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Phil Lilley
Phil Lilley

Lilley's Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report, July 31

Our generation schedule has been pretty consistent the last week or so.  No generation in the mornings, then the water comes on about noon, building to almost three units by mid afternoon.  Then it shuts down starting about 10 p.m. and on until the next day.  I don't see the pattern changing because of lake levels, BUT it might change due to dropping dissolved oxygen levels in the water coming from Table Rock Lake.

In the late summer months, the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers will start running water at about a 2,700 cubic feet of water per second nonstop so liquid oxygen can be injected into the water flowing through the turbines.  I'm seeking more information on the subject, so please keep checking back.

I've heard lots of anglers are enjoying the low water below the dam.  I heard reports of "shoulder-to-shoulder" fishing like the trout parks, but those may be exaggerations.  I have seen some great fish pics on Facebook of trout caught around the hatchery outlets and at Rebar Hole.

Without being up there fishing myself, I suspect they're catching fish on small scuds, #16 and smaller, and gray or brown in color.    I have heard beetles are working for top water.  And I've heard small streamers woolies and midge film flies like cracklebacks stripped are working, too.  Night time fishing has been fairly good.  Strip a Hybernator or PMS, a Mo-hair Leach or a Pine Squirrel in dark colors for both browns and rainbows.

From a boat in the mid- to lower Trophy Area, we're fishing a Zebra Midge under a float and doing pretty well.  Use 6x fluorocarbon as tippet for most flies right now, unless you're throwing a dry fly.  Then you'll need to match tippet to the fly size and use monofilament.  On the Zebra, a red or green midge has been working the best in size #14 or #16.

Blake and I did a night time One Cast the other evening.  We caught a lot of rainbows, just not anything of any size.  I think 17 inches was the biggest.  We boated to the Narrows about 10 p.m..  The water had shut down at 10 so it was dropping out when we started.  Staying in the Narrows, we stripped a purple/black #6 Hybernator using 2x tippet.  Blake stripped it really slowly,  and I stripped medium fast in short, six-inch pulls.  The trout started out aggressive but later started taking the fly softly . . . you had to really pay attention on the pressure on the fly.

Below Fall Creek, night crawlers are still catching some top quality rainbows including many topping 20 inches.  I think a lot of these trophies are being released but some aren't.  But the reason we still have so many lunkers IS because they are being released.

Now because the D.O. level in the lake is getting low, we strongly suggest paying close attention how you handle big trout IF you plan on releasing.  Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1.  Keep the fish in the net -- in the water -- until you know what you're going to do with it.  Don't bring it in the boat and have a conversation or handle it in any way.  If you bring it in the boat, it should be directly to a freshly-filled live well.

2.  It's best to hold the fish up with a safety net underneath it -- to catch it when it bolts out of your hands.  But, of course, you need at least three people to handle this task.

3.  Take pics and measurements quickly.  Try not to keep the fish out of the water for more than 30 seconds.

4.  No fingers/hands in the gills or gill plate, period!  Gills are off limits if you want the fish to live.

5.  Handle the fish with wet hands only.  Anything else will take slime and scales off the fish.

6.  Do not bring fish into a dock for pictures, weight and measurement -- don't transport them anywhere.  Handling puts stress on a fish and recovery is greatly hampered by the lack of oxygen in the water right now.

Our fishery has the biggest population of trophy trout, at least since the 1960's.  Let's keep it going!

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