Written by Phil on December 10th, 2013Print This Post
Winter has made quite an entrance in Branson, adding to the festive Christmas decor. I don’t know what the official snowfall count is in town, but here at Lilleys’ Landing it measured more than nine inches before settling down a bit. It was a light, fluffy snow, but we still had to push snow off our docks to keep them from flipping. Lots of shoveling and salting, but I think we’re over the hump. Read more »
Written by Phil on November 27th, 2013Print This Post
Cold weather has come to the Ozarks just like most of the Midwest. Do fish like the cold? Yes they do! Not just trout but warm water species like colder water temperatures, too. The change triggers a big feeding binge before hard winter sets in, just as a bear gorges before he hibernates for the winter. Taneycomo trout like colder water temperatures simply because they cause Table Rock Lake to turn over, sending water high in oxygen into the lake. That energizes both rainbows and browns to start their own feeding frenzy — a dream come true for us fishermen!
The annual event that we all look forward to has happened — Table Rock Lake has turned over. Without going into a lot of technical jargon, let me explain a little: Table Rock’s layers of water, separated by temperature, density and varied levels of dissolved oxygen have mixed together, all throughout the depths of the main lake (over 200 feet deep at the dam face), sending good oxygenated water down to the depth of 130 feet where Taneycomo gets its water. Now the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers can release water through the dam and not have to inject liquid oxygen into the flow because O2 levels are good coming from Table Rock. They will be until later next summer when Table Rock’s water will start to separate again, and we’ll start this process all over.
Fish pic courtesy of Steve Dickey.
With the turnover a couple of things happen that affects our trout fishing. First, the O2 levels are very good and our trout can now breathe easily. They are also free to feed without having to pause to get their breath, literally. We see a big increase in our trout biting, aggressively. Second, the lake’s water temperature rises a few degrees. Third, the water we’re getting now from Table Rock has a lot of dark silt in it. Visibility lessens for about a month until the silt settles back down to the bottom of Table Rock. Silt is kicked up by the turning of the lake. Cold water from Table Rock’s surface sinks (cold water is heavier than warm water) causing the warm water below to rise and the mixing action causes turbulence, which disturbs the bottom of the lake. This silt doesn’t really bother our trout, but we do have to present our lures, bait and flies with this in mind. We tend to use bigger and brighter flies during generation, the same for lures and live bait.
Generation the last few days had been non stop but now has slowed, with only one unit running or less all day. Now that Table Rock has turned over, it’s hard to say if this pattern will continue. As I said, the Corps is not restricted to the amount of water flow. Generation can make it tough on wading below the dam, but it does make boat fishing pretty sweet.
Fishing pressure has been minimal the last few weeks, giving our trout a break from the pounding of anglers up and down the lake. In the little I’ve fished, the rainbows have been hungry and aggressive, taking small jigs I’ve thrown under a float. We ventured out last evening for a couple of hours, boating up below the dam and drifting back down.
Fish pic courtesy of Steve Dickey.
We started throwing 3/32nd-ounce jigs straight, with no float, but the wind was making it hard to see or feel the bite which was soft. So we put a float on and dropped to a 1/32nd-ounce jig. White worked real well, but so did a brown with an orange head. I set the float any where fromfour- to five-feet deep and drifted without dragging it. That’s important. If you see the float dragging at all, it means you’re jig is riding up and not working as it should. I had to make a conscious effort to keep the boat moving at the same speed as the current, which was blowing up lake.
The bites were pretty hard, taking the float under, but some were slight so we really had to watch the float closely. We caught quite a few rainbows, hardly none below 12 but nothing longer than 14 inches.
Leonard Keeney was fishing out of the back of the boat and throwing small crank baits. He was using a Live Target Rainbow lure. He caught as many rainbows as we did on jigs but again, nothing very big.
I boated up to just above Riverpoint Estates this morning to make one short drift to see what they trout were doing. Pinched a night crawler in half and hooked it on a #6 hook, in the middle letting the worm hang off both ends, and pinched a #7 split shot 18 inches above the hook. They’re running 80 megawatts of water at 706 feet which translated to 1.5 units. And yes it was brisk! Kept the boat in the middle of the lake to avoid the snags on the bottom on the bluff side of the lake. First bite took my crawler. . . I’m out of practice drifting with crawlers. Second try — fed another trout. Third try I timed my hook set right and hooked a nice 13 inch-rainbow. Fought hard, dogs were excited. Darby (Jackson’s mom) is visiting for the holidays and loves to fish. Jackson, of course, does too. They both went into fish-pointing mode when the rainbow broke the surface.
Next I put on two PowerBait Gulp Eggs, orange and white. Hooking fish on this rig is easier than crawlers, and it didn’t take me as much time to hook my second and last “picture fish.”
Beautiful morning… two deer and one fox on the bluff bank and lots of herons and two bald eagles.
Written by Phil on November 15th, 2013Print This Post
The leaves have all fallen and we’ve had our first hard freeze. Yep . . . winter is right around the corner! I believe some great trout fishing is around the corner, too, here on Lake Taneycomo.
Generation has slowed to a crawl. Almost two units have been running early in the morning, but that generation has been off by 10 a.m.. It has stayed off the rest of the day with a bump after dark for less than two hours. My guess is that this will be the weekday pattern for a while with probably less generation, if any at all, on weekends.
Trout fishing has been pretty good for most people boating, but dock fishing has been only fair. Most fish a large part of the day to net their limit of four trout off the dock, but they’re catching rainbows on a variety of Power Bait and night crawlers. Our water is not really clear, so four- pound line is okay, but two-pound is better. That goes for the whole lake, not just off the dock.
We’ve had some wind, which is good. Choppy conditions are always good for fish biting. Some anglers have done well going down lake from the resort and fishing a pink Trout Magnet under a float five-feet deep. They have also put on a Gulp pink egg on a small jig head hook, fishing it five-feet deep under a float.
A lot of people are boating up to the mouth of Fall Creek and fishing either night crawlers or Power Bait and catching quite a few rainbows. The few times I’ve been out the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a lot of boats cheating past the line and using bait in the restricted area. Now I really don’t know how much of a stickler our agents are on the line at Fall Creek, but a $150 ticket isn’t worth 50 feet, I would think. Those trout just above the line aren’t any bigger than the ones just below the line.
I’ve heard that many anglers mistake where Fall Creek exactly flows into the lake. It enters Taneycomo from the west or right side if you’re looking upstream from Fall Creek’s dock. There’s a slew that looks like a creek on the left side, farther up lake from Fall Creek, which some boaters think is Fall Creek. That could be an expensive assumption.
The mouth of Fall Creek is marked by a big sign placed by the Missouri Department of Conservation identifying the bottom boundary of the restricted area.
Above Fall Creek, if you are there when the water is running early in the morning, throw a 3/32nd-ounce white jig from the dam down to the MDC boat ramp. There are still a few big browns up there. You can also work a medium stick bait like a Rapala or Rouge or drift an egg fly on the bottom. These trout have seen quite a few eggs laid by browns, and now rainbows are starting to spawn.
When the water stops, fish a jig and float on two-pound line and fish it four- to six-feet deep, depending on how deep the water is.
There was hardly anyone else on the lake Thursday afternoon when I was out for a few hours. I boated up past Fall Creek, past the Narrows and started there,planning to try many variations to find the what the fish fancy. I started with darker colored jigs under a float, 6x tippet. The trout didn’t want any of them. So I put on a brown with an orange head jig and they liked it. I switched to a black/brown, black head and — nothing. Then sculpin/ginger, brown head was a hit. A pattern was emerging — they wanted something with a light or bright color. Ginger, sculpin/peach, even pink, was hot.
There was a fairly good chop on the water most of the time, but when the wind died, so did the bite. I caught most of my fish below the Narrows in the deeper water down closer to where the condos start.
Trout were midging on the east or shallow bank there, so after catching my last jig rainbow, I tied on a #16 Ugly Midge (green body) and a palsa float only 12 inches from the fly and started working those feeding rainbows.
I had great action for the next 30 minutes. I didn’t want to change flies, because as soon as I cast the zebra in close to a rise, the float would take off and I would hook another rainbow. These trout were quite a bit bigger than the ones caught on the jig out in the deeper water, too, but nothing longer than 14 inches.
This is the bank where I caught trout on zebra midges. It’s always a great bank because there’s deep water close to this shallow gravel bar. Rainbows come up on it and eat both scuds and midges.
I took pictures of the rainbows I caught on a different colored jigs and then a few on the midge. It’s always hard to stop and take time for photos when the fishing is as good as it was Thursday evening.
I have heard reports that fishing below the dam, wading and fly fishing, has been very good. As I said, there are still a few browns up there, but the spawning rainbows are starting to show up in good numbers and size. I was told they’re keying in on egg flies really well. Just let the egg flies sink slowly without weight and let them drift in the slow current. If there is current, add just a tiny split shot. Around the outlets, of course, fishing is the hottest, but it’s very hard not to snag fish because there are just so many stacked in on top of one another (I am referring to the trout, but, yes, anglers can get stacked up in the outlets, too).