For the most part, there's been very little generation on Lake Taneycomo the past couple of weeks. If operators run the turbines, it's early in the morning for an hour or two (70 megawatts) and in the afternoon beginning 2 to 4 p.m. and running either for an hour or until dark. I know that sounds arbitrary, but there really isn't a pattern. We count on some water running every day but with extended periods of no generation most of the day and all night.
Speaking of night time, fishing after dark has been good below the dam, wading and throwing a variety of streamers. Brown trout activity has slowed, but there are still a lot of nice trout up there to be caught. Flies that will do well are leaches, Hybernators, wooly buggers, Cracklebacks, Pine Squirrels and sculpins.
Some of the guys who regularly fly fish below the dam say fishing has really been slow until they start generating, and then it's good around the outlets. But fly fishing from the Missouri Department of Conservation boat ramp down seems to be pretty good. I've fly fished a couple of times around Lookout Island and have caught a few very nice, colored up rainbows on scuds -- whether the water was off or running. I fished both sides of the island.
I've also been throwing a 1/16th-ounce olive or black marabou jig from Lookout Island and down lake and have fared better than I did earlier in the fall and even in the summer. Of course, I am using two-pound line when fishing a small jig. I use Trilene XL clear.
I have heard some fly fishers are catching a few trout on dries on the upper lake. Jeremy Hunt, a fishing guide, says his clients are throwing #16 and #18 black ants and catching big rainbows and a few browns. He said it's best to find chop on the water for the ants to work.
For the past week, I've been fishing a scud in an area below Fall Creek, not above in the trophy area. I got the notion to throw a scud after fishing a flat over a week ago. Zebra Midges weren't cutting it, and as I was fishing, and not catching, I noticed rainbows cruising around in front of me nosing the gravel trying to kick up bugs. I know there's a good population of scuds in that area, so I tied on a #12 peppy (200R hook) and pinched on a palsa indicator four feet above the fly, 6x fluorocarbon tippet.
That day, I was out about 1 p.m. and it was sunny with very little wind--not the best fishing conditions. But the trout were actively feeding, and they liked my peppy scud.
I've gone out several times since at all times of the day. Saturday I went out at 9 a.m. and started fishing the flat. This is the east or inside bank from the Riverpointe boat ramp up to the first dock somewhat across from Fall Creek Marina. It's a stretch that was formerly dotted with a dozen docks, but all have been taken out since the last flood. Because of the trajectory of the sun right now, this water is in the shade most of the day, and that's where I was keying in on, the shade. But it was slow . . . one rainbow and few bites. So I boated on up into the trophy area and tried some deeper banks and set the scud at eight- to nine-feet deep.
After striking out on the deep bank, I trolled over to the shallow side, the bank below the Narrows, and started fishing some water where I knew I'd catch fish. And I did, sight fishing to some rainbows cruising in less than a foot of water -- that was fun. Then I fished the water just above the mouth of Fall Creek. By this time, the wind had really picked, blowing down lake or out of the south. That, I believe, really turned the fish on and I was rewarded with a bite on every cast.
I wanted to again hit the bank where I had started before heading in, so I boated back down and started at the log below the log house/dock. This log is about 50 feet from the bank and runs long ways with the root wad sticking out of the water. I set the boat as close to the bank as I could get it without bottoming out, (although I did many times.) So I was fishing 50 feet or less from the bank behind me in no more than three feet of water. Most of the time I was throwing to 18 to 24 inches of water and set the scud at five feet from the indicator.
This is what I have determined: These rainbows are taking a scud in sunlight better than shade. I've fished this area enough in both conditions, and every time I fished in sunny conditions, no matter what the surface looked like, they were much more active in sunlight. Of course, Saturday's chop on the water really helped. I caught more than 20 rainbows in that small stretch of time. One rainbow took me to my backing, twice! It was only 17 inches long, but he thought he was 23!
I'm going to keep experimenting with scuds below Fall Creek because I know it's an untapped resource. These trout haven't seen many scud flies, but at the same time they're seeing lots of live ones.
Bill Babler, one of our fishing guides, reports he's using a ginger micro jig in the trophy area and catching well. His clients caught and released 60 trout Saturday morning. But it hasn't been like that every day for the guides. I'd say at least three days last week, they were struggling to find trout that would bite. Some days were better than others.
The same can be said about trout fishing in general. Anglers using bait are having some great days catching fish and some not-so-great days, especially off our dock. White is back as the hot color. Last week was yellow paste.