Lake Taneycomo

McDonald breaks “unofficial” Taneycomo lake record

Posted by Phil Lilley on June 6th, 2012
Print Friendly and PDF
Recommend this post:

Little did Aaron McDonald know when he started his fishing day today that he’d break a record.  Who thinks of such things?  But his morning fishing with his uncle and fishing guide Bill Beck turned out to be just that kind of morning.

McDonald, a resident of Sugarland, Texas, was up visiting his relatives here in the Branson area.  He and his son 6 year old, Brayton, got up early and made the trip to the Cooper Creek boat ramp at daybreak.  Beck, a seasoned professional fishing guide here on Taneycomo as well as other area lakes, has been taking Aaron fishing on Taneycomo since he was a small boy.

They put their boat in a started fishing a Trout Magnet, a lure Beck has been using for several months for trout and doing quite well.

They were fishing the bluff bank close to the access when Aaron hooked his trophy rainbow.

“I had missed three trout before setting the hook on this one, I didn’t want to miss another one so I set the hook hard and fast”, said McDonald.

The big rainbow came close to the surface in the clear water of Taneycomo so they immediately knew what he had on the line.

Beck had tied on 2 pound fluorocarbon line so fighting this fish was going to take some time… and skill.

“Twice that big momma got mixed up in some trees on the bottom of the lake and I thought we were going to lose her but Aaron worked her out of both spots,” said Beck.

Forty-five minutes later, Beck netted their trout.  It was one of the prettiest rainbows ever caught on the lake.  It was a female, small head and mouth, but high sides and thick body.

The fish was immediately put in the live well with the intentions of taking it to Lilleys’ Landing’s dock for pictures, revival and release.  “Lilley’s has a large, aerated minnow tank big enough to hold her so that she can gain her strength back and not get hurt.”

Phil Lilley, owner of Lilleys’ Landing, met the group on the dock.  Their rainbow was way too big for Beck’s livewell.  They had the head and body underwater but the tail was sticking out the side.  Beck had ran his aerator over the fish’s head to give it the best chance possible for release.  We transferred her to the big tank and started working her back and forth to keep water running through it’s gills.

“We quickly weighed and measured the rainbow, snapped some quick pictures and put her back in the tank,” reported Lilley.  “We’ve had quite a few huge trout come in over the years and this is the best way to revive them.”

McDonald’s trophy rainbow tipped the scales at 17.48 pounds, just 18 ounces off the current Missouri state record.  It measured 31 inches long and 21 inches in girth.

“This is the kind of rainbows we see in Alaska,” exclaimed Lilley.  “A 30-inch rainbow is considered a lifetime trout in most of the rivers up there.  One from down here in the lower 48 states is really incredible.”

In the end, McDonald’s rainbow did not survive it’s capture.  “Big trout like this one do not do well after being caught, after being fought that long.  We did our best to release it for someone else to catch it but it was not meant to be.”

Rainbow trout just don’t get much bigger than 15 pounds.  They usually die of old age before getting that big.

“This going to show Lake Taneycomo is still a world class trout fishery,” claimed Lilley.

Print Friendly and PDF
Recommend this post:

Leave a Comment
Ed McGillivray
Ed McGillivray

 Congratulations to AAron McDonald,  That is a prize Rainbow for sure.  I had one smaller which I'll tell you about.  It was a 12 lb. 10 oz. big male caught in the rapids below the lower falls in the Gooseberry River, about one mile from Lake Superior.  At the time it was larger than the Wisc. State record  but not Minnesota's   I caught it using a Wright McGill 9 ft. fly rod and 8 lb. monofilament line.  The fish was 34 1/2 inches long and 17 1/2 inches girth.  I won an award in the Annual Field and Stream Fishing Contest.  Also, Mr. Rocky Teller of Duluth MN. had me bring the fish to his  Fishing TV show that evening.   My fishing partner, Bob Boss, happened to come upon the scene of me trying to hold the  fish in a large pool.   He had caught an 8 pounder at a lower pool and I was glad he came to help when he did. 

The best of luck fishing to AAron McDonald!


Congratulations to Aaron and the whole crew down there.......very NICE fish!!

Brayton will be telling that story for the next 50 plus years after we are all gone.

Just made it even better that Brayton got to see his dad catch such a fish. 

Thanks Phil for putting this stuff on here.....I don't post much but I check Ozark Anglers daily.    You always have interesting reading on here, this one pretty much tops it.....will be down in 2 weeks.

lilley moderator

gzenitsky-  Thanks for your kind words.  But the fish did not survive.  We worked with it for over an hour plus the fish wasn't out of the water but for a few seconds for weighing and one short picture.  It was showing signs of stress before they got it to the dock.  Big fish that like fought with light line are very hard to keep alive, unfortunately.  But we did try our hardest.


Mr. McDonald is to be commended for protecting this fish and releasing it unharmed. Any of us would have been tempted to mount a world class fish. Kudos to you Mr. McDonald! Well done!