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Fishing Buddy Report

Phil Lilley

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by Ed Beijen

The plans for our winter fishing trip to Lake Taneycomo actually started 2-3 months ago, a time when the leaves where turning a golden color and the Indian summer was at its best. My fishing buddy and I have fly fished during the winter season before but invested a fair amount of reading about winter fly fishing conditions so we would be better prepared to have a successful trip.

On January 17 we rented a boat from Lilley’s Landing in Branson. Our goals for the trip were two fold: to get acquainted with the river and to fish as much possible. We had a six hour window ahead of us where no power was being generated. Since we do not care to fish from a boat, we decided to wade fish whenever we saw a stretch of the river that would give us bank access to fishable waters. Our first stopping place was just above Fall creek. The skies were overcast and an intermittent wind light wind gave the lake surface a choppy appearance. On Richard’s first cast, he caught a 16-17” rainbow on a size 12 white hackled crackle back. I was fishing a size 8 black woolly w/o any hookups, switched to a size 14 scud, then to a midge pattern before I tied on a size 10 green crackle back and finally began catching rainbows. I knew it would be impossible for me catch up with Richard because his reel was continually having line stripped from fighting fish. The highlight of the first place we fished was a simultaneous hookup and we were both fighting 17+ inch rainbows.

About 12:30 we moved upstream about 300+ yards and noticed lots of rises and casting white and green crackle backs towards the rises produced regular hookups. We spent about 90 minutes covering approximately 150 yards of the river. We would also cast upstream and downstream from our positions and stripping the subsurface crackle backs regularly produced hook ups. I also noticed the fish seemed to be more active when it was calm. We made two additional stops and continued to catch brightly colored, deep bodied and healthy rainbows. I experimented with a red crackle back and continued to catch rainbows. Most of the strikes came within the first few (5-6) times I stripped the line. We never made it to the tail waters because we were getting regular hookups whenever we stopped to fish and our six hour window was over before we were ready to call it a day. Our first winter fly fishing trip to Taneycomo was very rewarding but we did not expect to be essentially the only ones on the river. During the six hour adventure, we probably saw no more than 10 people. But then again it was a Monday!!

Lilleys Landing logo 150.jpg

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