Lake Taneycomo

Lilley’s Lake Taneycomo fishing report, May 24

Posted by Phil Lilley on May 24th, 2012
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This is Phil Lilley with the fishing report for Lake Taneycomo.  Our lake is full of fish!  It doesn’t hurt when the State of Missouri releases more than 70,000 trout just this month into Lake Taneycomo, not to mention all the trout that were already in the lake with prior stockings.  That’s a lot of fish!  Then add all the other species of fish in our lake — crappie, bass, blue gill, a few walleye and other kinds.  I think you could say that we have the all-round Best of Both Worlds here in Branson.

We’ve gotten little rain in the last few weeks, and our lakes have all dropped below power pool.  We’ve seen generation here on Taneycomo get slower and slower, reduced more and more.  They’ve been running water different each day- check out SPA’s generation schedule daily to see what they are going to run.

Trout Magnets have become the go-to lure here on the lake this spring.  Our guides picked them up and have been using them with great success lately.  Guide Steve Dicky said he thinks there are so many small minnows in the upper lake right now, that the trout are keying in on them for food, and the Trout Magnets are a good match to use to imitate them.  But cotton candy?  That’s the best color this week which, of course, is mainly pink in color.  Steve says the TM imitates a small fry (very small, immature minnow).  Another guide, Bill Babler, says his trout are taking the TM as it falls on after the cast.

Trout Magnets are a short, skinny soft plastic “grub” of sorts with a split tail.  They’re strung on a small jig head hook.  Trout Magnet also provides the jig hook which is unique to TM.  It’s head is flat and slanted which makes the jig fall erratically.  Babler thinks this is why they take the jig on the drop.

Both guides emphasize that the tippet or line you’re using must be fluorocarbon, not monofilament, because our water is so clear fish actually will turn away if they see the line.  Fluorocarbon refracts light, bends it, so it’s less visible in water.  Here’s a good article on the differences.  Most anglers add about three to five feet of “tippet” to the end of their line instead of filling your whole spool with fluorocarbon — it’s much more expensive than monofilament, plus it has a different feel.  Mono stretches and fluorocarbon doesn’t.

Our guides are also doing well on micro and marabou jigs under a float, also.  They use olive or ginger micros when there’s no generation and pink when there is.  Brown, sculpin and white marabou jigs are good at 1/125th ounce with no generation and 1/32nd ounce with the water is running.  Look for the chop!  Chop on the water is crucial with fishing a jig and float.  Fish them five- to six-feet deep generally.

Night crawlers are undoubtedly catching the larger rainbows lately.  A few have been caught on live minnows.  Brown trout will take minnows and worms rather than Power Bait.  But rainbows are also taking Gulp eggs in green, white or orange.  Go to two pound line for more bites and only use a small split shot to get the bait down if the water is off, no generation.  Inject your night crawler with air to float it off the bottom using a blow bottle (sold in most tackle shops).

Trout fishing is very good right now, so that means you’ll probably release more trout than you keep.  REMEMBER, when releasing trout:

  • Try not to handle the trout with dry hands or especially a dry rag.  This will remove its protective body coat of slime and eventually kill the fish.
  • If the hook is deep in the fish’s mouth, don’t try to take it; just hold the trout up and cut the line close to its mouth and let it drop back in the water.
  • Four trout is your daily limit.  You CAN keep fishing if you’ve caught your limit, but  culling  — swapping out fish from a live well or stringer for a new fish — is illegal.  Agents will be out in force this weekend checking licenses and watching for people keeping too many fish.

Zebra #16 black with a copper head has been the fly most are using up above Fall Creek.  Steve Dicky says he’s fishing it deeper than most  — up to five-feet deep in the channel and doing well.  He’s using 6x fluorocarbon as his tippet.

Last evening I tried something different — at least for me.  Lincoln Hunt, a teacher friend from Dallas, comes  every summer to help us out some around the resort as well as to plays golf and fish . . . a lot.    This is his favorite fly fishing technique.  I even texted him while catching rainbows on the dry, something that’s a thrill for any fly fisher!

I was using a #8 stimulator as my indicator with a #16 black zebra dropper 18 inches under the dry.  Using 3x mono tippet to the stimulator and 6x fluorocarbon to the dropper.  I started on the bluff side of the lake below Lookout but quickly moved to the shallow side of the lake after seeing the bluff side of a dead zone.  The wind was out of the west, blowing directly into the bluff, so the surface of the water was dead calm from the bank out 40 feet.  I believe that stillness is the kiss of death for catching anything, so I headed to  the other side where there was a great chop on the surface.

I put the boat in as shallow of water as my trolling motor could stand and cast out to the deeper water.  Last spring’s rain/flood moved a lot of gravel around on that part of the lake, so you have to pay close attention to how deep of water you’re fishing when working down that stretch.  It changes constantly.  I kept my flies in two to three feet of water, but no deeper.

There was good action most of the evening with rainbows taking the zebra mostly.  I caught three rainbows with a dozen more misses on the stimulator.  One very nice rainbow on the dry (video)  was the largest of the evening, but I saw several other rainbows working the surface that were much larger.

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