I usually start my fishing report by talking about the generation pattern, which really dictates how we chose to fish at any given time. But there's one thing that at least right now is more important if you want success in catching trout on Lake Taneycomo . . . and that's line size.
Our water is presently gin clear which means the trout are line weary. Using the right line size in whatever fishing application you're using is very important. For instance, I was fly fishing yesterday morning, using 6x tippet (Rio Powerflex 3.4-pound .005 inch diameter), fishing with a fly called a zebra midge (#16 under an indicator) in the trophy area. The trout weren't having it at all. I switched to 7x tippet (Rio 2.5-pound .004 inch diameter) and immediately started catching fish with the same presentation. You'll see the same results fishing, say, with a pink Powerworm under a float using two-pound line versus four-pound line. And I venture to say, you'd see the same thing using bait fished on the bottom.
We talk to anglers all the time, fishing from the dock and in boats, who are having difficulty catching fish. Most have read my reports and watch One Cast but still have not tried two-pound line. It makes a difference... just ask Daniel Sauers. He caught trout off our dock every day last week using Pausky's salmon eggs with gold glitter, a #16 treble hook and two-pound line. He arrived at the dock early, which is another key to catching trout.
The water has been off from basically 9 p.m. through the night and morning each day for the past week. This has given anglers a chance to do some wading and fishing below the dam as well as fishing off any dock or bank. There's no current to deal with. Then generation powers up to four full units in the afternoons until dark.
Night crawlers continue to be the best live bait. When fishing with crawlers with no generation, throw your line out with a little weight and let it sit on the bottom. We use half a worm, hooking it once in the middle and letting it hang off the hook naturally. We're not balling it up on the hook as done to entice catfish. They bite by smell, but trout mainly bite by sight. We are also injecting the worm with air to make it float off the bottom. This is not essential BUT you will get bit quicker and catch more fish if you float the worm.
I've already mentioned the pink Powerworm. Use a small jig head hook and thread the whole worm up on the hook, letting it hang off the hook straight. Straight is important. Use a little super glue to help stick the worm in place; otherwise it will want to slide off. Use two-pound line from the worm to the float. We use a weighted float to help throw the line. Fish the worm anywhere from five- to 10- feet deep, depending on where the fish are hanging. Generally they are up in the water column early in the morning, but as the sun rises, they tend to go deeper. Adjust the depth if you're not getting bit and move around.
Fly fishing up in the trophy area by boat yesterday, I did well using a #16 root beer zebra midge under a float three- to five-feet deep using 7x tippet. The other boats up there were also catching fish using flies under a float, probably some kind of midge or beaded scud.
I'm still catching trout on a small marabou jig using two-pound line in the mornings in various places. Black has been the best color although I'm throwing sculpin and brown, too, and doing well. When the water generation starts, you'll have to go to a heavier jig -- plus four-pound line is probably necessary. When the water starts running, the trout are not as line shy. Same for drifting bait on the bottom.