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Lilleys' Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report, January 26

Phil Lilley

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Low rainfall affects so many aspects of our lives from farming to fishing. Here on Taneycomo, as a tailwater, water moves and flows less during these times, which in return affects our food base and trout growth. During low-flow periods, freshwater shrimp don't do as well, and, thus, our trout don't grow as fast as they would if the water were running. We're hope we are on the tail end of a long drought and will see lake-filling rains this spring.


Winter time is usually the best time to fish for Taneycomo trout, but this winter has been the exception. We've had nice, calm days, with no wind and high sun -- not the best conditions for catching any fish. We are also not seeing the nice, medium-sized rainbows we saw last winter. Instead our rainbows have been on the small side. Even in the lower trophy area, the average size of rainbows has been quite a bit smaller even as closer to the dam we've seen much bigger trout.

Fly fishing below the dam with the water off has yielded some of the best fishing on the lake recently. If there's a chop on the water, strip woolies, cracklebacks and soft hackles. Also strip a sculpin, crawling it on the bottom. If there's trout midging or feeding on midges in the film or on the surface, use a dry as in indicator (adams, renegade) with a zebra midge (rusty, p&p) as a dropper 6 to 18 inches deep. Around the outlets and at the rebar chute, drift a sow bug, scud, egg fly or a san juan worm.

Down further from the dam (from the conservation department boat ramp to Fall Creek), zebra midge under an indicator fished a little deeper has been working very well, hitting pockets of rainbows and a few browns in this stretch. Also try a miracle fly under an indicator, as well as a micro jig (olive, black, tan). Some of the guys are using 7x when the sun is out, but 6x tippet should catch trout if you don't want to go that light.

Below Fall Creek, use a white PowerBait Gulp egg above a night crawler. This was a good technique yesterday when no water was running and should continue to be good without generation. Air-injected night crawlers are always good. Jig and float using either a micro jig or marabou jig. Marabou colors are brown/orange head, sculpin/orange head, sculpin/ginger, black or pink.

If water is running, throw an 1/8th-ounce jig and work it off the bottom. White is working well in the trophy area as well as brown/orange, sculpin or black and below Fall Creek use sculpin/ginger, brown, black and pink. Again, if water is running, throw a stick bait, medium size in silver, gold or rainbow style against bluff banks and around docks.

The following report was submitted by Darin Schlidknecht:

I got out for just a couple of hours while the water was off. There were just a couple of other anglers out there which was nice to have some room. Most of them were either fishing the outlets or rebar. I fished about half way between outlets one and two, it was just me and one other guy that whole stretch. I like standing on top of the rock piles so I can see the fish around me and sight cast at them. Usually this works great but right now the water is a little dirty so its not as fun.

I used two different flies the whole time. The first was a yellow Miracle Fly on 6x tippet under a Palsa. The fly needs to be as close or on the bottom of the lake to be effective. Most of the time the strikes are very light and dont even pull under the Palsa. The fish suck it in a spit it out really fast so you have to be on your toes! The second was a #16 Rusty or Harvester midge on 6x tippet under a Palsa. This was the best fly for that day. Most of the fish I caught and saw were small. The other guy that was fishing in the same area I was had come into Lilleys earlier that day and I set him up with the midges and that is what he was using. He managed to catch a 21 inch fat female rainbow along with many other small ones.


Here are a couple of videos I shot this week while the water was running:

Lilleys Landing logo 150.jpg

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Great report and videos. I thank you for all the information you have given over the years. I usually make 1-2 trips a year to Taneycomo for 25 years now and want to try a new teqnique each trip. You save me a lot of time when I should be catching fish. You may also cost me a lot of money since Fly fishing is my next thing to try based on some of your reports. Thanks again and see you in February.

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