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Phil Lilley
Phil Lilley

Lilley's Lake Taneycomo fishing report, August 1

With little change in weather patterns, rainfall throughout the month of July, generation patterns on Taneycomo have been fairly consistent.  Most days dam operators are running a half unit, 25-35 megawatts of power, at night through the morning, then kicking on any where from 100 to 150 megawatts, or up to two full units, from mid-afternoon until sunset.  There have been a few days when they've had the dam completely shut down with no water running, but they've been few and far between with no rhyme or reason why.

Water clarity is pretty much back to normal.  It's very clear -- clear enough that some of us are thinking about using 7x tippet (very small, light line).  Water temperature is still a cool 49 degrees coming from the dam.  We should be in good shape heading into the fall season.

The midges here on the lake have been out of control!  They start hatching at sunset and continue to come off into the night at huge numbers.  They're hatching in the day time, too, at normal numbers, but in the morning everything is covered with dead bugs.  Now you might think our trout are keying in on them, and they are at times.  Duane Doty witnessed it Saturday morning on a guide trip.  He started at 6 a.m. just above our dock fishing the trout worm under an indicator.  All of a sudden, a school of trout came to the surface and started porpoising, eating midges as fast as they could.  Duane said the midges were so thick above their heads that they almost couldn't see through them.  They followed the school all the way up the lake and around the corner, all the while catching rainbows on their worms.

Midge larva hatch out of the silt on the bottom of the lake and make their way to the surface.  These are easy morsels for fish to pick off, and I'm sure they do.  We use zebra midges under an indicator to fool trout into biting.  Guide Steve Dickey, reports that a #16 black or olive zebra has been working in the trophy area but notes that it has to be "one-inch" from the bottom.  "They just aren't coming up to eat it, it has to be right in front of their face."

Steve says the scud bite in the trophy area is good if the water is running.  A #16 or #8 olive or tan scud has been working the best, as long as it is on the bottom for the fish to take it.

Chuck Gries, fishing guide, keyed in on midge fishing Saturday morning, too.  We saw him finish his trip across the lake from our dock, his clients hooking doubles as we watched.  I asked him what were they using, and he said black or brown zebra midges under an indicator eight-feet deep.  He was using 6x tippet.  I'd imagine he was using a small split shot to get a fly down that far.

Duane has had other trips, and he's done well drifting a mega worm either on a drift rig or under an indicator.  A mega worm is a big, fluffy white yarn worm fly.

Throwing jigs has been slow, which is another head-scratcher.  We catching a few fish, especially from the dam down to Lookout, but the rest of the lake is slow.  Back when the lake water was off-color, the trout wanted to chase them.  Now they want it floating with the current - and won't pursue it.  It's very strange, and disappointing, since throwing jigs is our favorite way to fish for trout.

Drifting bait below Fall Creek is catching fish.  Night crawlers are by far the best.  I've talked to several people this week that have said they've caught more and bigger rainbows on worms than Gulp Eggs or Powerbait.  And there don't seem to be any slow areas right now.  We've had groups that have fished exclusively from Fall to Short Creeks, and others that have gone down to Monkey Island and the Landing and all have done well.  One gentleman told me they went down to the lower dam (Powersite) to let the kids swim and ended up catching a lot of trout down there on Powerbait.  He said the surface temperature was 72 degrees, but they caught their fish in deep water.

There is a new technique that's catching trout.  Bill Babler, fishing guide, showed me he was taking Berkley's pink Power Worms and pinching them into 1.5- to 2-inch segments and putting them on a small 1/125-ounce jig head.  Using two-pound line, he fishes them under an indicator five- to eight-feet deep.  I've been playing around with it and have done pretty well.


Friday morning, I took my cousin's grandson out fishing.  His family was here for his sister's World Series fast-pitch softball tournament.  We didn't get out till 8:30 a.m. when the sun was already peaking over the bluff across from the resort, but with 35 megawatts of water running, we started fishing the pink worms and stayed in the shade of the bluff.  Hunter caught his first rainbow trout pretty quickly.  Being from Texas, he doesn't see many trout.  He has fished in the Gulf and caught speckled trout but not coldwater trout.  He ended up with 10 rainbows, all caught on the pink worm.

trout worm example

Bill says he'll switch to a pink Trout Magnet if the bite is short.   The worm is scented and doesn't have a split tail unlike the Magnet, and you can leave the worm on longer than the Magnet.

Guide's Secret:  Spin a bead of thread onto the shank of your jig hook and use Super Glue to stick the worm or Magnet to the hook.  This will keep it from sliding down the hook.

After Report Trip:  It never fails that soon after I write a fishing report I will gain new information that either changes my previous report or adds to it.  This one is an add.

Saturday evening I fished after my dock shift.  I wanted to try out Chuck's deep midge technique.  I boated up close to Fall Creek with a half-unit running and rigged my fly rod with a small, hard foam indicator and nine feet of 6x tippet with two#14 Zebra Midges tied on.  I had 18 inches of tippet between them, one  black with nickle head and rib and the other a rusty midge.  I drifted and fished the deep channel which varied in water depth from eight to 12 feet.  I was concerned that the weight of the two midges mighty not be heavy enough to take the flies down, but there didn't seem to be any issues.  I caught a dozen rainbows before I got to Short Creek and missed half that many strikes.


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