Lake Taneycomo

Lilley’s Lake Taneycomo fishing report, April 30

Posted by Phil Lilley on May 1st, 2013
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Nothing stays the same during spring on Lake Taneycomo. If you don’t like the conditions today, wait a week, and chances are they’ll change. We’ve had a variety of generation patterns for the month of April. But that’s not unusual; it’s spring! Actually it’s been more like a normal spring than most we’ve had lately.

This month, we’ve seen Table Rock’s level jump three feet almost over night after a rain we had a couple of weeks ago. The U.S. Corps of Army Engineers then opened all four units and released the maximum amount of water to raise the upper lakes levels back to power pool. Since then we’ve had some rain, but not enough to cause big releases. The Corps now seems happy to regulate releases to where we’re seeing slow release in the morning and a little more in the afternoon. This will, I believe, remain the pattern as long as Table Rock and Beaver Lakes remain within a foot or two or their power pool levels.

Back when the Corps first released all four units, catching trout was tough, to say the least. I don’t think our trout fed much, and when they did, it was very hard to get and keep a fly or bait close to the bottom because of the current. We hadn’t seen that kind of release in almost 14 months — remember we just came out of a 16-month drought. But catching got better. We found out where we could catch some trout, and then dam operators lowered the release amounts, and most everyone was happy.

Right now the Corps is releasing one unit of water during the night and into the early morning hours, then bumping it up to two units mid morning and running that into the evening hours. The best bite is early, before generation goes to two units. But we have been catching some rainbows drifting mid-day, then much better later in the evening.

I’ve gotten out quite a few times here that last few days on Taneycomo, although the call of crappie on Table Rock has been hard to ignore! Here’s what I’ve found:

From the cable below the dam down to the Missouri Department of Conservation boat ramp, I’ve drifted a tandem of two flies using a drift rig on four-pound line, picking from a choice of four flies in order from best to least: #14 UV gray scud, peach egg fly, pink San Juan Worm and a #12 while wooly bugger. Best bite is drifting from the cable to outlet #2 then over the gravel bar to Rocking Chair. While my clients drifted their rigs Monday, I tossed am 1/8th-ounce sculpin/ginger or the side of the boat, just for grins, and hooked a nice 18-inch rainbow. Second cast, three bites and then hooked another 15-inch rainbow.

The next hot spot was drifting the fly rig over the shallow flat at the narrows although this quick drift was only good for one rainbow per drift. The water is fast and drift is quick.

By the way, the overhanging tree at the top of the narrows is sinking further and further down towards the water’s surface. You almost have to duck when the water is low, and when it’s running you can’t go under it. It’s blocking the main channel so it has to come out. We’ll be taking that tree out one day shortly.

Those who know me know I don’t use “live bait” very often, but friends here for a pastor’s conference want to catch and keep trout, so we’re drifting and using Gulp PowerBait. We’ve found good catching from the mouth of Fall Creek down about 600 yards using a combo of colors, white/orange, white/pink or yellow/orange. Tuesday morning when we started, generation was one unit, so we tied on drift rigs with 1/8th-ounce bell weights, but as the current increased, we switched rigs to using 1/4-ounce bell weights. Had to be on the bottom to catch anything. They all caught their limits by 11 am.

When I cleaned these rainbows, their meat was pink — which means these trout have been in the lake for a while. My guess is these rainbows were in the trophy area and came down below Fall Creek where they were no longer protected by the slot limit.

Monday we found the best fishing was a stretch at Monkey Island and drifting from U.S. Highway 65 bridge down to the railroad bridge. At Monkey, we’d pull almost up to the top of the island and drift past the island and down about 300 yards, then go back up, using the same colors of Gulp Eggs.

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