Unedited... I wanted to get this out because there's some interesting info about small rainbows and the shocking survey from last night. I may add more and of course, some might be edited after Marsha gets through with it
Generation has all but halted on Lake Taneycomo this week, something we haven't seen for a couple of years! With no flow comes the new reality of what the lake now looks like at low water... and it's changed quite a bit.
We have noticed that the lake seems lower than it used to be, but again, it's been a long time since we've seen this and ALOT of water has gone over the dam in those 2-3 years.
It's changed the bottom in many areas, especially in the trophy area.
Just below the dam, the gravel has moved down and filled in holes. Runs have moved, changed. It's changed where fish hold. It's changed how anglers fish the wading areas below the dam. But more thing has changed -- the trout today are much bigger and healthier than they've been in many, many years.
The channel at the Narrows is much narrower and not as deep. Some of our guides have said they've hit bottom trying to go through. There's a big gravel island at the Narrows too - one you can get off and wade from!
The gravel is covered with algae but it's also full of bugs - sow bugs, little worms and scuds. There's sculpin all over the bottom too.
Pondweed. It's an aquatic vegetation that grows all over our lake in the summer. It's a real menace on the lower lake, choking off docks and banks. But up here, it houses tons of bugs and small fish.
Lately, we've seen quite a few small rainbows. When I say small I mean 3 to 5 inches long. These trout are full finned, beautiful colors, and appear to be naturally spawned in the lake, not stocked. There's been some discussion on this, guides, locals and conservation experts. One thought makes sense. We've had a good, natural spawn this last winter/spring, which may or may not happen each year. Because of the additional pondweed in the lake, especially in the trophy area, these rainbows have survived being eaten and are thriving.
Thursday night, Missouri Department of Conservation officials performed a shock survey in which several boats shocked, took measurements and released fish in the upper lake. One thing they found is when they shocked the pondweed beds, it would light up with small fish - rainbows, chubs, sculpins and other small forage fish.
Oxygen readings since the water hasn't been running have stayed well above 6 parts per million which is good. Fish are fighting real well with no signs of faltering. But we have noticed with people who use live wells that don't keep the water running all the time on their catch, those fish die pretty quick. Keeping trout out of the water for a long time will stress it to the point it will not survive release. Please don't ~Catch, Kill and Release~. Be very careful with your catch if you want to release them. Cut the line if the hook is buried in the fish's mouth. Handle them with a wet hand or a wet cloth, if you have to handle them at all.
There's been a lot of algae break off the bottom and float to the surface. We see this every year about this time. It can be a pain to fish through but it doesn't hurt the fish. We've noticed with rainbows have sought the cover of this stuff and take midges off the surface right in the middle of it. We've been catching these feeding trout on several small lures under a float any where from 6 inches to 5 feet deep. I've been fly fishing and using Zebra Midges, size 16 in bright red and green, the P&P (primrose and pearl), brown and even white. The olive micro jig has been working good as well as the Berkley Pink Worm. Use 2-pound line for the best effort but 4-pound line is good. Our water clarity isn't the best since they aren't running much water.
Night crawlers are still king of the big trout and the hot area is from the Riverpointe Estates boat ramp to Short Creek. Use 4-pound line, a small split shot and a #8 short shanked, bronze hook. I'd put the shot about 18 inches above the hook and use half a worm, hooking it one time in the middle and inject a little air in the worm using a syringe. This will float the worm off the bottom.
With the water off, we're throwing 1/32nd ounce jigs using 2-pound line and doing pretty well working the jigs close to the surface, especially during low light times - early, late and on cloudy days. Dark colors are working the best - black, olive, sculpin, brown and combination colors. Keep switching till you find the one they want.