Lake Taneycomo

Lilleys’ Lake Taneycomo fishing report, August 9

Posted by Phil Lilley on August 9th, 2013
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What a week can make!  In my last report, lake levels were normal and everything was copacetic.  Today Table Rock Lake’s level is four feet higher and the dam is running five flood gates to hold down rising water levels.  We had countless rain storms move through the area dumping as much as 12 inches of rain in as little as three hours in small areas around this area.  But for all the concern, we are in good shape.

Table Rock has crested from the last storm at 920 feet which is 10 feet below what they would consider flood stage.  Beaver Lake is just now at power pool. Taneycomo is running three units full plus five (of 10 total) flood gates but they’re not running a whole lot from the gates.  Table Rock Dam has a total of four turbines.  One is down for maintenance and can’t be operated, thus the flood gates.    They’re running gates to make up for the turbine they can’t run.

Taneycomo’s lake level right now it 712 feet, 11 feet above power pool.  The current up below the dam is fairly fast but not torrent.  It’s still safe for boating as long as you don’t ANCHOR and watch where you’re drifting.

Because water is coming over the flood gates, there’s warmer water entering the lake.  Water temperature coming through the turbine (130 feet) has been about 48 degrees while the water from Table Rock coming over the flood gates (about 30 feet deep) is in the mid 70’s.  When below the dam in my boat, my temperature gauge has read as high as 71 degrees when on the turbine side (north side) it’s about 58 degrees.  On down lake, it’s reading about 60 degrees.

These temperatures aren’t bad for trout at all.  As a matter of fact, they like water temperatures in the 50’s better than they like it in the 40’s.  They are more active and feed more aggressively.

The other “cool” thing about flood gates is through them sometimes comes shad and other small fish from Table Rock.  I was up fishing earlier today and saw small threadfin shad floating in the water about 3/4 mile below the dam.  And yes, they like about anything white I threw.

This is only the second day the flood gates have been opened.  Typically, this draws trout and other species of fish up to the headwaters to feed on shad.  My experience is that we find very large rainbow and brown trout showing up and biting our shad flies and white jigs we’re throwing.  Today’s fishing verified this.  I didn’t catch anything longer than 20 inches but did catch quite a few rainbows in the 16-to 18-inch range.  I caught one rainbow showing signs of shad gluttony (pics).  That’s a very good sign for us trout fishermen!

As more and more trout become aware of these threadfin shad — that they’re good and easy to eat — the fish become more plentiful and easier to catch.  Today, we had to get our jigs and flies close to the bottom, which is a trick in such deep and turbulent water.  I used a drift rig with a 1/4-ounce bell weigh plus I pinched a #3 or #4 split shot above the bell weight.  I found out that it was best to throw a short distance from the boat, not the heave-hoe throw, and drift the rig practically under the boat.  I felt the bite better and could keep track of where the lure was.

I started my drift at or close to the cable below the dam and drifted down the middle of the lake, which was where the cold and water met.  I drifted down to Trophy Run and headed back up.

Rick Lisek, one of our fishing guides, had two trips today and reported, “the trout are mean and hungry today!”  He said he saw shad floating this morning as far down lake as Cooper Creek and drifted and fished on his own after his trips from Monkey Island to the bridges using Gulp Eggs and caught rainbows that were spitting up shad.  That’s amazing!

He said his clients caught trout drifting shad flies as well as pink or peach egg flies.  He also had them cast a small 4-inch shad colored floating crank bait and just reeled it in slowly, catching some rainbows.

When he was drifting down lake, using Gulp Eggs down from Monkey Island, he used less weight.  He said he used 3/16-ounce bell weights on his drift rigs.  Four-pound line is very ok with this water flow.

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