Written by Phil on May 15th, 2013Print This Post
Generation pattern: After a significant rain, Table Rock Lake rises above 917 feet which triggers the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers to release the maximum amount of water through their turbines until the lake stabilizes and then drops below 917. Then the Corps cuts generation back. Read more »
Written by Phil on May 1st, 2013Print This Post
Nothing stays the same during spring on Lake Taneycomo. If you don’t like the conditions today, wait a week, and chances are they’ll change. We’ve had a variety of generation patterns for the month of April. But that’s not unusual; it’s spring! Actually it’s been more like a normal spring than most we’ve had lately.
This month, we’ve seen Table Rock’s level jump three feet almost over night after a rain we had a couple of weeks ago. The U.S. Corps of Army Engineers then opened all four units and released the maximum amount of water to raise the upper lakes levels back to power pool. Since then we’ve had some rain, but not enough to cause big releases. The Corps now seems happy to regulate releases to where we’re seeing slow release in the morning and a little more in the afternoon. This will, I believe, remain the pattern as long as Table Rock and Beaver Lakes remain within a foot or two or their power pool levels.
Back when the Corps first released all four units, catching trout was tough, to say the least. I don’t think our trout fed much, and when they did, it was very hard to get and keep a fly or bait close to the bottom because of the current. We hadn’t seen that kind of release in almost 14 months — remember we just came out of a 16-month drought. But catching got better. We found out where we could catch some trout, and then dam operators lowered the release amounts, and most everyone was happy.
Right now the Corps is releasing one unit of water during the night and into the early morning hours, then bumping it up to two units mid morning and running that into the evening hours. The best bite is early, before generation goes to two units. But we have been catching some rainbows drifting mid-day, then much better later in the evening.
I’ve gotten out quite a few times here that last few days on Taneycomo, although the call of crappie on Table Rock has been hard to ignore! Here’s what I’ve found:
From the cable below the dam down to the Missouri Department of Conservation boat ramp, I’ve drifted a tandem of two flies using a drift rig on four-pound line, picking from a choice of four flies in order from best to least: #14 UV gray scud, peach egg fly, pink San Juan Worm and a #12 while wooly bugger. Best bite is drifting from the cable to outlet #2 then over the gravel bar to Rocking Chair. While my clients drifted their rigs Monday, I tossed am 1/8th-ounce sculpin/ginger or the side of the boat, just for grins, and hooked a nice 18-inch rainbow. Second cast, three bites and then hooked another 15-inch rainbow.
The next hot spot was drifting the fly rig over the shallow flat at the narrows although this quick drift was only good for one rainbow per drift. The water is fast and drift is quick.
By the way, the overhanging tree at the top of the narrows is sinking further and further down towards the water’s surface. You almost have to duck when the water is low, and when it’s running you can’t go under it. It’s blocking the main channel so it has to come out. We’ll be taking that tree out one day shortly.
Those who know me know I don’t use “live bait” very often, but friends here for a pastor’s conference want to catch and keep trout, so we’re drifting and using Gulp PowerBait. We’ve found good catching from the mouth of Fall Creek down about 600 yards using a combo of colors, white/orange, white/pink or yellow/orange. Tuesday morning when we started, generation was one unit, so we tied on drift rigs with 1/8th-ounce bell weights, but as the current increased, we switched rigs to using 1/4-ounce bell weights. Had to be on the bottom to catch anything. They all caught their limits by 11 am.
When I cleaned these rainbows, their meat was pink — which means these trout have been in the lake for a while. My guess is these rainbows were in the trophy area and came down below Fall Creek where they were no longer protected by the slot limit.
Monday we found the best fishing was a stretch at Monkey Island and drifting from U.S. Highway 65 bridge down to the railroad bridge. At Monkey, we’d pull almost up to the top of the island and drift past the island and down about 300 yards, then go back up, using the same colors of Gulp Eggs.
Written by Phil on April 6th, 2013Print This Post
Table Rock Lake has crept up to almost power pool which likely means we will start to see an increase in generation very soon. Rains are forecast for next week which will push the lakes in our chain up past power pool. That doesn’t mean big generation, but it will mean some. We’ve had very little flow for months, so that will be a big change. It’s inevitable.
Because of this uncertainty, my fishing report will have to cover more possible options than normal. I can tell you what’s been working lately, but these patterns might not work when and if dam operators start running water. Here goes . . .
With no generation, below Fall Creek, we’ve been fishing Berkley’s Powerbait or Gulp Eggs on the bottom or on a jig head under a float. We have used straight line on the bottom (four-pound line is fine), a drift rig or just a #8 short shank hook and a split shot up the line 18 inches. We put on green or clear monofilament line. You can use fluorocarbon; a good line is Vanish two-pound. Otherwise, Trilene XL four-pound green works great. Colors: orange/white or yellow/white are working the best. In the paste, yellow is good. If you’re putting the eggs on a jig head, use a 1/32nd-ounce head with a #10 hook and slide one or two eggs on the hook. Set the float three- to five-feet deep. Our guides actually use Super Glue to keep the eggs in place. An added benefit is you use less bait per fish using glue. This is working really well in the Monkey Island area. The Missouri Department of Conservation just released between 20 and 30,000 rainbows in the downtown area this week.
Because we have a lot of freshly stocked rainbows in the lake, throwing a Cleo or Rooster Tail might be good to do, too. New rainbows like to chase shiny things in the water.
The jig-and-float technique should also work. I would fish between Fall Creek and Trout Hollow, targeting the shallow side of the lake, opposite the bluff, from the River Pointe boat ramp to Short Creek. This water is a lot deeper than you think and holds fish. The best jig colors to try are brown, sculpin-ginger, brown-orange, all with an orange head, black or olive. Sizes- 1/32nd-ounce to 1/125th- ounce. Set the float four- six- feet deep.
I ventured out to fish with some kids this week. We fished night crawlers on the bottom just up from the mouth of Short Creek, staying on the shallow side of the lake. The kids caught better rainbows than we’ve been seeing in the trophy area, a nice brown trout and a big sucker — which was the biggest thrill to them. We injected air into the worms for quicker strikes. Again, four-pound line is fine using worms.
Above Fall Creek I also tried my luck a few times this week. I took some boys up there one morning and introduced them to jig-and-float fishing. They caught on fairly well, boating quite a few rainbows, although most of the strikes went unanswered.
I added some 6x fluorocarbon tippet to my four-pound line on my spin cast outfits, a small float and 1/125th-ounce jigs, then set the floats at 36 inches and fished the Narrows most of the time. There was a good chop on the water and the fish were hungry! The best jig was by far a brown with an orange head, although ginger was good, too.
On Thursday, I was blessed to fish with a long-time friend, Rolan Duffield. We tried Bull Shoals for white bass in the morning, then came back to Taney for some afternoon trout. We fished mainly jigs under a float using the fly rods and fished from Lookout to the Narrows. Yes, we caught lots of trout. The best color by far was a ginger in 1/100th-ounce size.
Last evening, they were running a half unit of water. I boated up past Lookout Island to the top of Trophy Run and started throwing a straight jig with no float. I tried a white first, catching one nice brown, and then a sculpin which yielded nothing. Next I tied a ginger 1/8th-ounce jig on — and they liked it!! I was looking for a nicer rainbow but didn’t find anything larger than 13 inches. As I drifted on down to the Narrows, I caught rainbows consistently on either the ginger or sculpin/ginger jig. Past the Narrows I didn’t do as well.
This morning, I took a couple of friends out for K.A.A. (Kids Across America). We started well above the Narrows throwing a zebra midge, #16 rusty 30 inches under a palsa and working the deeper water. The bite was light, but they caught about 35 rainbows for the morning. After the wind picked up, the trout really bit well. We used 7x fluorocarbon tippet when the water was dead still and 6x when it grew choppy.
I also tied on a #14 crackleback, and they caught several on the flat there at the Narrows. The fish were midging really well.
If and when the dam operators start running water, drifting Gulp eggs or night crawlers down from Fall Creek should be very good. I’d think our trout will like the running water since they find more food moving in the water and more opportunities for feeding.
Above Fall Creek, I’d drift an egg fly on the bottom and also try a larger size scud, like a #12. We use a jig-and-float and drift a full micro pink with a chrome head five- to seven-feet below an indicator.
Of course, I’ll be throwing an 1/8th-ounce jig and working the bottom of the lake off the bluff banks when the water starts moving. If you can get all the way to the dam below the cable, you’ll find the biggest trout in the lake right now. Jig fishing will be great!