Posted by Phil Lilley on April 24th, 2014
It’s been a while since my last fishing report, but very little has changed since April 6. Generation has stayed steady — the U.S. Army Corps of Army Engineers is releasing about 7,000 cubic feet per second of water (or two units) consistently for the past month, day and night. There’s been small variations but for the most part, it’s been very consistent.
Water temperatures have not changed either. We’re getting 42-degree water from Table Rock, which is colder than our trout like it. Keep in mind, most of our trout are being stocked from the Branson Landing area down lake, and for the most part, they’re staying down because of the current and temperature. Our fishing guides are reporting that they are finding rainbows holding in eddies and behind structures to try to stay out of the current.
Now if that’s all you read of my report, you’ll missed the most important thing! They shut the water off this morning for the first time in a couple of months! Why did I not change my report above, written yesterday? Because with rain in the forecast, there’s a very good chance we’ll be right back in the same generation pattern we’ve seen most of the winter.
This is what happens when I start writing my fishing reports one day and finish the next . . . the Corps pulls a fast one on me!
Now that the water is off, I think our trout will be very hungry and eager to get out of their eddies and behind rocks to eat. A jig-and-float rig should be great using the normal colors of olive, sculpin, brown, white and pink. I’d start with setting the float four feet above the jig and push it deeper as needed. Even with the water running, our guides have been adding a short, 18- inch piece of 6x or two-pound line to the jig and tying on a #16 red zebra midge. That’s still a good thing to do.
To prove my prediction, I called Steve Dickey, who had a trip this morning. He said his party of two caught 96 rainbows in a four-hour trip, all on with the jig-and-float technique. They fished from Lookout down to Fall Creek and used a variety of colors, which Steve said made no difference. The trout bit anything they threw at them.
Air-injected night crawlers should be excellent. Not so much minnows, but they might be worth trying, as well as PowerBait Gulp eggs, using one white and one orange or pink.
One thing for sure — there are a lot of rainbows in the lake right now. The Missouri Department of Conservation has been stocking regularly, and the catch rate lately has been low.
Now, if — or rather when — the water starts running again, the rest of my report will apply to generation conditions.
Guide Rick Lisek said Tuesday that he had his clients use minnows close to the bottom and drift from Scotty’s Trout Dock down past the Landing. He’s also finding fish behind Bass Pro’s Fish House as well as downstream from Scotty’s and the old gravel bar below the last bridge on the west side of the lake. Earlier in the winter we were finding crappie in the same slow water.
Rick said, “They’ll always eat a minnow if you put it in front of them.”
Steve Dickey called in a report for us yesterday. Remember his report reflects generation all day, every day.
You’ll need to install flash on your computer, if you haven’t already, to access his report. Be advised, iPads and iPhones don’t run flash, so you won’t be able to hear his report on those devices.
We’ve been sending our guests down around the bridges to cast spoons. One-sixth ounce Cleos, 1/8th ounce Kastmasters and Super Dupers have been working well.
I took a long-time guests of the Landing out for an hour’s fishing yesterday, late morning. Ned and Marilyn Spence are from the Oklahoma City area. I took a dozen minnows along and headed down lake, past the bridges, to the Landing area. I strung a float on the line and tied on a #10 short shank hook and a split shot 12 inches above the hook. Set the float at seven-feet deep and put a minnow on the hook. I usually run the hook through the bottom lip through the upper lip.
The trout have been holding in areas where the current is slower, so we started below the gravel bar on the Landing side of the lake above the Fish House. Didn’t take long for the float to disappear and Ned reeled in his first rainbow of the day.
I wanted to try a few more places, so we boated down to Roark Creek. Mr. Spence caught one there on the same rig. Then we anchored just above the mouth of Coon Creek. Trout were actually midging in the current seam there. He caught one more there before heading back.
Fishing at Coon Creek. Notice the zip line above Ned’s head . . . the outfitters were testing the wire!
Mouth of Turkey Creek.
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