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Lilleys' Lake Taneycomo Trip Report, October 10

Phil Lilley

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Generation patterns the last week or so can only be described as follows:  Unpredictable.  Unexplainable and erratic would be other adjectives.  One day 25 megawatts will be running, or about a  half unit all day, 24 hours, and then the next day they'll leave it off all day except a few hours in the evening.  The last couple of days it's been coming on about 11 a.m. and running into the evening, 25 megawatts, about 1/2 unit.  It's hard for people to plan a trip if you want to wade fish below the dam when you really don't know what the generation will be.  But that's the nature of tailwaters.

Taneycomo-Rainbow.jpgTrout fishing generally has been good for most people.  Some days are better than others, and it doesn't seem that generation has anything to do with the ups and downs.  Wind, I think, plays a role in whether fish are biting.  The chop of the water's surface triggers a fish's belly cramps more than anything.  It also triggers insect hatches and, of course, that rings the dinner bell for our trout.

I'll start with fishing below Fall Creek using live bait.  Gulp Powerbait has been the best bait, either fishing it on the bottom tight line or under a float placed on a small jig head.  White and pink are the best colors.  You can get away with using four-pound line, but a two-pound short tippet will catch more fish.  Air-injected night crawlers seem to be catching more larger rainbows but not as many.

The best spots have been just down from Cooper Creek on the west side of the lake, just up from Monkey Island down through the island and below Scotty's Dock to the landing.  The lower area mentioned is the best place to use the PowerBait Gulp Eggs on a jig head under a floatfive- to six-feet deep.

If you see trout midging or eating insects off the surface on the lake, try throwing a Little Jake's spoon and keep it close to the surface.  This is what some of our guides are doing early in the mornings.  I would think a Rooster Tail would be just as good.

Above Fall Creek by boats, our guides are using an olive or black micro jig under a float four- to five-feet deep with a #16 or #18 zebra midge tied on as a dropper under the jig 12 inches.  This has been a go-to rig for them for the past couple of months.  They're using a rusty midge, P&P or a black midge.  Also white thread jigs are working in place of the micro jig.

Most people have been using 6x tippet unless they're going to really small midges or scuds, and in that case they're dropping to 7x.

Steve Dickey, one of our guides, said they've had luck bouncing to dragging a 1/16th-ounce sculpin or brown marabou jig on the bottom, as long as the bottom is gravel.  The fish have been aggressively picking it up and eating the jig.  The best time has been early in the mornings.


Rolan Duffield and his brothers, Ed and Gary, have been making a fall trip to Taneycomo for the past 28 years in a row.  They're here this week and mainly fly fishing above Fall Creek out of Roland's boat.  They've done well using an egg fly tied on a small 1/100th-ounce jig head fished under a float five- to six-feet deep.  We sell these flies in the shop -- we call them Miracle flies.  The Duffield boys are using 6x tippet.  Ed told me yesterday he caught several "20-inch" rainbows on the egg fly.  In verifying the report with Roland and Gary, the rainbows shrunk to 14 inches rather quickly.

Fly fishing below the dam is, of course, very popular this time of year.  It can get pretty crowded on weekends in October and November mainly because of the brown trout run.  We are seeing a good number of browns in the upper lake.  They make themselves evident by jumping in the air for no apparent reason.


Tim Homesley owns a fly shop close to Roaring River and has family in the Branson area.  He fishes quite a bit below the dam and shows why he is known for his trout fishing skill and knowledge.  He caught several nice browns one morning earlier this week using a tan leech.

Brett Rader, a long-time resident guide specializing in wade fly fishing, has been scoring both nice browns and rainbows using very small scuds that he ties and sells in his shop.  He is using scuds as small as #24 but catching rather large trout.

I think most people would be surprised what some of the big trout will take as far as flies down by the dam.  These fish get pounded pretty hard by anglers wading around and offering all kinds of flies to them.  They get weary after a while and shun almost anything that drifts in front of their face.  A good presentation and tiny flies are the key to catch the big ones in the fall.

There are a good number of browns caught on surface or film flies such as cracklebacks, woolies and soft hackles.  They also will take a dry fly.


On the other hand. . .  big stick baits are a good way to hook a big brown as long as the Corp is running at least one unit.  I reported a few weeks ago Steve Dickey caught a few nice browns throwing a Mega Bass stick bait one evening.  If the water is running fairly hard, cast and work a suspending or floating stick bait along the banks and in the middle of the lake from the dam down, really, to the Landing.  But especially the upper mile of the lake because of the higher concentration of browns right now.

Night fishing below the dam is a completely different experience than fishing during the day.  I've been doing it since the mid 1980s, but it doesn't ever get old.  Usually there not a whole lot of other anglers out, and it's quiet except for the small animals on the bank making eerie sounds.  Some people use glow-in-the-dark strike indicators and drift scuds and leeches in the outlets and faster water, but I like to just throw a streamer of some kind, swing it through the slow current areas of the tailwater and wait for that tug on the line.

I've found these trout can go long periods of time without biting.  I have learn, somewhat, to change flies often and keep moving around to get more bites.  I do try varied retrieves to find out what they're liking at the time.  I think the more creative you get with retrieves the better.  Sometimes just letting the fly drift slowly, even bumping on the bottom, gets more strikes than stripping it.

Streamer size and color does make a difference when you find the right combination.  Usually they either like something in a light color or a dark and they stick with that shade most of the night unless there's a change in ambient light.  If the moon sets or it gets clouded over, colors sometimes change.

This week on OzarkAnglers Forum, there is some good information on the brown trout run in regards to the hatchery outlets and in about triploid browns stocked in our lake. 

Lilleys Landing logo 150.jpg

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My Dad and I also got out yesterday for a little bit. We used a 1/100oz egg (Miracle Fly) under a Palsa on 6x fluorocarbon tippet. We fished between outlets 1 and 2 and caught a few Rainbows and then moved down to Brown Blvd just below outlet 2. We caught a few more rainbow and 1 male 18" Brown. There were a lot more browns there he was about the smallest but the only one I could get to bite. I found a high place to fish from so I could sight cast the Browns.



Darin Schildknecht Pro Staff - Lilleys' Landing Resort & Marina Lake Taneycomo, Branson, Missouri

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