for well over a year now.
P.S. After writing this report, Duane and I boated to the dam this afternoon for some fishing. He took his bait casting rod and MegaBass 110+1 stick baits and I had a spinning and fly outfit, I was ready for anything!
This report is littered with pictures from the outing. Duane caught the first trout, the biggest of the evening. We didn't measure it but I think it pushed 20 inches. He did hook and lost a couple of other nice browns (pictures).
I started with throwing an 1/16th ounce sculpin/ginger jig but didn't have any luck. They were running 5,200 cfs or a little over a full unit, lake level 706 feet and the weight wasn't enough to get down deep enough. I switched to a 3/32nd ounce white jig. I was using 2 pound line.
Duane did catch some rainbows too. Oh, and a few smallmouth bass. I didn't catch any browns but I didn't catch rainbows, a lot of them, and most of them were quality trout! Actually, I told Duane that it was one of the best catching trips of the summer for me. Crazy!
I didn't work the jig very hard at all. I'd let it go to the bottom and lift it fairly quick, not the pop I usually work a jig. At the last, when the wind picked up, I just let it drift and they eat it right up! We stopped taking pictures after a couple because it took too much time away from fishing. And I forgot to take the video cameras...
We made 4 or 5 driftes from the hatchery outlets down to the top of Trophy Run. We didn't see another boat, only the people wading around the outlets and one guy at Rocking Chair Access. I guess white jigs are a hot item after all... I've had several people tell me in the last week or so but every time I'd throw them - nothing! Told Duane I guess I didn't give them a good chance.