Just in... the spill gates were just closed today at Table Rock Dam after a week or more. Table Rock's level is just north of 917 feet, dropping more than three feet from its high after the last rain event. Beaver Lake is holding at 1,128.5 feet, just a foot and a half below its flood pool. There is rain in the forecast now, but it's due next week, expecting right now about two inches of rain.
Table Rock Dam is now running only 1,400 cubic feet of water per second. The tailwater level is 704 feet, only about 2.5 feet high. Table Rock Lake has turned. The water coming from Table Rock is about 56 degrees, high in oxygen level but turbid. Its clarity isn't the best, but that's normal with Table Rock's turnover. This will last about a month and won't effect fishing that much.
We've enjoyed a good run of threadfin shad over the spill gates as well as lots of warmwater species of fish -- crappie, white bass, walleye, blue gill, black, spotted and smallmouth bass, needlenose gar and spoonbill (I'm sure there are more species but that's what we've been seeing.)
We're in for a week or more of mild weather with daytime temperatures in the 50's and 60's and not much wind. With the slower water -- and less water -- trout fishing should be very good.
With the water running hard yesterday, Guide Don House reported catching very nice rainbows drifting Powerbait from Scotty's buoys down to the Fish House at the Branson Landing. We've sent anglers down there, and they've done well, too. Now that the water is slower, more people will be fishing other areas down lake and reporting back. Honestly, there just haven't been that many anglers fishing so getting a good fishing report, especially down lake, has been tough. I've been fishing down here a little, throwing white jigs along the bluff bank and doing fair, but the trout I'm catching are bigger than average.
This reduction of flow has caught us by surprise. We knew the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers would close the gates and reduce flows when Table Rock dropped to desired level, but we didn't think that would mean a drop from 15,000 to 1,400 c.f.s. in just a few hours.
Ryan and I went out this afternoon to try our luck. I felt like it was going to be really good, or really bad. It was better than good.
Trout were rising aggressively all over the lake as we boated up past Fall Creek and the Narrows, jumping out of the water after hatching midges. Good sign. Quite a few boaters were out fishing and we saw lots of bent rods --- and even better sign! Boated past Guides Steve Dickey and John Sappington and got two thumbs up --- all right!!
I tied on a while 1/32nd-ounce jig on a spinning outfit with two-pound line. Ryan had the same rig but he was using a black/yellow 1/32nd-ounce jig. He caught fish on his first two casts and I didn't get a bite after a few throws. I switched to black and yellow, started One Cast and caught one on the first cast.
Steve Dickey's clients were drifting scuds and were hooked up most of the time we were up there. He told me just yesterday the trout were off the scud, not biting them at all. Today is a new day. They're liking scuds now.
Now we were using two-pound line because we wanted to throw small jigs, but because the water clarity is not-so-good, you can get away with four-pound line for using bait -- just about anything.
Fishing off our dock today was pretty successful. Everyone that I saw caught their limit plus some, throwing a few back. The bait of choice was orange and pink or yellow and pink PowerEggs.