Jump to content

Lilley's Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report, March 1


Recommended Posts

  • Root Admin

Rain and cold have dominated many days this past month.  We've had snow, ice, sleet and rain, all amounting to some sloppy weekends of travel and fishing here on Lake Taneycomo.  But the diehards stayed tough and enjoyed some great days fishing for trout (and crappie!)

Generation has been nonstop since the first of February.  But the lakes have only risen a little bit and are holding even with the runoff from the last sleet storm.  Beaver and Table Rock lakes are less than a foot above their power pools and Bull Shoals is up 18 inches.  There is no rain in the forecast this week but there is some on the horizon.  And with spring three weeks away, unless we have a dry spring season (which we haven't had in eons), we'll probably looking at nonstop generation for quite a while.

Flows have been bouncing at between two to four units.  That has made for plenty of water to run just about anywhere on the lake including a run to the cable below the dam. Water temperatures have fluctuated, too.  I've measured 45 to 46 degrees, but someone Saturday read 43 degrees while fishing the Vince Elfrink Memorial Tournament.  The colder water tends to slow down the trout bite at times -- at least that's what some have blamed for their slow fishing.

Most mornings, dam operators are running four units, then dropping to three or even two units by noon.  They continue that flow until late in the evening, bumping it up to four again into the night.

I recommend some of the same tips as those in my last report with a few exceptions.  Drifting scuds and eggs are by far the best way to catch both rainbows and browns in the trophy area and below Fall Creek.  That's been the case for months.  And there are two ways to fish them -- with a float or no float.  The best seems to be with a float but that technique is a little more complicated

Capt. Steve Dickey is one of our guides who has perfected this.  He uses a nine-foot fly rod with floating line and runs a long, 12-foot leader from his fly line to the first fly with a slip bobber.  The leader slips through the bobber and stops when it hits his fly line. And he fishes it all very close to the boat.  Here is a Youtube video I shot where he explains this technique.

 

Trout caught between Fall Creek and Trout Hollow, when cleaned, yield lots of scuds in their stomachs.  So our trout are feeding on scuds on the bottom in the upper end of the lake.  Heavy generation causes scuds and sow bugs to be dislodged from their hidden places on the bottom, and trout are keen to watch for these bugs when washed downstream.

 

Use a rig like in Steve's video or just drag a scud on the bottom using a drift rig or just a split shot, but be sure to get it on the bottom.  Scuds found in these trout are various sizes, but some are as big as a #12 fly.  Most are gray, but some are a brown/gray or olive/gray.  And I would stay away from the bluff or deep side of the lake and fish from the middle to the inside bend.

With the flow of water pretty heavy, jerk baits cast and worked along mainly the bluff banks early and late in the day are yielding a few browns and rainbows.  You do have a good chance at a big fish using this method.  Throw a 110+1 Megabass in shad colors, or if you're using a Doty Signature Series, use either a juvenile rainbow or a french pearl.

Dragging jerk baits on the bottom with a drift rig can catch good trout, too, but lately it's been slow going.  Use a 639 suspending bait in shad colors.  It's a short, shallow diving bait that floats. Of course, you can use these baits anywhere on the lake including the trophy area because they are hard baits.

There has been no reports of shad coming through the turbines at the dam, but we have been catching a few trout on white jigs in the trophy area.  They could come through at any time, or may not . . . we never know.

Guides on Monday were drifting night crawlers on the bottom from Fall Creek down, and they brought in limits of decent rainbows.  There have been reports of anglers drifting white or pink Gulp Eggs on the bottom down at the Branson Landing and finding some nice rainbows, too.

When dam operators have dropped the water flow to two units some afternoons, the bite has been better.  The depth of water and flow is easier to manage.

The marabou jig bite has been slow, but there have been some good reports coming in randomly.  Early Monday morning, good rainbows were caught up close to Lookout Island in the slower water there and just down and across the lake on 1/8th-ounce, brown-head sculpin jigs with the red thread.  I was told the red thread made the difference.  Black is also been working on the bluff side from Fall Creek to Short Creek.

 


View full article

Lilleys Landing logo 150.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certainly was a tough few days fishing for me and a couple of buddies. We caught 26 on Saturday on a meat hunting mission using worms, scuds, and jigs from Fall Creek to Monkey Island. Not nearly as good as normal, but we took 12 trout home. We did catch some healthy rainbows, the biggest being 19-inches right across from Lilley's dock on a jig, which we released. Should have sold it to somebody in the tourney..

I fished "for real" on Sunday from 12-5:30 pm. I tried dragging 639 and 762 jerkbaits but I did not even have a bite from the cable to Fall Creek, which is extremely odd. No moss either, which is normally the culprit for no fish. I ended up throwing a 110+1 for most of the day and landed 9 fish. Biggest were two browns right at 18-inches and a 19-inch rainbow. The rest of the fish were 10-14-inch browns. The cable through Trophy Run was about as unproductive as I've ever seen. Most of the fish were from Trophy Run through the Narrows. The good thing is when they hit, they hit. I only lost one fish, which naturally looked to be the biggest of the day, on the clay banks. The rest of the bites I landed. 

Threw 110+1's with Blake yesterday morning before I had to head home and we caught eight fish--four rainbows and four browns. Biggest brown was probably 18-inches and was the first fish of the day. In fact, second cast of the day. We fished from Lilley's down to the bend before Monkey Island and then tried dragging from Lookout to Fall Creek. Blake caught two fish, dinks, but that was it. 

Give me flood gates..

“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.”--Aldo Leopold

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Root Admin

I fished a few hours yesterday afternoon. Dragging night crawlers was the best from Fall Creek through Trout Hollow. Did catch a couple dragging #12 gray scud. 

Lilleys Landing logo 150.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Ryan Miloshewski said:

Give me flood gates..

Amen to that!

I don't even know where to tell people to begin at this point. In the past I could say "Do A if you want to just catch numbers" and "Do B if you want better quality". There doesn't seem to be a plan A anywhere right now and I've tried all of my stocker spots over the past month and a half with barely anything to show for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you are starting to see the effects of the conservation dept stocking 300,000 fewer trout per year .With all the harvesting of fish that has been going on the last couple of years combined with the lower stocking numbers and the improper handling of fish by almost everyone what you see now with far fewer fish being caught is going to be the norm in the future. You can stand in one place around the upper end and see very few fish compared to past ,which I mean 4-5 years ago. I would bet there are at least a million fewer fish in Taney than a few years ago. I am sure that some will disagree with the above commentary but I am just throwing out my observations with over 50 years of fishing on Taneycomo. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If that is the case I think they are going to need to tweak some things. While I don't mind the current situation because I've caught more trout over 20" out of Taney in the past year than I have the rest of my life combined, I am afraid that the added difficulty is going make people stop coming to Taneycomo. While I don't really mind that part of it for my own selfish reasons, it won't be good for the resorts.

It makes sense though. Last winter was the best of both worlds because you had less pressure in 2020 due to Covid having things shutdown. The affects of the added pressure in 2021 when things got back to normal and reduced stockings have brought us to this point. I was down last September and I didn't feel that the fishing was still fairly "normal". Things got MUCH tougher over the 4-5 month span between that trip and when I started coming back down for the winter trout tourneys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally don't mind catching less because the size has gone WAY up which is exciting but I do agree with Seth.  For instance one of our trips down is always the week of Thanksgiving, 5 years ago it was pretty easy to catch 100 fish a day that week if you knew what you were doing at all fishing jigs and trout magnets etc.  The last two Thanksgivings the fishing for trout was tough enough I spent all my time chasing other species which was fine with me.  However I have some friends that have come down two years in a row that are pretty decent experienced taney trout fisherman that vow to never come back that week ever again.  There were several boat loads of anglers staying at the resort we were at during Thanksgiving that said their entire boat load was only catching 1 to 3 fish a day and that was fishing high percentage places like Roark, The Fish House, the Bridges and Monkey Island.  I always strike up conversations on the dock with folks to be friendly and I've heard more "I've been coming here for the last 30 years and have never seen it this tough" comments in the last year or two than I ever have.  Many dock anglers that used to catch their limit are struggling to catch 10 fish in a weeks time it seems.  I know they did a survey etc.  Like I said it's no complaint on my end as I'm dumbfounded and thrilled with the size of fish I'm catching but the families that come down and fish with powerbait, spoons, worms etc each year off the dock or boat rentals are really seeing a hit now it seems.   I'm not sure what the right answer is.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree with Seth and Travis. Normally when it's tough it's because I'm trying to force feed the trout and not throw what they want. Now some days are just flat out tough with the lack of stockers to keep you busy. I like it, to be honest. It's more of a challenge and it is going to lead to new tactics, spots, etc. developing from myself and others. And a better quality of fish for a while. 

I do think they need to tweak the stocking. It's going to take some time to perfect it, and if we have a couple years where it's tough and those rainbows can get big, big--bring it.

Like Seth and Travis noted, the size is great and I am not complaining. I caught 17 rainbows over 20-inches last year..that is just wild to the folks who don't live there but have been fishing here for a long time. Granted I fished a lot, but sheesh.

 

“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.”--Aldo Leopold

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And the crazy thing is Milo, like it's not even the length but the freaking girth and thickness of these fish is insane.  I caught not only some of the longest rainbows I've ever caught last year but the sheer size structure of how they are built is like a totally different fish then what we had in there even 5 or 6 years ago.  To that point, I started throwing jerkbaits there back in about 1989 or so before jerkbaits were the "cool" thing to do.  From say 1989 to up to about 5 years ago I would say I caught about 95% browns when throwing them, you almost never caught a rainbow on them and when you did it was a dink.  Now in the last 3 or so years it seems I'm down to about 60% browns and 40% bows on the jerkbait (not dragging but actually working a jerkbait).  To me that is a testament of the size structure of these bow's in the lake now, they are big enough they are going for much bigger baits.  I know you fish jerkbaits as much as I do and maybe your observation is different then mine but that's my observation the last 3 or so years.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can tell you my last few trips down have been very tough.  Night wade fishing produced very few fish where before in similar water conditions this time of year it was hammer time.  I am not a huge boat fisherman, but I've gotten to where I can hold my own and the last few trips in a boat were rough too.

Something has changed,  and I guess I need to adapt tactics or fish more,  but for a numbers trip I'm with the others in thinking that the days of 100 plus fish might have passed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.