Written by Phil on March 4th, 2014Print This Post
It’s March! And it’s still cold and snowy!! The bass are still dormant, but the trout are liking it, and the ones up close to the dam have even been enjoying a little shad action, starting yesterday morning. I’ve been saying that if the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers would only run water fairly hard, that would suck a bunch of shad through the turbines into our lake. The Corps did run three units (yesterday and today), and it did pull a good number through as evidenced by the trout’s interest in white things — and their fat bellies. Generation has been inconsistent at best. No two days have been alike for the past week. The only pattern has been on the weekend — Saturdays a half unit has been running all day, and Sundays it’s been off all day. Most days some water is running in the mornings and off in the afternoons, but today it built all day to almost three full units. That’s good for getting shad in the upper end of the lake! Catching has been good whether you’re a fly, bait or lure angler. I would say from watching and listening to some of our guests, that numbers of fish caught have been good, but the quality has waned from past years. But that’s not what everyone is saying. There have been reports of brown trout caught this winter, more than in the past three or four years. They’re ranging from 13 to 18 inches and being caught on a variety of lures, mostly jigs, and mainly below the trophy area all the way down past the Branson Landing. There are still good numbers of rainbows being caught from Cooper Creek to Monkey Island on down to the Landing. But there are a lot of trout on up to Fall Creek, too. Nothing has really changed as far as good baits and lures. We still suggest using night crawlers, minnows and PowerBait Gulp Eggs when drifting or anchored and tight lining. Trout Magnets are still very good under a float five to six feet deep with pink and pink/white the best colors. Freshly stocked rainbows like Kastmasters and Cleos either cast or trolled. If the water is running, work a Rapala or other small to medium stick bait against the banks for browns and rainbows. One hot spot I heard of was up in Roark Creek. During our last tournament I was told there were a bunch of rainbows and crappie to be caught with a jig-and-float. I was a little surprised that they’d be in the creek this early, especially with how cold it’s been. But it was a reliable report. I’d look in the other creeks, too — Turkey, Coon, Bee and further down to even Bull Creek. The trophy area has been fishing very well. My jig-and-float rigged with a brown 1/80th-ounce jig with an orange head is catching lots of lots of numbers and a few decent-sized rainbows. That’s with the water off and fishing from Lookout down to Fall Creek. I have also tried purple, black, sculpin and white and did pretty well, too. I’m also using two-pound Vanish line and believe I’m getting more bites because of it. Fly fishing below the dam with the water off has been good. There have been lots of trout in the wading area, but the nice weather has also brought out the crowds. Because there’s so many people walking about from the Big Hole to the Cable, I’d go down and try some less fished water. I think the fish will be more cooperative, too. Zebra Midges are always good, and if there’s a good chop on the water, throw a soft hackle, crackleback, woolly bugger or a pine squirrel. Olive has been working the best on the streamers. Drift a small #18 gray or olive scud around the outlets, Rebar or anywhere there’s some current. A San Juan worm in the Rebar chute always is a good fly to try. You might have to drop to 7x if the crowds spook the fish too much. Just be ready for a possible big fish because they’re up there! Now for the report that goes with the video. I boated up this morning with three units running (not full) hoping to get in on what I had heard was a good shad bite. Some guys who fished yesterday said they’d seen shad in the water and caught some really nice quality rainbows with big bellies spitting up shad. I knew this would happen when dam operators kicked open the turbines and ran some good water. There’s a lot of shad dying on Table Rock because of the very cold temperatures (a natural occurrence). I arrived at the cable and tied on white 1/8th-ounce jig and started. No bites for quite a while. Strange! Seemed as if I were getting very soft bites but no hook ups until I got well below the Big Hole. Then I started catching some rainbows. Two drifts. Both times I didn’t do well until I got well down below the dam. Actually the area close to the boat ramp was the best and sported better- sized rainbows, too. They were fat with shad but were just not being very aggressive. You can tell by how I set the hook that I wasn’t feeling the bite; I was feeling the fish when I jigged. Sometimes they’re just like that! Mark my words . . . if we get some rain and some serious water is generated this spring, we’re going to see a lot of shad in Taneycomo. That will be great for fishing and even better for the trout!
Written by Phil on February 4th, 2014Print This Post
We’ve encountered a snow day, then a nice sunny day, then another snow day — a pattern that snow boarders and skiers would love. As for fishermen, we would like it if we could get ourselves to the lake or stream! Some of would like it if they could just get out of the driveway!
But it is beautiful here. The snow accentuates the outcrops on the bluff across the lake from us. Normally, it all blends in as trees and rocks. Monday morning the mist from the lake frosted the trees on the bluff. I ventured out just to show the effect. The camera picked up some unusual colors in the shade of the bluff. This afternoon I went out again to actually catch some fish and did just that.
This past weekend we hosted the Roger’s Adventure Weekend, a group of anglers who have been fishing their private tournament here on Lake Taneycomo for the past 25+ years. They hold an “invite-only” trout tournament on Saturday complete with attendance prizes and raffles after the contest. It has always been fun time, no matter the weather.
Anyhow, quite a few anglers after the weigh-in told me they had caught an extraordinary number of brown trout that day, some as many as 15 browns, mostly on lures such as jigs. No legal browns were weighed in but, like most tournaments, there were stories of “the one that got away.” Mike Riffle said he fought a very large brown for quite a while before losing it when it shot under the boat. His line caught the side of the boat and broke!
As in any of our tournaments, teams must designate whether they will fish “up or down.” If they fish “up,” they are allowed to fish above the mouth of Fall Creek (the trophy area), but they cannot weigh in any rainbows in the 12- to 20-inch slot, no matter where the rainbow is caught. If they choose “down,” they cannot fish above the mouth of Fall Creek. Only one team fished above Fall Creek out of the field of 54 teams. So the browns that were caught Saturday all were below Fall Creek.
The winning weight was 9.02 pounds (eight trout), caught by Shane Matthews and Brandon Buehler. They beat out Joe Whelan and Chad Martens by only .02 pounds. Shane and Brandon told me they fished several places from Fall Creek to Monkey Island and used Gulp Powerbait exclusively. Joe and Chad boated all the way down to lower Taneycomo and fish close to the cable before Powersite Dam and caught their fish on lures, mainly jigs. Joe caught the largest rainbow of the day. Weighing a little over three pounds, it netted him the big fish pot of $530. First and second place finishers pocketed $945 and $680, respectfully. With so many teams, even 10th place earned more than $110.
As a side note, Shane’s dad Skip is one of the original R.A.W. guys, and Shane started coming to the tournament with his dad when he was a young kid. Now Shane brings up to five teams with him and enjoys the weekend with his friends.
Speaking of trout tournaments, our last winter contest is slated for Saturday, Feb. 22. Entry is $50 per two-man team with the top four finishers earning money and a great handcrafted. cedar trophy made by our own Curtis Viscardis. The heaviest rainbow pays $200 and the heaviest legal brown will pay $1,000! See more information, rules and entry form on our resort site.
With milder temperatures, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been leaving the water off most afternoons now for the past week or so. This is nice for those fly fishermen who like to wade up below the dam. Guide Duane Doty reported fly fishing to be very good on Monday. He waded in and fished from the flats below outlet #1 clear down to Trophy Run. He said he fished zebra midges mostly because the trout were all over the surface eating midges. But he also used pine squirrels and a Mega Worm (a big white fluffy San Juan worm) and did just as well. Duane reported catching nothing longer than 14 inches, but there were a lot that size caught and released.
In the last clip of the video, I was using a spin cast rod and reel and throwing a zebra midge under an indicator five-feet deep. The zebra was a red #14 midge with a black bead. I tied some 6x tippet material onto the four-pound line already on my reel because I like small diameter line when using flies that small. I hooked and landed quite a few rainbows, the largest seen in this clip. What I’m saying here is that you can use flies with this application just as easy as using jigs and sometimes, that zebra midge will catch older, more mature trout that you wouldn’t catch on jigs or even bait.
Written by Phil on January 30th, 2014Print This Post
Still having fun with the new cameras . . .
This deep freeze keeps hanging on. We endured single digits again Thursday night but it is warming as we head into the weekend. Today’s 40 degrees felt like the tropics. And the winds were civil. And, the trout bit! No generation this afternoon.
The video is an attempt to show all the jigs and flies our trout are biting on today. What didn’t work? What’s NOT in the video? An olive micro jig or a ginger 1/100th ounce Bassnapper jig. I was fishing close to Short Creek the whole time. On the fly rod, I was using 6x tippet and fishing from four- to six-feet deep depending on the depth of water. The spinning rod I was using held four-pound Trilene XL.
If you can’t read the script on the video, I caught rainbows on a black half-micro jig, a purple half-micro jig, a pink half-micro jig with a chrome head, red zebra midge, a black zebra midge, orange head 1/32nd ounce brown/orange jig, 1/32nd ounce purple jig, and a 1/32nd ounce white jig.
My camera somehow did not film a catch with a 1/125th-ounce sculpin jig (fly rod).
The point is that the trout really are biting good when the water isn’t running right now, especially on a jig-and-float setup.
By the way, you can see what the levels have been this past week by visiting Ozarkangler’s Lake Taneycomo Levels Page.
I was amazed at the size of rainbows we’re catching down at the Landing right now. I caught two rainbows this afternoon that would have gone a pound at least. That’s for all you Rogers Adventure Weekend anglers coming in for the annual tournament this weekend!
Oh yeah, release all the crappies please!
Just kidding. The crappies are scattered all up and down the bank, out over the weed beds from Scotty’s Trout Dock to the White River Fish House and even further down. Don’t be scared to get out 80 feet from the bank and fish four- to eight-feet deep with jigs or minnows. I think it’s better if there’s a little current.
Back to the trout:
The tried-and-true bait combination is still doing the best. That’s a Gulp PowerBait white egg with another color on a #8 hook fished on the bottom or under a float on a jig head — four- to six-feet deep is best. Air–injected night crawlers are working well, too. Four-pound line is perfectly fine. Our water still has some color to it. Water temperature, by the way, is 43 degrees, down two degrees in the last couple of weeks.
Spoons are catching mostly stocker rainbows, not much in size, but jigs are catching a little bigger trout.
Last weekend, a lot of guys told me they caught brown trout, not just one or two but several. Most of them were throwing or trolling medium crank baits and jigs. There were no legal browns netted that I know of, but some were pushing 19 inches. That’s a good sign.
I have no report for wading below the dam during no generation but it has to be good. We’ve been catching some real nice rainbows close to the cable down past Big Hole drifting and throwing white jigs, so I know they’re up there.
The shad run was small, and now more than a week has past since we’ve seen any signs of shad. We only caught rainbows on white down about 1000 yards below the cable and no trout with big bellies below the Big Hole. That doesn’t mean we’ve had our chance and it’s over. . . we’ve had shad runs as late as May in past years. Table Rock Lake is prime for a shad kill. It’s water is in the upper 30?s in some areas. We are waiting with baited breath!
If you’re fishing a straight jig, no float, during this low water (no generation), I’d suggest throwing as small as jig as the wind will let you. What I mean by that is when the wind blows fairly hard, it’s tough to throw a small jig. But if the wind is calm, you can drop to a 1/32nd-ounce jig, although you would have to use small diameter line like two-pound or even less. You can get away with using four-pound line with 1/8th and 3/32nd-ounce line but I’d drop to two-pound if using 1/16th-ounce or less.
Stay with the normal colors — sculpin, white, black, brown, sculpin/ginger or orange, olive, white/gray and purple. Guide Brett Rader told me purple was the hot color for him when I saw him on the water the other day. He was right — I’ve caught good rainbows on purple the last few days.