Posted by Phil Lilley on July 6th, 2014
With little rain and not much change in lake levels, generation pattern has been the same the last few days. Low daytime temperatures have also helped — that is to keep the water from running here on Lake Taneycomo. Generation has occurred only late in the afternoon for only an hour, not reaching over one unit.
Because our water hasn’t run much this week, “catching” has improved greatly. The main reason, some of us believe, is the reduced generation has let lake water temperatures rise into the 50’s — and that makes for more aggressive trout. It’s also helped lessen water clarity, especially with the increased boat traffic over the Fourth of July holiday. The water temperature today at our dock was 57 degrees.
Rainbows are starting to take Gulp Power Eggs again pretty well, but night crawlers are still the best bait by far, catching bigger fish than the manufactured baits. Anglers still need to shoot some air in them to get them off the bottom. A trout will eventually find a crawler sitting on the bottom or buried in the weeds, but floating it off the bottom brings it up within eye sight where it’s eaten more quickly.
I have a good night crawler story. Yesterday I took my grandkids Jeriah, 4, and Serenity, 2, out fishing. Our goal was to catch two smallish rainbows to paint and print on small shirts for the kids, which should have been easy. We pulled up to the gravel bar at Short Creek about 4 p.m. and dropped a couple of anchors. We were on top of the bar in less than two foot of water but within casting distance of deep water off the bar.
I rigged up a rod with a #8 hook and split shot, added a worm and shot it with some air to make it float. I cast it out and handed the rod to Jeriah. He’s been out with me before, so he knew to just hold on and feel for the bite. It didn’t take long. I didn’t get but a hook on another line and his rod was bent and about ready to fly out of his hands.
The bow jumped several times and pulled out some line. Jeriah had a tough time keeping the rod tip high enough but handled it fine. After I netted it, I said it was too big and we’d have to throw it back. Jeriah doesn’t like to release anything — he wants to eat his catch!
I stuck another crawler on the hook, threw it out and handed the rod to Serenity. She did a good job holding it and it again didn’t take much time . . . another bite and bending rod. This time I grabbed the rod because it looked like she wasn’t going to be able to hold on. Then I knew this was another trout we weren’t going to keep — even bigger than Jeriah’s rainbow.
After several runs by the fish, as I helped Serenity reel the fish in, we saw she had a hold of a big brown trout. We hadn’t been there 10 minutes and two trophy trout!? Wow!! We netted it, took some pictures and released it back to the lake. Jeriah, again, was bothered to watch the trout swim off. I told him we needed small rainbows for their shirts. He came back with, “but granddaddy, all I catch are big fish!”
We caught another “too big” rainbow before the smaller rainbows finally grew interested in the worms and we caught two just right for our art project.
Back to my report:
With the a little more turbid water color, anglers are getting away with using four-pound line again, although we are throwing small jigs using two-pound line.
We’re still seeing some brown trout caught and heard several reports yesterday of browns caught on night crawlers but released since they were less than the 20-inch length limit. This brown was caught on a chartreuse Powerworm just below Fall Creek Marina yesterday, weighing 2.98 pounds and measuring right at 20 inches.
The best way, I think, to catch these browns with the water off is to use a 5’6″ medium-action spin rod, two-pound line and either a 3/32nd or 1/16th-ounce jig, no float, and work it deep in the channel from Lookout Island down to the Landing. Preferably you don’t want much wind, and you want to fish early and late in the day when the sun isn’t high over head. I’d fish with the colors sculpin, olive, black, brown — or white when just a little water is running.
Let the jig go all the way to the bottom and then hop it up and let it fall. Watch for a tick in the line or for the line to go slack prematurely. Sometimes you’ll feel the fish on the line when you hop it up. Go ahead and try to set the hook. Although this is difficult, it is not impossible.
Because the jig weight is small, you can work this lure slow, the slower the better. Vary the “hop” from lifting slowly to popping it up. Watch you’re rod tip to see how far you’re hopping it up. Don’t lift the tip more than four feet with three feet ideal.
Master this technique and you can catch any fish anywhere.
We haven’t had much wind so the jig-and-float method is not working as well as it should. If you can find chop on the water, definitely use a jig-and-float and drop a Zebra Midge below it. I’d still use two-pound or 6x tippet. In the trophy area, I’d consider 7x since they’re being fussy. I did fair using a rusty midge the other day between Lookout and the Narrows, setting the float at four-feet deep and fishing the channel. I did catch one rainbow on the olive Micro Jig I was using as the main fly but the others came on the midge.
An olive, 1/16th-ounce jig has been the hot lure this week, working it with no float and fishing it really anywhere from here (Lilleys’ Landing) to Lookout. I did really well the other morning fishing it above the Narrows in the channel, catching some very nice rainbows. The trout like the olive over several other go-to colors I use.
The lower lake is still holding a good number of rainbows. The Missouri Department of Conservation has been stocking most of their rainbows in the lower lake this summer because the lake water down there is colder than normal. There’s a hot spot that’s worth trying. Down below Rockaway Beach around the sharp bend there’s a set of docks on the right at the end of T Highway. Below these docks, I hear there’s a lot of trout to be caught, many netted on Trout Magnets as well as spoons and Power Bait.
This coming week, daytime temperatures are going to heat up, and these rainbows in the lower lake will make their way up lake as the water temperatures rise, as long as the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers Table Rock. Then all bets are off.
Here’s a fishing report Steve Dickey called in. You need FLASH to listen to this message.
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