Lake Taneycomo

Lilley’s fishing report, May 4

Posted by Phil Lilley on May 4th, 2012
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Walt Miller released this 22-inch rainbow today, fishing with guide Tony Weldele.

This is Phil Lilley with the Lake Taneycomo fishing report.  This week, you could almost set your clock by the generation schedule.  The water has been off from about 10 p.m. until 1 p.m., building to three units at just over 708 feet which is a lot of water.

Every spring, we have trouble with green moss in our lake.  It grows on the bottom up close to  the dam  during the morning while the water is off, then breaks off when generation starts and flows down stream.  We also get moss from Table Rock Lake through the turbines later in May and on into June before the green stuff stops growing and flowing.  It’s a pain when the current first starts.  The moss sticks to your flies, your jigs and hooks with bait — whatever you’re throwing.  You might as well take about an hour break when the water starts up.  After a while, it clears up and the fish start biting hungrily again.

In the mornings, fishing has been rewarding most of the time.  I’ve been fly fishing with friends a few mornings this week, using P&P (Primrose and Pearl) Zebra Midge #16 or #18 under an indicator 36- to 40-inches deep and fishing the bluff side of the lake above the Narrows.  If there’s a chop on the water, the fishing is excellent. If the water is slick, with no wave action, it’s slow but not terrible.  They’ll still bite a zebra when you use  6x fluorocarbon tippet.

Half micro jigs have also done well in the same areas, setting the jig 30- to 36-inches deep.  Black, sculpin with orange head and gray are the best colors, but when the water starts moving, switch to a full pink micro and drift down the middle of the lake.

Night fly fishing is heating up below the dam this week.  I say “heating up” with tongue in cheek because when I went wet wading last night (no waders, only neoprene booties, wading sandals and shorts),  my sweatshirt wasn’t enough to keep me warm.  The water temperature is 44 degrees right now.  A bright, three-quarter moon  and light fog danced on the water.  I caught six rainbows and one small crappie on a black hibernator. fishing from outlet #1 almost down to outlet #2.  The crappie was a surprise.  Guide Duane Doty was up there, too, with a friend who had never been night fly fishing before, and they stayed longer (dressed warmer) and caught more trout.  Duane said he did better on white hibernators and also used a minnow pattern he ties.  Here’s a link to a report he posted a couple of days ago.

Capt. Steve Dicky has been putting his clients on lots of rainbows this week.  He’s had several trips with beginner fly fishers.  He said that when the water has been off in the mornings, it’s been easy for novices to catch trout because they don’t have to cast very far from the boat to get bit.  He’s been using full micro jigs and zebra midges under indicators and he’s doing the best from Lookout Island down to Fall Creek.  Steve called in a report and you can hear his report  by clicking this LINK.

Launching out today about 11:30 a.m., I  drove to the dam and walked in at the Missouri Department of Conservation boat ramp.  The water was off and low with mostly a slick surface.  There were a lot of rainbows up close to the near bank in shallow water.  They spooked and swam to the middle when I approached.  I started with a black beetle #16 on the surface  — a few lookers but no takers.  I had guessed that with a little wind and chop on the water the trout would be more receptive to eating a beetle.  Just as I switched to a soft hackle, the wind started to kick up and trout started eating off the surface.  Midges were hatching and skimming across the surface.  Rainbows were jumping out of the water, chasing them.  I tied on a #16 red soft hackle and stripped it fast and short with pauses.  I brought four rainbows to hand and missed twice as many fish.  One rainbow pushed 15 inches.  All fought hard!

Switched to a #18 P&P Zebra under an indicator 10 inches and caught three more rainbows.  The wind was on and off, so there were dead times.  When the wind blew, the fish bit.  No wind — no action with one take-and-catch as the exception.  After the horn blew at 1:15 p.m.,   I picked up one more rainbow and that was all.

Below Fall Creek in the mornings, fishermen are catching their limits of rainbows using air-injected night crawlers.  Use two- to four-pound line, a #6 or #8 short shanked bronze hook and a small #7 split shot, pinched on the line 24 inches from the hook.  Break the night crawler in two and hook the worm in the middle of that section, letting the worm hang off each side of the hook.  You do NOT have to hide the hook — the trout won’t mind.  When you get a bite, let the fish run with it just a little to make sure he gets it in his mouth effectively before setting the hook.

**If you want to release a trout, do NOT touch the fish, especially with a dry rag or glove.  This will remove its protective slime and endanger its future health and survival.  Do NOT try to remove the hook if it’s deep in its mouth.  Cut the line and let the trout go immediately.  It has a much better chance to live with the hook than it would if you try to dig it out.  The hook will eventually dissolve.

Once the water starts running, drift with Gulp Powerbait Eggs using one white and one other color such as orange or pink.  Use a drift rig and only use the amount of weight needed to get the rig to the bottom.  The best area to drift is down the middle of the lake from Trout Hollow to Cooper Creek.

Another good thing to try is casting nickel-colored Cleos.  They’ve done well thrown out and reeled back fairly slow or  just trolled.

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