Are we seeing the new "minimum flow" here on Lake Taneycomo? Back in the mid 1990's, the Missouri Department of Conservation conducted tests to determine the ideal minimum flow for our lake. It was in conjunction with the same tests the Arkansas Game and Fish did below Bull Shoals Dam on the White River. Arkansas was able to get legislation passed in Congress to establish minimum flow there while our fisheries department took a "wait and see" position.
I don't remember what the findings were for our lake, but they have to be pretty similar to the flow we're seeing right now. That's about 1,240 cubic feet per second or 17 megawatts of power generated. This isn't the flow all the time, though. We're seeing bumps in generation up to 2,900 c.f.s., and more. But it is an interesting flow, for boaters and anglers wading up below the dam.
We fly fishermen like to strip and swing flies -- and both are especially working up below the dam. Working a sculpin along the bottom is catching good rainbows and browns while swinging and stripping soft hackles are fooling big rainbows.
Number six and eight sculpins, most of which are weighted to sink and run close to the bottom, are working simply because we have a lot of sculpins in the lake and the trout are keying in on them. Trout aren't line shy with these big flies -- use six- to- eight-pound fluorocarbon tippet.
Soft hackles are fished just on or just below the surface in what we call the "film." They imitate a midge that's coming out of its shell before drying its wings and flying off. Use 6x tippet and a #14 or #16 black soft hackle. Trout usually take it on the swing or when stripping it back.
Micro jigs under a float are working really well. Some guides are adding a zebra midge dropped to it. Tan or black are the best colors, using 6x tippet and fishing them anywhere from four- to seven-feet deep. Early and late in the day, they won't be as deep, but when the sun gets high, fish them deeper, of course, in deeper water.
The cerise San Juan Worm, along with a scud dropper, is working well up in the trophy area. You can sink them down with just a split shot or use a slip float and fish them under the float with the weight on the bottom. Add the flies using the drop shot method above the weight 12- to 18-inches apart. Again, 6x tippet is fine.
Our water temperature coming out of the dam is about 54-55 degrees, and I've been recording dissolved oxygen readings between six and eight parts per million. That's not bad at all, but we will start to see oxygen readings drop here in the next couple of months.
Boaters have been using Gulp Eggs in white or red down in the Branson Landing area and picking up limits of stocker rainbows. Try adding an egg to a small jig head and fish it under a float four- to five-feet deep. Spoons are also working lake side, catching mainly stocker rainbows, but a few lucky anglers are hooking big browns every once in a while.
Of course, night crawlers are still the top bait for catching big browns more often.
The generation outlook for the month is as follows: Very little flows generally with pulses in the afternoon into the evening when the temperatures are high. If we don't get much rain this fall,, look for this to continue through autumn and the brown trout spawn.
Image Credit: Duane Doty, Ozark Trout Runners
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