Posted by Phil Lilley on May 9th, 2014
Table Rock and Beaver Lake levels have dropped to where the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers has backed off on running water through the dams. Late last week, the turbines were shut down at Table Rock Dam, and we had no generation during the day for the first time in weeks and weeks. Since then, we’ve seen no generation almost every day, except today. Today they’ve been running anywhere from a half to a full unit.
The most noteworthy item to report for Lake Taneycomo would be our gin-clear water. Ever since Table Rock turned over in late November, our water has been turbid, green but with color. Here in the last couple of weeks, that water has cleared up to the point I’m thinking of changing all my reels from four-pound to two-pound line!
Most of us, though, are just tying a short piece of tippet to each line for small jigs and flies under a float when the water here is not running. Vanish two-pound line is good tippet material for this. Use a triple surgeon’s knot to connect the two pieces. The link points to a regular surgeon’s knot are looped only twice. Just make another loop for a triple knot. If the water is running, you can get away with using four-pound line.
With the water not running as much, our water temperature has risen. When the water was running, and the temperature was in the low 40’s, our trout just didn’t like to come out and play as much! They head up in the creeks where the water is warmer and that’s where we were sending most of our guests to fish. The water temperature is much more conducive to “catching” now.
Using a jig and float has been the best way to catch trout this week. I rigged up some first timers to Lake Taneycomo a couple of days ago, and they immediately started catching rainbows. This is what I did:
1. I added about 36 inches of Vanish two-pound line to their lines. A couple of them had four-pound line and one had six-pound on their reels. I showed them how to tie the triple surgeon’s knot.
2. I slipped on a carrot float.
3. Tied on a 1/50th ounce marabou jig, brown with an orange head.
4. Then I tied an 18-inch piece of tippet (Vanish two-pound) onto the eye of the jig.
5. Added a #14 red Zebra Midge.
6. Set the float at six-feet deep from the first jig and told them to try that depth. If it didn’t work or they moved to fish shallower water than six feet, we moved it up or down.
7. I told them to find and fish water that had a ripple on the surface. Most of the water they fished was between Short and Fall Creeks.
With the exception of the first day, they caught their limit every day plus caught and released extras.
Here at Lilleys’ Landing, we have started a new program that we hope will help people who are having trouble catching trout learn how to use jigs and be more successful. A rod building company in Harrison, AR, has been making the Lilleys’ Spinning Rod we sell in our shop for about 12 years now. It’s the rod I use in all my videos, perfect for fishing marabou jigs.
We have rigged up these rods with Pflueger’s Presidents reels and four-pound line and will starting renting them on a daily basis to those who would like to try them out. The rate will be $15 per day or $25 for a two-day trip.
IF you like the rods and they help you catch more trout, you may purchase the combo in our shop and take the rental rate you paid off the retail price. If you would like to buy the rod you used, we’ll take an additional 10% off the retail price.
I want to get these rods into trout fishermen’s hands and let them see how they work.
The rods come in four lengths– 5’6″, 6’0″, 6’6″ and 7’0″. I would suggest using the six-foot for throwing jigs without a float and the 6’6″ for using the jig-and-float method.
Back to trout fishing…
Fly fishing below the dam most mornings with the water off has been amazing! Months of running water has produced some incredible rainbows in the upper end of the lake. They are taking midges — both Zebra and thread midges, Rusty, P&P, green and red, #16’s and #18’s. Strip a #8 olive, green or brown pine squirrel anywhere from the cable down to Trophy Run. Also try #8 Wooly Buggers in same colors.
In faster runs like outlets 1 and 2, Rebar and the chute above Trophy Run, drift #16 olive or gray scuds, #14 thread midges in black or olive or white, red or brown San Juan Worms. In the slower, but still moving runs, drift the same flies but in smaller sizes.
In the trophy area, fishing out of a boat, Zebra Midges are king! Size 14’s and #16’s in red, black, olive, Rusty or P&P under an indicator three- to five-feet deep in most places. Be sure to use 6x or even 7x tippet. If the water is running, deepen the drift and add a split shot or use a small jig above the fly.
Below Fall Creek, Zebra Midges and small marabou jigs are still good choices. We are using 1/125th to 1/50th ounce in weight in pink, white, black, brown, sculpin, sculpin/orange, sculpin/ginger and ginger. Add an orange head to the darker colors except black. Fish them a little deeper if you’re fishing the channel–up to seven-feet deep.
We’ve had a couple of guys fishing here all week, targeting mostly browns. Robert and Wayne Dickerson of Lawrence, Kansas. They’ve been fishing between Fall and Short Creeks using white jigs and stick baits, working the bluff bank. Both have caught some really nice brown trout, just under 20-inches and one right at 21-inches. Of course you can’t keep the rainbows off the line . . .
Bill Babler, one of own fishing guides, reports doing great using Trout Magnets in the Short Creek area this week. He’s using pink, pink/white and salmon colors. He said he cuts off “3 rings” off the head, shortening the bait. He also puts about 10 wraps of thread on the TM jig hook and glues with TM grub to the hook using Super Glue. He said his client used one bait all morning this morning, catching several dozen rainbows.
They’re using 2-pound Vanish tippet and setting their floats 5 to 6 feet deep. Bill said the fish bite better if there’s cloud cover. If the sun’s out and it’s bright, the trout only nibble and chase the bait.
Gulp Powerbait has been only fair at best for our anglers. Night crawlers are working much better, injected with air to float off the bottom. Most trout have been suspended off the bottom at least three to five feet. That’s why floating a jig or fly under a float has been working so much better when the water is not running.
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