Lake Taneycomo

Lilleys’ Lake Taneycomo fishing report, April 6

Posted by Phil Lilley on April 6th, 2014
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April Shon

Trout fishing has toughened up the last few days.  Fairly heavy generation has made both getting to the fish and getting them to bite a challenge, most of the time.  But there are a few places and times each day where the trout bite like crazy.  That’s what  keeps all of us coming back — even if  the last week, those places and times were far and few between.

Generation:  Two to three units have been running first thing in the morning, then gearing back to one to even a half unit the rest of the day.  There was one day this past week when  the water was off all afternoon.  I don’t see anything in the works that would change that pattern for a while.  Water temperature is 44 degrees coming from Table Rock which is warmer than a few weeks ago.  That’s a good thing.

When the water runs for so long, our trout tend to seek out places where they can sit out of the fast water.  That might be along the bank, in creeks or on the bottom behind big or small objects.  The way trout are built, sleek and slender, they don’t need a very large object to sit behind.  That’s where we are looking to get our bait and lures.

The creeks, Roark, Turkey and Coon, have been hammered pretty hard the last few weeks.  Simply there’s seems not to be many trout left in them.  But there are some and they’re being caught on either Gulp Eggs on a jig head, a marabou jig or minnow under a float.  There’s also come crappie and white bass being caught in Roark and Turkey Creeks.

I have to interject something here at this point.  I’ve owned Lilleys’ Landing for almost 31 years and I have witnessed  a mindset that frustrates me.

First, fishing is fishing.  If you take a trip to the same water, say once a year, you’re going to have good years and bad years of “catching.” When some anglers have good trips, where they’re catching a lot of fish, they are tempted to “double dip” or catch and keep more than their daily limit of four, and at times, more than even their possession limit of eight.

In the last couple of weekends, I’ve seen groups of fishermen keep way more than their limits — as if to compensate for the times when they didn’t catch many.  What this does, quite simply, is rob the next guy who comes to fish.  I see it happen on our dock quite often.  Because most of this lake is “put and take,” you’ll only catch trout when they’re there.  If they’ve all been caught out, then fishing is poor.

Poaching hurts other anglers’ chances of catching their limit of trout here on Lake Taneycomo.  It’s selfish, it’s illegal and it should not be tolerated by anyone.

Morning fishing, when the water is running the hardest, has been slow, but when  the flow slows, the trout seems to come alive.  Drifting Gulp Eggs, one white egg and one either pink or chartreuse on a hook, has been the best, along with night crawlers.  Best areas have been drifting from Monkey Island past the bridges and Fall Creek to Trout Hollow.

I still think the best live bait to use is one white Gulp Egg and a half night crawler.  Slid the egg onto the hook and up the line.  Pinch a worm in half and hook it once in the middle of the half, the worm hanging off of both ends.  Then slide the egg back down on top of the worm.  This works well off our dock, too.

April 5 Rainbow

There’s been quite a few rainbows, nice rainbows, holding on the flat from Short Creek to Trout Hollow.  They’re catching them drifting and using either a pink or chartreuse Trout Magnet under a float four to six-feet  deep.  I’ve tried this a couple of times the last few days and was surprised by the size and quality of rainbows I caught.  I used my spinning rod one evening and my fly rod the next.  Both worked well.  I would think a marabou or micro jig would work, too, although I haven’t tried it.

Anglers who fished out of the resort this weekend struggled to catch trout but most caught their limits.  One positive thing is that the size of our trout are still bigger than normal.  Some of the rainbows I caught on the Trout Magnet in the Short Creek area were 12 to 14 inches long.  We are still catching some dark males, which usually average 13 inches or more.

The wind has really hampered “catching” this week, yesterday being the exception.  There’s few remedies for wind when fishing out of a boat except finding a stretch where it’s not as windy, getting along the bank and tying up or anchoring or going up in one of the creeks that’s sheltered from the wind.  Wind causes problems since it’s hard to control a boat, especially a pontoon.  Combine current with wind, and it’s hard to keep your bait or lure where it’s supposed to be.  It’s best, I think, to get out very early in the morning before the wind starts and plan on staying out until dark when the winds start to die down.

Some things I do in my boat when it’s windy are:

  • Try my hardest to keep the boat moving the same speed as the current if I’m drifting bait or flies on the bottom.  Watch floating leaves on the surface as a gauge and move at the same pace.
  • If I’m throwing a small lure like a jig of spoon, slow the boat down just a little and let the lure swing downstream of the boat with the rod tip low, so the wind won’t affect the lure’s action.  Watch the line, especially close to where the line enters the water and look for it to twitch or pop.  That’s a bite.
  • It’s hard, but you really have to watch where your line is at all times in conjunction with the boat.  If you’re the boat operator, you have to be coordinated at multi-tasking to do that!
  • Be aware of how the wind is blowing your line above the water.  If it’s putting a big bow in your line, drop your rod tip closer to the water’s surface.

In the trophy area, I believe we have some of the nicest trout we’ve had up there in a long time.  They’re just hard to catch right now.  I think the cold water has caused them not to eat a lot.  They’re held up out of the current and biding their time, just eating occasionally.  With the water running almost all the time, they don’t have to move far to eat something that drifts by them.

April 5 Bentley 1

I’ve been throwing jigs all week, both in the trophy area and below with mixed results.  I’m still catching quite a few brown trout, especially when I’m using white jigs.  When I boat up into the trophy area (water running), I usually go all the way up to the cable below the dam and start there. Lately I have not ventured that far since I have not managed a  bite until right before the Missouri Department of Conservation boat ramp, almost a mile below the dam.

We know  shad came through the turbines this winter.  When that happens, the trout below the dam normally gorge themselves on the virtually free food and look for more.  They usually hit anything white for the next month, hoping it’s another shad drifting by.  But this year has not followed that routine.  It’s not that I’m not catching fish on white jigs; it’s the location I’m catching them in – and NOT catching them in.

I’m throwing white 1/8th ounce jigs when the water is running along the bluff banks, close to the bank, and catching trout from the boat ramp down to the top of Trophy Run, then from Lookout Island down to the Narrows.  It’s been fair fishing the bluff bank from Fall Creek Marina down to Trout Hollow but not as profitable fishing the bluff bank from the old Sun Valley Resort down to Cooper Creek.

April 5 Bentley 2

BUT yesterday afternoon was the exception, and confirmed something I have believed all along.  I took Darrell Bentley, a friend of mine, out fishing yesterday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m..  The sun was out and very bright.  They were running 80 mw with the lake level at 705.7 feet.  The wind was calm.

We started at the cable.  I threw an 1/8th ounce white jig and Darrell tried his gold tinsel 1/16th ounce jig.  Darrell works at Reed’s Fly Shop just outside Montauk State Park.  I’ve never tried any tinsel jig before and gold is for sure something I’ve never thought about using.  Darrell said he uses gold when it’s sunny and silver when it’s cloudy.  I had my doubts that our trout would find his gold tinsel jig appealing.  I was wrong.

April 5 Gold Jig

Darrell put 2 rainbows in the boat before I got a bite on my white jig.  I was impressed.  Then I caught one, and then another.  We hadn’t drifted past the island yet and already put 5 very nice rainbows to the net.  We continued to drift down and did well.  Made a couple of drifts before our time had ended, catching some quality rainbows up to 17 inches.

So they’re still up there!  Again, it’s being in the right place at the right time throwing the right lures, flies or bait at them!  And that includes gold tinsel jigs!

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