Lake Taneycomo

Lilley’s Lake Taneycomo fishing report, September 26

Posted by Phil Lilley on September 26th, 2017
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Generation has been consistent for the last 10 days — at about 2,200 cubic feet per second at a lake level of 704 feet, generating 30-35 megawatts of power from midnight until 2 p.m.  Starting at 2 p.m., they’re building it up to 3 units (not full), almost 9,000 cfs at a lake level of 708 feet.  That’s a lot of water!  But it goes back down to 704 feet by 8 p.m.

There’s a weather change happening tonight, though, that might alter this pattern.  Cooler weather most of the time means less power demand, thus less generation.  We will see.  Some are hoping for no generation at least in the mornings, as was the pattern a couple of weeks ago.  Others like the low flow in the mornings . . . I think it’s boaters against waders.  Who will win?

Catching the last week has slowed down, especially off our dock.  Most anglers are catching their limit, but it takes them a considerable amount of time to do it.  Night crawlers have been the best, for both trout — and suckers.  White suckers put up a great fight and when cleaned and prepared right are great eating!

With a lake level of 704 feet, boating to the dam is tricky, even for us locals!  But if you can motor up there to the cable below the dam, fishing has been pretty good.

First for fly fishing tips.  Hoppers thrown against the banks are catching bigger than normal rainbows and a few browns.  Also other dries like beetles, ants and stimulators are working.  You won’t catch a lot of fishing, but if you love dry fly fishing, a few bites are worth trying.  Drop a #16 or #18 red zebra midge under the dry about 18 inches for an additional chance.

The white Mega Worm is also catching trout.  Use it tied on a small jig head under a float and make sure you have enough line below the indicator to get it to the bottom.  The water is clear enough to visually follow the white worm.  If it disappears, set the hook  because it’s probably in a fish’s mouth.

Stripping an olive, brown or black-beaded wooly bugger is pretty productive.  I caught several nice rainbows stripping an olive wooly bugger against the bluff bank from Lookout through the Narrows.  They like to chase!



Duane is still throwing the MegaBass 110+1 Ozark Shad stick bait up below the dam (from a boat) while the dam is running that big water in the late afternoons. He has caught some nice trout including browns and rainbows longer than 20 inches (all released.) He’s hooked some really big fish but those have slipped away — so far.

Guide Tracy Frenzel showed me that he’s catching trout drifting beads.  This is something we do up in Alaska to catch big rainbows feeding on salmon eggs.  Trout beads come in many colors and sizes.  Tracy was using a pinkish 12mm bead (yes that’s a big bead) pegged with a toothpick about two inches above the hook.  He said it actually catches less moss than using just bait on a hook.  Yes, we do carry beads in our fly shop.  And, yes, you can use these in the trophy area.  I’d think they’d work well up close to the dam where browns should be ready to spawn soon.

Marabou jigs are working really well.  Depending on the flow and conditions, I’ve been throwing two- and four-pound line and 1/16th, 3/32nd and 1/8th-ounce jigs in several colors.  The best is still the sculpin/ginger 1/16th ounce with two-pound line — but that’s probably because I’m throwing it 80% of the time.  When the water is running harder, I go to four-pound line and 1/8th- ounce jigs.

One guest Tuesday  said they were catching good rainbows up close to Short Creek on 1/8th-ounce sculpin jigs.  They’re throwing them in this slower generation.  He asked if that was okay.  I responded with “If you’re catching fish, it’s perfect!”



Tracy also told me that he was catching good numbers of rainbows from Cooper Creek down into a section of about a quarter mile.  His clients were fishing the pink Berkley Power worm.

These fish are staying together, maybe following the midge hatches morning and evening.  There’s usually a crud line in the lake — floating leaves and stuff that clumps up from wind and boat traffic. That’s where these trout are coming up and midging (dimpling) the surface.

There are several ways to target these fish.  Throw something and run it through them like a spinner or a spoon.  Cast a small jig, like a 1/16th, and wiggle it through the schooling trout.  Or use a small jig or fly under a tiny float (fly or spin rod) and fish it pretty shallow, just 18 to 24 inches deep.

The pink worm is still a guide’s best friend — and it can be yours, too.  For whatever reason, this bait has been a fish’s favorite for well over a year now.


P.S.  After writing this report, Duane and I boated to the dam this afternoon for some fishing.  He took his bait casting rod and MegaBass 110+1 stick baits and I had a spinning and fly outfit, so we ready for anything!

This report is littered with pictures from the outing.  Duane caught the first trout, the biggest of the evening.  We didn’t measure it, but I think it pushed 20 inches.   He did hook and lost a couple of other nice browns which are pictured.


I started with throwing an 1/16th-ounce sculpin/ginger jig but didn’t have any luck.  They were running 5,200 cfs or a little over a full unit,( lake level 706 feet) and the weight wasn’t enough to get down deep enough.  I switched to a 3/32nd-ounce white jig with two-pound line.


Duane did catch some rainbows, too.  Oh, and a few smallmouth bass.  I didn’t catch any browns but I did catch rainbows, a lot of them, and most of them were quality trout!  Actually, I told Duane that it was one of the best catching trips of the summer for me.  Crazy!

I didn’t work the jig very hard at all.  I’d let it drift to the bottom and lift it fairly quickly, not the pop I usually work with a jig.  At the last, when the wind picked up, I just let it drift and they ate it right up!  We stopped taking photos after a couple because it took too much time away from fishing.  And I forgot to take the video cameras…



We made four or five drifts from the hatchery outlets down to the top of Trophy Run.  We didn’t see another boat, only the people wading around the outlets and one angler at Rocking Chair Access.  I guess white jigs are a hot item after all. I’ve had several people recommend them in the last week or so, but every time I’d throw them — nothing!  Told Duane I guess I didn’t give them a fair chance.

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