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Phil Lilley
Phil Lilley

Lilley's Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report, April 13

We've had an interesting time of it here on Lake Taneycomo the last few days.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released water from all 10 flood gates several times since Sunday while leaving the water completely off for must of the remainder of the time.  Strange?  Yes but there were reasons for both.

For the past year, one of four turbines at Table Rock Dam has been out of service.  To button up the repair, evidently a dive team was needed on the Taneycomo side; thus, a fairly large and heavy dive pontoon was used on Sunday and Monday.  To get such a boat all the way to the face of the dam, water has to be running.  While the work was being done, the water had to be off.  So, and I am surmising what happened at this point, the water was left off all day Sunday during the work time, then all 10 spill gates were used to "float" the pontoon out of the upper lake.  They couldn't run the turbines for some reason.  Then Monday morning, flood gates were again opened so the pontoon could make its way to the dam again, and again the water was left off all day Monday until the work was done. 

Monday evening they tested all four units at full tilt -- and they worked fine.  Here's One Cast from last night.  I had to deal with a lot of debris floating down on the lake from the big flow push.

I could report about fishing when the water was off,  but that would be irrelevant now since it looks like generation is back to two units running 24 hours a day.  Let's just say fishing was awfully good for almost everyone, fly fishers as well as spin and  bait anglers.

Beaver Lake is still two feet over its power pool and operators there are running water about 10 hours a day.  It's not dropping very fast, but with the rain and this added water, Table Rock Lake bumped back over its power pool to 915.3 feet.  I assume the Corps wants to run water until both lakes are at or below power pool levels.  Bull Shoals, on the other hand, is running some serious water, and that lake is dropping at a rate of .57 feet per day.  Its power pool is 660 feet, so in a few days it will reach its pool mark.  With very little rain in the 10-day forecast so all three tailwaters should see very slow generation within the next week.


The heavy flow Monday should have cleaned out a bunch of moss and junk accumulated over weeks of slow generation.  But we are still dealing with --  and will for a couple of months -- moss and algae from Table Rock.  Our trout actually eat a fair amount of this moss, probably when they chase scuds living in the gravel, which is covered with the green algae.

Scuds are still the number one food for our trout, so it makes sense that a scud fly should be our number one bait of choice.  We use the scud in one of two ways when fishing for trout -- dragging it on the bottom with a little weight or using a float to fish deep enough to rake the bottom with a small split shot to keep it down there.  The float method does seems to be the best at keeping the fly clean of algae, but depending on where you're fishing, you need to fish it 8- to 12-feet deep, under the float.  We generally use a an eight- to nine-foot spin rod or a fly rod to handle this kind of rig.

If you're dragging the scuds without a float, I'd use two-pound line and just a tiny BB split shot.  It will take a few more seconds to get to the bottom, but it seems to keep the scud out of the algae better than using the regular drift rig and bell weight.


Best areas to fish the scud is from the dam down to Trout Hollow.

The best was to just flat catch trout is to drift a night crawler on the bottom from Fall Creek to Cooper Creek.  Just use a half worm and hook it once in the middle of the half on a #8 hook.  I'd use an 1/8th-ounce bell weight rig, and four-pound line is fine.  A lot of rainbows that grew up in the trophy area have moved below Fall Creek, and they will take a night crawler much faster than a PowerBait egg or paste. 

Minnows will work, too, especially to catch a big rainbow or brown.  It's been more than two weeks since we had a big push of shad from Table Rock, but those fish still remember,  so they'll take a minnow or white jig.


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Those are some pretty crazy flows and temperature swings.

Just a quick update on Bull Shoals tailwater...

They reduced the flows from 21k to 16k today. They have been running over 20k 24/7 for the last 2 weeks. I talked to one of the guides yesterday and he said we may see reduced flows for a while because they have an agreement with the farmers downstream to reduce the flows at Newport for the planting season starting April 15. Hope that pans out and we get some low water to get the caddis hatch going.

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