Lake Taneycomo

Lilleys’ Lake Taneycomo fishing report, May 20

Posted by Phil Lilley on May 20th, 2014
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Dickey May 20 Taneycomo 3

Since my last report, generation patterns have changed twice. First, the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers slowed the flow of water down from Table Rock Dam to about 25 megawatts (about 1/2 unit) and left it there for days on end. We saw very little fluctuation day or night until a couple of days ago when  the turbines were shut off altogether. But it was short-lived. After 75 megawatts ran last night, it’s back to 25 megawatts today, schedule to hit  75 megawatts this afternoon. This might be the “new normal” for a while.

With Memorial Weekend coming up, you would think Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery would have stocked the lake full of trout . . .  and you’d be correct in your thinking! There have been good reports from this past weekend, of catching good numbers of rainbows from the Branson Landing to Table Rock Dam.

One group that stayed here from the First Nazarene Church, Parsons, Kansas, did very well Thursday through Sunday morning. Most of these guys have been coming to Lake Taneycomo on an annual fishing trip for more than 10 years.  The majority of them fish with marabou jigs, either fishing them straight or under an indicator.

Stammer Taneycomo 1

One group that stayed here from the First Nazarene Church, Parsons, Kansas, did very well Thursday through Sunday morning. Most of these guys have been coming to Lake Taneycomo on an annual fishing trip for more than 10 years and the majority of them fish with marabou jigs, either fishing them straight or under an indicator.

Kelly Stammer, the leader of this group, reported to me they fished with white marabou jigs, mostly 3/32nd-ounce, above and below Fall Creek, working mainly the bluffs.  They also fished shallow water, sight fishing.  “If the jig disappeared, we’d set the hook cause it was in the fish’s mouth,” Kelly reported.  They also throw a lot of medium stick baits like gold and black Rapalas, but they didn’t produce as much as they usually do.

Kelly and some of his group fished the mouth of Turkey Creek Friday evening in the rain and caught rainbows on almost every cast using sculpin jigs, 1/8th-ounce.  He said they had to be on the bottom.

Stammer Taneycomo 2

Duane Doty, Lilleys’ Landing’s new marina manager, went fishing on Taneycomo yesterday on his day off and files this fishing report:

Put in a Coopers Creek about 8:30 this morning and ran up to Lilleys’ Landing to try some 1/125- ounce jigs in white and some in sculpin colors with the orange heads. Chatted it up for a bit with the fellas in the office and then headed on up to the Trophy Management Area.

The water was running when I launched the boat at Cooper’s Creek, but by the time I got up to Fall Creek, the Corps were no longer generating and the water was falling out. Got the jet boat all the way up to the top of the old “Big Hole” area just below the Rebar and Gauntlet. I decided I probably should not go any further due to wade fishermen all in that area.

When I shut the motor down, I noticed fish were rising and jumping everywhere. I picked up the spinning rod and started throwing a 3/32-ounce white jig. Lots of fish were chasing all the way to the boat, and I even had four takers on it. By this time I had made my way down to the “Rocking Chair” area and I was wanting a little more action than what I was getting, so I changed things up.

I grabbed the 4-weight fly rod that was rigged with a size 16 zebra midge about 18 inches under a small indicator. About 10 seconds into my first drift, I caught a nice, chunky, 18-inch rainbow. I got hits, or caught a fish on just about every cast from the boat ramp down to just above Look Out Island. These fish were nice! Many of them in the 16- to 18-inch range with a few of the silver bullets mixed in.

Got tired of throwing the midge and picked up the 5-weight fly rod that was rigged with a 1/125-ounce sculpin colored jig with an orange head about four feet under an indicator. I fished this from Look Out Island down  until I got the phone call I was waiting for. You see, my brother-in-law helped me move a freezer and some furniture last week. My payback:  a fully guided trip on Taney. Now that I had a good idea what was working, I headed to Lilley’s Landing to pick him up.

Picked Aaron up right around noon, and we headed back up to the Trophy Management Zone. With the water being all the way off for a while now, we only made it just above the old KOA area campground (now Trophy Run) before coming up on wade fishermen that I did not want to disturb.

I had a spinning rod rigged up with the 1/125-ounce sculpin jig under an indicator for Aaron, since he is not a fly fisherman. I picked the fly rod and jig combo back up.  Just on the drift from the top of the old KOA to the bottom, I caught eight fish.  Aaron had a bit of a slow start and only landed three through there. Aaron finally got his game face on and and started putting the hammer to the trout around the top of Lookout.

Doty Taneycomo

I got a phone call around this time, and I watched Aaron land five fish while I was on the phone — and it was only an eight-minute phone call.

The wind really started picking up below Lookout down to the Narrows. That long, slow water was a little tougher to fish fighting the wind. We probably still landed five to six  fish each on that stretch, and then things really picked up through the Narrows. We both caught several fish from there down to Fall Creek still using the 1/125-ounce sculpin jigs with orange heads. One of the rainbows I caught was very close to 19 inches —  and I could not get my hand around him!

Aaron wanted to take some fish home with him, so we headed down to the Bridges by the Landing. We rigged up salmon-colored trout magnets four feet under an indicator on spinning rods and proceeded to putting a “whoopin” on them trout. There was a lot of wind and lots of big chop. Funny thing is, we caught most fish in the slick water that had a scum film on the surface.

It only took about 10 minutes for the both of us to catch limits, and then we spent the next hour catching and releasing more trout than you could shake a stick at. These were not as large as the ones we were catching in the Trophy Management Area, but there were still some nice ones in the 13- to 14-inch range to be played with. Had a great day on the water paying back a debt to my brother-in-law!

Dickey May 20 Taneycomo 1

Captain Steve Dickey has been guiding almost every day for the past few weeks and called in a fishing report for us:

I had a guide trip on Saturday.  Bill Babler was double booked and had a party out of the Hilton on the Landing.  These gentlemen were from California, in town for a tour of their company’s plant in Carthage, MO.

I rigged up  four 7-foot spinning rods with a jig and float, using 6x tippet, an olive micro jig and a Zebra Midge below it.  I was ready.  But when I picked them up, I thought may be they were experienced fishermen and could handle a bit more than watching a float.  I asked and they confirmed my gut feeling, so I stopped at the dock and picked up three 6-foot spinning rods for throwing a jig straight.

I planned on going all the way to the cable.  I boated to Lookout and saw the water was very, very low although they were running some water.  I went for it, buzzing up through to Trophy Run, the boat ramp and to Big Hole.  No problem.  But Rebar looked too tough, too shallow, so we started there and drifted down past Trophy Run.

Curt caught some nice rainbows including three pushing 19 inches.  Ken was also catching but having trouble with the slack.

The second time up I saw where Guide Brett Rader had made his way through Rebar and to the cable so I said, “I can get up there if he can!”  And I did.

First time down, Curt again nailed some nice rainbows and Ken caught a couple.  I knew I had to do something so I tied on a while 1/50th- ounce white jig on the seven-foot rod with the float and threw it out.  The float was down almost immediately — game on!  Ken caught up in number and size, landing the biggest rainbow of the day, about 20 inches.  Of course, Curt started throwing a white jig and float and did very well, too.

These fish weren’t just long — they were thick and fat and full of color.

May 17 Curt Rainbow

Long story cut short, we fished  until  2 p.m..  They caught in excess of 90 trout, one brown landed measuring about 15 inches, and one brown lost at about 24 inches (below boat ramp) ,but at least 20 of the rainbows caught were over 17 inches long.

May 17 Taneycomo 2

What I saw in the water, though, is the story here.  I saw dozens and dozens of rainbows in the 17- to 19-inch range from the cable down to Trophy Run.  The upper lake at least is lousy with trophy rainbows, thick shoulders and colored up.

And they like white!

May 17 Taneycomo 1

Quite a few guys were fishing from the bank, wading out as far as they could.  Hear me!  Fish a white jig under a float!  You don’t have to get it out that far to catch good fish!  Spin fishermen, throw an 1/8th-ounce jig and work it back.

May 17 Taneycomo 3

I don’t know if these fish are still seeing shad.  All I know is they are keying in on white and fattening up like pigs.

Basically the same thing has been happening down out of the Trophy Area.  As Duane reported, using a Trout Magnet under a float has been deadly as well as a couple of Gulp Eggs on a jig hook under a float.  I’d suggest using Super Glue to secure either the Trout Magnet or the eggs to the shank of the hook.  They’ll last much longer.

If the trout get real fussy, add an 18-inch piece of 6x or two-pound tippet to the jig head’s eye and tie a #16 Zebra Midge as a tandem fly.  Black, red, olive, rust and “Ugly” has been working the best.

If you don’t have good jig rods, either for fishing with or without a float, consider renting a Lilley’s spinning rod for the day.  We charge $15.  We also rent fly rods for $25 per day.

Night crawlers have been working well, too, but don’t use much weight if you’re drifting. See my video to get an idea how to drift with a very small split shot.

Dickey May 20 Taneycomo 2

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