Another week and -- another high water event on Lake Taneycomo. Yes, operators are running spill gates at the dam again. We had three days of intermittent rain, which in total equaled about three inches of rain for much of our watershed. That brought Beaver Lake up above its flood pool of 1,130 feet and triggered flood gates at Beaver Dam. About the same time, Table Rock Dam opened five gates at a foot each while running three turbines. That equals a release of 14,000 cubic feet per second of water.
Presently, Beaver Lake has dropped to 1,129.17 feet, dropping about three inches per day. Table Rock Lake crested yesterday at 918.14 feet and is dropping ever so slightly.
There is one turbine not working at the Table Rock facility, either because of scheduled maintenance or a problem, I don’t know which. That’s the reason operators are running water over the dam. The flow would equal four full turbines.
Taneycomo’s water temperature continues to drop, now at 53.6 degrees. The water’s also looking more and more clear from Table Rock’s turnover.
The key to catching trout right now on Taneycomo is to get your fly, lure or bait to the bottom and keep it there while drifting. You could try anchoring in an eddy or along the bank where the current is much less, but most people are going to drift with the current. Stay towards the middle of the lake, not on the side, where there’s a lot of downed trees and snags.
Drifting scuds (freshwater shrimp) is still the best thing to fish with, even below Fall Creek. It wouldn’t hurt to use a little bigger scud with so much water running, like a #10 or even a #8. Gray is still the best color, but you could try brown, olive or tan. On a sunny day, try one with ultraviolet material (flash) mixed in to the dubbing.
With the heavy generation, we’re running crank baits on the bottom again for bigger trout. If you can find them (they’re out of production we understand), the Bomber, Fat Free Fingerling in Tennessee Shad, Shadtreuse or white shad color is what our guys use. Also Flicker Shad in shad colors will work pretty well, too.
Guide Bill Babler will drift with a small floating stick bait using a drift rig. He tends to use the cheaper baits because anglers will lose them fairly often. He drifts them mainly below the dam, but they’ll work anywhere.
For drifting anything on the bottom, we’ve gone to either 3/16- or ¼-ounce bell weights. You really need to feel the weight ticking on the bottom or you won’t get bit.
Night crawlers has been the best live bait below Fall Creek. The better fishing has been from Scotty’s Trout Dock down through the Branson Landing.
We’re also starting to see some crappie schooling up around the structure in front of the Landing and close to the Fish House. We tend to see some big crappie during the winter months. They can be caught on a minnow or jig under a float or casting a swimming minnow or jig.
Below the dam, we’re drifting scuds and shad flies and doing pretty well. No sight of any shad through the gates, and the trout aren’t going really crazy on white jigs. Seems like there’s no way to guess when threadfin shad will come through the open gates, but we are always hopeful and will try the white jig every time we’re up there.
Other jigs are working, though. The 1/8th ounce sculpin/peach with an orange head has been pretty hot, and I’ve done okay using a black/yellow combination.
The best stretch to drift a scud on the bottom is from Lookout to Short Creek. Right in the middle is Fall Creek. If you start there, you can keep any size rainbows you catch. If you fish above Fall Creek, you have to throw