Note: This report will be current for as long as the gates are open, which may be for most of the month of June.
We've gone from very little generation to a torrent. But this was predicted. It was easy to see coming. When the lakes filled up, they would have to release. And they are... at the tune of 17,800 cubic feet per second. This might sound like a big release, it isn't. Four full units is about 15,000 c.f.s. so this is just a little more. They are releasing 12,300 through their turbines and 5,500 over 5 spill gates presently. More fun facts -- the water temperature of the lake water coming through the turbines is 49.5 and the water coming over the gates is 62 degrees.
Table Rock Lake's level just dipped below its flood pool level. It's at 930.90 feet, dropping a whopping 0.1 feet in the last 12 hours. Beaver is still releasing about 7,300 c.f.s. of water and its level is a full foot below flood pool at 1128.96 feet. This flow from Table Rock Dam probably won't decrease for many weeks, seeing it needs to drop more than 16 feet and Beaver needs to drop about 10 feet.
At this time, there is no measurable rain in the 7-day forecast which is a good thing. I'm sure that will change, and any precipitation will only lengthen the period of time of water release at our dams. As I reported in my last fishing reports and our conversations on One Cast, enjoy the low water we had the last couple of weeks because it would be the last for the duration of the summer.
Heavy flows are here to stay for this summer season.
Fishing from the bank or dock will be tough on the upper end of the lake. There's a few spots around the hatchery outlets below the dam where you can catch fish but it is in the trophy area so you're limited to flies and lures -- no soft plastics and nothing that smells. And yes, night crawlers smell! We've had a rash of poachers fishing below the dam with bait and keeping all kinds of fish, most illegal trout. And now we'll see people fishing above the cable at the dam which is also illegal -- and dangerous. But our agents aren't too busy with deer or turkeys now so they have a lot of time to check these areas. And know this -- there are a lot us who have cell phones with camera, and the number to our local agents. A picture of a license plate and the poachers go a long way to prosecute, even if they are "caught red handed" at the scene.
Here are their phone numbers. Best to text them. My experience with texting them is that I rarely get a response, and that's ok with me. They may not be on duty or able to drive to the location at that time. But they will respond if they are able to.
Operation Game Theft 800-392-1111
With any amount of generation, there are some things that you should not do safety wise. Don't use anchors in fast current. Don't drift into trees or docks - watch where you're going and plan ahead when drifting in current. Watch out for kayakers and other boats. WATCH YOUR WAKE!! We've seen some big boats on the lake lately. I think they call them wake boats. Unlike Table Rock, Taneycomo is small and narrow. Plus we have alot of smaller boats that can be swamped with one big wake. Over the weekend, we had one report of a smaller v-bottom boat pulling up to the cable below the dam and dropped an anchor. When the anchor caught the bottom it almost throw one person out of the boat. They had to cut the anchor rope so that the boat wouldn't be swamped. Think!!! It's also not worth it fishing wise either. There is slower water close to the bank one can anchor in but be very smart about it. Drag chains - same thing. If they catch on the bottom while the boat is drifting at 6 m.p.h. the jolt will send everybody to the deck and/or the side of the boat.
Fishing... scuds are king once again.
These are scuds (freshwater shrimp) from the bellies of 3 rainbows caught yesterday by clients of Tony Weldele. They were drifting from Fall Creek down using scuds and doing quite well. We've been seeing large schools of scuds along our banks and in the pond weed beds before heavy generation started this weekend. And in high water events in the past, we've seen this happen where scuds I guess are dislodged from their environment and are eaten by trout. So we are drifting using scud flies and do extremely well.
Using 4-pound line, we are drifting #12 scuds either on a drift rig or carolina rig. Use a quarter-ounce weight when drifting from the dam down to Lilleys' Landing and a 3/16-ounce weight from Lilleys' Landing down lake. The water slows down enough to warrant less weight from Lilley's down. If you use too much weight, you'll get snagged on the bottom a lot. But one thing is for sure -- you have to have the fly on the bottom to get bit. Scud colors make somewhat of a difference. Of course gray is their natural color but as you can see from the image, they are a brownish/olive color too so we use those colors too.
I used a scud yesterday dubbed with a material called rainbow scud dubbing and did pretty well, especially below Fall Creek. I was having a hard time staying on the bottom. What I should have done is add a small split shot to the line just above the bell weight. This is an easy and quick way to adjust your weight.
Drifting night crawlers and minnows on the bottom from Lilley's down lake is catching some trophy browns lately too. We used a #6 or #8 hook, 3/16-ounce weight and 4-pound line. No need to inject air in the worm... it will stay off the bottom with this much current running.
Orange PowerEggs have been the hot PowerBait lately. Drifting in the Monkey Island area down through Branson Landing is producing some nice limits of rainbows. Also throwing Cleos and other small spoons... but let them drop down a bit before reeling. Vary the speed of retrieve too. Freshly stocked rainbows are prone to chase and the stocking boat has been out stocking rainbows quite a bit lately down in the Branson Landing area.
In the trophy area, I've already covered drifting scuds on the bottom. Some of our guides are also using San Juan Worms, shad flies and egg flies along with the scuds. You can use a double rig, tying on 2 flies about 12 inches apart. The only bad thing is if you snag and lose your rig, you lose 2 flies instead of one. When drifting more than one drift, pick different paths each time you drift down, especially if you're not catching very many. Also, I pay attention to my running path up lake. I don't like to run over the same water I'll be drifting down. And of course, try to be curious to those who are fishing when running.
Drifting small jerk baits I believe will become more and more effective as this flood gate event goes on. More and more shad will enter the lake and these small lures are just the thing to catch some big trout. Use a floating jerk bait about 2.5 to 3 inches long in shad colors. Any brand will do. Less expensive is better because you will lose some lures. Rig them using a drift rig or carolina rig. Start with an 1/8-ounce weight and add weight if needed. Four-pound line is fine, even 6-pound isn't too heavy.
Throw a suspending jerk bait for big trout. Early and late in the day are the best times. Anywhere from Rockaway Beach to Table Rock Dam is the best place, and not even against a bank like we usually fish. We've been seeing big trout come from the middle of the lake. The trophy area has been hot, as well as the Cooper Creek Flats.
Baits - Suspending Rouges, MegaBass 110+, Duane's Custom Baits, Smithwick Stick Baits... all will work. Make sure they dive more than 8 feet deep and are suspending. Use a snap swivel for best action (make sure it's a strong swivel and not a cheap one... they do break).
With the spill gates open, there are warm water species of fish coming in to Taneycomo from Table Rock. Seeing a lot of smallmouth bass and white bass caught. This is pretty much at random but they are hitting white jigs along the bank in the slower water.
Images cutesy of Becky and Seth Garrison who enjoyed a week fishing Lake Taneycomo. Scud image cutesy of Captain Tony Weldele, Rainbow Chasers Guide Service.