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Phil Lilley
Phil Lilley

Trout Fishing on Taneycomo for the Novice

There are basic things to consider when tackling trout fishing for the first time on Lake Taneycomo. If you're already a trout fishers, there's not much you have to change in your tackle but this article might give you an excuse to make a trip to the local tackle store. But depending on what kind of water you'r'e used to fishing for trout, Taneycomo is probably quite a bit different. It's big water, wide and deep for the most part so it takes a different mindset than your typical small stream fishing.

Three main ingredients are needed for a successful trout fishing trip -

1. Two to four- pound green line
2. Small weights, hooks and/or lures
3. Ultra-light rod and reel

If you don't have an ultra-light or light line and don't want to go out and buy a new rig, it would be just as effective to tie a light leader onto the end of your line with a swivel. Hook size is important. Trout, especially rainbows, have small, soft mouths. Numbers 6, 8 and 10 are average sizes for any type of bait used. Short, bronze hooks are commended. Weights should only be heavy enough for successful casting. You won't be able to feel the trout bite if there's too much weight. Your equipment should be comfortable, something you are familiar with and know how to use. Your reel should have a good drag. You never know when a big trout will strike and take off. The reel should give line and let the fish run instead of your line breaking. Your rod should be fairly limber, yet stiff enough to set the hook on a trout.

Where to look....
The Upper Lake, which most locals define as the first six miles below the dam, is the most productive fishing area. When the water is off, the first mile is the most shallow and offers ideal conditions for fly fishing. The land in this area is owned by the Missouri Conservation Department- for public use. There are a few riffles and several large pools. Skipping woollies and drifting nymphs work well in these areas. Also see our lake map for better understanding where these areas are.

Lookout Hole: is marked by an island, just below a scenic overlook on Missouri Highway 165. This is the first deep hole below the dam and is known for holding big trout. When the water is running, drift with the same or throw crank baits such as rapalas or rogues. Work the bait fast, jerking them down and stopping, wait a couple of seconds and then jerk again. Brown trout are very aggressive and will hit when the bait stops. Rainbows will hit a big rapala too but this technique eworks best on browns. From Lookout to Fall Creek, work the deep bank with rapalas for brown sand the shallow bank with spinners and spoons for rainbows. One-sixteenth ounce jigs, worked slow off the bottom, will catch nice trout. Use earth colors such as brown and dark green as well as white and ginger. The jig and float technique will work when water is not moving or moving slow. Work the drop-off at the edge of the channel where trout hold.

Fall Creek Area: is just what it states- a creek. It enters Lake Taneycomo three and-a-half miles downstream from the dam. The lower end of the Trophy Area is marked by fall creek. There is a sign at the mouth informing anglers of the restrictions. Fall Creek Resort and Marina is located at the mouth of the creek. There is a gravel bar protruding directly from the mouth of the creek. It crosses three-quarters of the lake in distance and is only about 18-inches below the surface of the water when the water is not running. It has claimed hundreds of props and lower units in its time. But trout like to hang around it. Above and below the bar is water ranging from five to nine feet deep. Fishing with lures is excellent in this area. Throwing white 1/4-ounce rooster tails against the east bank will produce nice-sized browns and rainbows. Jig and float works great here. Work rapalas against both banks hard and fast for big browns.

Short Creek Area: is the next hot spot downsteam, located about a mile below fall creek. It enters the lake from the opposite side of the lake than fall creek, and is marked by a boarded wall built on the downstream side of the mouth. Like fall creek, it also has a very shallow gravel bar stretching most of the way across the lake. This is a popular area to fish- you will see lots of boats above and below and even on top of the bar. When the water is off, getting by this area can be tricky. Go to the far right side (going upstream). Even though the channel might be blocked by fisherman, stay right to miss the shallow water. Excuse yourself and wind your way up, avoiding the bar. The same techniques used around fall creek also work here. The bar is much wider, shallower from the top of the bar downstream, for about 100 feet. When the flow of water is fairly hard, trout will hold on top of this bar. Drift worms, eggs and power bait through them and on down to our place. Stay in the middle of the lake, avoiding trees and other snags on the bottom toward the edges of the bank.

Lilleys' Landing's Stretch: is a long, deep area with few holes or gravel bars. But it is a very popular area for many anglers. Again, stay off the bluff bank when drifting bait on bottom. The trees that have fallen claim lots of hooks and weights. This is where a good number of big, big browns stay for most of the year. You will also find black bass along the banks in the heat of the summer, but few are caught. Throwing big rapalas is one way to hook a big brown as well as minnows and shiners.

Cooper Creek Area: is just below Cooper Creek Resort. Across the lake are 2 gravel points. On and below these points are places trout hold. Drift across them with bait or throw lures around them. This whole area is good for drifting. There are spots where the water is about 5-7 feet deep, when the water if off, and is ideal for jig and float. Brown trout hold along the bank around fallen trees and stumps. The lake below cooper creek is all about the same, good for drifting or still fishing.

Money Island and the Bridges: The lake is wider at this point. When the dam is generating, the flow of water from this area downstream is much slower and easier for drifting. The depth of the water is constant- about 20 feet. Gravel Gerty, a shovel bearing barge, has taken gravel off the bottom of Lake Taneycomo for years, creating large holes. These holes will hold trout, especially on the edges. The holes aren't marked. They can only be found with a good depth finder. Drifting salmon eggs and worms are good for catching rainbows. Throwing cleos and rooster tails when the water is running is good, too. When the water is off, anchor and use the same baits. Trolling cowbells and spinners will catch trout.

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