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Phil Lilley
Phil Lilley

Lilley's Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report, December 5

The generation pattern has settled in pretty solidly now.  Dam operators are running water 24/7 at various speeds, bumping it up an hour here and there with no real rhyme or reason, it seems.  The flow is mostly just a little under one unit or 3,200 cubic feet per second, but they have ran as much as 9,000 c.f.s. in the past week.  The dissolved oxygen content is hovering around between seven and eight parts per million, which is great; water temperature is holding at 56 degrees.

We're seeing fewer and fewer browns in the upper lake but more colored-up rainbows.  And we're starting to see some beds at the Narrows where we've seen them in the past.  If this flow continues, we should have a decent rainbow trout hatch again this winter.  But as soon as they shut the water down and expose these beds, all bets are off.

We did get a nice one-inch rain Sunday night, which we really needed.  This will put a little water in our creeks however short-lived.  Our creeks are more like drainage creeks and don't consistently run unless we get good rains back to back.  The lake will be the best place for our rainbows to spawn this winter unless the weather pattern changes and we have a wet cold season.

Remember, natural spawn does not figure into the fishery plan for Lake Taneycomo.  The Missouri Department of Conservation Fishery Division assumes there won't be any successful natural spawn and stocking numbers reflect this fact.  Natural spawned trout are a bonus, at best.

I'm glad to say our trout are taking a marabou jig much better than they have for most of the fall months.  I'm not sure why, but I'm not complaining about the positive change.  We've been catching decent numbers and size trout on several colors-- white actually has been a real good color with sculpin, brown and black right behind it.

Jerk baits are working best up close to the dam. 

Anglers are catching a lot of bass near the cable.  Some have said these fish are coming through the turbines, but that simply isn't true.  Very few fish survive the trip through Table Rock's turbines, plus there is a grate that keeps most fish from entering from the Table Rock side.  These warm-water fish are residents of Lake Taneycomo and have found this area below the dam conducive to their liking.  I'm not sure why we don't find them in large numbers on down through the upper lake.

Drifting with night crawlers and Powerbait is still the best way to catch dinner.  The area below Fall Creek down past Trout Hollow is the best.  You need to have a variety of weights because the current does change as well as wind conditions -- both affect your drift and the ability to keep your bait on the bottom.  One guide told me he went to a longer leader between his weight and hook and did much better. 

Others did well drifting the Cooper Creek Flats this weekend.  But there were a lot of small rainbows down there and had to throw back quite a few before getting a limit of good eaters.

I've seen a lot of anglers throwing spoons and catching trout lately, both in the Trophy Area and down below.  That's a great way to hook a brown trout, too.  You never know.

Fishing a lot of things under a float in this flow has been really good.  The one thing that's consistent is an egg fly with something -- a midge, a scud, or even another egg or a San Juan Worm.  The egg fly, at least the first one, must be weighted, either with a jig head or a split shot.  The other weighted fly that's working is the Mega Worm.  Blake Wilson has been using one of Darin Schildknecht's  patterns --  calls it the micro mega.  White is the best color.  He took some friends out the other day and drifted from Short Creek to Trout Hollow using this under a float and said they caught at least four rainbows on every drift.

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