Lake Taneycomo

Lilley’s Lake Taneycomo fishing report, April 17

Posted by Phil Lilley on April 16th, 2016
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Brown 530

Generation from Table Rock Dam has finally slowed to the point that we can actually predict with certainty that we’ll be seeing quite a bit of down water in the coming days, that’s until the next big rain.  Mild temperatures and normal lake levels mean less power demand and running water.  That’s good for those who like no generation on Taneycomo for fly fishing as well as anchoring and tight line bait fishing.

This week was split between the water being down completely to running 40 megawatts, or just less than one unit, for most of the day.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason for either so check the SPA schedule.

I reported the last time they shut the water off on our lake about how the gravel bars had changed, mainly above Fall Creek.  I said that knowing exactly what the bottom looked like water hard because of the turbid water conditions.  Usually our lake water is very clear but heavy rain water inflows into Table Rock clouded it’s water and we’re still getting that “dirty” water.  Visibility is about 24 inches.  But we can see the humps and bars along the banks and on the channel edges above Fall Creek, through the Narrows and up past Lookout Island.

April 2530

Boating up through the Narrows is tricky.  I’ve damaged 2 props so far this year, along with 2 more on other shallow spots.  But with these boating hazards comes neat fishing habitat!  Trout are holding near these bars, which in some cases drop off quickly into 2-4 feet of water.

With 40 mw of water running, the Narrows is still shallow and you can hit the high spots just off the channel if you’re not careful.  Getting above Lookout Island is also tricky but not impossible.  The real tricky part is the fact that you have to get on plane and stay there over the shallow areas at Lookout, the chute above Trophy Run and on up to Big Hole.  I wouldn’t venture past Big Hole unless you’re very acquainted with that area.

With all the changes above Fall Creek, fly fishers should be excited.  Boating up and getting out wading these areas should be a challenge unlike fishing some of Missouri’s trout streams.

With the water off, there’s some current at Lookout and at the Narrows most of the time which makes the opportunity of drifting flies very attractive.  They’re taking Zebra Midges (#14, 16 red, green), scuds (#12, 14, 16 gray, brown, orange, tan) and San Juan Worms (pink, red) using 6x tippet and a small indicator.  Also drift 1/125-ounce jigs (white, pink, brown/orange head) under a float 24-30 inches deep.

I got out with friends this week and fished between Lookout and the Narrows, throwing a 1/32-ounce brown/orange head or sculpin-ginger/orange head jig using 2-pound line.  I set the boat on the shallow side of the lake (trolling motor and big motor dragging the bottom) and threw to deeper water (by still very shallow, less than 2 feet) and worked the jig fairly slow.  We caught a lot of rainbows, most were small but got some big ones too.  They were aggressively taking the jigs.

With 40 megawatts of water running, I’d throw either a 3/32- or 1/16-ounce jigs in the same fashion.  Plus I would word the deeper  water too using a white jig.  Steve Dickey, one of our fishing guides, has been using white jigs under a float since the first of the year and still is catching trout consistently.  He’s using a 1/16-ounce white jig under a float from 4-8 feet deep, depending on the depth of water he’s fishing.

Our trout are hitting the surface of the water quite a bit but I haven’t figured out exactly what they’re taking or how to catch those fish.  It isn’t a subtle take like they’re taking a midge–it’s an aggressive slash like they may be chasing a minnow or shad.  And we’ve seen some big fish come up in front of the dock for the last couple of months.

April 1530

Below Fall Creek, there are changes but not like those in the Trophy Area.  Below Fall Creek on the inside bend, gravel has stacked up so that side is shallower than it was last year.  But if you remember, I pushed fishing that side because is was less fished and trout were holding and using that shallow side.  There are plenty of bugs in the gravel to hold good numbers of trout and imitating those bugs is the trick to catching them.  They also will eat night crawlers and other live baits as well.  Don’t let the shallow water keep you from fishing that area.

Air injected night crawlers is going to be a hot bait while the water is off.  Put the weight at least 18 inches from the hook so that the worm floats off the bottom.  You can inject it with air or add a Gulp floating egg at the head of the hook (added before the worm) to make it float.  Same with a minnow.  There are floating jig heads but I haven’t had much luck with them.  Four-pound line is fine.  Using a drift rig is fine but use the smallest bell weight–1/8th ounce.

Trolling is still catching some good trout.  Try a Flicker Shad and troll it from Monkey Island down through the Branson Landing.  You’ll catch rainbows and browns with a good possibility of hooking a big, trophy brown trout.

Trip Report, 4/17

We boated to the dam this evening.  They were only running 24 megawatts of water which is about 1/2 unit, lake level 703.7 feet.  This is pretty nominal water to be running to Rebar Hole but we made it no problem.

We started throwing a 1/50-ounce marabout white jig using 2-pound line but the east wind was too tough to work the jig so I tied on floats.  We also switched to 1/125-ounce white jigs and get the float anywhere from 24 to 40 inches deep, depending on the depth of water we drifted over.

The rainbows liked our white jigs, and nice ones!  Jordan caught on pretty well as you can see in this video and dad (Greg) wasn’t too far behind.  We fished till about 7:30 and headed back as soon as we noticed they had shut the water off.  It got real shallow fast!

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