Generation here on Lake Taneycomo has been very consistent the last four or five days now, and with the lakes above us well above season pool levels, we're going to continue to see this flow for quite some time.
Typically, our lakes have been drawn down to at least power pool, ready for the winter season and spring rains to follow. But unseasonably wet weather has kept the lakes in what I would call the caution zone (not the danger zone.) Beaver Lake is still above 1,128 feet, less than two feet from its flood pool, and Table Rock is hovering at 917 feet, variably two feet over winter power pool. The area got a two-inch rain late last week, and more rain is expected this week.
Table Rock Dam has been running three units round the clock. Now I don't know for sure, but I think one unit at the Table Rock facility is under seasonal maintenance, so all operators can run is three units. Any additional water has to come over the spill gates, as it did about 10 days ago. So we're going to see this flow until both Table Rock and Beaver drop to seasonal power pool levels, and that might not happen until after the first of the year.
Table Rock Lake did turn over, and the water that's flowing from the dam is high in oxygen but just a bit turbid. Visibility isn't all the bad though --- better than most seasonal turnover events. And best of all, it's not affecting trout fishing, as far as we can tell. The trout we're catching are full of fight and in great shape.
Our lake water temperature is about 55 degrees, down more than six degrees since the lake started to turn over. The cooler temps are helping trout activity, too.
As for "catching," there's really not much that is not working right now. Bank and dock fishing isn't the greatest, but surprisingly it isn't not too bad either. People off our dock are catching some pretty nice rainbows on Power Eggs mainly, using heavy weights to drop the bait to the bottom. The one thing that's different than, say, a few months ago in the summer, is that's there's no algae flowing down in the current. Taneycomo is pretty clear of "stuff."
Drifting night crawlers and Power Bait on the bottom below Fall Creek is catching fish. Picking the right amount of weight is important. Use enough to drop the bait to the bottom. You should feel your weight ticking the bottom consistently. If you don't, you probably won't get bit.
I drifted a #12 gray scud on the bottom from Fall Creek down to the River Pointe Estates boat ramp on Sunday and caught four rainbows on one drift. I stayed in the middle of the lake and made sure I was in contact with the bottom.
Drifting scuds in the trophy area has been "lights out," according to fishing guides Duane Doty and Steve Dickey. Again, stay in the middle of the lake and make sure the fly is on the bottom. Also drifting shad flies on the bottom from the dam down to Trophy Run has picked up good numbers of rainbows.
We've been also throwing a variety of colors of jigs and doing pretty well. I'm not sure what color has been best, though, because they're all doing about the same. Sculpin, black, black/yellow, sculpin/peach/orange head --- all have been working very well. We still haven't seen any really big trout caught with the flood gates open and the water improving in quality. That has surprised me. But the overall quality of rainbows has been impressive.
If you want to fly fish, tie on a #12 gray scud with a split shot under an indicator and fish anywhere from eight to 10 feet deep. Anglers have caught trout from the cable down past Fall Creek with this rig.
I haven't heard anything about the guide-favorite Berkley's Pink Worm lately but I'd think it would work from Cooper Creek and down lake through Monkey Island, the bridges and past the Landing. The water from Cooper Creek down is much more conducive to this technique because the current is slower and less turbulent. And remember, rainbows are normally stocked from the Branson Landing up and just past Monkey Island so there's usually fresh stocked trout in this area.
The fishing forecast for December looks very good, although with the lakes as high as they, we may see more heavy flows including spill gates. But spill gate releases means more shad flowing in to our lake for our waiting, hungry trout, as well as more warmwater species of fish for us to play with!